US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: front cover photo of Extraordinary Use

This week’s cover story on U.S. News & World Report is about the return to traditional forms of worship in various religions.

Here is some of the article.  It is not all about the older form of Mass:

A Return to Tradition
A new interest in old ways takes root in Catholicism and many other faiths
By Jay Tolson
Posted December 13, 2007

Worshipers come to St. Mary, Mother of God in downtown Washington, D.C., for various reasons, but many say that a big draw is the Tridentine Latin mass that is said here every Sunday. Soon, St. Mary may be less well known for that distinctive liturgical offering than for the number of big-name government and media types that occupy its pews. Now that Pope Benedict XVI has loosened the restrictions on churches that want to observe the pre-Vatican II rite, more parishes are availing themselves of the option. Call it part of a larger conservative shift within the church—one that includes a renewed emphasis on such practices as personal confession and reciting the rosary as well as a resurgent interest in traditional monastic and religious orders.

Something curious is happening in the wide world of faith, something that defies easy explanation or quantification. More substantial than a trend but less organized than a movement, it has to do more with how people practice their religion than with what they believe, though people caught up in this change often find that their beliefs are influenced, if not subtly altered, by the changes in their practice.

Put simply, the development is a return to tradition and orthodoxy, to past practices, observances, and customary ways of worshiping. But it is not simply a return to the past—at least not in all cases. Even while drawing on deep traditional resources, many participants are creating something new within the old forms. They are engaging in what Penn State sociologist of religion Roger Finke calls "innovative returns to tradition."

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75 Responses to US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: front cover photo of Extraordinary Use

  1. ThomasMore1535 says:

    WOW! I literaly shouted that when I saw the cover. Talk about becomming “mainstream”!

  2. Jason W says:

    This seems like kind of a big deal…

    Not really significant, but I really like the placement of that angel in the background. Really looks like it is gazing in adoration at the Chalice.

  3. bryan says:

    Yeah, but…

    the always reliably moonbatish Father Reese, he of Woodstock Theological, makes sure to
    try and prick the balloon and push for the mostly discredited liberal ‘catholic’ line.

    Mostly a balanced article. The other side is in a panic, and keeps espousing the same
    old same old.

    Mostly like your crazy aunt that talks incessantly about the time she went to dinner
    with some VIP who’s long gone, but no one pays attention to.

  4. TJM says:

    Tom, oh Tom, where are you? Tom

  5. techno_aesthete says:

    At least they identified Fr. Reese as one of some “liberal Catholic clergy.” That’s an improvement from trying to pass him off as a typical or average Catholic.

  6. TNCath says:

    This will not go over well with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians or the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, which I find highly amusing and ironic because now THEY are the reactionaries resistant to change. It should be interesting to watch how they spin this one.

  7. Athelstane says:

    He is equally dubious about all the attention being devoted to the habit-wearing Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia and a few other traditional religious orders that have enjoyed an uptick in younger members. “I have no problem with their habits,” says Reese. “On the other hand, if the church ordained women, we’d have thousands more women coming forward.”

    :sigh:

    I didn’t realize Reese was over the fence on women’s ordination.

    But this notwithstanding – a most encouraging article. If you had told me this would happen just a couple years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.

    Slowly but surely, the Church is righting the ship.

  8. stgemma says:

    I always go by the addage of,”The more press you give someone, the more famous they become.” I tend to ignore people who try and make or create history. The more relevance you give them, the larger their egos get. It’s much easier to just let them have their 15 min of fame, than to give them a reason to keep writing.

    Carpe Pescem!!!

  9. Wilf says:

    “Reese thinks the church should focus less on the Latin mass than on the three things that draw most churchgoers: “good preaching, good music, and a welcoming community.”

    All of which I found when I went to a “Latin” mass…especially good music :^)

    But overall, a nice article, especially coming from the “mainstream” media.

    The rediscovery of tradition and what was old is new again. This is genuine renewal.

  10. Angelo says:

    Celebrants must get used to keeping thumb & index finger
    joined, unlike our celebrant on U.S.N.& W.R.

  11. Patrick says:

    You may not know it, but that’s a Pope (Monsignor Charles Pope, that is) celebrating the Mass. That church is beautiful. They couldn’t afford the contractors to renovate in the 70s. I guess Sister Poverty is a friend after all.

  12. Angelo,

    If you look at the blow up of the picture, you will see that Msgr. has his finger joined.

    WAC

  13. adamsaj says:

    im not sure what to think about this article. the anti-authority, openness garbage that is mixed in is somewhat concerning. it almost sounds like empty spiritualism to me. liturgy without orthodox belief doesnt do us a whole lot of good. does anyone else get that feeling when reading this?

  14. Tom says:

    “im not sure what to think about this article. the anti-authority, openness garbage that is mixed in is somewhat concerning. it almost sounds like empty spiritualism to me. liturgy without orthodox belief doesnt do us a whole lot of good. does anyone else get that feeling when reading this?”

    Yes.

  15. Berolinensis says:

    Angelo and Will:

    Good that it is not the case here. But it does exist. Something that I do note in this picture, not to criticize this particular celebrant, but to point out a mistake I often observe even in FSSP priests: Many priests at the elevation bend over backwards involuntarily because they extend their arms too much. Instead, the Host and the Chalice ought to be elevated perpendicularly to the altar, i.e. they must remain straight above the corporal at all times.

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    liturgy without orthodox belief doesnt do us a whole lot of good.

    I haven\’t read the article but — unlike some of those commenting — I know quite a few people who attend the traditional Latin Mass. Most of them came to the traditional liturgy in search not of externals but of the community of traditional belief they yearned for. The others admittedly came originally in search of beauty and reverence, but found their beliefs beginning to deepen under the influence of the traditional liturgy that for 1500 years embodied the orthodox belief that has waned in recent decades with the disintegration of the liturgy.

  17. SMJ says:

    I know this is totaly off topic, but my neighbor commited suicide a few hours ago.

    Does the church forbid to pray for a person who took out his own life?
    Can a priest say mass for his soul?

    Thank you, and please pray for the repouse of his soul, for his mother, for
    his wife and for his family.

  18. Joe says:

    It’s a shame the writer of the article did not quote anyone from the Institute of Christ the King or the FSSP. Fr. Reese is a man whose time never came and never will.

    Did anyone watch the Rorate High Mass on EWTN this past Saturday morning? I have never seen such a beautiful liturgy in my life, and I’m 44. If I could convince my wife – sometimes I think she’s almost there – we would be at St. Boniface every Sunday. I am so tired of ever Tom, Dick and Harriet walking up to the altar to pass out Communion as if they were cafeteria workers or picnic volunteeers.

  19. Jim says:

    Dear SMJ, I will pray for your neighbor’s soul as I did for my neighbor who committed suicide two weeks ago. No, the Church does not forbid prayer for the souls of those who take their own lives. There is a nice section on this in the catechism. (Fr. Z, please forgive the second off-topic in a row.)
    Having said this, the U. S. News Article certainly contrasts with the attitude displayed by the Archibishop of SF in publishing new and very restrictive norms on celebration of the TLM.

  20. Patrick says:

    Perhaps one factor in the return to tradition is the desire on the part of the faithful for a more reverent liturgy and its emphasis on the worship of The Lord and less on commensal interpretations and fellowship.

    I wonder how this will play out with regard church architecture and adornment. The long dry period of the post Vatican 2 minimalism may be at an end, but there are still pastors that will not recognize the need of the faithful for those outward displays of piety as evidenced by proper religious adornments and altars that are appropriate for their solemn purpose.

    Here in the Charlotte diocese one parish priest has restored his church with the installation of a new Altar of Carrara marble as well as a new High Altar of the same fine stone for use in the Extraordinary Rite. All this was accomplished by the generosity of the parishoners, who raised so much money that they were able to put a new floor in the church as well.

  21. Doug says:

    “innovative returns to tradition.” —

    hmmmmmmm — what exactly does that mean? I’m not sure I like the idea that tradition is being revisited by “inventive” minds. Is it even possible that the result could be “traditional”?

  22. Margaret says:

    Over at America Magazine, Fr. Reese’s fellow Jesuit, Fr. James Martin, is asking commenters to chime in if a TLM has been added in their parish since the MP. (Got it?) I think you might have to register to comment (maybe not), but it would be worth heading over there, keeping Fr. Z’s Rules of Engagement in mind, and letting them know what’s up.

    Here.

  23. Deborah says:

    “Sisters in traditional orders may wear habits, but they often live in coed communities”

    Where is this going on? That’s news to me.

    This article is extremely suspect, in my opinion. Honestly, it seems to be an attempt to write off more profound and deeper reasons why young Catholics are attracted to the traditional Latin Mass.

    The dissenters in my diocese are latching onto this article as proof that it is not their beloved and creative Novus Ordo Mass that has left the younger generations empty and looking for more.

    And they most certainly can’t bear to admit that younger Catholics want to know the traditions of their Faith passed along.

    It’s called denial. Their minds can then be assured that this is really the same desire that came over them in the 60’s.

    In other words, the dissenters can sleep better at night thinking that this turn of events toward tradition is only a phase of newness and a creative outlet as Sister Wittberg stated “reviving the old stuff and traditions in a creative way”.

    Surely, it can’t be that the younger generations of Catholics prefer anything pre-Vatican II unless it is re-introduced “creatively”.

    Pure spin doctoring.

  24. Tom says:

    If we have indeed witnessed the widespread movement of Catholics to the TLM, then the survival of the Novus Ordo Mass instituted by Pope Paul VI is in dire straits.

    Have a great many Catholics truly moved from the liturgical reforms that the Popes Paul VI and John Paul II instituted and/or supported, such as Communion in the hand, altar girls, “EMs,” women readers, Mass versus populum and additional novelties?

    Popes Paul VI and John Paul II insisted that the Novus Ordo and subsequent liturgical novelties (some listed above) benefited the Church greatly. The Popes in question claimed that the liturgical “reform” had enriched the lives of the majority of Catholics and ushered into the Church a “new springtime.”

    But I have not read and/or heard from Pope Benedict XVI that he supports the apparent elimination from the Church of the Novus Ordo.

    Pope Benedict has, in fact, declared the following: “The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.”

    How can a great movement to the TLM be at hand when the Pope the above?

    Pope Benedict VI stated that knowledge of the Latin language is not “found very often” and that the new Missal will remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

    Based upon his above remarks, Pope Benedict XVI has not discered that the widespread movement within the Church from the Novus Ordo to the TLM is underway.

  25. vox borealis says:

    “Innovative returns to tradition” is not something to feared necessarily–it has gone on throughout the ages in Catholic tradition. One might argue that groups like the Franciscans were a “creative” return to tradition. It was an attempt to recapture monastic simplicity that was, occasional, lost a bit at times in the medieval era, but with a twist: minister and preach in the towns, rather than remove oneself to the monastery. One could even argue that Summorum Pontificum is a creative move to tradition, by defining the relationship between the older and newer liturgies with a new formula (two forms of the same rite), perhaps drawing inspiration from eastern models (different Divine Liturgies).

    Moreover, Deborah, I think you may be a bit overly worried that the article is “writing off” the deeper draw of the older form. The article is not exclusively concerned with Catholic worship, but rather points out that the move to tradition is apparent across sectarian lines. This suggests that something deeper IS at root. In a way, who cares if the NO *caused* young people to feel empty, as you imply, or if the very poor implementation of the NO, and perhaps even the form itself, is merely a symptom of the *real* cause: a fifties through seventies spiritual mentality that emphasized rupture over continuity. Indeed, this sense of rupture is felt in many areas, not only liturgy and spirituality: politics, art, the study of history, literature, etc. music, and so on. A whole generation in Europe and North America made a profound effort to break with the past in as many ways as possible, and they have left a second generation adrift with hardly any sense of history or cultural continuity, and hardly any concern. it is only now, in the third generation that the young (and some of us older types) are seeking to reconnect with the heritages that our cultural fathers and grandfathers denied us.

    The article, in its simple way, speaks to this point.

  26. Tom says:

    TJM wrote: “Tom, oh Tom, where are you? Tom.”

    If I’m the Tom in question, then I am here.

    The U.S. News & World Report article in question is not particularly favorable to the Catholic traditionalist movement.

    The article actually supports the following declaration from Pope Benedict XVI: “The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often.

    “Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.”

  27. Tom says:

    The following from the magazine article is not good news to posters who claim that a widespread return to the TLM is underway within the Church:

    Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, doubts that “the Latin mass will catch on in a big way.

    “There just aren’t that many priests who are prepared to celebrate it,” she says.

    Sister Patricia Wittberg, a sociologist at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, stated that “One group would like to take things back to the [16th-century Counter-Reformation] Council of Trent, but I don’t think the future’s with them.”

  28. vox borealis says:

    “Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.”

    And this is true, I believe. Even if we assume the the traditionalist movement will continue to grow, its growth will still be slow and steady. How many priests does FSSP and ICKSP put out each year? Even with full seminaries, it is still a tiny fraction of the number of priests worldwide. Exposure to the old mass will be limited for years to come, and in many places it will not be embraced for even longer.

    I took an informal straw poll at my own parish, where we have a young seminarian who helps serve at mass. He referred to traditionalists as “crazy” and could not understand why the liturgy needed all of that “medieval stuff.” His view was seconded by nearly all within earshot, all of whom were my age or younger. It will take many years to undo the cultural and liturgical illiteracy that has been imposed by the previous generation or two.

    So, I guess what I am saying is that I do not see this assessment in the USN&WR article, quoted above, as indicating ‘disfavor’ for the traditionalist movement.

  29. Matt Q says:

    Hooray for tradition in the ordinary term. Glad such a thing is making such a wider come-back. Sign of hope, really. On the other hand, what is going on at the Vatican? Something traditional is affirmed, e.g., the Tridentine Mass, but then it does something like this:

    Vatican creche will show baby Jesus in Nazareth

    http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=55406

    Vatican, Dec. 17, 2007 (CWNews.com) – In a break from tradition, the life-sized crèche in St. Peter’s Square will show Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their home at Nazareth rather than in a stable in Bethlehem, the Vatican has announced.

    Instead of the familiar scene of the Baby Jesus laid in a manger, the Vatican’s Nativity scene this year will show the infant Jesus in a home that also includes his father’s workshop. No reason has been given for the change.

    The crèche will include many of the same figures that have been used in the Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square for the past 25 years. Several new statues have been added this year, however.

    The Christmas crèche, located in the center of St. Peter’s Square, was introduced to the Vatican in 1982 at the suggestion of Pope John Paul II. The Nativity scene, which is currently under construction, is unveiled after midnight Mass on Christmas eve.

    I have absolutely no idea what to make of this, and WHO CAME UP WITH THIS “BRILLIANT” IDEA?!

  30. Matt Q says:

    I hope next year or so we don’t see the Blessed Mother pushing Jesus in a stroller!

  31. Victor says:

    Matt Q: Frankly, I don’t see what is so terrible about the nativity scene. As far as I know, there is no liturgical law describing how a creche has to look like. As you referred yourself, the creche was not a Vatican tradition until 1982. Personally, I’d rather not have a creche at St Peter’s Square at all (St Peter’s Square is NOT the world’s cozy living room), but wherever it IS a tradition (I believe the Capuchins started it), the tradition is to depict scenes from the childhood of Jesus as delivered by the Gospels (the Nativity, the Adoration of the Magi, the Flight to Egypt, Jesus in the Temple, and Jesus in Joseph’s workshop.

    So what exactly is your problem?

  32. Barbara says:

    Remember, Our Blessed Lord sent out only a very small band of apostles and disciples to convert the entire world. They did precisely that.
    I do believe we are at the “reed like unto a rod” stage right now. Those who believe and worship Him in the Blessed Sacrament will be retained. Those who refuse to believe in His sacramental presence shall be expelled.

  33. DebSTS says:

    I couldn’t help but notice that the top of the cover of the USN&WR, featuring the words, “treating depression,” and “Iraq status report,” have the same color background as the priests’ vestments–purple. Is this done to make the cover more appealing, or to associate depression and war with traditionalism? There’s a reason for everything the MSM does, you know.

  34. CPT Tom says:

    I would suggest that those who are nit picking about the exact angle of the priest’s arms during the elevation, or the fact his fingers may or may not be joined, keep in mind that this is EXACTLY the kind of comments that will keep away those who are potential allies to the reform of the reform. I count myself in this group having only recently come over the fence. It is exactly the attitude that kept me from even going to a TLM for years. When I used to do civil war reenacting we called this “stitch counting,” as in, “well that shirt (or other random piece of clothing) should have been sewed with 14 stitches per inch instead of 15.”

    I recommend Fr Z’s rule 3 of engangement:

    3) Show genuine Christian joy. If you want to attract people to what gives you so much consolation and happiness, be inviting and be joyful. Avoid the sourness some of the more traditional stamp have sadly worn for so long.

    Considering the hostility some bishops are showing toward the Extraordinary form we should REJOICE that this is moving into the mainstream. Don’t become lay liturgical police, because no priest who is stuck in the rut of doing the Novus Ordo and is already putting up with a lay liturgical committee is going to ever want to submit himself to a new batch of harsh critics.

  35. Henry Edwards says:

    If we have indeed witnessed the widespread movement of Catholics to the TLM, then the survival of the Novus Ordo Mass instituted by Pope Paul VI is in dire straits.

    Be not afraid! It appears to most of us, I gather, that Pope Benedict intends the opposite effect. Namely, that wider usage of the extraordinary form will exert a curative effect on the ordinary form, with a gradual reduction or elimination of the abuses (\”deformations\”) that currently afflict it — irreverence of clerical celebration and lay participation, communion in the hand, routine use of extraordinary ministers, etc. The result will be a stabler and more worthy ordinary form that can stand the test of time — and a return to beauty and reverence in liturgy — rather the continued disintegration and dilution of faith and devotion observed in the recent past.

  36. Different says:

    Henry,

    Right on!

    I have met 3 families at our parish who used to attend a TLM that was about 30 minutes away. But once they realized that the ordinary Mass can be said reverently and accompanied by good music, they switched away from the TLM and began attending the OF. For many years (and atill today in many places), the only reverent Mass in the area is a TLM and there are those who attend it not because they prefer it, but because it is the only reverent option available. Thankfully, this is quickly changing as the older priests ordained in the 50’s and 60’s begin to retire and are replaced by recently ordained priests who are usually much more by the book.

    It is clear that Pope Benedict desires both forms to complement each other. I pray for the day when EVERY latin rite priest will be ready, willing and able to celebrate either form of the latin rite.

  37. walter says:

    “Is this done to make the cover more appealing, or to associate depression and war with traditionalism?”

    I don’t think we need to see boogeymen in everything. As someone who has worked for magazines, believe me editios don’t have time to come up with subliminal messages and insert them onto magazine covers (unless an advertiser is paying big bucks for it ;-). No its just to add unity to the cover and not have it clash.

  38. Deborah says:

    vox borealis,

    The nun quoted in the article mentions new traditional convents where the sisters wear habits and live co-ed.

    What does this lie say to the world reading it? This is a good way to bring back tradition creatively? That’s exactly how the world reading this article will see it.

    Another example, below is the kind of traditional creativity which is being discussed in this article. Do we want this to be associated with traditional Catholics?

    “You see this at work quite clearly in the so-called emergent communities, new, largely self-organizing groups of young Christian adults who meet in private homes, church basements, or coffeehouses around the country. So free-form that many don’t even have pastors, these groups nevertheless engage in some ancient liturgical practices, including creedal declarations, public confession, and Communion. They may use a piece of a bagel as the body of Christ, but the liturgy is a traditional anchor in services that may include films, skits, or group discussions of a biblical topic.”

    Are some so blinded by the photograph on the front cover that you can’t see the clever undermining going on here?

    Secular reports like this must be read with a critical mind. This is severely lacking these days even among faithful Catholics.

  39. malta says:

    “This will not go over well with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians or the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, which I find highly amusing and ironic because now THEY are the reactionaries resistant to change. It should be interesting to watch how th ey spin this one.”

    LOL!

    “Popes Paul VI and John Paul II insisted that the Novus Ordo and subsequent liturgical novelties (some listed above) benefited the Church greatly. The Popes in question claimed that the liturgical “reform” had enriched the lives of the majority of Catholics and ushered into the Church a “new springtime.””

    I know some people love the NO Mass, but the objective facts are these: The NO mass was created in a liturgical “think tank” by a group called the “Conciliium” over about a two year period. This group was led by Archbishop Bugnini, who was shipped off to Iran soon after the new mass was created when allegations came out that he was a Mason (he vehemently denied the charge, but acknowledged in a book that this was indeed the reason Paul VI, in a sense, banished him.) This group was also comprised of six protestant “observers,” who actually did give advice on how the new mass could be compatible with Protestantism, ie, the de-emphasis of the Sacrificial aspect of the Traditional Mass. So why should we be eager to defend and preserve the NO mass, exactly?

  40. Habemus Papam says:

    The move away from the NO is occurring because of increasing innovations; “Eucharistic Ministers” queing for Communion in the hand, girl altar servers. The general invasion of the Sanctuary by the laity and the resulting loss of a Sense of the Sacred. Bring back reverence to the Novus Ordo and MAYBE the exodus to the Tridentine Mass will lessen. If its not too late already.

  41. Andy says:

    “Some liberal Catholic clergy are completely skeptical about the scope and meaning of the traditionalist turn. “It’s more hype than reality,” says the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and political scientist at Georgetown’s Woodstock Theological Center. Reese thinks the church should focus less on the Latin mass than on the three things that draw most churchgoers: “good preaching, good music, and a welcoming community.””

    This got me going… I’m drawn to the church because it is a place for meeting with Good, with the absolute. For nice music I have my iPod. “Good music, good lectures and a welcoming community” is a recipe for a good club, coffee house on a campus – nothing to do with Church.

  42. Tom says:

    Malta wrote: “I know some people love the NO Mass, but the objective facts are these: The NO mass was created in a liturgical “think tank” by a group called the “Conciliium” over about a two year period. This group was led by Archbishop Bugnini, who was shipped off to Iran soon after the new mass was created when allegations came out that he was a Mason (he vehemently denied the charge, but acknowledged in a book that this was indeed the reason Paul VI, in a sense, banished him.) This group was also comprised of six protestant “observers,” who actually did give advice on how the new mass could be compatible with Protestantism, ie, the de-emphasis of the Sacrificial aspect of the Traditional Mass. So why should we be eager to defend and preserve the NO mass, exactly?”

    I don’t care for the Novus Ordo. However, the party line from Rome throughout the reigns of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II was that the majority of Catholics loved the Novus Ordo and liturgical novelties approved by the Popes in question.

    The post-Vatican II liturgical reform was a tremendous success, according to the Popes.

    Pope Benedict XVI, while delivering the Traditional Latin Mass from its awful Indult status, continues to support the Novus Ordo and has made it clear that the NO will remain the Western Church’s #1 form of Mass.

    You asked “why should we be eager to defend and preserve the NO mass, exactly?” That question should be posed to Pope Benedict XVI, who remains eager to defend and preserve the Novus Ordo.

  43. vox borealis says:

    Deborah,

    To be honest, I think your overreacting with a bit. The article is not perfect, nor does it ringingly endorse traditionalism. Then again, as a secular product I’m not sure it’s job is to promote the old mass. Rather, it is an article that discusses a broader trend toward traditionalism, not only in CAtholic circles, but in evangelical and Jewish groups as well (the bulk of the article seems to focus on Judaism). I thought that overall the article was relatively respectful and even-handed. Certainly miles beyond what is usually written about traditionalism.

    As for the specific practices that you cite from the article, no I don’t want them associated with the traditionalist movement. But then again, I don’t *like* that sedevacantists are associated with the Traditional movement, but they are, and accurately so. In any case, if you read carefully, you will note that the second paragraph (re: bagels) does NOT refer to Catholic groups, but to evangelical groups that are moving more toward traditional (read: Catholic) forms, albeit flawed. Are spontaneous groups of evangelicals mimicking mass in their basements because they want to return to a more traditional form of worship? If so, then the article is only reporting one aspect of a broader movement toward traditionalism.

    As Father Z. points out, this article is by and large not concerned with traditional Catholicism. It should be judged as such.

  44. Ken says:

    GREAT photos from Old Saint Mary’s in Washington, taken on the Second Sunday of Advent at the Missa Solemnis. 5th and H streets, NW, if anyone is visiting our nation’s capital. (Come early for the March for Life; there will be a Missa Cantata with Gregorian chant on 1/20 at 9 a.m.)

    Yet, the content is awful after the first paragraph. I sent a brief, mainstream letter to the editor and recommend others do the same (letters@usnews.com).

    Summary: the cover photo and main photo in the print edition depict traditional Catholic liturgy, yet the three Catholics quoted all either oppose or dismiss any such revival of tradition. Shouldn’t the photos match the content?

    But, it is pretty cool that thousands of travelers for Christmas will be seeing that image at the airport stores, etc. The Most Precious Blood is actually on the masthead of one of the largest newsweeklies in the country. Gaudete.

  45. chris K says:

    The entrepreneurial model adopted by so many evangelical churches, with its emphasis on seeker-friendly nontraditional services and programs, had been successful in helping Trinity build its congregation, Anderson explains. But it was less successful in holding on to church members and deepening their faith or their ties with fellow congregants. Searching for more rootedness, Anderson sought to reconnect with the historical church.

    IOW, folks, as usual for sheep, have had to learn the hard way, like the prodigal. Right now they just may be only backing into something – still used to trying to have their cake and eating it too, but….

    Anderson remains committed, arguing that traditional practices will help evangelical churches grow beyond the dependence on “celebrity-status pastors.”

    Ah yes…that huge movement to try to replace God by man, by us, as the answer. Again, after eating so many husks and trying to pretend that it was just as fulfilling as what one could receive just for being faithful servants, the real truth of our human natures eventually has to raise its rather disappointing head.

    Thank God for His patience with man for He wants all of His children to return. And, also being patient, we all just may back up into one another right smack in the Father’s arms.

    And these attempts as smaller groups to find meaning…well, I believe that what orthodoxy that is forming now has its roots in those more traditional, yet innovative, small grassroots groups – be they charismatic or Marian – have retained for us the mystical/spiritual side that had been rather institutionally jettisoned from our “faith communities” for quite some time.

    God still is in the editing business, correcting our crooked lines!

  46. vox borealis says:

    Andy,

    The funny thing is that I think Reese is correct. The music is simply better at the older liturgy (and we can follow this observation by extension: the whole liturgy is more beautiful, especially as the NO is all too often celebrated). The preaching at the older form, with emphasis on actual Catholic doctrine as opposed to vague platitudes, tends to be better. The community? well, that’s a personal thing, but I find many of the aging hippies at my NO parish, especially those who occupy positions on the liturgy committee and other visible members, pretty unpalatable and not really all that welcoming to those outside the inner circle. Is it any worse at a more traditional parish?

    So yes, people are drawn to good music, good preaching, and welcoming community. And they find the best combination of these at…the Latin Mass!

  47. Deborah says:

    \”this article is by and large not concerned with traditional Catholicism\”

    vox borealis,

    I disagree.

    Note the title of the article \”A new interest in old ways takes root in Catholicism and many other faiths\”

    Also, note the picture of the CATHOLIC sacred liturgy on the entire front cover and then try and tell me that people in the secular world will not think that this article is primarily about Catholicism.

    Again, critical reading is necessary.

  48. vox borealis says:

    Deborah,

    Just look at the article itself–the majority of the text does not deal with Catholicism. As for the image on the front, they use Catholic imagery because it is the most accessible. Show a priest who likes Bing Crosby in Going My Way, and the reader says ‘ah Traditionalism.’ Show him an evangelical eating a bagel in his basement? Not so much.

    Yes, the hook is Catholic. But if one reads the article, he sees that the focus is not solely. or even primarily, Catholicism.

  49. vox borealis says:

    Deborah,

    In fact, invoking your methodology of calling attention to the headline. What does the front cover say? “Why many modern worshipers, including Catholics, Jews, and evengelicals…”

    Yes, Catholic comes first in the list, but only as one equally emphasized subset of “many modern worshipers.” Indeed, the word “including” signals that these three groups are not the only to be part of the general trend commented on in the article.

  50. Deborah says:

    Nowhere is this reference below attributed to protestants. It\’s presented in the article as another proof of the return of creative tradition which mimicks Catholic tradition yet free from all of the formal stuff. This is a proof of tradition coming back?

    \”You see this at work quite clearly in the so-called emergent communities, new, largely self-organizing groups of young Christian adults who meet in private homes, church basements, or coffeehouses around the country. So free-form that many don\’t even have pastors, these groups nevertheless engage in some ancient liturgical practices, including creedal declarations, public confession, and Communion. They may use a piece of a bagel as the body of Christ, but the liturgy is a traditional anchor in services that may include films, skits, or group discussions of a biblical topic.

  51. Borealis,

    If Reese would bother to make the trip down from Georgetown, he could hear Msgr. Pope’s excellent preaching.

    Or, he could here his sermons online:

    http://www.frpope.com

    WAC

  52. vox borealis says:

    Deborah,

    I don\’t know. The last group specifically identified–one or two paragraphs up–are protestants. In fact, the transition is basically: \”not only are Catholics becoming more traditional, protestant groups are even doing things that seem catholic.\” The pretty clear sense that I got is that everything from that point until the section on Hebrew was dealing with non-Catholic groups.

    But even if not, so what. If there are in fact groups of odd \’catholics\’ mimicking the mass with bagels in the name of tradition, that does not undermine the article at all, since the article is basically saying only that there is a new trend that crosses denominational lines, of old practices being restored and new practices invoked in the name of tradition.

    That is an amazing admission. The emphasis is on a hermeneutic of continuity, albeit one imperfectly understood and enacted. This by itself is a major paradigm shift away from what we have been hearing about for so long: how the Catholic Church, megachurches, etc are all finding are reinventing themselves, with the emphasis on progress and change and rejection of the old.

    But all this being said, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I just don\’t see much of this article talking about traditional Catholicism per se, at least not after about two paragraphs. Thus, I am not bothered by descriptions of what I think are clearly protestant groups mimicking Catholic practice–indicating that they are drawn, knowingly or unknowingly, to the home that they left hundreds of years ago.

    And I am particularly pleased that, aside from one comment about the 16th century, the article focused on youth and tradition and history, without taking real cheap shots (\”such traditional movements are often associated with right wing extremism, or even terroism,\” e.g.).

  53. chris K says:

    Whether conscious of it or not, Catholic is the alpha dog in this enumeration of the pack article:

    or doing other things that seem downright Roman Catholic or at least high Episcopalian.

    So Catholic tradition/orthodoxy is the hub with the others as spokes having their various satellites in differing distances from that center. Still, the hub is what cannot be denied and to where the ultimate end of the various leanings here will eventually find their meanings.

  54. Deborah says:

    In conclusion, this article is a bad portrayal of a return to Catholic tradition.

    Nuns wearing traditional habits living with guys.

    Young Christians forming communities and sitting around “free-form” in coffee houses or basements playing pretend with the Catholic sacred liturgy rather than joining organized religion because they don’t want authority figures telling them what is right and wrong.

    The article makes these things equally as valid as a return to the traditional aspects of Catholicism. Not an article I would pass along to anyone.

    There are some good sentences – yes. However, the most dangerous writings are those which contain truth mixed in with deception. Satan works best that way.

    Here is the writer’s foundational message of the entire article and I, for one, do not support this ideology and false conclusion:

    “it is a means of moving beyond fundamentalist literalism, troubling authority figures, and highly politicized religious positions (say on gay marriage and contraception or abortion) while retaining a hold on spiritual truths. In short, the new traditionalism is anything but straightforward.”

    (gay marriage, contraception, abortion) Don’t tell me this isn’t primarily aimed at Catholicism – I don’t buy it! Call me over reactionary, paranoid, or whatever – I call it being realistic.

  55. vox borealis says:

    In conclusion, I do not expect a secular magazine to proselytize for traditional Catholicism. I expect it to report what is going on. If what they say is actually happening in the basements of houses, then we’d better be prepared to deal with it. The shift in religiosity that we are witnessing will manifest itself in many, various, beautiful and bizarre ways. We can close our eyes, but it won’t change anything. I call that being realistic.

  56. Suzanne says:

    Deborah — I posted this article on my Facebook site and the only person to comment on it there was one of my Evangelical Protestant friends. She had mentioned to me once, months ago, that she missed liturgy as she experienced growing up Episcopalian. She also said she mentioned this to her pastor who admitted that he too missed liturgy and eucharist. Because I know her personally, I see how her spiritual life in so many other ways is longing for its home. To me this article confirmed that many, many protestants have this unconscious longing for what they left behind…it’s Christ calling them back to Himself. I was actually stunned when I found what my friend had said articulated in this way in the US News article. I think this article deserves praise insofar as it raises Catholic awareness to this longing amonging our protestant friends. It is a critical piece of information for us to have when evangelizing.

  57. Habemus Papam says:

    This Pope is a realistic strategist. We KNOW what he really thinks of the Novus Ordo; “a banal on the spot product”. He is’nt going get rid of it (how would he actually do that, even if he wanted to?). He hopes to reform it, or maybe alloow to die out in the long run.

  58. Deborah says:

    Every writer has a basis and message which they wish to spread to others. \”The pen is mightier than the sword.\”

    This article is not simply presenting facts here, is it? It is full of opinions and conclusions however the writer has full control as to where they lead the passive reader. That is unless someone is reading critically and trying to find the underlying message of the writer.

    There is a veiled agenda of the writer which is cleverly disguised until it is revealed explicitly and quickly. Like a sharp, quick stab in the back.

    The concluding reason the writer gives for a return to creative tradition by young people is that \”it is a means of moving beyond fundamentalist literalism, troubling authority figures, and highly politicized religious positions (say on gay marriage and contraception or abortion) while retaining a hold on spiritual truths. In short, the new traditionalism is anything but straightforward.”

    Is it a coincidence that the writer brings up 3 issues which are only held by the Catholic Church – gay marriage, contraception, abortion? I think not.

    And all of the information within the article is meant to lead the readers to the same conclusion.

  59. Deborah says:

    Well said chis k. You have hit the nail on the head: “Whether conscious of it or not, Catholic is the alpha dog in this enumeration of the pack article.

  60. Matt Q says:

    DebSTS wrote:

    “I couldn’t help but notice that the top of the cover of the USN&WR, featuring the words, “treating depression,” and “Iraq status report,” have the same color background as the priests’ vestments—purple. Is this done to make the cover more appealing, or to associate depression and war with traditionalism? There’s a reason for everything the MSM does, you know.”

    Yes, the visual presentation can be very telling, or subliminal. One can’t help but wonder. Secular advertisers are so very good at such things. At the same time, go ask Victor. He has an answer for everything.

  61. malta says:

    Tom wrote: “You asked “why should we be eager to defend and preserve the NO mass, exactly?” That question should be posed to Pope Benedict XVI, who remains eager to defend and preserve the Novus Ordo.”

    I’m not so sure. Certainly BXVI is trying to give us a softer landing than PaulVI
    did when he instituted a fabricated, manufactured, “liturgy on the spot.” That act
    created great confusion and great harm for the Church (compare stats pre and post
    Bugnini Mass to see what I mean.) BXVI I think has more tact than to bury the NO
    mass and return to the vetus ordo completely.

    I disagree with those who say the driving force behind the “liberation” of the TLM
    was so that it could influence the NO to more holiness. No, I think the long-range
    implicationsj (many years from now) of this move are substitution of the NO mass not a compliment to it.

  62. Matt Q says:

    Dear Malta:

    I agree with the sentiment of your comment to Tom, but in reality don’t see the Novus Ordo going away, nor the Tridentine Rite being the majority preference in most cases. There are too many factions in the Church who want it, too many people who are attached to it ( not that such a consideration was shown to TLM folks over the past forty years ) so in that regard, I don’t see the N. O. going away. It’s reform would be a most wonderful thing, but as long there are those obstacles against the Holy Father ( mind-boggling what the difficulty is in eliminating them ) the abuses and silliness attached to the Novus Ordo are going to be around for a very long time. ;)

  63. Suzanne says:

    Deborah — What the author of the article intends is clear. But the author’s intentions aren’t so much the point. The question is how can we use the bits of pertinent information in the article to the Catholic advantage? Also important to keep in mind that images are often more important and powerful than the actual words in an article. Praise God that such beautiful images to represent a return to tradition were used…whether or not society likes it or will admit it, the Catholic Church is the icon on tradition and liturgy. The Church in Her full glory cannot be kept from manifesting itself, despite the authors best attempts to disparage Her and the truths She teaches.

  64. Deborah says:

    Suzanne,

    There is a nice traditional Catholic picture on the front of the magazine, a few nice words at the beginning of the article and then slowly it degrades into trashing our Faith. Yeah, we should be grateful for that!

    Would you be okay with sticking a picture of your family on the front cover of a magazine and then the writer tells a few stories about what a nice family you are only in the end to conclude by trashing you and your family? I doubt it.

    That is exactly what is going on here.

    It’s quite embarassing to know that traditional Catholics are passing this article around as a positive article about our Catholic faith.

    If some can’t see a problem with this article then I guess we should be equally grateful for the Da Vinci code since they do show a nice traditional picture of the Last Supper on the DVD cover and they do talk about Jesus in the movie. No difference here.

  65. Suzanne says:

    Deborah,

    I don’t think anyone here is falling all over themselves saying “what a wonderful article!” I think the quotes from the hand-selected clergy stink. I think bringing in the contraception/abortion/homosexuality angle is deliberate and nasty (but will backfire since most “traditional” protestant churches espouse similar teachings on all these issues).

    However, it is one essential aspect of the report that we are rejoicing over: Even the mainstream, secular media cannot help but notice that there is a trend across all religions toward reviving traditional, liturgical practices. And, the icon of traditionalism in its fullest beauty is wonderfully represented. It re-affirms to us and the world that the TLM is out of the catacombs! Let us rejoice in that!

    Unlike the fictional “Da Vinci Code” whose only purpose was to trash the Catholic Church, there is important *factual* information we can use to our advantage in this article. I repeat what I said above: It is CRITICAL that we understand the liturgical longings of our protestant friends and capitalize on it.

    In Hollywood, the motto is: “Any press is good press.” In the Church we say: “God works all things to the good for those who love Him.” Let’s take hold of the opportunity this article presents and not simply pass it by because it is “tainted.” Let’s use this as a “talking point” for evangelization.

  66. Different says:

    Malta,

    The problem with your opinion is that it makes Pope Benedict a liar when he recognizes the OF Mass’ “value and holiness.” If he was just being politically expedient he would not say such things. He is not the type of man who lies in order to get what he wants down the road. Far more likely is that he wants exactly what he says he wants, namely two uses of the same rite that can be “mutually enriching”…think St. John Cantius in Chicago.

    FYI…”fabricated” and “manufactured” are synonyms so you don’t need to use them both when talking about the Mass, pick one or the other.

  67. Deborah says:

    “there is important factual information we can use to our advantage in this article.

    Really? Do you mean factual information like commmunties are emerging with young traditional nuns who wear habits, live with guys, and want to make their own rules without being subject to authority. How on earth is that factual? Where are these “creative traditional” communities?

    Should we be happy that young Christians prefer to pretend at playing the Catholic sacred liturgy in coffeehouses and basements for the sole reason to keep tradition alive without all of those awful authority figures and rules about gay marriage, contraception, and abortion?

    I guess we should also be thankful for the (pretend) ordination of women especially if they are keeping traditional Catholic practices.

    Is traditional practice alone good enough for us to be convinced that something is good?

    This article distorts the drawing to traditional Catholicism. Most of the comments and conclusions are about adopting traditional “practices” but dumping any kind of authority and hierarchy. The writer calls this “creative”.

    Of course, when damage is done by others we have to clean up the mess and prevent as much scandal as we can however to say that “any press is good press” is just a pagan mentality.

  68. Deborah says:

    A closer look at what the writer of this article, Jay Tolsen, is about clearly sets the stage for what he is promoting when he talks about “creative” tradition.

    You guessed it, he is Catholic and he is promoting these emerging “creative traditional” communities who don’t want any part of organized religion. Here are clips from one of his articles dated December 13/07:

    Mixing Jesus With Java
    The appeal of new religious communities

    “A projector screen is set up; candles are arranged; a basket of rolls, a chalice, and small glasses of grape juice are set out. At 10 o’clock, systems engineer Deanna Doan steps up to the mike, and the group finds itself celebrating the second Sunday of Advent.

    The Church of the Common Table, as the group calls itself, is part of a nationwide emergence of small, self-organizing religious communities. And to people who follow the world of contemporary religion, they are among the most interesting things going.

    A PowerPoint presentation of an Advent calendar and a talk on the difference between Roman and Christian conceptions of peace, followed by a freewheeling discussion, are typically innovative offerings. But the worshipers come together quietly for the confession and the Eucharist—a movingly simple ceremony that ties them to the oldest practitioners of their faith.”

    http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/national/2007/12/13/mixing-jesus-with-java.html

    Is there not a problem with a Catholic promoting and lauding the idea and actions of traditional creative communities taking the place of the Catholic Church and Her sacred liturgy?

  69. malta says:

    FYI…”fabricated” and “manufactured” are synonyms so you don’t need to use them both when talking about the Mass, pick one or the other.”

    Thanks for the English lesson, different, but “fabricated” can have a much different meaning than “manufactured.” I would suggest Oxford’s online dictionary if you are confused about this.

    I’m sure BXVI does think that the New Mass is Holy, and I guess it is “holy” in this sense that it has been the only rite to sustain many good and Holy Catholics these forty years in the liturgical desert.

    But if the boat was stalwart and not in need of fixing, why did our Holy Father bring back the old ship from the dockyard—in Summorum Pontificum? The old boat is only forty years old, why bring back a tried old ship 1,500 years old? You see, the NO may have looked shiny 40 yrs. ago, but now it has little integrity, and is letting water in. So, I think our Pope is wisely trying to patch it for now, since it is near and dear to many people, and, after all, there is a distinct possibility of schism the other way if it were abrogated. But I’m not at all certain that the Holy Father doesn’t have in the back of his mind the possibility that in another 40 years the NO will be at the bottom of the sea.

  70. Someone above mentioned the reaction of “a young seminarian” who was not to trhilled with the EF. I must say that I have become curious, interested, repelled and enthralled by the Extraordinary form in a series of turns. If the “young seminarian” remains open and seeks a little more guidance, he may find himself one day become more familiar with the depth of meaning of each word and action in the EF and eventually (God-willing he is ordained), he will learn celebrate the Mass in the EF and it will energize his priesthood in the most wonderful way! It will be a great benefit to him and to his parishioners (even those who are not yet ready for the EF)

  71. Suzanne says:

    Deborah —

    Re-read what I’ve written, as you’ve completely misrepresented the point I have tried to make. There is much that is lamentable in this article, I’ve admitted as much — but do let’s rejoice over what is worth rejoicing over — the image of the greatest beauty there is on Earth is finding its way into the homes of thousands who might not otherwise be confronted with its beauty. That IS worth rejoicing over. The beauty and truth of such an image cannot be stamped out by the idiotic author or rotten quotes by those who should know better. God is too powerful to be conquered by such darkness.

    I did *not* say every statement made in this article was factual, but that there *are* some important facts we as Catholic should take note of.

    I *never* suggested that we rejoice at protestants’ playing at Mass — but that we recognize and rejoice over their acknowledged desire to employ the true language of worship in liturgy, ritual and symbol, as Evangeliclas have for so long explicitly *rejected* the use of such language. The article indicates a remarkable shift in protestant sensibilities. Knowledge of this shift is an excellent tool for us to help them find their way into the Catholic Church. We have to know and use what’s on their hearts in order to be able to evangelize well.

    You can keep cursing the darkness if you like, and I’m sure you will, but seeing in this article *only* the call to “clean up the mess” and “prevent as much scandal as we can” isn’t a spirit likely to help win any converts to beautiful Holy Mother Church.

  72. Deborah says:

    Some things aren’t worth defending when it gets to a point of addressing ridiculous statements.

    I am absolutely speechless and amazed at the lengths a person will go to in order to defend a very strange position and one that offends a formed Catholic sensibility.

  73. Richard says:

    Habemus Papam has it right, exactly! Our Holy Father has been around a long time and knows exactly just how far he can go in this extremely touchy matter. After OFFICIALLY letting the cat out of the bag (that the Old Mass was never really outlawed — THE MOST IMPORTANT STATEMENT in his MP) He knew how many enemies he was making — enough to give him trouble and opposition for the remainder of his pontificate. He put them all in an impossible position. i.e., having to explain to the laity why they banned it in the first place when they had no right to. What he actually did was to declare war on them! Nothing less. Look at the contortions they’ve been forced to go through to try to explain away his orders! So, as an experienced politician as well as theologian, he had to add some sweetener to the strong and bitter remedy he knew was necessary to restore some sanity to the liturgy and to get the bishops finally to do what they should have been doing all along. He reassured them that their authority was still intact; that they were still in charge, etc., etc. (after transferring it to the EDC, as Fr. Baker noted with amusement!) Whether or not He really believes that water and oil will eventually merge is open to question, but I don’t think you can say he was actually lying when he said the two forms will eventually enrich each other, etc. He had to soften the blow, make the future look brighter, etc. That’s, well, politics, or tact, or whatever you want to call it. He knows how it will ultimately play out and which form will do the enriching over time. He’s as wise as a fox. How long it takes doesn’t really matter. He kept the Bark of Peter from capsizing and set it back on the right tack. What more could we have hoped for in our lifetime?

  74. The article is far from perfect, but it’s a big step up from U.S. News & World Report‘s usual slant on religion. While Time and Newsweek have the usual mild anti-religious bent of the mainstream media, USN&WR has actively promoted the gnostic gospels, DaVinci nonsense, etc. They have put out various “Special Issues” where experts like Elaine Pagels explain the Truth to all the simple naive American Christians out there.

    If you would like to see more Extraordinary Rite Masses celebrated in America, this story will help. It doesn’t matter much if all the details are right: it matters if someone seeing this story will ask their priest to celebrate TLM.

  75. EDG says:

    Good point, Lawrence King. That was what I thought, too, because regardless of the article’s slant, intention or whatever, the cover shows something that most Americans haven’t seen for lo these 40+ years. The stunning thing was that this public and general “return to Tradition” has all taken place in a period of about 3 months – from the promulgation of motu proprio to now, when it appears on the cover of a national newsmagazine.

    Talk about a revolution! And while it’s true that the writers at USNWR would probably like to see an avoidance of traditional doctrine, the classical Roman rite is so “doctrinified” that this is impossible. Furthermore, all other churches are returning to orthodoxy because the Catholic Church did so first. They were as much destroyed by the fallout of VatII as we were.