Fifty years after Vatican II, it is time for some Mass diversity at Loyola. I am therefore asking the university, Campus Ministry in particular, to provide for an Extraordinary Form Mass (otherwise known as the Latin Mass, a service conducted in Latin) in Madonna della Strada Chapel.
I have been attending Extraordinary Form masses since my freshman year at St. John Cantius parish, which is located a mile west of the Water Tower Campus. In the three years since I first began going, I have fallen in love with the Old Rite and have consequently been drawn closer to my Catholic faith. Surely going to a Catholic university has helped in that regard as well, and I am thankful to be made so conscious of Loyola’s Jesuit Catholic identity. But despite my love for the Mass I experience at Cantius, I believe there to be a pastoral need on campus for the Latin Mass that would justify its celebration here.
Loyola prides itself on diversity of all kinds, especially with people and faiths — this is a good thing. But there is diversity even within Catholicism itself that is worth exploring. The Mass can be celebrated in two forms, the Ordinary and Extraordinary. The Ordinary Form is what is celebrated daily in Madonna della Strada; the Extraordinary Form is what is celebrated at St. John Cantius and, it should be noted, the Extraordinary Form was the only form of the Mass before Vatican II. Post-Vatican II the Extraordinary Form fell into disuse but was never banned or eradicated. Now is the time for the Old Rite to have its proper place next to, not opposed to, the Novus Ordo, or the New Rite.
Celebrations of the Latin Mass have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, in no small part due to Pope Benedict XVI’s motu propio Summorum Pontificum which encouraged and provided for more routes to celebrate the Old Rite. The youth have flocked to the Mass when it is provided, and I certainly see them — and a lot of other people too — when I attend Mass at St. John Cantius. I could postulate all day as to why exactly the Extraordinary Form Mass is gaining popularity among the young. But one thing I can say for sure is that they, as I was, are curious about a Mass they never knew. For a lot of them, they like what they see.
Loyola should provide for such a Mass and watch the people, young and old alike, come to it. Indeed, other Jesuit universities like Fordham and Georgetown universities offer it on their campuses. Why not us? As the largest Jesuit university in America, a regularly celebrated Extraordinary Form Mass on campus would show others and ourselves that we more than value our Jesuit Catholic identity — we love it. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by celebrating the Extraordinary Form on campus. Let’s give it a try and see where it takes us.
Dominic Lynch is a contributing columnist. You can contact him at email@example.com