The Rev. Trenton Rauck elevates a chalice to be sacramentally blessed during a Latin Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church as the servers take off his chasuble robe.
The faithful of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church was frightened for weeks as their method of worship is being attacked by an authoritative source the Pope. Pope Francis.
Churchgoers on the east side of Springfield worship in the same way that Catholics have been doing for more than 1,000 years in Latin.
However, what was once a common rite in the church has now come to be viewed by the pope and other Catholic progressives as divisive.
In a July letter addressed to bishops in July, Francis stated that the tradition of Latin Mass has been “exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”
It was like the sledgehammer was struck on the already widening gap between traditionalists and the other denominations.
On the same note, he issued an order that priests should not celebrate this Latin Mass without the direct approval of their bishop. In the Springfield Diocese, bishop Thomas Paprocki is an advocate of the traditional Latin Mass, so little has been changed.
What’s all the fuss about?
It is believed that the Latin Mass controversy is emblematic of the deeper divisions in Catholicism and the direction that the Church should follow. The issue is a power struggle between certain traditional American clergy and popes, according to Massimo Faggioli who is a professor of theology at Villanova University in Philadelphia.
“These bishops are rejecting Vatican II,” the bishop said. “Oh, they won’t say it publicly – that could get them in real trouble with the pope. But that is what’s happening.”
The Second Vatican Council, which was held in the 1960s, was the standard for modernization and reform efforts inside the Roman Catholic Church.
The Altar Server Leo Midden participates in a Latin Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Faggioli also said that Paprocki is a prominent figure of those who are opposed to the pope. He pointed out that the Bishop wrote the introduction for”Slaying” the “Spirit” of Vatican II with the light of Truth, a book that is described as helping normal Catholics fight the misunderstandings and mistrust that have been introduced into the Catholic Church aftermath from Vatican II.
It is still a bit alarming for a lot of traditional Catholics to see the pope criticize the way that they pray. Sacred Heart congregants interviewed by Illinois Times expressed support for Pope Francis but were perplexed by his comments.
“Some people will pass through the church and get all high and mighty and say, ‘This is the only way to worship,'” said Beth Clark, 43, from Springfield. “But it doesn’t last long. Christianity is all about humility. And those people don’t stay.”
The majority of Catholics across the United States and across the world, participate in the modern Mass that was created in the 1960s. It is an outcome of the reformist-minded Second Vatican Council or Vatican II. The modern Mass is held in English and various other languages of the country.
However, a dedicated traditionalist group favors the old rite, which is a ceremony that is conducted in Latin. In 2007 Francis his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and Pope Benedict XVI loosened the rules regarding when the Latin, or Tridentine Mass, could be used.
The result was a revival of the ancient ceremony throughout the United States and, to an extent, also the United Kingdom. Great Britain, said Timothy O’Malley who is the professor of religion at the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy.
“Most of the rest of the world didn’t pay much attention, but for whatever reason, it really caught on in these two English-speaking countries,” the man stated.
The parishioners of Sacred Heart, 722 S. 12th St., affirm that the story of the tradition is what makes it appealing.
“It’s the way hundreds of popes have prayed. It’s the way saints like Francis (of Assisi) prayed. When we pray, we are part of a continuum that dates back more than 1,000 years,” said Robert Lemmon, 33, from Harristown.
Wes as well as Beth Clark, of Springfield and Springfield, are attending the Latin Mass with their children Matthew, Joanna, Sara, and Jessica.
Lemmon, his wife, and their six children drive 33 miles to and away from the Macon County village to attend Mass at Sacred Heart each week.
Paprocki explained that Sacred Heart is an ideal place for families from central Illinois who would like to worship in a traditional manner. He said that a particular parish was suffering due to a lack of attendance. He took an appointment for members of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius to assume charge of the parish. It is a Catholic church, located in Chicago has 14 priests and was founded in 1998. The Rev. Trenton Rauck said the mission of his congregation has been in order to “restore the sacred.”
As per Rauck, “We restore the (Latin) liturgy, sacred music, and sacred art. So, you see a lot of statues, you see a lot of paintings, you see sacred vestments, sacred vessels, all these things that are objectively beautiful. You walk into the church and see beauty with all the statues and all the stained-glass windows. It is as if you’re actually entering heaven. You’re getting out of the world, which is behind these doors, and just tasting a sample of heaven.”
In addition to the tradition of Latin services, St. Katharine Drexel parish’s four priests, who are members of the Canons Regular, also say Spanish and English Masses. The two churches of St. Katharine Drexel parish comprise Sacred Heart as well as St. Patrick’s.
Notre Dame director O’Malley, who is neutral on this Latin Mass controversy, said those who attend these services are typically older, have bigger families, and tend to be more conservative in terms of doctrine, culture, and politics.
However, Paprocki added that although Latin Mass communities may be more conservative, this shouldn’t cause any concern.
The Rev. Trenton Rauck places a communion wafer on the tongue of David Blakley. Pam Bultmann is also kneeling and serving Caleb Klopfer.
“Some places are conservative and some places are more liberal. …You go to one parish and their music might be a little more contemporary in style, with a variety of instruments. And you go to another parish and it’s an organ and Gregorian chants. People have different tastes. God speaks to them in different ways, in a sense. I would argue you can have unity with diversity,” the priest said.
Although Paprocki declared that he does not disapprove of Vatican II, he did mention his work by British sociologist Stephen Bullivant, who questions whether Vatican II benefitted the church.
“If the hope was that this would increase the practice of the faith, just look at the numbers,” Paprocki stated. “Before the Second Vatican Council, about 70% of Catholics would go to church every Sunday. Since then, across the United States, it’s closer to 30%. In some parts of the world, like Germany or France, it’s somewhere between 4-10% percent. If the goal was to increase participation, I would have to say the council failed.”
A parishioner Beth Clark said she has observed any evidence in Sacred Heart that either clergy or parishioners do not support Vatican II. She said the couple, along with their husband Wes as well as their seven children, attend at the same Latin and English liturgies.
“I haven’t personally seen it in our priests or anything like that. But every once in a while, you’ll get somebody that comes through and says, ‘This is the only Mass out there.’ And I’m sure Pope Francis is like, ‘No, we can’t have that kind of attitude.’ Christianity is about humbleness and loving and acceptance, and that’s what I’ve heard from him since he started his pontificate.”
Gabi Lemmon as well as her daughter, 7 years old Cecilia are wearing the traditional chapel veil during the traditional Latin Mass.
Clark said that she’s witnessed the condemnation against Vatican II in online forums however her response to the such discussion will always be the same: walk away.
Many who attend Latin masses grew up Catholic Some are also converted to Catholicism mostly from Protestant Protestant churches that are conservative Prof. Faggioli explained.
“It’s as if they are saying, ‘If I’m going to be Catholic, let’s go all of the ways,'” he declared. “They have a view of the Catholic church that tends to be closer to the 1950s version of Catholicism. They have a problem dealing with modernity. What took place after the 1960s and ’70s in this country were massive changes: contraception, abortion, and LGBT issues. Latin is a statement of what they think of the Catholic Church now,” he added.
“It’s not an accident that all of these Catholics at the old Mass are white because one of the things that happened after Vatican II was an ‘inculturation’ of the liturgy,” Faggioli said, referring to the music and artwork of different ethnic and racial communities that were incorporated into church services in order to improve the reach of the people they serve.
“The Latin Mass is white and European by its definition because it’s a product of the Catholic Church of the 16th century. So, this is creating serious problems because it is never limited to the liturgy only, but it is always the first step to saying Vatican II was a disaster,” he added.
While Sacred Heart is located in the middle of an African American neighborhood, on the last Sunday of the month, there were not any Black faces visible in the church.
Rauck told the newspaper that he and other three priests in his St. Katharine Drexel parish regularly walk through the neighborhood and invite the residents to church.
The reason that there are so few Black people attending this Latin Mass, Rauck said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
Altar boy Wyatt Clark, of Springfield, plays a thurible Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Incense is a symbol of prayers being raised toward God.
Brad Shaffer, 36, from Springfield Brad Shaffer, 36, of Springfield, has been at Sacred Heart for two years. He agrees that the congregation is more traditional.
“There does seem to be a lot of Ford Transits in the parking lot – the 12-seaters,” the man joked. He and his wife have been together for eleven years and have five kids.
“I think it’s just in trying to live in the teachings of the Catholic Church, of not using contraception, not having abortions, being married before you have kids, and being open to life, as we’re called to do,” the priest declared. “When we are married, it just turns out that way. You will be blessed with many.”
The roles performed by girls and women are differing the roles played by girls and women in Latin Mass congregations in other Catholic parishes. For example, even though girls and boys can serve as servers in the majority of Catholic churches, in St. Katharine Drexel Parish there are only altar boys.
“In our parishes, we just have boy servers because we are trying to foster interest in (priestly) vocations,” Sacred Heart pastor Rauck explained. “It’s not that we don’t like girls or women or are opposed to them having certain roles. But this is one of the roles that we have used to foster vocations in boys.”
In addition, most women who attended Mass at the Latin Mass wore chapel veils which is not commonplace in many Catholic parishes.
The Rev. Kevin Mann says the Confiteor prayer, as participants kneel at the start at the beginning of Mass. Latin Mass.
“It focuses me,” said Pam Spaniol of Sherman. “And the most important thing on earth is to praise and worship God. I try to dress well because this is a special event. I also try to wear my veil because, again, it’s something to focus me into humbling myself to God.”
The members of the Sacred Heart Church Sacred Heart said they were confused about Pope Francis’ concern over Latin Masses.
The parishioner Beth Clark said she prays that the pontiff will appreciate its importance.
“It’s really about humility and submitting ourselves to Christ,” she declared. “I think there’s a call for that, and I think the Latin Mass can do that. And I hope (Pope Francis) sees that.”