Been there, done that Catholicism

I am addressing this thread to those of us who grew up before Vatican II. Ideally, I’d like to restrict the discussion to those of us who grew up before Vatican II.

Folks, some of the discussions around here have gotten downright hostile…on both sides. I’ve gotten the feeling that some have perceived me as some kind of elitist - except I don’t feel elite.

The Catholic world changed after 1965. I was 14 and a senior altar boy in my new parish which had just been split from my old parish. I was a freshman at my Catholic high school. I served the TLM with Father at 6am in the living room of his house - just he and I. Father said the TLM on the stage of our local gym because it was a new parish and the church had not been built.

In 1966 the Mass changed and we moved from the gym to the hall of a local country club as our parish church was being built. We were told that we would be eased into the new English Mass over several years. We attended a hybrid Mass with both Latin and English. The Our Father we sing in English today? Guess what? We sang it in Latin back then to virtually the same melody - at least the chant version.

We dedicated our new parish church in 1967. I was senior altar boy and knelt and kissed Abp. Hannan’s ring as was proper in those days. Still had a hybrid Mass in Latin and English.

Gosh, y’all. I’m really tired of explaining what happened back then. There was no real transition. By 1969 Latin in any way, shape, or form was thrown out as being irrelavant. Almost 40 years later I am still incensed that I had to sing Simon and Garfunkle at my Catholic high school graduation Mass.

I am a been there, done that traditonal Catholic.

I got to be a traditional TLM Catholic for the first 15 years of my life. It’s who I am. I don’t receive in the hand - it’s not a slight against you, see first 15 years. It has nothing to do with superiority…Lord have mercy…we were taught back then not to touch the Eucharist under any circumstances.

Been there, done that Catholics - that’s how we were raised.

As a been there, done that Catholic, I look at the proposed Motu Proprio as water to my roots. Father has already asked me if I would be willing to sing in a schola and I am willing to serve as an acolyte. (at 55 I can hardly be called an altar boy).

I can count on one hand the number of parishes in my local diocese who might implemetnt a TLM.

I’m not going to post any more. I want to hear from the folks of my generation.

Brother, I don’t think you’re an elitist at all. I spent 26 years in the Novus Ordo, watching abuses evolve just like you, yet so conditioned that I didn’t even think they were abuses anymore. When I first heard that communion was allowed in the hand, I had a friend with me at the time and we both thought the very thought seriously undermined the meaning of the sacrament and both stopped going to Communion altogether. And if no Communion, no confession either. I still kept going to church, if nothing else, find a church which had a good organist and at least sing some hymns. When I finally heard the Traditional Latin Mass was restored some 10 years ago, I started going to confession and communion again. I alternated between the Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo for awhile but that hold-holding was the final straw. And I don’t look back. I have friends and neighbors who go to the NO and they’re good people, I have nothing against them. I have noticed the younger kids seem somewhat more interested in the TLM though. Let’s see what the MP does.

I have seen the abuses in the liturgy, and I have seen them on both sides of Vatican 2. I am 5 years older than the OP, and frankly given the option of walking cross the stree to go to Mass in the Tridentine rite, or drive 30 miles to Mass in the NO, I’ll be driving. I have seen things that were wrong in the NO, but I have also seen a gradual lessening of experimentation and goofiness. Perhaps it is that I belong to a parish with a 70+ yer old Jesuit, and an assistant 70++ Jesuit, the former who started a grade school a couple of years ago, and has had Perpetual Adoration for something like 15 years now. We have had several vocations, male and female, a very long and strong social action program, and a reasonable balance. The pastor is reverant and couldn’t give a decent homily if it was not written out (and all too often it isn’t), and the assistant, whom I see too infrequently gives a very good one.

I served for an Irish pastor who had a horrible drinking problem; I don’t know if he drank when he got up before the 6:30 a.m. Mass or if he was still wound tight from the night before, but he could get through weekday morning Mass in absolute record time; my younger brother swears he could do it in 12 minutes from the time he hit the sancutary (probably closer to 15); the standing joke was that he could say Latin breathing in as well as breathing out. Oh, he technically hit all the points; but if that is reverence, give me the NO. I served Low Mass, High Mass, and Solemn High Mass and by the time I was mid-way through college, I had made it through candle bearer, server, thurifer and MC for the Solemn High Mass.

Was there a lot of pomp and circustance? Yes, but not any more so than the Chrism Mass I go to each Easter season.

I was in the seminary in college; sang on a recording of Gregorian Chant ( I love it, but do not wish to have it slaughtered at Mass by those who have no clue, and do not like listening to a choir; I don’t go to Mass for a concert). I have studied Latin in high school and college, and Homeric and Koinae Greek in high school, and I just love it when people say they are learing Latin - as if parroting phrases was learinging. Not. Most people didn’t understand Latin much then (we did not learn it as a spoken language) and even fewer do now. I think the greatest gift the Church has given us is Mass in the vernacular. Is the translation good? Nope. Could it be better? Let’s not be silly, of course it could.

I think JP 2 was a brilliant pope, and as he was human, he had his failings too. I prefer to look at the brilliant. I think that Benedict 16 is a brilliant theologian, and seems to be an extremely hesitant decision maker. And to those who thought he would crack heads and kick butt, well, they hadn’t really paid any attention to him at all apparently, except for the snot the liberal press blew - as if that was the truth.

I work in RCIA (something like 12 or 15 years now) and have started a program for Returning Catholics. I haven’t been abused, but I rode to high school occasionally with a priest who taught there, who was I think the second one in the nation to get sued publicly. All I knew then was that I definitley did not like being around him.

I think the changes came way too fast, and were all too often clearly dictated by people with an agenda; however, I will give more slack than some to some of the innovators; having met some (not the big names), I found them to be people who really loved Christ. Maybe foolish and unwise, but not the radical disobedients so many paint them to be.

And I need to sign this one off and get to getting.

Thank you OTJM. I drive 25 miles and have since 1983 to attend a reverent NO parish. I don’t see the MP as an either/or but as a both/and.

I guess I was just fortunate in my experiences as a child. The only abuse I can remember is that our pastor never gave a sermon but always lectured everyone about supporting the church to pay off the debt for the new church and to pay for the new school. My folks weren’t happy about that. Never had any experience with a rushed 6 am Low Mass nor did I have any bad experience with a priest. The opposite, in fact. I served many a 6 am Low Mass in the rectory with just Father and me before our new parish church was built. Father was a combat chaplain who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day. He encouraged my love of history.

I respectfully disagree with you about the experimentation and goofiness. Every now and then, when the choir is on summer hiatus, I attend my local geographic parish. It reminds me why I drive 25 miles downtown.

I hear you about the Alienated Catholics. I chaired the committee for five years and BTW if you don’t think that there is a yearning for reverence, when I joined the choir in 83 we had 200 registered parishoners. We now have over 2,000. Mine is a downtown cathedral. It is not a geographic parish in that sense since there are not a whole lot of people living downtown.

I couldn’t tell you how many people have come up to me after Mass and said “I can’t believe y’all sang Gregorian Chant” or “I can’t believe you sang “X” in Latin. I haven’t heard that since I was a kid”.

I’ll admit that it could just be me. I am an avid student of history. I regularly listen to Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony at work (it helps me to concentrate). I am an anthropology/history major and I see the TLM as a uniative Mass - I can go anywhere, the world over and attend a TLM and be able to fully participate, something which cannot be said for the NO.


I am older than you are and I remember being brought up in the Church with the wonderful Latin Mass. I would visit my grandparents for the summer and the Mass was the same. I was in the choir in high school when everything was in Latin. It was not easy to respond. Just like we learned the Catechism by rote, we learned the Mass responses the same way. And, yes, we did know what we were saying. The church was reverent, you could go early before Mass and say a rosary. We had May crowning in the spring and every first Friday was an occasion (we got scrambled eggs and donuts after Mass).

As I have said often, I was away from the church for many years, dropping in at Mass when I would go home to visit my mother. I watched the changes and came to think I was attending a protestant service. The bobbing and weaving to wish fellow parishoners “peace”, holding hands, lack of respectful hymns and on, and on.

When I returned I found that something awful had happened to the church that I loved. While I was glad to “be home”, I felt uncomfortable with all that was going on there. I still go to a NO, in the church where I received my first Communion and was Confirmed, and where I went to grade school (in those days, that was what we called it), but it is not the same.

For those of you who know only the NO, please understand that I am not knocking you. I am only sorry that you have not had the opportunity to know the TLM as some of us on the forum do. And I am sorry that so many kids today are not privileged to attend school with real, live nuns. Please forgive our nostalgia.

Do I fit into this discussion? I was 11 in 1965, I remember how I loved going to the Latin Mass, I can remember standing on the kneelers for a better view, my eyes big as teacups.
Then suddenly it was all gone. The pastor tore down our old traditional church, spanish mission style, and beautiful, and erected an odious modern, sterile, cold church. The reason for the new church? The old wasn’t earthquake safe. I believe that was a line to get rid of the traditional, erase it from our minds. I don’t remember much transition from latin to english, it was just there all of a sudden. I never liked any of it, not the music, not the “table”, not the vernacular, not the hand shaking, not the irreverence, and not the bare headed women. I had always worn a hat or veil as a child. Needless to say, I drifted away. As a young woman and newly married, I rarely went to church. Later after my daughter was born I drifted back, but never felt that close or that happy with it all, it was as though I was being deprived of something, I didn’t even really realize it myself.

Two years ago, my sister asked me to go to the local indult, which was in our area one sunday a month. That was the happiest day of my life. After several months of trying to go back to the Novus Ordo, I realized that I never could. My family and I bounced around the diocese following the indult for several months, until I realized that there was an SSPX chapel close to my home. There I went, there I am to this day. The priests are magnificent, the parishoners are wonderful. Now I assist at Mass on a daily basis.

It is always hard to give up what you have been doing all your life, to have to switch to a new parish, but I am strong in my beliefs and by the grace of God was led to where I am today. I might add that I re-educated myself on my faith, and realized that what I had been taught was sadly lacking. I would even go so far as to say that I was robbed and stripped of my birthright, my Catholc Faith. My transition to tradition was about saving my soul, saving the souls of those I love.

I grew up with the TLM and have only beautiful memories. I can remember getting up early and walking to Mass before school in the mornings as a teenager. And then it was gone.
Before I moved to the state I live in now I had the TLM available to me every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. It was wonderful! Now I get to attend the TLM every other Sunday and must drive 2 hours to get there. When I get to go there I cannot tell you the joy and peace I feel after Mass. I can say I am truly happy! On the weeks I must attend the NO which is within a mile of my home I offer it up as a sacrifice and I come home with tears in my eyes and pain in my heart. If anyone had told me I could or would feel such pain because of not being able to get to the TLM I would have said they were crazy … but it’s true.
I wish so much that people could just open their hearts and understand what we lost. It isn’t nostalgic … it’s just what we learned and grew up with and know to be the truth. The TLM is the most beautiful thing on earth. It is heaven on earth.
I guess I should stop here because I simply can’t find the correct words to express how I feel. The last thing I will say is I feel so lost and alone here because I can find no one in my area who understands me.

Thank you Mary. Grade school indeed. And I did not go to kindergarten, I went to primer which was taught by Dominican nuns. Grade school was taught by the Sisters of Mercy and eighth through twelfth grade by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart who wore cassocks until my junior year.

Your post reinforces the point I am trying to make. Which is that there are still significant numbers of us who were catechized before Vatican II. Some embraced the changes. I’m still in contact with some of my high school classmates (Catholic high schools in New Orleans have great alumni associations). FJ played the guitar at my graduation and FJ is still playing guitar at his parish in NO. I sang Latin for the class of 68’s graduation and I am still singing Latin. It shouldn’t be an either/or but a both/and.

And I have to disagree as well with this business that we didn’t know what we were saying in Latin. Could I speak Latin, no. Did I see all the cognates between Latin and English, yes. Did I have my handy-dandy St. Joseph Missal at hand with Latin on the left and English on the right, yes.

I’ve had four years of Spanish. Can I speak Spanish? Very haltingly, mainly in first person present tense and then with a lot of trepidation. But I read Spanish fairly well. I passed my Spanish GSFLT which was required to graduate with a master’s in anthropology.

I couldn’t speak Latin but I did know what I was saying and reading and singing. If I can do it for Spanish, why not Latin?

Thank you, labernadette! More testimony that we are not elitists.

Thank you, Winger. You are not lost and alone. Welcome to the ranks of those of us who remember. You’re right. One day it was there and the next it was gone. This isn’t elitism, it’s just memory.

In the seventies my mom wanted to go to a Latin Mass, I was excited until I attended. I didn’t like it. Yes I grew up with the Latin Mass. I have fond memories. I still like early morning mass as the weekday mass started at 6:15. I do not long for the mass in Latin nor to a return to it. I do not believe it was more reverent that depends, I believe, on the people who attend and not on how mass is said. I was thinking about attending a Latin Mas and than I spoke to a promoter and realized that I would not fit in to it.:frowning:
I remember the good priest telling us of the changes and I would tell my horrifies parents. They did not believe that these changes would come. Communion in the hand I especially welcomed. I did not like that it was brought about by disobedience.:mad:
I do hope the Latin Mass becomes more common because I see a need of others for it but it is not for me. :shrug:

Thank you, Adrift.

Brother, I am just a few years older than you. Our experiences are just about the same, except you found a reverent N.O. in your city and I never did find one in my city.

When I was about 14 (in 1961) there must have been a big conference of priests in my city. We lived in a small 3 bedroom house, yet we provided lodging for four priests that were attending the conference. Looking back, I now realize that it was in anticipation of Vatican II. Two older priests got my bedroom while a very young priest and I slept on a hide-a-bed in the living room. On the night before the conference opened, the priest and I discussed the future of the Church almost all night. The young priest was all in favor of bringing the Church into the 20th century. He argued for the vernacular, relaxation of discipline and even the relaxation of the Church’s stand on marriage and birth control. I argued that our Tradition and consistency is what separated us from the protestants. I maintained that if Christ didn’t want his Church built on a rock, he would have told St. Peter to build the Church on the changing sands of time. I should have known what was coming after that, but I think even with the warning I had, I could never imagine the sacrilege would be turned into the norm.

So the changes came and most of my friends and family just drifted away from the Church. Some of my extended family still attended Mass, but they no longer were on fire for the faith. They just lost their enthusiasm with the constant changes. My best friend was devastated. His home life was quite turbulent and he depended on the Church to be the one constant in his life. He told me that he had always believed the Catholic Church to be the Church that Christ had founded. He thought that with all the changes it was proved that it was just a Church of men, not of God. At the time he was in the Navy and he left the Church for good after an especially virulent sermon at our Church comparing our service men to Storm Troopers. As far as he was concerned, the Church had become an institution that wanted to be popular more than being right.

For me, I toughed out the changes. I never bought into things like the downgrading of confession or that the priest could give general absolution before Mass. A couple of times I took Holy Communion in the hand and never could shake the thought that I was committing sacrilege. The lack of reverence at my old parish finally took its toll on me and I finally just quit going to Mass. A few years back, during Lent, something started tugging at me to go back to the Church. In talking to people, I knew that I could not go back to my old parish, but was hoping of finding an orthodox parish. Luckily, I found that the FSSP had taken over an independent chapel and was offering the TLM with approval of our Archbishop. Every Sunday, I thank God for providing me with the means to reunite with Him.

I am often reminded of Ronald Reagan saying that he didn’t leave the Democrat party, they left him. I felt that I had never left the Catholic Church, but that she had closed her doors to me. Of course, for those people that love everything about what the Church has become, the pre Vatican II church was shutting them out. Hopefully now, we will have an open door for both groups.

Thank you SnorterLuster. Actually, God’s hand guided me to my present parish. A protestant co-worker sang in the cathedral choir at the time as a paid member. We moved to a new building where there was a one foot separation between the top of my wall and the ceiling. She heard me listening to chant and said, hey, we need choir members. Can you sing?

So, I went. It was night and day from my geographical parish at the time. I could not go to any Mass at my geographical parish except the 8 am Sunday Mass because that was the least painful Mass for me to attend. No singing and Fr. J restrained himself from running up and down the aisles greeting people during the sign of peace. I still see Fr. J at diocesan events and he still remembers me.

Eighteen months later my second child was born and it was time to get him baptized. By this time I loved the cathedral parish even though it was a 25 mile drive. So, DW and I decided we would request to become members of the cathedral parish. Back then you had to have permission from your geographical parish to join. So I petitioned the parish.

“You must come for an interview”. Affable Fr. J had been replaced by Fr. M. I was honest and polite with Fr. M. I expressed my dismay at the abuses I had experienced and said that I had found fulfillment in the cathedral parish. Two days later a letter appeared in our mailbox.

Which said - I give you leave to join the cathedral parish but know that if you or any of your family are in need of the last rites, I will not respond.

No, I am not making that up.

I took the letter to Fr. U at the cathedral. He read it, turned white in the face, and said I’ll take care of it. I’ve moved since then into another geographical parish but we’re still members of the cathedral parish.

Now, anyone can join the cathedral parish or any other parish from what I understand. People parish shop today. I can’t help but think that God called me years ago.

This is a post I made to a different thread, but any Been there, done that Catholic will recoignize it,

Limited time requires the Reader’s Digest version:

  1. Cradle Catholic
  2. Catholic grade & high school
  3. Married cradle catholic (young)
  4. Dropped out but NEVER went anywhere else.
  5. Kids got old enough to need Church
  6. What the hell happened?
  7. Became more disenchanted (mid '70’s)
  8. Got the kids First Communion
  9. Couldn’t take it any more - angrier when leaving Mass than when arriving
  10. Quit going to Mass - put kids in CCD.
  11. CCD was garbage. Cumbiah! Pulled kids
  12. Floated - taught at Catholic high schoool for a while; faked it
  13. Wife watching EWTN Mass on TV for first time
  14. After Mass, little old nun who lookied like my 3rd grade teacher started scolding, joking (Guess who).
  15. 20 minutes later, turned to wife; “We’ve got to get to Confession.” She’d been waiting for me.
  16. That was 2001. God help 'em, we’re back with a VENGEANCE.
  17. Found a CATHOLIC parish, Fr. Corapi, etc, etc.
  18. So involved, got no time to breathe
  19. 2 of 3 kids Catholic - confirmed - & going to Mass
  20. Third kid Evangelical, but not anti-Catholic. Good man, good kids.

God bless

Strider, your story is familiar. You must be a Been there, done that Catholic too!:smiley:

Family was and still is agnostic and can’t be bothered with all that “church” stuff.

Conveted to Catholic in my mid-teens prior to VII. A wonderful friends family took me to Mass with them and I found my home. Latin, reverent, CCD, weekly confession, helping with small projects, roots that had plenty of water to drink in.

Joined the Air Force and was stationed in San Francisco:mad: when the “change” hit. Went from Latin and reverent to something that I could no longer recognize. The never changing part of the Catholic Faith was pulled our from under me in the period of one month. And I was teaching CCD to the young ones then. The Nun I was under went from a habit to street clothes in one day. The only way you knew she was a religious was the pin on her blouse.

I am not proud of the fact that I walked away for almost ten years and wandered from church to church trying to find what I had lost. But, God called me back to Holy Mother Church and even though there are many things that make me cringe even now I can be patient and keep praying for the MP and a full return for my roots to be watered fully.

I am definitely post V2, but I cannot help but want to chime in.

I was raised Catholic by a mother who was raised just before the change, and by a convert father.
I became a pagan around the time I went to Franciscan Univ of Steubenville. I transferred to various schools, half-heartedly pursuing a blend of Catholicism and Paganism.
After an interesting…bout? of hard-core paganism and some lesbianism… I somehow made it back to the Church in relatively one piece.
I am now quite Traditional in my views, and I am making my way to the TLM.

Question: Did they have many intercommunion services in the armed forces pre Vatican II?

Not where I was stationed. The bases were large enough to have single services.

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