Strong words from a source from which you might not have expected them!
Bill Murray has been a successful comedian for decades. If you didn’t see him on Saturday Night Live, you probably saw him in Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, or one of his many other films.
He was also raised Catholic, grew up with the “old Latin Mass” before the Second Vatican Council (he was born in 1950) – and now says he misses the old Mass.
“I’ll buy that one, he’s my guy,” Murray said in an interview with The Guardian regarding the canonization of St. John XXIII in 2014, “an extraordinary joyous Florentine who changed the order. I’m not sure all those changes were right.”
Then he explained what changes he disagreed with: “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.”
When asked by the interviewer if it was good for people to hear the Mass in their own language so they could better understand it, he replied: “I guess. But there’s a vibration to those words. If you’ve been in the business long enough you know what they mean anyway.”
Then he talked about how he missed traditional sacred music: “And I really miss the music – the power of it, y’know? Yikes! Sacred music has an affect on your brain.” Instead, he continued, the music you hear at Mass is “folk songs … top 40 stuff … oh, brother…”
He was also critical of how quickly people are declared saints in the Church nowadays. According to The Guardian article, “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.”
It’s not clear whether Murray is a fully practicing Catholic today. His sister, however, is a Dominican with a traveling show about St. Catherine of Siena.