OK, I’m not a liturgical expert. I’m only a convert, and a new priest at that, but I have been trying real hard to understand the attraction of the Latin Mass.

Some time ago I attended a Latin Mass and enjoyed it up to a point, however, I have some questions. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be critical or unkind. These are genuine questions. Can anyone who reads this blog, and who is keen on the Latin Mass answer them for me?

  1. If the Latin language is so wonderful, why is it inaudible on purpose?
  2. How does the priest reading the Scripture in Latin with his back to the people inaudibly in a language they don’t understand help the people of God to hear and understand the Word of God?
  3. How does no hymns and a choir singing in Gregorian chant help the people to particpate in the Mass, or have I got this wrong and the people are not intended to participate in the Mass at all? If so, is this better?
  4. How does it help the people to understand what is going on at the Mass when they can’t see what is happening at the altar, can’t understand the language, and can’t hear what the priest is saying?
  5. I’ve heard it said that the Latin language is ‘ancient and mystical’ and that having the Mass in a dead language assists the worship by making it more mysterious. But the Mass was first translated into Latin from Greek because Latin was the vernacular at the time. In other words, it was put into Latin so people could understand it. Isn’t the veneration of Latin therefore artificial?
  6. If one really wants an ancient, dead language that is mysterious, why don’t we have the Mass in Aramaic or Syriac, which are the dead ancient languages closest to what our Lord himself would have spoken? Why is Latin so special?

Now if you’re a Latin Mass afficionado don’t get all hot under the collar. I’ll say it again, this is not an attack.

These are honest questions by someone who is seeking to understand.

UPDATE: The combox on this one is now closed. Thanks to everyone who has contributed