The State of the Latin Mass Movement (Guest: Timothy Flanders)

Crisis Point

Interview Transcript

Last summer Pope Francis cracked down on the traditional Latin Mass. What is the state of the TLM and TLM communities today? We’ll discuss that on today’s Crisis Point with guest Timothy Flanders, editor-in-chief of OnePeterFive.

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Eric Sammons:

Last summer, Pope Francis cracked down on the Traditional Latin Mass. What’s the state of the TLM and TLM communities today? We’re going to talk about that today on Crisis Point.

Hello, I’m Eric Sammons, your host and editor-in-chief of Crisis magazine. Before I get started, just want to encourage people to like and subscribe to the channel, to this episode, wherever you listen to it, wherever you watch it. Also, follow Crisis on all the various social media platforms, where generally @crisismag is our handle or a Gab, GETTR, or MeWe, Twitter, Facebook, all those good and not so good platforms.

Today, we have a great guest and it’s Timothy Flanders. He is the editor-in-chief of our sister publication, OnePeterFive. Welcome to the program, Timothy.

Timothy Flanders:

Thanks, Eric. It’s a blessing to be here. Always good to chat with you.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, it’s great. We actually met for the first time in person. I mean, the young people would say we’ve already met because we talked online, but like for us old fogies, we met for the first time in person a couple of weeks ago in Chicago, and we’ll talk about that a little bit later. But what I want to talk about today is just basically the status of the Traditional Latin Mass now.

The Crisis audience, I don’t really … I’d love to do a poll some day of the Crisis audience, how many regularly attended Traditional Latin Mass, how many do not? My guess would be just from what I heard, my guess is that we probably have at least 30% to 40% of our readers attend the Traditional Latin Mass at least regularly. If not, maybe even up to 50%. My guess is at OnePeterFive, that number is much, much higher, that your audience is probably much closer to 80, 90 or plus percent if you will regularly attend Traditional Latin Mass. But it’s a topic that I think is important for all Catholics, whether you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or not. I think it’s an important topic.

So I wanted to review what’s been going on since we last heard from Pope Francis about, officially last summer, and go over that. So first of all, why don’t you just give us a quick review of what happened last summer and then in December with the Vatican pronouncements about the Traditional Latin Mass?

Timothy Flanders:

Yeah, sure. So real quick, I would just go back to Paul VI suppressing the Latin Mass 1970. And then, long story short, it was released, again, full rights by Benedict XVI 2007. And then that was reversed again back to the same way it was in 1970 by Pope Francis this past July, July 16th. We’re coming up on the one year. It’s been quite a whirlwind. So I’m glad we’re doing this for a little review here.

So basically, Pope Francis reestablishes the same thing, suppressing the Latin Mass. He explicitly states that he wants to do away with the Latin Mass altogether. He says that the Novus Ordo, the new mass, the English mass, if you’re familiar, is the one form of the Roman Rite, which explicitly reverses what Benedict XVI said. And I’m glad you mentioned that this is relevant to really all Catholics because even under Benedict XVI, his idea was to improve the celebration of the Novus Ordo by means of also allowing the Latin Mass, and we know that this is the case, where parishes that do both generally have a Novus Ordo which is more reverent because they also have the Latin Mass.

So it’s something that affects everybody because all Catholics are really suffering. All pious orthodox Catholics are suffering under liturgical abuses that are happening in the Novus Ordo and the Latin Mass. Even if you don’t attend a Latin Mass, it helps Catholics who attend the English mass as well.

So Catholics, we should all recognize that this is something that affects everybody who cares about doctrine and dogma and good liturgy. So Pope Francis did this in July. Then there was another document that came … Well, actually, before I get to there, I want to say first there was a strong opposition to this move that was unlike it had been back in 1970, from even other bishops and cardinals who condemned this as being beyond his authority, being not principled, not only that but based on false information, even the document on Traditionis Custodes says false things, false historical things that we can just prove wrong because we know the facts.

And it also relied on a collective guilt, basically, which was essentially saying, “Well, the traditionalists are all mean people or whatever. They’re all cranky Catholics who are quasi-sedevacantists or quasi-Jansenists something. So therefore, everybody needs to be punished by that, which is essentially taking some people who might be crazy in some group somewhere and saying, “The whole group is that way.”

So Pope Francis did that. There was a very strong opposition from other bishops and cardinals, laypeople, priests around the world. There were many bishops who just ignored what he was saying because just as a business matter, many bishops, like the Latin Mass, even if they’re not really want to promote the Latin Mass simply because the Latin Mass communities do a lot of great things for the community, for the diocese, for vocations. So a lot of bishops did ignore it. Some bishops took the opportunity to suppress the Latin Mass, to attack the Latin Mass, even to attack things in the English mass or in the vernacular mass, like ad orientem, to attack those things.

And then there was a responsa ad dubia, which was the Christmas present. That was December 23rd, if I recall. I think that I got my … Surely before Christmas.

Eric Sammons:

I think it was the Saturday before Christmas.

Timothy Flanders:

Saturday. Yeah, I remember it was a Saturday, but I don’t remember if the Saturday fell-

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, I think it’s like the 19th or something like that, yeah.

Timothy Flanders:

But … Yeah. So it was the Scrooge before Christmas or the Grinch before Christmas, whatever it was. And so that went further and said, basically, yes, we want to essentially reveal their hand, that they did want to suppress the Latin Mass. But interestingly enough, then a couple of months later, we had another decree of Pope Francis, which confirmed the FSSP, which is the Fraternal Society of Saint Peter, which is a society of priests that say the Latin Mass, and he confirmed their rights that had been promulgated since 1988, one of the really the oldest fully canonical without any irregularities whatsoever, saying the Latin Mass.

Pope Francis confirmed them, which seemed to reverse what he was saying. People were confused. And then going into Easter, there were actually five total Latin masses in Rome. One of them was SSPX. So even if you take out the SSPX, you have four Latin masses that are entirely canonically regular in the Diocese of Rome itself, going into Easter.

So, now, we have the situation … Now, we’re at the point where Pope Francis has, again, taken some shots at the Latin Mass at the traditionalists. He did this address a couple of weeks ago to the Sant’Anselmians. The big name out of Sant’Anselmo is Andrea Grillo, who is, what seems to be, one of the architects of Traditionis Custodes, who he launched a petition to overturn Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum, previous a few years back. So he seems to be one of the catalysts.

So Pope Francis made this speech that railed on the traditionalists. Again, the same old stereotypes. And so that’s where we’re … Yeah. So we’ve weathered quite a storm. We’ve had some bishops show their hand, some bishops confirm the Traditional Latin Mass. I mean, I feel pretty positive coming into almost a year after this has happened. So that’s a play by play after about 10 months of it.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, that’s a good review. I think it’s interesting because you compared it to him, Pope Francis is trying to go back to the status under Pope Paul VI, yeah, that basically the Latin Mass would be suppressed. And it’s interesting because, of course, when that happened in 1970, it was very effective. I mean, essentially, the Latin Mass almost completely disappeared from the face of the earth almost overnight. I mean, other than Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of Saint Pius X, and a few other bishops … I mean, a bishop or two and a few of the priests here and there.

But essentially other than there, there was no Latin Mass anywhere in the world in 1970. In other words, all bishops went along. What’s interesting, I thought about Traditionis Custodes, is that that’s not what happened here. There wasn’t a groundswell of bishops saying. “Yes, finally, we can suppress this. This has been such a problem in our diocese and we really want to take care of this.” In my diocese, for example, in our state of Cincinnati, the archbishop was interviewed on local Catholic radio after it just came out. And you could tell he was annoyed, annoyed that the pope had done this, first of all, had not informed the bishops beforehand of what was going on.

He said, “I heard about it when everybody else did.” And you could tell on the tone of his voice that he didn’t like that and I don’t blame him. I mean, this bishop was to literally immediately supposed to implement it, but he doesn’t even know about it until it’s supposed to go into effect. And then he had high praise for the Latin Mass communities in their sites. He did shut down one parochial Latin Mass community, which was very unfortunate. I had some friends there, they were very upset about that. But in general, though, he gave praise to the Latin Mass community and say, “Hey, they’re great part of our diocese, they are good communities, they help out people, all that stuff. They support me and everything like that.”

And I noticed that other bishops, very similar statements a lot. Or they just ignored it completely. They just didn’t do or say anything about it. But of course, we know there’s Chaput in Chicago, obviously, is probably the most prominent one here in the states.

Timothy Flanders:

Cupich.

Eric Sammons:

Cupich.

Timothy Flanders:

Yeah.

Eric Sammons:

I said Chaput, didn’t I? Boy, I don’t want to throw him under the bus. My goodness. He’s a friend. Sorry about that, Your Excellency. Cardinal Cupich, thank you. Who obviously is a problem in a lot of ways. And he took the opportunity to … What was his ruling that you couldn’t have a Latin Mass the first Sunday? Is that what it was?

Timothy Flanders:

Yes. So the Latin masses in the Archdiocese of Chicago are required to celebrate the English mass on Sundays. And they cannot do the … First Sunday of the month. They are not allowed to do the Latin Mass on that first Sunday. And they’re also not allowed to celebrate the Novus Ordo mass ad orientem as a sign of unity and acceptance of the Second Vatican Council, he says.

Eric Sammons:

I mean … Okay. I just have to say something. I mean, the idea that celebrating versus populum, where you face the people, is somehow a sign of acceptance of Vatican II is just insane and completely ahistorical because, of course, Vatican II said nothing about that at all. There are not one document that even suggested that the priest be turned. I mean, there is part of Vatican II that does suggest expanding the use of the vernacular. That is there, but nothing by ad orientem.

And it’s interesting that’s become like that. I noticed, of course, my old bishop down in Venice, Florida, who also banned ad orientem celebrations, where I think he said you had to have explicit permission from him to celebrate ad orientem. And it just seems to be an ideological thing more than anything else. I don’t see the meaning of that, but it really did expose the idea that Traditionis Custodes doesn’t just impact Latin Mass communities. It clearly is impacting Catholics all over, because as we know, the celebration of Novus Ordo in a lot of places is just … For example, the viral video that went out about the priests down in Venice, Florida, who was just doing the breathing exercises and the craziness, that was allowed with no problem, but yet you couldn’t celebrate ad orientem.

It just seemed to be a crazy situation there. So, now, something you mentioned that caught my attention was you mentioned in Rome that they have five traditional Latin Mass communities, is that correct? One of them SSPX and the other four in canonical regularity, wherever you want to call it, with the diocese. Is that what you were saying?

Timothy Flanders:

Well, there’s five traditional Latin masses, only two of those are actually full communities. One is Institute of Christ the King and the other one is FSSP. And then the other two regular Latin masses are either just a diocesan priest doing it at his parish or there’s the one at St. Peter’s that’s in the basement. That’s a daily mass, but that’s not really like a parish community.

Eric Sammons:

Okay.

Timothy Flanders:

But there are still five centers of the Latin mass that are happening in Rome.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. And then do you know if they celebrated the Triduum in the Old Rite?

Timothy Flanders:

So the … Yes, two of those communities, the FSSP and the institute communities in Rome. They did do the Triduum. But the other places just didn’t have it just because they weren’t a full community. They didn’t have the resources.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And I bring that up only because there was talk about the idea that you couldn’t celebrate, that was going to be one of the things.

Timothy Flanders:

Right.

Eric Sammons:

We’re not to celebrate the Triduum, I think Cupich, he did that in Chicago. I thought he was going to but I can’t remember that, for sure. But I know the Triduum was one of the things they’re saying, “No, you have to celebrate that in the New Rite.”

Timothy Flanders:

Right. Yes, I know Cupich has a history because back when he was in Spokane, Washington, he did that to a Latin Mass community like years ago, where he suppressed their Triduum. Yes, this was the official decree of the … I believe it was the parochial vicar of the Diocese of Rome said that you cannot … We’ve had it at OnePeterFive when we report on this. If you look up Triduum Rome, we quote the decree, where the parochial vicar decreed it, but then they allowed it.

So I think that’s … In some dioceses, we just have priests that are just ignoring these rules because they’re just placing their interpretation based on what Benedict said. And Benedict gave a very theological and principled explanation for his allowance of Latin Mass, which is memorialized in his famous quote that says, “What prior generations held as sacred remains sacred for us today.” But he had also a great deal other theological things to say, whereas Pope Francis’s justification is, one, these guys are mean and, two, he only allowed the Latin Mass to help the SSPX, which is a false statement. It’s not true that that was the reason.

Eric Sammons:

Right, that Benedict only allowed it for that reason.

Timothy Flanders:

Right.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. Yeah, one thing I just want to mention, you mentioned you had that at OnePeterFive. I just want to encourage people who want to keep up with the story and what’s going on with Traditional Latin Mass communities, I want to definitely encourage you go to onepeterfive.com. That’s where you’re going to find all of the information you want to know about that and keep up with what’s going on.

I want to ask you, though, was it July 16th, is that the date you said the Traditionis Custodes-

Timothy Flanders:

Yes.

Eric Sammons:

Okay. On July 16th, I think a lot of us who attend the Traditional Latin Mass communities, I think a lot of us had the end of the world type of attitude about what’s going to happen. I think if you had pulled most people who attended Traditional Latin Mass and you said, “In 10 months, what will the landscape be like?” I mean, don’t you think a lot of people probably would have responded there’ll be a lot fewer Latin masses available, there’d be the fraternity and the other canonical institutes for the Latin Mass would be very restricted?

I think most people would have guessed a much more negative situation than we actually have today. And so why do you think … Were we being too pessimistic back then or do you think maybe the pope or the Vatican realized they pushed a little too far and they had to pull back? Why do you think what’s happened actually happened the way it has?

Timothy Flanders:

Sure. Well, this is something that we started … OnePeterFive, I began as editor shortly after this whole thing started. And what we put in our editorial stance was that we wanted to reclaim the zeal of our forefathers in the traditional movement, going back to the 1960s and the ’70s, who were fighting against even worse odds, if you will, or a worse situation with less Episcopal support, less priestly support than we have now.

And I think that if many trads were spending a lot of their time in the devil’s playground, aka Twitter, and their idea of traditional movement was basically informed by that or just informed with a lot of just negativity, perhaps, I think it’s easy to just feel very despairing, right, for that to happen. But I think if we go back to our forefathers and we look, well, they face really an even worse situation and they were very zealous and they were very positive, they were very optimistic. They knew that eventually a pope would come and reverse this, which he did, Pope Benedict, at least to a great degree.

And I think that when you know that your cause is just and that it is according to God’s will, it is something that God desires, you have a confidence and you can fight with joy and fight with a smile, even if you die fighting and then really nothing has accomplished. This is something that … Michael Davies, for example, a great crusader for the Latin Mass, he died before Summorum Pontificum came, but he … Oh, it is something that I talked with Michael Matt about. Michael Davies just always was really this joyful warrior.

I think probably what people … They probably underestimated how much bishops like the status quo. It’s funny, I think that what you just mentioned, I think bishops are very much trained to be businessmen and administrators, not so much pastors. And I think this actually came in handy in this case because maybe your bishop or other bishops, perhaps, were thinking very much like an administrator, and they’re thinking, “Well, I have this Latin Mass Parish and I never have to bug them for their tithe to the diocese or I never have to come after them for this or that. They got a great school or X, Y, Z. So they’re just doing good for the diocese. Why would I want to upset the status quo and then I lose all these funds for the diocese?”

Maybe they’re not even thinking because they want the Latin Mass or because they care about doctrine. Maybe just totally business thinking. Well, I think if you just think about it … This is something that Taylor Marshall, I remember he mentioned this with Gordon talking about New Coke, Old Coke. If you just look at this with a business perspective, hey, it’s working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So I think a lot of bishops probably were just like, “Hey, this is fine. Why do we need to change this?” So I think they probably underestimated how much that mindset was going to prevail over a bad ideology, which, in this case, was in our favor.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And I think it is interesting because … I mean, even taking Pope Francis’s own views, putting them aside for a second, I think it’s clear there’s definitely some people at the Vatican who are very influential, who are very ideologically opposed to the Latin Mass, and they really try to make it a wedge issue, so to speak. They really want to make it like these are … The greatest enemies the church faces today are these Latin Mass communities. I think there are certain elements at the Vatican who are like that, but I think they’re completely out of touch with the average bishop.

And that’s not to say the average bishop is super enthusiastic about the Traditional Latin Mass. I don’t think they are at all. I just think, like you said, it’s more a matter of, “Hey, they’re one of my least problems I have.” I mean, when I was working for a diocese, I’ve said this before that the Office of Bishops seems to be the game of Whac-A-Mole. It’s just like whenever a problem pops up, you got to push it down, you got to push it, and another one pops up and you push it down, you keep doing that. And that’s essentially their job.

Well, if the Latin Mass community never pops up, then you just leave that one alone. Good, good, I don’t have to worry about that one. I don’t have that one popping up. And essentially … And that’s why when people ask me what can a Latin Mass community do to get in good graces with the bishop, I said, “Just don’t have anything come across his desk about you. And you’ll be okay, in most cases, because they just don’t want the problems to arise.”

And so, I do think that probably worked in our favor that, in general, most bishops had a decent relationship. And I think … My own experience is going to fraternity parish in another diocese, in a parish that I’m in here and talking to other people is most Latin Mass community pastors are very cognizant of the importance of having a good relationship with their bishop. They know that they are held in a little bit of suspicion maybe starting off and they want to do everything they can to have a good relationship with their bishop.

And so they bend over backwards to try to keep that relationship solid. And so when this comes out, I think that relationship building really helps in this type of situations because they know, “Oh, Father so and so, he helped me out with this. He’s been always good to me. He’s never said a word against me in all this,” because the stereotype is that people think, at your Latin Mass community, the priest is up there railing on the pope, something like that. I mean, I don’t know if I’ve ever even seen that happen where they’ve railed on the local ordinary. I mean, my goodness, I don’t think that’s ever happened in my experience. It’s just not the way it works. And so they know that.

And so I think, like you said, that does work out. Now … So in general, it looked like in July, there was the big announcement. Then December, there’s another one, but I feel like the December dubia responses was a big nothing burger. I mean, did anything really happen from that that changed anything from that specific document from Archbishop Roche?

Timothy Flanders:

Yeah, that’s a good question. So the … Dr. Kwasniewski wrote a very good commentary on this, as well as 33 falsehoods on the document. If you go to OnePeterFive, and search Traditionis Custodes, we have our whole archive of articles that we’ve put out since Traditionis Custodes. But it does seem, to my memory, that all of the major actions when the ideological bishops came out of the woodwork happened from July to December. It just seemed … So things happen then. Some bishops ignored it, some bishops took action against the Latin Mass or just the Novus Ordo in various ways.

But the main result of the responsa ad dubia was to say, “Oh, they are this ideological actually.” They are these obsessed with this alleged problem with the Latin Mass, the ancient Roman Rite? The powerful people in Rome are this obsessed with the Roman Rite.

So, no, I don’t think it was very effective. It’s basically a problem of trying to force all the bishops to do something without any teeth behind it. It’s just you either do it or you don’t, some bishops did, some bishops don’t. They didn’t come after any bishops who ignored it. They didn’t excommunicate them or move them around or whatever.

So the bishops now see … I’m not going to get into hot water if I just ignore this, if I just keep the status quo as it is. So I think coming into … And now, we have this flaming address by the Holy Father against the Latin Mass attendees. So it seems to have returned to all talk. I think that the reaction was perhaps the enemies of the Latin Mass and perhaps the Roman pontiff underestimated the strength of the resistance that may come from other bishops and cardinals. The momentum of the status quo in the mind of many bishops. Maybe they were hoping that they would just jump. But now it’s back to this rhetoric.

So maybe this is some form of victory we can see because it’s just been a failure, I think, overall. It’s really not … And not only that, it’s not only been a failure, it’s increased the marketing for the Latin Mass because now everybody’s, “Latin Mass, what’s that? I’ve never heard of that.” Oh, and then there’s this Mass of the Ages Episode 1 that was just released right when that happens. So, wow, now it’s got a million views. So I think there’s God’s providence and comical bring good out of evil is happening.

Eric Sammons:

Right, right. One of the thing I wanted to mention, which I think is an interesting data point in all of this, is that there is a local pastor, local priest here in Cincinnati, who was the former administrator of the sister parish to my parish that celebrates Latin Mass. They do their diocesan parish, Latin Mass, and Novus Ordo for years now. And he was the administrator of it from 2011, 2014, something like that.

And so he celebrated the Latin Mass, obviously, there because he was the minister of a parish to celebrate it every Sunday. And I think they even had a daily one back then. I know they do now. And he was just appointed bishop of Columbus. I think it was like a month or two ago. His name, Father Earl Fernandes, Bishop-elect Earl Fernandes. And he’s about to get consecrated, I think, in the next week or two.

And I thought that was very interesting because, clearly, he’s not an ideologue against Traditional Latin Mass. And yet, he was … And he’s a friend of the Latin Mass even. And he somehow was able to get through the system to make it as a bishop.

And so if there was a coordinated and organized activity against the Latin Mass, I definitely don’t think they would have appointed a bishop like this in America because it’s well known that America, France, England a little bit, that are the main bastions of the Traditional Latin Mass. And in fact, the Holy Father is sometimes acting like America’s the big problem, United States of America. And that’s one of our problems is our attachment to Traditional Latin Mass.

So the fact that he was made bishop, I thought, was very interesting just because, like I said, I don’t know how he would have slipped through. But he did somehow. I mean, maybe that’s just God’s providence again, but I think that just shows how it’s not as clear-cut the actions and the words, I think, is probably the best way to put it. Would you agree?

Timothy Flanders:

Yeah. Well, it’s difficult to take complete throttling control of the Vatican bureaucracy because there’s a lot of moving parts. Now, if a lot of modernists and liberals or whoever take enough control, they can pull a lot of strings. But it appears, as with your example, there’s still orthodox people who are able to slip through the cracks in this … I mean, it’s very difficult to run the whole worldwide global church of everybody.

So I think that that’s good. That’s good that there is enough subsidiarity or what have you, where somebody was able to get through the cracks of this Vatican bureaucracy.

Eric Sammons:

Right. And this guy was highly qualified. He’s bishop material. People have known him for a long time.

Timothy Flanders:

Okay. Got it.

Eric Sammons:

Not like … I mean, just one of these things where it did not harm him that he had the taint of the Traditional Latin Mass on him, so to speak.

Now, let’s move to another topic about this. What should Catholics now, whether they attend the Traditional Latin Mass or not, what should we be doing now to try to help keep the Traditional Latin Mass alive? Why should a Novus Ordo attending Catholic care going forward? And what should we all do to help continue keeping the Latin Mass alive and well in the church?

Timothy Flanders:

Sure. Well, let me tell you a story. I was at a Novus Ordo parish years ago. So it was English mass, but it’s what we call the Unicorn Novus Ordo, which is where everything’s done reverently. There’s chanting, et cetera, et cetera. But it’s the English mass.

But the problem with that is that if you don’t have the Latin Mass as an anchor for your parish, a new priest can come to your parish and completely sweep away everything that was good about your liturgy. And the problem is that the Novus Ordo gives a great deal of power to the priest to do whatever he likes with the ritual and really transform your whole liturgy into something making this instability for your parish community, for your children.

Your children are being formed in this liturgy. They’ve got their First Communion. They’ve got their confirmation. They’ve got all these things growing up. But suddenly, why is it that a new priest can come into your parish and completely change the liturgy so that the whole ethos of the liturgy, the prayerful atmosphere, is stripped away?

The Latin Mass provides this anchor, even for the Novus Ordo. So even if you prefer the English mass and you just never really connected with the Latin Mass, the Latin Mass helps your parish and really the diocese have this liturgical anchor, which provides that liturgical stability because we need to be able to pray. If we’re spending so much of our time trying to form the liturgy, then the liturgy cannot form us. And that’s what we want is we want the liturgy to form us. We want the liturgy to form our children.

So what can we practically do? Well, we can establish the Latin Mass at our parish. That’s what you need to do if you haven’t already. As I said, that’s something that affects all people of the Roman Rite. And that helps establish this anchor of liturgical stability at your parish for decades to come at your parish. And how do you do that? Well, you form a group and you petition the bishop, petition the pastor, you get your priests trained, there’s training videos, Romanitas Press, sanctamissa.org. There’s training manuals to help a priest understand this.

You can even start with private masses. You could just do a private mass in your home. So he can get out his foibles with the Latin Mass, get him to understand. And there’s many testimonies of priests who learn the Latin Mass and it really transforms their own priesthood. And it really helps them.

Another thing you can do is just buy a Latin Missal. Start reading the prayers of the Latin Mass. If you’ve never read the Latin Mass, go straight to the offertory. If you’re familiar with the English mass, English mass says, “Blessed are You, Lord God of all creation, for this goodness, et cetera, et cetera. Blessed be God forever.” If you go to that same spot in the Latin Mass, you’ll find a very powerful surprise about what prayers are actually said at that point in the Latin Mass. And it will really impact your spiritual life.

So getting a Latin Mass Missal, that’s something that you can always have. You’ve got a missal. Nobody can take away a missal from you, no matter what happens. So even if persecution in Japan in the 1600s happen, they’ll lose all your priests. Well, you still got your missal and you can still pray through your missal. And you can use the Latin Mass to catechize your children.

So for example, you can take the Latin Mass for baptism. And when your child is older and he can start to learn about what Baptist means say, “Hey, Johnny, here’s what happened when you were baptized.” There was an exorcism. The power of the devil was thrown out of you. The priest said, “Be gone devil for the power of Christ has come.” He breathed on you. He gave you salt for wisdom, all these things, and you can go through all this stuff. You can go through the Latin Mass confirmation ritual to prepare for confirmation. You say, “The bishop slaps you because he’s preparing you for spiritual combat.”

These are the great catechetical lessons. And if you have a Latin Mass Missal, you’ve got these catechisms already there. So you have the power of these symbols that come out. So those are some things on top of my head.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, that’s great. My daughter was actually just confirmed a couple of weeks ago in the traditional rite and it’s always a joke to tell the priest or the bishop, “Hey, give a little extra smack, make sure it gets it all out there and ready for a battle.” But they always … And it’s a striking thing, I mean, no pun intended, about that because you don’t really see that too much in liturgies today, that very direct idea of battle and things like that.

Now, one thing that’s being done to let people know about the Latin Mass, of course, is the Mass of the Ages documentary, the trilogy, the three-part documentary that you mentioned before. By God’s providence, the first episode came out right after … Right after or right before, I can’t remember now.

Timothy Flanders:

Right after.

Eric Sammons:

Right after Traditionis Custodes. And it was not intended like that, it just happened to come out. And so like you mentioned, over a million people have watched it. Just go to YouTube, Mass of the Ages Episode 1, if you want to watch that. And it’s a beautiful episode that, basically, it’s really a … I’m not trying to say is to be demeaning, but it’s almost like an emotional tug of, “Hey, this is what the Traditional Latin Mass is. This is why people are excited about it.” Because even if you’ve never been or you don’t have any enthusiasm about it, the fact is there is a segment, a subset of Catholics, were very enthusiastic.

And this kind of says, “Why? Why are people enthusiastic about it?” And why is it growing? Because at Crisis, we did a survey last year, right? And this was also coincidental, we did it before Traditionis Custodes came out. And then we didn’t release it until afterwards just because of the timing. And it showed that the Latin Mass communities had grown significantly in the past few years. I think it was 180% growth or something in the past two years.

So just finding out why, Mass of the Ages Episode 1 explained that. Now, Episode 2 is to be released next Thursday, Ascension Thursday, May 26th, 2022, to the public on YouTube for everybody to see, but there have been a few screenings at theaters. And you and I went to the screening in Chicago. You and I were both in it. Just disclaimer, everybody, we’re both in it briefly. And I just want to first get your impression of what you thought about Episode 2.

Timothy Flanders:

Sure. Well, I think Episode 2 is … I call it the Perfect Trad Film Response to Traditionis Custodes because as I said before, we have the Holy Father who is just slapping us on our cheek. He’s slapping around his children because he’s been misinformed, let’s hope for the best about Pope Francis that he’s just been misinformed, by these people who just hate other Catholics, or they hate the Latin Mass, or they hate the Council of Trent, they want to be more Protestant or whatever.

And so instead of reacting with a bunch of rancor, this film simply presents the traditional movement or the traditional cause and the traditional argument using just, here’s the facts and here’s the people. And what I love about it is it doesn’t respond with this rancor. It just says, “Here’s all these facts. Here’s what actually happened.” There’s a number of … For example, one of the biggest falsehoods that Pope Francis has relied on is, as you mentioned before, the idea that the English mass is the Second Vatican Council.

So the Second Vatican Council created the Novus Ordo. That’s not true. And in this video, in this film, Episode 2, it’s very clearly shown how the English mass, then vernacular Novus Ordo mass was created, the controversy that surrounded it, the different actors and all the evidence, everything is very detailed sorts, very documented. And it just shows the people who are involved in it that they’re just … My two favorite characters are these two elderly women who are just talking about, “Hey, here’s how it was like 20 years ago. Everybody thought you were a heretic just because you like the Latin Mass. And here’s what we did to preserve it.”

So I think it’s really a really well done … So credit to Cameron O’Hearn and Jacob Tate, producers of the film, to really produce something that very clearly documents the cause, the arguments, does it in a very human way, just a personal way, without a lot of anger, even though we could be justifiably angry. Instead, we’re just going to present this for what it is. And I think it’s going to be great.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah. I have an article coming out next week at Crisis about Episode 2. So I will keep some of it until then. But essentially, what I felt like was this was an attempt to reset the conversation around the new mass and the old mass. And what I mean by that is this. I think we all would acknowledge that the conversation about the new and the old mass in the church has been very toxic at times. A lot of heat, not a lot of light. A lot of cases where you have on the trad side, you push forward the clown masses and act as if that’s the norm, that every Novus Ordo parish has clown masses.

And on the Novus Ordo side, the new mass side, you have this idea, what we’ve talked already, where all the trads are schismatic, mean-spirited, awful people. And you have that stereotype being pushed. And really, there’s not been an opportunity to say, “Okay, let’s sit down and talk about what actually happened in the ’60s,” because what I found is there’s an incredible amount of ignorance when it comes to what happened, how the mass was changed.

Now, people need to remember, ignorance does not mean somebody is dumb. It just means they’re misinformed, like you said about maybe the Holy Father. He’s included because I don’t know. But the idea is that people just don’t know … Firstly, they don’t know what was changed, they don’t know why it was changed. Because I still think, I would still guess, that the majority of Catholics today believe that the only real changes that were made was going to the vernacular and turning the priest around. And really, essentially, though, the prayers and everything else about it are identical other than that.

But, of course, those of us who have studied this, no, that’s simply not the case. It was a much more radical change. And I think what Episode 2 does is it presents that. And I think it tries to do it without the strawman, without going to the clown masses there. But yet, at the same time, presenting some uncomfortable truths about what was changed and the differences between the two. I love the old ladies as well. But I felt like … I don’t know how much he was in it, but I felt Joseph Shaw was like a star in this one because I thought he did a very good job of explaining the different mindsets behind the old mass versus the new mass.

That one is much more focused on understanding, that we understand what’s going on. The other one’s much more focused on … Why the old mass is much more focused on devotion. And I thought that was a good point because I feel like that’s part of what I’m trying to say with the resetting the conversation. I feel like it’s like we’re talking over each other. And here, I’m saying this as somebody who’s been on both sides at one time or the other. For my first 15 years as a Catholic, I was very much … I went to Novus Ordo mass and I very much was suspicious of the Latin Mass. And I just didn’t get it.

And now I’ve gone to Latin Mass for over a decade. And I feel like I get it now, at least, but at times, for example, I’ve had Novus Ordo priests and others come at me and say, “You’re being unfair to the Novus Ordo.” And I’m like, “I’m not trying to be.” But that’s an example of where I feel like sometimes we talk over each other. And what my hope is that Episode 2 does is it brings it to the conversation of, “Okay, what actually changed and why was it changed? And what does that mean for the future of the mass?”

And so that’s why I’m very enthusiastic about this episode. I do think this episode will upset some promoters of the new mass more than the first episode might have, but I think it’s a conversation that has to happen. You have to have an honest dialogue. You can’t just act like these things didn’t happen. It’s funny because the big boogeyman, when it comes to the discussion of the change in Latin Mass is Bugnini, Archbishop Bugnini.

He was one of the masterminds behind it. And he’s … In the trad world, he’s the big boogeyman. And when he’s brought up, though, in the Novus Ordo world, it’s like, “Oh, those crazy trads, those are conspiracy theory,” saying he’s a freemason and all that stuff. But I felt like what Episode 2 does is it presents his role and it only says what we know. It doesn’t try to go beyond that. It just says, “Here’s his words and here’s what his contemporary said about him or to him.” People like Father Bouyer. I don’t think anybody would think that Father Louis Bouyer is some super trad. But yet he had some not-so-nice words to say about Archbishop Bugnini.

And I think it does a good job, the episode does, of presenting and what Paul VI role is. I think it was very fair to Pope Paul VI in where his role was in all of this and what he knew, what he didn’t know. So I’m hopeful that it advances the conversation beyond just a very surface level to something a deeper conversation that really explores the issues, what’s going on.

Timothy Flanders:

Yeah, I completely agree with what you’re saying because it really goes into the texts of the mass, what was actually done to the text, not just an abuse of implantation but the actual text of the mass. And what’s focused on it. Yeah, what do we know about Bugnini? What does he actually say? What is documented? And then what is actually in the new mass? So I really liked that a lot about it, it really just presents the rock solid evidence.

Eric Sammons:

Right. Okay, I think we’re going to start wrapping it up here. So I want to, again, encourage people to go to OnePeterFive to really follow this. At Crisis, we have articles every once in a while about what’s going on, mostly as it affects the broader church. But if you really want to get more detail, get the more in-depth analysis of what’s going on, OnePeterFive is the place to go.

So what are some of the things you can tell us about like what OnePeterFive has been doing lately?

Timothy Flanders:

Sure. Well, we’re just about to … We’ve done a lot on the Latin Mass. Obviously, we’ve got all of that. We’ve done some of the SSPX debate. We’ve done conversation about liberalism, about post-liberalism, Christendom, discussing things like that. We’re going to get into further the concept of ultramontanism, the concept of this hyper-papalism. We have our contributing editor just released his new book on that. So we’ll be discussing that further. That’s been a conversation we’ve been facilitating and promoting.

So we also … One of our series that I’ve really enjoyed, many people have enjoyed, is the Forgotten Customs of Christendom. This is something that Matthew Plese has written for us. Well, the next one will be Pentecost. So it’ll be Forgotten Customs of Pentecost. And so it’s just remembering all the things that our forefathers used to do for all these feasts. And this is an important part about restoring Christendom is reinstating various customs or creating new ones for your family. And passing down the faith through these customs. It’s a very, very important part of the faith.

And it’s always a fun thing because having fun with the kids, just having that yearly celebration where you do X, Y, Z and Michaelmas, or Christmas, or Pentecost, or whatever to mark the day for your children. So that’s a really great series we’ve been running that I’ve been really thankful for. And right now, we’re doing our spring fundraiser because we need to raise the money for half a year. We do two fundraisers per year.

And the hope is that we can get enough money in one fundraiser so we don’t have to continue fundraising for the rest of the year. So we are still in need of funds for OnePeterFive. So if you go to onepeterfive.com/donate, please be a part of our spring fundraiser.

Eric Sammons:

Yeah, I want to encourage people to donate to that now. I know there might be some confusion about it. And I just … Since we’re the primary people, I mean, to be blunt, I’m one of the primary people involved in the new management of OnePeterFive. I just want to make sure everybody is clear about what happened here.

So OnePeterFive, of course, was founded by Steve Skojec back in 2014. I wrote for OnePeterFive just a couple of months after he went live with that. And so I was a writer for him. I did a whole series for OnePeterFive on the scripture readings for mass and things like that, which Father Z is doing a much better job with it now with OnePeterFive.

And so … But then last year, last summer, summer 2021, Crisis publications, which is the umbrella organization that owns and runs Crisis Magazine, it purchased OnePeterFive from Steve. But the truth is that OnePeterFive is completely donor-supported just like Crisis Magazine is. Both organizations. We don’t have some big moneybags behind us that’s making all this happen or anything like that. We’re simply donor-supported.

And so Crisis Magazine has done their fundraiser, but OnePeterFive is doing their fundraiser. And I really encourage people, if you like the work that either organization is doing, please donate to either one. But particularly, if you are a devotee of the Latin Mass and you feel like it really needs to be supported and that traditional spirituality, I push you to OnePeterFive and to donate to OnePeterFive to keep it going so we can really keep that. My vision for OnePeterFive and it’s the reason, it’s the same vision, as Tim has, is that we’re trying to, like he said, rebuild Christendom.

And so the way to do that, both of us really believe in doing that in a positive way, not in a cheesy positive way, but in the sense of, yes, OnePeterFive is going to criticize when things go wrong in the church. But really, it’s more a matter of what can we do going for, how can we live as a traditional Catholic? And that’s really what OnePeterFive is about. And sometimes that means that OnePeterFive has to challenge the powers that be and it’s not afraid to do that. But at the same time, like you said, the forgotten traditions, how do we live as traditional … because it’s not just about the Traditional Latin Mass. It’s a whole lifestyle. And I think that’s what OnePeterFive is really trying to encourage.

So I encourage you, onepeterfive.com/donate. I will put a link to that in the show notes so people can easily go to that. And just like Crisis, you can donate online a check in cryptocurrency. And I know some of our audience is a little bit nervous about the cryptocurrency, that’s fine. You don’t have to donate like that. It just for those who are comfortable with that, they can do that.

Anything else you want to let us know before we finish up here?

Timothy Flanders:

Yeah, I think you summed it up really well. We want to provide a positive unifying element to unite the clans, trads working together for a common goal. The particular area … And I think this is something that might be of interest to non-Latin Mass attendees, that we promote the Crusade of Eucharistic Reparation, which is a monthly commitment to do one hour of adoration and reparation for sins against our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament during the liturgy. That is … Among other things, it is a promotion of Eucharistic piety, and this is something that should concern all Catholics.

And so that’s one part of it that we promote. And that’s really part of the message of Fatima as well because the angel of Portugal first came to the seers and taught them these prayers of reparation. And this is a central factor that we sorely need in our time. So that’s one of the things we promote and something that’s near and dear to our hearts is promoting this Eucharistic reparation.

So our crusade, our fight, it’s primarily spiritual. And until we have the spiritual practices and the spiritual life down, then we can engage with temporal things and engage with people or with church politics and things like that, but the primary is the spiritual. So that’s what we promote at OnePeterFive is our spiritual anchor.

Eric Sammons:

Amen. Sounds good. Okay. Well, I think we’re going to wrap it up there. I appreciate you coming on. Hopefully, this helped everybody know the lay of the land when it comes to the Traditional Latin Mass, whether you attend it or not. But until next time, everybody. God love you.

By

Crisis Magazine has been America's leading source for Catholic perspectives on religion, politics, and culture since 1982.

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