Sunday, August 5, 2012


In the five years that Summorum Pontificum has been in effect, we have not seen a tremendous spread of the TLM like wildfire, although it certainly is better known today and celebrated regularly or not so regularly in many places.

Let's face it, there is not a huge number of people clamoring for it; usually they are a small minority in every parish.

For example, I placed in the bulletin prior to beginning the TLM here at St. Joseph a request that people fill out a form indicating if they would attend the TLM if offered here. I must have had only 130 forms filled out from a parish of about 1,400 families.

The first TLM we had was the very first day it was allowed, on the Solemnity of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2007. It was a Friday night, it was storming, with Tornado watches. There was lightening and thunder! It was so liturgical! And the Church had a about 300 people!

However, after that time, our once a month 2:00 PM Sunday High Mass gets about 60 to 70 people and they come from all over, not just St. Joseph Church. Our Tuesday 5:00 PM Low Mass gets about 10 to 14 people regularly.

When we have special "concert style Mass settings sung by the choir" and in the evening for All Souls as in the photo above and for the Solemnity of St. Joseph and the Annunciation we might get 150 people.

I think the TLM fills a “niche” for those who are drawn to it, much like the charismatic movement and its spirituality and style of Masses. But we have to admit there is an antipathy amongst a rather large number of clergy who are not willing to allow this Mass in their parishes because they simply don’t like it and are fretful of pre-Vatican II things.

But I think, in addition to that, those of us in the clergy who are quite open to it are fearful of replacing one of our regular Ordinary Form Masses with the TLM as an imposition on those who for years have attended that particular Mass and have no desire for a Latin Mass. But these same people would be very upset if their English Ordinary Form Mass was made into a Spanish Ordinary Form Mass.

So I think the main problem with the TLM not advancing, apart from what I have described, is the language it is in, not its order, not its lectionary, not its ad orientem, not kneeling for Holy Communion, not its rubrics, not the quiet canon and certainly not its solemnity. If the TLM could be celebrated in English, save, lets say the Roman Canon,and perhaps a few other parts of the Mass, I think it would spread like wild-fire. Latin is the preventative.

But then again, perhaps having the EF Mass is a way to maintain our Latin heritage in all places, the Latin Rite, and the remnant who like it and celebrate it will do it for the rest of the Church. I’m conflicted as you can see.

But I have to tell everyone when I replaced the English greetings of the Mass about two years prior to the new English Translation, with the Latin Greetings, there was a huge number of people who took great offense at it, some of whom went to other churches in town (they were a small minority). However, over the course of that two year period, people were replying with the Latin Responses with quite a bit of gusto!

Finally, the Sunday Mass we had for the Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist which was thoroughly an Ordinary Form Mass with the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei chanted in Latin and everything else chanted in English and with the Introductory and Concluding Rites at the Chair and the Liturgy of the Eucharist Ad Orientem was very, very well received. I did not hear one bad thing about it.

That may be the way to go, to make our 12:10 PM Sunday Mass a hybrid or all English but celebrated as I described our Nativity of St. John the Baptist Mass.

Let's face it, the majority in this parish do not want the TLM at a regularly scheduled Mass. Those who want it, don't like it at 2:00 PM. I will not be in the parish the first Sunday of October when we have the additional Mass, so I have to cancel it or else Fr. Dawid would have five Masses on Sunday with is forbidden by canon law. Technically we can only say two a day, three by way of dispensation ,but I don't believe any of us have a dispensation for four masses and certainly not for five.

You have to keep in mind the nature of parishes and the resources of these parishes and that the pastor has to make pastoral decisions sometimes by fiat. It's good to be king and have canon law back you up!


Pater Ignotus said...

Before you make unfounded accusations against your brother priests - "...there is an antipathy amongst a rather large number of clergy..." - maybe you might want to talk to them. I know this is a novel suggestion for one who is "clairvoyant," but you might be surprised by what you hear.

rcg said...

No, it's not. All you have to do is show them why you are using it. People use foreign words and phrases all the time. They may get a little 'stiff-necked' if you tell them it is better than English, although that is my position. Rather, let them know it is concise and accurate to the thought and intention. Use the homily to expand and explain the prayers not only to instruct in the meaning but to demonstrate the relative efficiency.

We have been in this wilderness for forty years, it's going to take a while to get back. Some of us seem to be going cold turkey, but in reality I have been on this path for many years when, in my case, I became disgusted with the lame music and banal, even wrong!, lyrics. Returning to the EF sent me through a period of outrage at the pablum I had been fed. I'm sort of over that for now and think showing a series of attainable goals is what will pull the people along. Think Montessori method. When they see the goal and want to pursue it, then you can break out the goads for your shepherd role.

Ryan Ellis said...

Actually, I think the 2PM slot might be the main issue. Here in the Diocese of Arlington, we have about seven Sunday TLMs, all very well-attended (200 or more people).

The issue is that people want to go to Mass on Sunday morning. When you have a 2PM Mass, it interferes with NFL games, family outings, nap times for kids, fasting, etc.

I don't think it's fair to say "it doesn't work" when the Mass is held at a time it never would have been held before by earlier generations.

That, nonetheless, does not solve your problem of displacing an existing Mass and the headaches that will cause.

Maybe you can squeeze a TLM low Mass in sometime in the morning between Masses? Maybe in between your 9:30 and your 12:10? There are many of us who jealously look back on our ancestors of old who could shuffle into a Sunday low Mass and get out of there in 40 minutes--not all of us are NLM/Chant Cafe all the time. Might tap a nerve.

Gene said...

How do you know he has not talked with them?
The worst enemy of the Latin Mass is the fact that nothing has been mandated from Rome or from Bishops around the country. As long as this is a take it or leave it proposition, we will remain in the sort of limbo in which we are now. The laity can and must be educated; lazy or recalcitrant Priests must be "motivated." Priests like Fr. MacDonald, who would like to implement more of the Traditional Mass as well as a return to a truer Catholic isdentity, are forever playing Hamlet over the EF and the OF, allowing their own ambivalence to send mixed signals to the laity. This is a mess and needs to be fixed. The Pope needs to lead from the front or forget this entire enterprise and let the clown mass crowd and the modernists have their way. The rest of us will just have to find some catacomb where the TLM is offered and there are some real Catholics. This endless discussion and analysis is getting tiresome because it is going nowhere...

Marc said...

Father, I agree with your ideas, but not the conclusion you draw from them. Latin, in itself, is not the problem. People's comfort level is the problem.

People have been going to the Novus Ordo since they were children. They know what to do and what to expect. That is not necessarily because it is in English - that is because of familiarity and catechesis.

If priests were to educate their congregations regarding the spirituality of the TLM, giving them the same level of understanding they have of the Novus Ordo, their comfort level would rise. They would understand the need for Latin. They would over time understand the Mass deeply. Then, the attendance would rise.

Just having a TLM on one Sunday a month, with no parish catechesis on what it is or why we have it is not the formula for increasing attendance. Of course, we don't live in a dream world where you priests have time to give that catechesis and the people actually show up to hear it, so I still am uncertain how you would even accomplish the initial teaching part other than preaching about the TLM during Sunday homilies...

Anonymous said...

"The worst enemy of the Latin Mass is the fact that nothing has been mandated from Rome..."

But, it has been mandated.

Many priests just do not wish to comply with the Holy Father's mandate and, oftentimes, their bishops prevent them from complying even though they would like to do so.

I am certain the average pew sitting Catholic has no idea what the TLM is, much less our Holy Father's views on its necessity in each parish. Heck, most "Catholics" don't believe many aspects of the faith, why would they care about a mandate from Rome on this?


Anonymous said...

Slow and steady. A parish in my neighborhood started offering the EF on Saturdays at 6pm. Noteworthy is that it is the only parish in this area to have the EF weekly. The next closest parish to have it is "downtown" in the urban area, a 40 to 50 minute drive. For the first year only about 20 people showed up regularly. Now, three years later, the 6pm EF has on average 75 people attending each week. Slow and steady.

Rood Screen said...

I think I understand what you are saying, Father. I offer the Traditional Mass at 11am every Sunday, and not a single person from my parish attends. Those who do (mostly young families) all come from other parishes. But I would suggest the reason for resistance among the laity and the clergy is not language, but spiritual orientation. Western Catholics today are so Modernized that they can only understand liturgy to be about themselves, and see liturgical celebrations that are turned away from them, linguistically or otherwise, as foreign at best, and offensive at worst.
It is not their fault that they are like this, for the New Form of Mass has formed them to be this way. Perhaps one could argue, as I have in the past, that it is only a matter of how the New Form has been celebrated. But pointing to hypothetical celebrations of the New Form that are more clearly oriented towards God means little if these are not the common practice. The New Form obviously does not of its own nature drive better celebrations, and more traditional theories evidently must compete against the natural tendencies of the New Form. But pastoral care is about practice, not theory.
There have always been calls to change one thing or other about Church discipline in order to make it more palatable to the faithful, from Friday penance to liturgical language. I think the lesson of the past fifty years is that lessening the discipline does not produce stronger Catholics any more that lessening training produces stronger athletes. In fact, I think this is the single most important lesson for us to learn from the past fifty years.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fr. Shelton, very well put. For 50 years we've shifted the focus of the Mass and its spirituality. It will only slowly return to the proper balance and we are in the beginning phase of that.

John Nolan said...

If you don't like Latin, the definitive language of the rites of the Roman Church (even the most recent ones) and which was used pretty well exclusively in her liturgy from the end of the fourth century until the second half of the twentieth, this is an antipathy of an entirely different order than (say) a dislike of Marty Haugen's music or polyester chasubles. It is a denial of something integral to Roman Catholicism. I know it's difficult for intelligent people to have to come to terms with the fact that their education has been deficient, or for priests who left the seminary Latin-illiterate to realize that strictly speaking they were not qualified for ordination. There are middle-class Catholics who will pay a lot of money to sit through hours of Verdi and Wagner in Italian and German respectively but balk at proper Music and Latin at Mass - and even participate in parish music ministries which pander to the lowest common denominator.

It's partly inverted snobbery and a desire not to appear 'elitist'.
But if you feed people baby-food all their lives they're hardly likely to relish a T-bone steak.

Mary said...

I would think it is the time slot, education and commitment. If it was 8 am every Sunday, people could make it part of their routine. As a mom with small children, 2 pm would feel impossible.

We attended a Angelican Use Catholic Mass, which seemed to me what you are asking - basically the TLM in English. The parish slowly grew over the years, but not the same pace as N.O. counterparts.

We now attend a new fssp parish, growing slowly, new people every week. I hear people interested, but just unsure if they should/could attend. We need some time under our belts to reassure we are serious that the TLM will continue.

Victor W. said...

I think Marc and Ryan are both right. If the EF Mass is held at a normal Sunday morning time it would make a difference.
But people also need to be educated, perhaps by offering a mini course 30 minutes before the EF Mass and perhaps during the week when more in-depth instruction can be covered including chanting. Having a good EF Missal in the pews such as the Lumen Christi Missal would be very helpful for people to know what is happening and what they are supposed to do. This was taken for granted before the so-called liturgical reforms because people knew all this.
And of course the priest too must have everything down to a perfect art form. The Mass must be full of splendour, that is, the Divine Beauty must be manifest to all present in the words and sounds, actions, smells, visual aesthetics, and finally taste of the Mass.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, and from what I have heard from other faithful, the main reason people don't come IS the LATIN language.
People don't understand it.

Since use of a Missal at Mass is now ancient history, people rely upon their ears to follow along during Mass. If they cannot understand, then it cannot speak to them, they perceive.

I also believe that you are correct, that TLM followers are a niche.
Those who belong to that niche, however few, contribute to the life of the Church.
Just as those who belong to the niche of charismatics, contribute to the life of the Church.
Just as the cloistered contemplatives contribute to the life of the Church.
and so on....

just my 2 cents worth on the subject of low TLM attendance.


Rood Screen said...

By the way, your comment that "there is an antipathy amongst a rather large number of clergy" is one you are clearly in a position to make, if for no other reason than because of your history of chancery-level liturgical leadership. Anyone who engages in liturgical conversations with groups of priests will quickly arrive at the same conclusion (although today's seminarians seem to have a very different--and promising--attitude from the ranks of priests they hope to join).

CPT Tom said...

How can people clamor for something that most have not experienced for 44 years or at all? I'm 48, and until I had gone to a EF mass I had no memory (I was 5 when the changes happened) of it. So anyone my age or younger wouldn't know what to ask for unless they had somehow experienced it.

The other thing, even though Summorum Pontificum was issued 5 years ago, it wasn't until May of last year.

That's when CDF (Through Ecclasia Dei) issued Universae Ecclesia, directing a generous use of the extraordinary form as requested by the faithful. Many of the roadblocks were removed, and Pastors and Bishops were instructed to essentially find a way to fulfill the request with "Charity" and not rancor. Text can be found here: This was necessary because so many bishops were in the words of the Pope "uncharitable" about allowing the mass. Even with this, there are still bishops who refuse to follow the direction of the Vatican and allow the mass.

I agree with others here who suggest we need to catechize the faithful so they understand why the EF matters, what the differences and similarities as well as the difference in perspective. There is ground work to be done. To prepare people in my parish we have a NO mass with Chanted Latin Propers and ordinary with no other music that we provide translation sheets. We have almost 200 people attend with a good portion being families and young people. This also got the schola trained and readied the people for the two EF Masses we have had in the past year. Otherwise, it would have been like the martians would have been an alien experience for people. Tradition speaks, but doing this makes it speak louder and hit the heart of the people.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with everyone who mentioned the 2 PM once a month TLM is a large part of the problem. As you know, it is offered in Mabelton and Roswell every day. I go to the FSSP parish in Mabelton. We have two Masses on Sunday mornings. The 9:00 AM Mass is often so crowded that people are standing along the inside of the church. The 11:30 Mass is not quite as crowded, but it is pretty full.

I know that people drive a long distance, one family from Birmingham! Those closer to you might be willing to come to St. Joseph's if it was offered each week and in the morning.


lewis said...

What has the Church and the Faithful gained by the reforming of the Mass into the OF? What are the positives, the benefits? If the wine is sour, pour it out. Why shouldn't failed reforms be learned from and reversed?

Anonymous said...

Yes, to the above re: TLM. However, there are not enough people to have this Mass in every parish. In our diocese, we have a TLM parish. They have there own church and anyone across the city can belong. I have never attended and many are simply trying to have the NO and all the Propers chanted in English in parishes and that too is an uphill struggle. The Ordinary is chanted In both Latin and English.. Whenever we have a chanted Mass people come - to me this the difference as chant is reverent, uplifting and is in continuum with our Tradition. Honestly, some of the songs we sing are not meant for liturgy. So let's begin to chant the Mass as it is set out in the revised translation. This is my prayer. And the TLM, the Anglican use, the NO are all ways of praying but it is the NO that really needs to be "revised" and prayed according to the Roman Missal.

Joseph Johnson said...

When I first experienced the TLM as an adult in the early 1990's I too was somewhat intimidated by the Latin but I stuck with it and began to attend it on a daily basis because, despite the extra effort, I was drawn to it in a way that, frankly, I am not drawn to the OF (as it is typically done).

On a surface level, it appears to be like so many other things in life--people get used to an easier way of doing things and the longer they are used to the newer, easier, way and separated from the older way that required more of them, the harder it is to convince that there is something worthwhile in the old that is worth reclaiming. For example, I don't think I'd be factually wrong to say that a large percentage of people no longer know how to use (much less own) an iron and know how to mix and boil Argo starch for laundering all cotton dress shirts and collars. They simply throw things in the dryer and quickly remove them when done and hang them up. To me, having a shirt collar that looks like Mr. Bates from "Downton Abbey" is far superior in appearance to the typical modern unstarched look--but it takes more effort to maintain and to put on. I can remember my mother laundering and starching my father's khaki work pants (sprinkling them with water in a Coke bottle as she ironed them). Most women would rebel from such a thing now. Such seemingly minor things are lost to a lot of modern culture today and we don't dress as well as we once did.

On a purely practical level, it is the same with the old Latin Mass--it has something that is worth reclaiming (even for the OF) but it takes desire and extra effort. It is not for those who want the simplest, quickest way to fulfil their Sunday obligation without having to learn and adjust to something they haven't been exposed to, much less know about. The only way to do anything about it is to put it out there (make it available--which it's not, in most places) and educate people and invite them to attend.

On a deeper level, what Fr. Shelton said is right on point as to the current spirituality, which is not the fault of the current generation of Mass-going Catholics. In a final analogy, just as a small package of yeast leavens a big bowl of dough to make delicious homemade bread, each parish has its own little 10% or so who desire the TLM and have something to contribute in the rebuilding of a Catholic culture that has been seriously damaged over the last half century. Priests need to be like "good cooks" who learn how to make homemade bread on their own (and use the yeast rather then letting it die or go flat in the package)--they need to learn and offer the TLM!

Robert Kumpel said...

I agree with Fr. Shelton. Our orientation is so far off kilter from what the Catholic Church is supposed to be that returning to the "Tridentrue" Mass presents a huge difficulty.

My hometown of San Diego had the first Indult Mass in the U.S. and we were permitted to have it at Holy Cross Mausoleum. It grew steadily to the point that the mausoleum was so packed for each Mass that a second was added and eventually the diocese granted the TLM community their own parish in one of San Diego's "rougher" neighborhoods.

But here's the thing...the majority of people in attendance were YOUNG people and YOUNG families. Some came from as far as Los Angeles. Now maybe my view of Georgia is a bit limited, since I've only been here for 8 years, but it seems as though Mass attendance is dominated by older people, the one group that hungers most for the "rupturista" fake Vatican II culture. If the TLM is going to grow (and it will) it has to get the attention of young Catholics. I would also add that one of the reasons we have lost so many young Catholics is because MODERNISM IS BORING. IT DRIVES THEM FROM THE CHURCH.

It would also be more helpful if more priests stopped treating the TLM like it was their enemy. Starbucks didn't catch on overnight and it can be argued that in 1970 there was little demand for Lattes or Capuccinos, but when people finally TRIED them and word spread the demand grew. I think the TLM offers us far more than a cup of coffee.

Pater Ignotus said...

I celebrate the Traditional Mass every time I celebrate mass.

Gene said...

Ignotus, You are a part of the problem and haven't a clue about the solution. Your oblique comments are only further evidence of your hostility to Fr. MacDonald and everyone on the Blog. Now, run along and crank up the karaoke machine for your nest Mass...

Anonymous said...

Between language and timing...timing wins. Convenience is king.

Even though I stand by my earlier statement, because I KNOW specific young people who are outright turned off by not being able to understand what is being said. This fact may be a reflection more about what the post V2 Church has created than about personal preferences.

A little teaching from the pulpit about the spirituality of the EF Mass can help to inspire hearts. Even just a couple of sentences naturally woven into homilies can be helpful if heard on a regular basis.

just a couple more cents worth...


Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

In chatting with a young convert after Mass today I heard something that is disturbing and not uncommon. He said his RCIA instructor was very liberal; at one point saying if Communion on the tongue while kneeling was ever enforced again she'd quit the Church.

Can you imagine quitting the Church over any issue?

This woman either doesn't understand Church teaching or just openly disagrees with it.

How did we get here?

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi Lex Vivendi

The Novus Ordo by its very structure encourages a homo-centric worship. Most Catholics today think the liturgy is supposed to be about them.

We have become like the Jews who worshipped a golden calf. We think it's about us, that we'll tell God how we'll 'do Eucharist'.

The Novus Ordo is a simpler liturgy - Pope Paul VI said that. Pope Benedict says the people who attend the Usus Antiquior are more liturgically advanced. It was also the greatest change is two thousand years.

Learning the Usus Antiquior requires some effort. It's not rocket science, but it does require an investment. The Mass used to be taught in our schools so children grew in their liturgical knowledge.

It's harder to smarten up than dumb down; harder to build than tear down. Converting the post-Council pewsitter won't be easy especially when most don't think they need conversion.

Here's my leading indicator - the Confessional. Compare the vast majority of Confessionals in Novus Ordo churches to those where the Usus Antiquior is offered. Novus Ordo Catholics don't go to Confession.

The purpose of the Church is to help get souls to Heaven. The local NO church may be full, there may be no desire to have an Extraordinary Form Mass, but if no one is going to Confession - then THEY ARE GOING TO HELL.

The people may not want the Latin Mass but they need it. Did Jesus create a Church with hierarchy or did He leave it to us to make up whatever we want to do? The Church, specifically the Clergy need to recognize their responsibility in the rate of souls falling into eternal fire and make the necessary adjustment.

Gene said...

My impression of RCIA classes in other Churches and Dioceses is not altogether encouraging. Many parishes just let anybody who is willing teach them, without regard to beliefs, orientation, or intelligence. In many cases, Priests have little or nothing to do with the classes, and they take on the flavor of a jolly get together for social talk and good times. In some parishes, the charismatic looney fringe is in control, so I guess they have rapture drills and lots of spontaneous prayer (thank you, Jesus!). RCIA is a magnet for progressives with an agenda and a chip on their shoulder. This needs to be corrected in a very big way.

At St. Jo's, I am so conscious of Fr.'s oversight and involvement with RCIA, not to mention Marc's and Buck's unabashed willingness to tell me I am full of it, that I carefully prepare and make certain that what I am teaching is both doctrinally correct and presented in terms laity can understand. Our RCIA is a structured class...with a text, assignments, lectures, and discussion and questions after. The goal is to make sure everyone is well catechized by the time they enter the Church. The people leading it have academic backgrounds, in many cases, and are well read in Catholic theology and dogma. Jerry Schmitt is hands on with all the members and we all have call lists. The atmosphere is such that everyone is challenged and takes it very seriously. Something as important as RCIA should not be left to DRE's and dilletantes.

Gene said...

And, again, with regard to the TLM, the laity's attitudes and opinions are being formed, not consulted....

Marc said...

To Fr. Kavanaugh: No, you don't.

SL: I agree that Latin can be a barrier, but it is a barrier that is overcome very quickly by catechesis. The Mass in English is a barrier for converts until they are catechized about it. The same applies for Catholics new to the Traditional Mass.

It is my view that the conversion from Novus Ordo to Traditional Catholicism is for many a greater conversion than from Protestantism to Catholicism. Specifically, there is a much wider gulf between the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Mass than there is between the Novus Ordo and many Protestant services.

Henry Edwards said...

Recently, I heard a revealing comment from a young college student who had only attended the traditional Latin Mass for two or three years on Sundays, but had attended daily OF Mass all her life, continuing to do so as a student.

She said that only after beginning to attend the EF Mass did she come to realize that the primary purpose of the Mass is to offer worship to God, rather merely to benefit from communal Christian fellowship. She said that in all her previous years of daily Mass attendance, she had never learned to worship God in a personal way, only having introduced to this aspect of Catholicism by the older rite of Mass.

Several generations of Catholics have now been conditioned to only passive participation in the liturgy, merely listening to the recitation of the Mass by the priest--on autopilot as they might listen to a televised Mass on EWTN or a boring lecture in class, but maybe with mind drifting elsewhere--rather than prayerfully participating by praying the Mass and consciously uniting their personal prayers with those of the priest.

Therefore, perhaps we ought not have realistic expectations that the traditional Mass, now thankfully available again, will suddenly attract large numbers of Catholic prepared for real worship. After forty years in a liturgical wilderness, it may take just as long to rebuild true faith and worship.

rcg said...

KWTC, a convert who now works in the RE program told me he would quit if he was not allowed to receive communion in both species. He ran our class on the 'New Translation' and openly mocked it as pointless. He has the Complete Works of Marty Haugen in his living room, too.

I think for many folks, it is the form and not the content they crave. They do not understand that the content drives the form. I think it is a valid criticism of the Old Mass that many people came to revere the artifacts in an almost idolatrous fashion. They felt the totems gave them power. I think the same personalities have latched onto the laid back OF in a sort of reverse snobbery and want this power for themselves never realising they cannot possess it.

This Sunday the Gospel Reading concerned the publican and the Pharisee. Our TLM priest explained it in the form of Aristotelian qualities. I suppose both sides of this argument perceive themselves to be the most humble, so I can find myself erring here. However, the point of the homily was that the Pharisee actually ended up lecturing God. In this regard I see a distinct difference in tendencies of the adherents of the two forms.

William Meyer said...

rcg, Time may be an issue, and yes, I am sure most wish to attend on Sunday morning, however my wife and I have taken to the 5:30PM Mass on Saturday, as it suffers less from the choral abuse and instrumental profanity of the Sunday morning Mass.

On the other hand, in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the TLM happens only 42 miles from here, and I have not persuaded my wife that committing three hours+ to Sunday morning worship is highly desirable.

William Meyer said...

Fr. McDonald, I would suggest that the language is not the issue. Rather, I would contend that lack of catechesis is the main problem, as with so many other issues.

Given the availability of the EF at a reasonable distance, I would have no problem refreshing my own skills in Latin, nor with teaching my wife, whose experience with Latin is nil.

My experience of the EF in recent history has been that the reverence is more apparent, in all there, and the music is never of the offensive forms found at the OF.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Kitchener and Gene: Some of the most heretical stuff I have ever heard, I heard in RCIA classes (thankfully not at my own parish), from both laity and priests. In fact I've heard things in RCIA that were not only heretical but openly blasphemous of such things as the Holy Mass, the Real Presence, and the pope. Had I not studied Catholic doctrine at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for the twenty years previous, who's to say I wouldn't have bought into that garbage? If the Enemy has become our gatekeeper, we have a serious problem. I myself have reason to believe that the modernist priest in the parish where I entered the Church, knowing that I was orthodox, deliberately set up roadblocks in the process to discourage me from coming into full communion. I'm still suffering some significant psychological aftereffects of the process, which occurred at a very vulnerable time in my life and which I would characterize as spiritual abuse.

Thankfully, the RCIA at my parish is fundamentally sound, although there are problems with lay team members who--while their hearts are in the right place--still inadvertently bear the stamp of their decades of grossly negligent catechesis. We have a big parish; despite that, it's proven a challenge to find team members who have both 1) the time and inclination to serve on the team and 2) basic orthodoxy. Either qualification alone is insufficient and in fact counterproductive. Thus we continue to reap the whirlwind of the 1960's and 1970's. Destruction (in this case, of sound catechesis) is easier and faster then preservation and (re)building.

Marc said...

Here's something we are all forgetting in this discussion -- There is absolutely no need for a layman to know Latin to any degree, great or small, in order to participate in the Holy Mass.

Perhaps negating that false idea is the only basic catechesis that needs to be given in order to promote the Traditional Mass.

Personally, I can concentrate much more easily when the priest is speaking in low tone in a language I don't understand. That allows silent, distraction free time for me to pray the Mass with the priest. When the priest keeps looking at me and speaking my language in a loud tone thru a microphone system, where is the silent prayer? Where is the active participation?

Vernacular is a much bigger barrier to proper active participation in the Mass than is Latin.

rcg said...

WM, Driving distance is only an issue if you cannot find a valid Mass in your area. I must admit the time involved would be an issue for me only because I view the Mass of the other local parishes as valid, if only poorly executed. IF I felt they were making some sort of grave error, I would avoid them and drive the distance.

I completely agree with your point that catechesis is the issue. It looks as if FrAJM is super solid in this area, only being concerned when the congregation is a little slow or less than universal in catching on. The continuity seems to be that FrAJM has a hands on approach in the Parish RE program, based on the videos and such published here. I suspect many priests would be shocked to find out what is being taught by the lay RE experts with degrees in theology! I had a similar experience as you in a local parish where I sponsored a person. It was a collection of pop culture rubbish. I was never invited back; not sure why.

William Meyer said...

rcg, in the parish where I suffered RCIA, they routinely cited Fr. Richard Rohr, Karl Rahner, Sr. Joan Chittister, but made no mention of the Catechism. When asked about ordination of women, the DRE said "well... not yet".

I have found in our nearest parish that the priests adhere properly to the Missal, and that one, in particular--the most recently ordained--gives hard lessons in his homilies. Hard, and welcome. So though I would personally prefer the EF, I am not forced to go farther.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - Every mass celebrated at this parish is a Traditional mass. While historical/cultural aspects of the OF differ from EF masses,the OF is as Traditional as it gets.

I suspect your misunderstanding of the proper meaning of the word "Traditional" originates in the same place as your misunderstanding of Quo Primum.

Gene said...

Ignotus, You have been the one in tha past on this blog who has questioned the proper meaning of "traditional, thus opening the door to lengthy discussions regarding the same. Now you come back and glibly state that all your Masses are "traditional." You are a barrel of laughs...a bigger hoot than Michael Jackson at a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. LOL!

Gene said...

From, "For The Visitor At Mass" Angelus Press:
"One may ask why the Church retains Latin, a dead language,as its official language when few people understand it...Latin acts as a common language between people of different tongues and thereby fosters unity amongst all Roman Catholics and exemplifies the Catholicity of the Church. It also, being a dead language, preserves the correctness and purity of the liturgy from profanation by vernacular expressions whose meanings are in a constant state of change of meaning and precision. Since the primary purpose of the liturgy is to give honor to God, it is not necessary that the faithful understand totally the Latin. The Mass is primarily a prayer and only secondarily for the instruction of the faithful."

Carol H. said...


I was looking for something that says exactly that for a Latin Group announcement for the Church bulletin- mind If I use it?

Henry Edwards said...

From Fr. Calvin Goodwin FSSP in perhaps the finest single explication of the TLM of this SP era:

The cultural inclinations and fashions of this world pass and fade away. But the light remains constant. The ancient character of the Church’s liturgical action, its words, gestures, and ceremonies, reflect this enduring light in a concrete and sensible way. The words pronounced at the altar today are, to a very significant degree, the same words, the gestures and motions are the same, as those used by Bl John XXIII and St Pius V, by St John Vianney and St Dominic, by St Miguel Pro and St Edmund Campion, by the martyrs of North America and the martyrs of the Crusades, by St Maximilien Kolbe and St Augustine of Hippo. Hallowed words. Hallowed action. Hallowed not only by use but by where they come from: that precious and holy tradition that has sanctified individuals, made devout families, given abundant vocations and martyrs to the Church and to the honour of God for almost two millenia. As the Holy Father states in Summorum Pontificum, “It is evident that the Latin Liturgy…..has stimulated in the spiritual life of very many Saints in every century of the Christian age and strengthened in the virtue of religion so many peoples and made fertile their piety.”

Latin is, in effect, our iconostasis. It serves as a “verbal” curtain drawn over the mysteries being carried out at the altar to remind us that, yes, there is a wide and fathomless gap between the incomprehensible majesty and holiness of God on the one hand, and our human sinfulness and smallness on the other. It is a gap which cannot be breached by human presumption or initiative. It is a gap unbridgeable by anything we DO and is overcome only by what GOD does and which we RECEIVE from Him.

Pater Ignotus said...

The mass had two primary purposes: To give honor to God AND to communicate the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the people of God.

There is a vertical aspect AND a horizontal aspect. Both are necessary and and both are established by God.

Gene said...

Carol, Certainly. Just remember to give a bibliographic credit to Angelus Press.

Marc said...

So, then, by definition, that Mass which best communicates to the congregation that we are worshiping and honoring God is superior because by so doing it effectively communicates the saving Mysteries to the congregation. In other words, that Mass which makes precisely clear to the congregation that a propitiatory Sacrifice is being offered is the superior Mass.

Why, yes, Pater, I agree: the Tridentine Mass is superior. Excellent point!

Henry Edwards said...

Indeed, no one who thinks seriously about the Mass could possibly disagree that it has both a vertical and a horizontal aspect.

The newer form, as a valid sacrifice of infinite intrinsic merit, gives glory to God.

But any two Masses are likely to differ because of externals in their efficacy as channels of grace to the faithful, in communicating the saving mysteries.

Is it obvious that, in recent decades, the greater failure of the new form has been in its horizontal aspect, in not having sustained the faith as did the older form for so many centuries?

Gregorian Mass said...

The debate about Latin was already answered. We have the mandate. The Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia from Pope John XXIII. Just because Bishops and Priests ignore it as if it does not exist does not make it go away. It is a valid Constiution of the Church. Where Latin has been eclipsed it must be restored. Where there are not qualified Teachers, they shall be replaced. Once the clergy knows their Latin again then workshops could be held in every parish without issue to teacht the laity the parts of Mass that pertain to them in Latin. That last bit from another Constitution. As long as this Apostolic Constitution is ignored it allows all the Faithful to think that AC's and the such have no weight and are mere suggestions for us all to follow. These things come up easily on the internet these days. Many are shocked at what they see the Church has said and what She does. Veterum Sapientia and its' ruling on the implementation and importance can not be so easily filed in a cabinet drawer any longer with lay people being none the wiser. It has to be addressed and implemented if the language and documents are to get any credibility back.

NoRancor said...

Pater Ignotus, the OF is a simplification of the Roman rite that directly parallels the diminution conceived by the Anglicans and Lutherans of the reformation. It is pure sophistry to say it is as traditional as it gets. Tradere means to hand on that which has been given to you. The OF was given to us by the Concilium in 1969. It is not the rite of our forefathers. They, and they alone, are the Tridentine era rites used by Rome and the Ordered and particular missals in force in 1962 like the Ambrosian, Dominican, etc. God bless.

Anonymous said...

loyal to the Church, not to our ego. Missa Forma Extraordinaria and Novus Ordo is an Eucharist, doesn't need quantity of people, but the quality of faith. I support MPSP.

Bob said...

Feelings run so strongly on this issue with partisanship many times trumping catholic charity. Personally I love the Traditional Latin Mass. But there are also things about the new mass that are positive. Like the scripture readings read in the vernacular and the expansion of the Lectionary. I would love to see the TLM offered at reasonable times everywhere but I don't think that is going to happen. I hope I am wrong! But at least we could bring back things like the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei and other common responses in Latin. (Of course the Kyrie in Greek). Slowly introduce them and teach the laity! Everyone can learn these unchangable parts of the Mass over time. I know some are gasping at this hybrid model but really it isn't because Latin is still the editio typica of the current Mass. I think at least this would make the Novus Ordo richer. And why not have a schola chant the introit/entrance antiphon in Gregorian Chant? That would be beautiful. Go ahead and leave the scripture readings, collects, preface and Eucharistic prayers in the vernacular.