I am so tired of reading tweets by priests on Twitter who persist in bashing the vernacular Mass and stating that only the Latin Mass is valid. I am equally tired of all the Vatican II bashing I read.
I have lived long enough to have had experience in both forms of the Mass. I loved the Latin Mass and in fact converted to Catholicism by attending my first Latin Mass. I loved everything about it – the ritual, the beauty, the formality. That the only part of the Mass I understood was the reading of the Gospel, made no difference. I was emotionally attached to the Mass.
But when the Mass was translated into English, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea the entire Mass was based on scripture. I not only understood the prayers and readings, I was able to connect with them. Instead of the Epistle being read in Latin and the Gospel read in English, the new Mass had 3 readings taken from the Gospels, Epistles and the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). And they were interconnected! The old fulfilled in the new. Imagine my soul’s response to hearing the words of the consecration for the first time. Knowing what they meant!
I was a faithful pre-Vatican II Catholic. I abstained from meat on Fridays, fasted and abstained during Lent, went to confession Saturday afternoon, waiting in the long confessional lines. Then because I thought I might have swallowed some water while bushing my teeth Sunday morning, did not go to communion. I loved the Catechism, taught catechism classes, and sang in the choir for high Mass. I had an English/Latin missal that I read during Mass to try to understand what was going on.
I was an emotional Catholic – very attached to my faith and my church.
Vatican II changed my emotionalism to understanding. Bible study groups formed as a result of the chapter Dei Verbum. I loved studying scripture and discussing it. I was able to place Mass in the context of history since Bible studies encompassed not just scripture but scripture in context. I was able to attend classes at the local seminary – an unheard of practice prior to Vatican II. Music ministry was introduced so that everyone could sing and not just the choir. Most important of all for me was being able to serve as a lector, Eucharistic minister (especially the blessing of babies), and senior altar server. All things denied me prior to Vatican II.
I do not understand the criticism of the vernacular Mass. Isn’t the consecration just as valid in English as in Latin?
How many young men were turned away from seminary studies because they could not read and understand Latin?
The changes made in Catholicism were conducive to study and conversation. I loved most of it. I did not like changing the churches so that small bands could be inserted into the area where pews were once. I didn’t like some of new music.
In my opinion, Vatican II helped me grow in my faith, something for which I will be forever grateful.