Latin Mass Revival in Oakland

The Chron published an interesting Q&A with Father Michael Wiener, a priest at St. Margaret Mary Church in Oakland who’s been practicing the Latin Mass since 1999. The Catholic Church has seen renewed interest in the Latin Mass lately, thanks in part to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision to remove the requirement that priests get permission from a bishop to practice the old-style Mass, also called the Tridentine Mass. Some are concerned this revival may cause a rift in the Church, while others are denouncing a reinstated prayer that asks God to convert the Jewish people, as well as “atheists, pagans, heretics and schismatics and all people who are not Christian,” according to Wiener. The Latin Mass is characterized by its series of symbolic gestures, the fact that the priest faces the altar rather than the congregation, elaborate vestments, Gregorian chants, and of course, the fact that it’s conducted in Latin. Wiener says he’s had several requests from other priests in the Bay Area who want to learn the 1,500-year-old ritual, which was widely practiced until 1965 when the Vatican opened the mass to improvisation.

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