Those Angry Traditionalists

Ever attended a clown Mass? Me neither. To be sure, I’ve seen lovingly photographed liturgical bizarrenesses from time to time chronicled on the Internet. And I’ve seen some enthusiasts for the Latin Mass often talk as though such stupid liturgical antics are happening everywhere all the time and that they alone stand between the Church and the complete and utter circus-ization of the Mass. But have I been to an actual clown Mass? Nope. Never saw one — and I live in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Now I agree completely that the Blessed Sacrament is the absolute center of the universe and of all history. If you want to know What It’s All About, look at the Eucharist. And I agree that in the Mystery of God’s Providence, the Eucharist has been entrusted into our fragile hands in the same way that Jesus was entrusted into the hands of the Holy Family. We have an obligation to do our best to celebrate the Mass reverently and worthily.

But there is also the danger that we can forget that the Mass is God’s before it is ours. We can start to regard it as our property. Certainly liturgical abusers are doing this. But "saviors of the liturgy" can forget in their own way as well. They can come to relish liturgical abuses because, well, it’s gratifying to one’s pride to be the Savior of the Liturgy, isn’t it?

 
When I entered the Church I heard of the dreaded Clown Mass. I got the impression that such things were endemic, and that I was entering a war zone where I would have to struggle every day with unspeakable outrages against the Eucharist.
 
It’s been 20 years and the worst I’ve had to put up with is listening to "Anthem" now and then.
 
On the other hand, I have frequently encountered, both on the Web and in real life, people like the one described by a correspondent of mine who wrote me last January:
 
At the March for Life in DC last week, our group (mostly young teens) came across a marcher holding aloft a Crucifix with a big sign: "Latin Mass=Truth; New Mass= Abortion." As I respectfully disagreed with him, he brought up receiving the Eucharist by hand, as if that somehow that had to do with saving unborn children.

That note sums up why I have no interest in becoming a liturgical fussbudget. At the end of the day, my Bible — and the teaching of the Church — insists that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, not bitterness about mediocre liturgy and still less blasphemy at valid liturgies approved by Holy Church. People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear. A true Catholic faith evangelizes; like it or not, this is not evangelizing, but shouting "Repel boarders" and then pouring boiling oil on your own archers. Such treatment of brother and sister Catholics is, well, evil and will serve to ensure that Traditionalism (or, at any rate, this kind of Traditionalism) dies out in a generation or so.
 
 
When I pointed this out on my blog, I was tartly rebuked by a Traditionalist who reproached me with these words:
Your interest in "correcting" traditionalists is… shall I say… oddly disproportionate to your interest in understanding the things we care about.

Here’s the thing: In the early Church, Christians did not huddle up and demand that those around them understand the things they care about. That’s because the command they had been given was "Go therefore into every nation, teaching them to observe what I have commanded." They were a missionary Church conquering the world with love, not a Fortress desperately fighting to bring back the good old days. They didn’t hunker down, griping about how converts were screwing everything up, or complaining that things were better way back when, or talking as though faith, hope and love were wimpy symptoms of Kumbaya Catholicism. They endured real persecution of the "roasting on hot griddles" sort and not of the "having to sing ‘Anthem’" variety. And they left a distinct impression on the pagans around them: "See how they love one another." They did not approach life with the expectation that those who came at them from outside owed them something.

But that is often the impression I have gotten from many (though certainly not all) Traditionalists. Like it or not, discourse among a great many Traditionalists is filled with anger and contempt for Catholics who do not share their burning interest in traditional forms of piety.

So while I’ve never seen a Clown Mass, I have encountered lots of angry Trads who have compared the Paul VI rite to a Black Mass, made clear that "Novus Ordo types" are second class Catholics, spent a great deal of time obsessing over Jews, sneered at John Paul II and Benedict "Novus Ordo Popes" who have compromised the Tradition, threatened people in my parish physically, smeared good priests with nasty rumor campaigns and generally made their claims to be the Guardians of True Catholicism so repellent that I wouldn’t touch the Faith with a barge pole if they were the True Apostles of it they claim to be. And that experience is not just mine. One reader out of many wrote in to concur with an all-too-common anecdote:
 
[A] friend of mine took a breather from his Latin Mass group one year after a post-Mass brunch turned into a boisterous discussion over whether it was morally licit to pray for God to strike down Hillary Clinton. He said he was well into the discussion when he caught a glance at people sitting at other tables, their mouths agape, listening in shock and disgust to what the traditionalist Catholics were talking about. He realized that HEY, we’re not really being a good witness to the faith.

Yeah. Like that.

In much the same way that I think Muslims need to stop whining about how people perceive Islam and focus instead on why so many people have such similar perceptions, so too I think not a few Traditionalist Catholics should focus more energy on changing whatever it is in their sub-sector of the Church that leaves so many of us with such a bad taste in our mouths.
 
When the outsider’s principal experience of Traditionalism is of repeated and frequent encounters with mean people who are perpetually angry about remote arcana and loony conspiracy theories, he is not going to feel any obligation or interest whatsoever in "understanding the things we care about." Telling outsiders to Traditionalism that they need to overlook their experience and stop talking about what they have actually seen and heard will be about as successful as Muslim attempts to force people to not notice the less-than-lovely face that the Religion of Peace shows the world.

Is clinging to anger more important to Traditionalists than actually winning hearts and minds to their cause? If so, then their agenda is doomed and they have paradoxically abandoned the worship of God in the name of liturgical purity. 


Mark P. Shea is a senior editor at www.CatholicExchange.com and a columnist for InsideCatholic.com. Visit his blog at www.markshea.blogspot.com.

Mark P. Shea

By

Mark P. Shea is the author of Mary, Mother of the Son and other works. He is a senior editor at Catholic Exchange and a columnist for Crisis Magazine. Visit his blog at www.markshea.blogspot.com.

  • Fr. Richard

    There is no question that we have lived, and are living through some of the most challenging times in terms of the loss of the sense of the sacred. I may have just written one of the greatest understatements of all time by my last sentence. Modernism and all it’s subsequent “isms” have laid waste to countless victims (including many in everyone of our families). To set your sights on those who are “finally” taking a stand (imperfectly as they may be doing so) against this assault on the sacred is missing the mark completely. You are eloquent and talented and I have enjoyed your writings for some time, but I was devastated to see you choose these “frustrated and fed up” as your target.

  • Richard

    Wow! Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Miss your morning coffee? Where is the even handed editor you usually strive to be?

    I count myself as a traditionalist to the point that I still recite most of the prayers at Mass in Latin and always have. I find very few who share my views and I have never known anyone who was as far out as the people you describe. Do they really exist outside of the pages of such vehicles as this one? I’ve never heard of a “Clown Mass”, thank goodness. It’s been my experience that the folks that are singing those “awful” hymns are doing so with as much respect and religious zeal as they can. I think they have been short changed by their church in the liturgy and music departments, but most of the clerical folks who are doing it have what they think are good intentions.

    In fact, I guess I sort of resent your apparent equating of traditionalism – or part of it – to such fringe lunatic behaviour as you describe. Where would any Catholic of any flavor get off praying for God to strike down Hillary or any other political candidate?

    I suggest you go back to bed and have a good night’s sleep. A prayer or two both before and after might help. Perhaps an aspirin as well.

  • Todd

    I have to congratulate Mark and his courage to post this in what some might consider “angry trad” territory. The Culture of Complaint has overtaken many otherwise prayerful and well-intentioned Catholics. Why else would one of their gurus, Father John Zuhlsdorf, feel the need to post a caution with last year’s motu proprio to maintain a spirit of good charity?

    The continuing reform of the Mass and nudge to get parishes better music and preaching will rely on the positive efforts of people who are more focused on rolling up their sleeves and working in the trenches, rather than looking to see what nonsense may or may not be happening in the next ditch.

  • Tina

    Wow this is spot on. I’ve been Catholic for 32 years and I’ve never seen a clown Mass either nor did I go to a Catholic school that was light on doctrine like some traditionalists claim all schools were after 1970.

    When the MP came out I was totally confused. I didn’t realize people actually still wanted a Tridentine Mass. I remember when I was little our city had a Tridentine parish. We all thought they were nuts and old-fashioned. It’s a shopping mall now….

    I still don’t get it. I don’t understand what the big deal is about the old liturgy. I have been frequenting traditional sites and all I see is a bunch of angry people who need a statistics course. I think people leave the Church because they want to leave not because of the liturgy. It’s just easier to blame the liturgy.

    As for the TLM being more reverent, let me whip out my iPod during the Mass and see it not being so reverent.

    People complain their parishes being irreverent, it is their own fault in a way. I go to Mass on a college campus. One night the reader forgot she was reading and showed up wearing flip-flops that blinked when she walked. We all stared at her feet and she was so embaressed she never did it again. If the community as a whole disapproves then the behavior will change.

    I’m trying to get it, but really I’m just happy when the homily is relevant to me. Oh and is short..

  • JC

    “One night the reader forgot she was reading and showed up wearing flip-flops that blinked when she walked.”
    A female college student walking (alone) to Mass at night on a college campus wore shoes designed to make it safer to talk in the dark, and that was considered scandalous?

    Yet I wonder what kinds of clothing the students were wearing in general?

    That said, argument from lack of experience is kind of weak, especially when one is treading on areas such as these. Most Catholics I know think their schools and parishes are perfectly orthodox; it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    As for Mark’s article, no, I’ve never been to a “clown mass.” But I have been to balloon masses, and I have seen just about every other liturgical abuse in the book.

    And, many times, I’ve seen middle-aged guitarists who stand in front of the congregation and move their hips like Elvis.

    I have never heard a traditionalist priest wish anyone ill from the altar. I *have* heard a priest last year, shortly before the motu proprio was released, express his wish that all the old traditionalists would just go ahead and die so they’d stop bugging everyone else. I *have* heard a priest proclaim from the altar his hatred for Jesse Helms. I *have* heard *many* priests preach from the altar that they can’t wait for Pope John Paul II, or now Pope Benedict, to die so they can get a new Pope who will abolish Canon Law and turn the church into a democracy.

    When one risks hearing preaching like that during Mass, one decides it’s safeer just to go to a tridentine Mass.

  • Francesca

    Not only have I seldom met a Trad who was not angry and bitter, I have seldom myself had Traddish moods without feeling the same way. A good Screwtape letter could be written on the topic: ‘make them so fixated on liturgical abuse that they don’t notice how uncharitable they have become.’

  • Deal W. Hudson

    Mark’s comments on so-called Traditionalists could be expanded to a number of sub-groups inside the Catholic Church. No group that I could name is exempt from harboring a few self-righteous souls who think their anger is divinely inspired.

    Anger converts no one to anything. This is not to say anger is never justified, it can be. But the habit of anger, expressed at every disagreement, or every slight to one’s sensibility, is just a plain old vice — one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

    In my younger days, I must admit, I picked up the habit, as a conservative Christian trying to make his way in a increasingly liberal culture. Somewhere along the line, someone, perhaps more than once, pointed out to me my anger was not effective and only made me look insecure. (Nietzsche, by the way, is very good on this point — remember the laughing Overman?)

    I recall as a graduate student attending a two-hour Greek Orthodox Mass because a friend had described it with such great joy on his face. I didn’t want to miss that!

    I have heard some advocates of the old Latin Mass describe it in joyous terms, but not very often. Most often they are somber and serious, so much so I wonder what’s going on.

    The presence of Mystery can have different effects on different people — I feel lifted up, Sursum Corda, and that is how I judge a liturgy, old or new, Latin or the vernacular (one of the powerful liturgies I ever attended was in French).

  • RK

    This isn’t a serious article. Dismissing an ancient rite because some individuals are “mean people who are perpetually angry…” strikes me as incredibly superficial. The writing here seems bitter and slanderous.

    While I generally attend a Novus Ordo rite Mass, I occasionally attend the Tridentine High Mass at St. Patrick’s in New Orleans. Each time I do I’m reminded why the Church was once recognized as the greatest institution the world has ever known. That reminder is rarely, if ever, present at the Novus Ordo Masses I attend.

    As beautiful as the Tridentine Mass can be, it also serves as a kind of metaphor for a restoration of the sacred. Restoration need not be anachronistic. Our modern world, for all of it’s fantastic achievements, lacks the recognition that there is something greater than mere physical existence. We know as Catholics that we possess the fullness of Truth; we strive to express that understanding–to shout it from the rooftops. The Tridentine Mass announces this very effectively.

    Catholics who long for the Tridentine Mass may not be perfect. Who is? But let’s give people their due. There is something worthy and sublime about a rite that has stood the test of time for nearly 500 years. The Pope seems to think so too.

  • Francesca

    I don’t think the article is for or against the EF. It is a reminder to Effers that, as Paul said, if I’ve got everything else and I do not have love, I’ve got nothing (or words to that effect).

  • Wally

    Thanks Mark. I am one that has to travel hours to attend a decent Mass. Sometimes I am angry and I express it. Most times I need the consolation that I don’t get from my “clown priest”.

    This is a very sad state of affairs and so many angry people should not be ignored but consoled. We forgot how to do that a long time ago. Tender mercy is what everyone needs. May the Good Lord hear us and heal our Church.

    God Bless

  • jls

    This blogger must be spending time on Catholic Answers Forums. That site is full of angry, mean people who are more Catholic than the Pope. It’s disturbing to read the thoughts of these people.

  • Ben

    It’s ironic that someone whose previous article indicated no interest in the form of the Mass should dismiss so-called “traditionalists” as angry, simply because many of them speak out about the abuses perpetrated on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass since Vatican II (and Benedict XVI is one of those who have spoken out). Using the “clown Mass” as an example is a red herring.

    Here’s the deal: Mark Shea and Deal Hudson and many others are examples of minimalist orthodoxy. As long as a Mass is “valid” it’s OK. Of course, if one rereads Lumen Gentium 11, one is reminded that: “Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It.” It isn’t just validity that is the issue. It’s the reverence and the tradition that are. Summorum Pontificum is a reminder that the Mass is the Lord’s. Even Jesus got angry when the Temple was turned into a “den of thieves.” Why shouldn’t people become angry when the Mass is similarly abused?

    You people equate the joy of the liturgy with the mindless emotion characteristic of unserious people. The liturgy of the Latin Rite is innately sober. Those who cannot respond to that sobriety usually criticize those who do as examples of “joylessness.” Typical.

  • Joe Marier

    But, Mark, I’m not THAT kind of traditionalist!!

    um, I consider myself a traditionalist because I believe that liturgy should move generally in a traditional direction: more Latin, more Gregorian Chant, more ad orientem altar arrangement, etc. I care about it deeply, because I’m a professional musician, and have done liturgical music for a good part of my life. That’s pretty much the extent of it.

    So, I don’t know if Mark is talking about folks like me or not, or about Jeffrey Tucker, or Fr. Z, or Shawn Tribe, or Amy Welborn, or the Hitchcocks. But I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.

  • Steve Skojec

    Mark Shea wrote: They endured real persecution of the “roasting on hot griddles” sort and not of the “having to sing ‘Anthem’” variety. And they left a distinct impression on the pagans around them: “See how they love one another.” They did not approach life with the expectation that those who came at them from outside owed them something.

    And if the Church were yet under this kind of persecution, those of any real faith would surely be united. It would be unlikely that liturgical deconstructionists would flourish, or that Catholics would be suffering the most massive rates of attrition in comparison to all other faiths – a trend that coincides with and in part stems from the loss of the sacred in liturgy, something that our Holy Father has made note of since he was a cardinal.

    The sort of martyrdom going on today is a white martyrdom, suffered by those who wish to cling to orthodoxy in a Church that has for decades seemed hell-bent (in many quarters, not all) on expunging it entirely. What is unfortunate about bloodless persecution is that it does not end the conflict in a burst of heroic witness, thus leaving the weakness of men to rise to the fore. A man headed for the gallows may make a fine example, as he prepares for his death. A man suffering through fifty years of liturgical and catechetical buffoonery is more likely to become bitter, and that bitterness, as you have seen, can become malignant.

    I have the advantage of being a new discoverer of tradition. It being something I was not born into, I chose it freely, as you, Mark, chose the Church you were baptized into upon conversion. There is something to be said for the patience a man has when he makes such a free choice – he sees the warts, and is willing to deal with them. But for those who had all that they externally understood to be Catholic torn unceremoniously from their grasp, while they were simultaneously told that it was really the same Mass and the same sacrifice, one could – if one were given to compassion – understand how it might damage their faith and their charity. They have literally been treated as outcasts, idiots, and lunatics. Is it a surprise that they lived up to those expectations, and fostered their contempt for those who served them this injustice in their growing families, thus seeding a new generation with the same attitudes?

    I guarantee that if Summorum Pontificum had abolished the Pauline rite and compelled everyone in the Church to go back to the prior form, we would see a wave of bitterness and anguish to which the one you are referring would pale in comparison. People would leave in droves. Intellectuals would be outraged. The authority of the pope to do such a thing would be called into question. It would be eerily familiar to what you criticize.

    I’ve never seen a clown Mass either, but I’m surprised with the amount of traveling you do that you have not encountered more liturgical abuses. But the many less-obvious abuses that de-emphasize the sacrifice of the Mass and destroy the sense of the sacred (or simply abuse the Eucharist) are legion. They are severely damaging the Catholic faith. They are made far more possible in a liturgy which encourages improvisation and the incorporation of the non-ordained faithful into roles formerly reserved for the priest. It is a fact that they have multiplied since the new Mass was instituted, and if one may be hard-pressed to demonstrate a causal relationship, one could hardly be faulted for believing there is one.

    There have been any number of outspoken traditionalists who have been quite respectable in their conduct. You traffic in hyperbole when you try to paint us with such a broad brush.

  • Steve Skojec

    I should add, Mark, that your oft-stated disinterest in matters liturgical undermines (again) the credibility of your critique. It would be a far more noble thing for you to take a real interest, educate yourself in the distinctions (and yes, even the rubrical minutiae, which the Church so slavishly developed because they were deemed important) and become a voice of reason in the debate.

    It’s far easier, however, to criticize from the sidelines those who do care.

  • Ann Tucker

    Like my husband says, “If we’re going to Mass, I like to be with the Traditionalists. But when it comes to the coffee and donuts after, I’d much rather be with the Charismatics!”

  • Ben

    It’s an interest in the liturgical tradition. Painting those who want a reverent Novus ordo or the TLM as a bunch of nostalgics who just want the “good old days” back is a typical riposte from those who have an axe to grind.

    Learn some liturgical history before you post.

  • Chris Rix

    Anger is unfortunate, and it hurts those who harbor it more than those who experience it.

    Still, anger often has causes.

    I remember well the venom and contempt that the liturgical revisors exhibited during the post VaticanII period. That contempt still endures in many quarters. Forty years of being dumped on does tend to make people angry.

  • Donato Infante III

    “I find very few who share my views and I have never known anyone who was as far out as the people you describe. Do they really exist outside of the pages of such vehicles as this one?”

    Yes, I’ve met them. They are rare but not as rare as one thinks.

    On the other hand, “I still don’t get it. I don’t understand what the big deal is about the old liturgy. I have been frequenting traditional sites and all I see is a bunch of angry people who need a statistics course. I think people leave the Church because they want to leave not because of the liturgy. It’s just easier to blame the liturgy.” There are plenty of pleasant people in love with the Traditional liturgy who realize they are a minority (aka not in need of a statistics course).

    I think it would be helpful if we don’t generalize so much. They are angry Trads and saintly Trads. There are great parishes that use the ordinary form and there are nutty places. There are a lot of people who like the extraordinary form but not nearly as many as those who like the ordinary form. (This may have something to do with experience of only one.)

  • Todd

    “I guarantee that if Summorum Pontificum had abolished the Pauline rite and compelled everyone in the Church to go back to the prior form, we would see a wave of bitterness and anguish to which the one you are referring would pale in comparison. People would leave in droves.”

    Not likely.

    Most probably, significant numbers of parish priests would rebel, their parishes would gain a swell of the disappointed and we would have a de facto schism unseen since the days of Arianism. And this would be for a matter outside the core deposit of faith …?

    The problem with the Culture of Complaint is that it has or takes so few outlets for its anger. Nobody would deny progressives don’t get as angry as conservatives. But our solution, taking the initiative for ourselves, also gets criticized.

    What some angry traditionalists are missing here is the witness of Christian history. When true believers got upset at the coopting of church culture after the Peace of Constantine, they didn’t only write screeds on how bad everybody else was. They went into the wilderness in search of purity and holiness. And they got it.

    My suggestion for Catholics who find themselves angry and everything and everyone would be to search for a similar solution. Progressives have been very patient for the most part, awaiting reform, and working toward future reform when the climate is suitable for it. There are lots of solutions for the angry believer: start a garage schola, pray the Hours, learn Latin, go on retreat, worship at a monastery, cultivate family prayer, read the Fathers of the Church. It’s easier to complain.

  • Robert Mosby

    I think it was Fr. George Rutler of the Church of Our Saviour on Park Avenue NYC, an Anglican convert, who, when asked what he missed most from his Anglican days, said, “The Mass in English.”

    For myself, I do miss the Latin but also the fine translation in the (permanent, not paperback) Missals that nearly every Catholic brought to Mass. I miss the weekly reminder of the “second lung” in the thrice thriced Kyrie. I miss the Confetior and its public “mea culpa”.

    In short, I miss the poetry of the translation, the links across centuries, the links to the Eastern Churches, the cultural ties across time and space. And the music of chant, Bach, Mozart. I miss the bridge to the eternal that great art offers to all but that Oregon, NCCB, Haugen and St Louis have all but dynamited. I miss the weekly communal striving to be worthy of that great repository of Faith and civilization.

    Augustine cried “O Beatuty ever old ever new, too late have I known Thee.” And we should applaud its absence from Mass? There is not precisely bitterness here. Rather I experience, sorrow at absence, pity in deprivation, muted anger at agents, joy in hope,

  • Sue Sims

    As a wannabe traddie (I go to every EF Mass I can get to, which in my part of England isn’t many), I find myself largely agreeing with Mark. I was horrified at the anti-Semitism of one group I encountered (I’m Jewish by birth), and their argument that they weren’t anti-Semitic, because modern Jews weren’t really Semites at all, somehow failed to reassure me.

    I’d also agree with the commentators here who point out that much of the bitterness and anger comes from the marginalisation of traditional Catholicism. BUT yes, folks, we do need to be oil, not hedgehog, if others aren’t going to be put off. To revert to Ben’s metaphor: if we must grind axes, let’s not use them on each other.

  • Sam

    Chris Rix wrote: Anger is unfortunate, and it hurts those who harbor it more than those who experience it.

    Still, anger often has causes.

    I remember well the venom and contempt that the liturgical revisors exhibited during the post VaticanII period. That contempt still endures in many quarters. Forty years of being dumped on does tend to make people angry.

    Chris Rix,

    As an orthodox Catholic who is sympathetic to the traditionalist movement and even some of their critique if expressed charitably, I have noticed the palpable anger some of them have, and I agree that it does diminish their evangelical witness to the wider world. However, that anger partly comes from unjust treatment by their authorities when they have tried to bring their petitions forward. For example, the Boston traditionalists petitioned their bishop for the right to advertise the Mass in the local archdiocesan paper, and they were told “not to advertise.” Then they asked if the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter could come to man the church where they worshipped which was currently run by an administrator who also was the pastor of another nearby church. Again, an obvious win-win solution was denied. The results: Holy Trinity, the church where the Tridentine Mass was held, was recently reconfigured out of existence partly due to skewed statistics showing poor Mass and sacramental attendance. But the stats ignored the sacramental and Mass attendance of the Latin Mass community and only focused on the much smaller ethnic German community who also used Holy Trinity to worship in according to the Novus Ordo. If the Latin Mass community were included in the stats, Holy Trinity would have been shown to be one of the most vital parishes in the city of Boston as opposed to one of the dying parishes. Is there any wonder why some traditionalists in Boston are bitter?

    Still, anger at injustice can lead to one of two responses: 1) Become bitter and turn inward (ie, lose the apostolate focus) or 2) Rise above and turn outward (sharpen the apostolate focus). My traditionalist brethren need to rise above their anger and bring the Gospel to the masses who need it. The extraordinary form of the Roman Rite is indeed a treasure, and its beauty and truth need to be presented to the world in charity. Please pray for our traditionalist brethren.

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    My own experience with Traditionalism confirms much of what Mark wrote, and I consider myself friendly to the movement.

    Zoe and I went to a well known TLM here in Baltimore, accompanied by a Traditionalist friend from D.C. As we waited for the earlier (entirely reverent) Novus Ordo to complete before walking into the main body of the church, one of the TLM organizers approached us and said, “We’ll be able to enter once they’re done with this trash.” Our shocked friend replied, “By trash, you mean the Mass?” The guy turned red and walked away.

    Later, during the homily, the priest made reference to “the so-called Holocaust.” The congregation was true to stereotype as well: They seemed humorless, defensive, sheltered, and a little bit nuts.

    Now it may be that these things are more features of this congregation than Traditionalism in general, and there are certainly exceptions (such as our friend). But this was my only direct experience, and it matches what many others have described.

  • Tina

    Gee I can’t imagine how Mark got this impression. Over on Father Z’ blog in the comment box one trad called someone who supported the novus ordo a protestant. Then suggested/insinuated that celebrating it and VII was heresy. They get nasty for awhile.

    It was the story about the old priest looking back about how so many of the arden became lukewarm. I think it was posted on the 10th of August

    I really think y’all need a statistics class to understand causation and correlation.

    “A female college student walking (alone) to Mass at night on a college campus wore shoes designed to make it safer to talk in the dark, and that was considered scandalous?”
    You had to see them. They were not to make it safer to walk in the dark and I think she lived in the same building as the chapel. All she had to do was go down some stairs. It wasn’t “scandalous” like she came to Mass wearing a bikini scandalous but was just unacceptable. I think she was embarressed because we were all staring at her feet and not paying attention to what was being read. If I remember even the priest did a double take at looking at her shoes.

  • mike

    “lex orandi, lex credendi”

    Enough said!

    A different Mass is a different Faith.
    It is a question of which Faith you choose to adhere to!!!

  • Michael O’Connor

    I read this column as a good reminder to all of us that have recently joined the Traditionalist movement that there are some like-minded souls who are a bit troubled. Perhaps they have been in a very small minority for so long that they have entrenched too much. We should help them. Christ calls us to do so.

    I have one point in the article that I contend.

    “They didn’t hunker down, griping about how converts were screwing everything up, or complaining that things were better way back when, or talking as though faith, hope and love were wimpy symptoms of Kumbaya Catholicism.”

    The first part is patently incorrect. Just read Paul’s letters. They were all written in response to questions and controversies and I believe he was being diplomatic in many of them. As for the second half of the sentence is irrelevant since there was no “way back when” to bring up. Thinking Catholics have argued about their faith and their practice since day 1. This is nothing new. Every innovation is met with conservative reticence to change. It’s a healthy struggle that has kept the Church around for 2 millenia. For those who believe that Vatican II was wrong or the devil’s work, I hope they open their hearts and actually read the documents. Christ told Peter that nothing would destroy the Church. For my part, I think that the implementation of the Vatican II decisions went terribly awry during a turbulent sociological time and that some things need to be cleaned up. The liberation of the 1962 missal is a good thing, but it is not going to replace the novus ordo. That would be admitting that the Church made a colossal error, which I don’t think it can. I truly believe that the two forms of the Mass can co-exist peacefully, just like many forms of the Mass co-existed for centuries before the Council of Trent.

  • Terry

    Mark,

    The anger is not the problem.

    There are three other points that characterize too many Traditionalists and Traditionalist groups that are problematic:

    1) Anti-semitism

    2) A belief that the Novus Ordo is invalid

    3) And in general, a hermeneutic of discontinuity. Radical discontinuity. Many of them simply feel that the “Conciliar Church” is not the “Catholic Church” and that the Traditionalist movement holds the “True Faith.”

    It seems to me that these issues are better suited for discussion that vague accusations of “anger,” for they can be substantiated in a way that emotions cannot.

  • Mark Shea

    A different Mass is a different Faith.
    It is a question of which Faith you choose to adhere to!!!

    So the Maronites, Byzantines, Ukrainians et al are not Catholic?

    Thanks for illustrating my point.

    By the way, a quick note to Tina: I don’t at all mean to imply that liturgy doesn’t matter. What I’m saying is that I am content with any liturgy Holy Church gives me. I recognize that liturgical abuse happens and pray that it stops. But I don’t think the Paul VI rite *is* an abuse and have, far too often encountered the attitude of people like Mike or the guy in Brian Saint-Paul’s story: blasphemous contempt for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass if it doesn’t happen to fit their narrow idea of what Mass should be. I love the Tridentine Rite, the [a href=http://tinyurl.com/5tktwj
    ]Dominican Rite[/a] or any other rite Holy Mother Church gives me–including the Paul VI. I think our response to Eucharist should be thanksgiving, not “the liturgy is no big deal” and not “The Paul VI rite is trash”.

  • RK

    While I suppose the Novus Ordo meets the minimum requirements of being a valid Mass, I can’t believe that this is the best the Church can come up with. If the often prosaic liturgy and effete music isn’t enough to drive you bonkers, then the inclusive language might just do the trick.

    Whereas it’s easy to point the finger at traditionalists who seem lacking in social skills and maybe even charity (who are we to judge, though?), how about the “happy to see you” crowd that’s omnipresent at any vernacular Mass? The sign of peace sometimes lasts longer than the Consecration. I’m happy to yuck it up with people (even those I don’t now) but give me a break! At Mass! Shaking hands with strangers or kissing loved ones does little to enhance my spiritual disposition or prepare me to receive the Eucharist. In fact, it may detract from it.

    No wonder so many are leaving the Church. We deserve better.

  • Robert Mosby

    Michael, you make an unnecessary error:

    Someone wrote: For my part, I think that the implementation of the Vatican II decisions went terribly awry during a turbulent sociological time and that some things need to be cleaned up. The liberation of the 1962 missal is a good thing, but it is not going to replace the novus ordo. That would be admitting that the Church made a colossal error, which I don’t think it can. I truly believe that the two forms of the Mass can co-exist peacefully, just like many forms of the Mass co-existed for centuries before the Council of Trent.

    The Church can with ease make either order the predominant one with no serious error needing admission. Clean up the implementation foolery of the Novus Ordo and decide between the two orders.

    Terry, your points are well taken, especially the matter of discontinuity. However, that there is anger that gets in the way of charity and solution is all too true. I’ve seen it in my own family. We ignore it at peril to unity and charity.

    My demurer above, however, opens an avenue to a solution via Beauty that embraces all these issues. I take comfort that it is seamlessly continuous from Paul through Augustine to Benedict.

  • Baron Korf

    I’ve never been to a clown mass either, and I really think that’s a moot point. I’ve been to several masses that are, at best, lukewarm. The congregants chat it up before the mass starts, most people are wearing street clothes, the priest feels the need to interject comments (like a second welcome to the formal one) to add some levity to the situation, for the homily he ambles aimlessly around the sanctuary (which is little more than a raised dais) and tells jokes and feel good stories with little substance, and so on.

    Once a month, I drive 40 minutes to down town to see what a mass could/should be like. Incense, Latin prayers, Gregorian Chant, Communion Rail, the works, and this is a Novus Ordo mass. Now don’t give yourself an aneurism, these things are compatible. In fact, this is the default for the Ordinary Form of the mass. Everything from guitars, pianos and folky hymns to altar girls, versus populam, and communion in the hand is done by exception or permission.

    Now here is the kicker, the part that most people don’t get. The mass is not celebrated for the people! It is a re-presentation of the sacrifice at Calvary that was offered to God the Father, and as such it is still an offering to God. That’s why the reverence, the beauty and grandeur of the mass should be at its best, we are offering a gift and a sacrifice to the Lord God, not trying to please or edify ourselves. Of course we benefit from it, that

  • Tin

    “who realize they are a minority (aka not in need of a statistics course). “

    I meant that there are some who need a statistics course to understand the difference between causation and correlation.

    On some blogs, some will make statements similar to this
    Mass attendance has been decreasing since 1970. We changed Masses in 1970. Therefore declining attendance is caused by the new Mass.

    Uhm no, that’s not how it works.

    I didn’t mean it from the standpoint of being able to count people.

    Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

  • Tito Edwards

    Mark Shea is an eloquant writer and (to me) seems like an honest orthodox Catholic. But this article is par for the course for Mr. Shea. He likes to play both ends of the Catholic spectrum.

    Mr. Shea has equally stirred the feathers of both the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ AND ‘Rad Trads’ in his articles. He does seem to throw anyone who loves liturgy under the bus, but in the end he means well.

    He’s like Bill O’Reilly, he seems to be “one of us” but then he goes off and disparages “one of us” so as to keep his cred as a balanced and apolitical (aCatholic?) journalist.

    The unforseen blowback such as reinforcing negative stereotypes of Rad Trads and validating these views to people such as Brian Saint-Paul and Tina are unfortunate.

    In the end Mr. Shea is able to write well enough to make us think twice of how we evangelize by making us take a good look in the mirror to correct ourselves and be a better witness to our faith.

    Frankly I am quite pleased and happy by the mature and constructive responses on this CommBox. It says a lot about the Inside Catholic reader.

    Thanks Mark, your articles are thought provoking even when I don’t agree with them, they make us better Catholics in the end.

  • Sam

    Terry wrote: Mark,

    The anger is not the problem.

    There are three other points that characterize too many Traditionalists and Traditionalist groups that are problematic:

    1) Anti-semitism

    2) A belief that the Novus Ordo is invalid

    3) And in general, a hermeneutic of discontinuity. Radical discontinuity. Many of them simply feel that the “Conciliar Church” is not the “Catholic Church” and that the Traditionalist movement holds the “True Faith.”

    It seems to me that these issues are better suited for discussion that vague accusations of “anger,” for they can be substantiated in a way that emotions cannot.

    Excellent points! I’ve run into all three errors among some radical traditionalists. I’ll repeat that not all traditionalists think that way, but some do.

    The anti-Semitism was shocking to say the least when I first ran into it. One traditionalist I know spent lots of time e-mailing me about various conspiracy theories fed from revisionist historians, and the Jews were at the root of the world’s problems. He stopped just short of saying Hitler was a good man. I no longer keep in contact with this person.

    The invalidity of the Novus Ordo argument is one I’ve also heard, but with some nuances. One person I know affirmed that the NO was validly promulgated by a valid Pope, but its existence is a crime crying out to God because of its inferior prayers which stop just short of heresy. Others flatly say the NO is invalid. The most extreme among them say the Popes since 1958 are anti-Popes.

    I find the 3rd point about the hermeneutic of discontinuity to be the flip side of those progressive Catholics who think that nothing good happened in the Church until 1963. The radical traditionalists of whom you speak say that everything good in the Church happened up to 1963 and nothing good has happened since.

  • Todd

    “No wonder so many are leaving the Church. We deserve better.”

    Sociologists told us in the 70′s that more people were leaving Catholicism because of Humanae Vitae than the liturgy. A University of Chicago study found that the exodus of Catholics 1968-74 would have been far worse had the Mass not been reformed.

    As for the size of the Church, some traditionalists seem to play it both ways. A smaller church is fine when the people they disagree with are leaving. But if a smaller church is a talking point in a debate, they are happy to blame the reformed liturgy and lament those lost unfaithful “faithful” Catholics.

    Most inactive Catholics end up in evangelical churches, if they go to church at all. Clearly, they aren’t advocating chant in praise-n-worship land.

  • Rich Leonardi

    I like Mark’s material on general apologetics, but his style of argumentation, whether he’s talking about the liturgy or “torture,” is to tilt his lance against caricatures and straw men. He does this by treating extremists as representative of a group’s larger population. Any group larger than, say, 100 members will contain such easy targets. The man wielding the “New Mass = Death” sign is about as rare as the priest outfitted in a clown suit. Other than building up his “street cred” as a moderate, I’m not sure what point this piece serves.

  • Mike

    Mark,

    “I think our response to Eucharist should be thanksgiving”

    Your statement imphasizes the problem of lex orandi, lex credendi with the NOM. You don’t get that The Mass is a representation of Christ suffering and death.That’s why we go to Mass, to offer The Sacrifice to atone for sin not to receive Communion or be in community. The Mass is efficacious whether we receive The Eucharist or not. Your whole theology of what the Mass is seems to be distorted!

    Maronites, Byzantines, Ukrainians et al are not Catholic? I didn’t say or mean this.

    Their theology of the Mass is the same as the theology of TLM. Therefore their lex orandi, lex credendi is identical to those who pray the TLM.

    Again your statement “Maronites, Byzantines, Ukrainians et al are not Catholic” is based on a lack of knowledge of the Mass.

  • Steve Skojec

    Todd wrote: Sociologists told us in the 70′s that more people were leaving Catholicism because of Humanae Vitae than the liturgy. A University of Chicago study found that the exodus of Catholics 1968-74 would have been far worse had the Mass not been reformed.

    Really, I think these two things are of a piece. Both point to a demand on the part of Catholics for a general lessening of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. “I want my sex life unregulated and my liturgy too.”

    The flip side is that once you get what you want in that regard, or at least attain a certain laxity, it undermines the reason you’d believe in an immutable Church in the first place. So as liturgy morphs into a community-building enterprise above and beyond a sacrifice of oblation, you begin to lose your overall sense of what you were therefore in the first place.

    And when you get bored, you leave.

  • Rich Leonardi

    Todd writes: “Sociologists told us in the 70′s that more people were leaving Catholicism because of Humanae Vitae than the liturgy. A University of Chicago study found that the exodus of Catholics 1968-74 would have been far worse had the Mass not been reformed.”

    If that were the case, we would have seen a “pick up” by the Episcopalian and mainline communities. So call me skeptical. More likely this is Todd once more grinding his ax about those troubling pelvic teachings.

  • Richard Bell

    The promoters of the Tridentine Rite confuse me. As it was only put forward in the early 1500′s, it is hardly ancient. The language of Great Britain, at the time, was called Modern English by historians, and is still intelligible to the current crop of highschool students forced to read Chaucer.

    During my RCIA catechising, we worked through the parts of the Novus Ordo mass and traced the origin of each part to the early christian church and Judaism.

    While I am sure that a similar analysis of the Tridentine Rite would also show that it was not just newly cut from whole cloth, it is odd to claim that it is the ancient rite and that the NO is a modernist imposter. UPDATE: while composing this, my wife handed me the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, which is pre-VII and has an english translation of much of the Tridentine Rite low mass. A cursory examination does not reveal any differences, other than the language.

    What, precisely, is the fuss all about?

    Had the internet been around at the time, just imagine how the comboxes would have burned at the new latin rite.

  • Mark P. Shea

    Saying that not all or even most Trad evince the sort of nastiness I document here does not mean that the nasties are “straw men”. As Mike and Ben immediately illustrate, and as numerous testimonies from numerous other people (including people very sympathetic to Traditionalist concerns) also attest, the fact remains that a very significant portion of Traditionalist culture is every bit as nasty and off-putting as I describe.

    Oh, and by the way, waterboarding, cold cells, and strappado (to name a few of our still-licit-for-the-CIA techniques) are torture, not “torture”. But let’s stay on topic.

  • Geoffrey Miller

    “Shaking hands with strangers or kissing loved ones does little to enhance my spiritual disposition or prepare me to receive the Eucharist.”

    It should prepare you. After all, the Eucharist is intended to create the family of God, and families typically do that kind of thing. It isn’t just about you and God; it’s about you, God, and everyone else.

  • RK

    I’m sure there are some who leave the Church ostensibly due to Her rigorous teaching on birth control. If they were sincere about that they’d scout out a parish that doesn’t “judge” and merely sees contraception as a victimless crime. Every diocese and every city has them.

    The last 40-50 years have seen a huge abandonment from the Faith. This, coupled with the great dearth of vocations, cannot be laid solely at the foot of doctrinal imperiousness, as Todd seems to imply. No, at some point the Church has to acknowledge it’s own ineffectual leadership. The Paul VI rite, with its affinity for novelty, exhibits profoundly the lack of universality and authority endemic to our Church during this era.

    Perhaps some tradionalists are “angry”. Big deal. At least they tend not to suffer from vacuousness.

  • Anonymous

    Had to go “anony” for this.

    Last Sunday I heard a sermon during which the priest, a prominent member of an order which uses the Old Rite, link the Novus Ordo with all the moral degeneracy and disorder of the last 40 years.

    He did it ‘negatively,’ that is, by inferring that the Old Rite days did not have such problems.

    So yes, indeed, this stuff is out there, and might I add, not only silly but insulting.

  • Ben

    means: “You don’t agree with me.”

    That’s too bad. You should still study your own liturgical tradition before you post.

  • Mark P. Shea

    The Paul VI rite, with its affinity for novelty, exhibits profoundly the lack of universality and authority endemic to our Church during this era.

    Conflate abuses of the Paul VI rite with the rite itself, thereby blaspheming the Mass. Check.

    Perhaps some tradionalists are “angry”. Big deal. At least they tend not to suffer from vacuousness.

    Ignore the sin of anger (one of the seven deadlies, even before Vatican II) and point the finger. Check.

    If the piece attacks straw men, I can only note that there seems to be a high statistical incidence of straw men in this combox thread. Again, that’s not to say all Traditionalists are nasty. There have also been a large number of charitable, thoughtful replies here from people of Traditionalist sensibilities. But, as I note, there is also a significant amount of contempt both for the Paul VI rite and for those who celebrate it. Until that elephant in the living room is addressed, us outsiders will go on seeing what we see–because it’s there.

  • Sid Cundiff

    Mr. Shea is a good man with good intentions who has written good work. Not today. If what follows seems acerbic and sharp-worded, I express my regrets beforehand. Still, everyone benefits when the truth is told. What is more, Mr. Shea might not have intended certain conclusions from his remarks, but these conclusion will be drawn all the same, and not just by the paranoid and the foolish.

    1. Mr. Shea might wish to avoid appearing to fall into the error is

  • RK

    …….are not your feelings, Mark, about Traditionalists nor my feelings nor anyone’s feelings. You may be uncomfortable around certain Traditionalists (so am I for what it’s worth) and I may be uncomfortable around certain people. Who cares? We’re not in junior high school anymore.

    Terry, in an earlier posting, outlined very effectively where the dispute really lies. These three points, it seems to me, are an excellent starting point for discussion abut the TLM.

    While your article has certainly drawn reaction and your excellent and provocative writing style deserves credit, I think you’ve just scratched the surface. The adherence to the TLM is more than about some people’s apparent anger.

  • Robert Mosby

    The notion that sociological study surveys show that a greater exodus would have occured but for the NO is actually hilarious. The manifest problems associated with counterfactuals, memory, response dynamics and survey question design flaws should be enough to scotch that notion. And dare one consider the numerous factional studies that were designed to “find” what they sought?

    It is actually easier to make the case that Humanae Vitae was not the “culprit”. I recall the cultural earthquakes at the end of VC2: no more Friday abstinence, no more genuflection, Latin banished amidst unbecoming triumphalism, music to embarrass anyone with ears, infantile translation of the highest liturgical prayer and poetry, Greeleys and Berrigans, other priests and joining the pontificating political class from pulpit and street– all while bishops were unable or themselves unwilling to articulate reasoned justification for the patent irregularities or for otiose and often painful innovations. Meanwhile the Land o’ Lakes Statement severed Catholic higher education from the Magesterium, as university administrator spines collapsed across the nation. It was a rum time without benefit of the booze.

    Frankly, I recall having heard HV as the first sign that sense might be restored to the asylum.

  • Mark P. Shea

    I have no problem with the Tridentine rite. I have a problem with

    1. “Mark Shea and Deal Hudson and many others are examples of minimalist orthodoxy.”

    2. “You people equate the joy of the liturgy with the mindless emotion characteristic of unserious people.”

    3. “I was horrified at the anti-Semitism of one group I encountered (I’m Jewish by birth), and their argument that they weren’t anti-Semitic, because modern Jews weren’t really Semites at all, somehow failed to reassure me.”

    4. “We’ll be able to enter once they’re done with this trash.”

    5. “the so-called Holocaust.”

    6. “A different Mass is a different Faith. It is a question of which Faith you choose to adhere to!!!”

    Do I really need to go on? The basic blunder here is the constant attempt to construe a critique of common Traditionalist sins with a rejection of the Tridentine rite. I think the Tridentine rite is the bee’s knees. I want the Paul VI rite celebrated reverently. But I reject the notion that Trads get a rain check on the fruits of the Spirit just so long as their indulgence of anger, factionalism and bitterness is done on behalf of liturgical purity.

  • Eric Pavlat

    My experience parallels yours. In general, the Catholics I know who frequent Latin Mass have displayed more anger management issues than those who don’t. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s something my wife and I have noticed over the years and had discussed many times before this article came up.

    Nice job.

  • David W.

    For skewering the radical Traditionalists, and their apologists who use liturgical abuses in the Pauline Rite as some kind of justification or excuse for their jackassery. My traditionalism is a staunch and even handed defense of Papal and Magisterial Perogatives…Rome’s Authority. Many Traditionalists conveniently ignore aspects of this authority if it doesn’t conform to their “salad days” vision of how the Church “used to be” before Pope Paul VI “ruined everything.” The attitude that the Pauline Rite is “inferior” and that Catholics who adhere to it are some how less reverent or they are “duped” by the “Progressives” is implicit in Traditionalist rhetoric much like the argument: I oppose the Iraq War, and think its illegal…oh but I support the troops. It is a distinction without a difference…either they are war criminals or they’re dupes..either way its insulting. To get off that analogy and go back to the Church…the word preference is thrown around as a cover word…so Traditionalists don’t have to be so blunt as to say what they really think: That the Pauline Rite is inferior at best, and heretical at worst. The word “preference” is a code word…its bullshit…it’s a way for both Traditionalists and supporters of the Pauline Rite to avoid the Elephant in the room…the Liturgical debate, which is still sore, and still unsettled.

  • MIke

    Richard,

    “The promoters of the Tridentine Rite confuse me. As it was only put forward in the early 1500′s, it is hardly ancient. The language of Great Britain, at the time, was called Modern English by historians, and is still intelligible to the current crop of highschool students forced to read Chaucer.”

    I don’t know where you got this from but the TLM dates in its essentials from the Mass of Pope St.Gregory The Great 6th century. The TLM was codified bt the Council of Trent which by the way left all previous rites (over 200yrs old) in tact.

    “During my RCIA catechising, we worked through the parts of the Novus Ordo mass and traced the origin of each part to the early christian church and Judaism.”

    This is false. Plus previous Popes said we should not try to update with “so called original” parts. It is also a problem with NO DREs with their agendas.

    “my wife handed me the St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, which is pre-VII and has an english translation of much of the Tridentine Rite low mass. A cursory examination does not reveal any differences, other than the language.”

    The problem with this is that it must have been very cursory. there are numerous prayers left out, moved around and mistranslated. All this with an agenda in mind.

    I will add this for your benefit as most people know this.
    The NOM was put together by a commission of 9 so called theologians, 6 of which were protestants. All this was done to appease the protestants by attempting to down play the Sacrificial nature of the Mass. Perhaps you you should find someone with an old Missal and really check out the differences.

    Pope Paul VI even said the NOM was a new rite.

  • Mike

    Mark,

    “A different Mass is a different Faith. It is a question of which Faith you choose to adhere to!!!”

    Apparently you don’t understand what lex orandi, lex credendi
    means!

    It means the law of prayer is the law of Faith or how you pray is what you believe.

    I don’t see how you can’t see a difference between the prayers and how they are prayed in the two Mass.

  • Jeffrey H.

    The “Clown Masses” you mention disappeared years ago in all but Southern California, where they seem to have morphed into a variety of character Masses (Barney, Giant Puppets, etc..) They were more common about the time that Godspell (the musical) came out and were closely tied to the prevalence of Clown and Mime ministries in the Protestant Churches in the early and mid 1970′s. I guess we felt we just had to get in on the latest trend! I went to a good number of these when I was in my grade school and teen age years… we had a Priest who thought this was a good way to “reach out to the youth”. There was something disconcerting about receiving communion from a clown.

    I am not angry by any means, but I am something of the traditionalist mindset, bent mostly on improving the ghastly music we are forced to bear each week. I try not to get involved in discussions about detailed rubrics, vestments, altar candles or other such things, although they may be important too. I think there are priorities to be set if we are going to make progress, and I have set mine. I think to adopt a position of characterizing or ridiculing those who yearn for something more than minimalist liturgy is to tacitly reject most of what is Catholic. That should be done with the greatest care.

  • Fr. Richard

    Of course, Mark, you did not fuel their fire.

    I suppose our Lord should have been given no pass when he reacted as he did to the attempts to turn the sacred “House of Prayer” into a den of robbers?

    Is this anger against secularizing His Father’s House somehow different than those who have had to sit by and watch the step by step secularization of the greatest gift ever given?

    Our Lord got a pass (no deadly sin here) … where is the understanding for those who are fed up with this assault on the sacred today?

    Some carry this too far, yet I still do not see a whip of cords in their hands, when it comes to protecting the sacred.

  • Arturo Vasquez

    There is a saying in France that when leftists get together to form a firing squad, they form a circle. The same could be said about devout Catholics, and Mark Shea’s essay here illustrates that.

    Perhaps some of the most cultish and strange Catholics I have met were more involved in Marian apparitions and “JPII” worship than with Catholic traditionalism. Are traditional Catholics insular and judgemental? Yes, in general, I have to say that many of them are. Does that mean “Neo-Caths” (if we are going to use such labels, though I loathe them) are off the hook and completely tolerant by comparison? Not by a long shot. One need only go on Mr. Shea’s site to see him use ad hominem attacks, invectives, and sophmoric nicknames for all the people he doesn’t like. This particular attack is only the flavor of the day apparently.

    Otherwise, I am a bit tired of critics of traditionalism saying that the “Trads” overlook what’s important: “It’s all about the Gospel, man! It’s all about evangelizing!” Evangelizing what? We are not Presbyterians last time I checked. We are not passing out copies of the KJV and the Westminster Catechism on street corners. Catholicism is not some sort of “ad campaign” where we “get out the message”. The liturgy, the sacramental life, and the traditions of the Church ARE the message, and debates about them are far more important than the credit you give them here. We are not trying to proclaim to the world some minimalist reduction of the Gospel and modern ecclesiology (“allegiance to the Pope by any means necessary”), but rather an ethos that has been two thousand years in formation. The problem with the Church since the 1960′s is that such an ethos has been distorted in many places. While traditionalists no doubt commit sins against charity when debating their points, the truth of their radical critique of the current state of the Church stands.

    So I’ll come right out and say it: most “neo-Caths” are nice people. Most of the “trads” I know would swim through shark infested waters to help a fellow Catholic. Heck, I know a Call to Action Catholic who devotes his life to feeding and helping the homeless. If you are going to be a “hater”, you can be a hater in any of these categories. I am not going to make broad characterizations of others in the Mystical Body of Christ.

  • Eoin Suibhne

    Mark,

    For years I have enjoyed your blog and books. On this issue, however, you seem neither to write with prudence nor charity. Mr. Skojec said it well when he wrote above that, “You traffic in hyperbole when you try to paint us with such a broad brush.”

    I am not a traditionalist, but I do lean heavily in that direction. I have met the type of people about which you write here. Yet – as you yourself note – they are a minority. Nevertheless, you repeatedly write about them. And due to what I see as careless writing, you almost inevitably end up tarnishing all who love the Old Mass.

    I don’t know what it is, but it seems as if you simply cannot write fairly about this issue. You come off like an ass every time.

  • Ken

    I think you are mistaking passion for anger. If not for the energy — yes, including opposing modernism — there would be no indult and no motu proprio.

    This piece, to me, sounds like sour grapes that nobody was interested in the reform-of-the-reform.

  • Baron Korf

    ring ring

    “Hello? OK, one moment. Hey Mark, there is someone named ‘Pot’ on the phone for you, it’s something about a ‘kettle’!”

  • RK

    Mark P. Shea’s last commentary is what we used to call a circle jerk where I came from. To isolate various comments out of context is as cheap as it gets. The fact that you enumerate them says you can count.

    Disparaging the TLM with a broad brush as you did in your article because you don’t like certain personalities or because some people have “anger management” issues is nothing like saying the “Tridentine rite is the bee’s knees”, which you decided to mention now. You want to have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes, my friend, we need to make choices and live with them.
    You decided to attack certain people and what they believed in. When it got to hot you ran for the tall grass. Nice.

  • William Peterson

    Mr. Shea,

    While you certainly have a valid point when describing a certain segment of the Catholic right, your tendency toward hyperbole seriously hurts your credibility. Take this passage, for example:

    “So while I’ve never seen a Clown Mass, I have encountered lots of angry Trads…”

    Since “lots” is italicized for emphasis, I imagine this to be a significant number – perhaps dozens, but at least 50 or so. Does “encounter” describe a personal encounter you had with a person in which the items you list were personally seen or heard, or does reading an anonymous blog comment somewhere or receiving a random email count as an “encounter”?

    “…who have compared the Paul VI rite to a Black Mass…”

    Really? “Lots” of people you’ve encountered have compared the current Catholic Mass to a Black Mass? I’ve never met a single person who ever said such a thing, much less “lots”. I have heard the observation that Black Masses are valid, and therefore mere validity alone does not make a ritual laudatory, but if that’s what you’re referring to, your reference is quite misleading. Technically, saying that “The Pauline Rite is wonderful, whereas Black Masses are horrendous) is comparing the two.

    “…spent a great deal of time obsessing over Jews…”

    You’ve encountered “lots” of these people as well? Where? Did they approach you trying to convince you of some Jewish conspiracy, or are you piecing together an “angry trad” persona based on Sungenis’ website, then trying to make it to apply to “lots” of encounters.

    “…threatened people in my parish physically…”

    Really? “Lots” of angry trads have threatened people in your parish? Sounds like a dangerous place. Given the sheer level of criminal activities (physical threats) happening in your parish, it sounds like you are in the midst of an epidemic requiring police involvement. Surely something would have been done or the local authorities called before isolated individual threats reached the level of “lots” of encounters. What was the end result of this developing melee? Seriously, I find it hard to believe that lots of traditionalists were physically threatening people in your parish. If so, we should identify this vast unruly mob and bring them to justice.

    All sarcasm aside, it does appear you have some deep-seated prejudices that have been bolstered by some past traumatic encounters with individuals who called themselves traditionalists. Perhaps writing these articles is therapeutic for you, but forgiving those who in the past have caused you past pain may be provide for you a greater inner peace.

    William Peterson

  • Peter Park

    Thanks, Mark. I’m one of those “angry” Trads; however, I see past your words and realize the *challenge* you put forth in your post. You remind me of the words of Bishop Rifan back in 2006.

    Evangelization is key. Lest we forget, our faith is to work in love (Gal. 5:6).

    All the bestin Christ.

  • Deal Hudson

    Well, I have not seen a clown Mass, but I did see something that approximates it in garishness.

    Scene: A Catholic Parish on the hills west of Austin, Texas.

    Occasion: My niece being received into the Catholic Church.

    The liturgical music was being played by what can be described as a “combo.” All the music was tacky and inappropriate, but when they played a cha-cha (one-TWO-one/two/three) during the Eucharist I thought I had walked into somebody’s nightmare.

    Perhaps I am not the “minimalist” I am accused of being, whatever that is, or perhaps I just like good music, I don’t know.

  • Donato Infante III

    William Peterson wrote:

    Really? “Lots” of people you’ve encountered have compared the current Catholic Mass to a Black Mass? I’ve never met a single person who ever said such a thing, much less “lots”.

    I have heard that. Not often, but I’ve heard it. If I have, then Mark may have as well. The D

  • Jason

    Thanks to Mark for attempting to raise an awareness that seems to be lost on a number of posters here. Instead of admitting that “their side” does indeed tend towards anger (however justified) and bitterness such that they damage their cause among Catholics who might otherwise sympathize with them, some would rather accuse Mark of all number of things.

    His article was indeed a generalization, but I think he readily admitted that, no?

    I have met my share of traditionalists, none of whom were violent, some of whom were bitter, and almost all of whom share an unseemly attitude of smug superiority about all things traditional. Their preference for the TLM and traditionalism contains different shades of belief that we Novus Ordo types are, in fact, less Catholic. While I understand their position, it doesn’t change the fact that I think they’re wrong. I respect their right to have a different position, but they don’t seem to respect mine.

    Also, one of them even went so far as to engage in the “isolation of comments” tactic decried by RK above – rather than discuss the substance of my disagreement with his attitude and beliefs, he preferred to nitpick one semantical error I made as if that settled it and he won the argument. So it happens on both sides.

    Traddies accuse modernists of vacuousness and relativism; progressives accuse traditionalists of uncharity and stodginess. Most of us, while having tendencies toward one side or the other, try (hopefully) to avoid both extremes and pursue holiness above all. But that doesn’t mean that the propensity for particular sins at either end isn’t an issue.

    Traditionalists have good arguments. What Mark has pointed out is that they drive people away with their attitude. Is he really getting all this flack because his words come too close to the mark?

  • Jonathan

    “Traditionalists have good arguments. What Mark has pointed out is that they drive people away with their attitude.”

    If there ever was an argument that Mark Shea is not the person to make, it’s that one.

  • michael tangen

    Unlike the author, I HAVE seen a “clown mass” — or technically a clown liturgy, where the entire liturgy was interpreted and presented with mime, dance, and symbolic imagery to help engage your senses and experience the liturgy on a deeper level. Where did I see such a display? College. :)

  • JC

    But the question is: are traditionalists angry becaused they’re traditionalists, or are they traditionalists because they’re angry?

    Todd, for once I agree with you: the main way to effect change is to perfect one’s own spirituality, and often the best way to fight the world is to retreat from it. Yet this is exactly what traditionalists often do, and then get called “kooks” for doing it. So, it doesn’t work both ways.

    Brian, I agree wholeheartedly that comments like that–particularly from the pulpit–can easily turn one way from a given parish, but how are those any worse than the kinds of comments one hears from priests and laity at a “normal” parish?

    Thankfully, I’ve never heard anything heretical or anti-Semitic in the homilies at the Tridentine Masses I’ve attended. I have heard some off-the-wall comments from laity, but hearing comments like “I hate going to the sinners’ mass” or “Alan Keyes is a Communist” from some random layperson after a Tridentine Mass is not really different than hearing “Barack Obama is the Catholics’ candidate” or “Did you hear the latest on _20/20_ about how the Catholic Church oppresses women?” from the laity attending the Ordinary Form.

  • Sancho Panza

    Paul wrote that the the children of the dark treat each other better than the children of the light. I think this discussion is ample evidence of that.

    We must be willing to be docile to the Church. The fact that we have both an ordinary and extraordinary form is an example of the richness of our faith. I have experienced every bit of the behavior Mark described. We need to work at the sanctification of the Church with joy and hope. Aquinas said that joy is an absolute neccesity to sanctity.

    Erasmus wrote to Luther, in his tract on the Free choice of the Will, that in the early Church miracles were demanded as evidence of the authenticity of the doctrine being preached. Erasmus merely asked that his interlocutor be civil.

    Mark’s article is accurately described as a challenge. The challenge is for both sides of this arguement above to work together in building the Kingdom of God. These articles seem to be wonderful in generating traffic and comments, but the real battles are so much greater and they require all of us focused on them. I am somewhat embarassed to hit submit on this because my post equates to, “why can’t we all get along,” but the authetic constructive criticism(fraternal correction) is being completely missed, and instead is being responded to as a personal affront.

  • Aristotle A. Esguerra

    From my limited observation (Juventutem 2005 and 2008), I think that those in the youth movement attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are:

    1) Of a High Mass mentality;
    2) Devoid of the bitterness of their predecessors (indeed, since they weren’t present at the upheaval);
    3) More inclined to engage the “outside world” and other Catholics “outside the sphere” (here is a particularly visible example of such engagement prior to WYD 2008);
    4) More apt to display the “affirmative orthodoxy” ascribed to Pope Benedict.

    Of course these are generalizations, and there are exceptions. Still, it’s encouraging.

    So, when all else fails, there’s always God’s own Biological Solution…

  • Patrick Madrid

    Well said, Mark, and right on target. Poor Richard’s “et tu, Brute?” attempt to belittle your point makes it all the more pointed.

  • John

    I’m somewhat surprised by the heated responses to Mark’s piece, which I thought was a point well taken. I think the problem here is that when we encounter folks who fit Mark’s description, our overall view of the thing tends to be colored by that experience. My wife and I live in a very liberal part of the country, and the first time we attended a Tridentine Mass at a local parish (long before the motu proprio) we were approached afterward by a few wingnuts who scorned and criticized where we were from, where we were going to grad school, etc. It was very clear that they held themselves to be the only true Catholics in the diocese and that the Tridentine Mass is where real Catholics belong. We were really turned off by them and left feeling that we wouldn’t want to be part of that community even though there was a lot we liked about the liturgy. Upon reflection, I realize that our experience was colored by these few folks — we didn’t talk to the majority of the people attending that Mass, and I’m sure most of them are good people.

  • Mark Shea

    From my limited observation (Juventutem 2005 and 2008), I think that those in the youth movement attached to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are:

    1) Of a High Mass mentality;
    2) Devoid of the bitterness of their predecessors (indeed, since they weren’t present at the upheaval);
    3) More inclined to engage the “outside world” and other Catholics “outside the sphere” (here is a particularly visible example of such engagement prior to WYD 2008);
    4) More apt to display the “affirmative orthodoxy” ascribed to Pope Benedict.

    I agree completely! There are some very promising signs among the rising generation. My son has very strong ties in the Traditionalist community, but none of the bitterness. Same for other kids his age. It’s very promising to see!

  • Bender

    Once again (!), the trads prove themselves to be their own worst enemies.

  • Sam Schmitt

    “I’m somewhat surprised by the heated responses to Mark’s piece, which I thought was a point well taken.”

    The point, by itself, is well taken. Trads can shoot themselves in the foot by being like Mark describes sometimes. I know that I once avoided the old mass partly for this reason.

    As a matter of fact, I really had no basis for thinking that most or even many at the old mass were off-base. Sure, there was the guy handing out wacko literature about heretical popes or Marian apparitions at a chapel where I went that had the old mass, but what about all the other people there, quiter perhaps, but more representative? Naturally I overlooked them in the face of the “kook” and used that as a partial reason to avoid the mass altogether. And anyway, it wasn’t “mainstream” – I mean, look at these strange people!

    However, it’s too bad when concentration on the fringe of a movement tends to dismiss what the movement really stand for and the issues involved. It’s only too easy (as I did) to think that since trads are just a bunch of fussy weirdos, therefore their concerns and arguments must be marginal. When you consider the ideas themselves (and not just the personalities) as well as how seriously the current Pope takes the liturgy and the issues surrounding it, a different picture emerges. Unfortunately, this article does not even give a hint of this.

  • dominic

    I can only pray for you Mark. This is one pathetic article.

  • Tito Edwards

    Mr. Patrick Madrid,

    I enjoy reading (and purchasing) your books very much, so addressing you on your misguided affirmation of Mark Shea’s piece is difficult for me to do. But because you carry a bit more weight and gravitas as opposed to the average commenter (like myself) I have to call you out on this one.

    Mark Shea carries a history of goading and baiting people by his provocative posts/articles/comments. Be that as it may, Mark Shea makes good points, in fact excellent points as Peter Park quoted that we should definately look at ourselves and redress how we treat others. This does hurt the cause of Catholicism when traditionalists behave as Mark Shea pointed out, but I believe Mark Shea is not the one that should be pointing this out.

    Jonathan said it succinctly,

    …” “Traditionalists have good arguments. What Mark has pointed out is that they drive people away with their attitude.”

    If there ever was an argument that Mark Shea is not the person to make, it’s that one. “…

    I have not ever seen so many good Catholics that I like get split right down on opposite sides with Eric Pavlat’s prejudices being validated on one and Rich Leonardi’s bruised sentiments on the other.

    Only Mark Shea is capable of doing this. Mark Shea has consistantly, often, and repeatedly addressed this issue on his own blog, so it came as a surprise to me that Deal Hudson would allow Mark, of all people, to write a piece such as this.

    Maybe if the piece was written from a traditionalist, but in a much more charitable language unlike that of Mr. Shea’s, we wouldn’t see this great divide in the CommBox.

    Yes, what Mark Shea article points out are truly valid, but NO, Mark Shea is not the person who has the obligation/right/whatever you want to call it to write such a hyperbolic piece such as this.

    Most sincerely,

    Tito

  • Mary Alexander

    I am glad that Mark Shea wrote this article. In part because I think the answers he has received have been measured, charitable, illuminating and are far superior in their reasoning and expression.

    An article like this also makes me remember why I am a Traditionalist. Because I got tired of hearing the priest tell dirty jokes from the pulpit. Because I was refused Holy Communion when I wanted to receive on the tongue. Because I was scandalized by a sermon about how voting “prolife” mean voting Democrat in the presidential election. Because I was not allowed to volunteer to teach CCD or RCIA because I had too many kids. (and that was back when I only had 5). Because I got tired of hearing “Don’t you know about NFP” from priests and Mass-attending Catholics.

    Funny when the Holy Father has expressed so much reverence for Tradition and has expressed his wish that every parish offer the Traditional Latin Mass.

    Mr. Shea, you are out of step with the times and I fear out of step with your pope.

  • Mike

    It seems all anyone wants to do is talk in generalities about this bad trad or this bad NO Mass.

    No substance from Mark or Patrick or anyone else.
    Just ignore what you don’t like are call the bearer names.

    If you want to win the war you’ve got to get in the thick of the battle. You ain’t going to do it slinging mud or feel good stuff.

    The TLM Mass is the one place you can always be assured of a valid Consecration and no heretical sermons. The Priest are always an “alta Christus”. They don’t send lay people out to do their job. They take the salvation of souls seriously. I have never heard one say the Pope was just an old fool and didn’t know what he was talking about(which I have heard from multiple NO DRE’s). They never tell you you don’t need to go to confession. They make house calls when you need them.

  • kg

    Mark,

    You are right on! Thanks for putting this together. Rarely have I met a traditionalist who loved more than they fussed. It is unfortunate but a reality.

  • Michael O’Connor

    Robert Mosby,

    I don’t understand where my error is. You say

    “The Church can with ease make either order the predominant one with no serious error needing admission. Clean up the implementation foolery of the Novus Ordo and decide between the two orders.”

    Yes, of course the Church may clean up the Pauline Mass w/o admitting error, but I meant that it could not dispose of that Mass form without admitting a great error.

    I too share reservations about the Pauline Mass, but I believe it can improved. The first thing would be to reexamine it without the Protestant “help.” Ecumenism to me is a rather odd endeavor. It is seemingly self-contradicting. The Pius V Mass (with subsequent alterations around the edges) at least came out of Council that reaffirmed Catholic belief.

  • David W.

    Attacks against the Pauline Rite left and right…which goes back to my own point that the whole “preference” word is disingenuous and a bullshit word, to quote Red from Shawkshank Redemption…a Politician’s word. Why do you “prefer” the TLM? Because the Mass of Pope Paul VI is irreverent, sloppy, heretical, the spawn of Satan and the destruction of Catholicism itself, blah blah blah. It seems that no one can come up with a reason why they prefer the TLM without disparaging or outright attacking the Pauline Rite in some overt or back handed fashion. Which goes back to a fear I’ve had since the Motu Proprio became reality and seems to becoming to fruition if this blog is an indicator…the increasing polarization of the Church. traditionalists retreating to their little TLM enclaves and damn the rest….Pauline Rite Parishes making traditionalists feel awkward, basically telling them to go to the TLM parish down the road if “you don’t like it here.”

  • Kelly Clark

    I’ve always enjoyed Mark’s writing, even when I disagreed with him. But I really didn’t get much out of this piece. It’s hard to do so when it’s so filled with anger and overstatement.

    I think I understand the point he’s trying to make

  • Dave Pawlak

    Mark can be guilty of a bit of hyperbole and generalization (so can I). But I think he’s focusing on a certain group of Traditionalists who ruin it for everybody else. I’ve known some like this – my own cousin among them. They’re like the dwarfs in The Last Battle: so afraid of being taken in again that they won’t be taken out.

    And Mark is no enemy of things traditional. His own son goes to the Extraordinary Form. Fr. Phil Bloom offers that Mass on a regular basis. And I’m sure if Mark was invited to speak at St. Francis de Sales in the Atlanta area or Mater Ecclesiae in New Jersey, he’d gladly accept the invitation.

  • Kevin

    There tend to be two extremes: one that thinks anything before Vatican II was invalid, and another that thinks anything afterwards was invalid. Neither are correct- it is the same Church.
    That being said, many saw an opportunity in the aftermath of Vatican II to implement changes that were not intended by the Council. This has had disastrous effects, and people are right to be angry. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, and therefore the Mass is not to be taken lightly. We’ve put too much focus on ourselves and not enough on Christ. The Mass is Heaven on Earth, so we should strive as much as possible to keep it a heavenly experience. By deviating from the liturgical rules of the Church, we assert our own selves over Christ. And if we can’t honor Christ within the liturgy, how will we honor Him outside of it? In my experience, the priests who celebrate Mass reverently (be it Novus Ordo or TLM) generally are the ones who faithfully proclaim the truth of the Church outside of the Mass. The ones who think their own innovations will draw people to the Mass generally are the relativists, and we have enough relativism in the world. Those are the ones who will tell someone in Confession that what they’ve confessed isn’t a sin when the Catechism clearly states so. They’re the ones who are suspicious of the Pope and his authority. We can’t have that anymore. The Church needs to shine as a beacon of truth in a world that no longer believes in truth. It has to start in the liturgy. The Novus Ordo can be beautiful when done within the framework of the Church’s liturgical rules. These are ignored far too often, though. Thank God for Pope Benedict who has pushed to restore beauty to the liturgy! All of us: traditionalists, charismatics, and in between, need to be humble and submit to the will of God. This means reverence within the liturgy and charity outside of it.

  • Rich Leonardi

    “Oh, and by the way, waterboarding, cold cells, and strappado (to name a few of our still-licit-for-the-CIA techniques) are torture, not “torture”. But let’s stay on topic.”

    You spent much of your time earlier this decade castigating people for simply asking for a definition of the word (which you yourself now seem willing to provide.) Hence, my mock quotes.

  • Anthony P.

    Apologies for the bluntness of my comment title – for written words are unreliable in the proper conveyance of tone – but I truly am confused as to why this article was written. I must also apologize if I come off sounding na

  • Anthony P.

    … Based on my experience with diocesan volunteer work and pro-life efforts in local non-Latin parishes, I could write a mirror image article based on my experiences with the far-left lunatic parishioners I encountered. I could lecture “English Mass Enthusiasts” on all their shortcomings, listing all the worst anecdotes I could find from my own experiences and on the Internet from “English Mass Groups”, careful to add in the caveat that “many (but not all) non-traditionalists” hold these tendencies, but to do so would be inaccurate, unfair and only serve to provoke my fellow Catholic brothers and sisters whom I consider to be “on my side”.

    I am now discerning a vocation with the FSSP, with the love and support of my fellow parishioners and pastor. I love Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, and believe that Our Lord has blessed us with incredible pastors in these difficult times. It warms my heart to see Our Holy Father free the Latin Mass from its legalistic restrictions, restore to his Papal Masses the practice of receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling, extend a fatherly hand to the SSPX for their return to the fold, and encourage other traditions which had been largely neglected and forgotten by most Catholics. We can all be grateful that the attitude and approach of Our Holy Father is far different than that of InsideCatholic.com.

    I suppose I would probably qualify as “not that type of traditionalist” that the author is referring to, but I do take offense to the dismissive and demeaning tone of the article, and the carelessness of the generalizations. It is sadly ironic that in an article that takes “many (though certainly not all) Traditionalists” to task for their anger, bitterness, arrogance, poor witness, etc. is demonstrative of those same faults, and is more likely to succeed in provoking or offending a much larger audience than the target the author intended.

    Which leads back to my original question – why was this article written? Hopefully, we are reaching the point soon that igniting such verbal battles can be a thing of the past. Something we recall that Catholics used to engage themselves in before they started focusing on the more important things we are called to do. (I know – again, I’m just as guilty as the next person, for I am indeed a participant in this. Indeed, I could have spent the time it took to type this in prayer. [sigh] )

  • Mark Shea

    You spent much of your time earlier this decade castigating people for simply asking for a definition of the word

    Actually, I spent my time castigating people for refusing multiple definitions of the word while supplying none of their own (because they weren’t seeking a definition, but any opportunity they could invent to pretend they didn’t know what torture was).

  • Cody J.

    Before participating in the 800 year old Dominican Rite on the Feast Day of Saint Dominic, I attended a lecture on “The Power of Chant” in which much care was used to define what a ‘Rite’ is.

    People, we only have one true definition of what is most important during the mass, and it centers around 4 verbs Jesus gave us. Take(he took the bread), Bless(blessed it), Break(broke the bread), Give(gave it to his disciples)…..and finally DO, ‘Do this in memory of me.’

    That is the first Rite, its the most important. Novus Ordo, traditional Latin Mass, and every other approved Rite by Holy Church contain these 5 keystones of the Mass. Put in context, this selfish battle over whose Rite is “right”, is as if we’re arguing over how to correctly pronounce a word in the English language. We’re talking about the same thing, but with a slight twist, the content is still the same.

    I’m sure Uncle Srewtape LOVES to see the faithful on Earth bicker over such utter nonsense.

  • Rachel

    “My Latest on Inside Catholic

    In which numerous angry Trad commenters unwittingly assist me in making my point.”

    Reading through most of the “Trad commenters” comments do not seem to fit this short but no less telling description. Your comments are very arrogant and leave me wondering if I should even write that, as you may take a certain pride in that.

    Pray tell, what do you suggest the angry trads do?

    Do you believe they are all just happy to be angry, and want to stay that way?

    What exactly are they angry at?

    Is their anger just? (If you don’t think so, why?)

    Have you bothered to find out if the angry trads are doing anything positive in their parishes and/or other catholic parishes and their communities?

    Do you know personally every “angry trad” and if their anger might just be another manifestation of deep hurt and you might be able to help by showing THEM charity?

    Is it really fraternal charity to just point out someones faults without true compassion?

    Most of the trads I know are exactly the opposite as you describe them. They are truly living lives of generous Christians. Most of them have a deep love for the Church and her faithful. They pray, do penance, volunteer their time and money, offer great programs for the youth, for mothers, fathers, and have been a wonderful support for growing and homeschooling families. The trad parish I belong to regularly puts out prayer requests on an e-loop not only for families in OF mass parishes but for non-catholic people who need prayers and support. They are very active in the local maternity home and the pro-life movement. The list goes on and on…
    A lot of them are daily mass attendees,Sundays the EF Mass and weekdays the OF Mass. What I see from trads day in and day out is nothing like your example.

    I have on the other hand been treated pretty badly on several occasions for attending the EF mass by OF mass attendees. ) Even though I attend both masses. Though, that shouldn’t matter.) Good thing I don’t generalize them into a little angry box of lunatics.

  • Jimbo

    Tina wrote: I remember when I was little our city had a Tridentine parish. We all thought they were nuts and old-fashioned…

    Wow, Tina, and you don’t think that your attitude was part of the problem why some traditionalists tend to be angry? Its because they’ve been misunderstood and marginalized for forty years. They were told they could no longer have something that they had every right to hold dear. The reason you thought they were nuts was because it was implied they were nuts by just about everyone you came in contact with.

  • Jimbo

    Patrick Madrid wrote: Well said, Mark, and right on target. Poor Richard’s “et tu, Brute?” attempt to belittle your point makes it all the more pointed.

    Oh my gosh, Patrick. Pouring even more contempt on those who have been marginalized for forty years strikes me as akin to laughing at a war veteran because he has disfiguring scars and PTSD.

    The only thing that is more pointed now is the spear you guys are thrusting at fellow Catholics who have been through hell for an entire generation.

    Unbelievable and unjustifiable.

  • Scott W.

    This blogger must be spending time on Catholic Answers Forums. That site is full of angry, mean people who are more Catholic than the Pope. It’s disturbing to read the thoughts of these people.

    Pot meet kettle.

  • d. denton

    Mark: Before you (and all who here agree with you) unconditionally reject the Traditional Latin Mass and what it represents, may I suggest that you read Martin Mosebach’s “The Heresy of Formlessness?” If you will do that then perhaps we can have a halfway serious conversation here.

  • Gail

    without qualifying it is wrong in the first place. It assumes that they are sectarian. It’s one thing to reject Vatican II. It’s another to point out some of the less than worthy things that have emerged since Vatican II. The Pope pointed out that what was sacred to previous generations remains sacred for us, too.

  • Mark Shea

    Pray tell, what do you suggest the angry trads do?

    Repent the sin of anger.

  • Columcille

    Mark,

    You are touching upon something very real. But your target is off base.

    The problem is not the classical liturgy, or tradition.

    The problem is when the these things become part of Traditionalism as an ideological program.

    These Traditionalites are angry, joyless and vicious. THEY know what is wrong with the world and are pissed that the rest of the world hasn’t figured that out yet and come to them to fix things. Do these people gravitate to the Classical Roman Rite? Yes, but that does not mean that the Classical Roman Rite is to blame, or a love of tradition.

    You and a number of commentators are mistaken to think that the Liturgy is of little consequence, and further, you are mistaken to think that the changes implemented in the Novus Ordo have no relation to the cultural collapse of Catholicism (including pro-abort Catholics, and abortion as public policy in this country).

    The Bible and the Catechism, alone, do not Catholicism make.

    The center of Catholicism is the Liturgy – the lived, continuity of the Church in prayer through 2000+ years. It is out of the Liturgy that we have scripture, and the Catechism. To ignore this is a mistake. To ignore the importance of the true (versus false) values and principles of the liturgy is suicide.

    We will not have a renewal of Catholicism without a renewal of the liturgy. Benedict knows this and is taking action. We should all be alerted to the movement of the Holy Spirit in this regard and robustly join in the Reform that is seeking to recover tradition.

    So your target is off here, it is not the Traditional Liturgy that is the issue, but the Traditionalites who believe in Traditionalism over Catholicism – to my mind, this is heresy.

    But your shot is straight: Traditionalites (or Rad-Trads) very often are angry, joyless, clamped down disastrous examples of Catholics you would ever meet. But lets not get the ideological agenda of Traditionalism, confused with the importance and needed values of the Classical Roman Rite and the traditions of our Faith.

  • Robert Mosby

    Dear Michael,

    I share your views that (1) implementation of the Novus Ordo has been too often cavalier, (2) NO can be cleaned up or improved and (3) rehabilitating the 1962 Missal was an overdue and very good thing.

    Incidentally, I would not mind learning more about protestant theologian “assists” on the commission. They are not necessarily a bad thing, though one is naturally apprehensive.

    Perhaps, however, you err here — maybe twice:

    The liberation of the 1962 missal is a good thing, but it is not going to replace the novus ordo. That would be admitting that the Church made a colossal error, which I don’t think it can.

    First, the NO could be replaced as primary liturgical form. The sort of Church error it might imply would be merely prudential, not a serious matter in light of history. Second, the probability of 1962 Missal’s assuming that role with the Paul VI Missal becoming an alternative, like the Gothic or Spanish or other rites, strikes me as being greater that generally esteemed.

    Apparently we share with many others a robust sense of the possibilities associated with “reform of the reform”. And we have allies across time in the democracy of the living and the dead. Among the great-souled Augustine was hardly alone in grasping the overwhelming role of Beauty in the spiritual life. Solzhenitsyn in his Nobel Lecture quoted Dostoyevsky, “Beauty will save the world.” Would that these sentiments were more widely understood.

    Finally, I very much appreciate your insights and restrained manner of expression.

  • Sam

    As much as it pains me to say this (for I have learned a very great deal indeed from Mark), I see a rather unfortunate similarity between Mark’s approach to the Rad Trads and Prof. Myers’ approach to Christians. While most of the Christian commenters responding to his ugly and childish act of desecration were more or less polite and generous, a few went overboard and said vituperative and un-Christian things; the good Prof. Myers then took those few and made them represent the entire Christian response. In Mark, alas, I see a disturbingly similar pattern in response to the Rad Trads. Some are, no doubt, kooks, tainted with pride, anti-semitism, and all sorts of other bad things. But I just can’t see how it does any good to paint all those who are attuned to the liturgy and who are attached to the Extraordinary Form with such a broad, negative brush, letting the relatively few unpleasant responses stand for all.

  • Mark Shea

    Why was this article written?

    Because I was finishing a thought begun with last week’s column, in which I looked at some of the problems to which the Paul VI rite is prone. This week, I was looking at some of the problems to which the Traditionalist subculture of the Church is prone. I have *never* said all or even most Traditionalists are like this. I have only noted that a very significant percentage reflect these pathologies and that for a “straw man” we certainly do encounter them with alarming frequency (a point attested by numerous additional witnesses right here).

    Speaking of straw men, yet another person writes:

    [i]Before you (and all who here agree with you) unconditionally reject the Traditional Latin Mass…[i]

    Yet again, let me say, “The basic blunder here is the constant attempt to construe a critique of common Traditionalist sins with a rejection of the Tridentine rite. I think the Tridentine rite is the bee’s knees. I want the Paul VI rite celebrated reverently. But I reject the notion that Trads get a rain check on the fruits of the Spirit just so long as their indulgence of anger, factionalism and bitterness is done on behalf of liturgical purity.”

  • Mark Shea

    The problem is not the classical liturgy, or tradition.[/i][/i]

    True. Which is why I never said it was.

  • Mark Shea

    But I just can’t see how it does any good to paint all those who are attuned to the liturgy and who are attached to the Extraordinary Form with such a broad, negative brush, letting the relatively few unpleasant responses stand for all.

    Neither can I, which is why I wrote, “But that is often the impression I have gotten from many (though certainly not all) Traditionalists. Like it or not, discourse among a great many Traditionalists is filled with anger and contempt for Catholics who do not share their burning interest in traditional forms of piety.”

    And the comboxes here have pretty much borne that observation out. Many, though certainly not all, of those who style themselves Traditionalists have exhibited exactly what I’ve talked about. The majority have not exhibited these negative qualities. In short, we are not talking about a “straw man” but about a real problem among a significant percentage of Traditionalists. And the fact is, it *does* poison the perception of Traditionalism among those of us who celebrate “that trash” called the Paul VI rite to be informed on a regular basis that we belong to another religion, that we have no idea what lex orandi means, etc.

    I’m quite aware of the fact that there are saints in the Traditionalist camp. I’m quite aware that there are real excuses for the anger of some Traditionalists. I’m also quite aware that these sins exist and that many of us have been on the receiving end of them for years. So I’m making the common sense point that if Traditionalists want us outsiders to listen, they should really figure out a way to relate to us, cuz mostly the Traditionalist PR sucks.

  • Amy Ivsan

    Orthodoxy, when it is not infused by the dynamism of the Holy Spirit becomes sanctimony, and a fine line exist between the two. I keep foremost in mind regardless of what transpires at any mass, is the fact the priest brings me the Holy Eucharist, the true gift of Life. All of the divisions, factions, and consequent disputes regarding liturgy, turns brothers and sisters against one another and then we totally fail in charity, and guess what? We give greater evidence of satan in our spiritual life than testify to the Love of Christ.

  • Sue D

    Well they may not be clowns ,but here is a giant puppet Mass..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh_nqtp3VrU
    Most of the complaints I hear about the old Mass are from the Novus Ordo side. I think that the Traditionalists are just extremely grateful that Pope Benedict released the Moto Proprio(sp).the Pope has also made it clear that communion in the hand should be discouraged….It’s about reverence and worship- that’s why I go to Traditional Mass

  • Ann

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a great article.

    I’m a cradle Catholic who recently came home. I haven’t met one of these traditionalists in real life, but boy, they are a loud bunch on the internet.

    The Mass is as beautiful as it has ever been and just the way I remember it. I have never been to a Clown Mass either.

    I choose to trust my parish priest and bishop to make sure that the Mass is being said properly. That is their job and they are the experts in saying the Mass, not I.

  • Petra

    Spot on, Mark. The widespread anger in the Trad camp has also been instrumental why I have distanced myself from Traditionalism. (I’ve mostly attended Novus Ordo Masses all of my Catholic life – 4 years now -, but I used to harbor strong Traditionalist sympathies and a certain “Trad outlook” with regard to Church history.)

    The most disturbing thing for me was the almost complete lack of apostolic spirit among the Trads I met either personally or on-line. It was always complaints, complaints, complaints about Church stuff, but hardly anything about the conversion of the World, about growth in the spiritual life…

    When I later met people who were real apostles (in the Legion of Mary, in Opus Dei, in the Emmanuel Community, in Charismatic groups etc.), they were all almost uninterested in liturgical questions (except for an understandable preference for reverent [Novus Ordo] Masses done “by the book”). They were not bitter and angry and didn’t complain but showed a joy and a serenity which only the Holy Spirit can give. It was a real eye-opener…

  • sue D

    Oh, and by the way…
    In my Traditional Mass Community/Parish I have not found anyone who is “pro-choice”, pro-homosexual agenda, or against Magisterial teaching in any way. Can any Novus Ordo parish say the same? Maybe this is what really bothers the new Mass folk. If the Traditional Mass continues to grow, it will threaten those Liberals and New Agers that have taken control of many parishes, and they don’t want to let go.

  • harry

    I am a traditionalist, and I have met many ornery and mean traddys, including insulting priests. They have insulted me…that hurts, however we should account it a blessing and joy…does scripture not say “the rebuke of a wise man is oinment pour upon the head” ???

  • joseph

    Wow! There are so many generalizations being made here, starting with Mr. Shea’s accusations. To generalize all those who have an attachment to the Traditional Roman Mass as being angry is absurd! Likewise is the accusation that the Mass of Paul VI is atrocius. Catholic theology is always a both/and proposition -never either/or. So are there angry “traditionalists” — yes, with a great number of them being schismatics. Are there terrible abuses in the novus ordo — again yes, but there are some well prayed novus ordo Masses as well. everyone must agree that what the Council attempted to do was not carried out completely. In fact it wasn’t carried out from the beginning. (I defy anyone to show me where in the Council documents it says to remove High Altars/Altar rails and pray Mass facing the people) Pope Benedict XVI has said that the new Mass was “a banal, on the spot creation.”

    Now, here is where the commentary begins. The new Mass was created (as opposed to organic development) by a man who some believe was a Mason (archbishop Bugnini-who was exiled to Iran after the shortly after the Council). It is true that the new Mass relied heavily on the Book of Common Prayer from Thomas Cranmer who abandoned the Faith when Henry VIII thru his temper-tantrum. And it is true that the Protestant observers did more than simply “observe”. PLease read the “Ottaviani Report”. Cardinal Ottaviani was scandalized by the new Mass and purportedly said, please allow me to die before the Council so that I may die a Catholic! Strong words, if true, from a prince of the Church. The liturgical reform has been a dismal failure to this point. But there are hopeful signs on the horizon, young priests, inspired by Benedict XVI, are attempting to iniate a True reform of the liturgy.

  • David W.

    Does that word even have a particular meaning, or like conservative and liberal has become sort of an epithet or catch all word? People who consider themselves traditionalists seem to fall into different categories. As I stated before, my own traditionalism is embodied in the Papal Tiara and Seal. I am an unapologetic Papist, and when my Prince (of the Apostles) or the Magisterium (who are his Bishops, and in theory at least are extensions of his authority) speaks on religious matters, I obey, as surely as a 14th Century attendant would put his fists to his chest, bow…say “yes, my Prince” and Obey. Irregardless of whether its Pope Pius X or Pope Paul VI. Thats why I take aim at the selective obedience of both radical traditionalists (generally) AND Protestantizers. Nothing (not even obedience) should ever be blind, but what I see at least on the internet…is selective hearing, selective obedience, and selective quotations of Papal Authority when it suits their pet causes. I had reservations with the Motu Proprio, I wanted a more vigorous reform of the Pauline Rite…but the Holy Father made his decision…and I trust in his wisdom. There are some things I don’t like…I wish the Church would be more forceful towards dissenters and heretics, and that Rome would assume more of its old authority. I’m not a big fan of the Pauline Rite, some things about it I like…more than a few I don’t. But I defend it from attack. He is a Theologian of the highest caliber, and the successor of St. Peter. I am an American layman…the Holy Spirit guides him, He and his ministers of the Church shepherd me…I know my place in the eternal order…and I stay in it.

  • magdalen

    I am a trad-wannabe! I have been to exactly 3 extraordinary forms of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because it is not available in my diocese nor was the indult. When I have the opportunity, I will go. Angry? I have some anger over the abuses I have had to live with over the years. Most recently father bringing his dog and having it do tricks in the sancturary. Or father bringing in a protestant to give the ‘parish mission’ and publicly giving him communion. Father who says he does not like the catechism, adoration, the rosary, the Saint Michael prayer, or Marian devotion but a ‘peace and justice’ dissenter is welcome. A Roman Catholic bible study is not welcome. The ‘entertainment’ at church does not compare to the fellowship churches so many go there now. Mass is just a gathering of the assmebly to give thanks after all. (can’t we do this at a restaurant?). So, yes, I long so much for holy and reverent Masses.

    And when I can attend them, as I am moving and will have at least some access monthly, I will do my best to be as absolutely charitable and loving to all I meet. I will not wear my anger or let bitterness be on my sleeve.

    I hope to go to my first Solemn and also Pontifical High Masses by traveling a distance to them this fall. I can;t wait! And so much holy music that I have never heard! We cannot even sing a Marian hymn in my parish–mostly songs about how wonderful we are and I never sing them. I want to sing again one day…

  • joseph

    Above I asked readers to take a look at the Ottaviani report. Actually it is called the Ottaviani Intervention and can be purchased on Amazon et cetera. For those not familiar with it, it was the thoughts of His Emminence and Cardinal Bacci written to Paul VI regarding the new Mass. As regards to the “retraction” supposedly written and signed by him, it had been completely debunked considering the Cardinal was frail and blind. It seems that his secretary worked for Bugnini in recreating the Mass. Therefore it is logical to assume that he had an personal interest in saying the Cardinal retracted his comments.

  • Ken

    Mark Shea wrote: “So I’m making the common sense point that if Traditionalists want us outsiders to listen, they should really figure out a way to relate to us, cuz mostly the Traditionalist PR sucks.”

    Sorry, but this would have been a somewhat respectable point 20 years ago, but not today. Mr. Shea, with all due respect, hardly anyone cares about the reform-of-the-reform and finding the true meaning of Vatican II. Your cause lost. It’s over. Young Catholics are interested in the traditional Latin Mass.

    So, rather than simply launch grenades toward the traditionalist camp, which now has the Vatican leaning toward its (our) side, either join the party or step aside. But whining about those who toiled for decades to restore the liturgy of the saints is probably a waste of time.

    We don’t need to relate to you — our counterrevolution to your defense of modernism is winning.

    P.S. if tradionalist p.r. “sucks” (your word), then how do you explain a tiny group of traditionalists successfully defining the debate on liturgy? You may want to put down the Wanderer and pick up the Remnant.

  • Tina

    Jimbo,
    I mentioned what I thought they were nuts when I was little. I vaguely remember discussing the parish in class when I was getting ready for Confirmation in 8th grade, 20 years ago. I thought the Marionite Rite was strange too at the time, even though I had relatives who were Marionites.

    Apparently this parish was part of SSPX or something because the parish isn’t listed in Archdiocese Archives closed parish list or the current parish list.

    Anyway back to my point. When I was a little kid, I thought the people celebrating the Latin Mass were a little nuts. In the intervening years, I have grown up and hopefully become a little more tolerant and open. That or I’ve gained enough tact not to say such things in front of those who hold such things important.

    Right now, I don’t get why some prefer the Latin Mass. If they want a Latin Mass and they can find a priest, as long as I’m not forced to go to it, I could really care less one way or the other.

    It’s all good in the hood.

  • Robert

    So….sticking up for tradition as the Church has maintained for hundreds of years is wrong????

    I would like Mark Shea to answer why the more devout Catholics are traditionalist. Ask him why liberal Catholics have destroyed to a certain extent the unified voice of the Church.
    Ask him why liberal bishops, priests and archbishops continue to give communion to pro-abortion policitians. This causes scandal because it confuses the lay people. I was always taught abortion is intrinsically evil and if I committ or support an intrinsically evil action I would have to refrain from the Eucharist…I guess this doesn’t apply to “devout” Catholic politicians such as Kerry and Pelosi.
    The Pope wants a smaller Church if it means it is more devout and vibrant. I love hearing liberal Catholics say they are going to leave because Latin is coming back.

    God Bless Pope Benedict and may God strike down the liberal movement and make people aware of their erroneous ways. Remember, the Church teaches Liberalism is a sin just like Modernism

  • Louise M.

    This seems to me to be the heart of this debate. Do the attitudes, tendencies and flaws of traditionalists prevent them to “win hearts and minds to their cause” and prevent them from making the right impression on those around them like early Christians did? Although Mark Shea “wouldn’t touch the Faith with a barge pole if they were the True Apostles of it they claim to be,” different people are attracted to the Catholic Church in different ways.

    I, for one, can say that I probably would not have converted to Catholicism were it not for the Latin Mass and the “traditionalists” there, angry or otherwise. It was there I found people who took their faith and beliefs seriously. No, they weren’t smiling and holding hands and hugging each other, but their love and joy were evidenced by the number of children in the pews, the way they would support others in times of trial, the way they would sacrifice for their faith and family, and the way Catholicism was central to their life. It was there in a modest chapel I found what I had been searching for, and was able to open my heart and mind to the truths of the Catholic Faith.

    On the other hand, I’ve tried to bring other people into the Church via the Latin Mass (in secret of course, since it was expressly against the demands of my rad trad handlers who instructed me to be angry and bitter and focus on driving people away) and have had mixed results. Some shared my experience, and others didn’t. The silence and lack of interaction during the Mass and the way it made them feel didn’t sit well with some. I think we should be thankful that there are a variety of Masses, so as to appeal to people with different sensibilities, but it is certainly not the case that people are attracted to English Mass participants but repelled by Latin Mass enthusiasts.

    On the other hand, I have had problems in trying to bring people into the Church via the English Mass. One anecdotal example I can relay is when I tried to convert a protestant whom I met at pro-life rallies. Sensing they may be more comfortable being introduced to the Church via the English Mass, I took her to a Dominican parish in Seattle. Driving into the parking lot, she pointed out the number of vehicles there with pro-abortion bumper stickers. I dismissed those as anomalies – “there are some nuts in every group”. Then we listened to the priest give a homily about how Catholics have the responsibility to vote for candidates who support Catholic beliefs, but the only one mentioned was immigration. After it was over, she whispered to me, “and what about abortion?”. I replied that people already knew that, so it didn’t need mentioning, but I’m not sure either of us really believed it. Following the homily, a young husband/wife couple got up and talked about NFP, complete with double entendres and jokes about female cycles and creative intercourse. There was much laughter and applause from the congregation. Finally, the priest extended an invitation to everyone to attend a Bluegrass Mass for which he would be playing the banjo. By the time we left, I was more than a little embarrassed by my choice. That’s not to say a different person would have been immediately drawn to the Church based on such an experience, but it was obvious that she was not the target audience for such things.

    I still see her from time to time, and she jokes about my attempts to convert her by bringing her to Mass that day. I’m working on getting her to come to the Latin Mass, but we’ll see how it goes. Anyhow, different people are attracted to different things. The richness of Catholicism and the variety of rituals allow for casting as wide a net as possible, and appealing to a wide spectrum of potential converts. For that we can all be thankful to God.

    Louise M.

  • Canisius

    This article continues to show Shea’s snide attitude toward Traditionalist. Yeah were angry so what, we have been kicked out of parishes for over 40 years to be replaced by guitar playing nuns. Our altars stripped to the bone, frescoes painted over and the Blessed Sacrament moved to the side. Now it is my hope we are back with a roar. It is not just the New Mass that has been irreverent but the entire culture, as Paul VI said “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church” To me there is a direct correlation between all the reforms of Vatican II and the complete collapse of Catholic Culture and Identity. Sorry Mr. Shea we are angry for a reason, take a look at the world around you, there’s your answer why.

  • Mark Shea

    When I’m simultaneously hearing I’m attacking a straw man and seeing so *many* straw men on this very thread, as well as simultaneously hearing of the myth of the angry Trad, even as others are saying “We have every right to be angry!” I’m afraid I’m not sold on the thesis that this article was off target, nor that I have no right to speak about what my own two eyes have seen many, many times. Ken really does the best job of summarizing my point in post 116. The sheer contempt for anybody outside the Bunker–the confident belief that a brother in Christ is The Enemy–that’s what tragically poisons the important truths Traditionalism has to speak to the Body of Christ. My prayer is that the poison will be washed out by the Spirit and that the love of the Tradition will remain.

  • Canisius

    “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”, Pope Benedict XVI.

    Perhaps Mr. Shea can discuss his anti-tradiitionalist views with a man who knows what the score is,

  • Mark Shea

    “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”, Pope Benedict XVI.

    Perhaps Mr. Shea can discuss his anti-tradiitionalist views with a man who knows what the score is

    Not much to discuss, since I agree with him. I doubt, however, that he would prescribe anger, bitterness, factionalism, anti-semitism, the presumption “criticism of Traditionalist nastiness equals hatred of the Tridentine Rite” and a bunker mentality as the antidote.

  • a different ben

    Mark,

    The trouble is that when we read articles like this we (normal mass-attending, quiet homeschooling families) feel attacked.

    I know that you do not mean to indict all traditionalists as being angry, joyless antisemites, but it feels that way.

    I know a lot of traditionalists personally and none of them fit this stereotype. I have however, encountered a number of on-line traditionalists who seem to fit this sterotype. Oddly, only a handful of traditionalists I know personally have ever visited a “catholic blog” even once.

    The traditionalists I know are not engaged in any sort of PR campaign. They are just trying to do the best they can to rasie their kids in what is really a very hostile world. They ae attracted to the traditional liturgy for a variety of reasons. Some are there because of family connections. Some are there because of thier love of this form of the liturgy. Some are there because they had seriously negative expereinces at other parishes. Some are there because they happened to meet a traditionalist who evangelized them and converted them. We are there because the environment is so welcoming for large families. It was difficult having 8 kids in a parish where the next largest family had 4.

    So please try to be more sensitive. Keep in mind how you feel when people say things like “Well of course not all catholic converts from evangelicalism love the republican party more than the church, but I’ve met soooo many who do. let me tell you about some of the whacky things they have done…”

  • Johnny Domer

    Mark,

    I’m guessing the trads you’ve met are mostly A. on the internet and B. in Seattle. They’re going to be more nutty in those localities.

    There’s a HUGE shift occurring right now in the makeup of the “trad” demographic, and Fr. Z is the face of it. They are ORTHODOX Catholics who adhere to Vatican II, but they prefer the older form. They’re not angry or bitter or “whacked out,” and they’re generally younger. You see lots of them at FSSP and Institute of Christ the King apostolates (places where the bishop offers the Older Form GENEROUSLY). Heck, at Notre Dame, we’ve got like a hundred kids who are interested in the Older Form, about 40 or so who are real die-hards, and there is barely one or two who even MAYBE reject Vatican II.

    But in regards to those “crazy” people…you know what, a lot of those folks whom I’ve met are GOOD PEOPLE who went through an ecclesiastical HELL in the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, and continuing on today; many of them saw their families or children fall away from the Church; they live in dioceses where there isn’t an orthodox priest anywhere except at the Tridentine Mass; there isn’t a Mass without liturgical abuses or crappy music anywhere in the diocese except the Tridentine Mass…is it really so hard to see why these poor folks start having an incorrect bunker mentality?

    A general principle: Where traditional teaching and the Tridentine Mass are more difficult to find, radical traditionalists are easier to find. And vice-versa. Rad-trads wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for liberal clerics who have been destroying the Church in America for 40 years.

  • Bender

    The sad thing is that so many of the trads commenting here do not realize that they are, in fact, alienating so many of us just-plain-Catholics. They are their own worst enemies. No one undermines the traditionalism they claim to treasure so much as they do.

    I once was leaning toward tradism, but they scared me away.

  • Mike

    “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church(what we believe) that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy (how we pray).”, Pope Benedict XVI.

    This is exactly what “lex orandi, lex credendi” means and supports what I said.

    “The sad thing is that so many of the trads commenting here do not realize that they are, in fact, alienating so many of us just-plain-Catholics. They are their own worst enemies. No one undermines the traditionalism they claim to treasure so much as they do.”

    This is really a dumbfounding statement and so are Marks in this regard. I have not read any post on here that meet theses criteria “anger, bitterness, factionalism, anti-semitism, the presumption “criticism of Traditionalist nastiness equals hatred of the Tridentine Rite” and a bunker mentality as the antidote.”. Perhaps our definitions are not the same.

  • Rachel

    Mark Shea wrote: Pray tell, what do you suggest the angry trads do?

    Repent the sin of anger.

    Mark:
    There were more questions. They were sincere. It is very difficult to believe you are being sincere when you pick that one out of the bunch.
    Do you believe they are all just happy to be angry, and want to stay that way?

    What exactly are they angry at?

    Is their anger just? (If you don’t think so, why?)

    Have you bothered to find out if the angry trads are doing anything positive in their parishes and/or other catholic parishes and their communities?

    Do you know personally every “angry trad” and if their anger might just be another manifestation of deep hurt and you might be able to help by showing THEM charity?

    Is it really fraternal charity to just point out someones faults without true compassion?

    One more thing, the “angry trads” are your words. The emotion of anger when used properly can inspire us to do great things and have enough courage to stand up for grave injustices. Like oue Lord in the temple.

    The emotion of anger itself is NOT A SIN. It’s acting on that unjustly that is.

    How do we know we act on that unjustly?

    We take a good hard look at our intentions, we consult with our priests, and we pray.

    “Traditionalists” who are angry do not need to repent for an emotion. Just as someone actively fighting the temptation to lust does is not guilty of that sin so long as they he does not give in to it.

    Have you done anything to find out if these “angry trads” are doing anything to actively practice charity?

    Just as there are a few bad apples in the EF mass camp there are in the OF mass camp as well.

    “So I’m making the common sense point that if Traditionalists want us outsiders to listen, they should really figure out a way to relate to us, cuz mostly the Traditionalist PR sucks.”

    Mark, Christian charity requires you to give your brother in Christ the benefit of the doubt and that would inspire you to realize that if you have a problem with “traditionalist PR” YOU should be the one trying to relate to them. The reason why I say this is because your statement above screams of that fact that you think you are right. This alone should send flags up if you think you are right but still don’t have enough humility to relate.
    Your God given reason should tell you that it is not common sense to expect the wrong side of the camp to relate to you, you too have to SHOW them, with charity, especially the charity of your actions.

    I challenge you to go to at least 3 EF masses, pick out a few people after or before that masses and make an effort to try to get to know them and RELATE to THEM.

    My OF priest challenged me to do this a few years ago, it’s the charity of the majority that won me over.

    Instead of riling people up, and stirring up the emotion which you are complaining about, try fasting and offering up sacrifices for those “angry trads” so they might come to their senses and see that the all knowing Mark Shea knows what’s best for them.

    St. Francis De Sales had to battle with temptations to impatience for over 20 years. He’s a saint and Doctor of the Church.

  • Cy

    It appears to me that many are examining others’ consciences.

  • Rachel

    “One more thing, the “angry trads” are your words. The emotion of anger when used properly can inspire us to do great things and have enough courage to stand up for grave injustices. Like oue Lord in the temple”

    Correction: AGAINST injustices. Sigh…funny.

  • Mark Shea

    “A different Mass is a different Faith.”

    Not the itsy-bitsiest whiff of arrogance in consigning those who celebrate the Paul VI rite to the Pit as the worshippers of a false god?

    Bender’s right, dude. Listen to him.

  • Canisius

    sue D wrote: Oh, and by the way…
    In my Traditional Mass Community/Parish I have not found anyone who is “pro-choice”, pro-homosexual agenda, or against Magisterial teaching in any way. Can any Novus Ordo parish say the same? Maybe this is what really bothers the new Mass folk. If the Traditional Mass continues to grow, it will threaten those Liberals and New Agers that have taken control of many parishes, and they don’t want to let go.

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo,, Shea and his crowd do not understand this. The Liberalism that has infected the Church like typhus and the acceptance of it, can be directly linked to the so called reforms of Vatican 2, I dare Shea to contest this. The acceptance of these morally corrupt views within the Church (and outside of it) was only excerbated by Vatican 2, Vatican rather than condemning heresies eventually encouraged them. This is what I am angry about.

  • Don

    I came to the Faith late, 1991, saw the Tridentine Mass done on video tape. My wife and children are bi-ritual, Byzantine catholics. By the way, Byzantine divine Liturgy was handed down over 1,500 years, unchanged, by Saint John Chrysostom, beautiful Liturgy. I love both Roman and Byzantine liturgies. I guess I would fall in love with Latin Mass as well. Why? Because all Masses celebrated by ordained priests are divine . I don

  • Don

    “But the essential, the unchangeable will remain: the Breaking of the Bread, the Meeting together of the faithful. Because those come from Me, and from the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Apostles. And that which comes from Us is eternal.”

  • Mark Shea

    Liberalism that has infected the Church like typhus and the acceptance of it, can be directly linked to the so called reforms of Vatican 2, I dare Shea to contest this.
    I contest it. Certainly *abuses* of the Holy Council and the will of the Church have harmed both the Church and the world. But saying that the Council *caused* the problems is like saying the medicine caused the disease. I honor the Mass in both its forms in the Latin Rite (as well as in all the other rites). Are you really saying we should spit on the Paul VI rite and the Council?

  • Canisius

    I am not saying Vatican 2 has caused these problems, but it did nothing to stop or stem them. Instead of “openning up” the Church to the modern world, it should have condemned modernism. You say you honor both forms of the mass, but you seem to have no limit of hostility to those who follow the Tridentine Rite. Saying we are alway angry, well like I said in previous posts there are reasons for it.

    Maybe you can reconcile yourself with spineless clerics who tout “tolerance” over truth, where entire Parishes cater to perverts, thereby affirming sin, where so called “Princes” of the Church do not the moral courage to refuse communion to”Catholic” politicians who support abortion, but I refuse to. Vatican 2 encouraged a climate of dissent against the Church and its teachings, and that is the Truth. Its time for Vatican 3 with sole purpose of fixing the results of Vatican 2

  • Michael

    Mark has a history of trad-bashing in his writing. He is quite convinced that trads are bitter, irrationally angry, closet anti-semites. Then, when he writes an article about his beliefs, he crows about how correct he must be because the reaction in the comboxes just proves his point. Charity may eventually get through to him but every time someone evinces the slightest bit of anger towards him, it just reinforces him in his opinion.

    Mark,
    We love you anyway and we will be praying for you.

  • Lex Orandi Lex Credendi

    I don’t know what everyone is so upset about. It’s not as though someone who knew something about liturgy wrote this post. It is only the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand the Mass. Why is everyone taking him so seriously?

  • Mark Shea

    I am not saying Vatican 2 has caused these problems, but it did nothing to stop or stem them.

    Nothing? Nothing at *all*? And you know this how? By what interdimensional portal have you climbed into the alterate universe where the Council never occurred and discovered what *would* have happened?

    I think it’s just as sound to say the Holy Spirit knew what he was doing when he inspired the Church to convene the Council. When you look, for instance, at the Potemkin Village of Quebec Catholicism and the way in which it collapsed, I have to ask “Was the problem the Council or simply that so-called Traditional Catholicism there was a hollow shell that could not possibly have withstood the cultural winds that were blowing?”

    My own opinion is that both the Council and the pontificates of JPII and Benedict were probably the only things that got the Church through the cultural riptides of the past 40 years. Certainly I think that JPII’s aggressive promulgation of the Council’s teaching and themes did vastly more to grow and preserve the Church than, say, the Bunker Mentality of Ken.

    Bottom line: you really need to make very very clear when you are complaining about abuse and when you are suggesting that the Council itself was an evil, cuz you come mighty close to saying that, even *after* you offer your clarification.

  • Michael

    Mark has a history of trad-bashing in his writing. He is quite convinced that trads are bitter, irrationally angry, closet anti-semites. Then, when he writes an article about his beliefs, he crows about how correct he must be because the reaction in the comboxes just proves his point. Charity may eventually get through to him but every time someone evinces the slightest bit of anger towards him, it just reinforces him in his opinion.

    Mark,
    We love you anyway and we will be praying for you.

  • Mame

    I have had the opportunity to attend a few Latin masses recently. They were very reverent. However, this priest offers Mass reverently in English, too.

    I found myself missing some aspects of the Norvus Ordo…participation, for instance.

    I know about liturgical abuses. I’ve witnessed enough.

    Speaking to friends and family who lived through the changes in the 60′s and 70′s, the overwhelming impression seems to be that Mass is so much better now. I find myself wondering if we aren’t looking at the past with a slightly romantic view.

    Also, I wonder if God really cares about the language used as long as our hearts are really praying and listening and loving Him. God is certainly beyond any limitations we create. But I believe He deserves our attention!

    Yes, seek holy lives. Yes, be reverent. Yes, have the courage to live a Christian life in the world.

    Sometimes I think God is bigger than all of the stuff we tend to put in the way.

    Peace.

  • FrMatthew

    Thanks, Mark, for voicing what a lot of us priests have been thinking and praying about for a long time now. There is way too much anger in the church from the traditionalist wing of the Church to claim that is all from the Holy Spirit. Maybe the smoke of Satan entered the Church after Vatican II by inspiring wacky liberals, but the demonic infestation of anger, self-righteousness, pride, narcissism and Phariseeism into the traditionalist movement is just as scary. Sins committed in the name of Vatican II do not justify sins in the name of preserving Holy Tradition. May the prayers of the Holy Virgin Mary and the saints protect the church from this new cancer in the Body of Christ. St. Michael, defend us from the Trojan Horse of vitriolic traditionalism masquarading as zeal!

  • Albrecht

    Your commenters will provide all necessary corroborating evidence for your thesis.

  • Canisius

    I am not only complaining about the abuse, but the culture of Vatican 2 which allowed corruption and outright dissent of Church teaching to flourish. So much so I am convinced that the Church of today is barely the same one in which my father so faithfully belonged to. So many Catholics I know think the Church began in 1965 and know almost nothing of Church tradition and they are lukewarm in their faith, it cannot be denied that Vatican 2 encouraged this attitude. I have to admit you are very snide and contemptous person with your responses. I thought it was Traditonalist who laced charity not the tolerant modern catholic

  • Jonathan

    Yes, if one writes a column baiting some Vaguely Specified Group as containing jerks, some members of that Group will act as if they’ve been baited, providing yet more evidence that this Vaguely Specified Group contains jerks.

    That mighty insight was worth a column?

  • Canisius

    FrMatthew wrote: Thanks, Mark, for voicing what a lot of us priests have been thinking and praying about for a long time now. There is way too much anger in the church from the traditionalist wing of the Church to claim that is all from the Holy Spirit. Maybe the smoke of Satan entered the Church after Vatican II by inspiring wacky liberals, but the demonic infestation of anger, self-righteousness, pride, narcissism and Phariseeism into the traditionalist movement is just as scary. Sins committed in the name of Vatican II do not justify sins in the name of preserving Holy Tradition. May the prayers of the Holy Virgin Mary and the saints protect the church from this new cancer in the Body of Christ. St. Michael, defend us from the Trojan Horse of vitriolic traditionalism masquarading as zeal!

    So Father tell us are we now demons because we want to preserve the tradtions of the Church they were taken from us in the name of tolerance and appeasing non-Catholics. 40 years of kumbaya, weak clerics, sexual scandals, and the near dissolution of Catholic culture and tradition and were the bad guys, you are lost father

  • Mark Shea

    Vatican 2 encouraged a climate of dissent against the Church and its teachings, and that is the Truth.

    In other words, the council, not the abuses, was evil.

    So Father tell us are we now demons

    He said nothing of the sort.

    you are lost father

    In other words, you are God Almighty.

    It’s weird how *many* straw men there are.

  • Mark Shea

    So many Catholics I know think the Church began in 1965 and know almost nothing of Church tradition and they are lukewarm in their faith, it cannot be denied that Vatican 2 encouraged this attitude.

    Of course it can be denied. Vatican II did not encourage abandonment of the tradition. You are saying that the Council itself, not abuse of the Council’s teachings, is evil.

    Jonathan:

    What provides the proof is how strenuously the people who say I’m attacking a straw man maintain radio silence while these very vociferous and statistically significant straw men continue to illustrate my point. A healthy Trad culture would be the *first*, not the last to, you know, defend the Tradition (which includes defending the Second Vatican Council, not sitting quietly while Reactionary Dissenters attack it as evil).

  • Tito Edwards

    Mark,

    As I climb off the pile I’d like to tell you that I love you as a brother. Even though I don’t know you personally, I know you mean well dude.

    I’m brushing myself off right now, but again, you’re one good man and the Church surely appreciates all that you do.

    Though I disagree with your article, I know how it can feel when people pile on you.

    I’m sure most, if not all, the commentors in this CommBox appreciate you and love (philia) you as well.

    God bless,

    Tito

  • Canisius

    No it cannot be denied, how can we sit there and defend Vatican 2 when its end result has contributed to so much of the ills and confusion. How can you say the Vatican 2 did not encourage the abandonment of tradition when it found the need for 6 heretics (protestant) advisors to help formulate the N.O Mass, give me a break.

    Oh if I was God Almighty Siri would have been Pope.

  • Mark Shea

    Blessings on you too!

  • Kevin J. Symonds

    Considering the fact that Mark Shea says on his blog that he “hates” Traditionalists, I can understand why he would write this article.

  • RK

    I’ve been otherwise occupied this fine day and just reading a few recent comments.

    Dude, in #135 you assert:

    “saying that the Council *caused* the problems is like saying the medicine caused the disease.”

    Are you kidding me? Have you ever heard of *prescription error*side effects*over prescribing*misdiagnosis? Shall I go on? Medicine causes disease every day. Unfortunately, I’ve seen it occur on more than one occasion. Your analogy makes the case for whomever you’re responding to and makes me think the Council did *cause* the problems.

    The fact remains: your article besmirched an ancient rite of the Church and you slandered people you don’t agree with. I’m not suggesting moral culpability (I’ll leave that to you and your acidic keyboard) *cuz* you appear to be obtuse about this blind spot you possess. Your subsequent responses do nothing but confirm your contemptuous attitude.

  • David W.

    …without attacking the Pauline Rite, as inferior, luke-warm, wishy washy, heretical, etc etc etc. By implication, those who prefer (there is that word again) the Pauline Rite are inferior, luke-warm, wishy washy, heretical, etc etc etc. As I said, its like trying to say you support the troops but then say the Iraq War is illegal and immoral…so, that means those who are fighting in it are either war criminals or dupes and stupid…either way you’ve done insulted the servicemember. So it goes with those who are of the Pauline Rite. A Distinction without a difference….”The Mass you attend is utter crap, but oh I’m sure you are a holy and devout Catholic even though you attend it regularly”

    Again, thank you Mr. Shea.

  • Mike Lancaster

    Ladies and Gents…one of the highpoints of my faith journey was experiencing the International Eucharistic Congress in Phildelphia in 1976. It was so compelling to witness and participate in the many varied Celebrations of the Eucharist from around the world. We were different but we all centered on and revered the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It seems sad that any would identify as more or less authentic any priest’s ability to speak God into our presence at this gift of the Eucharist. I agree with Mark. The beauty is in the Sacrament itself. I grew up in the Tridentine Church and loved it. I love the Mass today in all its speldor. I currently have on the CD in my car a glorious set of Mass Chant by Cistercians. Next to it in the rack a set of traditional hymns, equally lovely and inspiring.

    Let’s focus on the content shall we and embrace each form for its worth but recognize that form–especially in this context and however artful it is or isn’t, is just that. It’s the Sacrament that is authentic.

  • Steve Skojec

    Mark Shea wrote: I think it’s just as sound to say the Holy Spirit knew what he was doing when he inspired the Church to convene the Council.

    I need someone to explain to me where the Church teaches that councils are inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    This notion alone is one of the biggest reasons people can’t seem to stomach criticism of the council.

    Mark Shea wrote: Vatican II did not encourage abandonment of the tradition. You are saying that the Council itself, not abuse of the Council’s teachings, is evil.

    One needn’t argue that a council is evil to argue that it was ineffectual. The Holy Spirit protects the Church from error, not from ambiguity. The problem most traditional Catholics who have studied the council – especially Sacrosanctum Concilium, is that documents such as this left things so wide open for interpretation you could drive a bus through the loopholes.

    It is also not coincidental that the primary author of the draft schema of SC was Archbishop Bugnini, the same Bugnini who drafted the New Rite of Mass and later came under suspicion of being a freemason. (Bugnini himself wrote about these accusations in his memoirs.) There is no proof of this, of course, but when one combines the ambiguities of SC with the later exploitation of them by Bugnini, it’s hard for some of us to put entirely out of our minds that his intentions with the revision of the missal might have, in fact, been subversive. (Not all of his changes, it should be noted, were incorporated – Pope Paul VI eliminated some of them.)

    It is the opinion of many that the New Rite of Mass, while not invalid, represents a weakened expression of the Catholic faith when compared to the older form, which, if true, is particularly unfortunate when considering the time in which it was introduced. The rubrics being relaxed and improvisation being encouraged, many of the abuses that sprung out of the time following the introduction of the new missal were made possible – not by any directive to engage in abuse, but by an opening in discipline by which abuse could gain entrance to the liturgy.

    What is not denied is often presumed to be permitted. The sociological changes the world and yes, the Church, were going through in those days were incompatible with laxity if one desired a happy, orthodox result. (See the furor over Humanae Vitae)

    So no – the council was not evil, nor was the new missal, but the combined effect of the two, inasmuch as they represented a less authentic manifestation of the Church’s longstanding liturgical tradition – a tradition that had for CENTURIES been the bulwark against heresy – left the Church vulnerable to attack.

    You don’t leave the door open in a bad neighborhood, and if there was EVER a bad sociological neighborhood, it was the 1960s.

  • Ed

    Mark,

    For the record, I am not a “traditionalist,” though one of my office-mates in my secular workplace happens to be a devoted fan of the Latin Mass, and he’s about as cool, affirming, and non-angry a person as you could find. In fact, you would never in a million years peg him as “Rad-Trad” – in fact, no one would peg him as Catholic to look at him, though he’s very open about his faith.

    I’m just fine with the Novus Ordo, but all I can say is, I wish I lived where you live, Mark. I don’t come across a lot of angry Traditionalists, but here in San Diego, I come across PLENTY of Catholics who think of basic reverence as “the way it used to be” – and plenty of Catholics who show some fairly obvious and serious discomfort with the teachings of the Church (not to say there aren’t plenty of great parishes and individual Catholics).

    So while I agree with everything you say about the dangers of legalism, haughtiness, etc. – I don’t share your sense of where our priorities should lie. I say, let’s deal with the rampant disregard for the church’s direction FIRST (and do so in a charitable way of course) – we can deal with the legalistic attitudes once they’ve actually spread to a more significant percentage of the church. From where I stand at least, that’s not our main issue right now.

  • R.C.

    Coming from a raised-Evangelical viewpoint, I may have an interesting outsider perspective on the Traditionalist vs. Progressive (if that’s the right antonym) Catholic debate.

    In considering the claims of the Church, I felt a great draw toward the unshakable parts of the Tradition: Those infallibly-taught items which the Church can NOT ever change, lest she invalidate her own claim to infallibility in teaching faith and morals.

    Even though C.S.Lewis was my primary catechist in Christianity from age 13 (when I first read Mere Christianity) onward, and he was an Anglican, I did not even consider Anglicanism because of the gay bishop and the weak-tea modernism of which Rowan Williams and that Episcopal lady “bishop” with the clownish vestments are only symptoms.

    So the rock-solid Tradition of the Catholic church was a relief: “Here they are, finally!” I thought, “folks who won’t look at Scripture like it’s some ‘living document’ and invent new moral rules to suit modern sensibility!”

    But then the Traditionalists started saying, “The Church infallibly teaches you can’t have an electric guitar be part of the ensemble which leads music in mass.”

    And the Progressives started saying, “The Church infallibly teaches that you must have a welfare state as part of your government.”

    Now, I don’t think the Church infallibly teaches either of those things. I think the two parties were interpreting prudential judgments, or even their own personal notions, as infallible dogma. I think this must be a perennial temptation in a Church where some teachings are enforceable: The temptation to make your own pet project or hobby-horse part of dogma, when it isn’t.

    If I believed that either of those errors were in fact claimed to be infallible by the Church, I could not be a Catholic, because I am confident that they are errors. And a single error on a matter of faith or morals destroys the entire claim of the Church to be anything other than just another Christian denomination.

    Fortunately, the more I read of the Church’s documents, the more I am convinced that these are rhetorical excesses of the Traditionalists and Progressives, respectively. Good thing; I’m not much interested in finding a Greek Orthodox church to attend.

    The Church, then, teaches, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity.” And guess what? Using government to enforce alms, and using Latin in Mass, are in the second category, not the first.

    Realizing this makes the third category (charity) easier.

    And prevents your RCIA folks from being shunted away to the Orthodox alternative! ;-)

  • Mark Shea

    Considering the fact that Mark Shea says on his blog that he “hates” Traditionalists, I can understand why he would write this article.

    Kevin:

    You are either a liar, extremely irony-impaired, or else you are being extremely ironic yourself:

    http://tinyurl.com/5ha9pk

    Care to clarify which, Kevin?

  • Mark Shea

    Steve:

    One needn’t argue that a council is evil to argue that it was ineffectual.

    True. But that’s not what Canisius does. He says V2 *encouraged* dissent. He argues that a valid council of Holy Church *aimed* to destroy the Tradition. I don’t see how you do that without ultimately arguing the Church is not indefectible.

    And these guys who want to take a wrecking ball to V2 regard themselves as the Police of Orthodoxy and not simply as one more form of dissent (in this case, Reactionary rather than Liberal dissent). They are in for a rude awakening at some point, I think.

  • Ellen

    Thank you Mark for bringing this out in the open. I grew up in a Traditionalist family that was afraid of the changes. Rightly so in some circumstances. But I grew up with conspiracy theories, worries about valid masses, and yes, mad, mean people who thought they were the only ones who were true Catholics.
    It took me years to figure out that is not what is important. Our relationship to God is what is important and to our fellow man. That is why the church assures you that you don’t have to worry about the “intent of the priest” in saying Mass, you have to worry about your closeness to heaven. Stop wasting time on irrevelancies!

  • Mark Shea

    The fact remains: your article besmirched an ancient rite of the Church and you slandered people you don’t agree with.

    False on both counts. I said absolutely nothing against the Tridentine rite. Not one syllable. Your conflation of a critique of common Trad sins with an attack on the Tridentine rite does not become true by mere repetition.

    Conversely, I was told by somebody purporting to be a Traditionalist that those who celebrate the Paul VI rite practice a different religion (and, by implication, therefore worship a false god).

    That sort of stuff actually does slander Trads–and yet I have not seen one Trad here lift a finger to rebuke it. So much energy is being spent repelling boarders and pouring boiling oil that the numerous grotesque caricatures of Catholic faith proffered by guys like Mike, Ken, dominic, Ben et al go unnoticed in your zeal to deny the bleedin’ obvious.

    Good luck with that.

  • Mike

    Conversely, I was told by somebody purporting to be a Traditionalist that those who celebrate the Paul VI rite practice a different religion (and, by implication, therefore worship a false god).

    You totally distorted what I meant by what I said.

    The beauty of the NO believers is that everyone can believe or not whatever they want and still call themselves Catholic with no reprocussions but God forbid someone keep the Traditional Faith then all sorts of names are hurled at them. Go figure!

    All of these problems are a direct result of the ambiguity of VII, which was hijacked by a bunch of liberal theologians like Karl Rhaner, John Courtney Murray, Schillebeeckx and others, which allowed for poor seminary training and catecheses of the laity. I promise you won’t go to hell for learning the truth!

    All you have to do Mark is read a little and open your eyes and quit being so negative all the time..

  • Steve Skojec

    Mark,

    Mike, the person in question said, “A different Mass is a different Faith” based on “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.”

    On the surface, I’m sure this sounds entirely reasonable to Mike. After all, if the Latin phrase means, “the law of prayer is the law of belief” and the prayer itself changes, then one could (if not interested in necessary distinctions) say that a different Mass signifies a different creed.

    If the Church did not have over 20 approved liturgical rites, this might make some sense. Since it does, Mike’s syllogism here obviously falls short.

    So let me lift a finger to rebuke it – Mike’s argument is a non-sequiter. I wasn’t going to waste my time dealing with the sort of individual who says these things when my gripe is with the presentation of your argument.

    Now, one could make an argument (as Cardinal Ottaviani did) that elements of the new missal represented a change in doctrine from that represented in the old rite:

    Ottaviani’s Intervention (emphasis mine) wrote: The sense given in the Novus Ordo to the so-called “prex Eucharistica” is: “that the whole congregation of the faithful may be united to Christ in proclaiming the great wonders of God and in offering sacrifice” (No. 54. the end)

    Which sacrifice is referred to? Who is the offerer? No answer is given to either of these questions. The initial definition of the “prex Eucharistica” is as follows: “The centre and culminating point of the whole celebration now has a beginning, namely the Eucharistic Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and of sanctification” (No. 54, pr.). The effects thus replace the causes, of which not one single word is said. The explicit mention of the object of the offering, which was found in the “Suscipe”, has not been replaced by anything. The change in formulation reveals the change in doctrine.

    Changing the focus of the Mass from sacrifice to communal meal is substantially different than the variations in liturgical prayers found between approved rites of Mass that express the same sacramental theology. In that sense, one actually could argue that the change in expressed doctrine can create an alternate, distorted manifestation of the same Faith. One that fails to adequately nourish belief in things like the sacramental presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, thus, in effect, undermining it.

    The Novus Ordo Missae represents an altogether unique change in the law of prayer (and thus belief) in comparison to what has ever previously happened to the liturgy. Nowhere does “Lex Orandi…” apply with more terrifying seriousness than in Mass, which is where most of the faithful derive the bulk of their understanding of the Catholic faith. Changing it drastically, and suddenly, and altering the focus detrimentally, HAS altered the “Lex Credendi” of the Church. There are numerous manifestations of this, not least of which is a tolerance for liturgical abuse (no big deal if the focus is on our unique community rather than the ineffable sacrifice of Calvary) that would have been unthinkable in the past.

  • Mark Shea

    You totally distorted what I meant by what I said.

    Very well, what *do* you mean by “A different Mass is a different Faith. It is a question of which Faith you choose to adhere to!!!”

    Most speakers of English would take that as a pretty clear claim that those who celebrate the Paul VI rite adhere to a different faith than those who celebrate the Tridentine rite. Since the Tridentine rite is Catholic, it therefore would follow that you mean those who observe the Paul VI rite are practicing a different faith and therefore, worshipping another god.

    This is *exactly* my point. When you make some unbelievably arrogant comment like this and people take your words at face value, you then complain that they are “distorting” what you say rather than you owning up to what you did. It really does remind me of Muslims who demand you not notice they are bullies.

    And I will bet money that none of your fellow Trads on this thread will take you to task for writing such factional, arrogant swill, Mike. Instead, if history here is any indication, they will either remain silent or attack me for pointing out that you wrote it. Or they will join you in claiming that I “distorted” what you said instead simply acknowledging that anybody with a basic grasp of English would read you the same way. Your defense is, in the words of Homer Simpson, “This is everybody’s fault but mine!”

    As I say, good luck with that approach to winning hearts and minds, dude!

  • Mike

    Steve Skojec,

    My remark was mwant to be taken as you explained it. I guess I assumed that was under stood.

    I also explained the following.

    “If the Church did not have over 20 approved liturgical rites, this might make some sense. Since it does, Mike’s syllogism here obviously falls short.”

    other approved liturgical rites did not alter the Lex Orandi only the method was altered not the meaning or purpose.

  • Mark Shea

    For rebuking Mike’s factionalism.

    For my part, I merely note that the Ottoviani Intervention is neither Sacred Scripture, nor magisterial teaching, just as Paul VI’s “smoke of Satan” quip is not an ex cathedra formulation and the only piece of his teaching we should ever commit to memory. It’s a useful opinion, but I don’t buy it particularly.

    At the end of the day we are here: the Paul VI rite is a valid Mass of Holy Church. Those who worship in it are worshipping God. I see lots of saints in the Paul VI rite just as see lots of ‘em in the Tridentine rite. I also see real problems occurring in both, due not to the rite but to the fact that we are sinners. I consider Mike a member of Holy Church. At no point in this discussion have I ever said of any of the critics of my piece what they have, again and again, said and implied of me: that I am a member of another faith, an enemy, etc. But they have resorted to these tactics continually. I’m grateful that you have shown them another way, Steve.

  • Mark Shea

    My remark was mwant to be taken as you explained it. I guess I assumed that was under stood.

    Why would you assume that since he *rebuked* what you meant and corrected it to conform to what the Church means?

  • kentuckyliz

    Some radtrads can be just like some charismatics. They believe they have the holy prayer language (Latin/glossolalia) and they firmly believe in their version of worship and devotion as if it were normative for everyone.

    It’s an easy temptation to lapse into rubrics righteousness.

  • Mary Alexander

    Dave wrote:

    “And Mark is no enemy of things traditional. His own son goes to the Extraordinary Form. Fr. Phil Bloom offers that Mass on a regular basis. And I’m sure if Mark was invited to speak at St. Francis de Sales in the Atlanta area or Mater Ecclesiae in New Jersey, he’d gladly accept the invitation.”

    I was at first puzzled to read this quote. Why would Mr. Shea want to address a group of Traditionalists? To take them to task? Express his contempt for them?

    And then I realized, oh yeah- for the money.

  • Mike

    Mark,

    I plainly said what I meant to say was what was how Steve explained it.

    The way I phrased it allowed for a misunderstanding of what was meant.

    mea culpa.

    To kentuckyliz,

    It’s not just about the Latin language.It’s about the whole Mass. Even the Pope is for it( to clarify) though not exclusively

  • Mark Shea

    Another straw man heard from.

  • Pat

    This string is not giving glory to God. We need more Charity here and less invective.

  • Jason

    Mary Alexander wrote:
    I was at first puzzled to read this quote. Why would Mr. Shea want to address a group of Traditionalists? To take them to task? Express his contempt for them?

    And then I realized, oh yeah- for the money.

    Mary, that was uncalled-for and borders on uncharitable.

    Many other reasons might be given for Mark’s piece. One that comes immediately to mind is that he sees good in the TLM and in tradition itself, but sees it being compromised by the attitude he finds prevalent in so many of its adherents. He is therefor calling them to task, as is our common responsibility toward each other.

    If you’ve read any of Mark’s work you know he is no dissenter, nor a liberal who wants to undermine Church teaching. He is voicing his opinion that there are some undesirable traits that, in his opinion, are shared by many who call themselves traditionalists, and in a forum frequented by many of them, he is suggesting some self-examination. Judging by some of the responses, it was needed.

    Mark mentioned no one by name and insulted no one except those who met his description. Some, uncomfortable perhaps with the sting of his description, chose to skew what he said and pretend that he hates the TLM itself, or believes that all traditionalists are embittered Pharisees. But he didn’t say that. Please, take his words at face value and weigh whether there’s not some lesson here for you.

    Holiness is our universal calling and we all need to be challenged to pursue it, painful though it might be. The challenge can come in the form of a parable: “I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not like other men – greedy, dishonest, adulterous…”, or in the form of a blog posting.

  • Marc

    I would hope that some here, most directly Mr. Shea, fully examine how their words come across to others.

    I read Mr. Shea’s blog for a few months, but left due to the anger produced by Mark in his posts and in the anger he brought out in others. This does not seem to have abated.

    I would humbly suggest he fix his own anger problem before focusing on the perceived anger of others.

  • Steve Skojec

    Mark Shea wrote: For my part, I merely note that the Ottoviani Intervention is neither Sacred Scripture, nor magisterial teaching, just as Paul VI’s “smoke of Satan” quip is not an ex cathedra formulation and the only piece of his teaching we should ever commit to memory. It’s a useful opinion, but I don’t buy it particularly.

    Of course we’re not talking about something inerrant here. What we ARE talking about, however, is a statement made not just by a single cardinal, but a group of qualified individuals who studied the New Mass in order to make a reasoned, faithful critique of it.

    As the intro the the letter states:

    Ottaviani Intervention wrote: The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent.

    Those writing the intervention, as you know if you’ve read it, aren’t simply working in vagueries. They reference the “formula” of the theology of Mass from Trent, which means it is something distinct and definable. My point in referencing the Intervention is to make the simple point that a Catholic in good standing can, with filial devotion to the pope, make an argument that the new rite of Mass is an inferior, theologically weaker form of Catholic worship in comparison to its predecessor without separating himself from unity to the Church or her liturgical understanding. In fact, it is out of love of souls that (some) people care so much about liturgy. Knowing how much more nourishing one liturgy is in comparison to another in and of itself makes one desire to share that knowledge.

    To carry the analogy further, a traditional Catholic who believes in the supremacy of the liturgical theology (and subsequent spiritual benefit) of the older form of Mass could essentially be compared the nutritionist who urges the consumption of healthy food in correct proportion rather than over-indulgence in highly refined junk food. You can, of course, meet your nutritional requirements with both, but the one is far better for your health than the other.

    Traditionalists, like nutritionists, are often considered a nuisance, because junk, if it’s packaged in a way that suits our tastes, can be a hard habit to break. A big mac is, on the surface, immensely more appealing than a brussel sprout. It doesn’t change the fact of the brussel sprout’s superiority as a food.

  • Steve Skojec

    Jason wrote: Mark mentioned no one by name and insulted no one except those who met his description. Some, uncomfortable perhaps with the sting of his description, chose to skew what he said and pretend that he hates the TLM itself, or believes that all traditionalists are embittered Pharisees.

    You’ll have to excuse the fact, then, that so many of us have, despite our attempts at being reasonable, been characterized by other Catholics in this fashion simply because we have stated a preference for the traditional form of Mass.

    It is a frequent occurrence for a Catholic in good standing, attending a fully approved traditional liturgy, to tell a Catholic friend of this attendance, only to be asked, “So wait, you’re schismatic?”

    You want to talk about PR? The spin machine during the decades of illegal suppresion of the Gregorian rite of Mass convinced a vast majority of Catholics that anyone attached to the older form, no matter how far they drove to get to an approved indult, were essentially flipping the pope the proverbial bird.

    Someone who is used to getting hit tends to flinch. Give them enough abuse, and they begin to lash out. I’m not surprised when I see these defensive reactions. I’ve only considered myself a trad for four years. I can only imagine what it’s been like for those who have been so for forty.

  • Kelly Clark

    If nothing else, this piece has inspired two cool new terms:

    Liturgical fussbudget
    noun

    One who verbally objects to tacky (in his or own opinion) yet not invalid actions or verbiage in the Liturgy.

    Liturgical fussbudgetary
    adjective

    Relating to actions performed by liturgical fussbudgets

  • Jason

    OK, Steve, fair points. Your responses have by far been measured and reasonable. And I’m not denying that traditionalists have a basis for their anger over the years. But two points need to be made:

    1) They’re not above fraternal correction; and

    2) Especially in the current climate, where things are thankfully turning back to the way they should have been, there’s every reason to be joyful and hopeful. As others have pointed out, many youth of today are drawn to tradition and the TLM, and our current Pope is certainly on “your side”. Can we perhaps start to move on and let go of the bitterness? At the very least it’s unseemly.

    I sympathize with traditionalists’ point of view and share many of their (your) preferences. But this doesn’t mean we pretend that sinful tendencies aren’t. That being said, I do not hold that their anger is itself sinful – I believe that in many cases it’s justified. It’s not the anger itself, it’s some of the other stuff I have seen and experienced that I have a problem with, and apparently Mark does, too.

  • Elizabeth

    It’s not. It’s also the way the Mass is celebrated. If you think only the “sacrament” counts, then you reduce the Sacrifice of the Mass to a magic show. Of course, even a non-reverential Mass “counts,” but it’s not worship that is pleasing to God. Think about what reductionism has done to the Church, then tell me it’s only the “sacrament” that counts.

  • Steve Skojec

    Jason wrote:
    1) They’re not above fraternal correction; and

    2) Especially in the current climate, where things are thankfully turning back to the way they should have been, there’s every reason to be joyful and hopeful. As others have pointed out, many youth of today are drawn to tradition and the TLM, and our current Pope is certainly on “your side”. Can we perhaps start to move on and let go of the bitterness? At the very least it’s unseemly.

    I absolutely agree with you, on both points. My complaint is that:

    a) the anger, bitterness and vitriol, while it certainly exists, is not so widespread as this article makes it seem, at least among those traditional Catholics in good standing with the Church (of which there are many)

    b) the anger that does exist is, in large measure, fairly easy to justify the existence of, even if said anger should not be encouraged to persist

    c) regardless of whether “many” traditional Catholics are bitter, their intellectual and theological positions should be judged on their own merits, rather than the attitudes or actions of those holding them.

    Ad Hominem doesn’t work, even when you’re trying to use it to wrangle up an argument about charity. There’s a reason why these people have lost their sense of charity, and if virtue demands a heroic attempt to overcome the injustice they’ve faced (which it probably does) I still think that one can hardly be faulted for sympathizing with them.

    Essentially, something that was entirely beloved to them was kidnapped from them, forbidden, witheld, and they were mocked for mourning it and begging for it back. Then, when the Holy Father revealed that its suppression was illegal and that they had been right all along, they were expected to fall into line, shut up, and just be grateful.

    It’s a lot easier for me to do that, because it wasn’t taken from me, so much as I woke up to discover a treasure I didn’t know I was entitled to had gone missing. But some of these people have been having to fight for so long to have access to something they have a God-given right to – and have been treated horribly not just by laypeople, but priests and Bishops too – it’s a wonder they stayed Catholic at all.

    So you’re right, and Mark’s right. The anger needs to go. But until what caused the anger is adequately addressed, I doubt we’ll see it happen. Victims of abuse – and this WAS abuse of a profound spiritual nature – have a lot of grief to work through before they can forgive. We should be praying for them and trying to understand their plight. They’re much more willing to give you a chance if they’re not being beaten over the head for being ticked off about what happened.

    The whole, “Charity, DAMN YOU! CHARITY!!!” thing doesn’t work.

  • Mark Shea

    For those who think it’s only the “sacrament” that counts

    Nobody’s saying that.

  • Troy

    Some trads are difficult, most are find evangelists, and as a convert I would take them over most of the pseudo protestant masses which are offered. Sure the mass is valid, but few really act as if it were true. What is the difference in behaviour of those who attend a catholic mass, or some sort of protestant communion service – very little. Surely if you believe something, you act differently. Trads do. (I suppose I should worry about myself more.)

    BTW – I would not classify myself as a Trad, and nor would the Trads I know classify me as such.

  • Kathy

    Mark:

    Do you know how upset you get when folks generalize about Protestant-to-Catholic converts?

    Pot, meet kettle.

    That really is the problem. Pieces like this which rely on generalizations and anecdotes add NOTHING to conversations and dialogue. There are many areas in which various elements of the Traditionalist “wing” of the Church could be critiqued. But to be fair, and to do this correctly, one would have to accumulate evidence from writings in widely-read periodicals and websites, showing that a particular problem – say, the hermeneutic of discontinuity and that the “Conciliar Church” is a differen thing from the “Catholic Church” – was a focus of Traditionalist thinking.

    One would have to prove one’s case – or attempt to.

    Vaguely accusing “trads” of “anger” based on a few anecdotes and blog comment surveys isn’t substantive or helpful.

    Just as generalizations about Prot-to-RC converts aren’t. I’d think you would know that by now.

  • Dennis

    Mark Shea has gone after “traditionalists” forever. So, with the pretext of his pallid little column on liturgical mediocrity, he felt justified in going after his true obsession: so-called traditionalists. Of course, traditionalists are SSPX, sedevacantists, etc. The people he’s really upset with are traditional Catholics who are not enamored of the horizontal liturgy of Paul VI and have dared to say so.

    Mark Shea is a “Vatican II baby.” Vatican II is the Church’s real Pentecost; everything that went before is irrelevant.

  • Jim in Michigan

    Compare the Tridentine rite to the Novus Ordo. What’s missing? A lot. The parts removed in the Novus Ordo all have a specific meaning and purpose. You want truth? You want reality of the Faith? Learn what the Catholic Faith really is and where it came from. The Novus Ordo has removed that. It is nothing more than a Protestant service.

  • john

    Wow! I’m the 169th commenter. It occurs to me that perhaps the percentage of angry/ungenerous traditionalists is exactly equal to the percentage of angry/ungenerous liberals, moderates, Unitarians, Buddhists, bishops, nuns, postal workers, apostles (maybe?!) or dairy farmers. In other words–we’re a fallen race in need of redemption. Even the redeemed don’t alway walk the walk. We probably should all strive to be as holy as we can and be as forgiving as our Lord. Some good advice from one who knew: “What is that to you? Follow thou me.”

  • Canisius

    Let’s be clear Shea just likes to provoke traditionalist, he may say he respects both rites, but its clear he does not like the Tridentine Rite for what ever reason. Shea writes his articles just so he can say “look I told you so, they are angry I am right again”. Its like provoking the bully down the street into a fight by insulting his mother, and then saying the guy down the street beats everyone up.

    Do us all a favor keep writing about the fanatasy world of the “springtime of Vatican II” and us traditionalist will still know that the Church has been severly damaged by the abuses it lead to.

  • Steve Skojec

    Jim in Michigan wrote: The Novus Ordo has removed that. It is nothing more than a Protestant service.

    Do you completely lack a sense of irony? Why in the name of heaven would you play to the stereotype this article is condemning?

    Further, the Novus Ordo is far, far more than a Protestant service. If it were merely a Protestant service we wouldn’t be having this discussion. It is only something worth being upset about if it is, in fact, a Catholic Mass that too closely resembles a Protestant service for our Catholic tastes without ever crossing the line into becoming one.

    Please, I’m asking you as a man who exclusively attends the traditional Mass – don’t make unequivocal statements like this. They are ignorant and discredit other traditionalists who care enough to try to understand the subtleties of these issues in order to explain them and work for an improved situation. By firing off quick condemnations and snap judgments, you and others here only give Mark more reason to be convinced that many of those with an affection for tradition too often bear bad fruit. Stop ruining it for the rest of us. If you can’t say anything constructive, and you don’t care what anyone else thinks of your positions anyway (you just feel like having your say) try silence. It’d do us all a world of good.

  • SnarkyCatholic

    You all have no idea what it’s like to be a Republican in Mr Shea’s world.[smiley=shock]

    Or a Georgian. His fellow Christians there should be thrown into the maw of the Bear because Russia has nukes and anyway It’s All About The Oil.

  • Jay S

    Are Traditionalists angry? Some are to be sure, but most are not (although they are annoyed). But I think they are justified, because of the second class treatment that they get from the modern clergy and administrative lay people in the church nowadays. If you say you go to a Latin Mass, people either think you are nuts or just a old fashioned person who spends every night saying the rosary in your little, plain room, with no TV, computer or any other modern device. They image you as a radical who is best kept under thumb. I have heard more negative remarks about traditionalist them the other around. Basically, Traditionalists are a persecuted minority in today’s Catholic Church in the United States.

  • Mark Shea

    Thanks for your intelligent and charitable expositions of what Traditionalism *should* be like, dude.

  • Maggie

    My goodness, there is a lot of huffing and puffing going on here, and, as far as I can tell, in almost 200 posts, not one mind has been changed or one heart moved. The enemy of God and His Church must be splitting his side laughing.

    And then I read this:
    “. . . and then Jesus made me feel that in obeying simply, I would be pleasing Him.” And this led my mind to this quotation: “Obedience is the soul of love.”

    IOWs, Just do it!

    Isn’t this the answer to all the huffing and puffing? The Vatican tells pastors to provide the Latin Mass on a regular basis–Just do it. Find a time, explain it, and let people come or not as they are moved. But just do it because obedience is the soul of love and because it would please Jesus.

    Redemptionis Sacramentum and the GIRM say that the organ should have pride of place in the Mass, ditto for Gregorian chant and Latin hymns, etc. Just do it. Save the tambourines, pianos, guitars, the prayer and praise songs for coffee hour or parish picnic or a Saturday-night prayer and praise hoedown. But just do it.

    Why is that so hard?

  • Ken

    Mark Shea wrote: “As I say, good luck with that approach to winning hearts and minds, dude!”

    As I said, that would be a valid point twenty years ago. But somehow a tiny group of traditionalists managed to convince the pope and the Vatican to restore the Mass essentially discarded after Vatican II.

    This could not have been accomplished without aggressive, smart and rooted arguments and actions. From the Remnant to Catholic Family News to old Michael Davies books, there was — and is — a small group of the Church Militant who were and aren’t willing to stand in the corner and watch the Church self-destruct.

    If this offends the cheerleaders for Vatican II and the novus ordo, that’s too bad. But your whining really is sounding pathetic given the accomplishments of traditionalists in recent years.

  • Dennis

    he wrote: “See, this is what I’m talking about when I note the widespread inability of Traditionalists to function outside of the bunker. Traditionalists are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear, because true Catholic faith evangelizes and, like it or not, this is not evangelizing: this is shouting “Repel boarders” and then pouring boiling oil on the your own archers. Such treatment of (learn this term) BROTHER AND SISTER CATHOLICS is, well, evil and will serve to ensure that Traditionalism dies out in a generation or so. That would be a shame, because they things Traditionalists are fighting for are vital. That’s the case almost every time you have a group within the Church imbued with a spirit of factionalism. But that doesn’t make the faction any less doomed to suffer declining numbers if they treat Holy Church with such contempt. People tend to avoid such treatment. That’s basic common sense: a commodity often lacking among people afflicted with the factional spirit. The Scriptural diagnosis and prescription is this:

    Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. Galatians 5:19-23.”

    Were you in a bind for something to write this time and just pulled out an old file?

    I also liked this sentence: “Traditionalists are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear, because true Catholic faith evangelizes …..”

    How are “traditionalists” not fully Catholic? And since when is evangelization the only activity of one who is “fully” Catholic?

  • Mary

    “At the end of the day, my Bible — and the teaching of the Church — insists that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control, not bitterness about mediocre liturgy and still less blasphemy at valid liturgies approved by Holy Church.”

    So, Mark, I’m wondering are you defending mediocrity in the liturgy or just saying we should all sit back, relax and tolerate it? Because after a 12 hour shift in the operating room when I switch on the internet and look for some edification, for some interesting article on my faith, I certainly don’t expect a defense or even a call for tolerance of mediocrity, most especially mediocrity in the liturgy. I expect more. To expect less would be an insult to God, myself, you and my fellow humans. Mediocrity is not the stuff that saints are made of and we are all called to be saints, are we not? When I invite friends for dinner, I prepare diligently, I buy quality ingredients, I set a nice table and give them the best that I have to offer. Anything less would be an insult and indication that I did not value them. Of course, my best may not be worthy of the finest restaurant in town, but I don’t think the finest restaurant in town should hire me as a chef just because I like to cook. I don’t join the choir because I can’t sing.

    How can anyone defend or tolerate less than the best we have to offer when our offering is to God? It is inexcusable. Mozart vs the aging, can’t carry a tune, guitar playing hippie down the street singing some drivel – there’s no contest.

    And, really, I’ve read this article about angry Traditionalists from you and many others over the years. It’s old, boring and disturbing. Why do you reserve such invective for Traditionalists? Why do you offer more charity, more “fruits of the spirit” to those who offer mediocrity and worse in the liturgy than you do to Traditionalists? Why not offer charity to both?

  • RK

    “My goodness, there is a lot of huffing and puffing going on here, and, as far as I can tell, in almost 200 posts, not one mind has been changed or one heart moved.”

    Minds are rarely moved nor hearts changed in the midst of a discussion. While the exchanges may appear unseemly to some, this discussion is quite vigorous and compelling and has generated outstanding responses from a variety of viewpoints. The responses have been very intelligent. If some folks get passionate it reflects their deep felt and often well deliberated notions of Faith.

    Christ came into the world and challenged the status quo. We shouldn’t be afraid of a little confrontation once in a while, especially in regard to the important issues raised here.

  • Sam

    Mark–

    Perhaps it is too late for this, and you might see this is an attack of some sort, but I am wondering–how are you using the word “Traditionalist”? Would it be impertinent to ask for a definition? As best as I could tell from your essay above, it is a Catholic who is devoted to the Extraordinary Form and who is a “liturgical fussbudget.” (a nice phrase, by the way) Does that about cover it, or is there more to the word “Traditionalist”?

  • David W.

    Can anyone say why they prefer the TLM WITHOUT insulting/disparaging or otherwise, denigrating the Pauline Rite? Which is the ORDINARY form…IE, THE Official Liturgy of the Church.

  • Fr. Richard

    Mary,

    Thanks for giving that little bit of energy left after your 12 hour shift in the operating room. You could not have expressed better the lament I, and others, feel from yet another assault on those who have spent the past 40+ years obediently (and quietly) accepting the direction liturgy has gone. I have seen far fewer angry trads than I have seen “clown-like” (puppets, plays, liturgical dance, etc., etc.) Masses.

    Emboldened as many are now with the writings of Pope Benedict XVI and others, these humble, obedient anawim are finally allowed to speak. To focus on a strange and unrepresenting few who are releasing 40 years of pent up anger, and tagging all trads as such is sad, to say the least.

    I cannot describe how disappointed I am with this writer I’ve enjoyed for so long.

  • Mark Shea

    Tagging me as tagging all Trads is even sadder, particularly since I did nothing of the kind.

    Have you really not a word to say about all the abusive, arrogant stuff that has been spoken by the significant minority of Trads in this very thread? Must it all fall on Steve Skojec’s shoulders to address this sort of thing?

    Very sad.

  • Steve Skojec

    Mark,

    Thanks. I’d like to believe that despite our differences we can work toward a common goal. After all, we’re both Catholic.

    David,

    You said:

    David W. wrote: Can anyone say why they prefer the TLM WITHOUT insulting/disparaging or otherwise, denigrating the Pauline Rite? Which is the ORDINARY form…IE, THE Official Liturgy of the Church.

    David, what you want is for traditionalists to be egalitarian about liturgy. But if they were both the same, if the TLM were simply a matter of taste, traditional Catholics would not have worked so hard for 40 years to restore the liturgy.

    Those of us who are attached to the old liturgy are attached because we believe it is a superior form of worship, more pleasing to God and more beneficial to man. There is no way to express that without implying that the Pauline rite is inferior, which I fully believe it is – not invalid, but an inferior articulation of the Catholic faith.

    This falls on the question of the hierarchy of goods. I don’t want it to be insulting, but I can understand how arguing that one form is superior might be considered so. Nonetheless, that is my conviction, and I doubt that any attempt to explain that conviction without dodging my perceived inequality between the rites would satisfy you.

  • R.C.

    Wow. This thread has, on occasion, been a real sizzler.

    Still, what shocks me is the vast difference in the experiences of individuals who, in this thread, have reported the outcome both of Traditionalism and of the alterations which came with Novus Ordo Missae.

    Some have clearly experienced sanctity, beauty, and the edification of their faith coming from Traditionalism and Traditionalists and the TLM.

    Meanwhile, some have clearly experienced sanctity, beauty, and the edification of their faith coming from the changes to the Church’s practices since Vatican II, including Novus Ordo Missae.

    Of those who experienced sanctity, beauty, and edification from the old school practices, some have experienced a wide variety of bad things in their encounters with updated practices and Novus Ordo Missae, including:

    - Heretical teaching (modernism, womynpriests, leftist political activism)
    - Failures of catechism
    - Lack of reverence where reverence was called for
    - Lack of excellence where excellence was called for

    Meanwhile, of those who experienced sanctity, beauty, and edification from the revised, post-Vatican II practices, some have experienced a wide variety of bad things in their encounters with Traditionalists, including:

    - Disobedient and separatist teaching (SSPX)
    - Hatefully judgmental and ungracious words about non-traditionalists
    - Overall haughtiness which repels rather than attracts the lost and those in need of teaching

    Did I (briefly) touch on everyone’s complaints, here? Or did I leave some out?

    Regardless, what’s amazing to me about this is that the passion with which some of you advocate for one of these sides seems to be entirely validated by your experiences, because you’ve witnessed the WORST of what the other side does, and only the BEST of what your own preferred side does, in the life of the Church.

    Meanwhile, those who oppose your side, and advocate the other, are those who’ve experienced the WORST of your side, only only the BEST of theirs.

    It looks as if this whole discussion is undermined by a lack of valid information which stems from the experimental error of having “too small a sample set.”

    The experience of each well-meaning Catholic partisan (!) here is just too narrow to constitute knowledge of what’s going on (for good or ill) everywhere in the Church; and any one person’s bad experiences with Group X cannot realistically be projected on everyone in Group X.

  • Frank

    Why are “Trads” ALWAYS angry? Might it be that for forty years they have been ideologically sodomized by the Mark Sheas of the Church? Just a thought…

  • Mark Shea

    for forty years they have been ideologically sodomized by the Mark Sheas of the Church

    This, mark you, is how not a few Trad speak about people who are happy about the Tridentine rite, the pontificates of Benedict XVI and JPII, and the work of all those toiling to promulgate the authentic teaching of the Church over the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II”. On 99 subject out of a hundred, we are probably in broad agreement, Frank and I. But because I am content with either rite and not that such rage (not the Tridentine rite, mind you, the *rage*) is offputting, Frank has no problem trotting out this sort of anger.

    And (which is my real point) he does so in part because he knows that for ever Steve Skojec who might raise his voice against it, there will be a half dozen other who will pile on, plus a large percentage who will maintain a studious silence or, sillier still, the fiction that he is a “straw man” and not an uncomfortably common occurrence in Trad circles.

    Frank, dude. If you treat like me people who are basically sympathetic to your concerns with this kind of insane rage, why on earth do you think your average schmoo in the pew is going to be interested in what you want?

  • Just Plain Catholic

    Once upon a time I was sympathetic to your cause.
    Once upon a time you had a friend in me.
    Once upon a time I was intrigued and drawn toward you.

    But it is such base contempt and bile and hostility as you are spewing here, all the while insisting that you and no other trad would ever exhibit anything but the greatest charity for all things, that turned me away. And make no mistake — it is a SCANDAL — for, no doubt, more than one curious non-Catholic has been permanently turned off and away from the Church by such conduct.

    It’s a good thing that Mark Shea did not bring up the issue of the bishops, then we would really see the contempt fly!

  • Aaron Traas

    Mark Shea said: “This, mark you, is how not a few Trad speak about people who are happy about the Tridentine rite, the pontificates of Benedict XVI and JPII, and the work of all those toiling to promulgate the authentic teaching of the Church over the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II”. On 99 subject out of a hundred, we are probably in broad agreement, Frank and I. But because I am content with either rite and not that such rage (not the Tridentine rite, mind you, the *rage*) is offputting, Frank has no problem trotting out this sort of anger.”

    Is it possible the majority of us are silent? I’ve been following this entire discussion, and largely keep my mouth shut. Why? I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said (“Me too!!!!1!” posts are pretty useless); Steve Skojec made every point that I would want to make, and has done so better.

    I go to a ICKSP parish, and the majority of people there are kind, pleasant, and polite people. There are a few that do fit many of the stereotypes. They’re loud, obnoxious, quick to criticize anyone, anti-semetic, etc. But they’re in the minority. Most people come — often driving an hour or more — for love of the liturgy, and for the sake of the salvation of their families. The Newark and Patterson diocese are both very liberal (though both have excellent bishops), and many parishes have aging hippie priests that preach heresy from the pulpit. My parish is one of the few places one can guarantee sound preaching, sound liturgy, and sound spiritual direction.

  • RK

    Devotees of the Tridentine Rite include people who have been marginalized for years. I believe this is undeniable. Is it any wonder that some might react to an article that disparages their personalities, slanders them and, at least by implication, dismisses a form of the Mass which they’ve held dear for all of those years. The article reads like a cheap shot and the author hasn’t expressed remorse for remarks that may have injured some.

    The Pope has to a certain extent vindicated so many who’ve held tight to the traditions of their forebears. I imagine part of His motivation is to bring these brethren into the unified heart of the Church. The Church is enriched by the expression of tradition, which along with Sacred scripture, is, after all, one of the pillars of the Faith. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have held firm to the ancient traditions of our Faith; traditions acutely manifested by the Traditional Rite.

    The sincere lament of Fr. Richard ought to give us pause. While I don’t know him, he seems a good priest who has devoted much of his life to preserving our traditions. We should honor him and the sacrifices he has made.

  • The young fogey

    I don’t share Mark’s hostility to RC traditionalism to say the least but like Arturo I know its faults. One thing Mark and I can agree on is a ‘clown Mass’ as an example of abuses is outdated and overused. Time to put that puppy to sleep.

  • Mike

    R.C.,

    “- Disobedient and separatist teaching (SSPX)”

    This statement os absolutlely false.

    Show me one doctrine or teaching of the the Church that the SSPX is Disobedient to!!!

    Show me one separatist teaching from the SSPX!!!

    These are typical statements from people who know nothing about the SSPX.

  • R.C.

    RK:

    Devotees of the Tridentine Rite include people who have been marginalized for years. I believe this is undeniable. Is it any wonder that some might react to an article that disparages their personalities, slanders them and, at least by implication, dismisses a form of the Mass which they’ve held dear for all of those years. The article reads like a cheap shot and the author hasn’t expressed remorse for remarks that may have injured some.

    Hmmm. We’re talking about Mark Shea, here.

    When an opinion piece author writes, he brings to bear all relevant knowledge and argument, but also his own distinct style: He is a performing artist, and those whose eyeballs show up to watch the performance expect certain stylistic hallmarks. Nobody much pays attention when Eddie Van Halen plays keyboards; they’re looking for the two-handed tapping routine on electric guitar. Similarly, when you read an old William F. Buckley column, you’re expecting to feel your vocabulary stretch.

    And when you read Mark Shea, you expect a sort ironic dismissiveness of those whose arguments are contrary to the thread of his piece. He writes in a gritty way; he habitually chafes. He’s not the Ann Coulter of Catholicism…but I admit that when searching for an apt comparison, the name did come to mind.

    In the old saw about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, Shea excels at the latter, and rarely bothers with the former. In Evangelical churches where I was raised, there is a trend for these personality-profile-like assessments called “spiritual gift assessments.” I’m confident that an assessment of Mark Shea would produce a negative score for the “gift of mercy.”

    And often there’s nothing wrong with afflicting the comfortable. What you’re arguing here, though, is that Shea’s afflicting the afflicted, bashing an already-bruised reed, and that’s just mean.

    Well, here’s what Shea says:

    People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear. A true Catholic faith evangelizes; like it or not, this is not evangelizing, but shouting “Repel boarders” and then pouring boiling oil on your own archers. Such treatment of brother and sister Catholics is, well, evil and will serve to ensure that Traditionalism (or, at any rate, this kind of Traditionalism) dies out in a generation or so.

    Notice the phrase “this kind of Traditionalism” (emphasis is in the original).

    It seems to me that (apropos of my earlier post regarding the variety of peoples’ experiences) Shea has encountered some really nasty folks who are Traditionalist, and that “this kind of Traditionalism” is his target.

    Perhaps what is needed here is for Shea to say, more loudly than he has ’til now, that “this kind” is not the “only kind” of Traditionalism, and that some perfectly nice and innocent Traditionalists got disparaged and disregarded, post-Vatican II.

    Sound reasonable?

    Mark? Anything more to say about it?

  • Ken

    re: clown Masses; put what to rest? Most of these photos are within the past few years.

    http://www.traditio.com/nos.htm

    And, before the neo-Catholics seize on the source, captions, verbal descriptions, etc., let’s examine the proof, not the messenger. A photo is a photo.

  • R.C.

    Mike:

    Actually, I confess to you that I know almost nothing about SSPX, and only know what I have read about them here, and on Wikipedia. As I was raised in Evangelical circles, the squabble which caused Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the bishops in question to incur excommunication is utterly outside my experience.

    And perhaps there’s something inaccurate in this passage from the Wikipedia article:

    One of the Society’s four bishops, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, has declared that Pope Benedict XVI “has professed heresies in the past! He…has never retracted his errors. When he was a theologian, he professed heresies, he published a book full of heresies.” In the same interview Bishop Mallerais said of the Second Vatican Council: “You cannot read Vatican II as a Catholic work. It is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. …I will say, one day the Church should erase this Council. She will not speak of it anymore. She must forget it. The Church will be wise if she forgets this council.”

    Similarly, Bishop Richard Williamson has said of Pope Benedict XVI: “His past writings are full of Modernist errors. Now, Modernism is the synthesis of all heresies (Pascendi, Saint Pius X). So Ratzinger as a heretic goes far beyond Luther’s Protestant errors, as Bishop Tissier de Mallerais well said.” Williamson added that the documents of the Second Vatican Council “are much too subtly and deeply poisoned to be reinterpreted. The whole of a partly poisoned cake goes to the trash can!”

    I’m out of my depth, on that topic, and will have to defer to a that generation of cradle-Catholics who’ve observed the whole spectacle, as to whether this is separatist and/or disobedient.

    More recently, I see they’re often in negotiation with the Holy See for reception back into the fold — something I hope is now easier, since “Papa Ratzi” seems a bit more open to parishes using the TLM than his post-Vatican II predecessors.

    So perhaps I was mistaken in referring to SSPX in that way. (I note, at least, that they haven’t gone to the extremes of naming alternative popes.)

    If I have been unjust, I ask your pardon. (Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.)

  • Mike

    “People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic”

    Mark, does this mean they worship false Gods? Perhaps you could explain what you mean by this?

    That’s what you accused me of saying when I made a similiar statement and I was also “rebuked” for it but I won’t do that to you because I think I know what you mean or at least I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

  • Mike

    R.C.,

    What you quoted above is correct but it is not the same thing as “- Disobedient and separatist teaching (SSPX)”

    They pray for the Pope at every Mass.

    As you said there is a lot more to this than meets the eye.

  • R.C.

    Mike:

    Fair enough, then; I’ll be more careful when searching for examples in the future.

  • Mark Shea

    for a well-balanced assessment of things with respect to both the good and bad point of Traditionalist and ordinary post-V2 schlub Catholicism. Spot on!

    As to your point about making clear that it’s *this* kind of Traditionalism I mean, I happily concur. Indeed, I’ve said repeatedly in this thread and elsewhere that it is only this that I am attacking. As I have also made clear repeatedly, my son and numerous friends often attend the local Tridentine rite. Lovely folk all of them. Indeed, one of my favorite priests here in Seattle is Fr. Phil Bloom, who offers the EF. We’ve had lunch many times. Great man!

    I can, if people like, write “It’s the anger, factionalism, bitterness and arrogance I object to, not the Latin Mass and not most Traditionalists” on the blackboard a hundred times. But until the ugliness of stuff like Ken’s, Frank’s, Mary’s and Mike’s remarks here receives the same vociferous marginalization from sane Traditionalists that someone would if they habitually deployed the N word, then Traditionalist culture can expect to continue being dominated by a loud and repellent minority.

    Bottom line: It’s time to drop the anger and start celebrating that we live in the time of Benedict XVI. The motu proprio is here. The TLM is becoming more widely available. Take yes for an answer and stop clinging to rage. You’r getting what you’ve longed for. If you take this opportunity, not to receive the gift with joy, but to say, in the inimitable words of Ken: “We don’t need to relate to you — our counterrevolution to your defense of modernism is winning” then Trads will blow their chance to consolidate their gains, which would be a real shame. If they speak of people who basically empathize with what they want with the sort of presumptuous contempt so many of them exhibited on this thread, they will alienate allies out of a refusal to give up their rage.

    And all the appeals to Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple will not excuse that selfishness choice to indulge anger at the cost of bearing witness, not only to the beauty of the Tridentine rite, but to its sanctifying power.

    So take the risk: be glad and rejoice! The Tridentine rite is back! Show the rest of us why that’s a good thing by making it the home of saints, not a haven for a nucleus of embittered malcontents. I know it can be done because I’ve met a great many parishioners of the TLM and they are splendid saints. But I’ve also met a lot of Kens, Marys, Mikes and Franks. I met the saints because I took the time to look past the bitter crazies. Most Catholics will not take that second look. That, and nothing else, is my entire point.

  • RK

    Thanks for your response. I had never heard of Mark P. Shea until I started reading this site a few weeks ago. While a comparison to Ann Coulter doesn’t seem like much of an endorsement I’ll accept you appraisal of him.

    Afflicting the comfortable is fine if you’ve got something worth challenging. If you don’t, you’re just writing to get a reaction. It sounds like you’re suggesting he writes just to get a reaction. Again, not much of an endorsement. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    My point was/is that traditionalist don’t deserve the reprobation

  • Mark Shea

    Mark, does this mean they worship false Gods?

    No. Saying someone practices a different religion generally means that.

    Perhaps you could explain what you mean by this?

    Saying that one is not behaving in a fully Catholic way is another way of saying “you are sinning”. I am not fully Catholic whenever I sin too. It’s not Traditionalist thing. It’s a fallen human thing.

  • Mike

    “I can, if people like, write “It’s the anger, factionalism, bitterness and arrogance I object to, not the Latin Mass and not most Traditionalists” on the blackboard a hundred times. But until the ugliness of stuff like Ken’s, Frank’s, Mary’s and Mike’s remarks here receives the same vociferous marginalization from sane Traditionalists that someone would if they habitually deployed the N word, then Traditionalist culture can expect to continue being dominated by a loud and repellent minority.”

    Mark, you keep putting my name in here and it is getting a bit annoying. I explained what I meant by what I said an apologized for any misunderstanding. Do you not accept my explaination and apology? Or is there something else I said that got under your Cra?

  • Mark Shea

    Mike:

    I didn’t see any apology. I saw a statement that a different rite equals a different religion, which appeared to clearly imply that the Paul VI rite is not Catholic. When I stated what you seemed to be saying, you didn’t take responsibility for what you wrote. Instead you accused me of distorting your words. When Steve rebuked what you wrote and stated correctly the distinction between the two rites, you didn’t apologize. You simply overlooked the rebuke and claimed what Steve wrote as your own. You never apologized for saying I was “distorting” what you wrote.

    In short, you’ve been rude and obnoxious. I’m glad you acknowledged what Steve said. But you never apologized for being rude and obnoxious, nor for blaming me for reading your plain English as plain English.

    And that’s my point: you guys act this way far too often and expect everybody else to accomodate you and sing hosannas to the “beauty” of the Traditionalist subculture. Show me some beauty and I’ll hosanna it. Show me this kind of thin-skinned obnoctivity and I’ll show you a sector of Catholicism that isn’t likely to win many hearts and minds.

    So: just to be clear. An actual apology would look like this: “I’m sorry I accused you of deliberately distorting my meaning. Upon re-reading what I wrote I can see how you could easily have read me to mean that adherents of the Paul VI rite were practicing a different religion than adherents of the Tridentine rite and were therefore not Catholic at all. I apologize for both the unclarity and the assumption that you were trying to distort my words. Steve Skojec did a much better job of expressing what I was trying to say and I want to make clear that he said what I meant.”

    Easy as pie!

    Then, I say, “No sweat! I happily forgive you!” and it’s all water under the bridge.

  • Jennifer in MN

    Doesn’t it?

    Mike wrote: Mark,

    I plainly said what I meant to say was what was how Steve explained it.

    The way I phrased it allowed for a misunderstanding of what was meant.

    mea culpa.

    To kentuckyliz,

    It’s not just about the Latin language.It’s about the whole Mass. Even the Pope is for it( to clarify) though not exclusively

  • Mark Shea

    Jennifer:

    I missed that. Thanks for catching it.

    Mike: Apology accepted. Many thanks!

  • meg

    I don’t know anything about Mark Shea but I can see he likes to stir things up! I haven’t read all the entries so forgive me if my points are redundant.

    Point one – remember many of the people who attend the TLM now once attended NO Masses, myself included; our perspective is that of those who have seen both sides and made a decision based on real experience. Very few leave the TLM for the NO Mass. Consequently, most are hypothesizing. Attending the TLM once doesn’t make you an expert (and vice versa of course).

    It’s about real love and devotion to the Holy Eucharist. Look at the fruits – arguments are not needed. Observe with your own eyes – objectively – the demeanor of the priest and congregation and then decide. He deserves more, He deserves our best.

    My second point is a quote:

  • Rachel

    “Saying that one is not behaving in a fully Catholic way is another way of saying “you are sinning”. I am not fully Catholic whenever I sin too. It’s not Traditionalist thing. It’s a fallen human thing.”- Mark Shea

    Really!?! Well I never….This is the first time I’ve ever heard that term “not fully Catholic” as another way of saying, “you are sinning.”

    Here is what you really said and what people are calling you on,”People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear. A true Catholic faith evangelizes; like it or not, this is not evangelizing, but shouting “Repel boarders” and then pouring boiling oil on your own archers.”

    “People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic…” Will not ever, and has never been a way of saying “you are sinning.” This. is. not. a. teaching. of. the. Church. If that was the case then none of us Church Militants would be fully Catholic. A person in venial sin can still receive our Lord in communion, is he not fully Catholic? Or has he just sinned.

    By the way, some people, “traditionalists” or not may not respond to some off the wall posts because like another poster said, Steve, or someone like him has already done a pretty good job of correcting or rebuking errors. Matter of fact, for some, it’s may be a even be a form of devotion to our Lord in not responding when someone else can do a better and more charitable job of it than you. Please don’t go assuming that people stay silent because they agree, or are too wimpy, etc. etc. After all, our Lord found plenty of times to stay silent even though unjustly accused and persecuted. He knew that the people who truly sought Him from their hearts would see through this unfair treatment and he did not need to prove to them what their hearts already knew.

    Do you think you deserve better treatment than your Master? People didn’t relate to Him either. What makes you think you deserve explanations and defenses? You, nor I do. Bless those that persecute you. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.

  • Rachel

    “Saying that one is not behaving in a fully Catholic way is another way of saying “you are sinning”. I am not fully Catholic whenever I sin too. It’s not Traditionalist thing. It’s a fallen human thing.”- Mark Shea

    Really!?! Well I never….This is the first time I’ve ever heard that term “not fully Catholic” as another way of saying, “you are sinning.”

    Here is what you really said and what people are calling you on,”People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear. A true Catholic faith evangelizes; like it or not, this is not evangelizing, but shouting “Repel boarders” and then pouring boiling oil on your own archers.”

    “People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic…” Will not ever, and has never been a way of saying “you are sinning.” This. is. not. a. teaching. of. the. Church. If that was the case then none of us Church Militants would be fully Catholic. A person in venial sin can still receive our Lord in communion, is he not fully Catholic? Or has he just sinned.

    By the way, some people, “traditionalists” or not may not respond to some off the wall posts because like another poster said, Steve, or someone like him has already done a pretty good job of correcting or rebuking errors. Matter of fact, for some, it’s may be a even be a form of devotion to our Lord in not responding when someone else can do a better and more charitable job of it than you. Please don’t go assuming that people stay silent because they agree, or are too wimpy, etc. etc. After all, our Lord found plenty of times to stay silent even though unjustly accused and persecuted. He knew that the people who truly sought Him from their hearts would see through this unfair treatment and he did not need to prove to them what their hearts already knew.

    Do you think you deserve better treatment than your Master? People didn’t relate to Him either. What makes you think you deserve explanations and defenses? You, nor I do. Bless those that persecute you. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.

  • Mark Shea

    for continuing to illustrate everything I’ve been saying.

    We are indeed to expect abuse from the world. It’s a curious thing to see Christians abuse a brother and tell him he should be grateful for their abuse.

    Just so we get this straight: you stand around quietly while one of your fellow Trads calls brother Catholics “ideological sodomites” out of your deep concern for my good?

    Hey girl, it’s ultimately no skin off my nose. Happily, I’ve grown a pretty thick skin and I’ve come to expect this sort of sick culture of enablement in Trad circles. I’m just letting you know, however, that most people will recoil in horror when a guy like Frank is allowed to spout and people like you make excuses for it it and blame those he kicks in the teeth.

    But, like I say, it’s your subculture’s funeral. Truly sad, since you’ve got some real points worth making if you can find a way to mute the vitriol. But that’s your problem, not mine. I’ve pretty much said all I have to say.

  • QC

    I have only met a couple of people in “real life” like those discussed in this post–it’s no more than the general number of “fringe” people you’ll find in any group. That being said, such individuals tend to have a more prominent and disproportionate presence on the ‘net.

    I think a lot of people making comments are getting unnecessarily offended–if you do not have the attitude described in this post, you should not get offended (Mr. Shea made it clear that the attitude he was describing did not apply to all with a zeal for the TLM). As St. Jerome noted:

    “When anything is written against some particular vice, but without the mention of any name, if a man grows angry he accuses himself. It would have been the part of a wise man, even if he felt hurt, to dissemble his consciousness of wrong, and by the serenity of his countenance to dissipate the cloud that lay upon his heart.”

  • R.C.

    RK:

    Thanks for your response. I had never heard of Mark P. Shea until I started reading this site a few weeks ago. While a comparison to Ann Coulter doesn’t seem like much of an endorsement I’ll accept your appraisal of him.

    Well, waitaminute there. What I actually said was that I wouldn’t call him the Catholic Ann Coulter, though admittedly her name came to mind while I tried (unsuccessfully) to come up with a better analogy. At any rate, he’s someone whose writing can often (not always) come off as brash or brazen.

    When it does, reader reaction is likely to depend on whether they share Shea’s view on that column’s topic, or not. If you agree with what he’s saying you might find your reaction wavering between, “Man, that’s funny!” and “Yikes, that’s a bit harsh.” If, going in, you have no opinion on whatever topic he’s discussing, your reaction is more likely somewhere between “That’s pretty funny, but pretty harsh, too” and “That jerk! Even though I have no opinion on this topic, I’ve half a mind to stick up for the other side, just on principle.” And of course if you go in disagreeing, you’re perhaps better off not reading.

    Afflicting the comfortable is fine if you’ve got something worth challenging. If you don’t, you’re just writing to get a reaction. It sounds like you’re suggesting he writes just to get a reaction.

    No, I wouldn’t say that: I think he’s trying to persuade, but that sometimes his bluntness or sense of irony gets the better of him…? But he’s a grown-up and he’s here, and can certainly speak up for himself! So, I should leave off guessing his thoughts or intentions, and let him say what he wants, if he chooses. You can then come to your own conclusions.

    My point was/is that traditionalist don’t deserve the reprobation

    Traditionalists in general? No, I’m sure they don’t! But there does seem to be, among the Traditionalists, a certain contingent (perhaps small, but loud out of proportion to their numbers, I would guess) who do deserve it.

    Now, deserved or not, it’s an entirely different question whether a verbal smack-down will actually change the minds and habits of those few Traditionalists who’re prone to the errors Shea describes.

    I’m inclined to think it won’t help. Truth is truth. But when it was time to change Zaccheus’ heart, Christ didn’t do it by loudly enumerating Zaccheus’ sins. Grace, in the form of an unexpected house-guest, did it. (At this point, Mark’s not likely to get dinner invitations from any embittered Traditionalists! But then Jesus more or less invited Himself.)

  • R.C.

    [/i][/i]There I go, with an unclosed italics tag, again. Can anyone correct it, please?

    (And, BTW, if you folks who run InsideCatholic need someone with HTML/JavaScript expertise to help you make posts editable after-the-fact, let me know. No offense, but it does seem like a major missing feature here. Or, if not editable, then perhaps an option to “Preview” before you “Post?” It’s not an uncommon feature.)

  • Fr. John C.

    Mark,

    Reread this thread and ask yourself who has the anger issues here.

  • Rachel

    Mark first of all let me say I am so sorry if that is how I came across. This is NOT WHAT I MEANT. ( I

  • Rachel

    Also, I was quoting from scripture,(which I should have stated) Matthew 5:11,12, and especially Matthew 5:43-48: 43.
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
    44. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,45. that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
    46. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?
    47. And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?
    48. So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    “Hey girl, it’s ultimately no skin off my nose. Happily, I’ve grown a pretty thick skin and I’ve come to expect this sort of sick culture of enablement in Trad circles. I’m just letting you know, however, that most people will recoil in horror when a guy like Frank is allowed to spout and people like you make excuses for it it and blame those he kicks in the teeth.”-Mark Shea

    Again , this is NOT what I meant. Not even close. I am in no “subculture,” I am not making any excuses for people who do or say hateful and unjust things. Just offering an alternative. An alternative our Lord commanded.
    Let

  • Rachel

    let’s pray I can live up to it!

    Christians must accept any suffering joyfully, with mercy toward him who causes it. As Christ, while dying on the Cross, said: Father, forgive them… (Luke 23:34); as the Protomartyr Stephen, while being stoned, prayed: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge (Acts 7:60). Christ said: But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also…..But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given unto you… (Luke 6:27-29, 35-38).

    “Spiritual joy is closely tied with spiritual suffering. It is incorrect to think that joy comes only after suffering; joy in Christ comes together with suffering in Christ. They coexist and depend one on the other for their strength and power. As sorrow over sin comes together with the joy of salvation, so also suffering in this world is consonant with and even directly evokes this ineffable joy of salvation. Therefore, as the Apostle James says, Christians must count it all joy when [they] fall into divers temptations, knowing that the perfect work of their unshakeable faith is expressed by the fact that they are able to become perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2,4). Such also is the firm conviction of the Apostle Paul, who wrote:…..[we] rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:2-5).”
    -Archpriest Victor Potapov,
    http://tinyurl.com/58qvks

    Let us pray fervently and sacrifice for Christian unity!

  • Richard

    In the very early days of the internet, before it was even called that, one writer created a sensation by sending around an appeal: “Will someone pleaze explain to me what is zis thing called “toilet paper? For what is it used?” endquote. I am reminded of this because I feel like asking, “What is zis thing called the “TLM” that everyone is talking about?” I have not seen such a thing (except on TV) for some 40 years, which for many is a lifetime. I am told that in my large (geographically) diocese there is an occasional one in a church more than 60 miles away. I do not know where this church is exactly. I have mentioned this “thing” to our local pastor, who seems quite knowledgeable, but only met stony silence. Apparently, Benedict XVI or not, we Catholics do not speak of such things here.

    I reiterate my early advice to Mark: Don’t you think you would have been better off taking an aspirin and going back to bed? Your sore headed presentation, IMHO, obscured rather than expounded the points you had in mind. Your bad feelings out shouted your message. Yes, you stirred up the hornets nest of folk who felt insulted and probably were. If that’s all you were trying to accomplish, well congratulations, you succeeded. So now go and get that well deserved good night’s sleep.

  • Fr Sean Finnegan

    Mr Shea, I really do love your work; you have given great service to God’s Church, for which many many thanks, but this last is way over the top. I suppose I celebrate about eight English Masses to one TLM (in which I am very interested), but I see more nuttiness on the English side even in my own parish. When people are very hurt, they do get defensive and angry, and therefore one must simply expect some angry and defensive behaviour. Please God in a few years it will all have settled down on both sides.

  • Don

    To destroy the world, Satan attacks the Mass for the Mass is the most abundant Source of Grace for all mankind. No wonder that the spirit of Vatican II was distorted and many heretical bordering blasphemous reforms of church interiors and most importanly the “reforms” of the Divine Liturgy itself took place after Vatican II. I think the fathers of the Vatican II Council simply wanted the faithful had an option to celebrate Mass in their own languages, not completely overhauling the wordings or prayers of the Liturgy. For an illustration, the Byzantine Liturgy simply is now prayed in the modern languages while all the wordings remain the same as it was written in Latin for more than 1,500 years ago by St. John Chrysotom. I came across with the translated Tridentine Liturgy once in English and it was beautiful, it would satisfy the longing and erase the anguish of the socalled traditionalists and make the so-called modernists happy(I sympathize with the traditionalists, they might appear angry but they do care about our Church.)

    My friends, at the Consecration, Heaven opens up, Heavenly Father descends from His throne in heaven with the multitude of heavenly hosts, all the saints and angels, Blessed Mother at His side, to receive the most Divine and Loving Sacrifice from the Hands of His only belove Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest upon the Altar at ALL Masses. And we as witnesses, sinners, co-celebrants, childrens, friends of God should pray and receive the precious Gift with all our hearts, with full knowledge and gratitude in what is taking place, in all its reality, with the spiritual understanding and Faith, not just with physical senses.

    LAY-PEOPLE, STOP BICKERING!!! YOU MAKE SATAN HAPPY, OUR GOD AND SAVIOR SAD!!

  • R.C.

    Actually, I thought that, as this thread wore on, most of the original participants had started to “chill out” a bit, and that the ruffled feathers where beginning to settle down, producing a more constructive discussion.

    One of the odd things about posting comments on the World Wide Web is that one can arrive at a formerly-heated conversation four days after the original participants had already worked through their “heat” and begun to relate more constructively.

    If one then arrives at the site, reads the earlier posts in the thread, becomes worked up, and posts a reply, one is responding to a problem which no longer exists.

    Mark stirred up the hornets a bit, here, mostly (I think) by making it sound like he was criticizing all Traditionalists for a behavior confined only to some of them. As the Traditionalists had already felt abused in other ways, the perceived addition of insult to injury got them steamed. And unfortunately, a tendency to anger was one of the criticisms Shea offered…so getting angry about it wasn’t the most constructive reaction!

    At this point, though, he’s clarified that he’s referring to a subset of the Traditionalists who’re prone to particular sins, and has great affection for those Traditionalists he knows that don’t fall in this category.

    Issue resolved?

  • R.C.

    CORRECTION: By “the ruffled feathers where beginning to settle down,” I meant to say “the ruffled feathers were beginning to settle down.”

  • Michael Walsh

    Mr. Shea’s attitude toward traditionalism is not particularly enlightening. Although I remain outside the ranks of organized traditionalism I consider myself a fellow traveler. Pope Benedict has correctly concluded that traditionalism is fertilizing the Church by remaining loyal to a valid form of the liturgy. The influence of traditionalism is having a positive impact as a counter to liturgical abuse and plain old silliness that had too often found a home in many parishes. There are extreme elements within any movement and we can oppose them without throwing away the positive fruits of traditionalism. T.S. Eliot warned of the dead end of blindly following an “antique drum”, but urged recognition of the “permanent things”. That is the challenge and traditionalism has a part to play.

  • Trevor

    I think this article is very well-aimed at Catholics who prefer the Traditional Mass (note: I did not say “Traditional Catholic”…a term which is redundant). I am very tired of the elitist groups of so-called “Trads.” I was part of the traditional blogosphere for some time, though I tried to stay away from repetitive posts about the horrors often associated with the Novus Ordo. I’ve seen them first-hand. I know the things that go on. But the

  • Bill

    Why not discuss the value of the old Mass, rather than characterizing any of its adherents? “Traditionalists” could make an equal case for the vituperation present in the NO advocates.

    Whoever runs “Inside Catholic” would do well to get Shea an editor or, better yet, get someone to discuss traditional Catholics who actually knows what they are about. A serious discussion would be enlightening, rather than one where the writer uses insult and innuendo.

  • Maggie

    Dear Fr. O’Rourke,

    Thank you for your comments. I was very moved by them. Nothing is ever really lost by obedience, despite our regrets. God knows all.

    I attended my first Latin Mass a few months ago when our pastor began to offer it once a month. For the first time since becoming a Catholic six years ago, I knew that something was really happening on that altar, and it was a soul-shaking experience. With a deep sigh I said, “So THAT’s what it’s all about!”

    Mass every Sunday and weekday is still the N.O., but I look forward to those celebrations. There is no question in my mind of validity of the N.O. Our pastor is a holy priest, his homilies are often about unqualified love and unqualified forgiveness, and love for our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. He celebrates the N.O. with reverence and devotion, and his love for and obedience to the Holy Father is without limit. He and the parish he has formed by his love, devotion, and suffering are treasures, and it has grown under his guardianship.

    Rachel, thank you for your comments. The language of suffering is rarely heard and little understood or appreciated in our time. I think we will hear more of it as time goes on.

    I haven’t heard much about the inspiration and intervention of the Holy Spirit in the return of the Latin Mass. Perhaps the words of the High Priest about the new “Way” are appropriate: “If it is not of God, it will not last. If it is of God, there is nothing we can do to stop it.” Let’s give credit where credit is due. :)

  • Ed

    In 1968, a few VERY short years after Vatican II and while attending a Catholic mens’ college in NYC, we were having “Mass” in our dormitory apartment. We gathered together in the living room of our Catholic dorm while some guys (and girls) were sleeping it off in the adjacent bedrooms. Our college chaplain (who luckily was still a Catholic priest) was “present” but really superfluous because we who had a theology course or two, could put together a liturgy. We scoped the “frig” for some bread, had some wine that was left over from the previous night’s party and found a beer glass that could be used to hold the consecrated wine that would become our Lord’s precious blood. We prepared the readings which I specifically remember were from Kahil Gibran’s “The Prophet” and we also selected something from the bookself on “The Art of Loving” by Erick Fromm and read a passage from it. This was most appropriate because in the Age of Aquarius, we now knew our religion was about love. Out of my six roomates, two of us are still Catholic and I returned to the full practice of the faith after a number of years. When you’re robbed of that which expresses what is most central to your life, it’s understandable that some might be a bit upset. (And by the way, Mark, we didn’t need to have a clown Mass because we played Judy Collins’ “Send in the Clowns” for our sacred music.)

    It didn’t take long for the litugy to unravel. But it’s like a lot of things – once out of the bottle, it’s hard to put many things back in. Just let’s have some choice in liturgy and let people express their faith in ways that resonate best with it. Mark, I’d encourage you to develop some compassion for those whom you judge to be very angry; consider just for a moment how deeply wounded some might be by the experinece of Church in the past 45 years. I am one of them.

  • Just Plain Catholic

    So it continues. A bunch of people continuing to clamor “don’t insult us” by either explicitly or implicitly insulting and criticizing and offending the other 990 million Catholics on earth, as well as continuing to promote their preferred rite of the Mass by explicitly or implicitly denigrating the rite of the One Mass that is celebrated by hundreds of millions of Catholics each and every week.

    Look, I’ve known some loony progressives and I’ve been to some Masses that were not to my tastes, but they are our brothers and sisters as well. Believe it or not, Jesus loves them too with all of His heart. How about, instead of contempt, we exhibit a little of that same love ourselves?

    How about, instead of incessantly bitching about how awful this particular bishop is, and how terrible this particular priest is, and how hideous certain liturgical music is, and how outrageous some church architecture this is, and how this particular form is “better” than some other form of the Mass, and how practically everything in the Church sucks after 1964 — instead of all of this, which I have had the sad misfortune to read and experience in far too many magazine articles, Internet websites, blogs, books, and in person — instead of repeatedly and incessantly complaining and bitching about our Mother and her children, we perhaps start thinking about exhibiting some love to all of our fellow Catholics, even those — especially those — who engage in all of the loony and horrendous things, liturgical and otherwise, that you seem to obsess upon constantly? And perhaps, just perhaps, you worry about yourself at Mass, and quit appointing yourself as the liturgy police to make judgments about the worthiness or unworthiness of this or that particular liturgical practice?

  • Primus

    You’re missing the point. OF COURSE, it’s about which celebration is better and there are objective criteria with which to judge. The Pope has begun to reform his own NO celebrations – doesn’t that tell you something? If he has his way, the NO will resemble, at least outwardly, the TLM, although their theologies will still differ. But there is no doubt that the NO, as presently constituted, is an inferior manifestation of the Holy Eucharist.

  • R.C.

    Whoa, there, Primus!

    You say:

    If [the Pope] has his way, the NO will resemble, at least outwardly, the TLM, although their theologies will still differ.

    Okay. Acknowledging, at the outset, that I am out-of-my-depth, I ask:

    How on earth, pray tell, can it be true that:
    (a.) The theology of the NO differs from that of the TLM; and,
    (b.) It will continue to differ, even if the Pope alters (“reforms”) the NO to resemble the TLM?

    Assertion (a.) seems tantamount to saying that NO teaches theological error; and therefore that anyone promulgating it as appropriate worship is in error, and therefore that the Pope is in error on a matter of faith or morals, and therefore that the teaching authority of the Church is not infallible, and therefore the Church is in no fashion unique among the Christian denominations. I’m sure you don’t want to “go there” …but that assertion does seem to lead inescapably either to that conclusion, or else to a Sedevacantist position.

    I also am interested to know what the “objective criteria” are by which one can be judged superior to the other. And I am interested to know by what criteria “the NO, as presently constituted, is an inferior manifestation of the Holy Eucharist.” And I am interested to know how there could be “no doubt” of such a statement.

    I am out of my depth in this because I have never yet been present at a TLM. I have to rely on the Wikipedia articles and some online Catholic resources to know the differences between the TLM and what I normally see. I will have to rely on all of you, who participate in this discussion, for argument about why a person might choose one over the other, apart from arbitrary preference.

    Somebody, help me get some perspective on this discussion, please? As someone raised Evangelical with a scant two years’ familiarity with the Church, I’m feeling pretty lost, and that’s despite a heckuva lot of reading.

  • Primus

    but that’s different from saying the NO is theologically errant. The NO minimizes the sacrificial aspect of the Mass, concentrating on the “community meal” aspect. It is a “horizontal” celebration, focussing more on the community than on the Lord, whereas the TLM is a “vertical” celebration. Moreover, the NO did not develop organically out of the TLM, but was set in opposition to it. Even the Pope has said that the NO was a “banal, on the spot production.” The notion of participatio actuosa has been incorrectly interpreted, leaving people to think that instead of communing with God through the words of the priest, they are to be as “active” as possible. Active, not prayerful or reflective. In addition, since the NO is “new” and imposed from without, it does not carry a tradition within it in which a Catholic can live and sustain his being.

  • Ellen

    Anger is not the issue.

    I was just over at the most popular Trad discussion board, and there is a serious discussion going on about whether Novus Ordo-ordained priests should be re-ordained if they want to be Trad.

    And the majority answer is yes.

    That’s the kind of issue that should be discussed, with the Trads who claim so loudly that they are fully in union with the Pope.

  • meg

    R.C. – It’s all about Him. How we show our love and tenderness and devotion to Him. It’s not at all about us, and anything that takes away from our worship of Him and puts the focus on us is wrong, plain and simple. Anything that smacks of entertainment or encourages interaction with others around us takes away from Him and what He deserves. We are there simply to worship Him and witness a consecration, one which could take place with or without us. It’s just not about us.

    We as a country at this point truly are addicted to entertainment – there are even flat screen TV’s mounted everywhere we go – Walmart, the local pizza place, the pediatrician – we are CONSTANTLY entertained. This relatively new phenomenon crept into the Mass with Vatican II, and it’s very difficult to discern what’s merely entertainment (for our benefit) at a Mass and what is truly for HIM. Only one hundred years ago, none of these modern entertainments existed. And yet, the Mass did. As it had for almost 2000 years.

    The first thing I noticed about the traditional Latin Mass was the ancient quality it had, like I was seeing something that had gone on since the beginning of time, and yet such a beautiful timelessness – it would go on forever, too. How utterly satisfying and comforting and how easy to be close to Him. Everything in the TLM is designed for one purpose – to bring you closer to Him.

    Do yourself a favor if you are able. Attend the TLM, without judgement, once a month for a year. If you can’t find one near you, plan a long weekend around attending one every few months for a year or so. Try to follow but don’t stress yourself out – it will come. Pray. Clear your head of the ugliness of this argument here. Then you decide for yourself.

    It’s all about Him.

  • meg

    Clarification: In my first paragraph I am writing about the Mass – don’t know if I made that clear.

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    This is spot on, and I give you a lot of credit for daring to address the issue of over-claiming the mass. Of course we want to protect the liturgy from silliness and abuses, but a zealot is a zealot; whether he swings too far one way or the other, he usually ends up doing more harm than good. Well done!

  • Mike

    RC,

    I will attempt this, first by Making it clear that the Consecration is the Sacramental part of the Mass and it is aSacrificial Act. The purpose of everything that procedes and antecedes this act is to draw out and explain and make clear the intention of the action of the Priest.

    “the NO, as presently constituted, is an inferior manifestation of the Holy Eucharist.”

    I don’t believe anyone would say that if you are strictly speaking of the Consecration. If you mean the rest of the Mass is an inferior manifestion of what the Consecration is and does then your statement would be correct. So many Prayers have been left out, added and mistranslated in the NOM that it is very unclear as to the actual fruits of the Mass. ON the other hand the TLM as developed to the point this manifestion is obvious.

    I tried to do this in layman terms so don’t bite my head off. Please ask for clarification?

  • Mike

    Ellen,

    Did you bother to go to the link and read the document?

    I think if you did you might be in a better position to make your pronouncement.

    “That’s the kind of issue that should be discussed, with the Trads who claim so loudly that they are fully in union with the Pope.”

    There is nothing in that document that would indicate non-communion with the Pope. The bulk of it is background information and speaking about the intention of the administrators of the Sacraments.

    If one were to agree with the argument stated there they might well agree that in some instances re-Ordination might be necessary but not all.

    I don’t think it is fair to assume something about an issue without learning something about the issue or make condescending remarks about people who hold a position when you don’t really know the arguments.

  • Mike

    Just plain Ctholic,

    “How about, instead of incessantly bitching about how awful this particular bishop is, and how terrible this particular priest is, and how hideous certain liturgical music is, and how outrageous some church architecture this is, and how this particular form is “better” than some other form of the Mass, and how practically everything in the Church sucks after 1964 — instead of all of this, which I have had the sad misfortune to read and experience in far too many magazine articles, Internet websites, blogs, books, and in person — instead of repeatedly and incessantly complaining and bitching about our Mother and her children, we perhaps start thinking about exhibiting some love to all of our fellow Catholics, even those — especially those — who engage in all of the loony and horrendous things, liturgical and otherwise, that you seem to obsess upon constantly? And perhaps, just perhaps, you worry about yourself at Mass, and quit appointing yourself as the liturgy police to make judgments about the worthiness or unworthiness of this or that particular liturgical practice?

    The Primary Law of the Church is the Salvation of Souls.
    “Am I my brothers keeper?
    If what you observe is detrimental to someones salvation you are obligated to say something albeit in a fraternal manner.

  • Jeff Leivas

    This small essay is the best critique I have yet seen of the ‘traditionalist’ movement (oh, did you know that some ‘trads’ even resent the word ‘movement’? It’s true). It takes courage to say these things, even in the gentle way that Mark Shea has. I’m afraid that the ‘traditionalists’ come across as people with no heart, and dare I see, no love.

    The breaking point for me came when I heard some Latin Mass people ridicule ‘community’, as if getting to know each other, and spending time doing fun activities, was something heretical.

  • Just Plain Catholic

    And perhaps we could also stop the pejorative use of the term “NO” Mass?

  • Just Plain Catholic

    Forget about abuses like “clown Masses.” It is clear that we need not go anywhere near that far to get some people riled up. Call me ignorant, but I did not know that, apparently for a fair number of people, anything other that complete and utter silence from the people is a culpable abuse at some Extraordinary Masses, and it is perfectly fine, if not preferable, for the priest and servers to be inaudible as well! The absurdities of what constitute an “abuse” for some folks just astounds me.

    From WDTPRS — “What we encounter quite often is a rigid attitude of total silence, especially imposed by some members of the congregation who think it is a capital crime to utter anything, such as a response to Dominus vobiscum. These types will often hiss down or glare at those who dare to respond with Et cum spiritu tuo so as to intimidate others into the sort of silence they think is appropriate.” (emphasis added)

    You know, the Pope and bishops decided to implement a revised rite for a reason.

  • Angela

    to revise the “NO” rite for a reason, also. He also instituted periods of silence, after the homily and after communion. So what’s your response now? Incessant talking is not worship, it’s distraction. And he has begun to refer to it as “the holy sacrifice of the Mass.” So there were lacunae and misinterpretations in the NO, after all.

  • Chris

    Mark Shea wrote: “So take the risk: be glad and rejoice! The Tridentine rite is back! Show the rest of us why that’s a good thing by making it the home of saints, not a haven for a nucleus of embittered malcontents. I know it can be done because I’ve met a great many parishioners of the TLM and they are splendid saints. But I’ve also met a lot of Kens, Marys, Mikes and Franks. I met the saints because I took the time to look past the bitter crazies. Most Catholics will not take that second look. That, and nothing else, is my entire point.”

    i wish the original article had had the balance of this closing paragraph in one of your responses in the comments. Perhaps some of the angrier comments could have been avoided.

  • Mike

    Just Plain Catholic,

    “Forget about abuses like “clown Masses.” It is clear that we need not go anywhere near that far to get some people riled up. Call me ignorant, but I did not know that, apparently for a fair number of people, anything other that complete and utter silence from the people is a culpable abuse at some Extraordinary Masses, and it is perfectly fine, if not preferable, for the priest and servers to be inaudible as well! The absurdities of what constitute an “abuse” for some folks just astounds me.”

    Perhaps you are not aware that prior to the 1947 encyclical Mediator Dei by Pope Pius XII the people were to keep silent. This encyclical allowed for an “optional”(Priest option not yours)form of Mass called the “dialogue Mass” which allowed the people to respond to certain parts of the Mass, So if the Mass you are attending is not a dialoge Mass the ruberics require silence. So you see it is an abuse in certain circumstances. Father “Z” knows this and shouldn’t be saying what he said.

  • Bolek

    I may never have come across a clown mass, at the same time, I’ve never come across these caricature traditionalists you describe.

    Perhaps we would do a lot better to not stereotype, and actually visit and spend time with a traditionalist parish and spend time with real traditionalists.

    I’m 20, and have been attending traditionalist parishes for the last two years. I usually go with other friends my own age. We certainly don’t long for “good ol days”(which we never knew) but bravely look to the future where Traditional Catholicism will be more widespread. We try to bring all sorts of people to the traditional mass and certainly do our duty to evangelize. Many traditionalists in my experience too, attend the NO daily, and the TLM weekly – there certainly is no hatred of the NO. Overall, my living experience of traditionalist catholicism is NOT what you have portrayed here.

    In the end, this us vs them mentality will only create division. We are all Catholic and I think you would realize that if you spent some time with a traditionalist parish.

  • R.C.

    Okay, I’m pondering this reply, from Primus, to my last question:

    The two rites have different theologies, but that’s different from saying the NO is theologically errant. The NO minimizes the sacrificial aspect of the Mass, concentrating on the “community meal” aspect.

    So isn’t it more accurate to say that they share one theology, but emphasize different attributes?

    Moreover, the NO did not develop organically out of the TLM, but was set in opposition to it.

    I can certainly see that it involved several changes, all at once. Would it have been more “organic” had the changes been broken into fifty steps, with one new step being introduced each year over fifty years? As for “in opposition to it,” I’m not sure that holds up. How can “X is more helpful at this moment than Y” imply “X is the enemy of Y?”

    Even the Pope has said that the NO was a “banal, on the spot production.”

    Perhaps I am misled by the use of the word “production,” here. Is he making an aesthetic judgment about a performance? One presumes there are parishes where the N.O. is implemented well, and other parishes where it is implemented poorly. This could be true of TLM as well…unless there’s rather less freedom in implementing TLM than N.O., in which case its rigidity could enforce a sort of minimum quality-level. Perhaps a more rigid implementation of N.O. is called for?

    The notion of participatio actuosa has been incorrectly interpreted…

    Then is not the fix to interpret it correctly? Does abuse of “the Spirit of Vatican II” by modernist priests imply there is error in Gaudium et Spes?

    …leaving people to think that instead of communing with God through the words of the priest, they are to be as “active” as possible. Active, not prayerful or reflective.

    I don’t understand. If “active” implies the absence of prayerfulness, are the priests therefore, when enacting the Mass, not prayerful? And “active as possible”…where are you getting that? At N.O. Masses I’ve seen no Jazzercizing; I can easily imagine more “possible” activity. What “activity” are you opposing, here?

    In addition, since the NO is “new” and imposed from without…

    Outside what? The church? I know you don’t mean that, but I don’t know what you do mean.

    …it [the NO] does not carry a tradition within it in which a Catholic can live and sustain his being.

    I don’t know what this means. In Him (God) “we live and move and have our being.” We are sustained by His body and His blood. You can’t possibly be saying that God is absent from an N.O. Mass, right? Or that the elements of the Eucharist are not becoming body and blood, if it’s an N.O. Mass, right? As for “tradition”: I’m sure you don’t think the N.O. mass is missing Sacred Tradition altogether (else it’s not a Mass). So you must be thinking of particular traditions, like those that differ between parishes and rites. But if these differ, does it imply that those in different parishes and rites cannot “live and sustain [their] being?” (My Melkite aunt would be surprised.)

    I suppose you could argue that N.O. is less edifying than T.L.M., because T.L.M. has rituals which refer back to the Church’s history and beliefs. But as I understand it there’s plenty of that in the N.O., too. And your words suggest more than that you find N.O. “unedifying.” Your words suggest you find it spiritually suffocating. How can that be, if it is a Mass at all?

    Clarification is in order.

  • Primus

    I said the NO was a legitimate rite. Therefore Christ is present there. However, our first duty as Catholics is to worship God and in the most fitting manner possible. The most fitting manner possible is the Gregorian Rite, which has been part and parcel of Catholic tradition.

    The point about the NO not having a tradition is this: it did not develop out of the TLM, but was imposed by papal fiat. It includes prayers made up out of whole cloth as well as the so-called Hippolytan prayer at the Canon of the Mass, which was probably never actually used in a Mass (this is “archaeologism”). It abandoned (except in the cases where the priest recites the Roman Canon) traditional prayers (collects, etc.), which enabled the faithful to pray with Catholics from all generations. Instead of asking people to commune with God, through the prayers of the priest, those who manipulated the NO told people to talk incessantly, which was not the intent of Sacrsanctum concilicum. The NO is too new to have gathered a tradition around it, so its proponents take elements from disparate sources to complete it, i.e., a non-traditional view of the history of the Church, i.e., they pick and choose which elements they like, as well as a tendency to grab a Bible in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other. In other words, they neglect all of Catholic tradition, which had a teaching function as well as a sacral one, between the end of the NT and Vatican II.

    I have wondered what it is that has created such a dislike of traditional Catholicism in NO advocates, who, in turn, have substituted a secular approach for the traditionally-Catholic one. The secular approach, whether used by liberal, dissident Catholics or the robotic NO proponents is the same: it is all up to my personal decision, because there is nothing I need to receive or accept from the tradition. And secularism is nothing other than the exaltation of the individual at the expense of the tradition. Both groups are wrong.

    The Pope is engaging in a rear-guard action to make the NO conform to the traditional Catholic liturgy. He is also trying to reinstate the concept of reception, rather than individual grasping, as the proper attitude on the part of the Catholic faithful.

  • R.C.

    Primus,

    I’d like to reply in greater detail later, as I am on the verge of being late for…Mass.

    As a stop-gap, then, I present this, from Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the bishops on the Tridentine Mass:

    There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred remains sacred and great for us, too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the church’s faith and prayer and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, also the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.

    Rear-guard action or no, I’m experiencing difficulty logically reconciling the Pope’s statement with your own, where you said:

    I said the NO was a legitimate rite. Therefore Christ is present there. However, our first duty as Catholics is to worship God and in the most fitting manner possible. The most fitting manner possible is the Gregorian Rite, which has been part and parcel of Catholic tradition.

    …implying that if we all were to act out our first duty, then the N.O. would never be used again.

    But all this is from someone with less than two years’ exposure to the Church (following, admittedly, an upbringing which was about as orthodox and C.S.Lewis-drenched as one could find while still being Evangelical rather than Catholic). So I admit once again that my confusion may be due to a lack of knowledge and experience.

  • Rachel

    Maggie wrote: Dear Fr. O’Rourke,

    Thank you for your comments. I was very moved by them. Nothing is ever really lost by obedience, despite our regrets. God knows all.

    I attended my first Latin Mass a few months ago when our pastor began to offer it once a month. For the first time since becoming a Catholic six years ago, I knew that something was really happening on that altar, and it was a soul-shaking experience. With a deep sigh I said, “So THAT’s what it’s all about!”

    Mass every Sunday and weekday is still the N.O., but I look forward to those celebrations. There is no question in my mind of validity of the N.O. Our pastor is a holy priest, his homilies are often about unqualified love and unqualified forgiveness, and love for our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. He celebrates the N.O. with reverence and devotion, and his love for and obedience to the Holy Father is without limit. He and the parish he has formed by his love, devotion, and suffering are treasures, and it has grown under his guardianship.

    Rachel, thank you for your comments. The language of suffering is rarely heard and little understood or appreciated in our time. I think we will hear more of it as time goes on.

    I haven’t heard much about the inspiration and intervention of the Holy Spirit in the return of the Latin Mass. Perhaps the words of the High Priest about the new “Way” are appropriate: “If it is not of God, it will not last. If it is of God, there is nothing we can do to stop it.” Let’s give credit where credit is due. :)

    Maggie:
    Hello from a fellow convert! I am married to a cradle catholic, and my children and I happily converted and received the Sacraments of initiation on Easter vigil 2005! I’m glad to hear of your wonderful experience with the EF mass. I hope you get to hear many more masses in the EF form.

  • Bender

    My dear trad brothers and sisters –
    Please stop digging and put away your shovels! Better yet, break the handles and melt down the steel.

  • Primus

    on the NO and the TLM, but he didn’t address their respective theologies, which are objectively different.

    And, yes, if we were to act on our first duty, the TLM would be de rigueur, not the NO. However, we are caught between a papal act and its consequences and a way to rescue the NO from its secularist underpinnings. The Pope is trying to do just that.

  • meg

    I don’t know if you read my previous post to you or not (#250). I only have a minute, but I will try again to answer your request for help getting perspective – I want to get across the idea that the TLM is the only form of the Mass that eliminates the modern world and it’s incumbent trends and whims, and the one that focuses on the Lord alone and not on US. He deserves to be the absolute focus; anything that satisfies US outside of Him – i.e. satisfies our need to have a role to play in the Mass, or songs to sing, jokes to laugh at, lines to read – that’s entertainment, that is us being the flawed souls that we are, and meaning well, really well in fact, but being misguided – it’s not WORSHIP. All of this leaked in with Vatican II.

    Look at it this way: the Mass was one way (for the most part) for nearly 2000 years. In the 60′s (of all decades!), the New Mass was created, and enacted in the 70′s. As Catholics, what else about the 60′s and 70′s do we not question at this point? Bell bottoms? Free love? LSD? Roe v. Wade? Harvest gold and avacado appiances? So why can we not look at the changes in the Mass with as cold an eye?

    I wouldn’t even be writing this stuff if I didn’t sense that your interest is sincere, but you can’t make any decisions until you experience both forms of the Mass (and not just once). Even if you end up liking the N.O. better, at least you’ll have experienced the Mass as Christ truly intended it, in, as Primus said, the most fitting manner.

  • R.C.

    Meg/Primus:

    Thanks to you both for your gracious replies.

    Meg, I agree that I should experience the T.L.M.; a quick web search of parishes in the north-west outer suburbs of Atlanta, GA does not give me much hope of finding it nearby, but I’ll need to do a more exhaustive search before concluding it’s nowhere to be had in my area.

    My questions to Primus (hey, Primus!) were intended to address what I perceived as contradictions between what he said about the N.O. and what the Church teaches about it.

    Of course, “what the Church teaches” includes (1.) What She teaches as dogma; (2.) What She teaches as a matter of discipline, and (3.) What individual bishops or priests (including Popes) teach not infallibly but…I’m not sure of my terminology here…is “prudentially” the right word?

    If what Primus says contradicts what the Church teaches as a matter of dogma, he is wrong; if it contradicts her on a matter of discipline, it is a shade less of a problem but still serious; if it contradicts what an individual bishop or priest is teaching, then it is not a show-stopping problem (but may be worrisome if it’s not just one bishop, but a lot of them, and particularly if it’s all the last few popes.)

    Primus, if I understand you correctly, you think that:
    (1.) The N.O. is inferior to the T.L.M. in all ways that matter;
    (2.) Even the absolute best possible implementation of N.O. would be inferior to (a.) the best possible implementation of the T.L.M., (b.) any average so-so implementation of the T.L.M., and perhaps even (c.) the worst possible implementation of the T.L.M. that still met the requirements to be a T.L.M.;
    (3.) The introduction of the N.O. was an error to begin with, implying somehow that its introduction involved no use of an ex cathedra teaching by any pope then or now;
    (4.) The N.O. ought to be entirely abandoned in favor of the T.L.M.;
    (5.) The Pope agrees with you about this and is attempting to implement this reversal with a minimum of upheaval;
    (6.) That anything this (or a previous) pope said which appears to contradict (1.) through (5.) is either an error (not spoken ex cathedra), or was merely so much embarrassed “spin” trying to cover up the error without having to publicly admit it was an error.

    Is that a fair reading of your opinion, Primus? What about yours, Meg? Pretty much in agreement?

    Meg, regarding the 60′s: Obviously there were major errors in society then, from which we’ve yet to recover; which we’ve yet even to reverse. But is this whole way of conducting the Mass truly one of them?

    Or is it more fair to say that the Novus Ordo allowed such wide variation, experimentation, and innovation, and that the actual variations, experiments, and innovations attempted in the U.S. tended on the whole to be so piss-poor and inappropriate, that the N.O. as implemented tended to be a colossal flop?

    Respectfully, Primus, it seems to me that you acknowledge the notion of an infallible teaching authority of the Church as a “line in the sand” which you will not cross…but that in your rhetoric against N.O. you step right up to that line, on tip-toes, lean out over it, reach way out with your hands, and wave them around a bit.

    So it seems to me, and it makes me twitchy.

    But I’ll look around to find a T.L.M., attend it a bit when I locate it, and thereby walk a mile in your moccasins before passing judgment. Fair ’nuff?

  • Mike

    R.C.,

    There are 3 ways the Church teaches infallibly.

    1. When the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra.
    2. Ecumenical or general coucils.
    3. Ordinary Universal magisterium.

    The first 2 are called extra-ordinary and the 3rd ordinary.
    The criteria for Ordinary Universal infallibility is pretty detailed.

    The last extra-ordinary pronouncement was that women can’t be priest before that it was the Assumption in 1050 although some consider Humanae Vitae to be infallible.

    The last infallible ecumenical council was VI.
    VII was not a dogmatic council and it was so stated by the Pope.

    But in any case the NOM does not come under any of those categories.

    Also the Churche’s use of it’s infallibility is never used to define something new. It is always used to define once and for all something that has always been held by the Church.

  • Mike

    The date for the Assumption declaration should be 1950 not 1050

  • Primus

    that’s why the Pope is trying to redress some of the egregious manifestations of the NO. I’m not going against Vatican II, but, as the present Pope has also said, there is a correct way to interpret and an incorrect way. Sacrosanctum concilium said nothing about MANDATORY English throughout the entire Mass, It said Latin was still the language of the Mass, it said nothing about turning the altars around, etc.

    I’m not trying to step over the line of “orthodoxy” without actually stepping over it. But there are problems with the NO and everyone knows it. Everyone also knows it was imposed rather than the product of organic development. I never said anything about an ex cathedra statement by any Pope nor did I dismiss such statements. But, if the NO is such a great product, then why is the Pope doing everything he can to make it appear, visually, like a replica of the TLM (and he only appears to “face the people” in St. Peter’s because the basilica faces West and not East; therefore, he has to “face the people” in order to face East). And why is he mandating that the English translation of the prayers conform exactly (not approximately) to the Latin?

    The Pope hasn’t been disingenous about the NO: he’s come out publicly and said it was a “banal, on the spot product.” He’s admitted the form of the NO was badly-done and had no organic development out of the TLM. Therefore, the positives that the NO offers to some people (English, more lay involvement) have been compromised by the abuses which have also occurred. And, again, participatio actuosa doesn’t literally mean “talk your heads off during Mass so you can feel like you’re participating.” It also means simply paying attention and communing with God. And that’s the point – not to get up there in the sanctuary with “Father” so you can feel important. Lumen Gentium talks about the essential (ontological) difference between the priest and the congregation and does so for a good reason: we don’t offer the Mass, the priest does. We participate through attendance and communion with God.

    I hope you do go to Mass in the Gregorian Rite and you will certainly see the differences. The FSSP Fathers offer them (and they are in communion with Rome, as are the priests of the Good Shepherd Institute).

  • meg

    Primus is much better informed in matters of doctrine than I, so I’ll leave that stuff to him. But the very fact that Vatican II left the Mass open to the “variations, experiments and innovations” tells me there were some huge problems from the onset – only a very poorly constructed plan would leave the Mass so vulnerable.

    Where is the Pope going with all this? Time will tell. I don’t think the N.O. is going anywhere anytime soon if anyone’s worried.

    Here’s the deal: Look at the fruits. Do people now, as a result of Vatican II, have the same reverence and tenderness and love and devotion to Christ as they used to before Vatican II? You can answer this question for yourself after you have attended the TLM because the demeanor of the congregation will generally be pre-Vatican-II-ish (can you tell I’m tired?).

    BTW, I was raised in the Novus Ordo, not the TLM, didn’t attend one until my thirties. When I go to Mass I want to be around deeply devout people, plain and simple, and my parish is filled with lovely, devout folks who live their lives truly charitably and most importantly, are in love with our Lord and the Catholic Faith. There are also many lovely people in the N.O. This thread does Catholicism in general a disservice and it’s really a shame.

    God bless you as you find your way.

  • R.C.

    Mike:

    Thanks for the clarification…though something still isn’t clear, at least to me:

    If N.O.M. does not fall under any of the headings for infallibility, then the whole thing can be an error, from top to bottom, and one can still be in communion with the Church while saying so, yes?

    If so, why is it that T.L.M. is so hard to find? Why wasn’t every parish half-and-halfing their masses, perhaps, for the last half-century?

    I mean, I assumed that there was something obligatory about N.O. which had only just been announced as not-so-obligatory in recent years. And surely the near-uniformity of N.O. in practice indicates that somebody said “thus it shall be,” and everyone was obligated to say “aye, cap’n” at some point.

    In fact, what about all these splinter and not-quite-splinter groups, ranging from sedevacantalists to SSPX? Why bother being disconnected from Rome, if you can just go on doing the T.L.M. within Mother Church? How can you have groups/persons getting excommunicated over a refusal to accept N.O.M., and at the same time opine that the Church has no problem with her members saying, “N.O.M. is terrible, a total mistake, and should never have happened.” What, are those excommunications not infallible, and possibly erroneous?

    Something seems fishy, here.

  • R.C.

    By the way, everyone…

    I’m carrying on this conversation about T.L.M. with Meg, Primus, and Mike here. That’s three T.L.M. proponents and little old me, the newbie.

    I get the sense that some additional balance might be in order. No offense to Meg, Primus, and Mike, who’ve been perfectly gracious in their replies, but perhaps I could get someone who’s perfectly comfortable with Novus Ordo to pipe in, here?

    I don’t want to be like a recently-naturalized U.S. citizen going to my first American Civics class, only to find out I’m the only student and I’m being tag-teamed by the three instructors, who happen to be Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, and Nancy Pelosi. (Or, Sean Hannity, William F. Buckley, and Newt Gingrich, if you prefer.)

  • Richard

    I can’t supply your missing NO enthusiast. But perhaps I can help meg. Don’t forget, folks, that the church is not a democratic organization. It is about as hierarchical as you can get – didn’t it invent the word? In his diocese, the Bishop (or archB) is Mr. Big. What he says goes — forget the Pope, who is also a bishop and “first among equals”. Yes the Pope can remove the Bishop if he wishes, but he almost always doesn’t wish (Bad PR). So despite what the Pope says, in my diocese we have only one TLM, so shut up about it already, want to burn in Hell? If our Bishop wasn’t so “liberal” we wouldn’t even have that. After all, his predecessor was a good chap and he got shipped off to Alaska.

  • James

    “Clown Mass” is a term we use for liturgical abuse. So for example you would call a Charismatic pentacostal Mess where people are rolling around barking like dogs a “Clown Mass”.

    The N.O. Mess has been a disaster. And now we have confirmation that for the past 30 or 40 years it has been using improper translations. Why even the translation for the consecration is incorrect, according to the Pope.

    I am not angry. I am sad. Sad that I was mislead and had to miss out on the TLM until I was in my thirties. Maybe once a year I have to go to a N.O. Mess. They are horrible.

  • James

    R.C. — There is a TLM in Mableton not far from you.

  • Primus

    You’re not being tag-teamed. If you want NO enthusiasts, read the first 500 comments on this thread. I’m simply a proponent of the TLM. The problem with NO advocates is that they don’t have a lot to argue for, other than “it’s valid,” or “it’s licit.” They can’t point to tradition, or beauty (one of the names of God), or dignity.

    To understand the preponderance of NO Masses, you only have to read some of the history of post-Vatican II Church and the “Spirit of Vatican II” experimentation that prevailed and the way many priests and bishops bought into modernity. The NO Mass fit perfectly. They see a resurgence of the old Mass as an abandonment of Vatican II and a step backwards (like back to the dreaded medieval period).

    Anyway, I don’t particularly care to be compared to political figures of any stripe.

  • meg

    Can I be Buckley? He loved the Traditional Latin Mass.

  • Kevin Symonds

    Mark Shea wrote: Considering the fact that Mark Shea says on his blog that he “hates” Traditionalists, I can understand why he would write this article.

    Kevin:

    You are either a liar, extremely irony-impaired, or else you are being extremely ironic yourself:

    http://tinyurl.com/5ha9pk

    Care to clarify which, Kevin?

    Mr. Shea,

    -In response to your challenge, it would seem as though you have done most of the work. I read from my E-mail and blog Dashboard that you came across my blog “Desiderium.” You left a comment on my blog in which you refer to me as being a “silly man.” I reiterate what said elsewhere on Inside Catholic about Deal Hudson’s article on Inside Catholic concerning Charity and Hate on the Internet.

    -Now, about your challenge itself. You asked me which of your web sites can one find wherein you stated that you “hate traditionalists.” I think you found it because you commented on the very page of my blog wherein I DOCUMENTED (both text and photograph) your remark against those who asked for donations to uphold future celebrations of the Extraordinary Use of the Roman Liturgy at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. If I am a liar for simply quoting what YOU said without ANY sort of clarification whatsoever, then so be it. Forgive me for taking you at your word when Jesus said, “Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.”

    -Kevin J. Symonds
    B.A., M.A.

  • meg

    I know this is a public forum, but my suggestions were directed only to someone who had specifically reached out for perspective and expressed an interest in the TLM. It is essential that R.C. go to the TLM to attain the desired perspective – my ideas were to help THIS PERSON ALONE get to one. I’m going to assume you were having a bad moment when you suggested I am going to burn in Hell for this. Maybe offering your own perspective in a more rational way would be more helpful to R.C.

    You seem to be implying that you don’t like the N.O. I know well the difficulties of finding a Mass you love, whether N.O. or TLM; it took my husband and me years, and we have to drive almost an hour each way to get there (it’s worth it). If I desired the TLM but it was an unreasonable distance to drive on a weekly basis, I would find an N.O. Mass that I was content with but make the long drive to the TLM whenever I could – I’ve heard of people joining with others and making a day trip of it. I think the Motu Proprio will take time to reach some areas but it is definitely no longer up to the Bishops – with time, prayer and patience, and repeated strong requests (preferably by groups rather than individuals) it will come. God provides.

  • Primus

    there will eventually be only one Rite – and it will look like the TLM. Of course, it will have elements from the NO (probably more Scripture), but the overall thrust of the Rite will be more in line with tradition.

  • Primus

    do you live in Steubenville? If so, can you give us the lowdown on the so-called “charismatic” Masses there?

  • Mark Shea

    As I told you on your blog, the entry you document with such accusatory relish is (obviously to anybody with a sense of humor) written tongue in cheek.

    Good job diggin’ up the dirt, Sherlock.

  • Mike

    R.C.,

    I was not trying to tag team you. It just appeared to me that you were coming from a different perspective then Meg and Primus were responding to other wise they were doing quite well.

    “If N.O.M. does not fall under any of the headings for infallibility, then the whole thing can be an error, from top to bottom, and one can still be in communion with the Church while saying so, yes?”

    Yes, absolutely!

    “If so, why is it that T.L.M. is so hard to find? Why wasn’t every parish half-and-halfing their masses, perhaps, for the last half-century?”

    That is a very good question with a lot of possible answers.

    “I mean, I assumed that there was something obligatory about N.O. which had only just been announced as not-so-obligatory in recent years. And surely the near-uniformity of N.O. in practice indicates that somebody said “thus it shall be,” and everyone was obligated to say “aye, cap’n” at some point.”

    Answwer to your first sentence would be you , me and a whole lot of others thought this. To a degree you are also correct in your second sentence. You need to read “Quo Primum” by Pius V, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church and the Saints and not the modern writers if you want to get to the truth of this matter. On second thought read the modern writers and then compare their writtings and YOU will see the difference.

    “In fact, what about all these splinter and not-quite-splinter groups, ranging from sedevacantalists to SSPX? Why bother being disconnected from Rome, if you can just go on doing the T.L.M. within Mother Church? How can you have groups/persons getting excommunicated over a refusal to accept N.O.M., and at the same time opine that the Church has no problem with her members saying, “N.O.M. is terrible, a total mistake, and should never have happened.” What, are those excommunications not infallible, and possibly erroneous?”

    First 2 sentences answer is quite complicated. A quick answer is that the problem you raise ia about more than the Mass.
    3rd sentence answer is that in fact only 6 people were excummuicated Archbishop LeFeberv, Bishop De Castro Mayer abd the 4 Bishops of the SSPX, While The Mass was at the heart of the problem they were excommunicted for consecrating Bishops withou a Papal Mandate. There are others too but they ar mostly Sede’s but again the reason is Episcopal Consecrations.

    Lastly, excommunications are not infallible, and are erroneous based on Canon Law.

    “Something seems fishy, here.”
    ABSULTELY

    I will bow out of this for now, It just seemed like you were stuck in the legal part, which I was and you were being answered from a Spiritual perspective. Both are valid perspectives as both can cuase problems.

    I wish there was someway for us to communicate other than this blog but I don’t know how to do it!

  • MIke

    To many to correct. Mark needs a spell checker!!

  • R.C.

    Meg:

    You just made me smile. Yes, you can be W.F.B.!

    Primus:

    You’re not being tag-teamed…I don’t particularly care to be compared to political figures of any stripe.

    Sorry, like I said, I didn’t intend any offense. The comparison was intended to provide a humorous analogy to my situation, in which someone less-experienced felt overwhelmed by immersion in only one side of an argument that had been going on since long before he arrived.

    James:

    Thanks for the recommendation; I’ve found it now, though it’s an hour’s haul away from where I live, sans traffic. It’s St. Francis de Sales, one of these FSSP things. (One of the most difficult things to absorb in learning about Catholicism is the meaning of all these utterly unfamiliar (to me) acronyms hanging at the end of every priest’s name: Father Suchinsuch McWhatever, FSSP, FSC, KofC, KFC, TGIF, O2BNLA, BYOB, XYZPDQ. Argh!)

  • Anonymous

    is quite remarkable. When EWTN has a Gregorian Rite, the FSSP Fathers likely are celebrating the Mass.

    By the way, the Pope COULD abolish the NO. But think of the dislocation of Catholics worldwide if such a thing happened. So, the salutary compromise is to make the NO look as much like the TLM as possible.

  • Mike

    utterly unfamiliar (to me) acronyms hanging at the end of every priest’s name: Father Suchinsuch McWhatever, FSSP, FSC, KofC, KFC, TGIF, O2BNLA, BYOB, XYZPDQ. Argh!)

    Google, google, google. Don’t know what Catholics did before Google!!

  • Mike

    “there will eventually be only one Rite – and it will look like the TLM. Of course, it will have elements from the NO (probably more Scripture), but the overall thrust of the Rite will be more in line with tradition.”

    You know the Tridentine or Gregorian Mass can never be done away with. It’s the “Quo Primum” thing. They can make the NOM more like the TLM. The Church as never abrogated in Rite over 200 years old.

  • Primus

    but the NO could be folded into the TLM. I guarantee it.

  • Thomas R

    I am not going to try to catch up with all of this.

    I’m interested in experiencing the Tridentine rite Mass, but I’ve never known a parish to do it. I think by having Latin it’d have the advantage of unity. I could see how everything in different languages could lead to a sense of too much differentiation between Mexican, Polish, etc. If traditionalism is about that, better discipline at ceremonies, and habits that sounds good.

    The problem I have is that when I’ve seen traditionalists online they’re often more upset by the whole idea of religious freedom. This does seem to go against the language of the Nineteenth Church, but I’ve seen some that almost seem to find Cardinal Newman to be a liberal wimp. If you’re a traditionalist can you talk to non-Catholics about things besides converting them to Catholicism?

  • Primus

    not traditional Catholics. Traditional Catholics, while they have problems with the widespread abuses, irreverence, etc., that surround the NO, still endorse Vatican II, including the concept of “religious liberty.”

    Frankly, you could make a case that NO advocates don’t endorse religious liberty, based on their straw-man hype against the TLM.

  • Kevin Symonds

    Mr. Shea has posted a statement that he thinks it may be too much for me to publish a retraction and an apology for my statement.

    Mr. Shea, I have indeed gone over your remark again–accompanied by your less than edifying clarifications.

    I wish to state the following:
    1) Mr. Shea, you had no right whatsoever to go after and insult my person because you believed I was wrong. A perceived wrong does not give you the right to insult my person and I will NOT tolerate your condescending belligerence in any form.

    2) The CHRISTIAN thing to have done was bring the “correct” interpretation to my attention in a charitable fashion.

    In response to the above:
    1) Mr. Shea, when you apologize for your polemics against my person such as “silly man” “for those that have a sense of humor,” etc., I will issue a statement clarifying my interpretation of the statement on your blog.

    Until such time, I will consider the matter open and unresolved.

    Meanwhile, I have been asked to discuss what happens at Steubenville with the “charismatic Masses.”

    As a former student of the University, having been there for 6.5 years, I have put that liturgical nightmare behind me and do not wish to talk about it.

    -Kevin J. Symonds

  • R.C.

    Just to let everyone know:

    One of the posts above labeled “Written by R.C.” was not, in fact, written by me. It’s the one which reads:

    The “FSSP thing” …is quite remarkable. When EWTN has a Gregorian Rite, the FSSP Fathers likely are celebrating the Mass.

    By the way, the Pope COULD abolish the NO. But think of the dislocation of Catholics worldwide if such a thing happened. So, the salutary compromise is to make the NO look as much like the TLM as possible.

    I’m not sure who that was; I suspect it was an innocent error of someone who meant to reply to me, not masquerade as me. Mike? Was that you?

  • Mark Shea

    I’m not especially interested in what you will tolerate.

    The “documentation” you posted of my alleged “hatred of Traditionalists” consists of a screenshot of a notice I put up on behalf of some folks who wanted to get a Latin Mass going at your very alma mater, FSU. I put it on my blog in order to *help* them and I jokingly noted that I was doing so because, as everybody knows, I “hate Traditionalists”.

    Got that? *Help* them.

    Now, with normal human beings, the response to somebody doing you a kindness is a word of thanks. But not a few Traditionalists like Kevin seem bound and determined to prove that gratitude is one of the “kumbaya” virtues that Truly True Catholics have put behind them. Instead of saying “Thanks for the plug for the TLM” I get Kevin’s stubborn and stupid attempt to claim it as “proof” that I “hate Traditionalists”.

    You know all this, Kevin, because I informed you of it. Yet you refuse to apologize or retract because you prefer to behave like a silly ass. So be it. Keep the damning screen shot up on your blog for as long as you like. For anybody who knows how to read a tongue-in-cheek remark it will, yet again, serve to show how nastiness seems to find such a haven among Trads. And please, don’t lecture me on the CHRISTIAN thing to do. The Christian thing was for you never to have brought the rash accusation. If you can’t take it when you are shown to be a fool after making a rash accusation, that’s your problem, not mine, Kevin.

  • Kevin Symonds

    Mr. Shea, apparently, you are using me as a puppet to vent your anger out against Traditionalists upon. That’s fine, I’m a big enough man to take the hit.

    Please, bare in mind, however, that you are arguing with someone who is NOT a Traditionalist. Furthermore, you are already known–by your own previous writings–to have an axe to grind against Traditionalists. Venting against me is only going to serve the same purpose you keep labeling me as–a stubborn “donkey” for your own cause.

    Tell me, Mr. Shea…you once wrote that your son likes to “worship in that way [of the EURL].” Is he an “Angry Traditionalist” as well or are you ensuring that you instill in him the same charity that you are displaying towards me now?

    -Kevin J. Symonds

  • Brian Saint-Paul

    R.C. wrote: One of the posts above labeled “Written by R.C.” was not, in fact, written by me…. I’m not sure who that was; I suspect it was an innocent error of someone who meant to reply to me, not masquerade as me.

    Hi R.C.,

    Thanks for catching that. I changed the name to “anonymous,” so there’s no confusion.

  • Mark Shea

    Please, bare in mind, however, that you are arguing with someone who is NOT a Traditionalist.

    Whatever. You are, however, either a humorless illiterate who can’t recognize a tongue-in-cheek remark, or a libelous fraud. I charitably chose to regard you as the former until you refused to retract your rash accusation. Now I just think you are a libelous fraud.

  • Kevin Symonds

    Mr. Shea, we can go around and around this issue. Fact is, we are not getting anywhere. How about we let the situation rest overnight and we pick it back up again tomorrow? Perhaps we will do better then.

  • David W.

    …are, more or less…saying that Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II AND Pope Benedict XVI are propagating an inferior Mass, one that has been a disaster for the Church….THEREFORE, they are not acting as good shepherds and Successors to St. Peter. Since the Mass is the center of Catholic life, and if the Pauline Rite is such a mess as TLM Supremacists say, than those who have occupied the chair of St. Peter since Pope John XXIII have been:

    A. Negligent
    B. Incompetent
    C. Heretical
    D. Foolish

    By Extension, Catholics who prefer the Pauline Rite OVER the TLM for whatever reason are by implication:

    A. Protestant
    B. Heretical (see above)
    C. Liberal
    D. Foolish

    Take your pick. This is the kind of crap that gets my goat…armchair liturgists and asshats abound. And to address the point Steve made to me before….I’m not wanting to be egalitarian about the Liturgy…the Pauline Rite could benefit much from the Old Ways. I’m all for overhauling the Liturgy. What I am against, and I’ve seen it repeatedly on this blog and elsewhere…is the snide, arrogant and veiled assault on Church Authority masquerading as “orthodoxy” and “Traditionalism.”

  • Mark Shea

    The matter is settled. You made a rash accusation and when you were informed of the facts, you chose to continue making it, rendering you guilty of libel.

    Happily, I’m an easy-going sort who like a laugh, so I encourage all who read your post to by all mean check out the screen shot of my blog you have lovingly preserved in your zeal to accuse.

  • Kevin Symonds

    Mark Shea wrote: The matter is settled. You made a rash accusation and when you were informed of the facts, you chose to continue making it, rendering you guilty of libel.

    Happily, I’m an easy-going sort who like a laugh, so I encourage all who read your post to by all mean check out the screen shot of my blog you have lovingly preserved in your zeal to accuse.

    Mark, I am tired from teaching all day. So I will make this brief. Do you not understand that the issue is NOT whether I was right or wrong but how you responded to the situation? You instantaneously applied the sledgehammer to the gnat.

    That, Mr. Shea, is the issue of which I will not back down. Please do encourage people to read my blog as I have put more on there that people need to see concerning this situation.

    -Kevin Symonds

  • Mark Shea

    The issue is that you were wrong. You went to multiple sites and made a rash claim about me that was false. When I told you you were wrong, you didn’t retract or apologize. Now you have passed from making a rash claim to maintaining a libelous one, because you know the facts but refuse to alter your claim that I said I “hate Traditionalists”. And instead of apologizing, you insolently demand respect. You are an ass, Kevin. And as asses do, you don’t seem to be able to admit it or even see it.

    God help your students.

  • Rick

    Hahaha. I hope that was meant for me to have a good laugh. If that was serious, then Mark argues like my 9th grader. Shea wants to trash the traditionalists by identifying them with a few wackos he has heard about in anecdotes. Brilliant. Great rhetorical style.

    My problem with this piece is that Mark uses ridicule and hyperbole to avoid the real discussions. Did Sacrosanctam Concilium call for the following things (which are seen at virtually every Novus Ordo Missae celebrated in the Western world):
    1)Altar girls
    2)Communion in the hand
    3)Mass facing the people
    4)Masses completely in the vernacular
    5)Eucharistic Prayers 2,3,4, etc. said aloud
    6)The destruction of the Offertory Prayers and their replacement by a Jewish table blessing.
    7)The destruction of traditional altars and their replacement with free standing altars (ala. Martin Luther/Thomas Cramner style)

    The answer would be

  • Rick

    RC,
    The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has a parish that offers the LAtin Mass in the Atlanta area. The parish is St. Francis de Sales in Mableton. Their sung High Mass is at 11:30 AM each Sunday. Well worth attending.

  • Margaret Cabaniss

    Mark and Kevin: I think we can all agree at this point that you two aren’t going to see eye to eye on this one, and meanwhile the tone of your exchange is veering into dangerous territory. You’ve both made your points; for the sake of the larger discussion, can you simply agree to disagree and let the matter rest? Thanks, guys.

  • Mike

    R.C.,

    Weren’t me!!!!

  • Mark Shea

    Instead he puts forth himself as the example of someone who is wonderfully Catholic in his views of the liturgy.

    Actually, if you read the piece, you discover that I said virtually nothing about liturgy. And, in fact, I don’t think of myself as “wonderfully Catholic in my views of liturgy” for a simple reason. I have very few views of liturgy. I basically take what the Church gives me and am content. Part of the reason I so, Rick, is that I meet so many angry people like you among the self-appointed liturgy police. When it comes to liturgy, I’m a schlub in the pew who is (mostly) completely turned off by, say, people who can’t tell the difference between a critique of the sins of anger and factionalism and an attack on the Tridentine rite.

    I leave the interpretation and implementation of the council documents to the people for whom they are actually written. That ain’t me since I’m not bishop, priest or (shudder) liturgist.

  • Richard

    I certainly never intended to suggest that you might burn in hell for your views. I was quite clear (I thought) that I was referring (tongue fixed firmly in cheek) to my own diocese – which is almost certainly not yours. What your Bishop’s views are I have no idea. I am not “against” the NO, but, as I have said before above, I feel that the Church has definitely short changed its people both liturgically and musically. As such I have continued on to carry my liturgy within myself. No one seems to mind the muttered Latin and Greek responses I use. When a “good hymn” comes along, I sing lustily; sometimes even in harmony.

  • Kelly Clark

    “The “documentation” you posted of my alleged “hatred of Traditionalists” consists of a screenshot of a notice I put up on behalf of some folks who wanted to get a Latin Mass going at your very alma mater, FSU. I put it on my blog in order to *help* them and I jokingly noted that I was doing so because, as everybody knows, I “hate Traditionalists”.”

    ~~~~~~~

    This makes sense to me. Kevin, really, you should give this up. It was a JOKE, for Pete’s sake. And it was very gracious of Mark to try to help the folks at FSU to get the Motu Proprio going.

    As for the request — I think it was from one o’ the “R.C.s” — regarding the Novus Ordo? I’ve found that, thanks to the Holy Spirit and the Vicar of Christ, the Masses in my town (Boston) have become much more reverent. I appreciate the gradual introduction of Latin into the daily Masses. What a difference, or so my older friends say, from the abruptness in which the N.O. Mass was introduced! Today, I’m happy to say that most daily Communicants know the Gloria, Credo, Agnus Dei, and Sanctus without notes.

    There will be “clown Masses” until the Last Day, I’m afraid. And I daresay there will always be abuses in the Traditional Latin Mass…I remember ‘way back, my parents and grandparents grumbling, when I was a little girl, about “irregularities” in the Pre-Vatican II Mass! When human beings are concerned, alas, there will always be mistakes. Our job is to try to not make them.

    You know, in today’s Gospel, a man told Jesus that he’d kept all the Commandments since childhood. Who among us can say that? I can’t. And yet, he still went away sad, because he couldn’t take that one more step.

    Let us pray that we can, starting now, keep all the Commandments, and, please God, be able to take that extra step besides.

    Meanwhile, remember: there is nothing greater in this world than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Oremus pro invicem,

    Kelly

    P.S. The first paragraph is a quote from Mark, just in case the formatting doesn’t indicate it.

  • Mike

    David W.,

    Did Sacrosanctam Concilium call for the following things (which are seen at virtually every Novus Ordo Missae celebrated in the Western world):
    1) Altar girls
    2) Communion in the hand
    3) Mass facing the people
    4) Masses completely in the vernacular
    5) Eucharistic Prayers 2,3,4, etc. said aloud
    6) The destruction of the Offertory Prayers and their replacement by a Jewish table blessing.
    7) The destruction of traditional altars and their replacement with free standing altars (ala. Martin Luther/Thomas Cramner style)

    Do any of the above answer your questions below???

    A. Negligent
    B. Incompetent
    C. Heretical
    D. Foolish

    I would personally cross out C. because Heretical it isn’t.

  • Tim

    Most of what I want to say Steve Skojec already said ! What I would add is the fact that trads have been kicked in the teeth for 40 years but instead of writing an article about how to overcome that anger Shea kicks a couple more teeth out ! Shea writes an article about trads. being angry lumping us all together when the majority of trads. are not angry . However Angry or not trads. are passionate about what they believe and do believe everything the Church teaches, while most people you meet who go to the new Mass seem lukewarm and when you talk to them dissent on any number of the Churches teaching . Is it lack of perspective that causes Shea to criticize trads. for being angry when that is a natural response when one looks at the state of the Church today ? Then not write an article about the indifferent relativists that fill the pews in most of our churches causing many to flee to tradition and look back at the relativist with anger ? Then not see a connection between the vast liturgical abuse that change the Lex Credendi and maybe that’s why their is so many indifferent relativists in the Church that trads. flee from and become angry ? Or not see a correlation in that everything a Catholic has ever known, the organic development of centuries is suddenly ripped away and replaced by something made up by a committee of “experts” something hither to unheard of in the east or west and then criticize them for being ticked off ? I hope and pray Shea didn’t write this article because he had an axe to grind . It’s no secret his own son doesn’t care for the new Mass and goes to the old . What does he think about this article ? Also while generally I like Shea’s apologetics in this article his logic is faulty . The best article I’ve found on line refuting this article is on the blog Athanasius Contra Mundum http://athanasiuscm.blogspot.com/

  • Mark Shea

    I hope and pray Shea didn’t write this article because he had an axe to grind.

    I’ve already stated–multiple times–why I wrote the piece.

    It’s no secret his own son doesn’t care for the new Mass and goes to the old.

    Really? Tell me more! My son has never told me he “doesn’t care for the New Mass”. When did he tell you? He likes the TLM, but he’s also quite content at the Paul VI rite at our parish. He’s pretty much like me that way.

    Consider it possible you are projecting. Not everybody who enjoys the Tridentine rite feels it necessary to denigrate the Paul VI rite. Which, again, is kind of my point.

  • Thomas R

    Still I guess I do have other issues.

    Some of the Traditionalists here and at Rod Dreher’s blog seem to act like you’re not a real Catholic if you’re a NO Catholic. This strikes me as kind of unfair to those of us under 40 or who converted after Vatican II.

    I get the sense if I went to a Tridentine Mass and did not prefer it to NO, even if I just felt them equal, their position would be I’m not a real Catholic. I find that rather unfair since I was born in 1977. Maybe they wouldn’t get as much out of a Chaldean-rite Mass or the Mass as performed in the sixth century, I’m not sure.

  • meg

    My apologies, I totally missed it. Mea Culpa!

    Sounds like you were well brought up in the Faith if you know the Greek and the Latin responses! I envy you – I had to start from scratch as an adult and still have so far to go. And I’m trying to teach to kids the hymns so they know them well as they grow up and love them as I do – Catholic hymns are so beautiful.

    My apologies once more and God bless you.

  • Mike

    “I get the sense if I went to a Tridentine Mass and did not prefer it to NO, even if I just felt them equal, their position would be I’m not a real Catholic. I find that rather unfair since I was born in 1977.”

    Typically this would be because they they know that the catechisis in the NO parishes is very bad including the RCIA and not because they prefer the NOM. I taught CCD in NO Parishes and believe me the programs are terrrible, Most don’t even attempt to follow the Catecetical Directory. Those who maintain any sembalace of the totality of the Catholic Faith are typically the older genereaion and only because they were taught it when they were young. You need to study the Faith on your own, When you truely learn the Catholic Faith you will come to see the beauty of the TLM because it sums up the Faith perfectly.

  • Primus

    you can couple this with Mark Shea’s assertion that to be “fully Catholic” one must defer all other activities to evangelization. It works both ways.

  • Primus

    for a serious issue: tradition. I think many of the NO Catholics (whether cradle or convert) have begun from dogmatic points and have stayed there. Ideally, one begins by participating in the Catholic tradition and then, if one is a theologian, refining the tradition by reflecting on dogma. But immersion in the tradition is logically prior.

    Simply adhering to specific dogma makes these NO Catholics reminiscent of the now-discredited approach of Neo-Scholasticism. But even Neo-Scholasticism was already immersed in the Catholic tradition. It wasn’t just out there with its manuals, however deficient they were.

    The biggest problem with Vatican II is not the documents, which are genuinely faithful to the Catholic tradition and are reflections on it, but the people who hijacked the council to further their own interests. In the process, the authentic Catholic tradition was attenuated or even lost.

    In this absence of an authentic tradition, NO Catholics have cobbled together their own traditions and have formed subcultures, which may or may not have much to do with the larger, authentic tradition of the Church. They either incorporate elements from the secular world or their previous faith communities. Thus they tend to emphasize what they emphasized before, whether it is an exclusive focus on the Bible, or peace and justice work, or defining “fully Catholic” in terms that are not completely Catholic.

  • Thomas R

    I think that’s true of both groups.

    Tradition matters a great deal to me. On my mother’s side they’ve been Catholic since at least the eighteenth century and probably earlier. My father converted before Vatican II. I was not raised with “sola scriptura” or “peace and justice.” (I believe the death penalty is well within Catholic tradition and believe in just wars.) My mother has a grotto to Mary and I was named for Aquinas. I get the sense some of you are thinking NO means you’re like a hippy or liberal or something, which strikes me as a bit strange. NO is the most common form of Mass in the US and probably the Catholic world at large right now.

    If the tradition could be “lost” in the way you mean then this puts you in a position similar to the early Reformers who believed in a “real Christianity” that lived secretly within the Catholic world but was not part of it. A big part of tradition is continuity. If the NO is purely a break, then continuity mostly ended and that would mean with it tradition.

  • Kevin

    Sadly, I’m not surprised by this jejune reflection on the nature of Traditionalists (or Traddies).

    I have a query, though. Does anyone know where I can find Lotti’s Missa Brevis and/or Palestrina’s Ego Sum Panis Vivus?

  • Tracy

    Gee Mark, you truly provide an example of charity. You show those nasty old trads how they should act. Thanks!

  • Primus

    are the “new reformation.” I’m saying that authentic Catholic tradition has been absent in many NO advocates’ milieu. It has been fully alive, though sidelined for many years, in the efforts of traditional Catholics to keep it alive.

    A big part of tradition IS continuity and that’s just what the NO lacks – continuity. It’s a patchwork. Professionals selected what they wanted, based on varying criteria, and came up with a Mass. As an example of Catholic tradition, the NO is irrelevant and beside-the-point. However, given its prominence in the Catholic world it cannot now be summarily abolished, but must be “reformed.”

    I must say that this reform is an opportunity to bring the Church back to its essential tradition and, along with that, many NO adherents.

  • Mark Shea

    you can couple this with Mark Shea’s assertion that to be “fully Catholic” one must defer all other activities to evangelization.

    Except that I did not say this. I basically said liturgical correctness does not constitute a free pass on anger, bitterness and factionalism. Trad Catholics who think that so long as they observe the jots and tittles of the rubrics they can indulge the sins of the flesh are not thinking with the mind of the Church.

  • Bender

    If you all are representative of all traditionalists, I can see why folks would think that you are all obnoxious jerks.

  • Primus

    Mark, you did say it. Read your own quotation:

    “People who act and talk like this are going to have to figure out how to be fully Catholic or they are going to disappear. A true Catholic faith evangelizes; like it or not, this is not evangelizing, but shouting “Repel boarders” and then pouring boiling oil on your own archers.”

    “A true Catholic faith evangelizes….” So, in other words, traditional Catholics are not evangelizing, hence, they are not “fully Catholic.”

    It has little to do with RUBRICS or rubricism (which is what you really meant). That’s another catchword that supposed to make us shut up. It has to do, rather, with the correct worship of God, of which rubrics are a part. Rubrics have a function: they liberate the priest and people from interpolation and subjectivism. They enable us to enter the timeless realm of worship, which is our foretaste of heaven.

    In other words, Mark, they’re equivalent to your “lines and blocking.”

  • Mike

    Thomas R,

    First I don’t know if you are aware of this but typically when we refer to Tradion as regards the Faith we capitalize it. When talking about things like what uou wear to Church that is tradition with a small “t”.

    “the NO is purely a break, then continuity mostly ended and that would mean with it tradition.”

    close enough.

  • Jim Loughran

    New Guy on the Block: Hey! Bub. Got Light?
    Old Guy on the Block: Here

  • Regina

    I wish to welcome Mr. Shea to our wonderful FSSP community in Sacramento, St. Stephen’s the First Martyr. I think he would find some of the most friendly, humorous, and joyful people on the west coast! The comment I frequently hear at our church is how welcomed everyone feels and how much fun we all have together as we cannot bear to go home after three hours of chatting after Mass. What do we chat about? Well, as I am a mom, usually potty training, home schooling trials, health, etc. Perhaps if Mr. Shea spent more time among “traditionalists” he would have a better picture of who they are. Also, I cannot help wondering how many Solemn High Masses Mr. Shea has attended. You have to experience this first hand to see absolutely the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.

  • Dan Hunter

    “Trad Catholics who think that so long as they observe the jots and tittles of the rubrics they can indulge the sins of the flesh are not thinking with the mind of the Church”

    Mr. Shea,
    Do you actually think that traditional Catholics are more concerned with, “Say the Black, do the Red”, which if not executed correctly is in most cases not a grave offense, then they are about mortal sins?
    I have met many many traditional Catholics who at least verbally give obeisance to the moral teachings of the Church on purity.
    I have never met any who believe that making mistakes with the rubrics, unless intentional tampering with the words of consecration, would land a priest in Gehenna.

    Come on.

  • Kevin Symonds

    Mr. Shea, why do you feel the need to go after people with ad hominem attacks? First you insulted my person, then you insulted my intelligence. Now you have taken it upon yourself to insult my teaching (which you have never sat in any of my classes).

    You have no right whatsoever to be doing such, Mr. Shea. Do you realize that a man of your prominence and respect in the Catholic world should not be going around and using the type of language and methods you are using? You are damning your own credibility and by your own hand.

    You talk about “Angry Traditionalists.” Take a gander at the beam in your own eye before pointing out the splinter in someone else’s eye, Mr. Shea.

  • Mark Shea

    “A true Catholic faith evangelizes….” So, in other words, traditional Catholics are not evangelizing, hence, they are not “fully Catholic.”

    Exactamundo. I did say that. But since that does not mean “to be ‘fully Catholic’ one must defer all other activities to evangelization” you are shooting blanks. I think any reader of English without an axe to grind can see that. Being fully Catholic means, in part, recognizing our responsibility to bear witness to Christ (including all the touchy feely love and mercy stuff). It does not mean “defer all activities to evangelization”. In the same way, Traditionalism ought not to mean “defer everything, including charity, humility, and the unity of the Church to the need for liturgical perfectionism”.

  • Kevin Symonds

    On a separate note, and I am not addressing these remarks to any one individual in particular, I would like to comment on traditionalists (so-called) and rubricism.

    There is a point to the rubrics of the Liturgy. It was to my understanding that all ‘traditionalists’ want is for priests to be faithful to what they say. This is what “say the black, do the red” is all about–fidelity and orthodoxy. Giants of orthodoxy such as Fr. John Zuhlsdorf over at What Does the Prayer Really Say are only speaking of one part of fidelity to Holy Mother Church.

    I think many people will be surprised to learn that we are all on the same side. The side of fidelity and love to Holy Mother Church. Each of us has been called to a different aspect.

    Mark Shea and his friends more to the evangelization field with Protestants.

    ‘Traditionalists’ (again, so-called) to reminding people of what good and correct Liturgy is all about.

    and so on, and so forth.

  • Dan Hunter

    Kevin,
    Very well put!True Caritas
    Thank you and God bless you

  • Mark Shea’s Son

    Just wanted to drop by and say that my dad and I get along great and have never once butted heads over my love of the Tridentine Rite, quite the opposite.

    When I first started exploring the extra-ordinary form of the Latin Mass with some friends, I was put off by an attending family that was very hostile towards the Mass of Paul VI and palpably infuriated with “Novus Ordo Catholics”.

    Dad encouraged me to look past those people and the anger they had, and focus on Christ, focus on the Eucharist. Following his example and advice, I went on to grow in devotion to the Tridentine Rite Mass and I attend it when I am able. Most of the time, I am more than happy to come before Christ in a beautiful Paul VI Mass at the parish our family has gone to for the majority of my life.

    I understand the desire to speculate, to understand what people are thinking, to figure out what the big picture is, and I understand that people on all sides of this issue get frustrated.

    I merely wanted to say with great finality that I love my dad, and I love the Mass. Both new and old. Further speculation about these particular matters are henceforth uncalled for, I think.

    Thank you very much, and I’ll be praying for all y’all who have taken part in these debates and arguments!

  • Rick

    Mark, you say you want to leave the interpretation and implementation of the Council up to the clergy. Nice. Catholic Quietism back in style. If you want to check your reason in at the door, go right ahead. (Notice, I am not calling for disobedience!) Here is a quotation from Skojek

  • Mark Shea

    Mark Shea’s Son:

    The check’s in the mail, kid!

    Rick:

    Sooner or later, somebody should formulate some cognate to Godwin’s Law that applies to the claim on “ad hominem”.

    It is not “ad hominem” to state the obvious fact that a lot of Trad, including you, are angry and off-putting.

    An ad hominem fallacy would go something like this:

    “Rick says the Tridentine rite is a beautiful and reverent expression of worship. However, this is false because Rick has a big nose/bad temper/gambling addiction etc.”

    In fact, however, I did not make any argument that Traditionalist piety or the Catholic tradition are false. I simply pointed out that Trads will catch more flies with honey then with vinegar. Which is true.

    Please: learn what “ad hominem” means. Or else just go for the gusto and compare me to Hitler. :)

  • Rick

    Mark,
    My point in responding to your piece was to say that instead of engaging the traditionalist arguments, you attacked certain traditionalists that you had heard of or seen. I think that this was a bit shady. It is a way of dodging the real issue. You even titled the piece “angry traditionalists.” This associates traditionalists with anger and other negative portrayals. Then you contrast arrogant angry traditionalists with yourself who quietly sits in the pew thankful you do not have to (choose to?) fight liturgical battles.

    I could write a similar piece denouncing some conservative Catholic nuts that I have come across as well. That does not destroy the conservative position, nor does it deal honestly with the issues they raise.

    If your concern is really about liturgy, you should formulate a different way to frame the issue. Otherwise your piece is simply a burst of frustration concerning certain extremists. (Why not denounce the liberal extremists who have destroyed much of the Church in this country?)

    I have been around traditionalists for about 15 years. I know a lot of folks who would fit your description (perhaps I do!). I also know a lot of fine traditionalist folks.

    You may have been put off by my comments. But I would like to see conservatives like yourself engage the traditionalists honestly and rationally on the arguments (especially the issues I listed in my first post). This way there is a real liturgical movement/dialogue, not personal attacks on people in different groups. The liturgy, as you well know, is so important because it is the primary public expression of the Faith and plays such a large part in forming and maintaining Catholic Culture. Isn’t it worth a serious debate, rather than trading barbs with curmudgeons like myself?

  • Rick

    Mark,
    You are right that your piece was not an ad hominem. I think that the correct rhetorical term is “poisoning the well.”

  • Mark Shea

    you attacked certain traditionalists that you had heard of or seen.

    No. I attacked *lots* of Traditionalists that I and many others have encountered.

    I think that this was a bit shady. It is a way of dodging the real issue.

    No. It’s a way of focusing on the issue I think important: which is that a significant number of Traditionalists have a genius for alienating people sympathetic to their cause with their angry, bitter and factional behavior.

    You even titled the piece “angry traditionalists.”

    No. IC titled it that. I have no control over the titles editors assign my pieces.

    If your concern is really about liturgy, you should formulate a different way to frame the issue.

    I’m not concerned about liturgy. That’s the point. I’m content with any liturgy Holy Church gives me. The response of too many Traditionalists to that is that I am a fool, a heretic, a second-class Catholic, a conspirator, a Protestant, and all sorts of other things besides a brother Catholic because I am content with the liturgy whether it is Paul VI, Tridentine, Byzantine, Maronite, etc.

  • Richard

    Yes, I was well formed by a devoted group of Dominican Nuns and a young priest, Father Siebenand – God bless them! After I left Catholic school at the beginning of 7th grade, Father S. taught we apostate catlickers a weekly class after public school. I gave him a terrible time with tons of “What if …” questions and special cases. He never shrank from the task and did such a job that he really convinced me for life. The example of the nuns didn’t hurt either, of course.

    I have been able to be a major influence in at least two conversions so far and am still working on at least two more. One was a young man who I found out 50 years later had been on the verge of becoming a Protestant minister. A “work in progress” is an “Evangelical Atheist” – a tortured soul.

    At the same time, I was unaware of the fact that the Catholic Ed. classes that my children were taking were actually driving them away from the church. There was never any room for them in the Catholic schools (NJ) and I didn’t realize how important it really was. I have been trying ever since to right that wrong with only limited success.

    I cannot understand what could possibly have motivated the Bishops to throw over 2000 years of tradition. Fear? Of what? Greed? For what? Sloth? Perhaps a bit. Wrath? At what? Envy? Perhaps more than a bit. Pride? Again, perhaps more than a bit. Lust? For what – Power? Perhaps. They say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Within his diocese the Bishop has absolute power. Still, they had it for centuries without biting the hand that fed them. It just doesn’t compute for me. I must be missing something huge.
    Yes church music was always superb. From Haydn masses through Bach oratorios to lovely little ditties that wouldn’t be out of place in an NO mass.

    God bless you and all the other open minds like you!

  • Mike

    What is really sad is that we were warned about all of this by Popes Pius IX and X. They even wrote encyclicals, which were ignored, condemning all of these things. The liberal theologians at the council and after were able to somehow get everyone, will not everyone, to ignore the warnings and condemnations. Pope Pius XII manage to keep most of them at bay but Popes John XXIII and Paul VI let them have free rein.

  • Bender

    Rick wrote: Nice. Catholic Quietism back in style.

    Interesting phrase there “back in style.” And the inference is that “Catholic Quietism” is a bad thing.

    But if it is now “back,” when was it previously in style? Surely not in these heretical post-Vatican II days, when shouting is all the rage and, so we are told, people blabber on and on non-stop in the Mass.

    Could you possibly be referring to the good old days of yore, before Vatican II, when everyone happily paid, prayed, and obeyed? Is that what you mean?

    Could you possibly be referring to the Low Mass of the TLM??? That is most definitely when “Catholic Quietism” is most strictly imposed. But how can that be? The TLM and the Low Mass are held up to us as sublime and perfect, thus suggesting that the “Catholic Quietism” is a good thing, a very good thing.

    If only the trads were true to their claims of traditionalism.

  • Patrick

    I have been attending the TLM (when available) since the late eighties. Long before that, during my early childhood, it was the only Latin Rite liturgy available. I have yet to experience the widespread anger and bitterness that I keep reading about on these blogs. When I read about it, I find myself asking, “Geez, where do those people go to Mass?”

    I am afraid Mark Shea has succeeded in shifting the focus of the debate from the actual issue (the liturgy) to an ad hominem attack on people who like to attend the traditional liturgy. What Shea is doing is called “ignoring the issue.” We see it all the time in politics. For instance, if you voice your objection to the effort to redefine marriage to include homosexuals, you are called a “homophobe, bigot, hateful, etc.” Shea doesn’t seem to sympathize with the aims of the traditionalist movement, and this is his way of marginalizing its followers.

    Furthermore, the current pope and the previous pope are more conciliatory towards the so called “traditionalists” than Mark Shea (talk about being more Catholic than the pope).

    I will continue to seek out the TLM, and I hope it becomes more widely available. It is the Mass of my youth, it is the Mass my parents and ancestors knew, and I believe it to be a superior expression of the Faith. Also, the Code of Canon states that I have the right and the responsibility to make known my concerns on such matters in a respectful manner.

    I suggest we all pay less attention to bloggers who level attacks at the personalities and emotional state of TLM-goers. It seems to me that there is enough anger and bitterness to go around — including bloggers who level such slanderous attacks.

    P.S.- Ben, thank you for your insight.

    “Here’s the deal: Mark Shea and Deal Hudson and many others are examples of minimalist orthodoxy. As long as a Mass is “valid” it’s OK.”

    Your analysis makes perfect sense. Mark Shea has referred to himself as “half-Protestant” (his words — not mine). Hopefully, Shea will find a way to become fully Catholic and the minimalist orthodoxy you speak of will die-out in a generation or two. The Mass should not be viewed as a lottery ticket that either has the winning numbers or not. Our ancient liturgical traditions developed organically over the centuries as a beautiful expression of the Faith. It is too bad that some view it like a quart of milk that should have an acceptable expiration date.

  • Patrick

    Mark Shea condescendingly wrote:

    “Please: learn what “ad hominem” means.”

    An ad hominem fallacy would go something like this:

    “Rick criticizes the Mass of Paul VI, and Rick speaks out against liturgical abuses. However, this is false because Rick is an angry liturgical fussbudget.”

  • Thomas R

    “As an example of Catholic tradition, the NO is irrelevant and beside-the-point.” Primus

    TR: I think this is overstating matters. I don’t see how something by the Church that makes use of centuries old customs, the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia mentions the “Sign of Peace”, is just totally irrelevant and beside the point. I’m not entirely unsympathetic with Traditionalism, but I think the tendency to get overboard with it is a bit of a turn-off.

    Still I’ll give you credit for accepting a more traditionalized NO rather than it just being abandoned, which seems unreasonable. For example I’d support removing all Protestant hymns from Church, except for weddings and funerals, because I really don’t think it’s necessary for interfaith harmony and doesn’t really fit. I’d favor getting rid of taking Eucharist by hand not out of principle as much as practicality. Taking it by hand seems to increase the ability for abuse like the Myers incident.

    “Palestrina’s Ego Sum Panis Vivus” Kevin

    I bought a Palestrina CD awhile back, but I don’t remember the specifics. The only thing I find easily available for “Ego Sum Panis Vivus” is Byrd’s, but if you’re willing to spend more than I maybe Palestrina’s is available.

  • meg

    Others will know more about this than I, but my understanding is that the N.O. Mass makes use of several traditional customs but puts a new spin on them, the sign of peace being one of these. Way back when, it was done in an EXTREMELY pious fashion. It is currently done in a spirit of “neighborliness” – people are smiling and greeting each other in a friendly, but not pious way. My problem with it is it’s placement in the Mass. It occurs right before the consecration, and has the effect of relaxing the congregation, eliminating prayful concentration and removing the lovely feeling of expectation one should have for the high point of the Mass. Our experience of the Mass is “softened”, and consequently so is our reverence for the Holy Eucharist. I believe if it must be done at all, it should be done at the beginning or the end of Mass.

    I have to run, but just for clarification, I have only been attending the TLM regularly for a year, so it’s all very fresh in my mind. Out of curiousity – have you ever been to one? I feel many people have drawn conclusions about the TLM and traditionalists on blogs such as this without ever actually attending the TLM. It is of the UTMOST imoportance that you attend the TLM several times before you venture an opinion. If there isn’t one near you, grab a friend or relative and make a day trip or even a long weekend of it if you have to. You owe it to yourself. Then you can make an informed decision, one way or the other.

    I think people on both sides of this discussion have good reasons to be upset – how one worships is a very personal thing and on blogs such as this one, we attack each others heartfelt beliefs and ways of life. Ironically, the man who started this whole thing seems to be the angriest of all.

  • Rick

    Bender,
    I do think Quietism — or should I say “mindless legalism” — is a bad thing. You should not assume what I believe by using the convenient label “traditionalist.” I do not advocate “pray, pay, and obey.” I am not an authoritarian, altohugh I do support the authority of the Magisterium. I do believe, however, that the Latin Mass was the bedrock of Catholic culture. Its destruction and prohibition caused massive disruptions in Catholic culture. We are paying the price for that now. The 1950s was not a Golden Age, regardless of what some traditionalists might claim.

    Mark, so you do not care about liturgy. Why don’t you write a column criticizing Pope Benedict for writing The Spirit of the Liturgy and issuing the Motu Proprio? He obviously cares about liturgical forms.

  • Primus

    the differences between the NO and the TLM: you might be interested in Lauren Pristas’ conclusions about some of the work done on the collects that made their way into the NO. She has examined the collects in the 1962 versus those in the 1970 missal. One of the examples she offered was that for the 1st Sunday of Advent and she quoted both and reproduced them in her article. She concludes that the Advent collect in the 1962 missal contains the belief that divine assistance IS the actual presence of Christ. As she writes: “His presence and action toward us is personal, intimate, interior, and effective.” In contrast, that in the 1970 missal does not unambiguously to the presence of Christ Himself. The 1970 collect has a more impersonal, more distant, less intimate “relationship” with God. The 1970 collect makes much more of OUR actions than it does of Christ’s.

    While I don’t wish to characterize this as “pelagian,” a charge which, ironically, has been leveled at pre-Vatican II Catholic understanding of theological anthropology, it would appear that there is much more emphasis on what humanity does than what God does. While human effort and merit is certainly part of Catholic theological anthropology, it seems that the 1962 missal focuses on the intimacy of our encounter with God as well as interiority. Our sins are also featured prominently, whereas in the 1970 missal (at least in the collects Pristas has studied) sin is nearly in abeyance.

    What is interesting is the 1962 focus on the presence of God. It reminds me of Pope Benedict’s statement (in Jesus of Nazareth) that “the Kingdom of God is God.”

    For all the emphasis that “conservative” Catholics (at least some, anyway) place on a “personal relationship” with Jesus, it would appear that they might find more support and solace in the 1962 missal, if they pay attention to the prayers.

    I also wonder what it might have been like if the liturgical renewal had been more thoughtful and deliberate. If, for instance, they had taken 20 years to study the 1962 missal, make some judicious emendations, and concentrate on God, rather than on putting prayers into language “more relevant for modern people.” I also wonder if the conversion rate from the Protestant world would have been as “high” (and that’s a relative term, I admit) had there not been a new Mass. It’s ironic that when so many Protestant converts emphasis a “personal relationship” with Jesus nearly to the extent of relativizing the Church (which is Jesus’ creation for us), that they also champion (or don’t “care” about) the NO, which goes directly against what it is they say they want.

  • Jason

    Comments like this:

    “I am afraid Mark Shea has succeeded in shifting the focus of the debate from the actual issue (the liturgy) to an ad hominem attack on people who like to attend the traditional liturgy.”

    Uh, I hate to point this out, but it was Mark Shea who started this thread, and it’s always been about the people, not the liturgy itself. It is the hypersensitive, sterotypical Traditionalists who are repeatedly trying to shift the focus.

    It’s a fair question to ask whether there’s something about the TLM that engenders the sort of problems Mark points to, but he didn’t even raise that.

    This topic is, and always has been about the people and their all-too-common negative tendancies. Stop acting like Mark Shea needs to e a liturgist to make this observation!

  • Mike

    Jason,

    “It’s a fair question to ask whether there’s something about the TLM that engenders the sort of problems Mark points to, but he didn’t even raise that.”

    It may be a fair question but then you would have to ask why, if it is the Mass, did the problem not exist for the previous 2000 yrs. Since the problem only existed after the NOM was introduced I would guess the treatment of the TLM and it’s adherants by those who adhere to the NOM is the problem.

  • Peregrinus

    I have encountered those “Angry Traditionalists” both on-line and at my parish. They love to call the OF Mass “Protestant/Invalid” and threaten those who do not agree with them.

    Now saying that, I have nothing against the EF Mass although I prefer the simpler Low Mass to the High Mass (the pastor of my parish tends to overdo the High Mass and turn it into a “three ring circus”. In fact, have sent a letter to the pastor of my parish to see if we can have a Low EF Mass once a month on Saturday Evening. We already have a High EF Mass on Sunday and both a High and Low EF Mass daily.

    I have said in other places, I have nothing against the EF Mass, it is the people associated with it that I prefer to not associate with.

  • Mike

    Rick,

    “The 1950s was not a Golden Age, regardless of what some traditionalists might claim.”

    I don’t know what your reference is but I grew up during this period and it seemed and still seems pretty golden to me. We had three Priest in our Parish and a school full of Nuns in full habits. There was no bickering with a DRE in a witch’s hat about how many people could sit with their child while makng there First Communion. The Masses were beautifully done and very spirtually uplifting. The Parishoners took care of one another. No arguing about how old you had to be to make your Comfirmation. Confessions with long lines every Saturaday afternoon. Altar societies, sewing circles and Holy Name Societies were in every Parish. If you couldn’t afford it you still went to Catholic school. Nobody telling you you couldn’t get your baby Baptized unless youy attended a class taught by someone who doesn’t even no the purpose of the Sacrament. No DRE telling you The Baltimore Catechism was full of errors. I could go on and on but what’s would be the point these things don’t seem to be the focus in todays Church.

  • Mike

    “They love to call the OF Mass “Protestant/Invalid” and threaten those who do not agree with them.”

    I highly doubt that they would use the term “invalid”. If they believed that they wouldn’t be going to any Mass at a NO Church.
    You see they might be receiving a Host Consecrated at an “invalid Mass” and they would not do that, so I think you may be exaggerating a bit.

    Typically only Sede’s believ that the NOM is invalid

  • Jason

    Mike wrote: Jason,

    “It’s a fair question to ask whether there’s something about the TLM that engenders the sort of problems Mark points to, but he didn’t even raise that.”

    It may be a fair question but then you would have to ask why, if it is the Mass, did the problem not exist for the previous 2000 yrs. Since the problem only existed after the NOM was introduced I would guess the treatment of the TLM and it’s adherants by those who adhere to the NOM is the problem.

    OK, a fair point, Mike. Two responses:

    1) I mentioned that only to point out a possible nexus between wat Mark actually posted on (the people), and what many critics are saying he posted on (the liturgy itself) – but that he didn’t even raise that issue. This makes the accusations against him even more unfounded.

    2) If we’re going to say that the problem only existed after the NOM was introduced, then perhaps it IS their treatment. But it’s also their choice of reaction, and to continue to react thus.

    I can say this because I myself was one of them, and not even a TLM traditionalist! I was a cradle Catholic, raised in the 70s on Long Island, and my knowledge of Jesus had everything to do with squishy love and felt banners and nothing to do with Truth. When I went to college (at Franciscan University, btw), I was exposed to truth for the first time and it knocked my socks off. I became the Uber-Catholic: resentful of my lost patrimony and determined to be the standard-bearer for the JPII generation, armed with a few classes in theology and philosophy, leading the Church in America back to holiness and truth. I was, for 5-8 yers, somewhat of an insufferable prig: form with insufficient substance, zeal without wisdom, ready to argue my points with anyone and all-too-ready to label my “opponents” as heterodox, heretics or heathens. Or maybe just liberals.

    All this without any exposure to the TLM itself, mind you. But I see many similar traits in some of the Trads I have met and in a number of them posting here.

    I do NOT think “the problem” is in the TLM itself, not necessarily in the treatment traditionalists have received over the years (because I see it more frequently in the newcomers as in the long-suffering). Perhaps it has more to do with being in the “convert” stage, having just discovered for ourselves a treasure that everyone should have been sharing in but we all had been denied for deceades? And there’s a resentment that we all have to work through. Maybe it’s a question of maturity and most of us grow out of it? I don’t know, but I don’t blame the TLM, and don’t want to give you the impression that I do.

  • Patrick

    Jason wrote:

    “Uh, I hate to point this out, but it was Mark Shea who started this thread, and it’s always been about the people, not the liturgy itself. It is the hypersensitive, sterotypical Traditionalists who are repeatedly trying to shift the focus.”

    Uh, I hate to point this out, but Mark Shea started his essay by raising the issue of liturgical abuse. His first line asks, “Ever attended a clown Mass?” Usually, a well written essay will state a premise in the first paragraph. But, obviously, that is not true in this instance.

    Throughout his essay, Mark Shea is dismissive of traditionalist goals and concerns. For instance, the definition of a fussbudget is, “a person who fusses over trifles.” He implies that traditionalists fuss over liturgical trifles. But, instead of proving those claims, which he has raised, he accuses traditionalists of being angry kooks. He uses a few anecdotal stories as proof.

    Jason wrote:

    “It’s a fair question to ask whether there’s something about the TLM that engenders the sort of problems Mark points to, but he didn’t even raise that.”

    That is a ridiculous statement. You might as well say, “It’s a fair question to ask whether people walked around angry and bitter for the 1500 years prior to the introduction of the New Mass.”

    Jason wrote:

    “This topic is, and always has been about the people and their all-too-common negative tendancies. Stop acting like Mark Shea needs to e a liturgist to make this observation!”

    The topic seems to be: “Let’s smear all traditionalists as angry nuts because I don’t like them or what they stand for, and it’s too much trouble to discuss the real cause our differences — the liturgy.” It’s akin to the discussions about so called “gay marriage” where the proponents of gay marriage say things like, “The topic is your homophobia and hate!”

    And, don’t worry, I don’t expect Mark Shea to become a liturgist. We have enough problems.

  • Bender

    Mike wrote: “The 1950s was not a Golden Age, regardless of what some traditionalists might claim.”

    I don’t know what your reference is but I grew up during this period and it seemed and still seems pretty golden to me.

    It should be noted that the whole idea of liturgical reform, i.e. revising the Mass, was launched by His Holiness Pius X, not by loony modernists bent on destroying the Mass. The concept of “active participation” of the people was not first advanced by the evil Second Vatican Council, but by Pope Saint Pius X.

    A major reason such reforms of the liturgy were necessary, he wrote in Tra le sollecitudini (1903), was “so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.”

    Stated another way, long before Vatican II, it was St. Pius X himself who said that abuses and deficiencies had found their way into the Mass, that is, the very same Traditional Latin Mass that some are upholding as perfection itself. And one of the deficiences that needed correcting was that the faithful were not taking as active a part as they should have been, as they had in ancient times. Other deficiencies noted, as evidenced by the need to remind priests about the rules, was the alteration or inversion of words, the presence of musical bands at Mass, and allowing the liturgy to be secondary to the performance of music, not to mention the abuse of the music itself being bad.

    Wow! Had St. Pius entered a time machine and gone forward in time to attend a contemporary Mass in 1970 or 1980 or 1990 or 2008? No, although these things all describe abuses solely attributed to the derisively called “Novus Ordo” Mass, he was describing the Mass prior to 1903, i.e. the Traditional Latin Mass — priests not following the rubrics, lousy music, the Mass descending into little more than musical entertainment, and the people sitting there in mere passive observance of what was happening.

    This mythical perfect TLM that has been promoted is exactly that — a myth. There were problems too with the “old Mass.” Not in the Mass itself, of course, but in the offering and celebration of the Mass. Abolishing the current Ordinary Form, the Missal of 1970 (as revised), would not solve all the problems because it did not cause all the problems. The problems were in place long before Blessed Pope John called the Council into session.

  • Mike

    I pretty much agree with your post. Some of the weirdest people(even weirder than NO people) I have ever met run in Trad circles but for every one of those their are lots of young families with 5 or 6 kids that are nothing like that.

    Sometimes it is very hard to keep cool when dealing with ignorant people especially when it is dealing with something as dear as our Faith. Most don’t want to hear the truth because they are stuck in the “Jesus had everything to do with squishy love and felt banners” mind set. They tend to say dumb things about the Faith and or the Mass and it has a tendency to set people off.

  • Peregrinus

    Mike wrote: I highly doubt that they would use the term “invalid”. If they believed that they wouldn’t be going to any Mass at a NO Church. You see they might be receiving a Host Consecrated at an “invalid Mass” and they would not do that, so I think you may be exaggerating a bit.

    The “invalid” comments came from an SSPXer and from members of a “well known Catholic forum”. The “Protestant” (as well as inferior) comment came from a fellow parish member (who I walked away from before I opened up on him.

  • Mike

    Boy you sure twisted what was said in this motu proprio “Tra le sollecitudini (“among the concerns”)” to suit your argument. Ir infact is talking about the same problems that exit in todays NOM.

    Try this excerpt:

    “Among the concerns of the pastoral office, not only of this Supreme Chair… but of every local Church, a leading one is without question that of maintaining and promoting the decorum of the House of God in which the august mysteries of religion are celebrated, and where the Christian people assemble to receive the grace of the Sacraments, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, to adore the most august Sacrament of the Lord’s Body and to unite in the common prayer of the Church in the public and solemn liturgical offices. Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God…”

    Don’t be so selective next time and get you supposed quotes in context.

  • MIke

    “The “invalid” comments came from an SSPXer and from members of a “well known Catholic forum”. The “Protestant” (as well as inferior) comment came from a fellow parish member (who I walked away from before I opened up on him.”

    That was not what you stated previously.

    “I have encountered those “Angry Traditionalists” both on-line and at my parish.”

    “SSPXer” if he were a true SSPXx follower would not say that as the SSPX holds the the NOM to be valid provided proper matter, form and intention are present.

    Maybe he meant Protestant look alike which could be true as it is base more on Cramner’s “Mass” than the TLM.
    Inferior is a true statement as even the Pope has said this.

  • Mark Shea

    Patrick:

    You really should step outside the Bunker and not get *all* you information from the like of Tom Herron. Then you wouldn’t write stupid stuff like, “Mark Shea has referred to himself as “half-Protestant” (his words — not mine).”

    Here’s the original post to which you allude (from the June 2006 archives of my blog:
    [blockquote]Greetings from Michigan!

    I’m blogging briefly from the rectory of St. Stanislaus parish before we go to lunch in Kalamazoo and I meet (among others) Fr. Robert Sirico (thereby confirming the darkest suspicions of Thomas Herron and other Culture Warriors. After our Scheming Neocon Catholic Lunch we will synchronize watches, split up, and do our bit to fatten ourselves on the Da Vinci Code, subvert the Church with Zionist sympathies, and act the Court Prophet for the glories of George Dubya Bush, Democratic Capitalism, and the American Way. All in a day’s work for a simple-minded half-Protestant convert who does not fully grasp the mind of the Church.[/blockquote]

    Now, most readers of English can tell I am speaking tongue in cheek, not confessing my contempt for some of the Church’s teaching. However, you neglected to mention any of this context, just before you whined that I was “smearing” all Traditionalists (a documentably false claim).

    Thanks, yet again, for proving my point, dude.

  • Patrick

    Mark Shea wrote:

    “You really should step outside the Bunker and not get *all* you information from the like of Tom Herron.”

    I have never before heard of Tom Herron. Neither have I seen that quote before today. Months ago, you wrote an “piece” similar to the one above.

    I read that earlier piece and a few others on your blog. In one of those pieces, you made a statement such as, “…in my half Protestant, Evangelical way.” Perhaps, your statement was a facetious reference to your earlier dispute with that Herron fellow. But, it wasn’t clear from the context of the paragraph. Most readers of the English language find context and meaning easier to grasp when the piece is well written.

    As for whining, I suppose anyone who dares to disagree with you is a “whiner.” This, despite the fact that you have never heard the sound of your opponent’s voice. But, then, it is much easier to take cheap shots than to engage in substantive debate on the issues.

  • Bender

    Mike, if everything was hunky-dory, why did St. Pius X feel it necessary to issue the motu proprio in the first place??

    The mere fact that he had to issue a document to curb abuses is pretty strong evidence that there were abuses in the Traditional Latin Mass.

  • Mark Shea

    In one of those pieces, you made a statement such as, “…in my half Protestant, Evangelical way.”

    Uh huh. Well, I can’t find any such article anywhere via Google. The only thing I know of is that quip on my blog (which was also misused by Tom Herron of Culture Wars ilk). So you either saw it on my blog or else in circles that pay heed to Herron. And I’m afraid I can’t help thinking that if you had been reading to understand instead of to look for some sort of damning ammo, you’d have figured out my rather obvious tongue in cheek point. But instead, like Kevin, you had to take a facetious quote and cite it as though it were sworn testimony cuz you thought it was *juicy*.

    But do continue making my argument for me.

  • Mike

    Bender,

    If you had read the doc. you would have seen it was to do with Gregorian chant. In fact it was more like Jubilatia Deo. Nothing evem similiar to what is going on with the NOM. You were fishing or listening to someone elses misinformation. The document is very long or I would post it here so you could read it.

    You shouldn’t try things you might get called on.

  • Jim Loughran

    To Mark: don’t mix your colors.

    To the Sincere: When a gadfly bites give thanks for the opportunity to run. Adios.

  • Bender

    Mike, don’t be a jerk.

    I did read it. ALL of it.

    Don’t continue to play this we-trads-know-more-than-you childish game.

  • Mike

    Bender,

    I almost forgot to mention that Pope Pius X was the one who wrote Pascendi condemning the modernisn which was going on in the Church at the time. The actual abuses were what the modernist were attempting to do to the TLM not that the TLM had abuses in it. A lot of these abuses also happened after VII.

  • Mike

    Bender,

    “Don’t continue to play this we-trads-know-more-than-you childish game.”

    I’m not the one trying play a game and I’m not a jerk. I have been one of the few on here who has not called anyone names.

    Why are you trying to prove something from a doc that has nothing to do with what you are trying to prove.

  • Patrick

    Mr. Shea,

    Who the heck is Kevin?

    I can’t help you make your argument, because I don’t think you have an argument. What comes across in your article is that you don’t like traditionalists and think they are mean. Oops, I am sorry. I know you didn’t mean to imply ALL traditionalists are that way. Just “a great many” and “lots.” Or, to put it another way, enough traditionalists to form an “outsider’s principle experience of traditionalism.” I guess that leaves out a few traditionalists.

    The issue you raised about traditionalists (sour disposition) deserves better treatment than it has received here. Maybe someone will write a decent article on the subject. It would be nice if he were to make clear his propositions from the start rather than engaging in a stream consciousness writing process. It might contain the following points:

    1) There is a movement or subculture within the Church known as “traditionalism” and its adherents are known as “traditionalists.”

    2) It is not my intention here to agree or disagree with their goals and beliefs. I will not ridicule them, nor will I advance their cause.

    3) It is my contention that traditionalists have a tendency toward anger and bitterness, that this anger and bitterness is misplaced, and that it is not a good thing for the Church as a whole or for the traditionalist movement.

    The author could then go on to offer his brief definition of “traditionalism” and tell us who he thinks qualifies as a “traditionalist.” That would avoid a lot of confusion.

    The author could then go on to make his case that traditionalists have a strong tendency toward falling prey to negative emotions. The argument should be based on more than anecdotal evidence. He might also offer some reasons why he thinks this is so. He should also explain how it does harm.

    Such an article could be written in a way that does not offend people. But, I guess that wouldn’t be any fun. It would not garner as much attention.

    I look forward to someday reading such an article. Who knows, I might actually agree with it.

  • kmk

    Kelly Clark:

    I DID see that sign at the March in January, I can provide numerous witnesses, including two other adults and an adult seminarian, and there are all SORTS of signs which have nothing to do with saving babies at the March for Life.

    In fact, his attitude toward me was so hostile that a couple of the homeschooled teens (I am a homeschool mom) were asking me worriedly if it was OK that they are receiving the Eucharist by hand — and these are very devout teens.

    I think that pushing that kind of message on teens especially begs an explanation or a charitable challenge, and is precisely the kind of “ax grinding” that is ripping us all apart. Unity; Christ desires unity.

    If you’d like to get in touch with me, I will email Mark directly with my information. Credible enough? :)

    KMK
    near Annapolis, Maryland

  • Miki Tracy

    Mark, my brother, you know I love you…but….

    Speaking as a diehard Conservative Traditionalist, I have to say that the issue, here, is not so much elitist anger but fear. Fear of the wholesale loss of morals and manners. Fear of the Protestantization of the Sacred Liturgy….Fear of GOD, as trite as that sounds.

    What’s sad, however, is that in this climate of fear, there is so little recognition of Christ in the Stranger, or in the friend.

    I’ve sat next to you during Mass, Mark. I wear a modest veil and gather myself, you wear a beaming countenance of playful joy that strains to be contained. I kneel during the Pater, you stand with arms outstretched towards the Heavens. You receive in the hand, I would never even dare to contemplate such a thing. And, yet, I think, I would probably sit next to you during a Clown Mass, too, as distasteful and embarrassing as it might be, for the sake of Christ on the Altar….but I can’t promise that doing so wouldn’t make me weep bitterly.

    I think what angers Traddies the most is that dark sense that there are just some people in the world who insist on treating this life–and the Author of it–like a child’s game. Don’t take it seriously. Don’t sweat the details. Don’t give your best. Just be who your are, as slovenly as you please, and Jesus will just have to consider Himself lucky you even bothered.

    It doesn’t make me angry. It just breaks my heart.

    Isaiah 5:20, 24

    Good ommentary, though….

    In His Grace, miki

  • Kelly Clark

    Dear KMK,

    So you saw a sign. A stupid sign. Or signs. If you’re trying to tell me there are kooks who hang out at pro-life events, save your breath. I’ve seen them too. Now, tell me that the only protesters you saw in DC were “angry traditionalists” and you might have a point. But you didn’t and so therefore you don’t. Or rather, Mark (whom I admire, by the way, and who *has* my information, and incidentally if you wanna get in touch with *me* all you have to do is click on the little blue ball next to my post and bingo you’re at my blog via which you can write me) doesn’t.

    Hells bells, woman, I’ve seen so-called John Birchers at pro-life events. I’ve seen so-called KKK folks at pro-life events. Not to wander too far off topic, but ya know, if you can’t take the heat, etc., etc.

    Quote KMK, near Annapolis, MD:

    “In fact, his attitude toward me was so hostile that a couple of the homeschooled teens (I am a homeschool mom) were asking me worriedly if it was OK that they are receiving the Eucharist by hand — and these are very devout teens.”

    I’m glad you’re a home schooling mom.

    I’m glad they’re devout teens.

    I’m sorry they were confronted by a hostile guy (whom you take, and Mark, too, presumably, as gospel to be a “trad” when in fact he may have been someone in need of prayer and compassion…ever consider that?)

    That said, I hope your devout teens *do* consider receiving on the tongue. I say this without hostility. God works in mysterious ways! :-)

    Quoting KMK, near Annapolis, MD:

    “If you’d like to get in touch with me, I will email Mark directly with my information. Credible enough? :)”

    Come on. My information is right out here. If you can’t figure out the little blue button (for which I wouldn’t blame you…I can’t figure out how to quote anybody), my name is Kelly Clark, I live in Boston, my blog is called “The Lady in the Pew” and my email address is KClark@mindspring.com

    Sheesh!

  • Joe H

    If you can’t find a TLM in your community…

    You might be able to find an Eastern rite. My family (half of it anyway) for instance was originally Maronite, coming from Lebanon. But there were no Maronite churches where they settled, so they became “Romanized” over the generations.

    It’s been a long time since I attended Maronite Mass, and I don’t know how the typical traditionalist feels about the Eastern rites, but it may be worth looking into if there is an Eastern church anywhere nearby.

    If I couldn’t find a TLM, it would be my next choice.

  • Roseanna Hatke

    Although it seems that most folks have not been to a clown Mass (where the priest is dressed as a clown AND acts like one), I have. 1972 , Indiana. I was teaching in a Catholic school and the clown Mass took place on a week-day, late afternoon Mass. I’ve never forgotten it and I’ll bet nobody else who was there has forgotten it either. In fairness, the priest who said the Mass is no longer a priest and I think is in a mental health institution somewhere.

    R.

  • Dal

    I see here all of you are very passionate about the Holy Mass, so I offer you an invitation.

    Google search for ” Dal Quick Topic” to find out what will become of the Mass and our Faith. (The first link of the search result)

    Thanks,

    Dal

  • Frank

    Mr Shea

    Your disdain for Traditionalists and your banning and deleting of any post that does not agree with your train of warped money grubbing thinking is sickening

    Are you in this for the money? Do you really care about the faithful or just trying to make a buck asking so lovingly for donations on your website even “credit cards accepted” if I recall on your blog

    Why would anyone who is a true Catholic have disdain for those who actually worship as Catholics have done for centuries and have not gone along with the “changes”?

    It is the church that has decided to Change-even though the Pope was supposed to safeguard sacred tradition as Vatican I so clearly defines, yet those who are Traditionalists are ridiculed?

    I am so sick of hippie guitar folk masses, high pitched voice priests (gay??) asking us to hold hands while we sing the “Our Father” I cant stand the new mass anymore

    Please God, provide us with some reverence and some clergy that actually care about saving souls!

  • Joe

    Francesca wrote: I don’t think the article is for or against the EF. It is a reminder to Effers that, as Paul said, if I’ve got everything else and I do not have love, I’ve got nothing (or words to that effect).

    Uh, Francesca, the correct translation was not “love” but “charity”. This single error, of changing “charity” to “love” in recent translations dramatically changes the meaning and obligation….

    Also, St. Paul, not “Paul”, was speaking to one possessing “gifts”. He was speaking to man’s PRIDE and desire to be great, have special gifts. He was telling us to seek first the fruit of God’s Love within us, Charity. He was NOT speaking of our love.

    By the way, you could at least spend a moment searching one of the many online bibles to at least quote it correctly, even if you did chose the “love” translation…. At least then you’d have a chance to brush up on your bible knowledge…

    1 Corinthians 13:2
    Charity is to be preferred before all gifts.

    1 If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
    2 And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
    3 And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
    4 Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up;
    5 Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil;

  • Joe

    Where does one begin….

    You end up drawing a comparison between Traditionalists and Islam?

    Ive seen your Catholic Exchange site, it’s filled with lots of opinions from well intentioned but ignorant people. Too often the “answers” show a deep ignorance and lack of fidelity to Catholic teaching and Faith.

    Your comments, like your other site, demonstrates a shallowness of theology usually found in Protestant thesis and an ignorance of both the concerns of “Traditionalists” and of what is the Mass.

    In short you sound like a child.

  • Patrick

    If anyone is interested in learning about the so called “traditionalists” please visit unavoce.org. I have not read through everything on the site, but I doubt that there is any mention of clown Masses on the site. Una Voce is a large, well-established organization dedicated to preserving the traditional liturgy.

  • John

    Joe

    I could not have said it better, for some reason the so called catholic “voices” are ex Protestants in Mark Shea, Jimmy Akin and the worst in Scott Hahn who has hi jacked EWTN

    I am all for converts-but they are un educated in our Catholic upbringing and for some reason seem to like to publish books and run blogs that request donations, sort of like the Protestants Preachers who have swindled millions and have gone to jail!

    Pharises possibly?

    Pray for a full restoration of Catholic teaching, tradition and morality, Pope St Pius X pray for us

  • AAR

    I realize that the article and comments are primarily about the liturgy practices, but as I read this article I found myself nodding along, because I’m so frustrated that it feels sometimes like the Catholic church is more concerned about keeping people away from the Lord than bringing them to him, and back to him, again and again if needed.

    I have a couple of points that are hard to make without context.

    I recently returned, yet again, to the Catholic church. I left the first time because there are some fundamental beliefs in the church that I struggle with in my heart and soul. I had a series of personal situations that drove me far away from Jesus for a very long time. But always in my heart I heard him calling me back.

    So, I returned for a short period, when my eldest was baptised, in the Catholic church, over 9 years ago. But this fizzled after constantly encountering the stodgy type of traditionalists and complaints about people not ‘doing it right’. Once again, the Catholic environment kept me from getting closer to Jesus and learning his grace through the community of church.

    So, I tried many other types of churches. Those religions that should have fit, at least ‘on paper,’ didn’t feel right in person. Those that were just completely open felt too ungrounded. I realized that all churches and religions have some differences from my views and comforts in worship, and that if I was going to be accepting diversity in a church it may as well be the one I grew up in and feel comfort in and that my mother and grandmother still practice.

    So then my now two children were limited in learning more about the Lord while I ‘shopped’ for churches. I’ve been excited to get them involved in a church community. A family tragedy earlier this year made me decide to take the plunge in returning to the Catholic church – the one I mostly understood and felt familiar with.

    So I tried, in the new church, to arrange to have my youngest baptised as soon as possible. In a short ‘interview’ with the person in charge of the program learned that not only was I just returning to the church but hadn’t been married in the Catholic church (they wouldn’t marry us because my sweet 11 month son was born out of wedlock – another door to Jesus shut on me by the Catholic church) and my husband is pretty much an athiest now. After that, I didn’t get a single return follow up phone call or e-mail, and arriving at the office, I was told she had ‘just stepped out’. At this point I’m ready to leave the Catholic church again, because my DAUGHTER was being kept away from Jesus and the Catholic church. She is 5!

    But, after praying on it, and thinking, I sought out a different Catholic church. I was so glad to find my new home. This church is far more welcoming and is genuinely full of grace; I feel it from the moment I step out of my car to enter Mass, and on through the week after Mass. They welcomed my children and me into the church without hesitation. *This* is how the church needs to be – no matter what. This is what would bring other ex-Catholics back and bring in new believers. This will bring more people to the Lord’s table.

    Whatever form the liturgy takes, it should do just that – give you the grace to live with peace and to spread the grace and set a great example for other Christians and non-believers.

    One of the few comments I read talked about waiting for reform. I pray each day that whatever reform takes place it is in the direction of inviting more people to join us, to find and learn grace and to be welcome and comfortable so that we can take that to the world.

    I think it is interesting we call it ‘practicing’ religion, because, invariably, none of us get it completely right.

    God Bless.

  • Richard

    About how different each Catholic church is from all the others – especially when they are in different diocese. I don’t think what you observed has anything to do with the rituals that we have been fighting so heatedly over here for going on to 400 posts. It’s the differences in groups of people and clergy.

    I have moved around a moderate amount and found them always different. About 54 years ago I found myself on the western fringe of Newark, NJ and exploring for different churches. I found one closer in to the center of the town, but left after 2 or 3 Sundays. That church had (in the clergy anyway) an obsession with blood. All they could talk about in the homilies was the dripping, oozing blood (holy, of course) but always dripping, running and oozing. I never found another so far out, thank God. But they all are quite different.

    I believe one of the stated goals in the ill fated church “renewal” of the ’60′s was just to make it more receptive. In many ways, of course, it had the opposite effect. Far more good than bad went down the drain and the people remained the people – some good and welcoming, some the opposite. With the teaching orders went continuity. And …

    The only answer I can see to problems like yours is “Seek and ye shall find”. Sometimes the seeking is long and hard. But keep listening to that inner voice. It isn’t wrong.

  • Jack

    Richard and AAR

    Please check your catechism

    The church is to be One in teaching or she defects

    Not rites but teaching

    THIS is the problem

  • Patrick

    AAR,

    I am glad you returned to the Church. I hope that other people who find themselves in your situation will always find a welcoming reception (back into the Church).

    However, please keep in mind that we must respect the Church’s teachings and canon law along with your feelings and comfort. The most difficult path is to find the middle ground where the Church’s teachings and standards are maintained while at the same time making it as painless as possible on the individual.

    The easy way is to go to the extreme in either direction — which is too often the case.

  • Richard

    As long as there are people involved, there will be differences between them. Maybe in Heaven we will all speak with one voice, but I doubt it – God would get so bored.

    I learned about the differences between people as a young lad. I used to spend summers with my parents up in the Boundary Waters Wilderness of Northern MN – where many if not most of the “natives” were Catholic. Naturally, since it took a full day of portaging back and forth, folks seldom went to church on Sundays.

    Once when I mentioned missing mass in a confession in the biggest city church down south, the priest -an elderly fellow – refused me absolution if I would not swear to never go back there again. I left the confessional literally seeing stars in front of my eyes I was so shocked.

    After recovering myself a bit in a pew I went to another younger priest and told him the story. No sweat; five Our Fathers and five Hail Marys or similar onerous punishment. So much for una voce dicentise. If I have Faith so as to move mountains and have not Charity …

  • Hugh

    First of all, I attend a Novus Ordo Mass. Apart from instances where a diva in the choir goes into American Idol mode, as a Novus Ordo Mass goes it is respectful. But, as for a “hermeneutic of discontinuity”, I draw attention to the following:

    1/ we all know that communion of the hand was introduced under pressure with some deception, with prelates in North America saying we are all doing it anyway. I know of the patristic texts paraded to support this, but it falls flat. “Make a cradle of your hands” by Chrystostom–the word for hands can be taken to mean the entire fore-arm, and indeed, people in the eastern churches fold their hands on their chest as if cradling a baby, but do not receive in their hands. If it was an archaic practice, why do not the eastern churches today receive in the hand? It is hard to imagine that they all would have stopped doing something they all did. There would have been a general council, riots in the street, something that made a splash felt to this day. Also, under Church Law, communion on the tongue is the universal way, communion on the hand is something allowed here and there by special permission, and communion on the tongue cannot be refused. (De facto, in my area, there were directives not to give communion on the tongue during the SARS outbreak, but no such directive on the shaking of the hands). So, this being the actual juridical Novus Ordo state of affairs, where are the patens?

    2/ The Novus Ordo, I suppose, cannot be strictly identified with every translation of the liturgy into English, but the translations are deliberately defective. The Gospel of last Sunday was in Greek, and the Greek mentions the soul, but this was bowdlerized out of the text in favor of “life” (probably to satisfy those who won’t accept a word like “soul” that wasn’t part of the Hebrew vocabulary). Likewise, the translations collect prayers are bowdlerized, the boot being given to “soul”, “angel”, and many other non-positivistic realities. Is not a deliberate mistranslation (I cannot imagine they could find so many translators of Latin who were simply incompetent) a discontinuity of hermeneutic (all the more, since hermenuetic means translation)?
    Once an entire congregation rioted when Jerome’s new vulgate was read. Was it a castor bean, or a gourd? The castorians versus the gourdists duked it out. At least they cared.

    The very end of the bible addresses this sort of thing, the end of the Apocalypse, a severe warning to those who would add or subtract from Sacred Scripture.

  • Richard

    It used to be that communion ONLY involved wafers. Things began to change when communion in both species was demanded. It has never worked satisfactorily in my estimation.

    Most receive it simply by touching the sides of the chalice with their hands. Respectful, but not communion. Some dip the wafer into the chalice – a practice vilified by our pastor with an ominous sounding latin name. When I tried to actually drink from the chalice, there was a moment when both server and I feared the whole Chalice was going to fall on the floor. Not worth the risk, I opined to the Pastor who has not renewed his appeal. If we were to abandon communion in the hand, would we attempt to use both species? More practical than in the hand, but worth the risk?

    In over half a century I have only seen a Host dropped once (that was before communion in the hand). A dropped chalice would be a much more serious (and messy) calamity.

  • Joe

    I have to congratulate Mark and his courage to post this in what some might consider “angry trad” territory. The Culture of Complaint has overtaken many otherwise prayerful and well-intentioned Catholics. Why else would one of their gurus, Father John Zuhlsdorf, feel the need to post a caution with last year’s motu proprio to maintain a spirit of good charity?

    The continuing reform of the Mass and nudge to get parishes better music and preaching will rely on the positive efforts of people who are more focused on rolling up their sleeves and working in the trenches, rather than looking to see what nonsense may or may not be happening in the next ditch.

    The Catholic Church was NOT established to “reform”, it was established to PROTECT the FAITH.

    You may not think or realize such, but you are a PROTESTANT. Catholics “roll up their sleeves and work in the trenches” in their works of Charity. NOT in changing the Mass.

  • Joe

    Tagging me as tagging all Trads is even sadder, particularly since I did nothing of the kind.

    Have you really not a word to say about all the abusive, arrogant stuff that has been spoken by the significant minority of Trads in this very thread? Must it all fall on Steve Skojec’s shoulders to address this sort of thing?

    Very sad.

    Mark, what is very sad are your attitudes and intelligence regarding the Mass and Tradition. You seem to be a Catholic in name only. As for your “must if all fall on Steve Skojec’s shoulders to address this sort of thing?”, well maybe that’s telling you and Steve something.

    Riddle me this genius. If Tradition and the Mass are part of REVELATION, then how can they be changed or discarded? How can a Pope make the Mass that was offered for centuries a punishable “crime” to offer? He cant. The Pope who did, who shall go un-named, was in error. There’s no way something can be at once valid and invalid; one must be wrong.

    Also, you fail to realize that Vatican II was a PASTORAL council, not a DOCTRINAL or DOGMATIC council. As such it did not change ANY Catholic teaching, doctrine or dogma. Now, IF you truly believe the Mass is a Sacrificial Offering, the bloodless Sacrifice of Calvary offered again, how can you NOT understand the anger of those who seek to defend that moment, THE moment, of all time?

    Or is the Mass nothing more than a Christian version of Cumbia to you?

    Oh yes, you seem to be a bit of a …. wimp. “Abusive” language…. give me a break. Early Christians were fed to lions, you sound and write like an NPR ninny.

  • Joe

    Well said, Mark, and right on target. Poor Richard’s “et tu, Brute?” attempt to belittle your point makes it all the more pointed.

    Patrick, I know of you. And I think you’ve done good Christian, even Catholic, things in your attempt to live as Our Lord commanded us.

    However, the absence of any clarity or substance in your post, directed toward belittling a priest, in defense of Mark S, says all I need to know of what’s in your mind.

    I think your heart is good. I think the formation of your theology, your understanding of Catholicism, is mush. However, I believe your mush to merely be the result of a formation that failed you.

    That aside. I think you are afraid to post something of “substance” lest your ignorance be shown.

    Since Vatican II there’s been a great decline in understanding and teaching of the Catholic Faith. And a great increase in ignorance of what is the Catholic Faith.

    et tu, Patrick.

  • John Harper

    I have been to a clown Mass. The participants didn’t intend it to be such. But a clown mass it was.

    One does not need be a “Traditionalist” to expect reverence during Holy Mass. One only needs to acknowledge where one is. The Alter is not a stage where folks are free to act as they wish. Conformity is what makes us Roman Catholics. The Church is not ours to change. The Church is ours to join. The Church defines itself. It is not our position to redefine The Church. Or to redefine the Mass, for that matter.

    It sounds to me you want to mold The Church to fit your own agenda. Christ did not appoint you to do that. He appointed Peter. Why don’t you just accept your role in The Church and let Peter’s successors perform their duties?

  • Eileen

    Making such sweeping generalizations about Traditionalists being bitter and holier than thou is pretty much equal to the thing you accuse them of doing. You say that they lump all Catholics who go to the Ordinary Form together as liturgical abusers and here you are lumping all Catholics who go to the Extraordinary Form together as angry and uncharitable. Interesting.

  • Bono95

    Dear Mr. Shea,
    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ARTICLE! I am a Novus Ordo Catholic who is firmly against abortion, contraception, sodomy, divorce, women priests, etc. ad nauseam, and who has been blest to have only ever attended 2 NO services that were irreverent (though not what I would call “clown Masses”). I have nothing against TL Mass (my Latin is just extremely weak) or anyone who prefers it to NO, but it really annoys me when some (certainly not all) Latin-lovers talk or act like Vatican II is the root of all evil. If they get really critical, it becomes very easy for my all-too-easily aroused pride and anger to be stirred up and for me to dislike Latin further (the language, not the Mass Service, my Latin curriculum was awful. I think I am scarred for life) and to rightly or wrongly think that TLM-ers are self-righteous snobs. Thank you so much again for this wonderful, understanding, and incredibly sympathetic and thoughtful article. God bless you and preserve you from the ravages of genuine clown masses.

  • Joe DeCarlo

    Mark, We traditionalists ARE winning hearts and minds to our cause. We have many more young people at our Latin Mass than any Novus Ordo Mass has. We just put an addition on our church to cope with the growing numbers. Young people are exciting about the Latin mass. Also, the traditional seminaries are filling, Unlike the Novus Ordo seminaries, e.g. Camden diocese ordained 2 priests this year. Keep clinging to Vatican II and its disastrous results.

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