Saturday, April 07, 2007

Why Some Priests Won’t Learn the Latin Mass
We can blame ourselves

A number of years ago, when I still thought there was hope the Novus Ordo might someday become relatively orthodox, I attended Mass at an NO parish in my city. One day, a young priest, a Navy veteran, arrived to be the new associate pastor. He was everything anyone who lived before Vatican II could hope for.

+ He wore a cassock around the parish grounds.
+ He started having the church bells in the belfry rung before Mass. (I didn’t know they existed until he got there!)
+ On Sundays, he only used – and usually sang – the Roman Mass, i.e. Eucharistic prayer #1 (the same one they use at the Vatican).
+ He often began Sunday Mass with the Asperges.
+ His Masses were always very reverent.

He was everything the pastor, God bless him, was not. A number of us thought a new day was in store. Not so. The young associate was transferred out in a year or two.

I mention all of this to indicate that if a young, conservative priest was likely to ever learn the traditional Latin Mass, it might have been he. So, when I recently saw the group Una Voce was offering scholarships for priests wanting to learn the Traditional Latin Mass to go back to the FSSP seminary in Nebraska this June, I called him to tell him the news.

He cordially told me that while he often said the Novus Ordo in Latin, and had concelebrated the Traditional Latin Mass, he had no interest in learning the TLM. Why? Because, he told me, while the strict rubrics were certainly daunting, he was surprised how nasty some of the congregants were after Mass in pointing out all his mistakes. They, he said, obviously knew the Mass better than he did and made no bones of telling him were he screwed up.

I apologized for their lack of charity and thanked Father for his time and candor.

There is no question, and especially in this age, the Church needs holy and reverent priests, even for the Novus Ordo. But here was a priest who would have been an excellent candidate to minister to those who prefer the traditional rite, with its 1,500 year track record, and those who like the “New” Mass of 1969. Instead of exercising the virtue of patience, and understanding that every new priest will be in a “learning curve” like a rookie in any endeavor, some know-it-all, holier-than-though, more-Catholic-than-the-Pope (a trait I see among a number of so-called “traditionalists”) 21st Century Pharisee decided to instruct this member of the clergy on how to say the Mass.

Who can blame him – or any priest in the same situation – for being disillusioned and asking if it effort is really worth it given the lack of appreciation and charity by Tridentine-loving members of his flock.

It’s time for some of us to look in the mirror.

42 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont buy it - this priest gave a lame excuse (not a reason, an excuse). Does anybody realize the amount of complaining and criticizing that all priests receive, regardless of which rite they celebrate? Once again, a priest without much of a backbone finding excuses not to minister, but instead to retreat.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont buy it - this priest obviously gave a lame excuse. Does anybody realize the amount of criticism and complaining that ALL priest receive, regardless of the rite they celebrate? This is just an example of a weak priest finding an excuse not to minister.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous CarpeNoctem said...

I had a big, long, cathartic message (much longer than this one, indeed) I was about to send, but I am thinking better of it on this Holy Night.

I take exception to anon above. Yeah, many priests have given up the fight. And I guess I am lucky to still young (both in age and in my priesthood) as I am not calloused over by all the whining that goes on (yes, I know that's a tough word, 'whining', but I stand by it.) I admire this fellow who is trying to do what is right, but is not willing to allow the corrosive attitudes to take him down. There is so much that priests need to bear nowadays that I would not interpret this as a retreat from ministry (no doubt this fellow is serving dutifully and honorably,) so much as prudent self-defense from the spirit of the scatterer which, like it or not, is unmistakably present in many traditionalist groups. Ironically, it is the fractioning spirit of protestantism which I believe invades those very groups. (If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...)

The priest described in AB's post is so true-to-life, it feels like it could be me. It is precisely the fear of the games of 'traditionalists' and 'traditionalism' which makes me fear that I might not ever be able to celebrate '62 publicly, even if/when the MP is released. As a shepherd entrusted with a fragile portion of the Good Shepherd's flock, it is the 'traditionalist' bloc in my parish that would dare to use the old Mass to divide... precisely in the sense of the Greek, diabolos... to scatter the flock. I already see it in the way they hack up the Body of Christ according where I fall on their chart when I celebrate N.O. Mass and what people 'like' or 'dislike' about these celebrations. This not going to happen on my watch. There will be no Barney Masses, no polka Masses, no gay Masses, but also no 'holier-than-thou' Masses... just Holy Mass (say what is in black, do what is red) according to the mind of the Church in whatever ritual form (N.O. or '62) it takes.

Unfortunately, elements antagonistic to the '62 missal in Church doesn't give priests like me enough credit for being sensitive to these kinds of issues... I suppose some people would criticize me as being 'neuanced'. So be it. I have to carefully defend my thoughts and clear misconceptions about the old Mass before my bishop, my brother priests, and before many of my people to make sure that I am not simply labeled 'crazy' and dismissed as 'out-of-touch'. To be dismissed in such a way hampers any attempt to be truly evangelical. We get labeled with the faults of traditionalist persons and groups, even while we are leading the charge to embrace the authentic mind and the heart of the Church in offering the '62 liturgy: restarting liturgical renewal. It's a tough job within the already tough-if not impossible-job of simply being a priest today. The priest in AB's post is not being unreasonable at all, I would say. There is no merit as a prophet in being completely incomprehensible to the world. (Maybe personal merit in acceptance being misunderstood, but as a priest, my missionary horizon almost always needs to be wider than that because of the nature of my call.)

I am detecting from the various discussions taking place over the web that B16 is working hard to protect the traditional Mass from the eccentricities and parochial-ness of traditionalists... probably just as hard as he is protecting the '62 Mass from its detractors. We cannot allow the reintroduction of the '62 Mass to define a ghetto of Catholic life and culture that is off the beaten path and exists simply for its own sake. It would seem the intention of the Holy Father is to restart authentic liturgical reform which (like it or not for some people) will take into account the 'normative' status of the N.O.

I look forward to celebrating the '62 missal. I am looking forward to teaching about the richness of the Roman Liturgy to so many who are trapped in 'Plato's cave' and simply do not know the world beyond what they find in their OCP hymnal and the tragic ICEL translations of the N.O. (...or perhaps for some of those whose only memory of the old Mass is section of the 'cave' where all that was seen was the sad, lame celebrations that took place in most places.) My hope is that the effort required to celebrate the High Mass in my parish on a regular basis will be enough to revolutionize the way we approach our worship of God and help us better evangelize the world.

Enough said. Blessed Easter, all!

2:08 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Actually, I've seen this myself. There is Tridentine Mass at a church which shall be nameless, a local blogger pitched a nasty fit complaining that the priest's Latin wasn't up to snuff and that he didn't do everything perfectly. Also, he whined that because the priest had an old military service injury he couldn't kneel properly. Gee whiz. The priest is trying and all this blogger can do is complain.

A LOT of us need to examine ourselves.

12:13 PM  
Blogger tara said...

At the great risk of being stoned to death--I admit I like the Mass in English--I don't know Latin, and I like being able to understand what is being said. (ahh--Holding my hands over my head)

2:25 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Interestingly, just yesterday -- after submitting the post -- I was reading an article a friend sent me from the March '07 "Homiletic & Pastoral Review" titled "A New Look at the Old Mass" by Fr. Kenneth Myers. The following portion, I think, tells me the priest to whom I spoke (as do the two comments above) isn't alone:

"Still others will try to bait their priests and bishops -- the very ones who provide tem ith the Traditional Mass -- waiting for mistakes or shortcomings they can turn against the clergy with venom. Believe me, I could fill an entire article with experiences I've had trying to deal with individuals such as these..."

3:17 PM  
Anonymous rjv said...

I really enjoy the Trid Mass, even though I don't know latin (however, I do know what is happening in Mass).

When it comes down to it, though, I think the N.O. in Latin (responses and all) with the priest's back to the ppl, too might be better than the Trid Mass for most people. I truly believe the Latin demands a reverence (okay, so my Latin N.O. masses have been limited to EWTN adn Christendom College, so I suppose I'm dealing with people who are not the norm when it comes to my experiences).

I can understand why priests may be hesitant to say the Trid Mass. I've witnessed "holier-than-thou" people spout off about how the N.O is not good (not counting the time I unknowingly went to a schismatic Mass - on Pentecost Sunday nontheless - and received an earful of a homily on how the N.O. is "from the devil" and how there was no holy spirit in the Church since before V2.

Even priests who celebrate the N.O. face severe criticisms, both good and bad. A local priest was transferred after many parishoners complained about him to the Archbishop - he happened to be TOO orthodox and homilies on the 5th, 6th and 9th commandments just aren't popular.

Sorry for the rambles, but I do believe priests have a difficult time dealing with the various "factions" within their parishes, and even with their bishops (depending on the bishop).

Even if Motu Proprio is never released, all I would like to see are nice reverent Masses w/o the sign of peace, w/o bands (and any music from the sanctuary), w/ chalice veils, and the other elements that restore the sacredness and mystery back to the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I admire this fellow who is trying to do what is right, but is not willing to allow the corrosive attitudes to take him down. There is so much that priests need to bear nowadays that I would not interpret this as a retreat from ministry"

This is exactly my point - by walking away from a ministry (ie. Tridentine Mass to a certain community)due to people being too critical, he has already been 'taken down' and thus has retreated. Lets be straight, a priest who cannot handle criticism from within the flock will NOT be able to stand the heat from the outside crowd. What is this priest going to do when preaching that homosexuality is a sin becomes a punishable offence? Is he going to cut and run? Water down the truth? Retreat to a community that is safe for his sensitive sensibilities? Come on!This is why I find this original excuse for not ministering to be lame.

1:08 PM  
Blogger tara said...

rjv:
with out sign of peace--good, with out bands--good, with chalice veils? you must be a guy. I'm a girl--please don't subject me to putting the old lace handkerchief on my head.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

True story:

About 10 years ago, the Archdiocesan-authorized Old Rite group was looking for a new church in which to celebrate the Mass (the Archdiocese had tossed us out of the Seminary..)

So a committee was appointed and made the rounds. There were 2 or 3 churches which fit all the criteria.

The Committee presented itself at one of the churches. During the conversation with the Pastor, one of the Committee-members asked him if he would remove from the Tabernacle all the hosts which were consecrated at Novus Ordo Masses 'so that the only hosts distributed at the Old Rite Mass would be those consecrated at the Old Rite Mass.'

Real smart, hey. Telling this Pastor (who was a decent guy and a 'conservative' that his Consecrations were...ahhh...not quite good enough...for the Old Rite communicants.

Needless to say, we did NOT obtain the Pastor's permission to use the church.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Tara,
No need to cover your head! You know you're always welcome here!

But concerning Mass in the "dead" liturgical Latin, vive Mass in the "live" modern English (or Japanese or Spanish or whatever), I ask you to read the following link. It may give you some things to think about.

http://catholic-caveman.blogspot.com/2005/12/just-something-to-think-about-give.html

Also, concerning Chapel Veils, that practice is straight out of the New Testament (The Letter to St James, I believe).

Catholic women have been wearing Chapel Veils for almost 2,000 years, that is until those wonderful changes of Vatican II made everything so much better! *sarcasm intended*

Has The Church been wrong all that time?

20157.46

1558.968

$12.93

4:01 PM  
Anonymous rjv said...

Tara: I said "chalice" veil, not a "chapel" veil...


Even though I'm not a guy, I do like chapel veils; however, I don't wear one.

6:41 PM  
Blogger tara said...

vir...
Thanks for welcoming me to your mass--without a chapel veil. My first thought as I read your link was that if I had grown up with the N.O. Mass--like you, I would NOT want them to change the Mass. I am a convert, and am unfamilar with the traditional Mass. There are many things I like about the traditional Mass, no touching or hugging, altar rails, the priest facing Jesus--Communion on the tongue. Communion in the hand is a big NO.

My second thought was that this is Jesus' church--He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truths. For 2000 years He has not let us become, "Protestant." I see your concerns, but I know I receive Jesus at my parish which follows the New Rite. Details such as language usage--can be corrected to conform to the traditional meaning.

Also, chapel veils--no and big NO. Thank you Holy Catholic Church for no longer requiring women to wear them! Remember, the New Testament also says that women should not speak in church...mmmmm.

Tell you the truth though, if Holy Mother Church went back to the traditional Mass--I would be there, wearing my veil (ahh)--I go for Jesus.

6:56 PM  
Blogger tara said...

rjv;
I have such an adversion to chapel veils--sorry misread your post, but made for good conversation with vir... and I'm glad you don't wear one. I do like chalice veils!

7:00 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Tara,
If you borrowed a missal, and attended a traditional Latin Mass for four consecutive Sundays using the missal, I think your opinion might change. As the priest and servers pray in Latin, the congregation reads along in English (or other language). Or, you can just watch and listen to the Mass in Latin, which is also inspiring. Also, the epistle and gospel are read, and the sermon is always given, in English or the vernacular of the given congregation.

12:47 AM  
Blogger David L Alexander said...

The priest's "excuse" is only lame to those who revel in being the armchair quarterback after Mass. This was the very thing against which some priests warned their congregations in the early days of the Indult. Many of them don't know nearly as much as they think they do -- not only in what the priest should or shouldn't do (as there was a certain degree of flux in the revisions occurring during 1958-62), but in whether or how the faithful respond.

I feel sorry for priests who have to listen to this drivel. I also feel sorry when it's so bad that a faithful priest would rather avoid learning the ancient Rite altogether. It says less about him, and more about those whom he serves.

9:48 AM  
Blogger zippy said...

This is exactly my point - by walking away from a ministry (ie. Tridentine Mass to a certain community)due to people being too critical, he has already been 'taken down' and thus has retreated.

There is a difference between retreating though and being codependent, and that is one of the elephants in the room when it comes to a universal indult. (I can hardly believe I am saying this. I think a universal indult would be a wonderful thing overall).

Example: it is good to minister to homosexuals in a certain way, and they have to be properly disposed to it or you are just enabling their sins. It is good to minister to Feenyites and other heretics in a certain way, and they have to be properly disposed to it or you are just enabling their sins. It is simply not the case that every choice to refrain from kissing up to a certain intransigently sinful group is a "retreat". Sometimes the best you can do for someone is to speak to them from a distance and otherwise leave them alone.

If people want the TLM they need to act like it. Anyone who is stupid and arrogant enough to rip on a priest who is willingly celebrating the TLM needs to spend (and may end up in fact spending) about a thousand years in Purgatory at a daily (valid) guitar kumbaya mass. And no day counts unless you sing along.

So I'm not buying the simplistic "he chickened out" narrative. If refusing to say a "gay friendly" mass isn't chickening out - and it isn't - then neither is refusing to say a "Feenyite friendly" mass.

9:54 AM  
Blogger tara said...

former alter boy:
Holding on to the traditional mass...when my daughters were small, and I went clothes shopping--one time I wanted to try something new--my kids said, "no, mom--it doesn't look like you." They loved me as I was, and did not want me to change.

I think that people who hold on to the traditional Mass--love our Holy Mother Church so much--they don't want her to change. But as an acorn grows into a tree, Mom changes.

If you really want a traditional Mass you could do Mass in private homes--with mostly women tending to the details. Like they originally did in the Bible.

As for reading the Missal--It would be distracting to me, I like to meditate on the words spoken through hearing,--flipping through pages would break my concentration. But your correct when you say I would enjoy the traditional Mass--I would--I love to go to Mass!

11:59 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Just a thought that can help us all; when the one with a plank in his eye points out the splinter in ours, he has still done us a favor... If we get angry at him in response, perhaps the splinter is bigger than we think. In both cases, he has done us a service.
deo gratia

4:41 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Remember, the New Testament also says that women should not speak in church...mmmmm.

Tara, my friend... please keep in mind that this particular passage is correctly translated as to PREACH (or to teach) in the churches.

Preaching and teaching are the priests job! But then again.... the Roman Protestants have twisted that particular portion of Sacred Scripture to mean something entirely different!

Women HAVE "spoken" in the churces for quite some time now. Remember the prayers said after Low Mass? Everyone said them!

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So I'm not buying the simplistic "he chickened out" narrative. If refusing to say a "gay friendly" mass isn't chickening out - and it isn't - then neither is refusing to say a "Feenyite friendly" mass."

Ahh - caught you!!
You are comparing celebrating the Tridentine Mass with examples of deviations to rightful liturgical aspirations. A "gay friendly" Mass is NOT officially sanctioned by the magesterium, a Tridentine Mass is most certainly allowed and 'to be applied generously to those who are attached...'. For a priest to walk away from celebrating a Mass that was in effect for the majority of the history of the church because some of the faithful were too critical needs to examine his priorities. Let me flip this around - if this same priest received the same degree of criticism from the average NO parish, would he walk away from celebrating the NO Mass? Be care ful how you answer!

8:13 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Vir...
I like that you correctly translated the Bible passage--as to women should not Preach or teach in the churches. I've been trying to get Fr. Erik, my priest--to let me out of teaching third grade catechism. I think I'll send him this post--LOL!

But seriously, As long as our Holy Mother Church is in union with our Holy Father Pope Benedict, does it matter that she wear a new dress or the old dress? I would love her in both--because I get Jesus!

8:14 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

as to women should not Preach or teach in the churches. I've been trying to get Fr. Erik, my priest--to let me out of teaching third grade catechism.

Tara,
Teaching catechism to children is muuuuuuch different from teaching in the churches!

Wouldn't you agree that teaching in the churches is suppose to be done by the priests?

9:04 AM  
Blogger zippy said...

You are comparing celebrating the Tridentine Mass with examples of deviations to rightful liturgical aspirations.

Uh, no I'm not. Read my comment again.

A "gay friendly" Mass is NOT officially sanctioned by the magesterium...

That depends on the particulars of what you mean by it, and in any case it is completely irrelevant to my point. A vicious lack of charity toward the priest who just brought you the TLM - as recounted by this priest - is every bit as wicked as sodomy. My point is that it isn't "chickening out" for this priest to refuse to serve drinks to an alcoholic. The TLM has obviously (taking this priest's account to be truthful) become an occasion of sinful incharity to some, just as the NO has become an occasion of the sin of indifferentism to others.

Let me flip this around - if this same priest received the same degree of criticism from the average NO parish, would he walk away from celebrating the NO Mass?

What do you mean "walk away"? He didn't walk away from a TLM parish to which he was assigned, he just chose not to learn how to celebrate the TLM on his own personal impetus.

And the flipping doesn't work. It begs the question to ask "what if NO communities had the same dysfunction", because NO communities don't have the same dysfunction. (They have their own dysfunctions, which this priest is also under no obligaiton to enable).

Personally I think it would be wonderful for the mystical Body of Christ if, for the next twenty years, most of those who now attend NO masses were required to attend TLM exclusively and most of those who now attend TLM were required to attend NO guitar masses exclusively and sing along.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And the flipping doesn't work. It begs the question to ask "what if NO communities had the same dysfunction", because NO communities don't have the same dysfunction."

Yes, NO parishes have many, many similiar dysfunctions - and others added to the list.

'Father, I dont like that song book, can we use something else?', 'Father, your Masses are boring, why cant you liven it up like Fr XX?', 'Father, why do we have to stand, when everone else kneels?', 'Father, why do we have to sing in Latin during Lent, I dont like Latin?' or 'Fr, why dont you let altar girls serve?'

And the mind numbing list goes on. A priest must make a critical decision on how he handles criticism - will he let it destroy his ministry, or will he have the courage to correct others?

Rather than accept this particular priest's response to the situation that he encountered, we should challenge it, and encourage other priests who face much more hardship and criticism to stay the course. Rather then walk away from this particular ministry, this priest could have taken the opportunity to correct those who may have been harsh, correct those who are misguided, and continue to serve ALL who desire a Tridentine Mass. And remember, the celebration of a Tridentine Mass, or any Mass for that matter according to established rubrics of the Church is the right and aspiration of all the faithful.

1:48 PM  
Blogger zippy said...

Yes, NO parishes have many, many similiar dysfunctions - and others added to the list.

You appear to be just the sort of person I have in mind who would benefit from a few decades of appreciating the fact of the Real Presence at guitar Masses.

Rather than accept this particular priest's response to the situation that he encountered, we should challenge it, and encourage other priests who face much more hardship and criticism to stay the course.

You keep speaking as though the priest in question was already on that course and then quit. He wasn't, and he didn't. He encountered some alcoholics and elected not to be a bartender.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol!

I have already taken that medicine - 40 years of guitar Masses, including one for this past Easter Vigil!

But really, you need to stop comparing those who attend Traditonal Latin Masses as comparable to alcoholics, do-dependents, gay-Masses and the like. The comparisons that you make actually express that you view TLM attendees as somewhat deviant, deficient, 'co-dependent' (in your words). As I mentioned several times, the TLM is a rightful aspiration to those who desire it. So says the Pope (JPII) via Ecclessia Dei and so will the Pope (B16) via the pending Motu Propio. If this is not enough for any clergy member to be aware that you cannot walk away from a ministry for those who request it, then I dont know what else could.

My evaluation still stands - the story of this particular priest illustrates a man who is perhaps weak in character, obviously very thin-skinned and will not be able to withstand the pressures or persecution that will come his way. Perhaps we should check in 5 years to see if this man has quit and walked away from his priestly duties entirely due to too many mean-spirited parishinors that will most certainly come his way. Then he will be free to become the bartender.

3:31 PM  
Blogger zippy said...

But really, you need to stop comparing those who attend Traditonal Latin Masses as comparable to alcoholics, do-dependents, gay-Masses and the like.

I'm not. I'm comparing (1) those who attend the TLM and then rip the priest a new one about the rubrics, and (2) those who fault such a priest for not making it a point to go learn to celebrate the TLM, to alcoholics, etc. (I've attended the TLM myself and yet feel no particular need for a twelve-step program).

My evaluation still stands - the story of this particular priest illustrates a man who is perhaps weak in character, obviously very thin-skinned and will not be able to withstand the pressures or persecution that will come his way.

And I think that evaluation says more about you, my bold persecution-resistant anonymous friend, then about him.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Anonymous (3:31pm),
Think what you will, but I can tell you this priest is not weak in character from my discussions (previously and recently)with him. He didn't say "never" and when he has anough parishioners who want the TLM, he may change his mind. Although I disagree with his current decision, I can still understand someone not wanting to undergo abuse by the unappreciative.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Former altar-boy,

Since you appear to know this priest personally, please encourage him to remain open-minded about celebrating the TLM, get to know those who request it and why, be strong in the face of 'persecution', and most of all pray for him.

It is good that you acknowledge that he may have made a poor decision. All the reasons stated and discussed, although understandable, does not mean the right decision was made. This has my main premise all along, that we should not accept that he did the correct thing by walking away from this particular ministry. If he is the type of person that you claim he is, then perhaps God will lead him back to those he formerly served. And then we can see a new article written about a priest's strength, not weakness - and that would be something worthy to read about!

Nuff Said

10:37 PM  
Blogger Jeff Tan said...

This is amazing. I thought the post was entirely a lesson in how parishioners must exercise some charity and due consideration for our priests, and Anon comes in, misses the point completely, lashes out with some truly marvelous words of condescension and condemnation. While it is true that our priests must exercise fortitude in the face of tribulations, and that we must encourage them to fight the good fight, it is also true that, being the household of God, we who are brothers and sisters must support one another. This does not mean supporting bad judgment, but always -- always -- to correct with charity. When we start throwing around summary dismissal of other people as being "without much of a backbone" or "weak in character", it is time to remember these words: "let the one who is without sin cast the first stone." And if we still cast that stone, it is truly time to seek a confessor -- even a priest held in low esteem can validly minister the sacrament of Penance...

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Tony said...

This is one of the issues I've had with the long awaited Moto Proprio regarding the liberalization of the rite of Trent.

I am in the diocese of Syracuse, and when I mentioned to my pastor, that finally we would be able to celebrate the Latin rite whenever and wherever we wanted to, he looked at me and said: "We have always been able to do that, all it takes is a call to the Bishop".

And that was it. Our Bishop universally issues the indult. One would think that there would be Tridentine masses popping up like mushrooms after a spring shower.

Uhhh... No.

We have one indult mass a week within 50 miles, and that is attended by about 45 people half of whom have lace covered heads.

The community at that parish is actually two communities. There are the "Latin Mass people" and "the other people".

When the Latin Mass people are "forced" to attend the NO Mass, I was told "the doily-heads won't even shake our hand during the sign of peace!" (There seems to be a bit of animosity between the two groups.

However, on the bright side...

I suggested to our choir director that we inject a little Latin into our Masses. Maybe an Agnus Dei to start and possibly a Kyrie (I know that's Greek :)) later.

She said: "Why not do a complete Latin Chant mass setting for Holy Thursday?

So that's what we did. It was beautiful. The mass responses, from the Gloria to the Agnus Dei were all sung in Latin with organ accompaniment.

For Tara:

The readings, and other prayers the priest did were in English, and we actually sang English opening and closing hymns.

There was something for everybody (or we were able to piss everyone off, however you look at it).

If people want a prayerful, devotional Mass containing Latin, Chant, plainsong, candles, bells and incense, there is nothing in the rubrics stopping you now. You don't even need to get permission.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

For a priest to walk away from celebrating a Mass that was in effect for the majority of the history of the church because some of the faithful were too critical needs to examine his priorities.

The priest is under no obligation to celebrate the Tridentine rite. The availability of the pre-conciliar rite is going to be completely dependent on the ability and desire of the priests who are going to celebrate it.

One thing you do not want to do is antagonize the man who will celebrate the rite you want. You may have to put up with a few missteps. If you make it difficult for him, especially if you are in a vocal minority, he'll probably respond by saying it just isn't worth the effort.

Let me flip this around - if this same priest received the same degree of criticism from the average NO parish, would he walk away from celebrating the NO Mass? Be careful how you answer!

Why? It's an easy answer. Of course not. But in most American parishes the priest is under obligation to celebrate the current rite of the Roman Catholic church.

There are those who have abandoned the NO. Those in communion with Rome are in the FSSP, those who aren't are in the SSPX. One worked within the framework of the current Church regulations, the other did not.

I love the Latin Mass, but I still find a certain degree of arrogance in the adherents that I find unbecoming.

You seem to be exemplifying that arrogance, "anonymous".

3:39 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

I think the original post is right on. Priests are human. No matter what they do, someone will not be happy.

The way I see it, newer priests cannot possibly get it all right straight out of the shoot. People have to be patient. Workshops becoming more available will help.

But, the criticism of those who try, and don't get this or that perfect, has got to stop.

I don't think the criticism should stop the priest, but on the other hand, there comes a point when the priest can't even focus on mass out of concern for what he may or may not be doing right.

Patience is a virtue and people in the pew need to exercise patience. I'm grateful to see an interest on the part of young priests and the experience should not be a difficult one.

Great post. Thanks!

5:15 PM  
Blogger tara said...

tony:
Gregorian chant--yah! Bring it on!

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tony said -

" love the Latin Mass, but I still find a certain degree of arrogance in the adherents that I find unbecoming.

You seem to be exemplifying that arrogance"

Interesting feedback!

FYI - and I have stated this in a previous post, but I am not an adherent of the TLM. In fact, I have only attended the TLM a few times in my life. No, I am a NO adherent through and through. Some have wasted blog space bringing up FSSP, SSPX, and that is not even what this topic is about.

Yes, the basic meaning of the article was thaat we should appreciate our priests. But a closer read of the article also illustrates some other disturbing themes, such as the following:

1. There is an underlying tone that generalizes and comdemns TLM adeherents as being nasty people who do not deserve this priest and,

2. That the priest was justified in walking away from his minitry.

These are the two points that I am challenging.

Come on people - Lets not debate by generalizing and calling TLM adherents "doily-heads","nasty and unappreciative","dysfunctional", etc. No, let us reflect on how this priest reacted to this challenging situation, which was to simply stop ministering to these peeple. Priests need to remember that the business that they are in are to 'lead souls to heaven.' Saving souls is not a pretty business, and not for the faint of heart. What this priest needs is an older, wiser priest to grab him by the scruff of his neck and drag him back to the ring...

And lets not gorify his reaction, which in my opinion demonstrated some personal weaknesses, by justifying and even defending what he did.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Andy K. said...

Dear Anonymous,

Funny, I thought the point was that a lack of charity can be problematic. In this case, a group of people who complained uncharitably has effectively turned off a priest from celebrating the Tridentine.

You are right that the priest should reconsider. Likewise should this group of people who complained uncharitably. Perhaps pride is interfering with both parties: the priest who "feels unappreciated" and the vociferous group who "knows how the Mass to to be done, thank you very much".

We should pray for both groups.

6:48 AM  
Blogger zippy said...

2. That the priest was justified in walking away from his minitry.

It wasn't his ministry.

I've gotta admit though that probably the best way to make my point is to hand you a microphone, anon.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Papabile said...

WhatI'ma little flummoxed by is the Caveman's reference to the priest, when he suggested the Priest:

"He cordially told me that while he often said the Novus Ordo in Latin, and had concelebrated the Traditional Latin Mass, he had no interest in learning the TLM."

That would mean that Priest had been ordained in the Pian Rite, as that's the only point of concelebration possible.

Or, thatwoul mean the PCED had authorized the implementation of Ecclesiae Semper from 1965 for the 1962 Missal.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Papabile,
An ealier post by me in response to a similar remark by Anonymous doesn't seem to have gone through, so I will say again, the term concelebrate may have been my misuderstanding of what the priest told me, or he (not being an expert on the TLM) may have misspoke. Maybe he meant "assisted" which I do know occurs at traditional Masses, i.e. most Masses celebrated by a bishop, including the bishop of Rome.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

Dad29:

wow...I was present for something similar two years ago near Raleigh. If I'd have been sitting I'd have fallen off...as it was I just gasped and made like the goldfish.

Certain lay Catholics actually asked a priest not to offer them hosts that had not been consecrated during a Tridentine Mass. The priest said fine...then winked at me out of their line of sight. I asked him later about this. He said it wasn't the first time. He was very funny about it, just snorted with profound contempt and said "they can go to hell."

HE WAS JOKING!

He also had a point...I mean about smiling sweetly and completely ignoring them. The nerve!

12:23 AM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

I wonder if some of the trad-radicals were on their deathbed would refuse Extreme Unction and Viatacum from a Novus ordo-only priest?

1:53 PM  

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