I just came upon this article in my lame-o Archdiocesan newspaper. It is from a column called “Parish Diary” by a Fr. Peter Daly. Basically, it is another hit piece on the Traditional Latin Mass. This priest really maligns traditional Catholics and presumes that their motives for attending the old rite are base. Incidentally, this is the third article in 2 weeks from my diocesan paper that has had an anti-motu proprio tone.
Why are people so threatened by the motu proprio and the TLM. No one will be forced to attend… why the resentment?
I can’t answer for your diocese, but I’ve often thought that the attitude of many of those who self-identify as “traditionalists” (smug superiority, the denigration of the Pauline Mass, the Council, the popes, etc) was the TLM’s WORST enemy and might keep people from wanting anything to do with the TLM. I can’t prove it, it’s just a hunch.
Of course, attitude can feed attitude. Traditionalists probably wouldn’t react so strongly if liberals/progressivists had not so thoroughly disenfranchised them, for all intents and purposes.
This reminds me of something I heard back in July when the Motu Proprio came out.
A man I know (who isnt a traditionalist, but is orthodox nonetheless) attended Sunday Mass at a notoriously liberal-minded chapel at the university (out of curiousity to see what the chapel, which is known to be quite beautiful, looked like). This was on the day after the release of the Motu Proprio.
During the homily the priest did a good job of trashing the Pope as a heavy-handed, rigid, medieval inquisitioner who was trying to turn the clock back on Vatican II. At the end of the homily he asked, very sarcasticaly, if there was to be a Tridentine Mass the following Sunday, would anyone attend? Of course not, he loudly answered himself, not even acknowledging the 5 hands that went up.
Part of the answer lies in the Holy Father’s explanatory letter:
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.
In some cases, the motives for many to desire the TLM lie in the unfaithfulness of the ones screaming the loudest. Wider availability of the TLM, to these pastors, is seen as the death knell for the age of “creativity” in the liturgy.
In the broader sense I think it is seen symbolically as the death knell for a perverted idea of “reform” that entails a more democratic Church, as opposed to the hierarchical Church as founded by Christ. In liberalspeak; they are reacting to the fear that their dreams of a “horizontal Church” are fading before their very eyes. I hope they’re right.
The Traditional Mass symbolizes what many progressives and liberals loathe the most. Recall one French bishop who objected to the Motu Proprio on the grounds that he didnt want the baggage that came with it. The baggage in this case is a more orthodox and rigid faith, based on the doctrines of the Church rather then personal interpretation. The Tridentine Mass represents everything that came before Vatican II, that banner the progressives shove in front of them while preaching dissent and heresy (regardless of what Vatican II actualy said, remember that to most liberals and progressives it is the spirit, not the letter, or Vatican II that matters, even when the spirit contradicts what the Council actualy said).
That is the odd situation where in the part of the country where I am located–where I am, traditionalists are not very prominent or outspoken. In addition, most of the people in the pews that I speak with do not form their opinion of the Latin mass based on schismatic organizations (there are none by us) or much personal experience with traditionalists (they are so few here)… they will just say that wider use of the TLM is an example of the Church “going backwards.”
I do agree that the above problems (smug superiority, denigration of the Pauline mass, etc.) does exist in the various traditionalist communities… to which I would add an inordinate fascination with externals of vestments, etc. … That can be damaging. But it is simply unfair to assume that everyone who has an interest in the TLM fits into Fr.'s categories: old, lazy, anti-social, or merely curious. It is not fair to suggest that such people only want a fast Mass where they don’t have to look at one another. Might some people desire this?–sure, but we should all try to avoid generalizing.
"Silence is Golden"
That’s the slogan I read on the back of an old Heckler & Koch shirt advertising their silenced MP-5 assault rifle.
I’ve always hoped we would use this in a more prayerful way though and I hope that any Traditionalists (including myself) remember to let the powers of Hell attack as they may while we: Pray, attend the Traditional Mass more frequently, bring friends to see the TLM’s beauty and Tradition of our Church, and pray some more.
Silence often speaks for itself. The Blessed Virgin and the Angels and saints will act in place of the the assault rifle for us and indeed, the Glory of God!
Well, I am the only Protestant on board, that I know of, so here is my take:
I attended a High Mass Latin Indult, 1962 Missal last Sunday, and the pews were full to capacity. The church is in Oakland, California and is celebrating their 18th Anniversary of the Latin Mass next month. There are Monday thru Friday 6 PM Tridentine Masses of which I have been at a few of them. During the weekday evening masses the pews are about 1/4 full of very devout worshipers.
I personally view the Pope’s recent Moto Proprio decree as part of the end times and the Apocalypse as being just around the corner. Like most Protestants, I look forward to meeting Jesus in the sky during the Rapture.
Rapture or not,
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;” (Revelation 2:17)
Because it means the age of not following the rules, especially in regards to liturgy, is coming to a close and you cant force faithful Catholics to suffer through it anymore. These liberals realize they have indeed lost the grip they once had because the faithful can go elsewhere. Also the MP takes the chains off of those priests who want to say the TLM but were “restricted” by their Bishops who often, ironically, support “diversity”.
Well, I read the piece by Fr. Daly and the accompanying piece by Fr. Hemrick. The latter is certainly not a “hatchet job” but, rather, an expression of concern about whether or not the young priests of today can actually say the TLM properly (it’s more than just following the rubrics) and I think he raises some valid concerns. Fr. Daly does express some opinions about why people go to the TLM – but we must realize that is his observation. Let’s not discount observation as a hatchet job.
In my diocese we offer the TLM in two locations, one is at the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano mission in the Serra Chapel (very small, seats about 125 and has room for 150) and the other is at the Pope John Paul II Polish center (seats about 700 with both sections open). This serves the north and south parts of the diocese. The central part is made up of many inner-city parishes and Spanish is the primary language. There are so many Spanish Masses that, frankly, I don’t see any opportunity for a priest to have enough energy left over to say the TLM.
In discussion with many of the priests, few feel that a significant number really want the TLM, although there are some who clearly do and drive 25 or 30 miles to get to it.
As for putting the TLM down, I don’t see that happening in my diocese. I do see the bishop making the effort to make the Mass available, but I don’t see large attendance at these Masses.
Now I’m counting down the days to my first TLM in early October. I’ve bought my '62 Missal, and I’ve completely fallen in love with the Mass. Minds can change quickly. As the TLM spreads, interest will grow.
I must first say that I was referring specifically to the piece by F.r Daly that was published in my diocesan paper–and not the piece by Fr. Hemrick. The link is to both because that was the only place that I found the Daly article on-line.
Of course Fr. Daly is stating his opinion and his observations (or rather, his priest friend’s observations). That is certainly his right. However, his opinion and observations seem to be based on a very limited pool of experience (his one friend’s parish!). It is also unfortunate that Fr. Daly (or his priest friend) seem to make assumptions about the motives of those who attend that Latin mass: “The people who come to the Latin Mass like that part of the tradition just fine. They don’t think they should have to do anything but show up. After all, it is the priest who says Mass. They are just spectators.” Did any of them actually express these notions to Fr. Daly’s priest friend… or is that their “interpretation.” In addition, the piece seems to function as an editorial… and Fr. Daly seems to be generalizing about the situation in the wider church. In order to do that, I would suggest that Fr. Daly actually look at some statistics regarding how many people–let’s say in the U.S.–attend the Latin mass, what their ages are, families, and perhaps a survey as to their motivation for attending the Mass. OR, here is a novel idea… why doesn’t Fr. Daly actually try to talk to some of these fellow Catholics. Without doing this, I don’t put much stock in his opinion… because it is based on so little experience. If one is going to write an editorial piece on an issue of wide interest throughout the Church, one should have more experience. Otherwise, one’s opinion amounts to a lame “man on the street” comment.
Deacon Ed, you also wrote that few priests think that a significant part of the laity even want the Latin Mass… why are so many so quick to make this assessment when Sept. 14 has not even come around yet. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy to say, for example, ‘well, few lay people want the TLM,… so we won’t offer it…’ Of course, if it is not offered and if there is a signal that there will be no greater availability… no one will ask for it.
I say wait for the chance for people to be able to ask for it, and then make the judgment as to what the demand is.
“Most of the people who come are elderly. They like this Mass because it is quiet and short. It reminds them of the olds days. A few young people come once in a while out of curiosity. They do not come back often.”
Again, how did Fr. Daly’s priest friend come to this conclusion… did they tell him they like the mass because it is short? How does he know that the young people come out of ‘curiosity’ ? At any rate, I have not been to a large number of latin masses, but I can say that I have been to a handful in different locations and churches (different states, etc.) and this is not MY experience. My experience is that people go to the TLM because they find it a powerful place to pray and adore God… it is more contemplative (though they are actively PRAYING even if they are not actively SPEAKING parts of the mass), more quiet (the noise of a Sunday mass with instrumentation and a bold choir is simply not a prayerful environment for everyone–ask our Eastern rite Catholic brethren how they would respond to a typical Sunday Latin-rite Pauline mass). Lastly, many people I know that attend the TLM because they know that the liturgy will be celebrated in a consistent and predictable way… vs. the box of chocolate effect that is more common in the Paul VI mass. I also see families and men of women of all ages at the TLMs I have gone to.
“My neighboring pastor is a bit exasperated with the whole thing. It means a lot of work for him. Under the old liturgy the priest did just about everything.”
Why is the TLM “a lot of work for him”? Haven’t priests been celebrating a form of the liturgy similar to the 1962 missal for some centuries? How did they survive the back-breaking liturgical work load? How much work can it be if the number of people attending the mass is so small? More specifics would help me understand Fr. Daly’s point here? Oh, I see that his specific complaints are that he must put on a different set of vestments (whoa!), set out a different liturgical book, and prepare a different homily… hmmmm, different liturgical books and different homilies–sounds like what my pastor has to do when he must offer a Spanish mass every week (he is not fluent enough to translate his English homily, so he must make up a shorter one, or take something from the internet). I agree that someone should help him move the altar. (But is that a general complaint or more of a specific situation in that parish?)
What about those priests who were asked to become bi-ritual so as to provide the liturgy for Eastern-rite Catholics. Did they complain so much? The priesthood is about service… and if there is a need… and it is not an unreasonable burden… it should be done. Maybe he could alternate celebrating the Latin mass with another priest in the diocese?
"We read only an Epistle and a Gospel. There were no readings from the Old Testament. We didn’t hear much of the Bible and it was heard in Latin."
TLMs that I have gone to have included a reading of the epistle and the gospel in English as well. So this criticism is not relevant to the mass today?
“A few folks from my parish go over to my neighbor’s parish for the Latin Mass. Mostly they are quite elderly. They don’t like all the singing at my parish. They don’t like shaking hands. They don’t like Communion in both forms. They don’t like having three readings.”
Of course, one could ask–WHY do they not like the singing at his parish–perhaps they consider the music to be lame (as it is at my parish) and hardly helpful in the liturgical worship of God. I know that I would personally prefer no music to the music that I hear at my Sunday liturgies… not because I do not like music or because the music takes too long… but because I like another kind of sacred music and find the contemporary pop/folk stuff to be distracting and an obstacle to prayer. Maybe the “shaking hands” at his parish during the Sign of Peace has become an obnoxious social free-for-all that upsets the rhythm of the liturgy?
"I think my neighbor’s experience will be the experience of the church. We can offer it. But almost nobody will come."
Again, on what does he base this prediction? I would bet Fr. Daly that he might be a little surprised by what actually happens.
I have a great reverence for the Pauline mass (especially when it is celebrated properly which, unfortunately, is not very commonplace in my area). All that I am saying is that the motu proprio should be met with an open-mind and charity… and even a ‘wait and see’ approach… rather than the prejudice and assumption that fosters and maintains division within the Church.
I have read that Fr. Daly’s priest-friend denies saying some of the things he is supposed to have said and objected to the local bishop.
As for the two indult Masses in Orange County, the Deacon is correct. There is an 8 a.m. Indult Mass at San Juan’s tiny Serra Chapel, and it is generally overflowing with worshippers. The 7 a.m. TLM at the Pope John Paul Center in Yorba Linda was permitted early this year and has a steady level of people (50-70)attending, considering its location and time; On Easter the Latin Mass was celebrated at a later hour and approximately 300 persons attended. Recently it was announced that a Latin Mass will again be celebrated in another church of the diocese beginning in September. Several miles away, in another diocese, the TLM is SRO every Sunday.
In addition to the heavily Hispanic population in the middle of the diocese, there is a growing Vietnamese population. Masses are celebrated in both these tongues, as well as a number of others.
The Maronite church is always overflowing with worshippers in this ancient rite, and the Deacon is in a better position to comment on participation in other Eastern Catholic rites.
Would more people come if the Extraordinary Form were available at times and locations more convenient to families? Can’t say, because nobody seems to have considered the possibility.
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