Boys at our parochial grammar could begin serving as altar servers in fifth grade and when my turn came I eagerly signed up. That would have been in 1966. Let me tell you, it was TOUGH learning to be an altar boy back then. All of the responses to the priest were in Latin. New altar servers carried around laminated cards with the Latin responses but we had no idea what we were saying.
Why would anyone have a religious service in a language no one could understand? But like many things in Catholicism, the ritual format had taken precedence over simple faith.
I don’t remember the exact year but the parish was soon in an uproar because the mass was switched from the old Latin version to the new English version. The Catholic church switched to the vernacular to make the mass more meaningful for the participants but MANY people were not happy. They saw the change as a betrayal of their most treasured ritual. But we altar boys were thrilled to switch from Latin to English.
The “traditional” (Tridentine) Latin mass has survived on a limited basis but as the older membership dwindles its future is becoming increasingly tenuous. See the article below.
The mass is basically a continuation of the Old Testament Levitical sacrifices for sin but instead of using animals, Jesus is allegedly offered up as a sacrifice by the priest under the forms of bread and wine. However, the Bible states Jesus offered Himself just once as a sacrifice for sins and He’s now seated at the right hand of the Father. There is no more ongoing sacrifice for sin. Everyone must accept Jesus as their Savior by faith. No one can be saved by adhering to religious ritualism and trying to be “good.”
“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” – Hebrews 10:11-14
Teachings from Evangelical pastor, John MacArthur, on the Catholic mass:
An Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass
Charles Pope, National Catholic Register, 1/7/16