From a reader:
I’ve been attending the TLM for about 5 years now. I came across it unintentionally as a revert and never intended on making it a regular thing, but I was awe-struck by the beauty and reverence it was celebrated with and couldn’t let it go. Furthermore, there was a very holy priest who was there, whose joy, happiness, humility, and strong conviction in preaching (both through words and actions) the need for us to become saints who really inspired the desire in me to become a saint in this life, which I’ve been striving for.
However, that priest was transferred and the priests who were sent to us don’t seem to have that same conviction that we need to become saints now and instead are very critical of priests in general who celebrate Mass in the Ordinary Form, as well as the Ordinary Form in general, etc. What’s worse, many parishioners have taken this as a licence to follow in like behaviour and are openly bashing Diocesan priests and making assumptions about the internal state of their soul.
This hurts me and I can’t stand it anymore. I used to just pray for our priests and parishioners, but after it not having any positive impact, the anger is now it is having a very negative impact on my soul, and am debating whether or not I should just leave and stop attending the TLM. I have raised my concerns with our pastor and I was dismissed as being too critical and that my time would be better spent in prayer.
I am not particularly sure of why TLM communities exist, but I am wondering if there is a place for non-Traditionalists such as myself within these communities, or if I am out of place for wanting to use the TLM in order to help me become a saint and not being sympathetic to Traditionalists and their issues?
I am not sure about “their issues”. Sure, there are some traditionalists who seem to be a bit like Catholic Amish, but they are few. But let that pass.
I assume that you are going to a church, chapel, parish which has exclusive use of the Extraordinary Form.
These communities exist to provide for people who have a desire to foster their spiritual through the older form of Holy Mass and the sacraments, and with preaching and catechesis that will be solid. They want the whole nine yards, rather than just Mass on Sunday.
Keep in mind that, if a lot of traditional lay people have – for decades – been beaten up even by their priests and bishops, treated like second class citizens, so have priests. Priests, I remind you, are human beings too. They also can become embittered or impatient and uncharitable. Is the bar higher for priests? Do we have greater expectations for them and the way they interact with people. Of course. Do they fail? Sure they do. This shouldn’t be a surprise.
I get your frustration, but keep in mind that you could be a great spiritual help to these guys. Pray for them. Fast for them. Offer them encouragement. It is okay to express your dismay when you hear them, for example, “openly bashing Diocesan priests and making assumptions about the internal state of their soul”… if that really is what they are doing. If they are really doing that, openly, they are doing themselves a grave disservice as well. They are hurting themselves and their mission because that sort of thing will get out and around among the priests and to the diocesan bishop where they are. I’d recommend that, if they can’t adjust their attitudes, they keep their mouths shut.
But for you… try to be an example of cheerful and patient charity there. Don’t participate in the talk you object to. Instead, try to change the subject. Or, you could add an anecdote about acts of kindness and good things you know that diocesan priests have performed.
And, to keep your eyes clear, examine your own conscience and go to confession regularly.