In a new book coming out, Genuflections: Famous Folks Talk About Growing Up Catholic (Eckhartz Press, $15.95.), human rights advocate and rock legend Mick Jagger’s former spouse Bianca Jagger discusses her Catholic faith and discusses her fondness for the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy:
“When Pope Paul the VI and the Second Vatican Council introduced the service in the vernacular in 1964, the Latin Mass was almost eliminated — so we lost a Mass in a common and universal language and a solemn high tradition of the Catholic Church,” Jagger said.
“I disagree with those who think that Latin Mass is elitist. We used to be able to go anywhere in the world, even where we didn’t speak the language, and the Mass would be familiar. So I continue to support the idea that we should revive the Latin Mass all over the world.”
Jagger touched on this subject in a 1983 magazine article in which she and Andy Warhol, the late artist, veered off topic while interviewing the musician Sting about a new film The Police front man was starring in:
“I prefer Mass in Latin to English,” Jagger said.
“I do, too,” Warhol offered.
Sting chimed in, “Me, too, the mystery in it.”
Another celebrity, albeit not discussed in the book (that I know of), who recently professed his fondness for the traditional form is superstar Bill Murray (as if we didn’t love him already). Murray, raised in an Irish Catholic household with a sister who is a nun, discussed this in The Guardian.
He talks about how 19th-century candidates risk not getting canonised because the church is keen to push ahead with the likes of John Paul II and Mother Teresa. “I think they’re just trying to get current and hot,” he smiles.
One new saint he does approve of is Pope John XXIII (who died in 1963). “I’ll buy that one, he’s my guy; an extraordinary joyous Florentine who changed the order. I’m not sure all those changes were right. I tend to disagree with what they call the new mass. I think we lost something by losing the Latin. Now if you go to a Catholic mass even just in Harlem it can be in Spanish, it can be in Ethiopian, it can be in any number of languages. The shape of it, the pictures, are the same but the words aren’t the same.”
Isn’t it good for people to understand it? “I guess,” he says, shaking his head. “But there’s a vibration to those words. If you’ve been in the business long enough you know what they mean anyway. And I really miss the music – the power of it, y’know? Yikes! Sacred music has an affect on your brain.” Instead, he says, we get “folk songs … top 40 stuff … oh, brother….”