From a priest reader west of the International Date Line (edited):
Hello Father Z,
I am 31 years old and a newly ordained priest, … and am presently assigned at a parish …. I know I cannot write a long letter to you (it would take much of your time) and express all my sentiments. I have a lot of things that I cannot do for the love of the Church’s faith and tradition for fear of being persecuted and maligned even by own companion priests and the faithful of the parish where I serve as assistant. [I have lived that too. I understand what you are talking about.] To a lot of people here, everything that harks back before 1962 is evil, damnable, and worthy of every condemnation.
I write you to express my sympathy for your work and the important role you play in galvanizing and encouraging Catholics throughout the world who deeply love their faith and would wish to remain true to their identity. I for one, Father, have experienced persecution for being loyal to the Holy Father and firm in my determination to be solidly grounded in the faith.
For many years, I have closely studied the liturgy and the rich tradition of the Church in the seminary albeit doing it privately (even secretly at times). And throughout the many years that I have admired and been inspired by the liturgical treasures of the Church both past and present, I couldn’t help but suffer in the midst of all the persecution which the current climate in the Church … exerts to those who want to live out according to the fullness of Catholic faith.
I am not trying to be cranky at this, but I just would like to share my own experience to you of how the Church is in a very sorry state here …. [I had to cut this, just to be sure.]
Things have been changing a bit in the Church especially in your place but not much here in ___. Our bishops here are more interested in speaking about politics … than overseeing the faith of our people and the discipline of our clergy.
… For a very long time, I have waited for the day when I could even witness one TLMass in my own lifetime, but now I have witnessed it, not as a Mass goer, but as a celebrant myself. [So… this priest learned the older form and now can say Mass using it.] I do it unknown to my parish priest and my parishioners in another far away parish where there are regular EF Masses. I have to tell made up stories about my whereabouts whenever I would be out of my parish to say the EF Mass so as to protect myself from persecution and ridicule. I love the Novus Ordo myself, though I try to celebrate it with as much as solemnity as possible using chant for the Preface, the whole Eucharistic Prayer and the Institution Narrative, the Doxology, and even the embolism, and I try to use incense as much as I am able and wear the complete and appropriate vestments. And one thing I [find] curious though is that most of the young people here, those who are 30 years old and below, appreciate and love the Mass when said with solemnity with appropriate vestments and with solemn chant. And the ones who label me as a conservative and "out-of-touch" are some (not all) of the old ones here who have no sympathy whatever for anything old and "medieval" according to their labels. They seem to have a liturgical formula: Before 1970 = old+evil+poisonous.
Thank you Father for the good work you are doing for the Church. May the Lord Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar be all the more loved and revered as we work for the good of the holy liturgy so as "to save the world".
A great and heartfelt message.
This priest should know that he is not alone. More and more men throughout the world will be learning the older form of Mass. With prudence and patience it will be introduced in more and more parishes. Prejudices will wane and healing will begin.
I hope priests continue to write in. I would like their contributions to be a regular feature here. I will maintain anonymity if requested. For a description of Mail from priests go HERE.