A tale of two priests

Today I was made aware of two diocesan priests who are confronting the problem of celebrating both the new Mass as well as the traditional Mass.

The first priest is in the diocese where I live. He’s a convert and has always been traditional minded and for that he was exiled to the hinterlands by our previous bishop (as many of the younger traditional priests were by this bishop). My understanding is that he’s become more and more uncomfortable celebrating the new Mass (Holy Communion in the hand, laymen distributing Holy Communion etc.), to the point that he had some sort of breakdown. I was told by two different sources that this breakdown was a direct result of desire to no longer celebrate the NO Mass.

The second priest is in a neighboring diocese and he also celebrates a daily traditional Mass as well as one NO Mass on Sunday. I heard from a friend of his that he’s become very uncomfortable celebrating the NO Mass to the point it’s affecting his priesthood. I’ve assisted at several of his traditional Masses and he’s a no nonsense priest so I can see why he’s having difficulty.

I think this problem will happen with other priests who try to straddle the NO / TLM fence. Many / most traditional Catholic laymen have serious problems with assisting at the NO Mass and I think the same will be true for some / many priests who try to celebrate both.

The Church hasn’t had to confront this problem before because those priests celebrating the TLM were generally religious priests whose community only celebrated the TLM.

The situation reminds me of the saying, “A house divided against itself…”

This is what I hope happens, in chronological order:

  1. The Ordinary Form has more Latin and chant put into it
  2. More priests start saying the OF facing the altar
  3. It becomes the norm for the OF to be said in Latin, facing the altar
  4. People realize that the prayers of the OF are much less ornate and much less pretty than the Extraordinary Form
  5. EF comes back as the de facto norm


EDIT: I hope those priests start putting more Latin into the Mass and maybe say it facing the altar. Maybe they could use the Benedictine Altar Arrangement.

It sounds to me that the priests have a problem with the level of reverence or lack seriousness at the N.O. Mass not necessarily the language. Maybe the parishioners are as reverent and sincere as they know how to be and they need guidance. I believe the priest just needs to lead his flock. Address his desire for communion to not be taken from the hand. He could offer head coverings for the women and store them at the church, Synagogues often store the Keepas (yamakas), and tefrin (my spelling is bad), I don’t see why the priest could not make veils available for women.

I think the priests should communicate to their parishioners in a loving, caring, respectful, but also firm way. They need to also remember that the non-traditional parishioners love Jesus just as much. Let him also remember to love them, his neighbors as Christ loves us. They should also explain the importance and reasons for these rituals/styles.

Wouldn’t it break the Lord’s heart if we focused so much on small details of rituals and the language, style, and music of the Mass that we forget to love and forgive one another as Christ commands?

Ok that red part is a huge fallacy. It insinuates that focusing on rituals, language, style, and music of the Mass creates division. That is not the case.
More, it insinuates that the Mass isn’t as important as other things, which is also not the case.

The Mass is the highest form of prayer. The Mass deserves our unwavering attention. Focusing on details like rituals and language is not nitpicky. It is extremely important.

I wonder if it would be possible for those priests to join the F.S.S.P.? I think there is some sort of procedure for Diocesan priests to join an order (and vice versa), though, it would certainly require permission form the Bishop and Superior. I know of an F.S.S.P. priest who was ordained over 40 years ago, while the F.S.S.P itself has only been around for 20+ years, so there must be a way it can be done… If they truly wish to celebrate the EF exclusively, that might be their best bet.

I think the catalyst for this to happen would be if the Pope would start celebrating OF ad orientem (other than in chapels/churches where the only altar is the old High Altar against the wall). So far, he has disappointed in this respect, though, the restoration of the Pauline Chapel is encouraging. Maybe he’s working up to that…

How very sad. Even though there aren’t enough priests at present, it seems to me that the bishop could most advantageously use these men to celebrate mass at more than one parish thereby giving more Catholics exposure to the TLM and making it more available to those who wish it. Alternatively, the priest could be pastor at a parish that is more open to the TLM. He and a pastor of a neighboring church could switch churches for the Saturday evening mass, making the OF and the EF available on a regular basis in both parishes.

Although contrary to the wishes of Traditionalists, I think the OF is here to stay.

Sounds like a plan :thumbsup:

First of all I’m new to using the increased font size so, sorry for that. Second I was not implying that the Mass was not EXTREMELY important, I was saying it is more important to pray the Mass with sincerity, contrition, and love than it is to worry sooo much about small details such as “why did they play the piano today instead of the organ?” (that is just a random example, no offense). I believe we take away from the importance of the Mass when we worry about trivial things, but obviously I’m not suggesting we wear pajamas to Mass. There is a line between being distracted by being nit-picky and truly defending the faith; sometimes we unintentionally cross it.

Also I think we get too caught up in a personal preference for Latin that we begin to believe that the N.O. Mass is not a Mass. That is a dangerous belief to me because that opens the door to hubris and heresy. (obviously I’m talking about extreme cases)

Besides our minor and serious disputes, I love you because that’s how I can love Jesus.:blessyou:

I am no psychologist, nor am I a psychiatrist. Assuming the facts that the one priest may be having an emotional or mental breakdown, it is hazardous at best to ascribe it to the form of the Mass, or which form he says, or which he likes or dislikes. A priest has any number of different pressures during the day, the week, the month and the year. If he is having undue pressure, it would much more likely be due to conflict he may face with parishoners than the form of the Mass, as the distinguishing aspects between the EF and the OF are far overblown. That they exist no one denies. But to imply or indicate that they could be the source of someone having serious mental or emotional difficulties is to walk the path that only an extreme minority go.

and as to the second priest, if he is having a problem with his concept of priesthood because of saying the two forms, then it would appear that the issue is not the two forms, but his formation during and after seminary as to priesthood. It is one thing to like or dislike some of the rubric differences, or differences of prayer. But to indicate that this would cause difficulty as a priest is to describe a symptom as a problem, rather than what it is - a symptom of something else.

Both should seek professional help if they are having serious difficulties with their status as priests, or their assignment. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, nor is there anything to indicate that they are less valuable as people if they have serious struggles. Sadly, in life many people face issues that are more than they can deal with on their own, and they fail to get the help needed to sort it out, make sense of it, and find ways to cope.

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