I welcome Pope Benedict XVI’’s counterrevolution aimed at restoring the Latin Mass. Vatican II never called for the elimination of Latin. The pope’s decision to have it taught in all seminaries is meant to foster a more comprehensive and profound understanding of the church’s liturgy.

Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church. It is a “dead” language that prevents church liberals from translating words into the vernacular using ambiguous and inclusive terms that undermine church doctrine.

The universality of Latin also makes it conducive to all believers experiencing more fully the mystery of the mass. It imbues a heightened reverence and sense of the sacred. It compliments well the Latin rites’ traditional Gregorian Chant with its moving meditative cadence that touches the depths of the soul.

The Latin Mass is also more uniform and consistently Catholic in its theological and Christian-cultural aspects. The Pope has previously said, for example, how in the new mass the “turning of the priest toward the people no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above [but] has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle.” Both the priest and people should be facing east. The pope also prefers that all people receive Holy Communion kneeling and on their tongue – a staple of the Latin Mass.

The Eucharist is the all-encompassing source and summit of Christian life. A wider implementation of the Latin mass will no doubt be an effective means of both preserving the Church’’s faith and identity while at the same time allowing her to carry out her mission of evangelization.

I hope the pope’s new directive will encourage bishops throughout the world to actively and aggressively promote the Latin Mass.

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