Five unlikely celebrity fans of the traditional Latin Mass

Bill Murray (PA)

At the Catholic Herald this morning we were surprised to learn that Bill Murray loves the traditional Latin Mass. The Groundhog Day star, who was raised a Catholic and even has a Sister who is a Dominican, told the Guardian: “I think we lost something by losing the Latin… there’s a vibration to those words.”

He is not the only celebrity fan of Mass in its pre-1962 form. Here are five others…

Mencap's Big Noise Sessions - London

1. Neil Tennant

Tennant, one half of the synth pop duo Pet Shop Boys, though no longer a practising Catholic, told Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish: “The thing that I always liked about Catholicism they got rid of! I liked the Latin and the incense and the sort of music and plainsong.”

Belfast Lyric theater

2. Simon Callow

The English actor, best known among theatre buffs for his mesmerising performance as Mozart in the stage version of Amadeus, told The Catholic Herald this year that growing up he wanted to be a priest. He was inspired, he recalls, by the rituals of the Old Mass, their “beauty and theatrical power”.


3. Jimmy Fallon

Like Simon Callow, the American TV presenter grew up wanting to be a priest but no longer goes to Mass. He told NPR that he tried going back, but “there’s a band there now, and you got to, you have to hold hands with people through the whole Mass now, and I don’t like doing that … I want the old way. I want to hang out with the, you know, with the nuns, you know, that was my favourite type of Mass, and the grotto, and just like straight up, just Mass Mass.”

Downton Abbey Charity Screening - London

4. Julian Fellowes

The Downton Abbey writer has been spotted regularly at Extraordinary Form Masses at the Brompton Oratory.

Britain Agatha Christie

5. Agatha Christie

Even though not a Catholic, Christie signed a petition asking Pope Paul VI to allow the Tridentine Mass, as it was known then, to be celebrated in England and Wales, following the introduction of the Novus Ordo.

Others who signed the petition were Graham Greene, Malcolm Muggeridge, and non-Catholics Nancy Mitford, Iris Murdoch, violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and actor Ralph Richardson.