Greg Erlandson, the Publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, has a column titled "The Latin Mass Appeal" (May 20). Erlandson refers to Pope Benedict's motu proprio (anticipated for a year now), that will free up the Tridentine Latin Mass. Erlandson -- who is always cautious -- apparently does not want the liberation of the Tridentine Mass.
Erlandson says: "This is not the greatest need of the Church when it comes to liturgy.... The question is: Do we understand the liturgy that we participate in each week? Most Catholics alive today have no memory of...the Tridentine Rite. Unfortunately, many also have little understanding of the structure and content of the [New] Mass we celebrate today."
But then Erlandson says: "Indeed, many of the challenges we face -- lower Mass attendance, declining awareness of the teaching of the Real Presence, even the reluctance to invite others to share our faith -- can be linked to a lack of appreciation for the [New] Mass itself." As for lower Mass attendance and reluctance to share our faith: Protestant Church attendance has held steady, and has even gone up in recent years -- liberal Protestant attendance has gone way down, but Evangelical attendance has gone way up.
The vernacular New Mass has been with us for some 40 years. The New Mass, although valid, is mostly a disaster. Erlandson could have mentioned the lower rates of priests, seminarians, monks, nuns, Catholic high schools and grade schools, confessions, baptisms, marriages, and converts, and the rise of priestless parishes and annulments, since the advent of the New Mass. And most Catholics no longer follow the teachings of the Church. In contrast, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the Institute of Christ the King (and even the Society of St. Pius X) -- orders devoted to the Tridentine Rite -- are growing by leaps and bounds.
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