Young Catholics Embrace Latin Mass

Latin 2With all the controversy regarding traditional Latin Mass over the years it may come as a surprise to learn that many young Catholics actually prefer it! Missa Solemni in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is now celebrated at St Mary Moorfields in the City of London. A Mass was organised for the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus by Juventutem UK and was celebrated by Fr James Bradley who is a Priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Saint Mary Moorfields is connected to a group called the Young City Catholics who hold social events around the year and celebrate Mass in Latin.

Perhaps it was inevitable that churches would return to High Mass in Latin considering that a poll in 2010 revealed that nearly half of English and Welsh Mass-goers would attend Masses in the traditional form of the Roman Rite if it was celebrated in local parishes. The survey also showed that 60% of Catholics didn’t even know about Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum which lifted restrictions on the traditional Latin Mass in 2007.

If it were true that conducting religious ceremonies in the native languages of the congregations attracted more people to the faith, then we would find apostasy rife amongst Islamic and Jewish communities in the UK. This is not the case. Moves to modernise mass have been counter-productive and have not made church attendance more attractive to the young as some predicted. Pope Benedict wrote, in the Letter to Bishops which accompanied his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, ‘it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.’

The Latin Mass Society have been promoting the Latin Mass since 1965 and provide an interactive map on their website showing you where the nearest Latin Mass is to be celebrated. They too argue that Latin Mass is popular with young people, saying on their website “The Traditional Mass has indeed proved to be enormously attractive to young people, who have been less affected by post – conciliar polemics, and can approach the Traditional Mass in a fresh way. Young Catholics and Catholic parents wish to recover the Catholic culture which enabled earlier generations of Catholics to live out their faith in an often hostile environment; they recognise that this culture is nourished by the Church’s traditional teachings, liturgy and spirituality.”

It certainly isn’t necessary for the congregation to be fluent in Latin for them to enjoy the Mass. In America and the UK, it is often the case that Catholic churches are attended by people who speak Spanish, Polish, English or Portuguese. When an English Mass is changed to Spanish in order to accommodate the Spanish speaking congregation, it merely alienates English speakers for whom Spanish translation is hardly a desirable aspect of Mass. Celebrating Mass in Latin removes cultural bias and reminds us all that Catholic literally means ‘universal’, it also connects modern Catholics with our sacred traditions and uniquely rich history.


image: shutterstock 

Tom Rowsell


Thomas Rowsell is a writer and film maker from Oxfordshire in England. He has an MA in medieval history and studied the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon and Norse peoples to Catholicism. His research is the subject of a documentary film which is currently in production entitled ‘From Runes to Ruins’. Thomas lives in East London.

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  • Harold Norwood

    Not here in Brazil, they ‘ ain’t ‘- The Ordinary Rite as promulgated by Pope Paul VI is the normal and regular Rite celebrated virtually everywhere with the ‘extraordinary form’ bein what it is an ‘extraordinary form’! Most people, everywhere are 1children of the Second Vatican Council’ and know nothing about the ‘extraordinary form’ and may indeed sometimes attend, if not for curiosity´s sake, if nothing else.

  • Joseph Lehner

    Harold, thanks for sharing. Have you ever been to a Mass that is celebrated in the extraordinary form? I hope you have a chance to do so some day! God Bless.

  • Harold Norwood


    Thank you for your comment. I have indeed! But it is what it is, an extraordinary form and NOT the Normal Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. But rather was granted by concession but no longer a Universal concession for the Franscian Friars have been virtually forgibben to use it, by the Sacred Congregation, which cannot be appealed to the the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church because the Holy Father had already decided. The problem is not the TLM but those who mostly use it ‘against’ the Church like the schismatic sspx (without any canonical mission within the Church) as a part of their ‘hidden’ or not so hidden agenda to attempt to ‘hammer’ all things and their blantant rejection of the Second Vatican Council. I have no real objections to the TLM (the readings including the Gospel should be in the languauge of the people as the Motu próprio: SP of Benedict XVI said) but just wonder about the participation of those assisting, generally fumbling through their bilíngue missals trying to keep up with the priest who cannot be heard or even ‘counting’ their rosaries during the celebration. In Brazil some attend the TLM celebrations, mostly out of curiousity. They will not return to another, I know the Brazilians. On the other hand look at the many millions who attended the Holy Father’s celebration of the Holy Mass of Pope Paul VI ! No comparison and no turning the clocks back. The era of the New Evangelisation has arrived ! If the Holy Mass celebrated by Our Holy Father is ‘good enough’ for Him then, sure it’s good enough for me and should be ‘good enough for You too’ – the ‘debris’ of the past within the Church are going, albeit slowly by slowly! And such a ‘concession’ granted can easily be abrogated or restricted as in the case of the Francisan Friars,

  • Verna marie Descartin

    I think vatican should obey the Queen of the Church , the Blessed Virgin Mary’s strict instructions to preserve the strict traditions and customs of the early church and not replace it with vatican II councils practices. On Our Lady’s apparition in Fatima….that vatican 2 is what She meant of the church will practice great apostacies and will lead many faithful to perdition and many will be losts. My friends watch if u have time watch in youtube entitled…” freemasonry, vatican 2 and 1960″. There u will understand the third secret of Fatima.

  • Harold Norwood

    No catholic is obliged to accept any prophecy with the certainy of Faith but rather in the teaching authority or Magisterium of the Church which includes, of course, the Second Vatican Council and all its Reforms promulgated by Pope Paul VI. If a person don’t accept Vatican II, he or she cannot be a Catholic ! It’s as simple as that. As the late Ven. Archbishop Fulfon Sheen said: ‘ You can’t pick and choose and be a catholic.’ So pay attention ! Follow faithfully the Magistrium of the Church, and NOT forgetting the Second Vatican Council with all its teachings and also the New Mass, which is legitimate and lawfully promulgated by Pope Paul VI which is the Ordinary Rite of Holy Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. If any ‘prophecy’ says otherwise, it is NOT of God and therefore NOT of the Holy Roman Catholic Church !

  • Verna marie Descartin

    But Saint Paul said… Do not despise prophecy…it is a grace given by God to warn us. And by the way… Why did the pope then did not read the 3rd secret of Fatima to the public last 1960??? That was the strict Instruction of Our Lady…the Queen Of The Church??? Maybe at least we could’ve been prepared. How come the successor of St.Peter disobey his Queen? Lots of words here… When all that was needed that time was only obedience from THE QUEEN…THE MOTHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST… OUR SAVIOUR.
    Now many Catholics can feel the not so good changes in our churches…like removing The Sacred Tabernacle from the centre of the Church. Well of course Vatican 2 have something to say about it…. But really its like the owner of the house would receive His friends in the backdoors. Is it not also been told in the Revelation Leader of the church will bring Gods faithful people to great tribulation?

  • Verna marie Descartin

    I would rather take heed and trust Our Lady’s Instructions because im sure Our Lady Was Not Joking. Them Popes took an Oath To Our Almighty God their OBEDIENCE.

  • fraida

    When I was in Brazil it was common to find so-called white magic mixed in with religion. I didn’t get any strong sense of Catholicism in the country and many weren’t practising. On top of that is the carnival atmosphere applying to some Masses in Brazil, showing the Mass isn’t really taken seriously there and the recent exhibition by pop star like priests singing at the Mass at World Youth Day means I can understand why.

  • fraida

    I have been to Brazil and found it was common to find so-called white magic mixed in with religion. I didn’t get any strong sense of Catholicism in the country and many weren’t practising. On top of that is the carnival atmosphere applying to some Masses in Brazil, showing the Mass isn’t really taken seriously there and the recent exhibition by pop star like priests singing at the Mass at World Youth Day means I can understand why a bad example is being set for young people.

  • Harold Norwood


    Thank you for your comment but as you were only a vistor to Brazil (incidently, the largest RC Nation in the World), you cannot be expected to be an expert or to really know Brazilian Culture. I don’t know what you mean by ‘White magic’ being mixed in with religion ! As you are from a very different Culture being from, I suppose, the United Kingdom, you cannot be expected to appreciate the methods of the new evangelization that has been so much welcomed and encouraged by Our Beloved Pope Francis. You really can’t be expected having I imagine having spent only a few days in Brazil and no doubt not speaking portuguese as well to know the wonderful spiritual experiences that many Brazilians, as well as numerous vistors gained while here for the celebrations of World Youth Day, which H. H. Pope Francis said that He will remember for the rest of His life ! Unfortunately, you seemingly were one of the very few, not one of them

  • fraida

    Actually Harold, I have been to Brazil twice and spent over a month there each time. I’ve been to Sao Paulo and Rio and the historical cities and I have a friend who is Brazilian who I keep in regular contact with. What I have seen and he tells me about are far different from what you say. In fact he is not practising because of liberation theology. Also I found this description which illustrates some of what I came across:

    “Santeria borrows profusely from Catholicism, and many of its practitioners even consider themselves members of both faiths. Yet Santeria is clearly a very different religion from Catholicism. Its theology is vastly different, its priesthoods are distinct from the Catholic priesthood and most of its practices directly violate Catholic teachings. The same is true for all of Santeria’s “sister religions”. Each one sports Catholic externals but is at heart an African religion.”

    Brazil is a beautiful country with beautiful churches but I didn’t feel any Catholic spirit as I have felt in Rome, Spain and Portugal or even in the southern states of the USA. None of the people I met claimed to be Catholic – although they probably were but non-practising. Brazil may claim to be the largest country but I would say that is in name only – as I say no evidence of Catholicism to me and I was very disappointed in that. A lot different to what I expected the Church to be – I could have been in England for all the Catholicism I experienced in Brazil.

    If you think the flash dance group dancing at the Pope’s Mass was great and that is the Mass then I feel sorry for you. It was just pure entertainment and self-focused. Where is Christ in that? Why were priests behaving like pop stars? How long are they going to remain priests when entertainment is their game?

    What about the carousel Mass featured on YouTube at a cathedral in Brazil where the Mass is turned into a circus with girls on roller skates dressed as angels and the lectionary brought in by a young women on top of a carousel with young men sitting in seats underneath – with circus music? Is that what Brazilians like?

    Thankfully not all – there are other young people turning to the Latin Mass and being serious about their faith and it is the traditional orders that are receiving vocations – five chapters f Juventutum in England is one example of youth embracing the Latin Mass and that is happening all over the world and in Brazil.

  • Harold Norwood

    You’ve spent two whole months in Brazil ! I’ve been here over 20 years and still don’t know all the culture. Believe me, Brazil is a new vibrant Country with a deeply devote Catholic Culture. Of course, similiar but certainly not as bad as the UK which has a strong and embedded secularised culture. Brazil is the future of the Church and Her continued Reforms begun by the Second Vatican Council. Maybe you are right in a way that Brazilians tend to be more ‘ecumenical’ in their outlook and attend other churches but Catholicism is deeply rooted in the Country unlike secularised England ! The TLM is celebrated but only a minority attend it for the Ordinary Rite of the Roman Catholic Church is the Rite of Mass as promulgated by H. H. Pope Paul VI, of Glorious Memory is the normal and regular Rite of Holy Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. ! The old rite is just a concession and may be revoked at any time. The majority of the Brazilian Bishops however favour the new Rite( just like in England and Wales were the bishop’s also favor the New Rite) as the people understand and take an active part knowing what is happening rather than ‘counting’ their rosaries or trying to follow the best they can in their bilingual missals without really knowning what is actually going on. Brazil is in fact, and you may not be aware of this, but is sending missionary priests to Europe, as well as to England and indeed to formerly Catholic Ireland ! So how Catholic really is Brazil !

  • kneeling catholic

    Dear Harold,
    your vintage is telling. I suspect your are somewhat close to His Holiness’ age? Am I wrong? Not there is anything wrong with retired people taking up Church as a hobby! I certainly plan to as well!
    My only point in bringing up your age is that the age of your typical ‘Vatican twoster’ is about three times that of the typical Latin Mass enthusiast. As Fraida has pointed out, the Church is Brazil–Sixties-ized to the hilt– is in decline. Not just Brazil, but anywhere Sixties-type liturgical forms have flourished. The Spirit has moved and has left the 60s experimentation to run off its own fumes. The future of the Church is where the NEW vocations are.

  • Harold Norwood

    ‘kneeling catholic’
    Why don’t you have the courage of your convictions and what you write so why not use your real name !
    You couldn’t be so wrong. I am two years younger than your ‘friend’ Fellay ! Our Blessed Pope is about 24 or 25 years old than me !
    Listen to Our Holy Father Francis the Supreme Pastor of the Church ! Don’t let pride get in your way !