No brainer from Germany: 44% would go to the OLD, traditional Mass

In order to have a clear, effective voice in the world, Catholics need to have a clear understanding of who they are and what they believe. 

In order to have a strong Catholic identity we must revitalize our Catholic worship.

In order to revitalize our Catholic worship we must reconnect our worship to our tradition – restore continuity.

With a biretta tip to Sancte Pater who lead me to Eponymous Flower via PaixLiturgique we have this… which does not surprise me in the least.

"But Father! But Father!", you may be saying.  "Why?  Why are you not surprised?"

Because dear readers people aren’t stupid.

Paix Liturgique Exclusive Survey: in Germany, 44% of practicing Catholics would regularly attend the traditional Mass if the Motu Proprio was applied!

At least 44% of practicing Catholics in Germany would regularly participate in an Old Mass, if the requirements of the Motu Proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ were established in their country.

This was reported by the French organization ‘paixliturgique.org‘ today in an article.

The organization maintains, that a great part of the German hierarchy is hostile to the liturgical rapprochement desired by the Pope.

The Bishops are at pains to disparage the numbers of requests for the Use of the Motu Proprio.

Indeed, now ‘paixliturgique.com’ has launched a representative poll with the US opinion research institute ‘Harris Interactive’. [Perhaps more professional than what US Catholic did recently?]

The poll was held from the 18th to the 25th of February. 2,611 Catholic households in Germany with ages above 18 were questioned. Here are the questions and answers:

First Question: Do you go to Holy Mass?

Every Week: 5.9% [Holy cow.]
Once a Month: 4.1% [Remember this stat too.]
For a big Holy Day: 18.9%
Occasionally (e.g., weddings, funerals): 42.3%
Never: 28.8%

Second Question: Do you know, that the Pope has allowed two forms of Mass, a modern one with the people facing the priest and communion in the hand, and the traditional latin, with the priest facing the altar and Communion orally received on the knees?

Yes: 43.1%
No: 56.9%  [WHAT?]

Third Question: Would it be normal, if both forms were regularly celebrated in your community?

Normal: 50,6% [TA DA!]
Not Normal: 24.5%
No Opinion: 24.9%

[HERE WE GO…] Fourth Question: Would you attend the old Mass, even if the new Mass were also celebrated nearby?

Answer of regular or monthly Massgoers:

25 percent would participate every week.
19 percent would participate once a month
. [44%]
9 percent would participate by great feasts.  [Which means many more.]
40 percent would occasionally [wow] participate.
 7 percent would never, [ever?] attend. [wow, only 7?]

The organization ‘paixliturgique.com’ maintains, that every fourth German who practices would attend the Old Mass every Sunday, if he had the opportunity in his community[1 in 4]

A further 19 percent would at least attend the old Mass once a month. That gives a total figure of 44 percent.

In Germany 1,185,310 Catholics go to Mass every Sunday. A further 823,690 visit Church services at least once a month.

‘Paixliturgique.com’ informs, that this investigation in Germany yielded similar results in Paris, Versailles, Italy and all of France. [So… all the blather from liberals that there isn’t much interest is … what… blather?]

Opposition against the Old Mass is, with 25 Percent of all Catholics, in a decisive minority.

Catholic Knight reports similar numbers for the States, here.

The key is marketing.  The key is word of mouth.   Word of mouth is very power.

I would like to make recommendations.

  • If you not are attending Holy Mass regularly on Sundays and feasts, get off your rear ends and go.  Especially if other depend on you.  If you are not going regularly, you are endangering your soul.  Hell is real and forever. A couple hours of your precious week isn’t too much to give to GOD.
  • If you have found a church with Holy Mass that really appeals to you, invite people to go.  You all know people who have fallen away or who are falling or who have a hard time going.  Just do it.
  • If you are regularly attending Holy Mass in a traditional form, start inviting people to go with you to experience what you experience. 
  • If you are regularly going to Holy Mass, but not in the traditional form, and if you don’t know it: find a way to good.  Experience this important facet of the Roman Rite.

Never underestimate the power of your invitation.

You have an incredibly power tool at your disposal. 

Everyone appreciates an invitation.  They might not accept (at first), but they will be flattered that you made it.  You might need to invite 10 people until 1 comes, or 1 person 10 times.  But invitations are powerful.

What would happen to a community were everyone to start inviting people?  Evangelicals do this.  Can’t we?

I think we have a moral and spiritual imperative to help fallen away Catholics return to their faith, and help people who are confused find clarity.

It may be that people don’t like what they experience.  At least they will make an informed decision.  We should not be afraid of their reactions.  At the same time, do everything in your power to make sure that their experience is of Holy Mass and not … well… jerks.

More tips:

  • Show joy.  Few things you show others when you invite them are going to be more attractive to others.
  • Don’t run down what they are regularly experiencing.
  • Be ready to give reasons for… what they are about to experience.
  • Don’t be jerks.
  • This applies to how you approach priests whom you hope to have celebrate Holy Mass in a reverent and Catholic manner.

Get out there and start inviting.

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", Brick by Brick, SESSIUNCULA, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to No brainer from Germany: 44% would go to the OLD, traditional Mass

  1. TJerome says:

    Then what in God’s name is wrong with the bishops and priests in Germany? Are they so committed to a spirit of Vatican II ideology that they simply are obstinately blind and contumacious? They should be thrilled that their countrymen want the TLM, a sign of deep religious vitality.

  2. jbalza007 says:

    This was one of the many reasons why I started my own blog (sanctamargaritamaria.blogspot.com)… to supplement my personal invitation to folks.

  3. Westie says:

    Father,

    I think you hit on a VERY important point here that people frequently miss. Oftentimes, those of us who find so much to love in the TLM are left wondering why “traditionalist” parishes aren’t bursting at the seams with folks eager to witness the glory of the usus antiquor. Who in their right mind, we wonder, would prefer the typically lame Sunday run-through at the typically lame parish when there is a slice of heaven waiting up the road for anyone willing to make the trip?

    Well, it occured to me a long time ago that this can be explained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of Catholics don’t even know that the TLM is an option anymore. Virtually no one under the age of 50 “grew up” with the TLM, and most of us who were educated in Catholic schools were taught to think of it as a relic of the past – or, more likely, they weren’t taught anything about liturgical history at all. Most people have never heard of Summorum Pontificum or the FSSP; most people don’t read WDTPRS or NLM; most people think that the only options they have are whatever their parish priest happens to offer them.

    Spreading the word about the TLM is of paramount importance. People are yearning for something more… they just don’t know where to find it.

  4. jbalza007 says:

    I forgot to add that another way I got some friends to the traditional mass at our parish is by having mass offered for their intentions on special occasions (eg. birthday). Seems to work, though it takes planning in advance.

  5. AnAmericanMother says:

    I think those who regularly attend the EF do need to make a point of inviting others to attend and take extra effort to welcome them.

    Our single (FSSP) parish is just a wee bit insular. I know a couple of members but they have never invited me to Mass. I have no nerves to speak of and will saunter in where angels fear to tread, but there’s a somewhat clubby atmosphere that – in combination with the unfamiliarity of the Latin Mass to most folks – is a bit off-putting.

    I used to attend the Latin Mass as a child when we were traveling in the Caribbean and no Anglican church was available — but it’s been 40 years!

    I will say though that when they did the “Latin Mass Grand Tour” after the Motu Proprio, everyone was very friendly and enthusiastic. Our (now retired) archbishop arranged for the FSSP priests to tour through a number of parishes in the diocese to introduce the Latin Mass to as many people as possible, and it was certainly a success. The Cathedral was packed.

    The parishioners need to follow that up with what I guess the Evangelicals call “outreach”.

  6. Maltese says:

    In the words of Bing Crosby: “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative,and spread joy!!!!”

    The New Mass falsely ascribes “joy” to the upper room; whereas Christ was prefiguring His Cross. So, to perpetually re-capitulate the “upper-room” is to forget the cross.

    Instead, in the Cross, Christ was Crucified for our sins. So, the Mass is NOT about the night before He died, but truly a representation, unbloody, of the day He died. That’s why the Saints call it the Unbloody SACRIFICE of the Mass!

    The protestants hand-out grape juice as a “commemoration” we do not! For us, Catholics, it is, esentially, the real thing, and that is what gets our hearts and mind to appreciate the Sacrifice which freed us from sins.

    Otherwise, it’s donuts and coffee time.

  7. Magpie says:

    I’ve a friend, in his early twenties, who has drifted away from the Church. He said he would return if the TLM was the norm. I think the young don’t even know why they have fallen away but they know intuitively, unconsciously, that something isn’t right with the mass as it is typically experienced.

  8. revs96 says:

    jbalza007: Thanks for the link, esp. the “Stop Communion in the Hand” petition.

    Everyone else: Go to http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/stophandcommunion and seriously consider signing the petition.

    “I support this petition because the Crumbs that come off the Host are the Holy Eucharist. Size does not matter, if the Crumb from the consecrated Host is perceptible to the senses (including sight) then that Crumb is indeed God. Thus, Communion in the hand is a sacrilege.”

  9. mitch_wa says:

    In my own personal expirience here in Spokane this doesn’t bear out, most people would be interested in checking it out, but many are unsure because of the Latin. In countries with profoundly Catholic historical roots I think the appeal to the continuity of history works well. Here in the US it is a different story. I think overall though world wide the biggest thing that would propel the TLM to greater prominence is for options that are in SP (primarily the readings in the vernacular) to be encouraged as the norm. If a little more vernacular was included I think that this would help by leaps and bounds. Not the whole thing, but some of the prayers(just some) and the readings. The Latin is a bigger hurdle than most people around here seem willing to admit.

    Fr. Z I think an interesting poll of your readers would be to ask if people would rather attend on a regular basis the NO in Latin ad orientem, etc. or the TLM still being celebrated properly but in the vernacular. The underlying question is do we prefer one form of Mass for the language or for the theology. I suspect that traditionalists just as among the wider Catholic sphere there would be an interesting split that would really show where priorities are.

  10. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Where exactly were these 2,611 Catholic households??? There are regions in Germany where the little parish church is overflowing, and others that are not in a “traditionally Catholic” region and are pretty empty most of the time.

    Where I spent 6 years, in the Lander (State) of Rheinland-Pfalz, nearly every single town or village had TWO church congregations, a Catholic and Lutheran. The cities (like Trier, Mainz, Speyer, and Kaiserslautern) had more variety.

    My local diocese of Speyer, at the Dom, (cathedral) EVERY MASS was FULL (with many people standing) on Sundays, and on holidays. The little church in my village only had a single Mass on Sundays, and a Youth Mass on Saturday Nights followed by a youth group event. Both were pretty packed between 1992 and 1998.

    Another HIGH attendance region was in Bavaria, as well was down both sides of the Rhein River. Other areas, like Saxony, the rest of Baden-Wuerttenberg, or Hesse were predominately and traditionally Protestant/Lutheran, not so high Mass attendance because there was not a high population of Catholics. And Berlin, and other “Osti” (former East German) Lander, I think there is VERY LITTLE if any church attendance.

    I really would like to know.

    As to the use of Latin, some of the smaller parishes DID have the NO in Latin, not German, and still had many of the pre-Vatican II altars still in use. (I saw only the priest’s back). Some cloistered communities, had public Masses and were the “old rite.”

  11. Fr Z,

    Thanks for the tips. I started my own blog to promote the old mass in my country.
    Hope that soon, we can have it (old mass) at our parish.

    PS:
    I’m Indonesian. Well.. the motu proprio “did not arrive” at my country.

  12. Charivari Rob says:

    “Third Question: Would it be normal, if both forms were regularly celebrated in your community?”

    Can someone tell me what this question means? I think I’m missing something idiommatically after the translation. “Would regular be normal?” Are they asking if they think people would view the EF as a equal, valid form of the Roman Rite?

  13. Stephen Hand says:

    Wait so we’re happy that 44% of 10% of Catholics in Germany have nothing against the tridentine mass or going to it once in a while, but overlook the fact that 90% of German Catholics prefer no Mass on a weekly/monthly basis?

    I wonder what sort of Mass that 90% would prefer if they were forced(socially and otherwise) to attend regularly as in the days of yore. Then again this shouldn’t be about preference. I like the Byzantine rite myself, these polls really should have an ‘other’ category. Maybe then we’d get it up to 46% of people declaring a preference for a liturgy other than the novus ordo. Then have a 4% margin of error and declare(in triumph) that an equal amount of people want the novus ordo as well as a ‘traditional’ i.e. ‘not slapped together by committee’ liturgy?

  14. Katharine B. says:

    Thank you so so much for your tips Father Z! This an answered prayer. Since finding my home in the TLM I have felt very called to evangelize for it, especially to my liberal Catholic family members and those I know in my former schismatic parish. I am very bold now, but I prayed for a sign, and this is just one of many lately, Thank You!

  15. brassplayer says:

    Of course, another way to report this data would be: Of the Catholics who currently attend Mass at least once a month, 75% would attend the Old Mass LESS than once a week. Moreover, of those same Catholics who currently attend Mass at least once a month, 56% (Over half!) would attend the Old Mass LESS than once a month.

    Finally, data for the question “Would you attend the Old Mass even if the New Mass was also celebrated nearby” is reported on only 10% of all Catholic households in Germany. 44% (The percentage of Regular or Monthly Massgoers who would attend the Old Mass on at least a Monthly Basis) of 10% (The percentage of all the Catholic households in Germany) equals only 4.4%. In other words, of ALL Catholic households surveyed in Germany, ONLY 4.4% would attend the Old Mass on at least a monthly basis. Which is a far cry from the headline “44% would go to the Old Mass”.

    Obviously, there are many ways to report statistics. It just depends on the particular point you want to make.

  16. mpolo says:

    Here in the Archdiocese of Cologne, there are 4-5 parishes for the Extraordinary form. The Cardinal doesn’t want to force all the parishes to institute this Mass, because he has recently been forced to consolidate lots of parishes. Where I live, the priest has 12 Sunday Masses to cover. Currently he has 3 assistant priests, but next year he will have only two, most probably. He can hardly be expected to take on additional EF Masses in all of those churches.

    If someone requests the EF, the Cardinal checks how difficult it would be for the requester to attend one of the existing Masses. Rail connections being what they are in Germany, it is very unlikely that someone could make a real argument that the 15-minute journey to the nearest EF Mass is a real inconvenience, especially in the face of the situation.

  17. chironomo says:

    I have maintained for a while that the issue of “interest in the EF” could be resolved with a simple but thorough poll…a REAL poll… of Catholics done by an actual polling organization that knows what it is doing. Why do we think that the situation in the US would be much different from Germany?

    I sang in the schola for a High Mass at our EF parish last Saturday morning. We needed an additional tenor and an alto, so I brought the issue up with my choir to see if anybody would be interested in taking part. I have 28 members in my choir. NOT ONE OF THEM had any idea that there was such a parish only 1/2 mile away from ours! NOT ONE OF THEM was aware of the Motu Proprio. This absolutely beuatiful Mass was not advertised or promoted in ANY bulletins within the diocese. And this is in an EF friendly diocese!

    Why is this the case? I would say it is for the same reason that there will never be such a poll as I described above, or there will never be a real poll done about music at the Mass. “They” (and we have to be clear about who “they” are…) are afraid because “they” know what the results would be, and the facade would collapse with lightning speed. Can you IMAGINE the panic if it was discovered that 48%, or even 28% of Catholics would attend an EF Mass regularly?

  18. becket1 says:

    Would like to see this poll done in Austria.

  19. Christopher Gainey says:

    We need a similar poll for Canada too. We could then use it in our letters to pusilanimous bishops. I get discouraged by invitations declined, but I am going to keep on inviting and travelling. Thanks, Father.

  20. lofstrr says:

    1 in 4 sounds like a stable group to me. It doesn’t sound like the German bishops have much of an excuse to not implement SP though I am sure they don’t see it that way.

  21. lofstrr says:

    “So… all the blather from liberals that there isn’t much interest is … what… blather?”

    In Texas, the land of endless cattle ranches, we have another word for it. :)

  22. irishgirl says:

    lofstrr-and we know what that ‘word’ is, don’t we? :D

    Ugh-I can’t stand ‘polls’.

  23. Wayne NYC says:

    Dear Fr.Z,
    I recently did some work of a “religious” nature
    for a group of laymen out in Queens ( very orthodox).
    They not only hadn’t heard about Summorum Pontificum
    but reacted to my even mentioning my attendance at the
    TLM at St.Agnes(in Manhattan) as if my faith itself
    was now suspect. They really didn’t want to engage in
    a discussion on the possibility they might be wrong
    in their certainty that the old mass was abrogated.
    I was truly more shaken by this now then encounters I
    had with my fellow catholics prior to the Motu proproprio.
    NYC needs a Latin Mass parish..not only for the Graces
    that would pour forth from it…but also as a very visible
    sign that the TLM is once again a living part of Catholicism.

  24. Wayne NYC —

    Well, a lot of people think that “Traditional Latin Mass”, especially on advertisements or in the phonebook, is a codeword for “We’re SSPX or sede-vacantist”. I know that, because that’s what I thought until about six years ago. I only know better now because I’ve run into blogs like this.

    And honestly, it’s still something I’m nervous about, if I’m away from home and see such a thing, and I can’t get on the Web and check out the status of a parish.

    Re: the poll, the most obvious significance is that even non-practicing Catholics aren’t automatically against going to an EF Mass. Whatever demons drove them away, it’s unlikely that younger ex-Catholics include “facing East” among their problems; and most people aren’t going to categorically rule out something they don’t know anything about.

    Also, if you’re not going to Mass every Sunday, you’re a lot less likely to be following Church news and developments. :)

  25. Gwen says:

    I attended a TLM. The congregation could not have been less friendly. Not a single person welcomed me, said “hi,” or even smiled at me. “Insular” hardly describes it. The people that glanced at me, glared at me and thoroughly looked me up and down. Perhaps this was because it’s a small mission church in a semi-rural area. I don’t think I’ll make the mistake of going there again.

    The next nearest TLM is at an SSPX chapel, 45 minutes away. I don’t think I’m likely to spend the money on gas to get a similar “non-welcome.”

    The next nearest TLM is at an FSSP parish in Sacramento, more than two hours away. I’m not sure if I want to take half of an entire day (5 hours of driving, plus Mass time) to be sneered at.

    One word of recommendation, folks: Smile.

  26. MichaelJ says:

    Gwen,
    I am sorry if you had a bad experience and that your expectations were not met. Did it occur to you though, that part of the reason these folks were “unwelcoming” is because they were not there for you? Maybe they needed, after a hectic week, some quite time alone with the Lord?

  27. Gwen says:

    Michael, I had no expectations. I didn’t expect anyone to be there for me (I’m not really sure what you mean by this; I attend Mass daily and have never had the concept that Mass is about “what I get out of it.”).

    I did not expect anyone to greet me. I did not bother anybody, I did not interrupt anybody, I did not impose myself on anybody. I simply smiled at everyone I saw. One smile in return from anyone in the congregation would have been nice.

    Here’s Father Z’s conclusion, one which I agree with wholeheartedly:
    “Get out there and start inviting.”

    My post was an answer to this. TLM-loving Catholics are trying to attract new people, new interest, and build up the TLM. How not to do it? Glare at visitors and forget how to show joy.

  28. MichaelJ says:

    Gwen,
    I am offering no excuses, only explanations. I have often been on “the other end”. Perhaps these will help your understanding and lead you to modify your apparent opinion that most TLM attendees are “unfriendly” or “unwelcoming”. So, here goes, in no particular order.

    1. Since SP, most newcomers have been curiosity seekers and spectators. Just as you felt that the parishoners were glaring at you, I felt that these newcomers were gawking at me as if I were some quaint beast on display in a zoo.
    2. I am by nature a shy, withdrawn person so tend to project this attitude on others. I find it difficult to comprehend that others may want to be greeted.
    3. Often, the newcomers are dressed inappropriately. Not so much because it is a Mass, but because they obviously gave no thought to the sensibilities of the congregation. Even though I might disagree with the standards, I would not think of attending a formal event dressed in shorts and a T-Shirt.
    4. Some are unnecessarily confrontational. I’ve learned to never try to be helpful and inform a lady where she may find a chapel veil for her use. Honestly, a simple “no thank you” would have been fine. Instead, I was admonished for trying to “impose my will” by enforcing something thet the Church says “she does not have to do”. This is the stereotypical “Ugly American” syndrome.
    5. Most seem unwilling to change their behavior. Would you, for example, go to a traditional Indian restaurant and insist on being served a porterhouse steak?
    6. Quite frankly, I probably would not have even noticed you. Sorry. Its nothing about you, but it is that my attention is focused on the Altar. Sunday is really the only time of the week that I am able to mute the clamoring of the world and focus on what is truly important.

    Given more time, I suppose I can come up with a few more reasons why I personally might behave in a way that a newcomer would find “unwelcoming”, but these are the ones that jumped out after a brief introspection.

  29. Vince K says:

    As to the recommendation of inviting others to Mass, what are we to make of the possibility that they will partake of the Eucharist unworthily, as they have not been attending Sunday Mass for a long time (which might be just one of many things)? I think we would have the duty to tell them that they probably should not be receiving Communion if they have not been attending Mass. When should we bring that up? When we first invite them to go or right before Mass or what? I have often wondered about this and it is one of the reasons why I hesitate to ask people to come to Mass with me, as I feel like they may get offended by me telling them they shouldn’t receive Communion and all of the problems that would go along with that. Any advice or guidance?

  30. Gwen says:

    Michael, please do not put words into my post or attribute opinons to me that I have not expressed. I never said nor implied that I think that most TLM attendees are unfriendly. I observed one TLM at a small mission church and my opinon of that one event was that those people were unwelcoming. Period. If my post offended you I am most sorry and I’ll drop it here.

    I thought that this particular blog post was about how to attract more people to the TLM. Sorry to have misunderstood.

  31. AnAmericanMother says:

    Gwen, Michael,

    For what it’s worth, my observations, which I hasten to add are not intended as an indictment of TLM attendees in general or any particular person living or dead, as they say.

    I think part of it is an “us against the world” attitude that causes EF parishioners to suspect that anybody who shows up is tourist or a gawker, or even a hostile invader, as Michael describes. Certainly there’s been a lot of hostility from modernists to the EF, and ample justification for such an attitude in the past. But at some point, it has to stop.

    Plenty of folks come to mock and stay to pray, and some folks aren’t meaning to mock at all. They may be looking for a church home (and hence looking around and observing more obviously than you think proper) or just anxious about their unfamiliar surroundings and unsure exactly what to do. It may be your smile or kind word that brings them into the fold. Over time, a visitor may become an active parishioner and even a dear friend. Who may have been frightened away? We’ll never know.

    Leaving aside anyone who would be rude about a kind offer of a chapel veil (which we all wore even in the Episcopal Church when I was a youngster and teenager), assume the best, and welcome them. What’s the worst that can happen, while you’re surrounded by friends and supporters? I am far from shy, but my daughter is extremely shy. But for the Faith (as opposed to for herself) she is bold as a lion. Because, as she says, it’s not for her.

    It’s counterproductive to be so defensive and suspicious that one shuts people out. A parishioner vis a vis a visitor is on his home ground, he (not the visitor) has the advantage, and the ball is in his court. Just a smile and maybe a gentle word of welcome.

  32. MichaelJ says:

    Gwen,
    I tried. When you wrote:
    “I don’t think I’m likely to spend the money on gas to get a similar “non-welcome.””
    and
    “I’m not sure if I want to take half of an entire day (5 hours of driving, plus Mass time) to be sneered at.”

    What was I to conclude other that you assumed that all Traditional Catholics were unfriendly?

    That being said, all I was trying to do was offer possible alternate reasons for the behavior you experienced.

  33. AnAmericanMother says:

    The problem is that traditional Masses are still thin on the ground, so that people are going to extrapolate what they experience at one Mass to the whole (either consciously or subconsciously).

    This is what my father said to me before I went abroad to live in Germany: “You may be the only American that some people meet. Be sure that you’re a good ambassador.”

    When our family showed up at our current (OF) parish for the first time, looking for a church home, we received an extremely cordial welcome from the clergy, the ushers, and the parishioners. It was very heart-warming. It was also a prompt answer to a fervent group prayer we made in the parking lot for Our Lord to lead us where we needed to go.

    The Mass was, then as now, very reverent, quiet and orthodox. No chit-chat in the pews, not even at the Peace. The choir, I’m afraid, is a bit roiled up while hunting for music, etc. But we’re up in the choir loft in the back where nobody can see us, unless they want to sit upstairs and be deafened by the organ pipes . . . .

  34. MichaelJ says:

    I disagree. I do not it is a problem of extrapolation, but one of mis-interpretation. For good or ill, Traditional Catholics, in my experience, have developed (or retained) their own culture that is similar but different from the culture that exists in most NO parishes. I’ve found that Traditional Catholics are just as welcoming, friendly and respectful as any other group, but they express it differently. What you or I might interpret as a “glare” may simply be an expression of surprise or curiosity or a way to indicate a willingness to help if asked. On the other hand, it may, in fact, be a glare. In that respect, Traditional Catholic are no different that everone else. The is a mix of good and bad.

    That one individual may be surprised and even put off when encountering an essentially foreign culture is understandable.
    Insisting on interpreting the observed behavior through the lens of ones own culture is bothersome.
    To insist that one culture abandon its heritage and conform to the norms of a different culture is inexcusable.

  35. AnAmericanMother says:

    Well, so far we have a very small sample of TWO — Ordinary Form Catholics, in two different parts of the country, who have had pretty much the same experience visiting an EF church. A larger sample may yield different results, which would be nice.

    I’m a “people person” and I’ve spent a lot of time in other cultures – some with a language barrier, some not. I’m fairly sensitive to cultural differences and I do my best to accommodate them, but after 50-odd years of bouncing around the world I can usually tell the difference between folks who are just marching to a different drummer, but welcoming, and folks who are not interested in communicating with any ‘outsider’.

    But the question of inculturation is quite beside the point. I could make the argument that EVERY parish — even different Masses at the same parish — has its ‘own culture’, and that there are difficulties moving from one culture to another in EVERY case. (I occasionally wind up at my actual territorial parish, and get a bad case of culture shock every time.)

    The real question is: Is the parish going to grow and thrive, or is it going to stagnate? Even with lots of large families (and we have those too!) it takes the kids awhile to grow up and have families of their own. Eventually you have to have some level of growth from outside to make it ‘go’.

    That means you’re going to have to spread the word and evangelize, even if that just means reaching out to visitors. Which means you are going to have to make the effort to reach the ‘foreign culture’, not just wait for them to make the effort to reach you. They have already made a substantial effort by showing up and braving the ‘foreign’, so you have to figure out where they are and reach them at least halfway.

    It all depends on what you want. If the parish wants to be a small exclusive private club, then it doesn’t matter – so long as you have enough wealthy parishioners or the bishop doesn’t mind permanent mission status. If you want to reach visitors, however, you have to make an effort, not just say “That’s our culture, like it or lump it.” Because that attitude, in and of itself, drives away the nervous and the sensitive.

  36. MichaelJ says:

    I see your point, but it can be turned around. You are saying, essentially, that “Your culture is crap and you must change and behave the way I think you should unless you want to be an exclusive private club”. I would think that after 50 years of traveling the world, you would have learned to drop the ugly American bit.

  37. AnAmericanMother says:

    That’s the second time you’ve read into a post by another reader something that wasn’t there.

    Your culture isn’t “crap,” as you so charmingly put it, and I didn’t say so. But it’s different, as you yourself first stated.

    Let’s review.

    Two people here have been rather put off by indifference or hostility from EF parishioners. You respond by attributing this to your ‘culture’ being ‘different’. Fine. Nobody is asking you to change your ‘culture’, to give up anything, or telling you that your ‘culture’ is ‘crap’.

    But folks whose ‘culture’ is perceived as hostile or insular by visitors have to figure out a way to share the benefits and gifts of their culture in such a way that visitors are attracted rather than repelled.

    I mean, if you have the best thing this side of Heaven, as our parochial vicar puts it, you want to share it with your fellow men, right? You don’t want to keep it all to yourself, do you?

    If you do want to share your culture, if visitors generally find the atmosphere off-putting (and I made the point that our sample is very, very small), there’s a problem.

    To be more ‘visitor-friendly’ is not an “either-or” proposition and does not require that anything essential be changed. It could be as simple as asking for a couple of volunteers to greet visitors in the narthex before or after Mass, inviting people to coffee in the parish hall, and so forth. Somewhere in the congregation are bubbly twenty-somethings, nosy little old ladies, or retired Navy guys who can talk to anybody (I’m thinking of specific people in our parish who have volunteered to do usher or greeter duty). Our rector asks his parochial vicars and deacons, unless they’re on church business, to be present in the narthex before and after Mass to help greet visitors.

    Or, as Fr. Z says, just bring a friend to Mass.

    Something can be done that will not offend your sense of propriety, but will open a window or even a door to visitors.

    Unfortunately, if a small organization doesn’t welcome visitors, it just gets smaller. That is simply a fact of life, whether you’re a Free Will Baptist congregation, a country dance society, or a motorcycle club. And that’s all I mean by a ‘private club’ attitude. I’ve seen it happen in many secular organizations — you have to make an effort to bring in friends and recruit new members, because with natural attrition the group will dwindle over time.

    But we’re talking about eternal salvation here. An effort ought to be made to overcome obstacles to communication.

  38. Just to posit another perspective here:
    Our monastic community offers the EF on Sundays in a rather remote location; sometimes we have over twenty congregants; sometimes, only two, as was last Sunday’s attendance.
    No Sunday has been without at least two people present, aside from our community.
    That may sound rather sparse and even pathetic.
    But we do this for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. We sing the Mass even if it’s only our small monastic community. I’m not bragging here; I just want to say that God is glorified even if a small number are gathered in His Name.
    I pray that our example and the opportunity we provide here will bring more souls.
    But, even if it does not; we will continue to make this present…we sing and pray and offer our intentions for the salvation of souls.
    Those who care to participate are more than welcome.

  39. Alice says:

    Not all traditional parishes are unwelcoming: When I visited St. John Cantius one of the priests (I believe it was Father Phillips himself), noticing that we were visitors and that we had traveled a ways welcomed us and directed us to the restrooms. Sadly, I’m not sure this is the norm. A while back, my family traveled to the closest non-SSPX EF Mass, which is about an hour away and which I attended regularly some years ago. (When we were going there my mother ALWAYS welcomed new comers, which made my teenage self very self-conscious.) When I went into the ladies’ room to change my baby, I found the following sign: Do not throw diapers in this trash or in the kitchen trash or in the dumpster. Take them home with you. (No, there was no mention of requiring a woman to take used feminine products home.) Do you really think I’m going to invite any of my friends with “Humanae vitae” families to THAT church for their first experience of the EF?

  40. Alice: St. John Cantius Parish is a wonderful example of authentic Catholic life. Fr. Phillips is an absolute gem; he is a true pastor of souls and great founder/superior of the newly founded Canon Regulars of Saint John Cantius. I’m glad you experienced this; may the example of this parish and religious community be fruitful everywhere.

  41. my kidz mom says:

    I’m also a member of the St. John Cantius/Father Phillips Fan Club! We had the same warm welcome from him that Alice described. Their liturgy is a taste of heaven. Feast your eyes on their celebrations of Holy Week: http://www.cantius.org/go/news/detail/holy_week_photos_2010/

  42. my kidz mom says:

    BTW we invited my niece, who is attending college in Chicago, to Mass at St. John Cantius. When her dad came to visit over break, she then took him. And later she even invited her college friends to attend Easter Mass there! Brick by brick!