These two article appeared within days of each other. It’s comical how different the takes are. This first one is from Sunday’s Washington Times on the effect of Summorum Pontificum:
Roman Catholic churches nationwide are rushing to accommodate a surge in demand for the traditional Latin Mass, which is drawing a surprising new crowd: young people.
Since July, when a decree from Pope Benedict XVI lifted decades-old restrictions on celebrating the Tridentine Mass, seven churches in the Washington metropolitan area have added the liturgy to their weekly Sunday schedules.
And then you get this from “The Tidings” a progressive Catholic magazine by Father Richard McBrien:
The pope’s recent authorization of the Tridentine Latin Mass, without the need to seek the local bishop’s permission, has stirred some measure of debate within the Roman Catholic Church, especially in letters-to-the-editor and on blogs written by individuals who seem not to have day-jobs.
The overwhelming majority of Catholics, however, are apparently unaware of, or have already forgotten, the July 7 papal letter, entitled Summorum Pontificum (Latin, “Of supreme pontiffs”). Indeed, those who attend Mass regularly would never prefer Mass in a language other than their own.
Those who do claim to prefer the Latin Mass, whether Tridentine or Novus Ordo (that is, in keeping with the reforms of Pope Paul VI), constitute a tiny minority of the Roman Catholic Church…
So which is it? Is it a tiny minority or are churches rushing to accomodate a surge? The Times continues with how people, especially the young, feel about the motu proprio:
“I love the Latin Mass,” said Audrey Kunkel, 20, of Cincinnati. “It”s amazing to think that I”m attending the same Mass that has formed saints throughout the centuries.”
But if such Catholics are under the ages of 45 or 50, they have little or no hands-on experience of the pre-Vatican II Mass. It is a mystery how one can be nostalgic for something one had never experienced.
This part of each article is on where the priest is facing during the Latin Mass:
The Washington Times:
The biggest difference between the two forms is that the Tridentine Mass is always celebrated in Latin, except for the homily. The priest also leads the parishioners facing east, the traditional direction of prayer.
As a young priest, ordained in 1956, Bishop Wcela knew and celebrated only the Latin Mass, in which the celebrant “proclaimed” the Epistle and Gospel in Latin while facing the back wall.
The back wall? I mean, come on.
The Washington Times:
In contrast to the New Order Mass, which has been in use since the Second Vatican Council in 1969 and is typically celebrated in vernacular languages such as English, the Tridentine Mass is “contemplative, mysterious, sacred, transcendent, and [younger people are] drawn to it,” said the Rev. Franklyn McAfee, pastor of St. John the Beloved in McLean. “Gregorian chant is the opposite of rap, and I believe this is a refreshing change for them.”
Susan Gibbs, the director of communications from the Archdiocese of Washington, said the attraction demonstrated by the young adults is very interesting…”People who never grew up with the traditional Mass are finding it on their own and falling in love with it.”
The Tridentine Mass helps people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up in a culture that lacks stability and orthodoxy see something larger than themselves: the glory of God, said Geoffrey Coleman of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter”s Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Neb.
The Tidings, as you might imagine, isn’t as kind:
Again, while no one should question their freedom of speech, not one of them, to my knowledge, has presented a credible justification for their preference.
It’s amazing that I have to now go to the secular media for a fair representation of what’s going on in Catholicism today. What’s worse is that the Catholic media is representing the Church in a far harsher light than the secular media. That’s sad.