GUEST POST: “I finally realized what appeals the most to me in the Extraordinary Form.”

From a reader:

I finally figured out why I love the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I attended the Requiem Mass for All Souls at ___ in ___ this weekend. The Priest and the servers were composed of the younger Priests in our diocese- all of which speak with a great deal of authority. I finally realized what appeals the most to me in the Extraordinary Form. It is a very masculine Mass. It literally pours out justice, mercy, humility, and obedience all at once. The Dies Irae, which I had never heard before, places man in his proper place in relation to the Lord and His redemptive sacrifice. The focus stays completely on that sacrifice. I was in complete awe. This form of the Roman Rite demands attentive prayer from the pew.

I believe in my heart that this masculinity is why some Catholics irrationally lash out at this form of the Mass. Our society has become so effeminate that it no longer wishes to be humbled, subjected, and challenged by the liturgy. We have become touchy-feely, so God must be touchy-feely. No wonder catechized children are so glassy-eyed. They are never taught that along with God’s mercy, he must also be feared, because he is ultimately just.

I am so grateful that the Extraordinary Form has returned to the church. It should never have gone away. This was only my second time at this form of Mass, and I am still righteously angry that I have been robbed of my birthright for so long. I made sure at the end of the Mass to thank the Priests, and I told them that this must spread across the Diocese. One Priest assured me that it is “coming back with a vengeance”. Good. This calm, powerful, and masculine authority and presence has humbled me and given me so much more respect for these Priests. They are no more or less human than any other Priest, yet my heart feels a natural desire to follow them.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, SESSIUNCULA, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to GUEST POST: “I finally realized what appeals the most to me in the Extraordinary Form.”

  1. HighMass says:

    The writer writes: “I am so grateful that the Extraordinary Form has returned to the church. It should never have gone away”

    How we have all felt like this since the N.O. was implemented….None of the excuses for not allowing the Mass in E. F. made any sense, yet what liberal does???
    Angry??? Just a little….we have yet to have a Mass in the E.F. in our town for 2 yrs now…..keep praying that GOD sends us a Priest, the Pastor is not to cooperative….doing anything he can to not allow the Mass in the E.F. to happen….

    The Writer also writes: ” I am so grateful that the Extraordinary Form has returned to the church. It should never have gone away. This was only my second time at this form of Mass, and I am still righteously angry that I have been robbed of my birthright for so long. I made sure at the Mass to thank these Priests”…..as the Faithful we have no IDEA what PERSECUTION These poor Men go through….
    Yes we have all been robbed of our birthright…Thank YOU POPE BENEDICT for restoring the Traditional Latin Mass.

    Thanks Fr.Z for all you do to keep this blog going…..

  2. Priam1184 says:

    The reader is right. This is an extraordinary effeminate culture. That is why there is such glorification of homosexuality. If peruses a history book (just not any one written in the last 50 years) one will find that these are the types of cultures that rapidly descend into slavery and barbarism if they have not reached that point already. The Church could do so much to stem the almost complete descent into darkness and despair that the Western world is suffering simply by making the Extraordinary Form of the Mass the Ordinary Form of the Mass in the Latin Rite. I think that it is almost beyond question that the abandonment of the Tridentine Rite during the 1960s, other cultural forces notwithstanding, had a whole lot to do with the wheels coming off of our culture at a man in the street level from that time until now.

  3. lana says:

    I love the EF too, but I also love the NO and I am very grateful for having been able to absorb (by osmosis) even during years of atheism, all the beautiful words of Scripture and the words of the Eucharistic prayers, which I thought were beautiful. They come back to you during the day and I pray them throughout.

    I would treat these feelings of anger as temptations to be overcome. The Lord has given and taken away, blessed be His Name. We have the NO for reasons we don’t understand. Your anger can only be directed at priests, dead or alive, in which you may be offending God.

    When I take my kids to the EF, they will not read the Epistles, collects, etc in English. They just sit and stare. One of them likes the solemnity, the other is bored. I like to bring them to both types. Our NO Masses are said according to the rubrics, and what really matters is that we receive Our Lord.

  4. Hank Igitur says:

    The TLM never went away despite some people’s best efforts to suppress it. It was never abrogated. It is the Mass of the Ages, “The Mass which will not die”. Consider how many saints it has nourished through the ages, its fruits are endless.

  5. Michaeleus says:

    I could have written this post myself! Great job of expressing the feelings of the many Catholics!

    After last Sunday’s guest “priest” (forgive me!), I left church wondering if I fulfilled my Sunday obligation. He actually acted offended that I prefer receiving Jesus on my knees and via the tongue. He rolled his eyes and pulled his hand away like I was going to bite him, and then shook his hand like I had leprosy or something…I will pray for this person…and his students at the local Catholic college at which he teaches. Oh, by the way, he said he was a Jesuit….

  6. lana says:

    I would like to add that cheerful descriptions of the beauty of the EF is much more inciting than bad-mouthing the NO. -That- is a real turn-off.

  7. Traditium says:

    Bravo to the author of the post. A fascinating insight worth contemplating. The Mass is, among other things, a participation in eternal truths. The TLM is not subtle in evoking that feeling of participation in the eternal, in fact (just playing with the author’s insight a bit here) it all but dares the participant not to feel it. It’s majesty simply cannot be ignored–it must be accepted or rejected.

    I think that I do agree. Again, bravo.

    -T

  8. Gail F says:

    I like both forms of the Mass. I’m very glad to have been able to attend some EF Masses, I would like to attend an EF Mass at least once a month, but I have no problem with the OF and have no plans to “switch.” My hope is that the EF will continue to influence the OF so that we get a better OF.

    Here’s what I appreciate most about the EF: 1) The writer is correct, it’s very MASCULINE. Refreshing — whether it’s playing in a band, doing a military exercise, playing on a team or whatever, men have a way of doing things together that is very moving and powerful, and is DIFFERENT from the way women do things in a group or from the way a mixed group of men and women do things. 2) It seems as if the priest is doing something important, not just walking around. 3) It’s very clear that the Mass is one long prayer, not a motley collection of prayers and songs. For me, that was the biggest revelation. It took a couple of Masses before I understood it. 4) Reverence, reverence, reverence. 5) No worries about whether something stupid or weird was about to happen. 6) It’s possible to pray.

    Most of that can also be accomplished in the OF, if people had any idea of what they were supposed to be doing. The first time I went to an EF Mass, my overwhelming thought was, “So THAT’S what the OF is supposed to be doing!” It’s as if someone had said long ago, “let’s change this, this, and this about the way we do Mass,” and then everyone forgot the Mass part and focused on the change part.

  9. Cascade_Catholic says:

    First, let me say “thank you” for this post Father. My wife and I also attended one. Her for the very first time ever, myself, in a very long time (childhood). It was beautiful in every sense of the word.

    I can also understand how those people feel when they question whether or not they’ve met there Sunday obligations, because I have experienced that on two recent occasions, and it shouldn’t be like that. Last weekend, the priest at the retreat I was on kept on and on about “his theology” is now coming into vogue again with Pope Francis. At the opening, he came down and shook hands with each of us and asked us to introduce ourselves. The rest of the mass was filled with centering prayer mantras. It was pretty upsetting because it sure felt like Jesus was there to worship us. (I’m saying this tongue in cheek.)

    Maybe it took that to motivate me, because we found a place with a pastor who’s young, traditional and very intelligent. Even his NO masses are said with devotion and reverence. I love him because he’s the kind of priest that tells it like it is, supports and provides frequent confession for us, and I will support him in every way I can.

    Incidentally, he will be speaking about the last 4 things next week and this is exactly the kind of spiritual medicine we really need and I can’t wait.

  10. samwise says:

    What could be manlier than the NO on a stone altar, with relics, in the Rocky mountains?
    http://www.wildernessoutreach.net/

    Yes the EF is good, but both are valid and good. Catholicism is both/and on nearly everything but sin. We should be more manly against sin, and less so against liturgy.

  11. Christopher says:

    “JMJ”

    “I believe in my heart that this masculinity is why some Catholics irrationally lash out at this form of the Mass. Our society has become so effeminate that it no longer wishes to be humbled, subjected, and challenged by the liturgy. We have become touchy-feely, so God must be touchy-feely. No wonder catechized children are so glassy-eyed. They are never taught that along with God’s mercy, he must also be feared, because he is ultimately just.”

    I have had this feeling for quite awhile now. And think about it quite often. When GOD is Father,which is the proper place. People do tend to fight it. And yes the Church,the liturgy and the priesthood has been effeminized. And with that society went too. I am in total agreement with the writer. And yes we “Have/Had” been robbed of our birthright. God Bless the writer. And God Bless the Bishops,priests and you Father Z! Thank You!

  12. mamajen says:

    I just searched YouTube for the Gloria in Latin, because our parish has added that to the NO. I’ve been frustrated that I can’t sing it. Anyway, I found a beautiful video from a mass, and it was sung just the way it is in my parish. At the very end it said it was recorded in Poland! Wow, talk about universal–I never for a moment suspected that I was watching a mass in another country. I have a difficult time just sitting there not understanding, so I figure I’ll take the bull by the horns and educate myself.

  13. Eonwe says:

    This is so true. I go to both forms of the Mass (mostly the EF), and while I can certainly get a lot out of the OF, the EF is much more stiring to the soul. I have been taking my girlfriend to the EF ever since we have been dating and I can’t help but love hearing that she now prefers the EF to the OF. She has noticed that the priest can’t really abuse the liturgy (or not noticeable so) as in the OF, that she prefers the priest facing the alter, and that she loves the reverence and music. It is funny, but we were talking about how de-masculinized men have gotten the other night. Maybe this is another reason why she prefers the EF now too.

  14. rtjl says:

    Anybody who wants examples showing how to sing the parts of the Mass in latin can find it here. Scores, recordings, everything – it’s all here.

  15. RJHighland says:

    A agree hold hardedly with the letter except I would add it is not simply that it is more masculine but it puts everything in proper order. That is why progressives dislike it some much and there is so much resistance to it. It is the perfection of order as God intended our worship of Him to be.

  16. marytoo says:

    “What could be manlier than the NO on a stone altar, with relics, in the Rocky mountains?”

    That’s easy – the EF on a stone altar, with relics, in the Rocky mountains. :)

    I agree that both Masses are valid and I appreciate that many here can worship with equal ease at the NO and the EF, but I cannot. I am totally dependent on the seamlessness of the EF; at the NO the flow of the Mass is interrupted and my concentration gets broken. Now that we attend the EF exclusively I actually crave Mass like I always knew I should but didn’t. Perhaps that’s my weakness.

  17. mamajen says:

    rtjl,

    Thank you–that is VERY helpful!

  18. tcreek says:

    This sends chills as I remember the Mass of my youth.
    http://youtu.be/yDortyyp228

  19. RJHighland says:

    Marytoo,
    I agree whole heartedly once you attend the EF regularly or exclusively when confronted with a NO it leaves you wanting. I was just at a rosary for the first priest of my local parish. The Bishop and many on the young priests and middle aged priests were present. The only priests that knelt for the Rosary was the new Bishop and several of the older priests. None of the younger or middle aged priests knelt. This a parish that a few years ago moved the tabernacle to a side chapel. I fondly refer to it as the dog house or mother in-laws room, but it the first place that I go when ever I go there. You wonder way people talk and don’t kneel when in the nave, Jesus has been moved to the dog house. After attending the TLM for about 4 yrs. I have noticed there is not much difference between my local parish and my parents Methodist Church except for the Crucifix rather than the cross above the table and Our Lady of Guadalupe Statue. When you walk into my SSPX Chapel you know you are at the threshold of heaven, it even says it around the arch above the Chancel. Terriblilis es locus iste hic domus Dei est et porta coeli.

  20. Gregorius says:

    All Soul’s day last Saturday marked about three or four years since I first attended a TLM. Resources like this very blog allowed me to study the rubrics and such beforehand so I knew what to expect when I finally got there. My first thought when I saw the rubrics was, “Wow, this is a very hard thing to do. Speaking in Latin, all these complicated rubrics? Who would be willing to go through all this?” And then it clicked. The saints would do it. This was what Mass was like for them, that liturgy was what enabled people to go to their death rejoicing, allowed them to live entire lives of suffering for their King and God, enabled them to spread the Gospel to the far corners of the Earth. I had never understood the Faith (as I saw it lived) as worth suffering and dying for until that point. From that point on, I began to learn about the faith in the light of the traditional liturgy, and my spiritual progress has ever since been bound with it.
    I had wanted to attend such a Mass for a long time before I had the possibility, but I finally got the chance when I just happened to hear from a not very widespread source of two requiem Masses being offered in my corner of the world. It was everything good I expected and more. Things have changed since then: though the TLM has lost its novelty factor for me, I would now prefer to attend it exclusively, something I didn’t think I’d do when I first thought about it. The Requiem Masses are now more widely advertised, and the last one had a very decent-sized congregation (for a low Mass, no less!). The laity are in general more open to the TLM, even those who don’t like it. And most importantly, I meet more and more seminarians who love it, and want to learn to celebrate it if and when (God willing) they are ordained.

  21. New Sister says:

    As a career military officer, I recognized the masculine nature of the TLM immediately, whilst first attending a Missa Cantata. I gazed into the Sanctuary and saw the Delta Force!

  22. Joseph-Mary says:

    I think it was my first experience of the TLM a couple of years ago and it was at the incredibly beautiful church of St. Anthony of Padua in New Bedford, MA. Father Landry had started to offer it on the First Saturdays. There was chant and reverence and I found myself just asking the Lord over and over, WHY? Why was this taken from us? Why do I not know the holy chants? Why do I not know my patrimony?

    I am in a good NO parish but the songs are all about “we’ and I do not sing them. Mass is offered properly and for that I give thanks. Teachings from the pulpit are minimal but there is no heresy. And I am blessed to once again have access to a Sunday TLM when circumstances allow.

  23. churchlady says:

    Yes, the masculinity of the Mass, so true. This past weekend we had a Solemn High Dominican Rite Mass for All Saints and then for All Souls, three Dominican Rite Low Masses in a row. I love to see the strength of men praying the most powerful prayer.

  24. q7swallows says:

    TLM = masculine.

    An EMPHATIC YES!!!
    And given a choice, this woman (lifelong product of the NO) will choose the TLM EVERY time.

  25. Bea says:

    Great Post!
    It was an Epiphany moment for me.
    Of course!
    It’s the masculinity of the Mass! That’s why so many priests, bishops and laity oppose it.
    I always wondered “Why such a vehement opposition to it?” in some quarters.
    Only a True Man (and True God) and His True Followers can offer Himself up in such a sacrificial manner. The Fullness of God’s Truth, His Words and Actions in the EF Mass call us to follow and be the courageous man or woman that God calls us to be.
    It’s so much easier to be soft (touchy-feely, if you will) and sorry, but the NO Mass does not call us to rise above our mortal selves in imitation of Christ to overcome our natural inclinations (original fallen nature) and be supernaturally human, as the Saints were.
    NO calls us to “tolerance” a “you’re OK, I’m OK” mindset/no need to change, only accept.

    It’s not just the spirituality of the Mass, where God is given undivided attention and adoration, but the masculinity of His very Being that calls us to contemplation. The reader is so right and justifiably angry that he and 2 (going on 3) generations have been robbed of his birthright.

    Thank you Fr. Z. for this beautiful blog where others are learning and sharing the beauty of the EF.

  26. LuisaP says:

    Lana
    How exactly would one know that the feelings written about “…were a temptation to be overcome…” Anger is a passion and not a sin.

    New Advent: “Anger….in conformity with the prescriptions of balanced reason, anger is not a sin. It is rather a praiseworthy thing and justifiable with a proper zeal. It becomes sinful when it is sought to wreak vengeance upon one who has not deserved it, or to a greater extent than it has been deserved, or in conflict with the dispositions of law, or from an improper motive.”

    I think I would be more inclined to attribute a praiseworthy motivation to the writer. In my experience, such honorable anger is often exhibited by men whereas women more often try to “make nice.”

  27. Lin says:

    No wonder catechized children are so glassy-eyed.

    Properly Catechized children are not glassy-eyed. When we threw out the Baltimore catechism, catechesis got mushy.

  28. Robbie says:

    More than once, I’ve read various blogs which have described the TLM as masculine. When I attended my first, I’m not sure that was the first thought that came to my mind. I fell in love with it because of its beauty, and, more importantly, because of its mysticism and other worldliness. On that level, and for a whole host of other reasons, it’s just hard to see the NO in the same light as the TLM.

  29. JoseTomas says:

    I’ll give my perspective from far far away (Brazil).

    First, I think most people here unjustly compare bad NO with good TLM. I can assure you that good NO would always trump bad TLM (which I am told was the norm just before Vat II).

    I was fortunate enough to have had my liturgical education from an institution which I do not think is really Catholic (it is not the LC, it is the other one), but which had this thing to boast: real good NO. This includes:

    – Latin from start to finish, readings included (not everybody liked that, but I am a language geek, and I know and love Latin since I was a teenager).

    – Gregorian chant (WE were the schola).

    – Silence and recollection.

    – Incense etc. on feast days.

    – Roman Canon every single day (Te Igitur)

    I knew the Roman Canon in Latin by heart (alas, it is more than 20 years now, I cannot say I do today).

    I recently went to an EF Mass in my city (Sao Paulo). I have to say I was not impressed. Actually, after reading this site for months, I had high expectations, but I can say I was sadly disappointed. I have read the arguments for the silent Canon, but I do not buy them. I want to follow the priest and pray with him in mind (active participation). I immediately understood what Vat II wanted with the reform, and that is what I experienced back in my day. The homily, by the way, was very very weak.

    Having left that heretical (Gnostic and Pelagian) sect which poses as a Catholic Personal Prel… never mind… I was unfortunately left with the “regular” Parish OF, which, I admit, is very very far from satisfying.

    Here I must say something which I have perceived that is a common misconception entertained by most US Conservative / Traditional Catholics, like the majority who write here. Bad liturgy is not a sure sign of heterodoxy / liberal slant. My parish has a young Pastor (30 years old) and a likewise young vicar (thirty-something). They are strong, orthodox, very Marian, speak of the Devil, abortion, homosexuality and other more local problems (Spiritism) all the time (Pope Francis?). They are fearless and awesome. Before our last elections, the Pastor was bold enough to thrash the pro-abortion-and-homo candidate from the party which is -still today!- the darling of our Liberation Theology ridden Episcopal Conference (I complimented him for his courage, and he told me he was cold-sweating there at the pulpit). And people love them, and we do not have space to put people, our Sunday Masses are growing in attendance every week. But Liturgy stinks (for me, at least). They are Charismatic, and there are times when I cringe so strongly that I have the temptation to go out and leave Mass in the middle. It is actually bizarre, we have very very bad music with emotional shanennigans together with incense, all-male altar boys and seminarians serving, most young people (from the youth groups) kneeling to communicate, Eucharistic Adoration etc. We have the sole Confessional in the whole Diocese (well I have not seen all parishes, but I know a couple of them).

    In summary, I do not think that the NO is the problem, the problem is that most NO Masses are badly celebrated, while most EF Masses are celebrated by highly committed priests & congregations. I really do not think this is a fair and just comparison. I would bet $100 that most people who are now enamored with the TLM would not be so partial if they had the opportunity of hearing a GOOD Ordinary Form Mass.

    So, I leave this as a challenge: in many places, would it not be more reasonable to fight for devout NO celebration than to fight for the TLM?

  30. mamajen says:

    JoseTomas,

    I agree that people often compare a good TLM to a very bad NO, but perhaps those are the only experiences they have had. I’m lucky to be able to attend a very good NO now, and never really had to deal with anything very awful (liturgically) in all of my life. Our priest offers both forms, and at this time our NO is ad orientem, all male, Kyrie and Gloria in Latin, no sign of peace, and communion on the tongue at the altar rail.

    I do support people fighting for the EF, though, because once you have a priest saying the EF, his NO will also get better. I think it’s impossible for it not to. The exception would be when entirely different priests offer the EF and the NO…but even then, perhaps so many people will be drawn to the EF that the NO changes, too. Or maybe one priest inspires the other. You never know. I’m a big supporter of the EF, even though I attend the NO, because I still benefit from it in some way.

  31. Sword40 says:

    Marytoo, I agree 100% with you. Regretfully, there are a couple of OF Masses that I’m forced to attend each year. For years I tried to assist a group make the OF more reverent but to no avail.

    The OF is valid but I avoid it. Even done in Latin its still banal.

  32. JoseTomas says:

    As I said, Mamajen for Cardinal! :-)

    By the way, our Diocese has banned the Sign of Peace, thank God!

    And no hand-holding for the Our Father.

    But the music still stinks…

    I understand that our local clergy is trying to fight Protestant Pentecostalism, by mimicking them liturgically but at the same time stressing the differences (Mary, Eucharistic Adoration etc.)

    My Parish is very low-brow. I live in a poor neighborhood, where most people do not know our own vernacular, let alone Latin. This has been very educational for me, I am struggling with learning to “Never be wise in your own sight” as today’s readings teach.

    In a situation just like this, I think that TLM is unthinkable. A more reverent OF would be a realistic improvement.

  33. Praying4Mercy says:

    I never thought about it in terms of masculinity in contrast to femininity. I do not know that I would associate mercy and humility with a concept of the “masculine”, since those are more receptive- and emotion-involved traits; whereas justice and obedience indeed would be associated with the “masculine”, as they are more logic-and authority-involved traits. I would then see the Extraordinary Form as actually encompassing both the masculine and feminine, being then also the Mass most reflective of the human characteristics with which God blessed us. I think you might also be responding to the Extraordinary Form in contrast to the usual way the Novus Ordo is celebrated, at least in the States – decidedly feminized.

  34. Bruce Wayne says:

    Jose Tomas gives some good perspective here.

    It is never prudent to paint oneself into a histrionic corner. I have said before here that Fr. Rutler’s celebration of the NO is the best liturgy I have personally experienced. In my current diocesan setting I only attend the EF and drive a long ways to do so and I absolutely love it. However, the liturgy of the Church has never been static and finished/completed for all times, once and for all. That fact is why “traditionalism” is properly the name of a fideistic heresy originating in the 19th century counter-revolution. As in so many modern theological and intellectual problems one of the best correctives to error-ridden thought is reading Newman.

    As I recall, Romano Guardini, one of the best twentieth century theologians (and along with von Balthasar the most important influence on Ratzinger), was deeply involved with the Liturgical Renewal movement in Germany in the 20s and he had even taken the step of changing orientation in the Roman Rite and adding in more use of vernacular.

    The refusal or inability on the part of many traditionalists to make proper distinctions and to exaggerate and emote in as anti-intellectual a manner as the modernist/progressivists who protestantize liturgy really gets tedious.

    The most amusing part though is when they fail to distinguish friend from foe and rail against the view I just expressed above as “moderate” or “conservative”; as if injecting political schemata into Catholicism is at all on point.

    More to the point of the specific post here, I can buy that at least some of the attacks on the EF by progressives/liberals stems from their anti-masculine, frequently homosexual tendencies. One of the more perverse ironies of the latter stages of decadence in the west is that culture has become more radically “de-masculinized” precisely by first giving in so much to the profane male libido and its drive to total uninhibited concupiscence. It is a perverse form of over-compensation for the guilt of unrestrained male sexual compulsion that masculinity itself has to be destroyed as a trade-off. One has to be “sensitive” and “tolerant” and “metro” in order to be freed to gratify oneself constantly and profligately.

  35. Stephen McMullen says:

    I could not agree more that the new mass IN A LOT OF PLACES is “effeminate.” And because of that it does not attract either men OR women. Too many “pastoral musicians” and “liturgical music coordinators” who have tinkered with things. Too many expressions like “Our Gathering Song” (wait….GEESE gather, not humans) and “song leaders.” We don’t (shouldn’t) have SONGS in the church, but HYMNS. I am an organist (not a pastoral musician) and I play good old red blooded HYMNS for MEN and WOMEN to sing. No ribbons and balloons or clown masses where I play. When the Mass of Paul VI is done as it is intended, it follows the Roman Missal and is as the council intended, “simple but dignified.”

  36. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I believe the Tridentine Mass is beautiful as an art form, a vessel of Catholic culture, and a teacher of liturgical piety.

    But this “masculine” versus “effeminate” terminology for talking about the Mass is just weird. The Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary. It is not sexual in any way, masculine or feminine. It is not a reinforcer of gender roles. Nor can the holy Mass ever be accused of being heterosexual, homosexual, butch, effeminate, transgender, or whatever our darkened intellects conjure up in order to praise or criticize the Mass. Radical feminists have also spoken of how “misogynist” and “patriarchal” the Novus Ordo is, and that is no less bizarre.

    If men are attracted to the Tridentine Mass, or the Novus Ordo, it is because of the piety and holiness of the priest, his attention to a good, Catholic homily, his cultivation of reverence in the people at Mass, and his manner of handling the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. In carrying out the mission entrusted to him by Christ the High Priest, the priest will utilize the many ways in which the Church has brought art and beauty, music and ritual, to bear in the liturgy. Both holy men, and women, have contributed to the organic development of beautiful liturgy, and liturgical art, in the Church. Women at the liturgy as well can see their own mark on the music, art, and traditions of the liturgy of the Church, although the celebrant is always a male priest.

  37. Imrahil says:

    Dear @JoseTomas,

    Having left that heretical (Gnostic and Pelagian) sect which poses as a Catholic Personal Prel…

    do you mean the EF administration in Campos? In which case, what is the Gnostic and Pelagian thing about them?

    (both questions not rhetorical)

  38. q7swallows says:

    @ JoseTomas

    In summary, I do not think that the NO is the problem, the problem is that most NO Masses are badly celebrated, while most EF Masses are celebrated by highly committed priests & congregations. I really do not think this is a fair and just comparison.

    And I am afraid I must disagree strongly with this conclusion.

    I have spent 40 years in the Novus Ordo and have been a choir member for decades and was even a reader and cantor at one point. I went to a private high school with a very “high” and respectful celebration of the NO and was able to attend it again 7 years ago with a pastor who began celebrating the EF at our parish (so his NO was “informed” by the EF). And I just attended a retreat in a most conservative convent here that had all of the features you mentioned. In all of the above scenarios, we had a preponderance of Latin, Gregorian chant, polyphony, reverential & ad orientem celebration, male servers, kneeling for Communion, and even veils on the majority of the women. And yet I still stand very firmly by the comment I posted above: given a choice of a superbly celebrated NO vs. an EF, I will choose the EF every time. Because it’s steak and potatoes–through and through.

    I was prepared to enjoy all the NO Masses I mentioned above but I was surprised to find myself saddened and even seriously irritated by:

    •the elimination of many of the glorious vestments (which all have meanings and specific prayers as they are donned),

    •the elimination of my own privacy of prayer with the seating of the priest facing the congregation,

    •the constant, distracting traffic on the altar with people traveling, doing, and carrying things,

    •banal 4th grade English overall,

    •the removal of the lovely trinitarian repetitions,

    •the eliminations of most of the genuflexions for both people and priest,

    •all the subtractions of language concerning sin and the sacrificial nature/reasons for the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass,

    •the abridged form of the Confiteor,

    •the substitution of words throughout indicating the unbloody sacrifice and Real Presence to words like “supper” and “memorial,”

    •the elimination/abridgment of mention of the BVM & the angels & saints from the prayers,

    •the interchangeable and banal canons,

    •that after the Consecration (from which I am still slack jawed & speechless in awe), that I was expected to break that reverential silence to voice the memorial acclamation in some way,

    •the expendability of the priest since in the NO he prays in a subjunctive & passive voice instead of an active one,

    •the absence of the people’s Confiteor before Communion,

    •the abandonment of the priest of the Precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus lying there in front of him to glad-hand at the Kiss of Peace (is that what Mary would do?),

    •and most irritating of all: somehow, some small group decided that this organic Mass of tradition that sustained ALL the canonized saints to date was “broke” and took it upon themselves (unasked) to “fix” it for the likes of us. Well, they “fixed” it all right. In the neutering sense.

    Jose, I recommend reading the “Ottaviani Intervention” http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/reformof.htm (comments offered on the newly submitted Novus Ordo by Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the CDF in 1969. These comments were written long before there was such a thing as a “badly celebrated Novus Ordo” as you say. They were written before the NO was widely known or celebrated.

    Like you, I like to participate actively and that world blossomed beautifully with a 1962 missal. Active does not mean “aloud.”

    Your phrase “enamored with the TLM” is exactly the correct phrase to describe my experience of the EF. And given my experience and a choice, I will choose the (yes, masculine) EF every time.

  39. Elizabeth D says:

    I like Fr Sotelo’s comments. I have heard people say many times the EF is masculine and the Novus Ordo effeminate. While this has never bothered me, I don’t see whatever they are seeing. I suppose feminists like to talk about circularity and dialogue, but I don’t buy that this makes Mass versus populum effeminate (though, it is not my preference, neither is it required in the Novus Ordo). Girl altar boys are actual females but this is not an inherent part of the Novus Ordo. In any case Jesus Christ is male and His bride the Church we think of as feminine.

    There are post-Catholic religious Sisters who claim the term Eucharist is itself misogynistic. What they want is not the TLM or the Novus Ordo but a new “feminist sacramental system.”

  40. marytoo says:

    I understand why people call the TLM masculine. It’s rather subtle so maybe that’s why some can’t see it. The TLM is highly formal and quite authoritative in manner. The NO is much less formal and hence lacks the same level of authority. Authority and formality of this kind are typically interpreted as masculine. The average NO is more yielding and malleable in a sense, which is typically interpreted as feminine. Nothing weird about that.

  41. benedetta says:

    JoseTomas, Very interesting and well stated! I do not feel that banal or beige NO indicates heterodoxy always in all places. I would say however that liturgical abuse, which is different from the subpar NO, or, a heavy reliance on certain ditties or a special vocabulary often or almost always indicates a dissenting agenda. In some areas I would also say it may even be easier to organize a TLM than it is to advocate for a more reverent NO. One could speculate as to the reasons for this. In some places you could have a decently appearing liturgy due to a wealth of trained musicians however if you tune in closely you can detect a dissenting, dissembling agenda.

  42. dominic1955 says:

    “But this “masculine” versus “effeminate” terminology for talking about the Mass is just weird.”

    I would agree. I think the more proper way to say it would be that its more properly ordered. We just celebrated All Souls Day at our parish (FSSP TLM) and one priest said all three Masses back to back while the other one celebrated two back to back at the side altar and saved his last one for the later Solemn High Mass. I thought it was wonderful to be able to hear all of those Masses plus the SHM later on. I couldn’t imagine doing that with the NO. Even well celebrated ones akin to a Low Mass just wouldn’t cut it-why not just do the TLM?

    Regardless, that is the main issue when it comes to TLM vs. NO. Please folks, its NOT about the externals, or Latin, or any of this stuff. Go read Dobszay’s or Fr. Cekada’s books on the NO vs. TLM. There is much more at stake than lace, Latin, and incense.

    Does anyone ever think why most of the prayers were changed? Why did they write and/or translate them the way they did? Did the way the readings were structured have any larger bearing on things or was is really better to just foie gras the lectionary? What is up with the new “Eucharistic prayers” and why did we never have anything else than the Roman Canon before?

    I’ll take anything traditional over the manufactured NO. Its valid, sure. But, Lex orandi, lex credendi. I do not trust the folks who changed the law of prayer because they had something quite different in mind for the lex credendi.

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  44. Gratias says:

    Once one has experienced a high mass our perspective of the Catholic Religion is permanently changed to a pursuit of salvation. Thank you Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for restoring this prayer to your flock.

  45. LadyMarchmain says:

    Wonderful guest post, thank you Fr. Z for posting it, and gratitude to the author, who has given voice to my emotions in my first exposure to the TLM. For the first few moments, it was as though Christmas presents, Christmas ornaments, sparkles, light, joy, and angels were pouring forth from the altar. The next week, as I prayed through the missal, I shared the same feeling of dismay at the realization of what had been withheld for so many years, and yes, I admit, I did feel some anger because it was then too late for my son to be an altar boy (as he had instead taken his place as a church musicia). Thank you, Holy Father Emeritus, for allowing our great treasure to “come back with a vengeance”.

    Fr_Stoleto: The gender distinction threw me at first as well, but I understand it in philosophical terms, as Burke and Kant did when they suggested that the sublime ismasculine in character, whereas prettiness is feminine.

    New Sister: Yes! Delta Force!

  46. JoseTomas says:

    Dear @Imrahil
    “do you mean the EF administration in Campos? In which case, what is the Gnostic and Pelagian thing about them?”

    No, I am not referring to them. Actually I have never had any contact with them and I know very little about them, so I could not say anything about them.

    What I DO know about them is that, er, they are not a Personal Prelature ;-)

  47. marytoo says:

    Fr. Soleto wrote: “But this “masculine” versus “effeminate” terminology for talking about the Mass is just weird. The Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary. It is not sexual in any way, masculine or feminine. It is not a reinforcer of gender roles. ”

    This is not a proper understanding of the use on this thread of the word masculine; it has nothing to do with sexuality and gender, my goodness. I think the way these words are now being bandied about in current events is confusing people.

    The word “masculine” is being used here to describe qualities found in the EF that align with traditionally held views of masculinity: formality, discipline, strength of purpose, authority, all found in abundance in the EF; all softened in the OF. This is not an insult, as many prefer the OF precisely *because* the priest appeals to the congregation – but that appeal is rightly viewed as feminine by comparison. On this thread those who prefer a disciplined focus on the part of a priest are expressing that preference by describing the qualities that go along with it as masculine, which is completely accurate and not at all weird.

  48. Fr. Sotelo is surely correct, in that no form of the Mass is, in itself, either masculine or feminine. But I think there remains an underlying reality about the TLM and its celebration to which people are reacting when they use the word “masculine” to describe it.

    This reality is that the role of the TLM priest is uniquely perceived–especially by boys of a certain age–as a forthright no-nonsense “manly” role that boys admire and want to emulate. Indeed, the role of a TLM priest who stands before the altar to offer sacrifice for the sins of men may be the most attractive and manly role that many boys regularly observe among the adult men in their lives. I think this is one reason why TLM communities typically produce so many priestly vocations. As a sometime TLM altar boy coach, I’m sure this has been a factor with some who have gone on to seminaries or aspire to do so.

    So perhaps “manly” applies better than “masculine” in discussions of EF Masses and priests?

  49. Pnkn says:

    “The word “masculine” is being used here to describe qualities found in the EF that align with traditionally held views of masculinity: formality, discipline, strength of purpose, authority, all found in abundance in the EF; all softened in the OF. This is not an insult, as many prefer the OF precisely *because* the priest appeals to the congregation – but that appeal is rightly viewed as feminine by comparison. On this thread those who prefer a disciplined focus on the part of a priest are expressing that preference by describing the qualities that go along with it as masculine, which is completely accurate and not at all weird.”
    and
    “I understand why people call the TLM masculine. It’s rather subtle so maybe that’s why some can’t see it. The TLM is highly formal and quite authoritative in manner.”

    Surely this is in jest ! Ever seen a woman set a formal table ? Or have the discipline to do more than “manage” their family, career, home, spouse ? Or have the authority to make children behave ?

    If I were not already a convert, these posts and the similar posts in this thread would turn me away from Roman Catholicism.
    And apparently I’m not smart enough to see (much less understand) the subtle aspects of Catholicism anyway.

  50. benedetta says:

    I agree that the Mass itself doesn’t have these attributes. Perhaps we discern the presence of virtues and gifts such as fortitude, humility, prudence, temperance, which are naturally the vocation of all human beings and the perfection of our nature, so that what we observe seems more natural and a perfected likeness of the priest serving as alter Christus. I think we can agree that it takes a certain measure of all of these in order to give one’s assent to the call to celebrate the ancient rite. A priest, and the congregation as well, all have to radically drop their usual expectations and preconceptions. So as well especially the priest is called upon to place his persona and personality in the service of Christ in a special way so that his needs and desires must drop out and not be up for ‘consumption’ by the faithful especially at the exchange of Who is truly present. By comparison often one feels at the NO that the personality or persona, witticisms, smiles, appearance, gestures, etc of the priest are engaging, sometimes overpowering sometimes just distracting, from the Truth that has gathered and called all present. In our culture the dignity of men and women both have been lost or forgotten in the pursuit of me first and narcissism and social darwinism.

  51. marytoo says:

    Yes, upon re-reading I understand Fr. Soleto’s point better – my apologies – I got thrown by his mention of butch, transgender, etc. He is correct that the Mass itself is not masculine (or feminine). The distinction is found in the manner of the priests upon the altar. In the future I will use Henry Edwards suggestion and use the word “manly” – perhaps that will raise fewer hackles :)

    When my Protestant sister in law attended a confirmation in the EF in which my sons were serving she remarked: ” The boys look so awesome up there – like soldiers!” I think this is accurate. The priests and servers are “soldierly”, precise and disciplined in their actions – manly, if you will. My two cents.

  52. Cordelio says:

    Dear Father Sotelo:

    Is “weird” to refer to a celibate priest as being masculine? If not, why is it any more weird to talk about the sacrificial offering of God the Son to God the Father via such a priest as a masculine act?

    I think you are either applying an incorrect definition of masculinity, or you are mistaken about the character of the Sacrifice of the Mass/Calvary.

    Radical feminists aren’t mistaken about the Mass being patriarchal; they’re mistaken about that being a bad thing.

  53. Cordelio says:

    Dear JoseThomas,

    Why do you a think a TLM is “unthinkable” in your parish – because it is “low-brow” and the parishioners don’t know Latin?

    You do realize that countless poor and illiterate souls were converted and nourished by the TLM for the past several centuries? Are the poor and illiterate of today somehow categorically different?

    The Catholic Faith – and especially Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist – is more clearly demonstrated to exactly those types of people in humble circumstances by a Tridentine Mass whose words they can’t understand than by a Novus Ordo Mass in the vernacular.

  54. msc says:

    Yes, the masculine and feminine stuff is going over my head too. I think the metaphor is being stretched too far: the perceptions of what is masculine and what is not, and whether they are there or not. One could easily rephrase most of what has been described as masculine and turn them into feminine virtues and vice versa.

  55. joan ellen says:

    I love this blog. Thank you Fr. Z.

    Fr_Sotelo – I appreciate your saying that “The Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary.” very much. I have called the TLM Mass masculine and used that term in my mind as a reason for preferring to attend it.
    Your words “But this “masculine” versus “effeminate” terminology for talking about the Mass is just weird.” have me rethinking the term masculine in relation to the Holy Sacrifice.

    I have also in the past thought of the word hierarchy…that in the TLM the hierarchy seems to be in place, and that that is the reason why I am so very much drawn to the TLM.

    As New Sister notes: “I gazed into the Sanctuary and saw the Delta Force!” These words help convey my experience of the TLM. The word hierarchical and masculine go together in my mind. The TLM seems protective, safe, secure and the words Delta Force conjure up those words for me as well. The words “…Sacrifice of Calvary” do the same for me, maybe the Delta Force par excellence.

  56. LadyMarchmain says:

    I would like to elaborate on how the concepts of masculinity and femininity might align to experience of nature, art, and the mass. Those interested in this very substantive and long standing philosophical use of gender terms may read Burke “On the Beautiful and the Sublime” and Kant’s “Analytic of the Sublime.”

    The sublime is defined in philosophy as something that is larger than we are, terrifying, vast, awful, and awe inducing. The beautiful is defined as within our human bounds–an everyday loveliness, like a vase of flowers. Examples the philosophers offer of the sublime would be: war, cataclysmic natural events, mountains, the stars. Kant has further divisions within the sublime, but I won’t go into that here. Both philosophers have taken heat from feminist critics because in setting up this dichotomy, they aligned the sublime with masculine attributes and the beautiful with feminine attributes. I won’t discuss this either, other than to say that it is part of human cultures to make these types of general associations and dichotomies (white-black, good-evil) and to associate them with gender (yin-yang).

    This is a highly over simplified summary, but I feel it is important to realize that the guest poster is not coming from left field in floating this idea, and the resulting insight is very valuable.

    The EF is indeed sublime. It is transcendent, it leads us to the edge of our own understanding and represents the ineffable (to use one of Fr. Z’s favorite words). In fact, the word, sub-lime comes from the Latin and means, below (as in right at) the limits; that is, when faced with the sublime, we become aware of our own limitations. We need this experience to be reminded of God’s majesty.

    The NO when reverent and devout can approach sublimity, but the greater emphasis on interaction, horizontal relations, the more pop sounding music, makes it more beautiful than sublime.

  57. The Cobbler says:

    Are we talking about masculinity vs. femininity, or masculinity vs. effeminacy? Femininity and effeminacy are as opposed as masculinity and effeminacy; in contrast, masculinity and feminity complement and support one another. Strength, authority, beauty, life-giving-ness and life-nourishing-ness — these things have got to work together, not against each other, haven’t they?

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  59. Nicholas Frankovich says:

    Gail F writes: “Whether it’s playing in a band, doing a military exercise, playing on a team or whatever, men have a way of doing things together that is very moving and powerful, and is DIFFERENT from the way women do things in a group or from the way a mixed group of men and women do things.”

    Lionel Tiger noticed that too and wrote a book about it: Men in Groups (1969, 2005). I recommend it.

    Fr_Sotelo writes: “But this ‘masculine’ versus ‘effeminate’ terminology for talking about the Mass is just weird.”

    By definition, the priesthood is masculine. Consequently, Mass has a masculine character. If it doesn’t, those who advocate for women’s ordination would appear to be right. Granted, defining masculinity — or femininity, for that matter — is no easier than defining intelligence, but you know it when you’re in the presence of it. It’s a faculty. Men and boys identify with it, women and girls relate to it.

    Jesus’ inner circle gathered at the Last Supper were a fraternity — to my mind, the most elite in human history, or perhaps tied for that distinction with the twelve sons of Israel: Men in groups. The NFL appreciates the power and the value of that dynamic. The Catholic Church used to. In some quarters, it still does, as this guest post and many of these comments demonstrate.

  60. marytoo says:

    Thanks to Lady Marchmain for a beautiful post which clarifies what I and others here feel instinctively but weren’t able to put into words or take to the next level. Lovely and profound.

  61. Per Signum Crucis says:

    Now that Lady Marchmain and marytoo have helpfully bottomed out the masculine vs. feminine debate (and, I think, in a way that underpins Fr. Sotelo’s and the guest author’s central point that the Mass is always and everywhere the ultimate expression of the Redemptive Sacrifice), I can focus on the thing that does niggle me (whether irrationally or not) as a ‘raised in the NO while trying to understand the EF’ Catholic.

    It is or should not be about what form is best: that is subjective and, dare I say it, even prideful in a way – and I mean no offence to those who feel as deeply and passionately about the merits of the EF as many posters on this thread (and blog) clearly do. Subjectivity is a human trait whatever the form: go to any parish anywhere and amongst the regular congregants you will find find opinions on whose parish is best, whose priest gives the best homily and so on.

    But to treat the Mass like this is, I don’t know, something that makes me uncomfortable. The Lord indeed taketh and giveth as someone upthread observed; in other places the time and local circumstances might not (yet) permit the EF to be practiced more widely despite its general upsurge in various quarters elsewhere. That is why the concept of the NO and EF enriching each other is one I can buy into. As we now know thanks to the Holy Father Emeritus, both are valid and both have specific qualities. I suggest our approach should be one that aims to bridge the gap between the more robust viewpoint and the more pragmatic.

  62. joan ellen says:

    Per Signum Crucis says:

    “That is why the concept of the NO and EF enriching each other is one I can buy into. As we now know thanks to the Holy Father Emeritus, both are valid and both have specific qualities. I suggest our approach should be one that aims to bridge the gap between the more robust viewpoint and the more pragmatic.”

    Your words give me something to think about when thinking of the differences between the OF and EF. My understanding is that the EF developed to the point of perfection. If so, the OF would offer no enrichment to the EF. The OF, on the other hand, can be enriched by the EF. In my way of thinking.

    However, the people attending the OF and the EF can certainly enrich each other in order to bridge the gap. In my observation, in my neck of the woods this is badly needed. And I’m just as guilty as the next person who does not consciously work to do that.

  63. joan ellen says:

    Per Signum Crucis,
    The OF and EF “both are valid and both have specific qualities.” I’m thinking that the “…specific qualities…” you write about are key words. What is it that attracts some to the one, and others to the other?

    I sense it has to do with the depth of one’s Catholicism. I am able to say that thanks to a convert friend who taught me that she has to grow into the depth of Catholicism and cannot just jump right into it. I am hinting at the idea that the OF is more readily ‘available’ spiritually to the new Catholic, or even Catholics who did not get into the throes of Catholicism when Catechized. I may be missing the boat here.

  64. marytoo says:

    “Now that Lady Marchmain and marytoo have helpfully bottomed out the masculine vs. feminine debate (…in a way that underpins … the guest author’s central point that the Mass is always and everywhere the ultimate expression of the Redemptive Sacrifice), …It is or should not be about what form is best: that is subjective and, dare I say it, even prideful in a way. ”

    Always happy to help, but Per Signum Crucis has missed the gist: the guest poster’s main point was that the EF is superior – and this claim was made with a distinct lack of pride and subjectivity. Just the opposite, in fact, it was an expression of righteous anger and sorrow at being denied a birthright, a feeling many of us share. The guest poster goes on to describe why he/she has made this determination, stating that the EF has authority, masculinity and “demands attentive prayer from the pew…This calm, powerful, and masculine authority and presence has humbled me and given me so much more respect for these Priests…my heart feels a natural desire to follow them.”

    Always awkward when a commenter admits a lack of understanding about a particular thing (‘raised in the NO while trying to understand the EF’ ) and then goes on to make pronouncements about the thing that’s not understood.

  65. Per Signum Crucis says:

    marytoo, with the greatest respect, please reflect on the last paragraph of joan ellen’s post of 5:55pm.

    I actually agree with most of the positive qualities of the EF. What I don’t agree with is the concept that because the EF was ‘perfect’, there can be no other consideration in relation to how a large proportion of the Catholic world receive (and mostly only receive) the NO. Because of this, it shouldn’t be a beauty contest I’m sorry if you misunderstood me.

  66. marytoo says:

    Per Signum Crucis, no worries. I was reacting to the sarcasm.

    With greatest respect in return to you – and I do appreciate that you are trying to understand the EF – I would say the second paragraph of joan ellen’s post, which you have made clear you don’t agree with, is the more incisive. I don’t believe I misunderstood you: you think the OF has something to offer the EF. I disagree. The discussion about formality, authority and masculinity is more meaningful than you seem to realize – it is the crux of the matter.

    In any event you are certainly right that it should not be a contest of any kind. I am a firm believer in attending a Mass that, in simplest terms, brings one closer to Christ, wherever or whatever that is. Some of my dearest friends and family members attend the NO. I grew in closeness to Christ dramatically in the EF; my husband converted in the EF (after 10 years in the OF); so naturally I am in love with it. It has touched my heart in ways I cannot describe. My saying that is in no way an indictment of the OF.

    “I actually agree with most of the positive qualities of the EF.”

    I am confused by this statement. Are you saying that you disagree with some of the EF’s positive qualities? And that it also has negative qualities?

  67. SimonDodd says:

    I thought that Rorate coeli recently had a piece making almost precisely this argument about the “masculinity” and “vir-ility” of the usus antiquior, and I remember finding that piece pretty unattractive, too.

  68. Per Signum Crucis says:

    Ah, I see where I may have confused you, marytoo. The positive qualities of any Mass are that it is offered authoritatively, reverently and – to my mind – with as many elements of our Catholic heritage as are possible: Latin, music, architecture, setting. This can be achieved even in the NO. In that sense, a good NO would be better (enrich isn’t the word I should have used in this context) than a poor EF although I appreciate that the dynamic of the reform of the reform is to restore a perfection that was needlessly lost.

    That the EF can enrich the NO is unquestionable but does the EF have any negative qualities? On reflection, no, not of itself but I still find it difficult at times to adjust to the stillness, the reflection, the depth of intimacy with God that it requires – while at the same time being overly conscious of being told that I really am supposed to be witnessing and experiencing the Mass in its most perfect form. That should abate with more experience, I know, but is one of the reasons I specifically mentioned being a NO-raised but EF-sympathetic Catholic.

    Over time, making the EF more widely available through an appropriate encouragement of Summorum Pontificum at parish level and the younger priests and seminarians who are embracing it will help but I suggest that, in the meantime, much can be gained from a sympathetic re-education of rank and file Catholics who have never really known the EF but also find nothing intrinsically wrong with their experience of the NO. Going back to the beginning, I (and a few others) didn’t find the guest poster’s attempt to express this in gendered terms to be either particularly helpful or relevant.

  69. joan ellen says:

    marytoo says: at 8 November 2013 at 9:31 am RE: Per Signum Crucis, and I thank you both for your comments above.

    This may sum up more of what I would like to convey…
    Gregorius says:
    5 November 2013 at 10:33 am
    “Speaking in Latin, all these complicated rubrics? Who would be willing to go through all this?” And then it clicked. The saints would do it. This was what Mass was like for them, that liturgy was what enabled people to go to their death rejoicing, allowed them to live entire lives of suffering for their King and God, enabled them to spread the Gospel to the far corners of the Earth. I had never understood the Faith (as I saw it lived) as worth suffering and dying for until that point. From that point on, I began to learn about the faith in the light of the traditional liturgy, and my spiritual progress has ever since been bound with it.”

    I believe this progress that Gregorius writes includes to the depths of Catholicism…that is what the EF offers us…the depths of Catholicism…as we offer ourselves in union with the priest offering the Mass. This offering to us in turn allows, or helps, us to offer ourselves, with the very depths of Catholicism, to the Father. The EF, because of it’s perfection, unites us wholly to Our Blessed Lord, like a nucleus/cell. The OF cannot and does not simply because it does not contain the perfection needed. That is not to say the OF, even in it’s current form, is not valid nor does not contain “spiritual qualities”, for it surely does. Just not to the extent that the EF does.

    How is it that we experience the Consecration of Jesus Christ…Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, then in one breath say Sursum corda…Lift up your hearts…Habemus ad Dominum…We lift them up to the Lord…pray the Our Father…which all the above, in effect, unites each of us with Heaven. Then in a, so to speak, another breath or two…leave that most glorious state of being one with our Blessed Lord to give the sign of peace to each other. In doing so, I have in effect toss myself out of Heaven, in order to give a sign of peace to other humans. I have given my worship to God up, granted, momentarily, in favor of acknowledging other human beings. Then I try to return to receive Our Blessed Lord with a proper disposition, or in other words return to the glorious state. It does not happen for me. No wonder so many have lost the belief in His Real Presence.

    The EF keeps me in that glorious state from beginning to end. From beginning to end the EF is about God, and not at all about me/us…except our weakness, sins, and dependence upon Him. Example: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

    Perhaps this is also something like what the poster is trying to convey.

  70. joan ellen says:

    that should be tossed myself out…

  71. marytoo says:

    Per Signus Crucis, thank you for taking the time to clarify your positions. And thanks to joan ellen – lovely reflections.

    “…I still find it difficult at times to adjust to the stillness, the reflection, the depth of intimacy with God that it requires – while at the same time being overly conscious of being told that I really am supposed to be witnessing and experiencing the Mass in its most perfect form…”

    It’s hard to imagine that the full range of Catholic humanity all had this Mass every Sunday, all in Latin, less than 60 years age. Catholicism was interwoven into their daily lives in such a way that I believe even the simplest person had a deeper understanding of the faith than we do today, if only on an instinctive level. I was raised going to Church on Sundays but not practicing the faith at home. It’s been very difficult and painful as an adult, first to accept/understand what I lost – not simply a beautiful Mass but a *life of faith* – and second to attempt to reconstruct/restore a Catholic way of life that I had no experience in for my children. Starting from scratch, if you will: difficult but beautiful, with grace helping along the way. My husband’s conversion in the EF is a gift that still awes me.

    We switched to the EF sort of by default – we couldn’t find a reverent OF in our area and believe me we looked. I found it to be two different worlds; it wasn’t an easy adjustment at all, but I felt it was where God wanted me so we stuck it out. In my early EF days I actually felt unworthy of the EF. But a kind priest put me off that idea in very definite terms. The EF is for us all. Everyone there has a story and a history; everyone is fighting some kind of spiritual battle. At any rate, at this point I know the Mass well enough that it is stress-free and you will reach this point too. Remember, it’s your “birthright” as the guest-poster put it.

    A wise person said to me several years back: “We are there [at Mass] to witness an act of worship.” It took me a while to absorb the meaning of this seemingly simple remark. The word “witness” was what got me: the priest performs the act of worship; we bear witness to that act and add what we can – but we are decreased, He is increased. We are very small in the most efficacious Mass. The priest underscores this idea: by facing the tabernacle, by not acknowledging us directly or expressing his personality in any way, he also decreases; by following the motions on the altar as precisely as possible, the predictability of his movements help him and the servers to “disappear” in a way. We don’t have a script, so to speak, to follow. All this us designed to minimize distraction and orient us to Christ. This is why the beautiful formality of manner in the EF is so precious and valued: The resulting seamlessness eases our way to union with Him. This structure created by this high level of formality imbues the Mass with authority, which is essential for us as Catholics.

    “… in the meantime, much can be gained from a sympathetic re-education of rank and file Catholics who have never really known the EF but also find nothing intrinsically wrong with their experience of the NO…”

    Absolutely agree.

    Thanks for listening to my ramblings.

  72. joan ellen says:

    marytoo says:
    9 November 2013 at 10:02 am Thank you marytoo for your kind words. What you call ramblings are a beautiful expression of your EF experience. I like this sentence…”My husband’s conversion in the EF is a gift that still awes me.”

    Your words encourage me to think that comments re: the EF are most important. That experiences such as yours and the expression of them contribute to Fr. Z’s ‘brick by brick.’ I’m still stuck on the idea that ‘when a sufficient number’ experience the EF, we will wake up one day and the churches will be full once again. We need words like yours as encouragement to others who may try the EF experience as a result. The conversions from trying the experience will bring the increase and the beautiful church relationships that will surely follow.