Rorate Caeli

You report: First parish TLM in South Korea in 40 years and a conference with Martin Mosebach

From a Korean Catholic youth (who prefers to remain anonymous) comes the following report about the first-ever TLM in a parish setting in South Korea. The Mass was offered last May 13, 2009, at 7 pm, in the Yongsan church, followed by a conference with famous German Catholic author Martin Mosebach (author of "The Heresy of Formlessness"). Fr. Michael Bauer, parish priest of the German Catholic parish in Shanghai, offered the Mass, with Mr. Mosebach himself as server.

Keep in mind that this is the FIRST TLM under South Korean diocesan auspices in forty years. Please exercise restraint in your comments. In case anyone is wondering, there is a crucifix at the center of the altar (although it is too small and dark to be easily seen in the pictures) and the number of candles (four) is just right for a Missa Cantata.

The report has been edited for this post:

Usus Antiquior Mass was celebrated by Fr. Michael Bauer in Seoul, Korea immediately followed by a conference with Martin Mosebach, the writer of “The Heresy of Formlessness”. The Goethe Institute sponsored this event and Yong-San Catholic Church provided the place for the liturgy. About 200 Catholics attended the first parish-setting EF Mass in South Korea. Most of them have never experienced the Traditional Latin Mass after the liturgical reform, since there has been no indult TLM for almost 40 years.

Most of the people, except Mr. Mosebach, looked new to the liturgy; Fr. Bauer himself is still learning the old liturgy. The choir of Yong-San Catholic Church sang for the Mass. The music setting was Missa de Angelis but Latin hymns were sung instead of chant propers. So it was a mixture of low mass and Missa Cantata. (Very understandable for a first-time TLM – CAP)

Even though the Mass setting was not satisfactory, most of the attendees said they experienced a reverent liturgy. Many of them expressed the wish that the Catholic Church in Korea could provide the EF Mass in at least one parish per diocese. They said the best part of the EF Mass was communion on the tongue whie kneeling – this has become quite rare in Korea, and many TLM attendees were touched by the reverence of this way of receiving communion.

In Seoul Archdiocese, Catholics do not kneel during the consecration, due to the excuse that churches are overcrowded during Sundays. Most of the parishes in Seoul Archdiocese have removed kneelers and it is rare to see people kneeling even during weekday Masses, when there are no crowds. Also, the Catholic Church in Korea has advised Catholics to take communion in the hand, since there have been followers of unapproved apparitions, who adhere only to communion on the tongue or with kneeling. Pastors usually use communion as a litmus test to tell apart those people, which resulted in the practical suppression of communion on the tongue or with kneeling.

After the Mass, there was a conference and Q & A session with Mr. Mosebach. The lack of interest from the Catholic Church in Korea can be seen in the fact that there was not a single Korean Catholic media report or any welcoming statement from Korean bishops or clergy on this first TLM after liturgical reform. Hopefully, the Korean Catholic clergy will listen to the vox populi and the voice of Benedict XVI.

Yours in Christ and our Lady the Coredemptrix,

ADDENDUM: Mr. Mosebach's "The Heresy of Formlessness" was translated into Korean in 2007, with the title being translated as "Liberalism of Formlessness".

UPDATE: A clip of the Mass can now be viewed here.