Mass Preference--The Greatest of These is Love

I was talking with my husband last night after Mass. We are both converts from evangelical Protestantism. He was raised in the Assemblies of God, while I was raised General Conference Baptist.

His parents went into mourning when he started dating me because they assumed (wrongly) that all Baptists were against “speaking in tongues.” So we are accustomed to conflicts between Christians.

Now we are both Catholic. And last night, we were talking about conflicts between Catholics. Some see the new Mass as full of abuses, liberal practices, and fluffy music. Others like the new Mass and folk/rock music, welcoming the changes as “fresh air.”

We decided that some of this conflict arises from perspective.

If you grew up Catholic with the formal, traditional TLM, you will perceive the “new Mass” as an irreverent travesty and find the rock music loud and distracting, the informal “homilies” irreverent, and vernacular language ugly and not appropriate for the seriousness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

But believe it or not, if, like my husband and me, you grew up Protestant, you will perceive the “new Mass” as extremely formal. In fact, to many Protestants, even the “clown mass” would be boring and staid compared to what they are used to in their churches. And the TLM would be considered positively archaic and ritualistic.

My husband and I determined that Catholics need to practice more love and understanding toward each other when it comes to Mass preference.

Perspective. We should try to climb into the other person’s shoes and walk toward Mass the way he/she does. That way, we will understand why they think the way they think, even if we don’t agree… We won’t assume that the other person is a stuffy old antiquarian stuck in the 5th century or a clown-loving hippie who listens to too much NPR.

My husband and I have done some reading, and as far as we can interpret the writings, the Magisterium has NOT forbidden the “new Mass,” and even though chant and polyphony along with pipe organ are to be given the place of honor in Mass, the new music and instruments ARE allowed and are considered appropriate to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. All of the “day to day” of Mass is to be approved by the proper ecclesial authorities (i.e., the Bishop).

So as long as the Bishop has given the “go-ahead,” no Mass is sinful, and no one is committing sin to attend a Mass that is pleasing. We should not criticize or belittle each other for attending a Mass that is pleasing to us personally. We are Catholics–one Church, and it is by our love for each other that the world will know we are Christians.

OTOH, the Mass is not about our personal preferences, and if we cannot find a Mass that is “pleasing” to us, we should not complain or criticize what the Bishop of the Church has approved.

Does all this sound reasonable?

What you say is reasonable, but we must also acknowledge that there were true abuses added into the mix as well (sometimes without the approval of the Bishop, sometimes with his approval and even at his command). In fact, without the long and pervasive history of true abuses I can’t imagine that the TLM would ever have made this “comeback”. As Benedict XVI said, “This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.”

The point being, there are legitimate variations allowed by the Church, but there have also been a great number of illegitimate variations (deformations), and one of the fruits of those illegitimate variations is the return of the TLM. What irony!

There is also such a thing as a genuine mistake. A priest who dresses up as a clown probably isn’t trying to mock the liturgy. He thinks that this is the way to attract young people to Mass, that he is being “creative” in the spirit of Vatican II and so forth. Sometimes you need to see the reality to realise that there are weaknesses in your approach.

If he persists with the clown Masses after the bishop has told him in no uncertain terms to stop then that is a different matter. However we shouldn’t assume the worst motive with no evidence.

Of course there were and still are abuses. I am in no way suggesting that they be ignored or accepted or celebrated.

I think it is tragic that Catholics saw their beautiful church buildings decimated by wrecking balls, pipe organs abandoned and left to mice, and beautiful music thrown out the door. No wonder there is pain on the part of the Traditionalist Catholics. I don’t blame you at all for this. It wasn’t right.

It’s funny that one of the reasons many Protestants start investigating the Catholic Church is that they are searching for “traditionalism.” Many of them, like my husband and me, get involved with “modern” parishes which seem very traditional and formal to us!

So when we hear Traditionalists say that the Modern Mass is irreverent, we stare at each other and say, “What’s he talkin’ about, Willis?!” To us, these “modern Masses” seem sublime in their reverence compared to what we escaped from!

I hear people debating over whether Communion should be received on the tongue or the hand, and I think, “Oh, brother! Where I came from, people were drinking Pepsi and eating Twinkies and calling it Communion!”

Like I said, Perspective. Ex-Protestants like me are NOT trying to dismantle the Sacred Mass and turn it into Protestant Land. (I think even a lot of Modern Catholics would stand up and walk out on some of the Protestant worship practices.)

But as long as our Bishop approves of an NO Mass in the vernacular, it is perfectly acceptable for us to enjoy it, right? Without criticism from fellow Catholics, right?

I just think that all the back-biting is harmful to the Church of Jesus Christ. We should be ONE.

You assume that traditionalists were either raised before Vatican II, or that they were raised in a traditionalist family.

Consider that I am 18, my family is Catholic in name only (except for my two sisters who are liberal protestants now); my step-father loathes the Church; years ago when my family did attend Mass regularly it was the New Mass in a parish that had such things as dancing, electric guitars, the ugliest architecture ever seen, and the like; my mother has all sorts of misconceptions about what Vatican II really said (ie. she claims that V2 abolished the Sunday Obligation, Confession and belief in the Eucharist- she ran the RCIA at our former parish btw).

Yet here I am- I am 18, I attend (and serve at) the Traditional Mass, I love Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony, and I want to be a priest with the Institute of Christ the King.

How did that happen? :slight_smile:

Caesar, I’ve heard that lots of young people are looking for “tradition” and “roots.”

This is true in the Protestant churches as well, including the evangelical churches where we are now seeing such practices as contemplative prayer and lectio divina (I use a devotional reading by the Reformed Church in America, and the reading yesterday was about lectio divina and why we should all be doing it.)

On the other hand, lots of young people are looking for cultural relevance, too, and feel that the modern music and worship practices are a better way for them to glorify God.

So like I said, perspective. The Catholic Church has a valid, licit Mass for all of us! Isn’t that great?

You often find that you have reinvented something. For instance when I was writing 12 Common Atheist Arguments (refuted) I mentioned two good arguments against the existence of God; the problem of evil, which I excluded, and the ability of science to explain the natural world. I found out later that these were the exact same ones mentioned by Thomas Aquinas seven hundred years ago.

Just to be clear, I spoke of abuses, not motives. Abuses are pretty much objective realities. I have no doubt that many abuses were committed for “good reasons”, but they are still abuses. The pope’s words I quoted make that pretty clear.

I recognize that you weren’t supporting abuses, and I never intended to hint otherwise. Your posts in this thread are actually very understanding and non-polemic, and I tip my hat to you for that.

This is a mistake. I did not grow up with the Traditional Latin Mass. In fact, I have yet to hear a word of Latin in any Catholic Liturgy I have attended - even in the my orthodox Cathedral parish.

I drifted away from the church early because nothing about it seemed remarkable. Due to poor chatechesis and lack of reverence in the liturgy, I viewed The Eucharist a “blessed piece of bread”. I wasn’t even told to goto confession before my first communion. In fact, I wasn’t even taught what sin was or that there’s a distinction between mortal and venial sin.

It seemed as though the Mass was a series of pointless rituals. The only reason I was EVER provided for attending Mass was: “To be a part of the community”. It struck me as complete nonsense (I’d prefer to use a stronger word here - it begins with a B) then, and I see it that way even more today.

One day last year, at the age of 18, I happened upon a video of Traditional Latin Mass and I saw what Catholic liturgy should be. I was utterly moved by the extreme reverence and the beautiful music. I began to study my faith. What could possibly move people to perform such beautiful rituals? Why such intense devotion?

I discovered the Catholic faith. The one which had been covered up or glossed over by church liberals for my entire life. I discovered a beautiful truth to which an injustice is done by modern irreverence in the Mass.

[Edited by Moderator]

I drifted away from the church early because nothing about it seemed remarkable. Due to poor chatechesis and lack of reverence in the liturgy, I viewed The Eucharist a “blessed piece of bread”. I wasn’t even told to goto confession before my first communion. In fact, I wasn’t even taught what sin was or that there’s a distinction between mortal and venial sin.

It seemed as though the Mass was a series of pointless rituals. The only reason I was EVER provided for attending Mass was: “To be a part of the community”. It struck me as complete nonsense (I’d prefer to use a stronger word here - it begins with a B) then, and I see it that way even more today.

But the vernacular was supposed to have everyone understand what was going on. You mean it didn’t?? :slight_smile:

Seriously, your note was a very nice testimonial. Thank you much.

I have never attended a clown Mass, a polka Mass, etc., but I do recall in the past a film used in C.C.D. that had a clown theme. The idea behind it was not to attract or entertain the young, but as I recall to point to the clown as a character who might be sad and crying inside, but looking and acting silly and cheerful outside to help others cope with their life’s problems.

The assumption on these forums seems to be that particular “abuses” have or are being practiced to entertain or attract the young or some other nefarious reason. Maybe so some of the time, but I live to tell you, as you who love classical hymnody would attest, the music at Mass has a great influence on whether or not someone gets into “the presence of God” at Mass. For some the classical doesn’t cut it. You all can chatter all day how the music is for God’s benefit, but as Jesus said,“the sabbath is for man, not man for the sabbath.” God does not need our worship, he demands it because we need to give it if we are to be truly human.

Ah, yes. If everyone understands the language during Mass there is no need for catechesis.

Very beautiful post, Dauphin. I think your experience is common to many other Catholics as well, and that is why traditionalism is growing so fast. That and the call of the Holy Spirit. :wink:

Cat, I only wish that the Liturgy Commissars had had at least your spirit of tolerance.

Keep in mind however that some of the severest critics of the liturgical reform were former Protestants like Hugh Ross Williamson and Michael Davies, author of Pope Paul’s New Mass.

You seem to make a connection between the NO and liturgical abuse. While litugical abuse has obviously been closely interwined with the NO, do you blame the NO itself for the abuses? I think that the abuses are more a product of modernism than the NO.

It seems to me that you think the TLM displays Truth more so than the NO. Why? God is still present in the Eucharist, and the NO was instituted by Christ’s Church. Also, at first the liturgy was in Greek, and even now there are around 22 Eastern rites. Do you think the TLM is superior to these and the NO?


Are you the same person as Dauphin? (just so I know if you are the original poster)

Here’s a question: was the Last Supper a TLM?

Holy Mother Church has approved the NO Mass, so there is nothing we can say about it. That matter is settled.

However, the NO is supposed to be celebrated correctly. Latin and Chant are still supposed to hold a predominant place in every Mass.

Also, the many Bishops approve variations of the NO that are 100% not supposed to happen. Blah blah we all know the typical horrid abuses that are always talked about.

So, yes, I will refrain from criticism if the Mass is celebrated properly. However we still need to weed out some liturgical dancers in my diocese, so I reckon I will keep complaining for now.

As for my story, I grew up “half Catholic.” Mass on Sundays was about it. Now I attend a TLM and have just be accepted to seminary. (yay!) Who knows how that happened? I don’t. But I did feel the more orthodox I became the more…Catholicism I searched out. And I found the most Catholicism in the TLM.

I’m a “returned” Catholic. After reading some of the motu proprio threads and some traditional issues, I found myself at mass yesterday wearing a chapel veil next to my friend who had nothing on her head. We held hands during the Our Father and a lady in the pew behind me grabbed my other hand. This is after I started keeping my hands folded during the Our Father. So I’m thinking now, go figure, it felt good to hold hands and pray together. It also feels good to fold my hands and pray alone. The priests let a visiting missionary nun give the homily. At first I was uneasy, but she had good things to say about love thy neighbor and how it applied to the mission in South Africa. She wore nothing on her head and was dressed in African garb. My chapel veil kept falling off and I kept putting it back on. In short, I was experiencing some tradition and some of the newer things in the Church. I’m looking forward to hearing more Latin, but I also like the VII components.
I was left with the feeling of what a wonderful thing it is to be Catholic!

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