True Confessions: My Fight For The Latin Mass

True Confessions: My Fight For The Latin Mass

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In this fifth in a series of articles, Regina Roundtable members discuss their personal experience with people who do not understand their love for the Latin Mass. While this is sad and troubling, the good news is that these attitudes are softening, as Catholics are re-discovering their lost heritage — all over the world.

Robert in Chicago:  I’ve been labeled a “Catholic fundamentalist” (which is impossible, theologically), “wanting to drag the Church back to the 1950s,” and most hurtfully, “obsessed with externals instead of the Gospel.”  In other words, “putting on a show.” 

These people don’t realize that we’re worshiping God.  Anyone can sit and read the Gospels, but showing how much we love God in an “external” way, I believe, is very pleasing to Him. 

I’ve also been told that people who attend the TLM are “close-minded, judgmental, bigoted,” etc.  The exact opposite is true: I’ve never met anyone who fits those descriptions, in fact, we have many discussions in which there is disagreement.  It’s the “progressives,” I believe, are the ones who are most intolerant and dogmatic.  What a great irony!

Neal in West Virginia: My first experience of TLM was in Charleston, WV, where the Monsignor had decided to do one every few weeks for a while.  It was a high Mass, and was the most beautiful and holy thing that I had ever witnessed.  I felt that I had found what I was looking for and had decided to drive to Charleston (about an hour’s drive) as often as he would do it.  Unfortunately, after only a few times, he ended his last TLM by bashing all of the traditionalists, telling us that we should be ashamed of ourselves and stating that he would never do another one again.

The Monsignor ended his last TLM by bashing all of the traditionalists, telling us that we should be ashamed of ourselves and stating that he would never do another one again.

I actually missed this Mass, but when I called to find out when he would be doing it again, was told very coldly by the secretary that “Monsignor won't be doing that anymore.” I then found an FSSP priest who did one weekly in Lexington, KY (a two hour drive), but quickly found that it was not practical to attend every week.  I tried to go to the Novus Ordo Mass at my home church, but had a harder and harder time bringing myself to go and fell out before long.

Rosa in New Jersey: I've not found resistance, but I have found incomprehension. I've also encountered people who profess nostalgia for the TLM, but who declare that others in their families “wouldn't go for it.” The greatest criticisms I've heard have come from priests, one of whom said it would be celebrated in his church “over his dead body.” 

The greatest criticisms I've heard have come from priests, one of whom said it would be celebrated in his church “over his dead body.”

Neil in North Carolina:  One of my older brothers, who briefly attended seminary in the 1970s, made some rather snide and critical remarks when he found I was attending the TLM. I think he considers the use of Latin and the ad orientem posture of the priest in the liturgy to be relics of a bygone day and devices to exclude the people from participation in the liturgy, devices that transform Catholicism into an elitist mystery religion complete with magic words and formulas that only the properly initiated can use.

One of my internet friends has expressed some puzzlement. She says that she “has heard” that some of those who attend the TLM and promote it want to segregate people by gender and economic status and judge others on the basis of whether or not they belong to the “right” parish.

Personally I find these arguments absurd, but I am beginning to discover is that some of those who object to the TLM actually object to the cultural, economic, and political baggage attached to the Mass, which has nothing to do with the Mass itself.

Critics of the TLM will sometimes assume that supporters of the TLM are wealthy, elitist, racist, and sexist, which has not been my experience. Based on my observations of the TLM community at St. Ann over the last several months, I would say that the vast majority of those attending the TLM do so because they find it more reverent, more beautiful, and more in harmony with the historical traditions of Catholicism than they do the reformed, post-conciliar liturgy.

I would say that the vast majority of those attending the TLM do so because they find it more reverent, more beautiful, and more in harmony with the historical traditions of Catholicism than they do the reformed, post-conciliar liturgy.

Neal in West Virginia: When I first discovered the TLM, I asked my parish priest to do them, and he made it clear that he did not like it and did not like traditionalists.  Other than him and the aforementioned Monsignor, the most I get is a cold look, or a “oh, you're one of them” looks.  Any other priests that I have spoken to have been somewhat condescending and taken an attitude of “well, that's all fine and good, but you know the Novus Ordo is the correct Mass, right, etc., etc., etc.”

It was only when I met Fr. Tuscan in Nitro (Editor’s Note: See Regina Magazine article here) and Fr. Borgmeyer in Huntington, that I met priests who respected it and WANTED to do it.  I am under no illusions.  They are diocesan priests and probably feel the same way as the others, but at least they show great respect to us traditionalists and are giving us the TLM.

I have heard a few complaints about “rad trads,” but interestingly enough, it was from people who then learn that the TLM is much more beautiful, and who end up attending with us.

David in Virginia: No, only bad attitudes, which seem to be diminishing as one generation passes. And yet I still hear about “fifty years of suffering” from those who are in their thirties, which I find rather amusing.

Larenne in New Jersey: My parents were devastated that I didn't want to get married in the church I grew up. They were happy that my husband converted, but they were really disillusioned with our decision. However, my mother's father was ecstatic! He knew all the Mass parts and was pretty much the only one aside from me who sung the responses!

Meanwhile, my whole family has since followed suit. Each has become devout and increasingly dismayed at how carried away the Novus Ordo became.  When they can, they now attend the TLM. It took a few years, but they caught on! How could they not? 

After their initial devastation,  my whole family has since become devout and increasingly dismayed at how carried away the Novus Ordo became.  When they can, they now attend the TLM.

Linda in Wisconsin: I've never experienced anything negative toward the TLM from friends or family. I wear a veil to the Novus Ordo Mass. I've had nothing but encouragement and compliments from parishioners. Many ask me where I get my mantillas. Seems like they want one too. (Never any negative anything from Father, either. Not to my face anyway.)

I think it's the TLM parishes that have a future. That's where all the young families and children are.  You don't see that many children in many Novus Ordo parishes. It's not rocket science to do the math.

The TLM is ever ancient, ever new.  Sometimes I feel like I've found the pearl of great price buried in a field — first by coming home to Holy Mother Church. Then by finding the Liturgy that has helped me remember, and discover, who I am. 

The TLM is ever ancient, ever new.  Sometimes I feel like I've found the pearl of great price buried in a field.

Rosa in New Jersey: For as long as I've been Catholic, about 20 years now, I've assisted at a TLM every Sunday. The Mass is now written on my heart, and it guides every moment of every day. You asked about the importance of the music in drawing people to this mass: Quiet weekday masses can be deep and holy; however, the glorious music of a Sunday solemn Mass or Missa Cantata seems to me to give glory to God, who is beauty itself.

Rebecca in Montreal: I usually hear praises of the beauty of the TLM. Some people do express a support for the Novus Ordo as making them feel part of the community, but I will leave this as being a difference of opinion. I have heard a few complaints about “rad trads,” but interestingly enough, it was from people who find the TLM much more beautiful, and who end up attending with us. Older people are surprised to find that the younger generations are interested in the Mass, in modesty, in veiling, reverence, and weekly Confession.

All in all, people have been positive about the TLM, and the group of people attending or interested in attending keeps growing. The biggest problem is not people disliking the TLM, but rather never hearing about it, or where to find one!

I think, before re-evangelizing the world, we need to re-educate Catholics about their own faith.

I think it's the TLM parishes that have a future. That's where all the young families and children are.  You don't see that many children in many Novus Ordo parishes. It's not rocket science to do the math.

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