What attracts youths to the Tridentine?

I recently read the Pope’s intentions to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass. I have been to this Mass several times. It is beautiful. For me though, I prefer to go once or twice a year only. Personally, I prefer the Novus Ordo Mass on a routine basis. I recently read on the University of Notre Dame Campus Ministry website that beginning September 14, the Holy Cross Priests at the university will be offering the Tridentine Mass once every Sunday on campus. I think this is great for those members of the university community that are attached to the extraordinary form of celebration. I must admit that I’m a bit surprised that there exists such an attachment for the younger generation.

I do think it’s a beautiful Mass, like I said earlier. For me it’s great every now and then. What is it though that attracts some of these younger college kids to this form of the Mass? I’m glad they are attracted to it, but just a bit surprised.

Here’s more on the weekly campus Mass:


God Bless,

As celebrated by orthodox priests, it’s the most beautiful thing this side of heaven! You can also trust that you will see and hear orthodox Catholicism with absolutely no nonsense of the abusive or allowed kind. No fuzzy homilies, no gladhanding entertainer priests, modest dress, holy silence, good music, beautiful vestments/vessels/architecture, orthodoxy, no flocks of EMHC, no altar girls, etc. The big thing is the orthodoxy and unabashed Catholic outlook. The traditionalist priests I know don’t pull punches in their teaching and the people all act like Catholics.

Basically, an unadulterated dose of Catholicism. Sure, there are some areas that have well celebrated NOs here and there but you can pretty much bet that if its a TLM celebrated these days, its going to be good. When I was getting serious about the Faith, the biggest shot in the arm was finding the traditional Mass.

This will probably ire many “Traditionalists”,
but personally, I think, for many, it is the novelty of it. And also the desire to be somewhat different than the mainstream.

Trying to “find their niche”. Just my :twocents:

It could be that they are looking for something solid and orthodox–which is not offered in many progressive liberal parishes.

I took my daughter (now a college senior) to a TLM a few times over the last few years, and I was amazed that she liked it better than the NO Mass. When I asked why, she said that she really hates what she calls “happy clappy” music at Mass (the fluffy stuff they used to sing at guitar Masses but is unfortunately done on organ now too).

Why are people in general flocking to the old mass? Why are about 80% of prospective seminarians on this site (a ball-park estimate, don’t quote me on that one) thinking of studying the TLM?

Catholics are looking for an identity, most of all, youth. I myself am a young person who prefers the TLM, and I must say that it is easy to tell that it is Catholic–entirely Catholic. Some “liberal” parishes seem no more different than some Protestant ceremonies. Since the 60s, things done in the “spirit of Vatican II” like the sudden disappearance of cassocks and the near dissapreance of albs, seems to make Catholicism “blend in” with other Christian sects. The new generation doesn’t want to blend in, because we don’t care about what society thinks about us. Many want to emphasize Truth and Tradition in an age that has neither, and the TLM is the perfect way to do so.

because i want something distinctly catholic and traditional. the church prides itself on scripture and tradition, but a lot of the latter part they’ve left behind recently. i don’t want a hippie mass where we hold hands and clap and sing campfire songs, i want the real deal. a straight up dose of mass. and like the person above said, an identity. i feel like a protestant when i go to mass on sundays. i’ve never been to life teen mass but i imagine it’d be ten times worse. there’s a time and a place to clap and sing folk music, but mass isn’t it.

As a youth, I do agree. I get an occasional (mother Theresa-ish) spiritual emptiness when I’m at school. Why? I go to Mass on Sundays, say my rosary and daily prayers, wear a scapular, even carry around my own tracts for the “bible pushers” that visit campus on occasion (You’re not taking my BVM away from me, dangnabit!).

Anyhow, I’d LOVE to be at ND (was on my list of schools, but waaaay to far for me) and have the chance for a weekly TLM. Yes, the reverence in these masses leave me feeling full, satisfied, after mass and confession on Sundays. Maybe it’s the substitution of altar boys in cassock/surplice for EMHCs in flip-flops, jeans and skin-tight shirts that can’t fathom someone wishing to receive on the tongue.

When we ask this question (Why do young folks want the TLM?) we have to keep in mind that the Catholic Church is O-L-D. The Catholic Church is NOT our church–it is GOD’s Church. This is very important because, for a great number of young folk these days, some things just don’t have much of a meaning if they aren’t backed up by a history. We want things that are connected to the past–we want to EXPERIENCE history instead of reading about it. The fact is, if you want to have history and religion, why not be Catholic? And if you’re a Catholic and want history, why not attend a TLM?

This yearning for the TLM goes even deeper than just wanting to get in touch with our roots. When I attended my first Latin Mass (extraordinary form) one of the first feelings I had after mass was anger. I had just sat through an hour and half of a heavenly mass and benediction–the most wonderful experience of my life. Why hadn’t I had this all of my life? It’s you old fogies that ruined it for us young-uns :stuck_out_tongue: In all seriousness though, I felt (still do) like a HUGE part of my Catholic heritage was stolen from me by some group in the generation before me that are just old enough that I’d feel very bad about strangling. Frankly, I think alot of young people don’t care what happened, they just want to be close to their Catholic roots (not that anything was wrong with them in the first place). Why were our beautiful churches torn down/renovated into buildings that don’t even resemble a church, Catholic or not? Why in the world does my Newman Center resemble a toilet? (no exaggeration) What happened?
Why can’t I tell a Catholic church from a Protestant worship-space any more? Why has our liturgies become so diluted that I take my roommate (United Church of Christ) to Mass and expect it to be different or special than what he’s accustomed to just to hear him say that Mass was no different from his standard fare Sunday liturgy at the United Church of Christ? Our Theology differs. Our take on the Bible differs, THE EUCHARIST. Why must we be different and also alike? These are questions young people have about our Catholic liturgy that can’t be answered or satisfied without the Latin Mass entering into the equation.

Ahem…sorry for the lengthy post, but I hope you can understand my point.

Everyone else has already said it, but I’ll say it again. When you go to a TLM you know you’ll hear something 100% Catholic - you don’t have to worry about hearing or seeing something that is ‘questionable’. It is also undeniably Catholic, and what others have said about it being a part of our identity and heritage is true (even though I’ve only been fully Catholic for a few months!).

I think it’s a reaction to the datedness of many contemporary liturgical celebrations - many seem to be stuck in the 70’s and 80’s artistically, architecturally, and musically. Also, many seem to be done in an obsessively anti-mystical way - it can be difficult to feel spiritual or a part of something bigger than oneself. IMO, that’s not an inherent flaw in the ordinary use, but rather how it is celebrated.

Also, I think there is an appeal in the distinctiveness of it - it looks and feels about as Catholic as you can get. This is refreshing after being told that your religion is little different from that of the Lutherans or Anglicans down the street. It’s also important to have a distinct religious identity at a time when contemporary culture is increasingly unChristian.

Young people generally do not seek out the extraordinary form, what they seek is orthodoxy and reverence. Sadly, in many places the only Masses offered reverently and according to the rubrics are extraordinary form Masses. In those places where there are OF Masses offered correctly according the rubrics and accompanied by traditional music, there are many young people and young families. I am fortunate to live near a parish like this and there are many, many young families coming from all over to attend the OF Mass correctly. We are starting to get a number of families who previously attended an indult Mass that was about 35 minutes away. Of course, this is only what I am seeing in my area, but I do think it makes sense. People desire tradition, orthodoxy and reverence whether it is found in the OF or EF of the Mass.

Because it actually seems SACRED, it’s not just more of the day to day.

Yes I understand-- I lived thru the era—when our roots were yanked out from under our feet.

I have offen wondered about those who say it is just a fad–if they are actually projecting their own wishfull thinking. They say its a fad----because they want it to be a fad – which will die out. What they don’t seem to want to acknowledge — is that it is God’s will that the TLM did not disappear and forms part of who we are as Catholics.

[quote=PhilotheaZ]I was amazed that she liked it better than the NO Mass. When I asked why, she said that she really hates what she calls “happy clappy” music at Mass (the fluffy stuff they used to sing at guitar Masses but is unfortunately done on organ now too).

[quote=repo man]i don’t want a hippie mass where we hold hands and clap and sing campfire songs, i want the real deal.

I wish that every “progressive” bishop, priest, and liturgista in America could hear these comments, and the comments everyone has made about their disgust with irreverent Masses and their strong desire for holiness and orthodoxy.

It’s amazing that young people, who are the “target audience” for all of the “folk” and “rock” Masses, actually prefer the Tridentine Mass over the dog and pony shows in NO parishes----which kind of puts a big torpedo in the assertion by liberal liturgistas that “If we don’t make it ‘entertaining’ for them, they won’t come”.

Although I suppose in a way that’s true—a good many of them aren’t coming; instead, they’re going off to find Tridentine Masses to attend. :slight_smile:

I love to see threads like this; it gives me a great deal of hope. God willing, by the time my 6-year old son is my age, the “extraordinary rite” that requires and indult to be celebrated will be the Novus Ordo.

I was tired of the mood music at Mass…you know, the kind of music you could easily imagine in the background of a cheesy soap opera. So, a buddy of mine and I started a Gregorain chant schola. It was the two of us and a music director…now it’s 13 people. All but two of the men are under 35.

Young people have been taking up JPII’s call for a New Evangelization. While discovering doctrinal traditions and the power these dogmas have, many young people have realized that the liturgical traditions were just as inspiring.

After that, they started seeing through the mood music, campfire songs, and banality that occurs at many Masses.

The TLM offers more by its standardized form. It may not be perfect, but it is designed to minimize the craziness and maximize the “Catholicity” by putting up safeguards to liturigical and doctrinal abuse.

I’m 24 and just graduating from university. Do I count? Basically, I love history and Latin both, have taught the latter as well, so I understand what’s going on. In fact, I don’t have any resentment towards the newer version of the rites and I’m glad vernacular languages have made it in. But, I like to go to the Latin mass, be it Pauline or Tridentine. I can feel the tradition.

Because with a TLM, you can almost be assured of good orthodoxy and loyalty to Holy Mother Church (Unless, you’re SSPX ;)) by both the laity and the clergy.

Also, I’m very much of the opinion - if it’s not broken - don’t fix it.

The Tridentine Mass was never broken, therefore we don’t need something to fix it.

It truly is the Mass of All Ages.

Saying that, I do love the Novus Ordo Mass, also, because it’s a valid Catholic Mass.


I think the reasons vary greatly, and I don’t think it’s just a fad, though it likely will be for some.

From my discussions with young people who find the idea attractive, and my observations, I have found several common threads.

Some seem to be attracted to what they perceive as “increased” reverence.

Some seem to prefer a “distinctive” language that is set aside for worship.

Some seem to be drawn to it as the normal reaction of teens to be for whatever their parents aren’t excited about. Others, who seem to be close to their parents, seem to be drawn due to their parent’s influence–I see this especially among homeschoolers.

Some seem to be listening to some of the charismatic younger priests who are preaching that “Vatican II is the worst thing that ever happened to the Church” and are being sucked into thinking they are the “remnant Church” that is going to save the world. Many of these are being convinced that all of the ills of the world are the result of Vatican II and that going back will restore us to the “Leave it to Beaver” world of the 50’s. I find this particular group, and their motivations, to be very disturbing as there is a sense of superiority and inability to recognize the universal Church at work that portends future schism. This, except for the occasional homeschooler, is also the only group I have ever heard use the word or concept of “orthodoxy”, as it is the buzzword that the priests use to convey the the “remnant Church” idea.

Some seem drawn to the structure and discipline that they don’t seem to find anywhere else. Knowing the parents of many of these young people, I can understand their search for some sort of identity and structure.

The key is that none of these young people I know have yet experienced the TLM, so it is all based on expectations. Whether it will ultimately meet their expectations remains to be seen.

I’m personally excited, except for the one group, with whatever motivation brings them to a greater search for God and williingness to be open to both forms, regardless of which they ultimately turn to.


Well, it will vary from person to person, but from my personal experiences on the campus of ND, I would offer these particular observations:

Masses in the residence halls are intentionally pedestrian, and each hall has its own particular obvious abuse that could be distracting to someone looking for a faithful liturgy

The basilica does offer a pretty decent stab at a traditional NO (though only the choirs, not the priests, use any Latin), but a) the two forms are still different and b) if Latin is important to someone they’re just not going to get it there

Finally, with particular respect to campus, all the liturgies here are basically dedicated to “the way we do things now.” No matter how traditional, everyone is so set in their ways and the mindset is that things just must be done a certain way now because of how “we” understand liturgy, etc. For people desiring a stronger hermeneutic of continuity, this can come off as a rather impoverished approach to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I still have a youth at home and he belongs to two youth groups that are in two different Protestant churches, but he wont attend a Tridentine Mass with me. The Protestants seem to be much more aggressive at organizing their young people. There is an organization named Battle Cry out of Texas and my boy has been at two of their huge rallies in the AT&T Park in San Francisco. During both years some kids marched on city hall, and were televised on the national network news.

Personally, I think that you are making a big-big mistake by characterizing the youth into impersonal groups like you just did. Kids can sense that sort of thing from their parents or clergy. The one thing that stands out about my boy’s youth group friends is their indwelling of the Holy Spirit and their personal union with the crucified and risen Christ. The only characterization is that they are Born Again Protestants.

I think it’s about time for the Catholics to kick it into gear, and get their youth in there.


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