ROME (CNS) — Allowing priests to celebrate Mass in the language of the local congregation rather than in Latin allowed the faithful to understand and be encouraged by the word of God, Pope Francis said.
“You cannot turn back, we have to always go forward, always forward and who goes back is making a mistake,” he told parishioners after commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first time a pope celebrated Mass in the vernacular following the Second Vatican Council.
“Let us give thanks to the Lord for what he has done in his church in these 50 years of liturgical reform. It was really a courageous move by the church to get closer to the people of God so that they could understand well what it does, and this is important for us: to follow Mass like this,” he said as he left Rome’s Church of All Saints March 7.
On the same date in 1965, Blessed Paul VI publicly celebrated Mass in Italian for the first time in accordance with the norms established by the Second Vatican Council.
In his homily at the parish, Pope Francis said people need to be able to connect the liturgy to their own lives.
“The liturgy isn’t something odd, over there, far away” that has no bearing on one’s everyday life, he said.
“The church calls us to have and promote an authentic liturgical life so that there can be harmony between what the liturgy celebrates and what we live out” with the aim of expressing in life what has been received in faith.
He said the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” defined the liturgy as “the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit.”
While the liturgy is, in part, about doctrine and ritual, its real essence is to be “a source of life and light for our journey of faith,” he said.
Going to church is not just about observing one’s duty and “feeling right with a God who then must not be too ‘bothersome'” afterward in one’s daily life, he said.
People go to church “to encounter the Lord and find in his grace at work in the sacraments the strength to think and act according to the Gospel,” he said.
“Therefore, we cannot fool ourselves, entering into the Lord’s house and, with prayers and devotional practices, ‘covering up’ behaviors that are contrary to the demands of justice, honesty and charity toward others,” Pope Francis said.
Authentic worship and liturgical celebrations should lead people toward “a real conversion” of heart by letting them hear “the voice of the Lord, who guides them along the path of rectitude and Christian perfection.”
Just like Jesus sought to “cleanse” or purify the temple by driving out the moneychangers, people must continue to be committed to “the purification and inner cleansing of the church,” the pope said, so that it be a spiritual place and not a superficial place of worship “made of material sacrifices and based on personal interests.”
The pope said he hoped that commemorating the first papal Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin would remind people that the house of God is meant to be a source of spiritual strength, where they can hear his word and feel “not like foreigners but as brothers and sisters” who are united in their love for Christ.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Pope thanks women as dozens gather in Vatican to share faith stories
NEXT: Pope asks theologians, canon lawyers to focus on mercy
With respect and love of the OTF and Christs’ Church, Based on empirical evidence of the Church being in disarray,retreat and on auto-demolition after 50 years of unbridled heterodox “novelty and nonsense” i/n/o “Spirit of Vatican 2”, PF and his modernist allies are in total denial and/or deliberate “diabolical disorientation”. If these “shepherds” were “officially” (rather than unofficially) in the secular world all of them without exception would have been summarily fired long ago for incompetence or impersonating the “Vicar of Christ”. The “Popes” are charged with protecting and passing on the “Deposit of Faith” Not changing it or making it up as they choose. IMO, PF, Cdl Kasper, Cdl Marx et al have lost ALL CREDIBILITY with their attempted and still ongoing unholy cram down with the “sodomy” and “adultery” issues at the cynically misnamed “Synod on the Family”. It is the culmination of the 50+ years of the “Church of Nice” where no sin goes unexcused. If PF and all his minions are right then God Himself and His Son and Mother together with the Popes, Saints, Clergy, Religious et al have been wrong for the previous 1,950 years prior to V2. Were “Mercy” trumped “Justice” and “Subjectivism” triumphed over “Truth”. I think NOT! The Maxims of: “You can’t give what you don’t have” or “Teach what you don’t know” nor “Preach what you don’t believe” are all applicable during the last 2 years. The secular world loves “Pope Francis”. That’s really all one has to know. Let us all Pray, Pray, Pray and then Pray and Fast like we have never done before for the mercy on and guidance of PF and the Church.
Often this Holy Father’s language troubles me. This time it’s his choice of words in referring to the dispute over the re-institution of the Latin Mass. He said, “You cannot turn back; we have to always go forward; always forward and who goes back is making a mistake.” All I could hear was, “Always forward, never backward,” the motto of Germany’s Second Reich under Kaiser Wilhelm II, during World War 1. I recall “forward” from “Vpered” (Forward), the publication founded by Lenin in 1905, and then by many communist publications. Stalin used it to convey his message (“Forward for Stalin”), and again it was employed by Mao in his “Great Leap Forward.” On April 30, 2012, President Obama’s second campaign released this word as their slogan. The language of any Holy Father ought not to be open to as much speculation as Francis’ is and has been.
You stole my thunder!!!! It appears that the Catholic Church is doing exactly what protestant churches did in the 60’s and 70’s and we know where that took them!!!Their churches are closed or turned into codos. Which is what happened at St. Agatha’s at 38th and Spring Garden.
We travel internationally more now than ever which means we can’t understand Mass in another Language. When it was in Latin it was the same all over the world. Don’t say people didn’t understand it because if you were a real Catholic you had your St. Joseph Missal with you.
Why is it that 90 percent of Catholics attended Sunday Mass when it was said in Latin, but less than 35 percent attend Mass now that it is said in the venacular?
The Venacular might be a better way of worshiping, but only a small number of Catholics are doing so.
If the vernacular reform was a positive, where are its fruits? Where is the clear advancement of the God’s earthly reign these past 50 years?
The Pope implies that prior to the changes,that those attending Mass lacked understanding and knowledge, that they did not participate, but lived in some parallel dimension during the Mass because of Latin – this is not true.
Earlier generations followed, prayed and understood the Mass. They had a far deeper understanding of what was occurring and how the sacrifice of the Mass formed the faith, than many do now.
Prior to the changes most laity knew the Mass, and it drew converts.
In every society where Catholicism was once strong, built around the old Mass, the changes celebrated by Pope Francis there is now it a great diminution in Catholic influence, Catholic life and an incomprehensible explosion in apostasy and atheism.
If these reforms were so important and successful, where are their fruits? The fruits of the old Mass are easily found throughout 2000 years of Christian civilisation, no so for the new Mass.
The vernacular changes have been an unmitigated disaster, for they heralded a change in theology as well as language and they resulted in the suicidal consequences that Pope Pius XII warned the world of in 1952.