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October 11, 2006



That's right - a lot of "those people" won't be pleased no matter what Pope Benedict does. What is happening is that the Latin Mass is being reintegrated into the life of the Church again and the novus ordo is being purified. And the bishops have no say in the matter, if there's a motu proprio attached to it. Too bad, Cardinal Mahony. Gone are the pitchers of Kool Aid at your Masses.


Praise be to God. I also have a source whom heard it from the Holy Father's mouth that this is coming by the end of November.

I pray that the love of the TLM grows and the NO is purified so that it accurately reflects a hermeneutic of continuity as Pope Benedict said during his Christmas Curial address.


the faith that the availibility of this Rite will affect some kind of "cross-pollination" and improve and focus the practice of the Novus Ordo.

I suspect that by far the largest effect of this will not be on the relatively small minority attending the old Mass, but rather on the large majority continuing to attend the new Mass. And that this is precisely Pope Benedict's intent. In his writings as Cardinal Ratzinger he repeatedly emphasized the need for the traditional rite as a guide and signpost for the continuing development of the new rite.

Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P.

There seems to be something to this story. Long articles on the supposed new document appeared today in a number of Italian newspapers.

Rorate Caeli has translated (partially) that in Il Giornale and provides links to the articles in other Italian papers (if you read Italian).

There is also a fairly long article at Catholic News Service: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0605776.htm


Has anybody else noticed the irony of the news breaking on the same day as the feast of the little man whose picture Amy has placed in the upper left-hand corner?


Let me say this up front: I am not a traditionalist.

Let me say secondly what it seems that - especially based on past comments and writings he has put out - the Pope is trying to accomplish here, and that is two things:

1. To bring back into the fold such followers of SSPX as can be brought back in - a share which Pope Benedict and all other reasonable observers know will never be 100%;

2. To create an environment more hospitable for the reform of the reform of the liturgy be reintroducing more intimately into the daily life of the Church the classical Roman Rite, which, as the Pope has written repeatedly, should serve as the standard, the "control group" for liturgical reform.

It's all in the details, of course, in terms of how this is implemented. Some bishops will still fight it (just imagine Tod Brown's reaction). And to celebrate it properly - well, a fighting knowledge of Latin and familiarity with a set of more exacting rubrics is going to be needed. Say what you will, but one advantage of having only special indult communities (FSSP, ICK, etc) celebrating the Roman Rite is that it has insured that those doing so know what they're doing, and do so with real love and reverence. No quickie mumbled 15 minute speed low masses of the sort that gave such a bad odor in the pre-conciliar years (which I say to forestall Todd's inevitable, and I think in some measure fair, comment in this regard).

I think it is a fair question to ask how many attend indult masses simply because they can find no reverently celebrated N.O. masses near them? I know I'm such a one, or at least have been at times in the past. To say such is to prescind from any debate over the (often serious) defects in the collects or lectionary of the N.O., as detailed recently by Lauren Pristas; the point here is that one hopes that greater exposure to the Roman Rite will put more Catholics, lay or clerical, in touch with more of the richness of their own forgotten tradition, and thus lay the groundwork for a much more fruitful reform of the New Rite.

And yes, it is accurate, I think, to call them different rites - and this is how, apparently, they will now be celebrated.

Either way, I am pleased to see the earnest prayers of so many finally answered.

TM Lutas

I believe that this indult, if it happens, would only be the opening move in a larger adjustment. The end of November sees Benedict XVI in Turkey visiting the patriarch of Constantinople. Why announce such a change when, for many, it might overshadow the visit? It would only make sense to do so if there were some wider ecumenical move afoot which would thematically fit with a wider indult for the Tridentine.

What joy if the announcement of a wider indult ended up being a footnote! You can't expect such a thing but one can dream and the rumored timing is decidedly odd.


If they're gonna do it, I hope there's a preference for the "dialogue" mass. Obviously one can and should participate when attending a non-dialogue mass, but participation is easier when you have responses to make and so on.



You make another good point here:

"2) principle - that it makes no sense for the Mass, offered for centuries, not be widely available..."

It is worth repeating, as Klaus Gamber has noted, along with the Pope, about what happened in 1969: Unlike any previous initiative, the Roman Rite was not reformed; it was replaced by a new rite. An entirely legitimate rite, to be sure, and with some connection to the old one. But new and distinct, just the same.

And so it does seem nonsensical for a rite celebrated for centuries to suddenly be forbidden. Had Pope Paul restricted the brief of the consilium to a modest (and needed) reform of the Roman Rite, as clearly envisioned by Sacrosanctum Concilium...well, we would not be here having this conversation today.

Worth reading in this regard are the pope's remarks to precisely this effect in Looking Again At the Question of the Liturgy With Cardinal Ratzinger: Proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference edited by Alcuin Reid OSB.

Ray from MN

I don't know if I would regularly go to the Tridentine Latin Mass or not. I was raised on it. I've learned to like the N.O. Mass in English, when it is well done. Even better if Gregorian Chant is used.

For the good of the Church, it would seem to me to be far more important to get rid of the abuses in the N.O. Mass. The sloppiness, the corruption of the text with additions and omissions, the abuses of the rubrics, the casualness of the servers and the Extraordinary Ministers, celebrants who don't even vest properly and other items greatly detract from the holiness of the experience.


Richard is obviously correct.The Holy Father wants to renew the liturgy according to the mind ofVatican II.It was the liturgist Louis Bouyer ,one of the achitects of sacrosanctum concilium of Vat.II who said that the old mass was a corpse and the new mass is that corpse decomposed.I beleive in the long end we will arrive at a missal which is truly the heir of the council,organically rooted in Tradition.

Mark Adams

Given that this was a "sure-thing" during the last Holy Week I have been pretty skeptical of blog reports on this. But given that this is being reported by CNS it looks to be pretty likely. Whatever you might think of CNS' ideological biases they are pretty reliable on this sort of thing.

Christopher Sarsfield

I agree that this will be very good for the New Mass. Many priests, who say both Rites, have said that saying the Traditional Mass has improved their offering of the New. However, I do not want dialogue Mass, unless they are sung. I attended an Eastern Rite Liturgy without a cantor, so the Liturgy was not sung, and the result was a banal as the New Mass. Secondly, I do not agree with the theology that relegates the participation of the lay faithful to that of a server. I do not know when their roles became synonymous but I for one think that it is clericalism in a very bad form. I attend the Traditional Mass and I pray all the prayers of the priest making them my own. Obviously, I recognize the difference between my necessity (there is none) and the priest's in the sacrifice, that said the sacrifice is really mine as well as the priest’s, and I resent being seen as a merely a server.

Boko Fittleworth

I think the most important part of active participation by the laity in the Mass is the uniting of one's will to Christ's saving sacrificial action re-presented on the altar. There's no dialogue at that point in the classical form of the Roman rite. The dialogical memorial acclamation shocks one out of this most important active participation and demands that one say/sing a response, or at least listen to others do so. What an impediment to true active participation.

By which I mean, while I like dialogue Masses, there's also much to be said for a 25 minute low Mass. We still need more catechesis on what participatio actuoso means. Of course, the powers that be will have to agree on what it means before they can catechize the rest of us.

Plus, all men of goodwill of course realize that broader offering of Mass according to the 1962 Missal is just a stop-gap until the Church can return to her pre-Bugnini liturgy and organically (and verrrry slowly) grow from there.


No quickie mumbled 15 minute speed low masses of the sort that gave such a bad odor in the pre-conciliar years (which I say to forestall Todd's inevitable, and I think in some measure fair, comment in this regard).

For the past year I've attended indult Masses celebrated by a young priest who was "retrained" to celebrate the TLM. I don't recall a single one recently that's lasted less than an hour and 15 minutes.

Regarding the parenthetical comment, I was also there in the 1950's, and never witnessed a 15-minute quickie. Not a single one. I do recall people looking for a shorter Sunday Mass complaining that "No matter whether the sermon is long or short, low Mass somehow lasts exactly 42 minutes." (I not saying myself that it always did, merely that this was a common saying of the time, which surely others will remember.)


I was a little Lutheran girl of about five when my Catholic Dad took me to the (then) Latin Mass at the local parish.

The beauty of the Church, the lingering smell of incense, the mystery of it all.

If we can bring some of that back to all of our liturgies, NO and Traditional it could go a long way towards healing the bewilderment so many of us who came into the Church feel at the lack of the numinous that has infiltrated so many Catholic parishes.


How can any mass be held without the Bishop giving permission. Does he not need to mkae sure the priest is properly trained and following the proper procedure? Is not the parish priest still bound to obey the bishop in all matters? How can he be left out of it?


I'm surprised that some people find saying responses distracting. That's very interesting and something I want to think about more.

Along the same lines: do people find it distracting for the priest to say the canon and other prayers loud enough to hear? Maybe that will sound sarcastic but I don't mean it that way at all. The last low mass I went to, I couldn't hear a thing, and well, it was hard to follow along! But maybe others don't have the same experience.

Finally, saying responses needn't reduce one to being a server--one can still say the prayers along with the priest anyway. No?

I wonder how long it will take to get a musical setting by Haugan or Haas. It would be nice to have High Mass too.



This from CWN:

"Vatican sources say that the papal document affirms the principle that there is only one liturgical rite for the Latin Church. But this rite has two forms: the "ordinary" liturgy (the Novus Ordo, usually celebrated in the vernacular language) and the "extraordinary" (the Tridentine rite, in Latin). These two forms have equal rights, the text indicates, and bishops are strongly encouraged to allow free use of both forms."

Christopher Sarsfield

Dear MG,

I do not believe that you can say the prayers of the priest in the New Mass. There are specific rubrics for the people attending the New Mass, and what the people are supposed to say and the priest's prayers are not part of their role.

BTW in the traditional liturgy their are no rubrics for the congregation. It is all governed by local custom.

Rich Leonardi

... and bishops are strongly encouraged to allow free use of both forms.

That ends that. "We already offer the indult at St. Euphemia's across town. So this new document is addressing a need not felt here."

Michael Tinkler

About priest's ditching the Novus Ordo (or English for the N.O.), let me repeat my question from the earlier thread...

How DOES it work?

Let's say you're a parish priest and you perceive the need to offer a Spanish language mass on Sundays and you have enough Spanish to do it. Can you just start doing it? Consult your parish council and do it?

Do you need to consult the bishop?

What if you perceive a strong need for a Vietnamese language mass but don't have any Vietnamese language ability - obviously you wouldn't just sound it out as you go along....

Understanding how THAT process goes on might allay some fears.


I'm excited because the pastor at my parents' parish was the celebrant at one of their archdiocese's indult masses. Now, when I go to visit, I might be able to see my first Latin Mass!

Boko Fittleworth


One can say (to oneself) the prayers of the priest, making them one's own, silently, at either form of the Roman rite. I think this addresses Mr. Sarsfield's response, also.

As to dialogue at Mass, I find the NO rather chatty and didactic. Listen to this, respond with this. The priest (lector, cantor) is talking to me and I am supposed to listen and respond in a codified way. I prefer the freedom of the classical rite. (Free for the laity; the priests are constrained by the rubrics, are servants of the liturgy: I think that's why some priests don't like it. They'd rather the liturgy be at their service, be a tool they can use for whatever end, be it personal popularity or bringing people to God.) In the classical rite, the priest talks to God and we listen in and join our wills, our selves, to the offering. (This leaves aside for the time being the question of just how didactic the Liturgy of the Word (or Mass of the Catechumens-the first half of a classical rite Mass; they roughly correspond) is supposed to be. It seems it was very much so at first, then not for centuries, and maybe shall be again-certainly it is in the NO.)

Okay, I'm having way too much fun with parentheses and not responding, so let me just encourage people to give the classical rite multiple tries. One doesn't get it at first. I've found, from my experience, that first I was lost, then I followed along in my Latin/English missal, then I really joined myself to what was happening while following along in my missal, and now, finally, I am familiar enough with the Mass that sometimes I use my missal, sometimes no. A real freedom to pray the Mass, but to linger at parts that I feel called to meditate upon more deeply that day. I think some priests resent the laity's relative freedom at Mass.

And, regarding the silent Canon, the out-loud "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" clues me in to where we are as I strike my breast and find the right page in my missal.

Old Zhou

The NO "Dialogue Mass" can, perhaps, encourage "full, active participation."
But it can also be a case of mindless, automatic memorized responses,
as indicated by the joke:

Bishop visiting parish comes up to santuary with wireless microphone, and has trouble with it. He thinks it is malfunctioning, but it is on.
He says, "There is something wrong with this mic."
And the congregation responds, "And also with you."


"I don't know if I would regularly go to the Tridentine Latin Mass or not. I was raised on it. I've learned to like the N.O. Mass in English, when it is well done. Even better if Gregorian Chant is used.

For the good of the Church, it would seem to me to be far more important to get rid of the abuses in the N.O. Mass. The sloppiness, the corruption of the text with additions and omissions, the abuses of the rubrics, the casualness of the servers and the Extraordinary Ministers, celebrants who don't even vest properly and other items greatly detract from the holiness of the experience."

I used to attend a Traditional Latin Mass regularly(I no longer do because I am now in a diocese that doesn't offer one.) It was just a low mass. No Gregorian chant, no incense. Just traditional hymns and silence. And it was more reverent and beautiful than anything I had seen from the Novus Ordo, even at "high church" type masses. A reverently said N.O. mass is nice, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen that. That is the whole problem with the N.O. mass: your experience is dictated by the whims and personality of the priest and the parish council. Even if you have an orthodox, conservative priest saying mass for you today, you could have a "Gather us in" type guy tomorrow, and the experience will be completely different.
Even when reverently said, there is still the problem of the banality of the language, which only encourages boredom and malaise, since there is nothing different or special about the Mass. The language you hear at the N.O. mass is the same language you hear while shopping at Wal-Mart!


I was thinking of the "dialogue" way of doing the Tridentine mass.

Anyway you're certainly right that the NO can be just as automatic. I'm always struck by the way that priests often say "The Lord be with you" and then right after that say "Good morning"--as if they haven't already greeted us! A sign, I think, that we aren't dealing with conscious active participation.


Hello Henry,

Regarding the parenthetical comment, I was also there in the 1950's, and never witnessed a 15-minute quickie. Not a single one.

I was born in 1969, so I have no direct experience. But I have talked to both priests and lay who have.

I should be clear that I'm talking about daily low masses, not a high mass.

Either way, the point is that whatever merits the classical Roman Rite has (and it has many), it can be poorly celebrated, and sometimes was in the years before the Council.

hello Janice,

Given some of what I have read by the Pope, and by Gamber (the introduction to whose book was written by Ratzinger), I guess I have to say that I'm reluctant to take advance reports about the precise wording of "rite" versus "rites" with a grain of salt until I see the document itself. Either way the problem poses certain canonical difficulties given the lack of precedent for the current situation in which we lamentably find ourselves now.

hello Rich and Michael,

I think we all know that, however definitive or emphatic the motu proprio ends up being, the rubber hits the road in the daily life of the diocese. And bishops can make trouble if they want to. And, likewise, any priest that wants to celebrate the 1962 missal is going to have to do the hard work of learning how to do so. Good, sympathetic bishops like Bruskewitz and Finn have always been clear on this, and likewise have been supportive in helping such priests get the help they need to do so; or alternately, making sure an ICK or FSSP priest could be gotten to do it.

But not every bishop is a good, sympathetic bishop who knows and loves the liturgy in its fullness. In the end, in some measure it does come down to the bishops.

Let's pray the Holy Father provides us with more.


Right MG, and this sort of thing is being addressed we hope by Liturgiam authenticam and more accurate translation. To wit, the reponse to "The Lord be with you" in Latin is "et cum spiritu tuo," or and with your spirit.

That hits a little closer to home, doesn't it? And more along the lines of your point, it sets the greeting in its proper context, i.e. apart from the marketplace.


I asked my mom for her first person account from back in the day.

There was a 17 minute Low Mass at Holy Angels. It was reverent; it was just fast.

Since Holy Angels is right next to UD, it was a multi-priest Mass (for faster passing out of Communion at the rail). No long homily; it went from the homily to the creed, and then the altarboys were already ready for the offertory; no sitting after Communion. It took longer to drive down than to go.

Tom Piatak

Viva il Papa!

Rich Leonardi

Since Holy Angels is right next to UD ...

When I attended UD in the late 80s there was a curmudgeonly priest in residence at Holy Angels who would toss out students and their parents when they showed up for Mass in shorts or clothes suited for yardwork. A friend of mine was outraged when he and his parents were turned away. I couldn't help but chuckle.


Viva il Papa indeed!


I still harbor some doubts about reports of 15- and 17-minute low Masses; that's cutting it a bit thin. But whereas my typical Sunday low Mass (with sermon and hymns) was maybe 42 minutes then -- leaving ample time for parking lot turnover before the next hour -- when I was a graduate assistant I attended an about 24-minute daily low Mass (no sermon, no music) at 8 am, leaving time for me to walk briskly back to my office and finish preparation for the class I taught at 9 am.

And this 24-minute almost silent low Mass was so intense with my own active prayerful participation that I long it for even now, not having enjoyed such an undiluted experience of interior prayer at an ordinary daily parish Mass in 40 years. And surely the difference is not solely that I'm 40 years older now.


Hilaire Belloc has a wonderful passage in The Path to Rome (by far his best book) where he asserts that any priest who takes more than 15 minutes to say (weekday) Low Mass must be presumed a heretic.

Mark Wyzalek

I grew up with the Tridentine Latin Mass and learned it as an altar boy.
In July my wife (who grew up Southern Baptist but swam the Tiber 4 years ago) and I had the occassion to partake in one in Jacksonville FL when we attended a Family Honor conference.
Leaving church that day we both gave thanks to, and a deeper appreciation of, Vatican II and the Mass in the vernacular.


So much to say I don't know where to start. I was raised on the Tridentine Mass, and have very vivid memories of 15 minute Masses where little old ladies said the Rosary during such because, I guess, they wanted to be doing something while the priest talked to God in a language they didn't understand, with his back to them.
Of course the Mass was so short because, if there were two hundred people there, only about fifty actually recieved Communion.
The wash out rate for alter boys was brutal, since you had to memorize the responses. It wasn't like you understood what you were saying. Luckily there were always lots of candidates, since all boys in the second grade of the associated Catholic school were required to try out.
My point isn't that the Tridentine rite can not be beautiful and spiritual or profoundly moving. My point is it can be done badly just as much as the Novus Ordo. And giving the Tridentine wider exposure will require extensive preperation to do it right.
For example, my parish priest has no Latin. He is, no doubt, not the only priest in that position.
Then there is training the alter servers. They have to learn their parts. It seems hard enough to get enough servers to be at a venacular mass. (Can female servers be used at a Tridentine Mass, or is it limited to boys? Or is that at the discretion of the bishop as for the NO?)
Then there is catechising the faithful. I fear for what will happen when the new rules for the NO come out (which I am glad to see, by the way. There is no excuse for sloppy translation, especially of something as important as the liturgy.) Getting a sizable number of adults, most of who have never been exposed to the Tridentine Mass, to gain an appreciation of the Latin Mass will be a massive task.
Speaking of training there is the training of all of the catechists so that those not yet Confirmed (that is every child from pre-First Eucharist to Confirmation) are properly introduced to both rites (the Tridentine Mass and the [hopefully] improved NO.)
I haven't even mentioned the revision of the Seminary, both to reintroduce Latin in the proper depth, and to teach both masses.
Not saying it can't be done, but this is a long term task which won't come to pass in a year, or perhaps even a decade.

Jana Carpenter

I have attended both the Tridentine and the NO Mass over the last 20 years. There is no comparison here. My children have even exclaimed that the Tridentine is "just holier". Fortunately we do have a Sunday indult, but sadly we are restricted by our bishop (Robert Lynch--dio. St.Petersburg)from receiving any other sacraments in the Latin. Many of us have traveled long distances for Baptisms, Confirmations, and Weddings. It would be wonderful to have the Tridentine celebrated by order of the Pope without bishop-consent. Good luck on that one.

John B

As I mentioned yesterday, untill there is an offical document signed, this is all speculation.

IF this document does surface, then those who appreciate the mass in the vernacular need not fear having to learn Latin, nor do they need to expect any changes in the rubrics in how most typical masses are celebrated in. What could change is that the TLM could become more widely celebrated, and those who prefer the TLM can finally have a full parish life.

I suspect once more TLMs are celebrated, I can envision, for example, a diocese with 500K Baptized Catholics and 100 parishes for example, might get 4 or so regional parishes dedicated to the TLM(or at least with TLMs celebrated spread regionally). Within a few years, prehaps 10-15% of active, churchgoing Catholics may attned the TLM, and this would still leave the vast majority of Catholics unchanged in how they experience mass, so again, no need to fear an expanded indult.

On the other hand, I can forsee, if the indult is liberalized, a huge percentage of priestly and religous vocations coming from TLM communities.

Rich Leonardi

Hilaire Belloc has a wonderful passage in The Path to Rome (by far his best book) where he asserts that any priest who takes more than 15 minutes to say (weekday) Low Mass must be presumed a heretic.

In his biography of Belloc, Joseph Pearce writes that Belloc would shift his gaze back and forth between his pocketwatch and the priest-celebrant if he thought there was a risk that Mass would run long.

Fr Martin Fox

Some thoughts...

I am concerned, as I think some others are, that this move may deflect energy from improving the celebration of the Pauline Rite.

I wonder if the Pian Rite, thus fully "set free," can long escape fine-tuning -- for example, what about the calendar? The lectionary? I don't even know -- are saints who have been canonized in more recent years even celebrated in the Pian Rite? If not, is there a good reason for this? There are those who say, of the Pian Rite, "don't change a thing!" and they do this for understandable distrust of those who would do the changing. But is such a posture, on principle, defensible?

Rich: the CNS bit you cited about whether bishops have to allow the Pian Rite could be accurate, or it could be well-placed spin, to influence the understanding of the document.


I think it bears mentioning in passing that it must be a very common experience of NO daily masses (not Sunday masses) that they rarely exceed 25-30 minutes. 2nd Eucharistic Prayer, no homily required, no creed, one reading.

Nevertheless, the implicit criticism of a short weekday TLM low mass (with a suggestion of irreverence) is that whatever rite is in general use will be at the mercy of the priests and parishes who do not approach the liturgy with care, attention and love. If your parish offers boring, quick NO masses - the TLM will be boring and quick too.

I am consoled by the fact that the TLM could not possibly be worse for the faithful than the NO. But, I am still concerned about it being set free and then judged based on its celebration in communities who are not familiar with it, not particular about celebrating correctly and have little interest or capability in using the traditional chant books - so that it will be all low masses with hymns in stilted latin.

Dev Thakur

Thank you, Fr. Fox, for bringing up a concern I have also had.

Ideally if the 1962 missal were used with greater freedom, it would be adapted to the circumstances of the Church today, especially regarding the current calendar.

If both rites could be used with the same calendar, how wonderful would that be!

Precisely the reason that I, as a Roman Catholic who almost always attends at least one mass of the new missal every week, decided not to try to say the Office according to the Old Rite is because the calendars don't match.

It's the same reason I gave up on trying to say the Byzantine hours regularly too ... it's not in the nature of the Church for one person to have to adjust back and forth between two calendars.

Susan S.

I'm trying to imagine the outcry from Orthodox Catholics if Holy Father was bending to the demands of a small number of American and European Catcholics to satisfy their whims, even if there is no interest or concern in the Global South churches, where all the church growth is taking place.

Now we have Orthodox Catholics centered in France and the U.S. insisting on the TLM when there is no outcry or need in the Global South. Talk about First World arrogance.


If you were raised in the Vatican II liturgical environment, and this is all you know, you have an opportunity to discover for yourself the Traditional Mass. With an open mind, please find and attend for some time the Traditional Mass that may be allowed by your Bishop. Let the prayers of this Mass permeate your mind and spirit, but please give them time. First few Masses may be confusing, but then the fog will disperse, and its glory, beauty, and structure will start revealing themselves. Come and see.

voip word

best site

John B

Susan S, there are"global south"countries with a fairly sizable traditionalist presence. Brazil is one such example, having the Campos diocese, Argentina has a fairly big SSPX presence, while Mexico has a few "independent" priests that celebrate the TLM.

Also Susan, few Traditionalists want to insist on imposing the TLM on the entire Latin rite, they just want to be able to attend and experience a full liturgical life based on t he TLM.

Brendan Kelleher SVD

I write as a priest who was ordained in 1975, and as a young boy served my share of pre-Vatican II Eucharists, including quite a few with 'busy' priests who seemed to say Mass 'on the run'. Now I thank God for having been allowed to serve as a missionary in Japan for most of my priestly life. For us a liturgy in Japanese is a sign that Christianity also is part of Japanese society and culture and not an 'import'; Gospel, "Good News" for all God's people. Talk of indults is a diversion and a distraction we can well do without, as is the mixed quality of true Christian witness coming from the West. We need voices raised in the name of Peace. Above all this is the topic I'd like to ask your contributors to make the focus of your witness and energy.


"Getting a sizable number of adults, most of who have never been exposed to the Tridentine Mass, to gain an appreciation of the Latin Mass will be a massive task."

Amen to that. Our parish now has a Latin Mass (Novus Ordo) each Sunday. It runs over 90 minutes. The volunteer choir was "fired" and replaced by professional singers, directed by a newly hired "Master of Music," who perform classical settings of the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei while the celebrant and congregation sit and listen. Yes, the music is beautiful, but it more resembles a concert performance than a prayer. At least 8 experienced and specially trained altar boys are required, which is a challenge because most families with school-age children will not attend this Mass.

Ours is not a parish with clown Masses and liturgical dance. Our ordinary, non-Latin Masses are celebrated with devotion and reverence. Our two daily Masses are well-attended. The sparse attendance at the Latin Mass makes clear that this Mass was added solely because the pastor wanted it, not because the parishioners longed for it. The pastor has already declared that he will offer the Tridentine Mass as soon as it becomes authorized. I can't wait.

John B

Fr. Kelleher, if the church took the same approach to the Latin rite as it did to the Eastren rites in terms of the vernacular, there would be far fewer calls to get the TLM back. Its not about Latin, it is about reverence.

Also to be very blunt Father, the rate of conversions to the church except in Africa is no better, and in fact, many ways worse than it was in the pre Vatican II era. In India for example, the growth of the church has stalled.


I became a Catholic in 1978, so my only experience of the Tridentine rite is from a few indult Masses. Other things being equal, if I could choose I'd always choose the old rite, because its emphasis on our unworthiness and the mercy of God reminds me that I belong there. At the new rite, I always feel like they don't really mean it for people like me. Hymns about what good Christians we are (I realize they're not an intrinsic part of the liturgy) really don't help.

But even if a Tridentine rite Mass shows up close enough for me to drive there, I probably won't go, or at least not most Sundays: because to do that, I'd have to give up having a parish. I'd just be a constant visitor. I really don't think this is the way it's supposed to be. I would happily flee my own parish for the sake of an orthodox parish with the old liturgy; but it doesn't seem right to trade a whole parish for an isolated liturgy.

John B

AT, you can simpily join the parish with the TLM.More than 1/3 of active Catholics in the US at least, are registered to a parish that is not in their local territory.


You obtain grace from the NO as well as from the TLM.The Mass is the Mass as the bride is the bride whether in a beautiful wedding gown or rags.The TLM has an awesome track record with conversions.It was the Mass that drew Oscar Wilde to the church as well as the poets of the time known as the "decadents",it was the TLM that ,according to her own testimony,brought her out of atheism and communism and gave social activist Dorothy Day the power to do her work.It was the mass (even one 90 minutes long) that brought my father into the church and me to the priesthood.


I think people are forgetting that another part of Pope Benedict's Apostolic Exhortation is the reform of the novus ordo. It may itself become "holier" as a result. Also, for those interested, Benedict may mandate a better integration of the meal/sacrifice theology for the novus ordo. He has also said that the Tridentine rite (welll, the news report said) will be "extraordinary." I'd love more info on what that means.


Now we have Orthodox Catholics centered in France and the U.S. insisting on the TLM when there is no outcry or need in the Global South. Talk about First World arrogance.

The Roman Rite of the ages belongs to all Catholics, not just those in America and France.

Tim Ferguson

Fr. Kelleher, thanks for the input, but don't you think that peace is just one of the aspects of the Gospel? Isn't the honor and reverence that ought to be given to the Lord also something of value that time and energy should be expended on? How about proclaiming the salvific Word? And going forth and baptizing all nations? And working for justice - the fruit of which is peace? How about helping people to avoid sin?

The Gospel - the Good News - is a whole thing, and errors usually creep in when people try to emphasize one aspect and neglect the others. Peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Ghost - why should more attention be paid to it than to charity, or benignity, or chastity?

Those of us "combox denizens" are seldom as singular minded as our interventions on this or other blogs might seem to indicate. The fact that I can find the time and energy in my busy day to comment on a thread on the long-hoped for universal indult (Deus providet!) doesn't mean that I'm not a peaceable fellow. When a thread comes up in favor of peace, I might not say anything, because I have nothing further to add. Peace - yes, I'm in favor of it (I may disagree with some on the ways to achieve it, but I wholeheartedly convinced that it's a good thing).

So, all that to say, to you, talk of indults may seem a distraction - but yet you found the time to comment here, so it can't be too much of a distraction. To me, talk of indults is not a distraction at all, since it focuses attention on how we worship God, which, to me, seems pretty central to the message of the Gospel.

nicole schiavolin

Maybe the answer is buried in the thread somewhere, but I was wondering why the Tridentine Rite cannot be said in English - or can it?

We attend Byzantine rite masses in English. I prefer it over the Latin Novus Ordo, myself.


Other things being equal, if I could choose I'd always choose the old rite, because its emphasis on our unworthiness and the mercy of God reminds me that I belong there.

I didn't realize just how true this was until I read Lauren Pristas's Theological Principles That Guided the Redaction of the Roman Missal (1970) in the April 2003 issue of the Thomist. The theological shifts in the collects from the Pian Rite are profound.

Sure, the translations, especially in English, are bad. But few people realize just how much the theological ground of the liturgy was shifted by the redaction of the collects in the Novus Ordo even in the original Latin. And that is worth considering given the principle of lex credendi, lex orandi.

The 1962 missal is not perfect. The need for reforms was seen by the Council. But in its purity it far better reflects the liturgical tradition of the Church through the ages than the Pauline missal. And as such, its liberation can open the way to a real reform of both rites and a recovery of what has been lost.

Charles A.

The 'fastest' Low Mass I can recall pre-'65 was about 20 minutes - side altar, "private" Mass of an in-residence priest (who is now a retired Cardinal-Archbishop, btw), no homily naturally, and no communion. A lot depends on the length of the readings. Most were pretty short, except on the weekdays of Lent there were some very long ones.

Charles A.

The 'fastest' Low Mass I can recall pre-'65 was about 20 minutes - side altar, "private" Mass of an in-residence priest (who is now a retired Cardinal-Archbishop, btw), no homily naturally, and no communion. A lot depends on the length of the readings. Most were pretty short, except on the weekdays of Lent there were some very long ones.

W Riley

This will be great for the Church when it happens. Viva il Papa! We have the Indult Mass at two parishes in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. There may be a third on the way. Grand news.

Charles A.

As for celebrating feasts of newly canonized saints in the old rite - why wouldn't the formularies from the Commune Sanctorum be just fine, with perhaps the orations from the 2002 Missal (all with the long conclusions, of course)? As to a uniform calendar - great, as long as it's the older one!

Tim Ferguson

Since the calendar is promulgated separately from the Missal, the requirement that priests who celebrate according to the 1962 Missal not mix texts would not apply, therefore, recently canonized saints could be commemorated in the Tridentine Mass. However, the rules for commemorating them would follow, mutatis mutandis, the rules of the 1962 Missal. As Charles A. points out, the use of the Commons would be useful. It would seem to me that a newly promulgated collect, even though it's specifically written for the normative Mass, would be able to be used as a collect using the 1962 Missal.

The use of the 1962 Missal is done by way of an indult, and is a privilege, and therefore covered by the canons on privileges (cc. 76-84, especially). Privileges are subject to an expansive interpretation, rather than a restrictive one. Therefore, if the community for which this privilege is granted benefitted from the celebration of a newly-canonized saint, I would argue that the suitable adaptations to the 1962 Missal could be made to accomodate that.

As to adjustments in the calendar on a regular basis (such as celebrating Ascension Thursday Sunday, as is done in many diocese in the normative Mass), I'm still pondering that one, and can argue both sides agains the middle. I need to sit down with a good glass of scotch and a cigarette and figure that one out...

Boko Fittleworth


No, the "Tridentine Rite" cannot be offered in English. The readings are repeated in the vernacular (usually) before the (always) vernacular homily. Theoretically (and licitly, under some circumstances), a "liturgical commentator" can speak in the vernacular during the Mass, explaining what's going on and giving some translations, but this is rarely done. I wonder if this pre-Conciliar "reform" will become more prominent now? (Please God, I hope not!)

The Church could authorize a translation of the classical form of the Roman rite into vernacular languages, but they won't any time soon. One only opens so many cans of worms at any one time.

And Richard,

Thanks for mentioning Dr. Pristas's work. The NO, in its Latin editio typica, is an impoverishment, at best. It's not just abuses or translations. The authoritative text is problematic.

Susan S.
The Roman Rite of the ages belongs to all Catholics, not just those in America and France.

There's not a big demand for a Latin Mass in South America, Africa and Asia. There isn't even much interest in it in most of Europe. The only people clamoring for it are ultraconservatives centered in the U.S. and France.

Instead of finding ways to reach out to the Global South, we are finding ways to become even more Latin and European.



What's all this "Global South" nonsense? For your information, the Latin American heritage is informed by European civilization. Asia and Africa both have strong traditionalist communities. Are you saying, in your condescending way, that Catholics in South America, Asia, and Africa are unable to appreciate the Tridentine Mass because it is of European origin?

Tim Ferguson

Susan - if there's not a big demand for a Latin Mass in South America, Africa and Asia, then why is the only Personal Apostolic Administration, certified to celebrate the liturgy according to the 1962 Missal, entirely located in Brazil (which appears to be in South America)? Why does the Society of St. Pius X have centers in 11 Asian countries? I personally know African priests who celebrate and appreciate the Tridentine Mass. Tridentine communities are popping up all over Australia.

Perhaps your view of the global south is not as all-encompassing as you might think.

Secondly, shouldn't our rule be to grow increasingly more faithful to the Gospel, rather than trying to find a way to "sell" it to the South?

Besides, even if it's only "ultraconservatives in the U.S. and France" who are clamoring for this (a point which I strongly dispute), don't those "ultraconservatives" have a right to seek to have their spiritual needs met? (canons 212-214 of the CIC83)


Instead of finding ways to reach out to the Global South, we are finding ways to become even more Latin and European.

"Latin and European" in this case translates as "Catholic."

More Catholic is a good thing, no matter where it happens.


But Susan, might a chance exist that people of the Global South would appreciate celebrating the Mass in the traditional form? It is, afterall, part of our heritage as Catholics. Our celebration of the Mass should transcend nationalities and ethnic preferences. Your comments just seem to be looking for a fight and a chance to slam "ultraconservatives." I guess I'm just saying let's make it (the TLM) more available to ALL Catholics.


As others have pointed out, use of the Tridentine Rite is not some ironclad guarantee against liturgical abuse, faulty catechesis or proper understanding of waht's going on.

Among the comments I've heard by those supporting a return to the Tridentine Mass include "It's more Christocentric." "The priest should be facing Jesus in the tabernacle, because that's who he's offering the Mass to." "I like the silence because this is the one time during the week I pray." "I'm focusing on God, I shouldn't have to deal with people." "I don't like the emphasis on Scripture." "I just want to be left alone to do my own thing." etc. etc.

Let's remember that there were rampant liturgical abuses and faulty catechesis such as these comments prior to Vatican II. The bishops of the world did not just wake up one day and decide on a whim to reform the liturgy. There were reasons.

So while I have no problem in theory with the idea of the Tridentine Rite being available, those who celebrate and participate in it will need to deal with these problems, and not just think they are sliding the clock back to 1962. Those things that needed reform in the liturgy will have to be reformed. For example, the praying of non-liturgical prayers during the Mass, the quickie-Mass, the wandering around the church during Mass praying stations and lighting candles, confessions during Mass, the total lack of communal prayer ("just God and me"), priests who never bothered to read the English version of the readings, bad preaching, etc. The Tridentine Rite can be celebrated properly without all these abuses, but I fear many people will think they will now have license to go back to doing things the way everything was before. Sacrosanctum Concilium also applies to the Tridentine Rite!

I have no problem with an active parish offering the Tridentine Rite in a dialog setting with good music centered in a vibrant, involved community that has many ministries to the poor and other such lay-led programs.

I must admit to being skeptical this will be the result. Many of my family members are Lefebvrites, and I have to go to their chapels for various family occasions. There I see all the above abuses as matter of course. Priest mumbling maddeningly bad Latin (I want to jump up and say "Wait, let me do this right!") while the people bang rosaries agains the pews. Half an hour after the beginning (unless the priest has a stemwinder sermon on something that's annoyed him), everybody is out and in their cars. There is no ministry or involvement with the community, no faith formation, no nothing but a half-hour of silence once a week. The people don't even talk to each other on the church steps.

So if this rumored indult does happen, and it is successful in bringing folks like the Lefebvrites back to the Church, it's only the beginning of a process, not an end. They will ahve to be weaned away from these liturgical abuses. Many will come with the idea that the New Mass is invalid, and they will spread that idea to regular parishioners who come to experience the Tridentine Rite. There will be many missteps, just as there was when the New Mass was introduced.

Benedict is no dope, and I am open to the idea that a wider use of the Tridentine Rite could be a good thing, even though you won't find me attending it. But for those who think that if this happens everything will be sunshine and happiness, think again. It will require a lot of work and wisdom to pull it off correctly in the parishes.

Fr. Shawn O'Neal

Dear Michael Tinkler:

I tried to scan the posts in full to see if your questions were answered. If I missed a post and someone answered it, then forgive my repitition.

In regard to Masses in foreign languages, I do not have to report to the Parish Council at all. If I see a need for a Mass, I can say there is a need. However, it is often done after there is a request or even after the priest or whomever else can do it simply hits the streets to see who's out there.

The most important thing to go by is the Code of Canon Law as it states how many Masses a priest can celebrate per day. Canon 905 §1 allows only one celebration per day "except for certain instances when the law permits such celebration" and §2 of the same canon states that the local ordinary may allow, if the cause is just, two celebrations per day be a priest and, if pastoral needs require it, three celebrations on Sunday and holy days of obligation.

Any indult will most likely mention that although the Tridentine Rite can be celebrated, Canon 905 should not be ignored.


Eric, I agree. Should there be a universal indult, it could be a great teaching opportunity for all, NO or Tridentine. I must confess I am excited (I've missed the personal confession, the kneeling for communion at the rail and the silences, much more than the Latin itself) but also a little worried that there will be new divisions.

stuart chessman


Your commments are ludicrous.

Your description of pre-Vatican II liturgical life (of which I retain some distant but distinct memories)is totally untrue. As for your remarks regarding the current practice of the Traditional rite, I don't know what goes on in "Lefebvre's" chapels. But I would invite anyone reading this to visit one of currentt indult masses in order to better evaluate your accuracy. Just to cite one fact, all the traditional groups I have encountered over the last 20 years - and I suspect the situation is the same in the St. Pius X organization - seem to delight in perhpas excessively long sermons. It makes finishing under an hour almost an impossibility.


The traditional mass will not detract from the "reform of the reform" you cherish. For one thing, you seem to be unaware that churches that are centers of traditionalism are very often at the heart of the "reform of the reform" too: the Brompton Oratory, St. Agnes in NY, St John Cantius in Chicago etc. For another, the vigourous activity on the indult traditionalist front over the last 20 years stands in stark contrast to the invisibility of the "reform of the Reform" movement. With certain laudable exceptions, the latter seems to exist primarily in journals of opinion and websites.

RP Burke


Sorry to have to say this so directly, but you are just plain wrong in your criticism of Eric's contribution here.

Wrong factually, and wrong in interpretation.

The 1962 Mass is no magic potion that will eliminate all sorts of abuses and bring us all back to full and complete compliance with Holy Mother Church.

The liturgical reforms of the 1960s and 1970s may have introduced problems, but they are new problems, compared to the old problems that Eric has so clearly and directly described -- and that I can verify by my own personal experience. You could NOT be an altar boy in my parish in 1961, as I was, and not express-train it through the Latin at the pace of one of our priests, whose goal was to celebrate the Mass validly as quickly as possible. That is just the fact, Jack.

I personally have no objection to the old Mass. After all, I grew up with it, and it inspired many people's faith and conversion. But the new Mass, properly celebrated, also inspires faith and conversions too. Or were you asleep during the Easter Vigil and not count the number of folks who joined the church last year? Or the year before? Or all the years through the 1970s?


Dear R.P. Burke you are wrong.I dont doubt your altar boy experience in 1961 but many others who served in 1961 and befor recall differently.I served from 1954 onwards in a large urban parish for daily and sunday mass and in all those years I never once felt any pressure to speed up the prayers even from the one priest who said mass hurredly (until the pastor stopped him.)Mostmasses were not filled with what you call abuses.However there were enough places that had them to call for reform.But the exception does not prove the rule.I owe my priesthood to the many priests who reverently and devoutly celebrated the Mass.Eric,you should not judge the TLM by what you experience in the Lefebvr. chapels.I have been told by a Fraternity priest how difficult are the Latin mass groups they minister to which were once Lefevbe. They refuse to sing and participate in the dialogue mass.In my own opinion all these problems diappear in a mass celebrated in a community who does not have all the traditionalists'baggage. Also it is permitted to hear confessions during mass either TLM or NO.That is a ruling from Rome.

Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P.

It has come to my attention that the Italian Bishops' Conference has confirmed the reports in the secular press as to a coming papal document on the old rite. I have made an "on-the-fly" translation of their news release, which is below also in Italian. It appeared last night.

"To facilitate the celebration of the Mass in Latin according to the old pre-conciliar missal of St. Pius V, there will be published shortly by Benedict XVI a "Motu proprio." This news comes from authoritative Vatican sources, which so confirm and detail some of the news published by the press this morning (Oct. 11). After the publication of this document, it will be possible to celebrate the liturgy according to the old rite for the faithful who want it. The same source has not indicated, however, the date of the release of the document that will "replace" the former indult that John Paul II promulgated in 1984 to meet the requests of the faithful longing for the old right. The Mass according to the rite of St. Pius V was celebrated in the Catholic Church until 1969."


Per agevolare la celebrazione della messa in latino secondo l'antico messale pre-conciliare di San Pio V sarà pubblicato a breve da Benedetto XVI un "Motu proprio". La notizia si apprende da autorevoli fonti vaticane che così confermano e precisano alcune notizie di stampa pubblicate questa mattina. Dopo la pubblicazione di questo documento si potranno celebrare liturgie secondo il vecchio rito per i fedeli che lo vorranno. La stessa fonte non ha indicato, però, i tempi dell'uscita del documento che "sostituirà" il precedente indulto che Giovanni Paolo II aveva promulgato nel 1984 per venire incontro all’istanza dei fedeli nostalgici del vecchio rito. La messa secondo il rito di San Pio V è stata celebrata nella Chiesa cattolica fino al 1969.

stuart chessman

Rp Burke,

Sorry to disagree, but I also have personal experience of that era. I can state with complete confidence that is is totally untrue that the Sunday masses, either "high" or "low", of a pre-Vatican II parish lasted 15 minutes ("Eric") or were characterized by a mad rush through the text(yourself). Time slots for sunday masses were 1 hour or 1 hour and 15 minutes and they used up almost all of that time. In fact, I can remember fainting several times, what with the combination of the lenthg of the service, the silence of the low mass and the eucharistic fast.

As for Eric's other points, they are either nonsense or are even more true today under the NO. For example, although I don't understand why it is a problem, confessions are regularly heard here (NYC) during mass in numerous churches. And weekday masses very often achieve speeds that accord with your faulty recollection of the pre-vatican II practice. Weekday masses hardly ever exceed 25 minutes and some make it under the proverbial 15 minutes. I do concede the praying of the rosary by some then and now - but I fully defend that practice and would point out that even more people were reading along in their missals.

The impartial reader may get an idea of your factual reliability from your concluding comments on conversions. I would refer the reader to any set of statistics on Catholic life to better judge the progress of the last 40 years - or even the last 10 years.

Again, we do not need to rely on our perhaps hazy memories of the past in assessing the tradional mass. It is alive and flourishng since 1984/88 at numerous locations in the US. I would not claim the celebrations are all perfect - far from it! But I would encourage you and others to reacquaint yourselves with this rite as it is celebrated today before launching sweeping condemnations.


John B.,

I don't think I can just join the parish with the Sunday indult Mass. First of all, it's a long drive, whereas my own parish is around the corner, and I'm involved with their school, etc. Second of all, when I used to go to the indult Mass, the Mass was offered by a priest who had been assigned to it by his bishop. He was a Latinist, but he had no sympathies for traditionalism; in fact, he seemed to think it was his duty to lecture the congregation about their rigidity, and scandalize them with something that sounded heretical every homily.

But maybe there's something to what you say--maybe if the pope does grant a universal indult, a priest who _does_ love the old rite will start offering it, and build a community around him, the way there's a parish near me that's the de facto charismatic parish. So maybe there's reason to hope. I'm just so alienated at this point, from the ultra-trads, whom I fled, and from my own parish, where my run-of-the-mill CCC Catholicism makes me a freak.

I would have rejoiced at the rumor of a universal indult ten years ago, but now I'm all bitter. Which is exactly what I was trying to avoid when I rejected ultra-traditionalism.


Unfortunately, the haze of nostalgia or ransom personal positive recollections continue to cause some people to insist that there were ABSOLUTELY NO liturgical practices prior to Vatican II that were in need of reform.

So if there was no reform of the liturgy needed at all, period, anywhere, why did the bishops of Vatican II think a reform was needed? To insist that no reform was necessary is to ally oneself with the Lefebvrites, for by that claim one rejects Sacrosanctum Concilium. An attitude that assumes there were no liturgical abuses prior to the Council is only setting us up for those same abuses to arise again if the use of the Tridentine Rite is made more available.

The regular scheduling of confessions during Mass is an abuse; just because we see it happening doesn't mean it's correct. The rubrics for Penance state (no. 13) "They [the faithful] should be encouraged to approach the sacrament of penance at times when Mass is not being celebrated and preferably at the scheduled hours." It is an abuse in the new rite, and because the rubric is for penance it also holds true for the old rite.

Stuart, to point out areas of caution is not a "sweeping condemnation." Please, do not be so dramatic. If some readers had pristine experiences of the Tridentine rite with no abuses, fantastic! But we cannot assume that everything was so rosy always and everywhere, just as it would be wrong to say that every celebration of the new rite is horrible. Not everything is black and white.

Whether abuses were widespread or not, the fact exists that they existed, and if we are to have wider use of the old rite again, I am only saying we need to deal with them. And it will not be easy, as is evidenced by the anger that one meets with any suggestion that abuses did exist with the old rite, as they do with the new. They may be different abuses, but they are still abuses and require reform.

The comment about confessions during Mass being OK because one sees it done is a great example. People may assume that because certain things were/are done during the Tridentine Rite, that means they will now be OK too. That's not correct, and such an attitude will only cause problems down the road.


Of course this whole discussion assumes that someone outside the blogosphere and a few schismatics cares. I doubt the average American Catholic is really interested in attending a TLM. I doubt the average American Catholic priest is interested in making extra work for himself, as would be necessary to prepare two homilies, since the two masses are on two different calendars. Add to that that any priest who learned to say the TLM is at least 60 years old, and I'd say that if this rumor is true it will be a big splash in the papers and on the blogs and a tiny whimper in the average parish or diocese.

stuart chessman

YOU said that certain liturgical abuses were well nigh universal pre vatican II. I am specifically rejecting what you enumerated based on facts. I am not denying that liturgical abuses existed before the second Vatican Council - but they were not those YOU specifically listed. Moreover, I am not denying that liturgical reform in various areas was appropriate and desirable. What I DO deny is that the second Vatican Council and the decrees enabling its litugical opinions achieved any such effective reform.

I offer as indirect confirmation the novel claim of a Catholic scholar a few days ago that the liturgical - specifically musical - misery evident in the American Catholic church today is the alleged failure to reform the litugical practice of the US pre-conciliar church. An absurd exaggeration - yet with a grain of truth.

But if this rumored motu proprio comes through, you will be able to evaluate the truth of what I say much easier than now. To reacquaint ourselves with the mass of St. Pius V - that's what it's all about. But let's see what happens.

On confessions, I think you are elevating a parish disciplinary rule in to some kind of absolute principle. Confessions were not heard, as far as I am aware, during mass in pre -V2 times but usually on Saturday. Yet that practice (you say it's a rule now?) didn't - and still does not - make any sense in large metropolitan churches. Write Cardinal Egan and tell him your concern about the situation regarding confession during mass in St. Patrick's cathedral, St. Agnes, St. Francis, St. John etc. etc. - it's done in virtually all the NYC churches that are not strictly residential parishes.

stuart chessman


The priestly fraternity of St. Peter (tradionalist), to cite one example, has 300 members (193 priests and deacons. Average age is 33.

Your over 60 comment applies to the members of many if not most of the NO orders and the priests of many dioeceses as well.


RAnn is right, and our parish is a perfect example of her point. It has a long-standing reputation for orthodoxy -- so much so that more than a few nominal Catholics living within the boundaries register elsewhere. The pastor decided not to expand altar service to girls, and we have over 100 boys on the roster, many of them teenagers. We've used communion patens for years, and have been singing the Agnus Dei and Sanctus in Latin at Mass for some time. The parishioners are well-educated, both in secular and Catholic matters. Many are affiliated with Opus Dei or Regnum Christi, and several sons of the parish have been ordained to the priesthood in the last two years. There is much devotion, and absolutely no nonsense, in the liturgies.
And yet the Latin Mass draws by far the fewest number of parishioners each weekend -- there are more folks at the 7:30 am Mass. Many who do attend seem to be from other parishes, and there are virtually no families with young children.
Most of our parishioners are busy working and raising (large) families. They don't have time to attend the Latin classes that were offered, they don't WANT to attend the Latin classes, and they want their children to understand what's going on at Mass.
There was no great demand from parishioners for a Latin Mass, and if it stopped tomorrow, there would be no great mourning.

stuart chessman

You shoot yourself rhetorically in the foot with your second sentence: "(My parish) has a long standing reputation for orthodoxy.."

Pre-V2 a parish might have had a long standing reputation for its music, its preaching, its school, its work with the poor etc. But ORTHODOXY was presumed to be an attribute of every Catholic parish. We can't assume that now....


"You shoot yourself rhetorically in the foot with your second sentence: "(My parish) has a long standing reputation for orthodoxy.."

Pre-V2 a parish might have had a long standing reputation for its music, its preaching, its school, its work with the poor etc. But ORTHODOXY was presumed to be an attribute of every Catholic parish. We can't assume that now...."

You missed the point, which was in support of RAnn's comments on the extremely limited interest in the Latin Mass (either N.O. or Tridentine) among the faithful. If the orthodox, devout, and well-catechized folks at my parish nevertheless avoid the Latin Mass like the plague, I can't imagine that it has much appeal among the members of the average parish.

RP Burke

A riposte to Stuart.

Who are you to say that my first-hand recollections, from the inside of the altar rail, are "hazy," as well as those of so many others?

The goal was twofold: valid and as fast as possible. We had no high Mass on Sunday -- it would take too much time. AND we had enough money in the parish, with the school already paid for, that we had a competent organist for the dozen or so Masses for the Dead during the week and a sister who was a trained music teacher for us to learn chant in the school. When was the high Mass? During the school day in the week.

The previous form of the Mass is not a panacea for what ails the church, just like the fussy literal translations are not. Liturgical laetrile is something we don't need.


Some people have short memories.In my parish there were 100 peopel who signed up for classesin latin and we now teach it in out grade school.If we have an attitude of 'they wnt come' they wont come.But if you have a positive one and see the beauty there they will come.


100 people out of parish of several thousand souls is less than 2%. It's very nice, and the Washington Times was duly impressed, but the fact remains that the vast majority of parishioners have no interest in mastering Latin, and do not want to attend the Latin Mass on a regular basis, particularly when it comes with concert hall musical performances of unfamiliar complicated music and runs over 90 minutes. It's quite obvious from the attendance patterns.

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