Friday, November 10, 2006

Do you want Latin and Chant or not?

This poll is getting lots of attention this evening. It shows that 60% of French Catholics would like to attend "a Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant" and that 65% of people think Catholics should be permitted to choose between "the Traditional Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant or to the Modern Mass in French." On the other hand, only 6% say that they would frequently attend "a Mass in its Traditional form."

The traditionalists seem confused by the results. I don't want to open up a can of worms, but, honestly, I don't see the mystery at all. What the poll reveals is that people would be happy with precisely what the Church is asking us to do, namely give chant primacy of place and elevate the role of Latin. On the other hand, the doubt about the old rite is revealed in the question that lacks any reference to Latin or chant.

I've been to new rite Masses that were so expertly and faithfully done that only a specialist would know the difference between old and new. I don't want to minimize the important differences and the structural changes between 1962 and 1969, but the longer I've watch this movement grow and develop, it seems clear to me that many people who support the old rite do so because they believe it is the one sure way to regain Catholic language, Catholic music, Catholic dogma, and Catholic decorum, and that what people truly and rightly regret most fundamentally is the absence of what is truly Catholic in the way the rite of P6 has come to be practiced. This poll seems to reinforce this conclusion.

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