I’m find myself in a peculiar situation. I was raised in a Novus Ordo Catholic environment in what I consider to be a fairly devout Catholic family. In my teens I strayed from going to mass because I felt it lacked spiritual substance, depth and reverence. Somehow deep down inside I just felt that it should be there and without it I was little more than punching the proverbial Sunday “time clock” each week to say I went to mass, and that didn’t feel right. And so I became cynical of the Church that I grew up in and turned away. I was rebuked by some of my family members for doing so, but to be honest I felt there was some hypocrisy to the way they practiced their own faith, but I digress.
Now in my mid-twenties, by what I believe to be divine providence I stumbled across the Tridentine Mass. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit I came upon this gift from God; a profound discovery that has reignited my own Catholic faith and indeed for me has been a saving grace.
The Extraordinary Form of the Mass contains what my soul had been seeking for so long. It fills the voids that previously existed. There exists in this form of the Mass a solemn reverence, a sense of sacredness, spiritual depth and a more pronounced manifestation of the divine for which I failed to find in the Novus Ordo. I studied it passionately to learn as much as I could about this truly extraordinary Mass previously unknown to me and even took up learning ecclesiastical latin. One shouldn’t shy away from putting a little effort into their Faith in my opinion. Understanding the theology behind the Sacred Liturgy and all of the Sacraments is essential to being able to fully appreciate them.
I have since joined an FSSP Parish and Latin Mass Community, which I attend at least once a week on Sunday despite the distance I must travel to get there. I now long for the Mass all week. I’ve also shed my cafeteria Catholicism to embrace the true faith in its entirety. I’ve come to know that I do not know better than the teachings of Holy Mother Church. I continue to study the Faith and take being a Catholic seriously – not just being a Sunday Catholic, but living the Faith and incorporating prayer as an integral element in my day.
What’s been so strange to me is that I find little support for my traditional Catholic Faith and views among the members of my family whom I used to regard as devout Catholics. There is almost a hostility towards all that which is traditional and my Faith is treated almost like some kind of fringe lunacy, completely different from their Catholic Church. Their attitudes are disappointing, hurtful, and alarming. Indeed, some refer to the traditional faith of the very same Church and Rite as their own as “my religion” – something foreign.
I have an aunt who is a devout Nun, now retired. When she visited recently she got quite upset when discussing the Faith in its pre-Vatican II form. Latin, the official language of the Church, was derided and I she felt that those who attended TLM were simply seeking “something mystical” that we don’t understand. I took issue with this, but said little out of respect. Another aunt who used to be a Nun got downright angry when we were discussing the traditional views of the Church when I stated that the Church will never ordain women as priests and hasn’t the authority to do so. These are members of my own family whom I previously believed were conservative, hard line Catholics!
I take Church teachings seriously and clearly see the danger of relativistic modernism. The Truth is absolute and is not subjective and open to personal interpretation, for if it were then nothing could be held as authentically true and there could not be a right and wrong. I’ve discovered that almost none of my family members know what a mortal sin is and do not feel compelled to seek the Sacrament of Penance, though I am quite certain there are those who refuse to accept the Church’s teaching on certain matters of Faith and Morals and do so knowingly. Sacred Tradition is erroneously regarded as belonging to some kind of historical Catholicism that is no longer applicable and in the absence of an absolute standard, Faith has eroded and the values of society in general continue to unravel.
Has anybody else experienced something similar to this with their kin and their traditional faith? How can I best approach this challenge in an amiable way? How can I show them that this is the same Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which they are members? I don’t like throwing the Catechism at them on every issue to prove my assertions, however, maybe I must.I will not compromise the Truth and will bear witness to it where and when I can.