Sunday, November 27, 2011
That Latin Mass
This is a picture of me in 1957 in front of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Albuquerque. It is located at the intersection of Lomas and Morningside in Albuquerque. At the time it was under construction and really was the nicest church in the city once it was completed. At that time I was an altar boy. We had to undergo instruction in rote memorization of the Latin responses to the priest during mass. Also, a lot of training in the rituals of the Mass. It was all pretty easy except for the meaningless latin recitations which most of us never really mastered. Especially on cold winter mornings when we had to get up at 5:45AM to bicycle over to the church for 6:30 mass.
Pretty soon the mass was changed to english and it became more understandable even though we didn't pay much attention at that point. My doubts on religion all started when we were celebrating May Day in our school, known as Heights Catholic School. The class 'princess' was crowning the Virgin Mary statue when the ribbons and garland ignited into a conflagration after brushing one of the candles. Some holy water was used to suppress the fire and the ritual proceeded though the crown looked pretty crummy. I wondered how an all omnipotent god could let that happen. The rest of my religious up bringing just started peeling off in onion like layers. In fact the other day a friend and I started reading through an old Baltimore Catechism and were astounded we ever bought any of that stuff. Go online and read it. It is pretty funny.
Now I see that the church is retranslating the english verses in the mass to more closely follow the original Latin scripts. Not so dramatic in the scheme of things the church has done. Like the changing of the mortal sin of eating meat on Fridays or the admittance that there is no Limbo for little babies who die before being baptized.
Although I am not a believer any longer I will admit that the Catholic education, aside front the god stuff, did good for me in that I try to follow most of the acts of mercy that were enunciated by the church. I liked Heights Catholic School and St. Pius X High School. The one thing they did for me was teach me to read and I was a champion speller. They pretty much failed to instruct me in anything more than simple arithmetic.
However, they inadvertently molded me into a progressive political person. Now, they may regret that.