The Traditional Latin Mass and the New Evangelization

The Institute of Christ the King had ordinations to the priesthood recently in St. Louis.  This promoted an article in the local paper.  The writer (thus, editor) seemed amazed that this sort of thing is going on.  Young people… Mass… Latin….?!!?  Does not computer.

A couple quotes in the article caught my eye.

First:

[Now Father] Altiere is originally from Pennsylvania with a degree from Harvard University. He says his decision to become a priest is owed in part to his discovery of the traditional Latin Mass in a church in downtown Boston.

“At this Mass I really understood the priesthood for the first time,” Altiere said. “The primary reason for the beauty of our churches and liturgical ceremonies is to give glory to God, but it is also such a powerful means of evangelization.”

Exactly so.

By learning this form of Holy Mass, new priests and vets learn something about priesthood and who they are at the altar which the Novus Ordo does not readily convey.  Even if priests wind up not using the Extraordinary Form all that often, they won’t say the Novus Ordo in the same way after having learned it.

The older form of Mass clearly stresses that the Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary renewed and the celebrating priest is both priest offering the Sacrifice and victim upon the altar.  Priests are for sacrifice.  If you don’t have to have sacrifice, you don’t need a priesthood.  You can have ministers, instead.

His point about evangelization is tied to this.  When the priest knows better who he is, his way of saying Mass, his are celebrandi as Pope Benedict put it, shifts.  This will, over time, produce a knock on effect in the congregation.

Going on.

Those who attend St. Francis de Sales Oratory also say their faith is strengthened by the liturgy and by the feeling of solidarity experienced by those who attend the Mass.

“Everybody here believes what they’re doing is true, real,” said Tom Leith, 55, an engineer in St. Louis. “You’re among people who believe what the church teaches.”

If we don’t know our Faith and believe, if we are not clear about what we believe and who we are, we cannot evangelize effectively.  Why should anyone listen to us if we are uncertain about who we are?  If we have nothing clear to say to the world, why should the world listen to us?

Benedict’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum was probably the most useful tool he provided for an effective New Evangelization.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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19 Responses to The Traditional Latin Mass and the New Evangelization

  1. Neil Addison says:

    Father Altiere has spent the last year of his training over here in England as a Deacon at the “Dome” Church in New Brighton on the Wirral http://www.domeofhome.org which is run by the Institute of Christ the King. It is the only full time Traditional Church in England though it is to be joined by another Institute Church in Preston later this year.. He has certainly made many friends over on this side of the Atlantic and we all wish him well now he is ordained

    As an occasional traditionalist I have certainly been impressed by the quality and dedication of their Priests

  2. Dienekes says:

    “If we have nothing clear to say to the world, why should the world listen to us?”

    The last 50 years of the Catholic Church in America, for the most part. 2 1/2 years of parochial school with actual nuns, “a few good priests”, and an acquired taste for Gregorian chant somehow protected me. “Amazing Grace” indeed.

  3. Sonshine135 says:

    “By learning this form of Holy Mass, new priests and vets learn something about priesthood and who they are at the altar which the Novus Ordo does not readily convey. Even if priests wind up not using the Extraordinary Form all that often, they won’t say the Novus Ordo in the same way after having learned it.”

    Quite so! When I went to my first EF Mass last year, it just so happened to be at a time that I took renewed interest in the Old Testament. Nothing ties the Old Testament and New Testament sacrificial offerings together like the EF Mass.

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  5. Gabe says:

    I think the link is incorrect.

  6. Dax says:

    An important side note to this is that all four are Americans!

  7. Allan S. says:

    Bad link – it takes one to a rather ignorant discussion on another blog.

  8. pannw says:

    “By learning this form of Holy Mass, new priests and vets learn something about priesthood and who they are at the altar which the Novus Ordo does not readily convey. Even if priests wind up not using the Extraordinary Form all that often, they won’t say the Novus Ordo in the same way after having learned it.”

    From the experience with my own parish priest, I’d say this is absolutely obviously true. He was, I believe, one of two priests from the diocese that the bishop sent to learn the TLM a few years ago. He doesn’t offer it at our parish, but he offers the most beautiful, reverent, ad orientem NO Mass I’ve ever had the blessing to attend, complete with only altar boys, and Communion at the Communion rail presented by him or another priest, if one happens to be visiting. Although on very rare occasions (packed Mass like Easter), he has permitted seminarians, but I’ve only seen it twice in the 2 years he’s been with us. It is so wonderful that it attracts a number of seminarians on summer break who come to serve Mass, which just makes it more glorious, all those young men on the altar, with candles for the gospel, and the procession…. Just beautiful! As it should be. I will miss them when they go back to seminary in a couple of weeks, but it is such a good sign that they want to serve at a parish like ours. God bless them. And thank God for our priest, and our Bishop who is so supportive.

    I am so blessed.

  9. Lyons says:

    I used to not know what a Deacon was. Ordination for these folks seemed like total overkill if all you are is a quasi-acolyte Priest secretary. Then I attended a TLM. Now I get it.

  10. “Even if priests wind up not using the Extraordinary Form all that often, they won’t say the Novus Ordo in the same way after having learned it.”

    You are on to something, Father. In our parish is a tale of two priests: one in touch with the Institute and who celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and one who is/does not. Both demonstrate riveting attention and reverence at elevation and at all parts of the liturgy at every Mass. Our altar is set in the Benedictine arrangement, the Tabernacle is centralized, and it is definitely NOT social hour in the pews. No Eagles Wings (or “In Christ Alone”) none of the time. I would take your comment one step further and suggest that everyone is impacted for the better, each according to his/her state, where a parish can celebrate in the EF. Come on, deep down, you know when it’s right. It’s like a genetic memory…..

  11. St. Rocco says:

    Nice pictures: Cordileone, Burke in his hometown with his Cappa Magna.

    I just met then-Canon Altiere on Sunday at my church, Holy Trinity in Philadelphia (with the very orthodox Fr. Harold McKale as celebrant). He chanted the Epistle at High Mass for us. Very nice fellow. His time in the UK rubbed off on him (in a good way).

    His first Solemn High Mass will be back here in PA on Saturday, August 16th, at Holy Savior in Norristown. This will be the day after the big Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Assumption/Mater Ecclesiae offered in the Cathedral Basilica, which I hope Fr. Pasley invited Fr. Z to attend, and which I hope Archbishop Chaput attends… Anyway, beautiful liturgical weekend coming up, hope to attend both Holy Masses.

  12. St. Rocco says:

    “By learning this form of Holy Mass, new priests and vets learn something about priesthood and who they are at the altar which the Novus Ordo does not readily convey. Even if priests wind up not using the Extraordinary Form all that often, they won’t say the Novus Ordo in the same way after having learned it.”

    Priest friend of mine who re-discovered the EF after 20 years in the priesthood now says the same thing. That urge to genuflect during the Creed in the Novus Ordo is just too strong!

  13. TWF says:

    Neil: You’re saying that in all of England there is only ONE parish that is exclusively devoted to celebrating the EF? Canada has perhaps 60% of England’s population, yet I believe there are several such parishes across the country.

  14. JonPatrick says:

    In reading the RNS article, one thing that bothers me is the impression often left that it is all about language and that the big change that happened in 1970 was that “we got to worship in our own language”. The difference between the EF and the OF is much bigger than that and the use of Latin (which of course may be used in the OF as well) is only part of it. Imagine if a priest said the EF Mass in English (which of course is not allowed) it would still be considerably different due to the prayers at the foot of the altar, the completely different Offertory, the silent canon, and many other differences. That is why I have stopped using the term “Latin Mass” as it conveys a misleading interpretation of what the older form is all about.

  15. slainewe says:

    “Everybody here believes what they’re doing is true, real,” said Tom Leith, 55, an engineer in St. Louis. “You’re among people who believe what the church teaches.”

    To me, this is the most important aspect of belonging to a TLM Community.

    When Solzhenitsyn died some years back and the press was publishing tributes to him, I noticed the similarity in the language he used to describe Soviet repression and the way I felt under the culture of the Novus Ordo. Solzhenitsyn spoke of how no one could have any real conversation because the spirit of the people was crushed. This is how I was in the modern Church. I could not speak of spiritual things with anyone in the parish because the conversation would inevitably turn to some heresy embraced by the one to whom I was speaking and confirmed in her by the pastor or her reading of mainstream “Catholic” publications. There was no place for the authentic teaching of the Church. It had actually become “impolite” to discuss religion in the New Mass culture.

  16. TWF says:

    JonPatrick: From what I’ve heard, some of the Anglican Ordinariate masses come across as “almost” an EF in English.
    That being said, the OF celebrated ad orientem in Latin with all the bells and whistles (chant, incense, altar boys, etc.) probably has a lot more in common with the EF than it does with the OF as celebrated in the average parish..