Cardinal Zen: Traditional Latin Mass ‘nourishes faith, inspires adoration’

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CEBU City (Jan. 28, 2016) – Delegates to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) flocked to the beautiful chapel of Asilo de la Milagrosa on Jan. 26 to assist at the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) offered by Hong Kong Bishop Emeritus Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-Kiun, who called for the preservation of the old rite.

Joseph Cardinal Zen offers the Traditional Latin Mass at Asilo de la Milagrosa in Cebu.

Joseph Cardinal Zen offers the Traditional Latin Mass at Asilo de la Milagrosa in Cebu.

Because it inspires a “sense of adoration” and keeps the Eucharist’s “sense of mystery,” the TLM is a tradition worth keeping, said Cardinal Zen, who offered the Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament in what has been called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite since the liberalization of the old rite in 2007.

Latin is no longer the lingua franca, acknowledged Zen. “But the whole ceremony inspires majesty, solemnity.”

“In this way of saying the Mass, you don’t even hear the priest pronouncing the words. But you know what this means, because so many times, we hear, we pray … So we understand what is going on,” he added.

Tuesday’s Mass at the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, whose pre-Vatican II altars have been preserved, was also attended by Cebu residents, young and old alike, and several priests and nuns. A number of priests where in coro or choir dress, including Fr. Michell Joe Zerrudo of the Diocese of Cubao and Fr. Joseph Skelton of the Diocese of Tagbilaran.

Through an announcement at the IEC Pavilion, congress delegates were invited to the Mass organized by Societas Ecclesia Dei Sancti Ioseph (Ecclesia Dei Society of St. Joseph)-Una Voce Philippines.

Old rite strengthens

An outspoken critic of the Beijing’s tight grip on Chinese Catholics, Cardinal Zen, recalled how the “Tridentine” Mass had nourished the faith of his compatriots amid upheaval in China. Zen, 85, was among those who fled Communist rule in the mainland for Hong Kong, where he joined the Salesians.

“The Mass offered in this fashion nourished our faith, nourished our vocation. And so many people in my native town Shanghai were fortified … by receiving the faith from this Mass, and during the time of persecution, they were so strong,” he said.

Cardinal Zen nonetheless praised the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council which allowed the celebration of the Mass in the vernacular languages, now called the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. He also thanked the Pope for allowing the continued use of the Extraordinary Form.

“It’s good that the Church promoted the liturgical reform, especially because the people don’t understand Latin. So it’s good to use their own language. But then it’s still good to carry on this tradition (TLM). So we are very thankful to the Pope who granted this,” he said.

The TLM was supplanted by the New Order of the Mass in 1969 following Vatican II, but Pope St. John Paul II allowed the old rite to be celebrated with permission or indult from local bishops in 1988. In 2007, the now Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI gave the clergy freedom to celebrate the TLM without the indult, in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. – (Felipe Francisco / CBCP News)

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