Tuesday, July 16, 2013


At the MaryVintrix blog there is an article about TLMERS causing the TLM not to be appreciated because of the kind of people they are. I reprint you decide.

State the Obvious and then Duck

Posted by frangelo

Dr. Tracey Rowland recently spoke at the ”Sacra Liturgia Conference” in Rome to the great approval of those attached the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. But she also made the mistake of suggesting that there are some obstacles to a wider attendance of that form of the liturgy due to problems among those who regularly attend:

To summarize, according to Dr. Rowland there are three reasons why those who otherwise might attend the EF do not: 1) the presence of an “aestheticism” by which the celebration of the liturgy is subjected to a hypercritical spirit by those in attendance; 2) the outdated nostalgic manner of dress in congregations at the EF; 3) the anti-Vatican II critique that so often accompanies attachment to the EF.

I cannot imagine she did not realize the donnybrook she was getting herself into when she said these things. I would have suggested a fourth reason why there are people who might otherwise attend the EF who don not: 4) that the EF movement shows a habitual resistance to the most respectfully delivered critique, even when it comes from a sympathetic source.

It seems to go largely unnoticed that Dr. Rowland is simply pointing out a fact that any fair-minded person with experience in the matter can verify. There are a significant number of people who stay away from the EF, not because they have an aversion to the liturgical form of 1962, but for the reasons which Dr. Rowland mentions.

I have some experience with this, but unlike Dr. Rowland, I have not been nearly as nice about my critique, for which I am sure, I will render an account. I know what she says is true and I would have been shocked had she not been roughly treated for having said it.

The knee jerk reaction to her critique from those on whom it lands is to respond by pointing out all the problems in the OF parishes and communities. This is a non-response to Dr. Rowland. It is evasive and not very thoughtful.

In any case, I do not think Dr. Rowland was looking for an argument, and I hope that she makes no response to those who have criticized her, simply because it will do no good. It is true that long-standing E-formers have been treated like lepers and are reactive to the touch. The obvious still needs to be stated.


Joseph Johnson said...

"Outdated and nostalgic dress"?

What does she mean by this? My parish does not have the EF but 98% of the time I will wear a coat and tie to Sunday Mass. This was still the norm when I was a small child but, today I am the exception rather than the rule.

As an attorney, I am required to wear a coat and tie to court (a rule which is designed to underpin a certain degree of respect for the judicial system). Should I show the Lord any less degree of respect and "dress down" for Mass? I know God probably doesn't care whether I wear a tie or not but it sends a message to children and other people about an attitude of seriousness and respect when attending the Sunday liturgy. Is this "nostalgic and outdated" because so many others wear shorts and flip-flops or dress as if they can't wait to get on the golf course?

Marc said...

I think she's referring to what Fr. Chad Ripperger calls "the Catholic Amish." These are usually women dressed in blue jean long skirts with no make-up and woolen sweaters. Generally, dressed as strict Pentecostals. And, yeah, one sees them at every Traditional chapel or parish. It is a lack of understanding of the virtue of modesty and requires catechesis to root out.

It is, however, much less troublesome than the underdressed ladies at every Novus Ordo Mass I've ever been to. Or the guy who was wearing shorts and boat shoes at the Mass I went to last Sunday.

Gene said...

I mean really...Joseph Johnson is right. Nostalgic, outdated dress? What is wrong with women wearing mantillas and men and women dressing up to honor Christ and the Church? I suppose sneakers, shorts, and spray-on dresses are hip and appropriate.
She is saying that those who attend the EF are liturgical snobs. So, I suppose those who truly believe the articles
of the Creed are Dogma snobs. Give me a break...another great example of why women should not have clerical roles.

ytc said...

I suggest that the Catholic Amish--yes, I am familiar with Fr. Ripperger--is not really that big of a deal. It is certainly not bad in itself. On the other hand, the blatant immodesty present in Novus Ordo parishes is unexcusable and is bad in itself.

I am perfectly fine with Catholic trad women, all Catholic women for that matter, wearing makeup and skirts shorter than the ankles. Doesn't bother me a bit. However, decent makeup and knee-length skirts are not the norm. It is not uncommon to see stripper makeup and booty shorts at Mass in certain locales.

John Nolan said...

This Amish thing is unknown in Europe. Even before V2 not all women wore hats, and my mother had a lace mantilla in her handbag which she would put on when approaching the altar rail for Communion. Go to any EF mass in England and you will find that the dress is 'smart casual' and most women don't cover their heads.

People don't 'stay away' from the EF for the simple reason that you have to go out of your way to find it. In my case it entails a 40-minute drive, but since I live in rural Buckinghamshire I have to get the car out to go to Mass anywhere, and there is no reason why I should have to endure Rambling Syd Rumpo and his guitar at the nearest Mass which is ten minutes away.

It doesn't offend me if someone wants to attend Mass in a pin-stripe suit when the temperature is in the 80s, nor am I particularly offended by American tourists who wear shorts at the Solemn Mass at Brompton Oratory - the important thing IS THAT THEY ARE THERE.

The EF Mass I attended last Sunday (a small rural church which has this as its Sunday Mass, with the OF on Saturday evening) had a congregation of all ages, with young families in attendance. Some crying babies, of course, but even the very young children behaved with decorum. They went up to he communion rails and knelt with their parents. I recall a four-year-old girl in a white lace mantilla walking solemnly back, her hands joined. They knew, even at that age, that they were in the presence of the sacred. The altar boys, aged 8 and 10, served in the way I did fifty years ago, and it is an encouraging thought that towards the end of this century, when I shall be long dead, they will not have forgotten it, any more than I have.

The future of the Church. I rejoice and am glad in it.

Hammer of Fascists said...

In my experience, the reason people give for not attending the Tridentine Mass is because it reeks of "going backward" (i.e., they've been co-opted by American whiggery). Maybe Rowland's reasons are components of those, but I doubt they're principal reasons. The NO Mass is easier and more "progressive" and American and mainstream (i.e., it feels more like all the Protestant liturgies to be found in every block, same language, same hymns, vague language that downplays things like Mary and the Mass's sacrificial nature, etc.), so most people prefer that.

Also, what does Rowland base her assertions on? Has she conducted research or is she just speculating?

As for a "respectfully delivered critique" of the Tridentine: I've heard several ones that are delivered with at least moderate respect, but the contents of the critiques themselves tend to be vacuous rather than thoughtful.

For instance, there are only two categories of objection to the Tridentine Mass. The first is objective: there's something wrong with the Tridentine Mass. Since the Tridentine was acceptable for hundreds of years, with antecedents going back another thousand, then it's hard for people to argue that, or for defenders of the Tridentine to hear such arguments with a straight face. If someone makes such an argument, it's hard to show much patience with it.

The second is subjective: "I don't like it because ____________." In my experiences most of the "becauses" tend to be superficial (I don't understand it, I don't like mantillas, we should be speaking English, etc. I don't think I've ever heard a thoughtful critique such as "I don't like it because it emphasizes the vertical aspect of Catholic theology to an excessive degree." I have heard such statements, but usually from people who are pretty clearly heterodox and usually as a case of special pleading. But given the rather shallow subjective nature of such critiques, it's both normal and natural to reply "Well, everyone's entitled to his opinion, but if you made some effort to understand the theology behind the Latin Mass better, you'd appreciate it more." I don't see that as habitual resistance.

Templar said...

Another smoke screen argument to hide the fact that it's aged Priests/pastors who simply refuse to say it.

Until such time as Diocesan Parishes offer the TLM as part of the regular Sunday Mass schedule side by side with NO Masses there can be no reasonable comparison between which Mass is this or that. And frankly that is not going to happen because those Priests who aren't afraid of it are already saying the TLM somewhere all the time, or are not in a position to do so (i.e. NOT Pastors themselves).

Rood Screen said...

This post is offensive and prejudicial.

First of all, unless you attend an EF Mass that is celebrated every Sunday and otherwise fully integrated into the life of a parish, then you cannot judge the "EF community", precisely because those attending irregular and long-distance celebrations are not given the opportunity to form a Christian community under stable pastoral care. They are mere liturgical refugees, seeking asylum.

Second, since couples who do assist at EF celebrations are less likely to use contraception, they tend to have more children, and more children means more bills, and more bills means they can't afford to wear the same arrogant, worldly clothing that contracepting households wear.

rcg said...

I prepared a too long response that is summarised as follows: Dr. Rowland is totally unselfconscious as well as unaware of her surroundings.

Making a broad statement about a social group is called stereotyping. It is unworthy of a PhD to make the statement and disappointing that she would not expect such a response from some people in any group she paints in broad strokes. It is a failure of her education that she thinks that any responses from a social group speak for the entire group.

TLM has been oppressed, not just suppressed. SP was a shock to many not just becasue it explained that EF is allowed but to discover that the EF was not a sin.

Marc said...

ytc, I agree with you. Lack of modesty is a much bigger problem (and distraction) than inflated modesty.

And I should add that the lack of "flair" in the adornment of many Trad women is most likely due not to inflated modesty, but to practicality. Mostly, they have many children and often homeschool. So, they live hectic lives on one income and aren't spending the money and effort to stay up with the latest fashion trends. So, this is more of a side effect than a problem.

Anyway, Templar is right. Priests are looking for excuses to not offer the Tridentine Mass, so this purported critique will play right into that mentality. I disagree, though, that that problem is limited to "aged" pastors and priests. It is widespread.

And I think the reason for it is in line with my response to A5's comment -- The reasons people who have been to both prefer the Novus Ordo to the Mass is that it is (1) shorter, and (2) less taxing. Never underestimate the influence of laziness on people's decision-making. Of course, most people don't have the option anyway, since the cast majority of priests refuse to say the Mass or put it at some ridiculous time.

Pharoah Sanders said...


Is she trying to tell us in a roundabout way that priests find mantillas offensive?

Bill B said...

In one sense I do agree that many TLMers are a little arrogant and judgmental. But that can be cancelled out by the fact many NOers have a strong self-loathing about being Catholic, they are in many ways, to coin a phrase, "recovering Catholics", who want to be anything BUT traditionally Catholic.

Marc said...

I want to add what I think is the logical conclusion of rcg's thought:

The reason the Tridentine groups seem insular, nostalgic, and anti-Vatican II is due to the treatment of these people by the hierarchical Church over the past few decades.

They generally distrust the clergy because the clergy have been hostile and continue to thwart a return to Tradition and tradition.

They are necessarily nostalgic because the Church failed to preserve the tradition for a couple generations, so the methodology of Catholic life has to be rediscovered from a nostalgic point of view instead of an organic one (that was forcibly suppressed and continues to be by the clergy).

And they are anti-VCII because the conciliar church oppresses tradition and targets it as being the only real heresy worth condemning these days. Plus, Vatican II stands in the way of a return to tradition being, as it is, difficult to reconcile it with Catholic teaching.

In sum, those who attend the Mass without this baggage are the ones attending for aesthetic reasons or because they personally prefer the "Extraordinary Form." That is the problem -- those aestheticists fail to recognize the theological implications of the Mass. That is why they're quick to suggest a "makeover" of the aesthetics of the Novus Ordo, which they call a "reform of the reform."

Gene said...

Pharaoh Sanders, Well, by God, if Priests find mantillas offensive they don't have to wear them...

John Nolan said...

I confess I find many of Marc's points rather puzzling. The average OF Sunday Parish Mass is not shorter - indeed, with all the padding-out, homilies and mini-homilies, everything grinding to a halt while 15 verses of a hymn are sung - it is usually longer than the Old Rite would have been. I have also counted more people in the sanctuary than there would be at a Pontifical High Mass in the classic Roman Rite.

Two weeks ago I attended a Missa Cantata with Asperges, Graduale Propers, Mass XI, homily, at least 50 communicants, Domine salvam fac and Regina Caeli at the end, total duration 55 minutes.

It's not aesthetics that prompt a desire to re-sacralise the Novus Ordo. I am not so seduced by Haydn and Gregorian Chant that I don't care what liturgy it accompanies. I could hear both at St Paul's Cathedral any Sunday of the year, but it would not be the Mass. The Novus Ordo, whatever misgivings one might have regarding it, is still the Mass. Fortunately I can hear it in London and elsewhere with no drop in musical standards.

Marc said...

No need to refer to me in the third person, John. I'm reading. :-)

The Sunday Mass at my local parish (Novus Ordo) was less than 40 minutes last week. Compare that with a Missa Cantata and it is shorter. I also noted that the Novus Ordo is less taxing. What I meant is that it has "action" that passes the time instead of silence that makes things seem slower.

I was not accusing you of being an aestheticist necessarily since you evince a thorough understanding of the theological basis for sacralising the Novus Ordo. In that regard, I think you are the exception and not the rule. But, what I meant to convey was that adding incense and changing directions are somewhat meaningless when necessary things like the Offertory remain amiss.

I am glad for you that you have options nearby and have readily available Novus Ordo Masses that can still be called "the Mass." Such is not the case in my diocese and especially in my deanery. While our closest Novus Ordo is celebrated mostly in accordance with the books, it looks sacrality in some regard, especially the music and general tone of the proceedings.

My point about the aestheticists is that many so-called reformers believe that an "EF" veneer can be added to the "OF" and that will fix the problem. It seems this blog's author is of that opinion. I disagree because it might make things more consistent in appearance, but it does not fix the underlying theological rupture.

Rood Screen said...

Marc is, nevertheless, right about the length of the new (post-1970) Roman Mass. If you celebrate a ferial EF and a ferial OF Mass back to back, with nothing unnecessary added and pronouncing the texts at the same speed, the OF is certainly shorter in duration.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My low EF Mass takes me no less than 40 minutes. My daily OF Mass where the Introit and Communion Antiphons are spoken and the Alleluia, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Great Amen and Agnus Dei are chanted with a 3 minute Homily takes mr 25 minutes with about 50 to 60 Communions under both Species!

Gene said...

*sigh* Like time should be an issue at all...remember that old bumper sticker from back in the '70's..."Jesus is coming again and is He ever pi**ed?"

John Nolan said...

The Novus Ordo Mass is of course textually shorter than the Roman Rite. However, in the Low Mass things are usually brisker. The NO encourages a proclamatory style, particularly noticeable in the Scripture readings, but also present elsewhere, even in the Canon. Priests who say the EF regularly don't need to slow down for the epistle and gospel, since they are familiar with the Vulgate and the Latin is clear even when read at fast conversational speed.

Anonymous said...

I think she hit the nail on the head--would love to hear her take on the folks who regularly comment on this blog!

Mr. C said...

As far as I'm aware, those three observation remarks were not made at the conference, but in a televised, 3 minute mini-interview.
I am stunned, here and elsewhere (Rorate, big time) at how many people have become unhinged by the distillations of her remarks without any viewing of them, contextualization or reasonable consideration. The fact that this whole combox thread went "off" on the fashionista aspect is proof of what a thin-skinned people we can be.
How many of us would have lasted a day following the real Jesus in His time with such condemnatory, reactionary attitudes?
Physicians, heal thyselves.33

Marc said...

Dan, can you point to particular examples of where we "went 'off' on the fashionista aspect" in this combox?

Marc said...

Sorry, not Dan... Mr. C.

I'm losing my mind.

Joseph Johnson said...

"Fashionista aspect"? Mea culpa--maybe it was my lead off about perseverance in wearing a coat and tie to Sunday Mass despite the erosion of our culture over the last 50 years (all of my lifetime).

Gene said...

Isn't Mr. C from Kalifornia?

Pater Ignotus said...

Reasons some TEM (Traditional English Mass) priests may not be enamored of some TLM folks:

1. Some TLMers think, wrongly, that liturgy cannot change, ignoring the fact that the liturgy has changed time and time again throughout the history of the Church.

2. Some TLMers confuse culturally conditioned elements of the mass – styles of music, vestments, architecture, church d├ęcor, language – with Traditional, unchanging elements.

3. Some TLMers believe they can reject Vatican Two 1) because they are unable to reconcile it with prior teaching, or 2) because it was “only a pastoral Council.”

4. Some TLMers reject any and every legitimate reason a priest gives for not celebrating the EF, accusing the priest of being “disobedient” to Summorum Pontificum.

5. Some TLMers do not understand and/or reject the theology of Communio that underlies the liturgical and sacramental theology of the OF.

6. Some TLMers, have no real grasp of what the Catholic theological tradition DOES NOT teach and make claims such as, ““More grace is available and/or received at a TLM than at an OF mass,” or “Rubrics are divinely inspired,” or the latest “If we sing ‘Make me a channel of your peace’ we are engaging in New Age behavior.”

7. Some TLMers ascribe every ill in the Church today to Vatican Two, showing an inadequate understanding of the massive cultural changes that have happened across the board in Western culture since the end of World War II.

8. Some TLMers accuse anyone, including popes, bishops, and priests, who disagrees with their understanding or interpretation of magisterial documents of being terrible, horrible, demonically inspired destroyers of Tradition.

9. Some TLMers allow their radical, conservative political views to drive their views on Catholic theology. It should be the other way around. Bishops who teach the Common Good are labeled Communists, theologians who speak of liberation are called Marxists, etc.

10. (Reserved)

11. Some TLMers over-spiritualize and over-individualize the experience of redemption, to the point of excluding a perfectly legitimate Catholic understanding of the essential nature of Community.

12. Some TLMers are often rabid believers in paranoic conspiracy theories, blaming the “elites,” the Masons, the Six Protestant Ministers, the Illuminati, or some other nebulously identified group as the source of the Church's problems.

Anonymous said...

Dr Tracey Rowland has it exactly right. And I say this as a regular Novus Ordo Mass-goer who cries in my heart each time I hear the tacky 80's bland and unmelodic music, seeing scantily dressed girls/women (and I am a woman but by no means a prude) and don't even get me started on the casual manner of people (and priests) during the Mass and questionable homilies. It actually pains me to go to Mass sometimes. But Jesus is there, saving grace.....
Rowland is pointing out legitimate impressions that many (not all) TLM Mass-attenders give off. Whether intended or not, whether true or not, this IS the impression and I myself have witnessed this on the occasions that I have attended Latin Masses. There are also many good impressions there too - reverence, love of the faith, desire for holiness and for Truth, but rather than be offended at Dr Rowlands observations it is worth asking humbly how these impressions come about and whether or not there is truth ih them. If yes, then change the negatives to help evangelise others to the TLM. If the impressions are not true, then think on why they appear that way and try work to evangelise others to the TLM. Same outsome. Pax et Bonum!