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 Chris Williamson / YouTube

(LifeSiteNews) — Jewish podcast host Eric Weinstein said that “Vatican 2 may have been a big mistake” in a discussion regarding the Traditional Latin Mass.

During an appearance on Chris Williamson’s podcast, Weinstein and Williamson discussed the rising popularity of the Traditional Latin Mass among the youth in the United States.

“One of the quickest growing denominations (in terms) of church attendance in America is this thing that’s all in Latin. Have you heard about this?” Williamson asked. “It’s growing massively in the young age demographic under 30 or something; the whole thing is in Latin!”

“Which can be awesome, right?” Weinstein replied.

“Vatican II may have been a kind of a big mistake,” he stated.

“How so?” Williamson asked.

“Because when you’re forced to actually contend with what the words are in a modern context, they don’t have the power that they sometimes have as a ‘spell,’” Weinstein answered.

Williams said that “it is difficult to switch off a very particular type of critical vigilant analytical mind when what you’re looking to try and do is allow the experience to wash over you, so perhaps… unless you’re fluent in Latin, (not) being able to just enjoy the experience, and maybe that is most of what religious service was doing; maybe it wasn’t really anything to do with the words.”

Weinstein, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematical physics from Harvard University, compared the Latin Mass with Jewish prayers in Hebrew.

“But I think about what we say over the wine when we pray,” he began, proceeding to recite a prayer in Hebrew.

“This is the sound of Jewish prayer, and then you’re thinking about what it says and it’s very moving to me because what it is… it’s taken directly out of Genesis: And it was evening, and it was morning, the sixth day (Gen 1:31).”

“So, you know what the words mean, and you’re actually recapitulating God’s shifting from work to rest, so as you come to understand what the words mean, it’s not destroyed by knowledge,” he concluded.

After the publication of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, in December 1963, a body composed of theologians called “the Consilium” was set up to reform the Roman Rite. In 1969, Pope Paul VI promulgated the New Mass (Novus Ordo Missea), effectively replacing the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in most Catholic dioceses.

In addition to most of the Mass being said in the vernacular instead of Latin, the New Mass also has far fewer orations and other signs of worship. Only about 13 percent of the prayers from the Old Mass were transferred into the New Missal unmodified. Many references to hell, sin, and grace were removed. The New Mass has been criticized for making the character of a Holy Mass as a sacrifice less apparent than the TLM. The timeline of the liturgical changes and its criticism are summarized in the second part of the “Mass of the Ages” Trilogy called “A Perfect Storm.”

Catholics and non-Catholics alike have spoken out against the abolition of the TLM in recent decades. The most famous example is an appeal to Pope Paul VI to allow the use of the TLM by a group of intellectuals and artists, including many non-Catholics. The letter led Paul VI to sign the so-called “Agatha Christie indult,” named after the appeal’s most famous signatory, granting permission to celebrate the old Form of the Mass in England and Wales.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI published the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, allowing the widespread use of the Tridentine Mass and confirming the TLM had never been abrogated by the New Mass.

In an explanatory letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, Benedict famously wrote of the TLM: “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

In July 2021, Pope Francis abrogated Pope Benedict’s universal permission to celebrate the Old Mass by publishing his controversial motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, restricting the use of the TLM.


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