I’m not protesting the idea of traditional Catholicism just the practice. Is it possible to be a “traditional” anything when the forces behind those traditions are gone? I used to attend an SSPX Church and it was like going to a wax museum or something. I got the impression that I couldn’t possibly have a good idea, or any Catholic for that matter, because I wasn’t born before 1940. Didn’t Catholicism used to be creative and fun too? It seems like so-called traditional Catholics have forgotten this. It’s my main problem right now: I don’t like a lot of things I see in mainstream masses but I definitely don’t like the SSPX (socially).
I’m hoping to meet like minded Catholics here and I’m pleased to meet you. I’m new.
Welcome Subzero to the Catholic Answers forum, traditional subform. One thing I can tell you is that for the most part the traditional Catholics on this part of CA don’t bite, though there will be the occasional spat here and there, particularly when the SSPX is brought up or certain things are argued. You’ll even get some good insights from some of the veteran posters, including a tertiary order Franciscan " JReducation " and our usual moderator, Thomas Casey, keeps a pretty good house in order here.
To address your question, I can say that I do agree with you to an extent. When Pope Benedict XVI released Summorum Pontificum in 2007 (and the instruction in 2011 Universae Ecclesiae), as well as lifted the excommunication of the SSPX priests, he definitely gave them an olive branch to canonical reconciliation and made the Extraordiary Form(EF)/Tridentine Latin Mass (TLM) more acceptable. It also took a good chunk of the reason behind the SSPX, as it was generally developed to counter the misapplication of Vatican II when much was going astray over the 70’s and 80’s.
Now, you’ve partially answered your question, “Is it possible to be a “traditional” anything when the forces behind those traditions are gone?” with your last statement " I don’t like a lot of things I see in mainstream masses but I definitely don’t like the SSPX (socially)." The SSPX certainly has its share of issues if you scour the net. There are a few sites I won’t post here, but they will show you that there is more to them. And the mainstream Catholic Church? Well there is quite a number of issues, from the dark cloud of parish administration that hangs over churches, hampering pastors’ ability to focus on spiritual nourishment of the flock (e.g. those meddlesome pastoral councils and sometimes educated lay ministers,) homilies that “mean well” but unfortunately are overabundant in focus on social justice or “being nice to everyone”, and even a number of the initiatives/ministries set to preach to the youth leaves but a sour note with their praise and worship/evangelical/pop style of liturgies or non-traditional approach to youth ministry. And don’t forget the lack of community/cliqueness that can go on in the parishes where if you don’t think liberally, you’re a social pariah (a la go pray your rosary in the corner while we do something innovative and “liturgical” that will “unleash the spirit” cough, cough).
So what social forces then can be part of being in the traditionalist movement or partaking in traditional Catholicism? I’ll name a few at the top of my head:
Our Holy Father promotes it: Even he realizes the general Church needs to get back to its liturgical and spiritual roots that were anti-secular. He freed up the EF, and even encourages it in order that the EF will enrich the OF and make those in the faith appreciate it.
Exposure to beautiful and sacred art in the form of liturgical/classical music: Is that Evangelical music not lifing your spirits? Gather hymnal just making you ho hum? There’s nothing like a well constructed piece of music with beautiful melody and harmony perfored with much practice and effort, honouring our Lord (by its execution and its purpose). You will hear lovely works at the EF, like Mozart, Byrd, Palestrina (if you get the priviledge), etc.
A “cure” for spiritual apathy: One thing improving in my/our generation (Gen Y or JPII/B16 generation adults of the Church) but still lacking in the OF is meeting your spiritual needs. Poor Catechesis is part of this. Unless you get lucky and are part of a well organized (and neutral to traditional) ministry, e.g. RCIA, youth ministry (GOOD Lifeteens or other ones), or have an excellent pastor and associate clergy who truly understand their roles, and thus reach out effectively to the laity, the OF might not effectively meet Joe Catholic’s needs as well as in past. That or you might need to search long and hard to meet those needs through your regular OF church, community, etc. In traditional Catholicism, everything from the EF, practices (e.g. Rosary, First Friday AND Saturday, 40 hours devotion,), EF spiritual reflections and readings, even the education, is much more spiritual nourishing to one’s soul and catechesis during homilies and the educational parts are sound and traditional to the Magisterium of the Church. No questionable dissent here! And you won’t have to work as hard to find those things as in the OF.
“Community”. Another Sunday passes, and the Church seems to empty out within 5 minutes. A sad trend in the OF is that most people tend to come to and leave from Mass, rushing off back home or to wherever (save valid reasons like work or such). Worse some parishes are cliquey, with a well established minor group of people who basically run the groups and the show (and can include clergy), and if you rub the wrong way you can forget partaking or influencing the future of your parish. This used to be that way for my lectoring program I was in, until the new head trainer made headway. Unless there’s a scheduled group in the Church at a particular time or you have friends there, do people talk to each other? Where’s the communal gatherings to meet new people in your parish? Where’s your pastor? Traditional communities certainly do this much better. Why the Latin Masses I regularly go to hold small receptions or meals after the Mass and people just cannot leave the Church quickly enough. As long as your civil, the traditional Catholic crowd (non-SSPX perhaps based on your experience) is warm and open to new people. Best part, families with children of varying ages can be found, and where there are young families, there is lots of community and events.
Reverence. While there will never be a Mass 100% of the time without a crying baby, the EF Masses are always done with some to a complete form of reverence, from the clergy to the servers. No one crosses the tabernacle without a one knee genuflection in the Mass up there, out of respect for our Lord contained in the Blessed Sacrament in there. And I would bet 99% of the time, your priest will not add anything to the Mass, decorate the altar with weird flowers or props, he will “Say the black and do the Red” according to the MIssal, and take his job seriously. Not that this is missing from the Novus Ordo, but I get the feeling from your last line that this is what you might be experiencing if you’re not happy with it. And might I say the laity is more reverent too? You’ll see much more modest dress at those masses (not always though, as the TLM is still kinda being reintroduced and people are still getting used to the “tradition” of it all. One mass I went to a whole family was in sweats and comfortable clothes. Dad had a tattoo on the arm too, but at least the whole family was behind me in the confessional line!). Plus, most people WILL USE THE CONFESSIONAL! The priests will even stay in it and say confessions DURING MASS! No 40 minutes only on Sat before Masses and try again next week! People tend to take their worthiness to receive the Sacrament in the state of sanctifying grace seriously.
In summary, traditionalism will lead (with your free will) to many good things, your spiritual salvation of most importance and always number 1, to a more open community of people who are like-minded and will support you in faith, and beautiful and relevant liturgies that let the Mass be what it is with few impediments: The unbloody re-presentation of Christ’s sacrificial passion, death, and resurrection, the penultimate act of God’s salvation for us, with our spiritual nourishment in Jesus in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. In otherwords, there should only be one encompassing social force that should motivate one to being a “traditional” Catholic : That he will be able to effectively carry out his/her purpose to love, know and serve His Lord and obtain salvation of the soul and be with Him in Heaven.
How was that Subzero? Any other questions? I’ll admit I said a lot and I’m a young male by my title, even younger than yourself so I might have not said everything (nor know everything). o do speak up and hopefully other CA members can chime in.
I would say this is less a product of rite and more a product of priestly leadership and congregational response. I refuse to attend the EF here because the vengeful little priest in the shabby vestements preaches hellfire and damnation on the OF churches that he titles “catholic lite” while his 18 parishoners show up in fleece sweatshirts, and his shabby church decorated with dolls is lined with garbage around the altar (I kid you not, McDonald’s bag, Mountain dew bottle, and a bag of trash left on a scaffold over the altar last time I was there). Not to mention the screaming babies, and the parishoners having NO unity of posture whatsoever, and the list goes on.
In my experience of the mass, this ranks as one of the top 3 worst. I certainly don’t blame the EF, but rather the lack of obedience on the part of a priest who is all vitriole and no charity. Reverence is a product of Catechesis and obedience, not latin itself.