A reader’s reactions after a first TLM, followed by my little rant

It is important that people have exposure to the older form of Mass celebrated well.

From a reader:

Hi Father,

So my wife and I went to our first TLM this last week at the TLM community here in Pittsburgh just to "see what it was about" (we moved up recently and have wanted to go for a while).  She blogged on her experience/thoughts and I thought you might enjoy reading them (she does not know your blog [WHAT?!?   o{];¬)   ] but I am a faithful reader and know you like this sort of thing).  ["this sort of thing...." hmmm.... okay... let's move on...] We’re both fairly recent converts to Catholicism and don’t know much about liturgy, but I thought it was neat how she picked up on a lot of the points you’ve made about the TLM without looking for them….Maybe we’ve found a home…

Thanks,
Bryan S.

Going to Latin Mass  (http://www.joggermom.blogspot.com/)

I got to smell some incense on Sunday- we went to our first Latin Mass. I’d have to go several more times to begin to feel like I’m picking it up and to unpack my impressions, but here’s what I noticed was different. I’d also like to know why these things are not done anymore[YES!  That's the perfect question at this point.]

•    The prayers were stunning in their portrayal of God’s holiness and the egregiousness of our sin (an English translation was provided) – definitely not of the ‘Jesus is my best buddy’ variety [Yah... a stark contrast, that, for many people.]
•    There was a line for confession during Mass. I think the priest stopped hearing confessions right before the Eucharist
•    We received the Eucharist on the tongue while kneeling
•    Almost all the women wore chapel veils
•    No ‘passing of the peace’
•    Choir was men only
•    Less music
•    Less scripture read

[These things can be done in the Novus Ordo also, with the possible exception of the number of readings.  Say the Black Do the Red, after all.]

Throughout the Mass, I couldn’t help but think about how God is a mystery and the ways of heaven are mysterious[If she doesn't know WDTPRS, she is doing a darn good imitation.  Liturgical worship must lead to an encounter with mystery.  That's the whole point.] Maybe that was just me drawing a parallel between not being able to understand what the priest was saying, but it’s still the dominate impression I have of the Latin Mass as I think back on it now. After going to this Mass, I’d like to know more about why the liturgy was changed. [As you study this, you might get a little angry.  So many of the things that were done in the name of the reforms required by the Second Vatican Council really had little or nothing to do with the actual reforms required.  The Consilium and its.... staff... went far beyong their mandate and the exagerated "spirit of Vatican II"... spirit of discontinuity did untold damage.  All so sad.] I can understand why making the switch from Latin to English seemed important, but the other changes?  [The Council Fathers explicitly stated that nothing was to be chnaged unless it was truly for the good of the Catholic people.  That was ignored, to our tragic loss.] It felt appropriate to kneel for the Eucharist and the prayers were beautiful and true. It seems odd that people decided these things were no longer useful for Catholics. I know very little about liturgy, but I think I can see why people would cringe over some of the changes.

Very perspicacious.  Very interesting.

Bon voyage!  The more you drill into this whole other dimension of your Catholic heritage the more you will want to know.

As a convert, I had the experience of discovery.  I recall the powerful moment of comprehension that when I became a Catholic all of "this sort of thing", … the music, the liturgy, the lives of saints, the art, the architecture, suddenly became mine.  It was my inheritance.  My patrimony. 

And then I saw with crystal clarity that some people had conspired to take it away from me, to insult both me and my "new" Catholic forebears by running it down and working to destroy it.

Remember, dear readers, whether you are personally into "this sort of thing" or not, the TLM, and everything that grew with it and from it through the centuries is yours.  This is your patrimony.  This is the greater share of the foundation of your Catholic identity even if you have never heard of it

You cannot be more fully Catholic until you have also come to know this dimension of who you are.

It is out there waiting for you to take possession of it.

Some will try to keep it from you or run it and you down for wanting even to know it.  Others are working to put it into your hands, heads and hearts… where it belongs.

After all…. it is yours.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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46 Responses to A reader’s reactions after a first TLM, followed by my little rant

  1. An experience shared by many

  2. my kidz mom says:

    Tom, so true. The one trying to keep it from me is my pastor at our church of Saint Me. The one running me down for wanting even to know it is my husband (sayeth he: “some people want to return to 1950 with candles and darkness and blackness and worshipping statues.” And he is Catholic and we were married in the Church!).

    Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.

  3. David Osterloh says:

    if only my wife, also a convert, was so open minded, her opinion was cold, distant, unwelcoming, and incomprehensible , she couldn’t hear the priest, that just boggeled her mind, I loved it, quiet, reverent, prayerful, and no one HELD MY HAND. oh well, brick by brick

  4. Sean says:

    If they went to a TLM in Pittsburgh, then they must have gone to St. Boniface. Fr. Myers is a celebrates the liturgy beautifully and he is a fantastic homilist. The choir is top notch as well. This would certainly be one of the best places to first experience a TLM.

    As a recent convert myself (2 and a half years) I shared the same sentiments as the author when I went to my first TLM (about 2 years ago). Although I had attended a very traditional NO parish (Latin, chant, altar BOYS, communion rail, etc.), I was simply floored the first time I saw a traditional Latin Mass (which was actually a Traditional Dominican Rite mass). I was also very angry over all the traditions that were discarded after Vatican II.

  5. RichR says:

    I recently went to my first TLM Low Mass. My experience was similar. I wrote about it briefly here.

    http://cathdent.blogspot.com/2008/11/first-low-mass.html

  6. kat says:

    Yet another convert who fell in love with the TLM. Here is one of my early blog posts about the beauty of the TLM and the wonderful priests who serve. While Father Willis has gone back to being a parish priest in OK, he was among the many holy men who have offered the TLM at St. Benedict’s in Chesapeake, VA.

    http://nofightingnobiting.blogspot.com/2007/07/our-former-parish-in-paper.html

  7. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Father Z, I think by “this sort of thing”, he meant “a description of your experience at the TLM”.

  8. tihald says:

    I’m a convert who fell in love with the TLM as well. I would be shocked to know where I am know versus 20 years ago. St. John Cantius is light years from the little Southern Baptist Church I grew up in. I had the same realization of my patrimony as Fr. Z, but in 2 stages. The second was with the TLM and the traditional things that had been abandoned. The first was the realization of the immensity of the inheritance of those first 15 centuries of Christianity that Southern Baptists had just ignored. That was the only time I was ever angry with my former denomination. But now I’m just grateful for the Truths that were taught me then. And when I do consider my patrimony and my heritage, how can I do anything but come tom my Lord as a little child considering what I am versus those that came before me?

  9. Patrick says:

    Sean,

    Is the St. Boniface church Benedictine and Fr. Myers of the OSB?

    Patrick

  10. paul says:

    Good comments on the lady’s impressions. I am confused how all these changes were not mandated by the Council- however we have them today. If a priest tries to do what he feels is liturgically correct- he now has to answer to his bishop or angry laity. What a mess. I do think slowly things are getting better.

  11. Truman says:

    The Benedictines left St. Boniface, which they had staffed for a century, somewhere between 1992 and 1994. Fr. Myers is a diocesan priest and an excellent one.

  12. My thoughts were similar as well.

  13. Ed says:

    I just found this blog the day before yesterday, and found a lot being written that I’d been thinking about. I’ve offered a few posts, reactive in hindsight.

    As an altarboy from 1962 to 1970, I served in literally hundreds of traditional Latin Masses, low and High, as well as funerals, novenas, and weddings. It was normal to see, from the other side of the Communion rail, all the usual mix of piety and irreverence that we see at Mass now.

    Sometimes, we had to rush, to be in the right place, to do the next thing correctly, to say the correct response, and there wasn’t any formation about the gravity of our involvement, what we were doing and why. It was strictly formalist. On the other hand, it was done correctly, day after day. There was a felt sense of continuum in our attempt to serve in Church. And we were children. It was a sacrifice to get to the Church in time to serve the 7am Mass in the dead of winter. There was nothing self-exalted about it, just doing the job. It was a different world, then, it seems.

    A lot changed, of course, and the changes were catastrophic for me. But, now, in light of postings and information I’m finding at this blog, something keeps coming to mind about re-engagement with the traditional Latin Mass, and this quote brought some clarity about it:

    “Liturgical worship must lead to an encounter with mystery. That’s the whole point.”

    Appreciating the statement in context, I can read it from several vantages related to my “history” with and in the Church. One of those views reminds me that, for all the catastrophy of post VaII,
    the Mystery is always there, at every Mass. The Real Presence is not less Real in a Post Vatican II folk Mass, “as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.”

    “Liturgical worship must lead,” but it hasn’t always or automatically, regardless of the form. If people are moved to greater devotion, now, in celebrating the Eucharist through the TLM, there will still, as had been written so often prior to Va II, be the garden variety dangers that come through familiarity. This was definitely an issue, pre Vatican II.

    The changed liturgical worship may not have led us to the Mystery very effectively, but, in the old days, the TLM didn’t do that necessarily either. We did it correctly; sometimes glimpsed, through the beauty and pageantry, and sensory wonder, something of the Mystery of God. But that is true of the post-VaII Mass now as well.

    But the distractions are all still there, still the same ones. There is always a danger of fixation on formalism. Once the TLM is more widely practiced, we still face the same imperative; the Mystery has never left, and we have to seek for It, in spite of our “humanness,” what Guardini called “the pejorative of formalism and superficiality.”

    It still seems to be about ourselves as an intentional Body of Christ, with all that He said as our mandate. Being human, a sinner, and so prone to mistake and misunderstanding, it can be a profound grace just to able to do my part “right,” if not in a total transport of piety.

    I loved the old Mass, and it felt right to me, also, to kneel to receive the Eucharist, it did help me state and experience my place relative to the Almighty. But God hasn’t changed, through it all. His saving Love is still the only “whole point.”

  14. ASD says:

    I started attending TLM in July 2007. It took me a few months to realize that I was bringing a NO or OF frame of mind to the EF. For example, I felt like I had to position myself in the nave toward the front and to the side so I could see the Priest’s hands & try to catch his words. But I am much more relaxed now. I still follow in the missal, but mostly I try to join my sacrifice to that of the Priest.

    A few observations on difference between OF & EF for eighth grade catechism class at NO/OF parish: http://mysite.verizon.net/arthur.drury/rc/mass_compare.html

  15. Andy says:

    “As a convert, I had the experience of discovery. I recall the powerful moment of comprehension that when I became a Catholic all of “this sort of thing”, … the music, the liturgy, the lives of saints, the art, the architecture, suddenly became mine. It was my inheritance. My patrimony.”

    Yes. More of this. I am not a convert, but I grew up in a largely “Spirit of Vatican II” parish. Not the worst I’ve seen by far, but it was missing much. As I’ve grown up and learned more about my faith and the church (and especially after studying liturgy in grad school), I began to feel downright cheated out of my heritage as a Catholic. Whether it’s the EF or the OF, we need more of a sense of pride in our Catholic heritage. We have so much richness.

  16. ED2 says:

    Can someone explain the advantages of an all male choir? I’m not trying to be confrontational, just want to know! The church I go to has a male/female choir and when they harmonize they sound very beautiful.

    Thank you!

  17. Jonathan says:

    I too am a convert. It seems a lot of us Latin Mass groupies are converts. I wonder why that is? In my own case, I can remember as a young child being appalled at the lack of reverence in the evangelical Anglican Church that we attended. In the Latin Mass and in the encounter with mystery, I have finally come home to something that I was searching for my whole life.
    My wife is a cradle Catholic, and she really cannot understand my extreme interest in all things Latin Mass related. But as Father Z points out, there is a shocking excitement at the discovery of the patrimony we inherit that cradle Catholics often take for granted.

    Strangely a senior priest in my diocese told me the other day that the Latin Mass was not for the likes of me because I did not grow up with it, and the motu proprio was for reconciliation with an older generation of Catholics. Fortunately from daily readings of this blog I was well equipped to set him straight!

    Many people need a guide to introduce them to the Latin Mass. I am eternally grateful to my dear friend Mark for planting the seed and showing me the way. He made a gift to me of my first missal. I often find that in my circle when I talk about the Latin Mass that people ask to come to it with me. I am of course delighted; I pass on what my friend did for me, by giving them their first missal as well.

  18. Patricia says:

    Fr. Z
    Your comment about being fully Catholic when you come to know this dimension of who you are resonates profoundly with me. I remember going to the Traditional Latin Mass before “everything was changed” but remembered very little. So I was rather lost when I went for the first time in many many years. But it simply didn’t matter, the Mass was so wonderfully not about me, that I like this woman was made intensely aware of the Mystery of God. I knew who I was at the very depth of my being. It all reminded me of a friend who had her son bar mitzvad because she told me, she wanted him to know who he was. At the time I didn’t truly understand what she meant. I do now.
    I’ve been studying and reading since the motu proprio and I am still with this woman who is new to the ancient Mass as well as the Catholic faith. I don’t understand why it “was all changed”. Even after knowing the reasons that were given, very often “pastoral” reasons, I still don’t get it. How much more truly pastoral is it to give Catholics the opportunity to experience “the most beautiful thing this side of Heaven”.
    Patricia

  19. jarhead462 says:

    Very good, indeed.
    Also, Father, thank you for your comments. They state very accurately how I feel. Finding out about these things is how I started my return to the Church, and now as I look back on how badly we have been ripped-off, I get ANGRY. I try to keep it from poisoning me, but sometimes it is very difficult.

    Semper Fi!

  20. Strangely a senior priest in my diocese told me the other day that the Latin Mass was not for the likes of me because I did not grow up with it, and the motu proprio was for reconciliation with an older generation of Catholics.

    When I here a report like this, I wonder what is the real explanation? Does such a priest not know that Pope Benedict intends the TLM for all Catholics (young and old), nor that young Catholics actually predominate in many if not most TLM communities?

    Or does he actually have at least an inkling of one or both, but is trying to deny or spin the situation?

    Seriously, which is most likely?

  21. Ave Maria says:

    To avoid being upset at the shenanigans at Mass, I began to pray with an old missal for the TLM. I grew to love the holy prayers and the way they prepared me for Holy Communion. Yes, our holy COMMUNION with God! It is not just about the gathering of the community or the social justice issues. It is about the worship of God in a way I was not experiencing in my parish where sometimes I would be so distraught that I could not go to Communion. Not to say that most parishes are like that but some are; the gospel was not preached.

    Having not even an indult in my ‘progressive’ diocese, my first real experience was a beautiful Missa Cantata in Massachusetts when I was visiting there. It brought me to tears and I asked the Lord over and over why all this was taken from us. Why? Why was the beauty removed from our liturgy and from our churches? Why were we not even given the chance to know our heritage? Why was this beautiful music that resonates in the soul replaced by pop songs that worship us?

    I do not know why but I am grateful that from place to place, the TLM is taking root. I can now get to one twice a month. I would go daily if the opportunity was there, but not in schism.

  22. Bo the Okie says:

    I, too, am a recent convert (3 years?…sounds right), and I, too, have been drawn to the EF in a profound way. That is where my wife and I now attend, St. Peter’s Parish in Tulsa, OK. I could write a book length treatment of why I think we ended up here, but I will say one small thing: when I became Catholic, I did so because of the fullness of Catholicism. I did not and would never have converted if I thought, “well, Catholicism is close enough, why not?” I knew something was missing, and the True Church had it. Mostly, it was the Eucharist. Christ substantially with us at each Mass. And so when I started going to NO Masses, and people could CARE LESS about Jesus Christ right before them, it disgusted me. I knew I had to be Catholic, but it was very painful to know that the great treasure I had given up many things for (family harmony, a job as a Methodist minister, “paganism-lite” behaviors being totally acceptable), was being ignored, that people did not care, they abused it, and at worst, ignored it. Despite the worry of formalism, the EF is exactly “formal” so that when we are not at our best, the tradition and wisdom of the ages helps us along. I know Father Z rightfully points out that the EF is made for participation, and he is right. However, even when we fall short, and we do not participate, and our mind wanders, and we just aren’t in it, there is a way that the Ceremony of the Old Mass at least outwardly ensures our treasury of Christ and His Sacrifice on the Altar, even when we are at our worst, and left to our own devices, we would fall into sacralige.

    One of the best ways, in my mind, to describe the NO is “the people left to their own devices…”

    All of this has drawn me as a convert to the EF. No one can ever doubt that in an EF Mass, Christ in the Eucharist is the pearl of great price. To have a part in “purchasing” it, one must be ready to sell everything else, to give everything else away. The EF speaks to this reality drastically better than the NO.

  23. Ryan says:

    Hey, my daughter’s godparents are featured on wdtprs! They’re so big-time.

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Father, I have a question for you (anybody else can pitch in, too. I just need some advice.) It’s been about a year and a half, maybe two years, since I started realizing just what being Catholic means. Before I started reading a few blogs and books, I was perfectly satisfied with my extremely anti-traditional parish. Now it’s hard not to cringe. The church my family attends is filled with nonchalant parishioners. The choir director practically runs the parish, and even though we have a new priest who is more traditional-minded than the last one, he gets pounded with complaints every time he tries to bring back chant or even simply new altar server robes (we have the bathrobe-shaped kind). Our church includes guitar songs, an almost-ban on all things Latin, and a Tabernacle pushed into the corner. However, there is an EF Mass offered in a church about 15 minutes away from my house. The biggest problem is my parents. You see, I’m rather young. I just turned 16 last month. To give you a hint about what they’re like, my dad skipped the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, telling me “Protestants already think we worship Mary. I don’t want to encourage that belief,” or something along those lines. My mom also doesn’t believe Mary was sinless, and dad has told me countless times that “If it weren’t for Vatican II, we wouldn’t be Catholic.” I also got an earful the other day when I was laughing about a Curt Jester blog post about “Womyn priests.” It appears they both think women should be “allowed” to be priests, even though I’ve explained countless times it should not, will not and, indeed, cannot happen.
    Anyway, my question is, when does “honor thy father and mother” end and my duty to inform them about Church teaching begin? Or is it not my duty at all? (In which case, who will tell them?) How am I supposed to explain the Church’s position to them if it only causes fights? And most of all, how can someone convince parents like these to accept their child’s possible vocation to the religious life? Sorry about the long comment, everyone. I love your blog, Father. [With sympathy, I must say that this isn't very much on the topic of this entry. And I regrettably will have to declare this off limits, though I won't delete your message right now. Hang in there. - Fr. Z]

  25. Dave says:

    ED2: From a purely musical perspective, Gregorian chant sounds best when sung by either all men or all women. For most polyphony, of course, you need all the voice parts, so a mixed choir makes sense.

    I suppose you could argue in favor of an all-male choir if you view the role of the choir as an extension of the priestly ministry (kind of like acolytes or lectors.) When the choir chants the ordinary and proper parts in the EF, they are singing the same words that the priest reads quietly, as if the choir was lending their voices to the priest in order to make his prayer more beautiful. (Just my own thoughts.)

  26. I’d have to go several more times to begin to feel like I’m picking it up and to unpack my impressions

    That’s the proper attitude when “trying out” the Extraordinary Form. So many people go once, can’t figure it out, and just assume it “isn’t for them” and give up on it (sometimes self-righteously so). A lot of people fail to realize that any thing you aren’t used to might seem awkward at first. I’d say people need to give a couple of months of Sundays to the Extraordinary Form before they can really say it isn’t for them.

    A friend of mine noted just the other day that he feels much more comfortable with the Extraordinary Form now that he and his family have attended it many times.

  27. Chironomo says:

    ED2 – While I detest the “matter of taste” argument… it really is a matter of taste in practice. While there is strong precedent in tradition for all-male choirs in Cathedrals or Churches, there is also much precedent for women singing chant (what do you think they did in convents?). The argument that the choir is an extension of the ordained ministry and therefore limited to men can be made…. probably stronger in the EF than in the OF. What can be argued from a musical point of view is that it is preferable to not mix voices for chant…this destroys the unison and turns it into octaves instead. Polyphony? A different thing altogether…

  28. Jane says:

    The nearest TLM is 2hrs away from me. My pastor says it’s “not his thing.” It’s difficult to find a reverent NO Mass in this area. I hate to complain, but I feel like I’m in a liturgical desert..

  29. W. Schrift says:

    I live in Pittsburgh (Duquesne University), so my experience with the TLM has been solely and graciously facilitated by the PLMC at St. Boniface’s. I started going about a year ago during Advent, having read a lot about it, and brought some interested friends along. Since this summer, I have been attending the High Mass there consistently, and just formally joined the community. Fr. Myers is wonderful, and I’m very grateful to have access to the TLM in such an established community.

  30. Chris says:

    The choir at St. Boniface isn’t an all male choir. A small schola of men sings the propers, but usually the women sing the ordinary, hymns, chants and polyphonic motets with the rest of the men. Also, I’m surprised she thought there was “less music” in the EF. I’ve only been to one NO parish (though I’m sure there are others) where the choir regularly sings full Gregorian Propers, Mass Ordinary, hymns and motets. Maybe the music just isn’t as intrusive as it often is in the OF…

  31. Maynardus says:

    Jonathan wrote: \”I too am a convert. It seems a lot of us Latin Mass groupies are converts. I wonder why that is?\”

    Well, I am a \”re-vert\” and my wife is a convert, and I\’d say that the overwhelming (earthly) factor in her conversion was my decision that our family attend the TLM \”fulltime\”. Also, as the old saying goes, some of my best friends are converts… who attend the TLM.

    Obviously everyone\’s experience is different, but many of the converts I know had a sort of \”intellectual\” conversion process, not unlike Ven. J. H. Card. Newman, becoming convinced through reading and argumentation that Rome was the One True Church and reluctantly overcoming their will to stay put. To someone like this, disappointment begins to set-in during the (usually-mandated) ordeal of R.C.I.A. when they realize that they know more than the instructor, who may be heterodox to boot, and half of their class is there for some reason other than a genuine conversion (marriage, etc.) Weekly attendance at the (typical) N.O., where they usually find a lower standard of music, preaching, and general deportment than their previous spiritual home, leaves them in despair. \”This isn\’t the Church I read about\” one of the friends I made at my last N.O. parish would always complain.

    Somehow, God\’s grace which led them to the Truth in the first place leads them to seek something more in line with their spiritual needs and desires. I\’ve heard some variation of this particular journey literally dozens of times.

    Also, I know of quite a few pre-V2 converts who went along with the flow for a few years, e.g. became lectors, E.M.E.s, \”hospitality ministers\”, etc.; but were eventually made uncomfortable by what they perceived as the \”protestantization\” of the liturgy and the Church. When they learned of the availibility of the TLM they returned \”home\” and remain to this day.

    Everyone has their own \”motives\”, but IMHO these must be two of the more common ones.

  32. David D. says:

    I am a “revert” like <aynardus. I don’t know how it might have happended without the TLM

  33. David D. says:

    Looks like I got cutoff. What I meant to say is that like Maynardus I am a “revert.” I don’t know how it might have happened without the the TLM.

  34. Joe says:

    At first, I didn’t “get” the TLM either, but now I can clearly see it is the superior form of worship. I go the the TLM at St. Boniface on First Saturdays. My wife does not yet fully appreicate the TLM, but I hope in the future that St. Boniface is where we will be going to Sunday Mass each week.

  35. kat says:

    Maynardus said, “many of the converts I know had a sort of “intellectual” conversion process, not unlike Ven. J. H. Card. Newman, becoming convinced through reading and argumentation that Rome was the One True Church and reluctantly overcoming their will to stay put. … “This isn’t the Church I read about”

    Oh my, this could be an exact quote from myself and my husband. We came into the Church by reading the Catechism- the whole thing from start to finish. Our home is filled with Catholic books and within a year my husband, Tim was writing and publishing articles in orthodox Catholic magazines. I certainly didn’t leave family and a beautiful liturgy in the Anglican Church for a super casual attitude toward God, horrible homilies that declare the goodness of the sinful world, and ugly music and even uglier vestments. The TLM is the perfection of Catholic liturgy, this is what I converted for!

  36. RosieC says:

    As a cradle Catholic who was born a few years after Vatican II, I never realized how different the 1962 form was until it came to my parish through an indult.

    Over the years, I have come to wonder if I feel the way that the children of Esau must have felt. My elder relatives were literally starving, just as Esau was, and with a similar wealth of food at their hands if they had only taken the time to prepare/understand and eat it. Instead they took the easy way out and ate a bowl of vegetable soup, trading away their birthright (and mine) in the process. I have to wonder how Esau’s children felt about it.

    Anyhow, my answer to the convert who says, “why would this all be thrown away,” is that there was a generation starving for some connnection to their Faith and for whatever reasons each of them had, they chose the soup.

  37. Rick says:

    This is a great thread. I am a cradel Catholic born in the early 1970s. But I had been exposed to a couple of EFs when I was a teenager. 4 years ago I started attending an FSSP parish. It took me 3 months to feel like I wasn’t lost at mass and a full 18 months before I became completely comfortable with it. I decided to go to the EF exclusively after reading my way to the traditionalist position on the liturgy. Lots of Michael Davies. Even though I had reasoned my way to the EF, I had to actually “live it” for a while before I could absorb it. THese days I feel like a young child at mass. I am learning what it means to be a traditional Catholic; I am learning my patrimony. It is a great feeling, but sometimes I struggle with feeling angry at being deprived of this for so long. Thanks for the encouragement here, Fr. Z.

  38. JGKester says:

    Does anyone know where I can find the 1962 Advent preface with chant notation online?

  39. John Enright says:

    LOL. I think that your comments were entirely on point, Father. But I have to laugh because your midwest accent even comes through in your written word! You said “Yah” where most of the rest of the county would say “Yeh.” This is not a criticism, Father. Regional accents are complicated and very important; they explain how language becomes diverse.

  40. Clare says:

    Another convert here…almost 5 years now. I was brought in through the OF realm, but found myself going to the EF to avoid liturgical abuse masses whenever I traveled. I first noticed the reverence demonstrated by everyone around me through their dress and decorum and was amazed at how well behaved the children were! I also fell in love with the chant and would go to the occasional Solemn High Masses at home when they were available. However, I was often frustrated by not being able to follow along and thus continued to go to the OF as my regular attendance. But, slowly over time of going to these High Masses, my mind changed. I came to love the Mass not for the people around me or for the chant (although it is sublime), or for the well behaved children…no, I came to love it for the Mass itself, for the mystery, for the reverence, for the Priest leading the people, for the awe of it all. And now, that initial aesthetic draw has delved into something deeper. I also now have a great appreciation also for the low TLM and the silence it offers. How glorious and personal is that silence! I am finally home with the TLM. It is the liturgy in which I encounter the mystery.

  41. tradone says:

    Yes Fr, this is our inheritance! Thanks for sharing this with us. I relate to many of the responses. We are all so fortunate and blessed to have such a beautiful Church.
    I have stuggled with anger for a long time because of so many of the forced changes.
    Maybe the last 40 odd yrs was a wake up call? Maybe the message is “you don’t know what you’ve got, until you lose it”?
    Well it sure got my attention.
    Every day I pray in thanksgiving. At every Mass, I have to tell myself that I am not dreaming.

  42. Ohio Annie says:

    ED2, Others have given good answers but also a high note coming out of a small pipe (throat) sounds different than a high note coming out of a large pipe (throat). So same-gender choirs are like having matched organ pipes.

  43. RosieC: My elder relatives were literally starving, just as Esau was, and with a similar wealth of food at their hands if they had only taken the time to prepare/understand and eat it. Instead they took the easy way out and ate a bowl of vegetable soup, trading away their birthright (and mine) in the process.<

    Having been born after Vatican II, you can hardly be blamed for this paragraph which is as far as could be from the truth as my generation lived it.

    I am a convert who came into the Church as a student in the 1950′s. All the Catholics I knew before Vatican II had the same appreciation and understanding of the Mass of the Ages that is shown in this thread by those who have only recently discovered it.

    We loved it with all our hearts and souls; it lit up our lives. In the 1960′s, what was dearest to us was brutally wrenched away. Many of us (including me) literally saw our altars and sanctuaries destroyed by jack hammers, some of our priests and sisters looking on with terrible glee in their eyes. Some of us rescued statues from the dumpsters behind our churches. Our children had rosaries taken away from them at Catholic schools and thrown in the trash. When we begged our priests for an old Mass, maybe just once in a while, we were told that Latin was evil and would never again be heard in church again.

    And, for 35 years and more, it wasn’t. The Mass of our youth was not “at our hands”, rejected for “soup”. It was never “rejected” by us, it was taken by force, and anyone who objected was treated with cruel contempt.

    But now that both the old Mass is available again, at least on Sundays, and sacredness is returning to the new Mass now that the lies of the 1960′s about what really happened at Vatican II are finally being dispelled, it’s as though the heaven we once knew has finally returned to earth, for a foretaste of that bliss before we die.

  44. A. Noel says:

    “[T]o unpack my impressions” can mean “meditation,” which the EF fosters.

    The performers of the OF in my experience work quite energetically to banish what used to be known as recollection… a state of spiritual peace and receptivity.

    I don’t think Satan likes thoughtful quiet, either. Just a hunch.

  45. Maynardus says:

    Since this thread is still chugging along…

    I find it quite challenging when someone – invariably a cradle Catholic – tells me: “I went to *your* Latin Mass *once* – it was boring, I couldn’t understand anything, etc.”? Indeed, plenty of people don’t “get it” right away, especially those who think they’re completely satisfied with the O.F. We can’t hold everyone’s hand, or sit next to them and turn the pages of the Missal for them; thus I always recommend that someone who wants to give it a fair shot commit to attend the TLM for 5-6 Sundays in a row, and experience both Sung and Low Masses if possible. That seems about the average time it takes to “click”, and even the self-motivated take about that long to begin to become acclimated.

    When my wife – a former Methodist – became a Catholic, she often said she now felt that she’d been “cheated” all her life – deprived of Confession, a real Eucharist, Mary, the Saints, Sacramentals, etc. I’ve heard other converts say the same things, but many Catholics who discover the TLM express similar sentiments. This is especially true of the younger ones. In their case it is perhaps more a matter of having been deprived of a full understanding – and appreciation – and exposure to – the elements of Catholic worship, piety, and (I hate the overuse of this word) spirituality. In both instances it is a sudden awareness of coming from something good and valuable, but incomplete, into a fuller expression of the Christian Faith.

  46. WCR in Pittsburgh says:

    Soon after I began attending the Latin Mass in Pittsburgh back in 1991, I became intrigued by the fact that this whole operation was due to the dogged determination of the lay faithful. I was intrigued enough to write a little history booklet, which was published on the community’s 10th anniversary in 1989. So it’s now a bit out of date, but the early chapters are the interesting stuff anyway.

    If you’d care to take a look: http://tinyurl.com/post-decem-annos