My friends, I would love to! It is, at the very least, an interesting history and political lesson!
So first, a little "where did it come from?". The Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is based on the earliest surviving account of the celebration of the Eucharist/Mass in Rome by St Justin Martyr, whom died c.165, found in chapter 67 of his "First Apology". The descriptions of the Mass in Rome by Hippolytus and Novatian are similar.
Fast forward hundreds of years, the 1st Vatican Council was the 20th ecumenical council (about 300 years after the Council of Trent) that was convoked by Pope Pius IX in 1868 after about a four year preparation period. It dealt with the problems of the rising influence of materialism and liberalism and to determine official Catholic doctrine concerning the Church of Christ. There was discussion and approval of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith (Catholic doctrine against the manifold errors due to rationalism) and the First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ. The Latin Mass (also referred to as the "Tridentine"/"Extraordinary Form" Mass) continued as the official "service" of Catholics across the world, with only the homily being spoken in the national language of the country it was being held in. This was one of the drawing points for me, for in my travels, I now can understand the entire Mass because no matter where I go, it's in Latin!
The practice of the Latin Mass everywhere further attributed to the etymology of the word, Catholic, which suggests universalism. Language simply did not divide. It's a small but I believe, important feature.
The Latin Mass is extremely solemn. The focus is entirely on the worship of God. It is very guided and "official", one can attribute it's "course of action" being like stepping into a City Council meeting. There is a "protocol" in place. To some, that may seem very "dogmatic" but I very much appreciate the familiarity of the sequence. Some non-believers will criticize the Church for it's "robot-like kneeling/sitting/standing" but I argue that once your body is familiar of when to stand and sit, your mind and spirit are able to go to a whole other place to worship God, since you're no longer focused on the "mechanics".
There are two types of Latin Mass. The High Mass (which is sung by both the priest and the choir and is a little long) and Low Mass, which was traditionally said around dawn and is quite short (under an hour) and is said by the priest in very low tones. I favor the Low Mass myself, simply because I really appreciate the "quiet time" I get before the presence of Our Lord. Though, at times, particularly at Christmas and Easter Tide, I love the High Mass because the most beautiful music is used. Actually, when selecting my wedding music, I chose a few hymns that were my favorites that are often used in the Mass (I walked down the isle to this -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KUDs8KJc_c
Vatican II, which occurred in the 1960's, changed the way Catholics worldwide practice the Mass and the practice of it in Latin ceased. In fact, it was forbidden to without express consent from the local bishop, who had to appeal to Rome. Many priests and leaders who wanted to continue the Latin mass were excommunicated (though this has only very recently been retracted, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summorum_Pontificum
I will address my concerns here as a lay person, though I urge you to read up on the official papal and doctrinal specifics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditiona ... te_of_Mass
). I grew up in the Vat II Mass, having never experienced the Latin Mass until I was almost 20. After many years of being separated from the "new" Mass, I now see many, many issues.
Through Vat II, many fundamental aspects were completely changed. The priest, who is the representative for the people, no longer was required to face the altar (or to God) instead, now faced the people with his back to the altar. The symbolism of the placement of the priest I believe is very powerful; with him facing God, and his back to the people (except at homily and times of peace offering) signifies his leadership and offering on our behalf.
Additionally, there was an introduction of what I now consider to be a very distracting "peace exchange" by shaking the hands with everyone around you and saying "Peace be With you". In the Latin Mass, the priest turns to the faithful and says "Dominus Vobiscum" which means "May God be with you" and the people respond in unison "et cum spiritu tuo" which means "and also with thy spirit" which is meant to show how intimately united the priest is with the people in their offering to God. This was *completely* removed, and again, the focus was on the people, and not on God.
A very recent addition to the Mass is "liturgical dancing", something that revolted me even when I first experienced it during one high school Mass. I kid you not, young girls in skin tight flowing dresses would come up before the gospel and perform what can only be defined as "contemporary" dance in *front of the altar*!
It disgusted me to no end; how is this glorifying God?! Where is the biblical support for this nonsense?! This was removing ALL focus on prayer and union with Christ by distracting us with dancing young women and especially for men, that must be awful. This addresses the entire issue of modesty, for men and women, which is highly respected in the Old Rite, and clearly, with no regard in the new.
The biggest impact, in my opinion, was the reception of Holy Communion by the people. No longer was it required to kneel together at the communion rail (many churches still have them) to receive Communion, but it also was no longer required to receive it on the tongue. By hand was now acceptable and this went completely against papal and doctrinal encyclicals of the past. The reason for it being originally received kneeling and directly to the mouth of the faithful was ultimately for the prevention of any contamination, as it is the Holy Body and Blood of Christ and should be handled with the utmost care and respect. Though, if the faithful wanted to continue to receive it kneeling and on the tongue, they could, but it happened less and less since it was seen as an "inconvenience" and arrogance raged, in my opinion. Many faithful began to acquire the attitude "why should I dirty myself and kneel on this floor?". Truly horrible...
That's the nutshell of it, my friends, though I urge you to read more on the details. Like anything regarding the history of the Church, it is long and jam-packed with documentation. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!