Monday, June 8, 2009

Is the Latin Mass Necessary in Korea?

My colleague over in Western Confucian has a report on the "first Mass" in 40 years celebrated here in Korea. Check it out here.

I was surprised to read the report of a Traditional Latin Mass that was held in a church in Yongsan. It was commented that no Catholic media was present or any welcoming by a bishop, even though this was the first Latin Mass in Korea in 40 year. I can certainly see why and sympathize completely with the Church approach to this attempt to introduce the Latin Mass in the Country. It is not coming from the Korean Christians themselves.

In many parts of the Catholic world there is a legitimate desire for the Latin Mass but I believe that it is a mistake to think that the Catholics here in Korea have a desire for the Latin Mass. Most of our Christians are very recent and have no idea of what the Latin Mass is. We in Korea have not been polarized as many parts of the Catholic world have. We also have the Society of Saint Pius X in Korea with its strong desire to return to the pre-Vatican II days. I can see how the Church in Korea is not too happy to see a return to a time that most of our Christians do not miss or have any idea of what it was like.

It was reported about 200 attended the Mass. Those present, it was mentioned, were unfamiliar with the Latin Mass and the kneeling and receiving on the tongue was something they were not used to seeing, but commented on the reverence that was shown. There are many times when a person prefers to receive on the tongue and this is appreciated but you also have, very rarely, those that come to communion and want to receive kneeling. The Korean Church is probably one of the best organized and obedient Churches in the World. There is a problem when all is from above but the Korean Church is a young Church and the Christians are intelligent and zealous, the laypeople very active. We will be seeing a maturity and hopefully not with a loss of the unity, Church harmony and docility of our Korean Catholics.