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In a recent poll of those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass, a plurality indicated that their main reason for doing so was the reverence of it (The Latin Mass Among Millennials). I can appreciate this in theory. However, whenever I have gone to a TLM or watched one on YouTube, the priest seems to blast through the Latin at lightning speed. Is this actually the cadence at which native Roman speakers used to speak Latin? And if not, isn't it irreverent to say the Latin prayers so quickly, as though one is rushing to get through them without contemplating them?

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  • The manner in which your question is posed seems to me (I may be wrong and if so please forgive me) to be opinion based. Even if recited quickly, how do we know that they are not contemplated. This is also done in the New Rite by some priests. Perceptions can be deceiving.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 17 at 16:29
  • You're right that I don't know what's going on in their minds, but I'm just saying that from my perspective it does not come across as reverent. It's like if I were to say the Our Father in seven seconds. Rightly or wrongly, you'd think I were either trying to get it over with as fast as possible or were trying to be funny. But this seems like a common practice at the TLM, so I'm just wondering why it's deemed acceptable.
    – Jeh
    Apr 18 at 1:21
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    Are the prayers you are talking about recited (said) or chanted (sung)?
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 18 at 2:54
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Why is the pace of the “oration” in the Traditional Latin Mass so brisk?

I have noticed this very thing countless times and have actually stopped mentioning it to my wife.

It is not that the priests in question are not contemplating the words they recite or chant. Many priests who celebrate the Extraordinary Form were formed in seminaries of the Ordinary Form and that in itself is a difficult transition if not properly trained in how to say the Mass of Pope St. Pius V.

Celebrating the Divine Mysteries is an art that requires practice and patience. There are priests out there that have this down to such a point that it is almost like a second nature.

It comes down to the fact, that they are not instructed how to do so otherwise. I have been involved in the TLM my whole life long and have seen this phenomenon quite frequently.

When it comes down to chanting Gregorian Chant there are several schools of interpretation on how to sing the chant. When in the seminary, years ago, we were taught that lectures, Gospels and prayers could never be read or chanted too slow. It simply does not hold true anymore. The goes for priests of both the Ordinary Form of the Mass and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

The best a examples of Gregorian Chant being sung come from the monastic communities of Argentan (nuns) and Fontgombault (monks). The monks of Fontgombault believe that the nuns of Argentanare the masters of this sacred chant. Their postulants and novice practice chant for three hours a day. No wonder they can perform the sacred ceremonies as being part of their very being.

The monks of Fontgombault have the chants of the Feast of the Assumption on YouTube (Assumption 15th of August]2 and one notices how reposed the chant is. It is executed in such a manner that it uplifts the soul towards the Divine and things of Heaven. The monks of Fontgombault follow the older Solesmes Method.

Whether sung or recited this ultimately is a problem of training or lack thereof. Priests must prepare to celebrate the Mass properly and that should mean going over the the texts and practicing them in private. Parish priests often are left on their own in order to celebrate the Mass the best to interpret how such things are to be done.

I remember a young priest of the Ordinary Form, who once bragged that he was able to celebrate a Mass in 25 minutes and that included a hymn at the being and other one at the end. His bishop stepped in and correct the hot rod priest and insisted that Mass be more reverently celebrated.

I am not suggesting that the reason some of priests fall into this is because they're trying to manage the overall duration of the Mass, but for some it may be. I know personally of a few priests that do, but that is a small minority of priests.

Perceptions can be deceiving. If in doubt one can always charitably mention this to a priest, but in personal experience this will not have the desired outcome.

I do not believe that traditional priests would do this, but a little more personal practice of religious ceremonies would be beneficial.

Padre Pio habitually took 1.5 to 3 hours to celebrate his Mass according to the Extraordinary Form. I do not think anyone complained about it. The more reverence the Mass is prayed, the more the faithful will be there.

Padre Pio’s masses were also extraordinarily popular. The people would line up near the church door by 4:00 in the morning, or even earlier. Once the Mass commenced, it lasted anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours. Pio constantly emphasized the importance of Mass: “It is easier for the earth to exist without the sun, than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”. - Padre Pio

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  • By your inclusion of the hot rod priest anecdote, are you suggesting that the reason a lot of priests fall into this is because they're trying to manage the overall duration of the Mass? Otherwise, I have a hard time believing that speaking at an abnormally fast clip is something one would fall into by default through a lack of training, especially in a non-native language.
    – Jeh
    Apr 18 at 17:22

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