Washington Post: good article on the TLM

There is an article of interest in The Washington Post.

My emphases and comments.


Latin Makes a Comeback
Young Catholics Are Leading a Resurgence of the Traditional Mass

By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 24, 2007; B09

Parts of it are 1,500 years old, it’s difficult to understand, and it’s even more challenging to watch. And it’s catching on among young Catholics.  [What does this opening remark say to you WDTPRSer in light of the entry I posted about the Novus Ordo as "easier" than the older Mass?]

It’s the traditional Latin Mass, [More journalists are beginning to make distinctions.  Could they be reading?] a formal worship service that is making a comeback after more than 40 years of moldering in the Vatican basement.

In September, Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions [called a "derestiction"] on celebrating Latin Mass, frequently called the Tridentine Mass, citing "a new and renewed" interest in the ancient Latin liturgy, especially among younger Catholics.

Spoken or sung entirely in sometimes inaudible Latin [How do you sing inaudibly?] by priests who face the altar instead of the congregation, [Thanks for avoiding the cliche!] it is a radical departure for most Catholics, who grew up attending a more informal Mass celebrated in their native tongue.

"It’s the opposite of the cacophony that comes with the [modern] Mass," said Ken Wolfe, 34, a federal government worker who goes to up to four Latin Masses a week in the Washington area. "There’s no guitars and handshaking and breaks in the Mass where people talk to each other. It’s a very serious liturgy."  [Didn’t Archbp. Ranjith recently talk about a return to "seriousness"?]

And it is a hit with younger priests and their parishioners.  [YES!]

Attendance at the Sunday noon Mass at St. John the Beloved in McLean has doubled to 400 people since it began celebrating in Latin. Most of the worshipers are under 40, said the Rev. Franklyn McAfee.  [Famous as a frequent commentor of WDTPRS!]

Younger parishioners "are more reflective," McAfee said. "They want something uplifting when they go to church. They don’t want something they can get outside."  [Yes… and encounter with something that is not ordinary.]

For some, the popularity of the service represents the gap between older Catholics, who grew up in the more liberal, post-Vatican II era, and their younger counterparts, who say they feel like they missed out on the tradition that was jettisoned in the move to modernize.

Although Chris Paulitz’s parents never questioned the switch to the "new" Mass, Paulitz and his wife, Diane, only attend Latin Masses.

After each such service, "you feel like you’ve learned something and you’ve grown a bit,"   said Chris, 32, in an interview after a recent Mass at St. Rita’s Church in Alexandria.  [I return to the premises of the entry I posted about the Novus Ordo as "easier" than the older Mass!  Nota bene "grown".]

Priests, musicians and laypeople are snapping up how-to videos and books, signing up for workshops and viewing online tutorials with step-by-step instructions on the elaborately choreographed liturgy. For example, the rubrics dictate that a priest must hold together the thumb and index finger of each hand for much of the Canon of the Mass, the central part of the liturgy that culminates with the consecration of bread and wine.

"I knew there would be some interest, but I didn’t know how quickly it would spread and how really deep the interest was," said the Rev. Scott Haynes, a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago who started a Web site in August offering instructions in celebrating the Mass.

So far, the Web site, http://www.sanctamissa.org, has received 1 million hits, [Lagging behind but doing well!  o{];¬) ] Haynes said, adding that he receives several hundred e-mails a day from fans of the service. "I was surprised by how many people have latched on to this," he said.

Portions of the Tridentine Mass date back to the sixth century, but it was standardized at the Council of Trent in 1570 — hence the name Tridentine. It was largely supplanted by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which modernized the Mass liturgy and translated it into modern languages.

The modern Mass, or Novus Ordo, can be said in Latin, [Again I return to the premises of the entry I posted.] but it is a radically different service from the Tridentine Mass. Until September, when the pope issued his Motu Proprio allowing greater freedom in celebrating the Tridentine Mass, priests who wanted to celebrate it needed special permission from their bishop, and it was celebrated at only a few churches in the Washington area.

In the Diocese of Arlington, where the bishop and priests are considered more conservative than in Washington, the number of churches where the service is celebrated has increased from two to seven since the Motu Proprio. The Arlington diocese, which stretches from Northern Virginia south to Lancaster and west to the Shenandoah, has sent six priests to a training center in Nebraska, at the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter seminary, for an intensive seminar.  [Excellent!]

In the Archdiocese of Washington, no more churches have added the Mass. Monsignor Charles Pope, who celebrates the Mass at St. Mary’s in Chinatown, thinks that it’s because of the number of parishioners demanding the Tridentine Mass is small. But those who want it "are very interested and very passionate about it," he said.

Priests who know the ritual are training other priests, and the diocese plans to offer training next year, said archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs.

But the service is not without controversy. Jewish groups have protested a Good Friday [How tiresome this all is.] prayer in the Mass that refers to the "blindness" of the Jews and calls for their conversion. Vatican officials have suggested that the prayer could be removed but have not done so.

For those who have fallen in love with the Mass, though, it is a part of what marks Catholics as unique among Christians.  [YES!   As I have been saying, Pope Benedict’s vision aims at reinvigorating Catholic identity!]

"Before Vatican II, there were a lot of things that marked Catholics as Catholic: the Tridentine Mass in Latin, fish on Fridays, those kinds of things," said Monsignor Kevin Irwin, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at Catholic University. "And I think that 40 years after the [Second Vatican] Council, there is a revival of questions asking what is Catholic identity, and for some, this is an external manifestation of saying, ‘We’re Catholic.’ "  [This guy gets it.]

At St. Rita’s Church, more than 150 worshipers listened and watched in silence as four black-and-gold-robed priests, accompanied by a half-dozen servers and a five-person choir, spoke and sang the hour-long liturgy. There was no homily, no English and no lay participation.  [I protest!  There certainly was lay participation!  Every one of those people were participating, I’ll bet, though "active receptivity" to what the true ACTOR, the High Priest Jesus Christ, was doing in the words and gestures of the liturgy.   Then those who were properly disposed, participated in the supreme manner of active participation by going forward actively to receive Holy Comunion.] In a throwback to the past, [Or a preview of the future.] some women wore lace head coverings.

In a crystalline tenor, the celebrant, the Rev. Paul D. Scalia, recited the Lord’s Prayer :

Pater noster, qui es in caelis: sanctificetur nomen tuum . . .

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . . .

Scalia, St. Rita’s parochial vicar, added the Mass within days of the pope lifting the restrictions.

Scalia, 36, said he loves "the beauty of it, the silence . . . the antiquity. . . . It has a much more a contemplative feel to it. . . . This is the Mass that so many saints were raised on and themselves offered and prayed."

This is a very encouraging article!

WDTPRS loves posting good news!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. woodyjones says:

    “Rev. Paul D. Scalia”, as is now well known, one of the sons of Justice Antonin Scalia. It is also said among cognoscenti that Fr. Paul’s ordination ceremony was the occasion for Justice Clarence Thomas to come to know that he should revert.

  2. Richard says:

    Thanks for posting this, Fr. Z.

  3. Malta says:

    Fr., I agree, this was a great article. It emphasized throughout the profundity of the TLM, a liturgy which connects us in a direct way with 1,500 years of Saints and fellow Catholics.

    I take exception to this, however: “It [TLM] was largely supplanted by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which modernized the Mass liturgy and translated it into modern languages.”

    Almost every article on the subject I’ve read refers to the NO as the “Mass of Vatican II.” The NO is NOT the “Mass of Vatican II”!! SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM never called for a new liturgy. (http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html). It did anticipate that there might be more vernacular in the Vetus Ordo, but never called for a brand new rite. The NO is a new rite, it is as different from the TLM as the Ambrosian, or even more so. The NO was the brain child of Paul VI. Most of the Council Fathers never anticipated that Paul VI would promulgate a new Mass after Vatican II.

    The extreme irony in all of this is, of course, that in creating a new Mass, Paul VI unwittingly preserved the Traditional Latin Mass, intact, since Sacrosanctum Concilium would have allowed for changes to the Traditional Latin Mass which might have hurt it, or changed it drastically throughout the world. Instead, we were given back the TLM, whole and intact, by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. Long live and may God protect our current Pope!

    I think articles such as this should refer to the NO as the “Mass of Paul VI” or “Bugnini Mass,” but not the “Mass of Vatican II” because that appellation is historically and factually incorrect.

  4. Athelstane says:

    Good story.

    Good things are afoot.

    It is encouraging to see diocesan parishes adding EF masses. May there be many more to come. All the DC area lacks now is a full parish with daily mass and all the sacraments. Hopefully that won’t be long in coming, now that it is apparent that the demand is there.

  5. kat says:

    I’m so excited about our upcoming military move to the DC area. 9 parishes offering the TLM (7 in VA, 1 in DC, and 1 SSPX/independent) will give us a lot to be grateful for. This is the 2nd or 3rd wonderful article about the TLM in the Washington Post in the past few months, wonder if it is the same reporter and/or attends the TLM?

    One of the things that strikes me in these articles is the focus on the enthusiasm of young people and families to the TLM. This one goes even further in pointing out the Catholic identity problem/solution that exists today. Sacramentals such as home holy water fonts, scapulars, medals, statues…are much more popular with those who really want a Catholic identity, usually those of a more orthodox or traditional bent. Most traditionalists still abstain every Friday, observe the teachings on fasting, and try to teach the Catholic Faith to their children on a daily basis, not leaving it up to the school or CCD. In going to homes of most Catholics today you would be hard pressed to find something that proclaims it to be a Catholic home. The post Vatican II stripping of the churches also occured in the homes and needs to be brought back through the spread of the TLM.
    What an exciting time to be a Catholic!

  6. Jim McM says:

    If you wind up on the Maryland side of D.C., there is one TLM (former indult mass) in suburban Maryland about one block off the Capitol Beltway and a few blocks off Georgia Avenue (known as “Old St. John’s”) each Sunday at 8:00 am. Many children and young families there.

  7. Jim McM says:

    P.S. In six months of attending TLM as St. Mary Mother of God in Washington, D.C., I never saw Msgr. Charles Pope celebrate the TLM there. He may do the Cantonese mass (N.O.) in that same church. This is one of those interesting negative comments that turns out to be a misquote, at least in part. I don’t know Msgr. Pope and he may be a fine priest, but the pastor at St. Mary Mother of God is Fr. Alfred Harris who routinely celebrates the TLM at 9 AM Sundays and often allows other visiting priests to celebrate the TLM there at that 9 AM Sunday mass time.
    When the Sacred Music conference was held at Catholic University in August, Fr. Harris invited his TLM congregation to attend a special high mass on Saturday afternoon. Fr. Harris assisted in distributing communion at that service, as he does when other priests substitute at the altar on some Sunday mornings.
    St. Mary Mother of God is one of those uncommon Roman Catholic churches that was never “wreckovated.” Other N.O. masses are said there on a table rolled out into the middle of the sanctuary. They use the beautiful marble high altar at the traditional Latin masses.
    If Kat comes to Washington soon, she should take her family to St. Mary Mother of God Church at FIfth and H Streets, NW, for the 9 AM Sunday service at least on a few occasions. (We stumbled onto the nearby Old St. John’s service and we have been saving on gasoline for the past two months.)

  8. Elise says:

    Father Z – Please explain how one of the priests mentioned in the article is permitted to synthesize the TLM with the NO as follows: he permits lay persons to bring up the water and wine from the back of the church to the sanctuary steps and the entire congregation recites the Lord’s prayer with the priest. Is that “Say the Black, Do the Red?” I have been to many Masses celebrated by both FSSP and ICSRP nationally and internationally as well as to the “independent” Mass mentioned in the column and I have never experienced these innovations. Are they permissible? If you say so, I will cease frowning. Thanks for a wonderful blog site. Yours is the first (and sometimes only) that I look at when I turn on the computer.

  9. Devereaux Cannon says:

    I also have a question, somewhat related to the ones raised by Elise. I remember from my youth a mass called, I believe, a Missa Recitata or Dialogue Mass, in which many of the Latin prayers, including the Pater Noster, were recited by the people of the congregation. I believe that this was a development of the 1950s. I have seen very little mention of this version of the TLM. What was/ia the status of this form under the TLM?

  10. Elsie: Please explain how one of the priests mentioned in the article is permitted to synthesize the TLM with the NO

    I don’t see that in the article I posted.

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    In regard to the Pater Noster, from the Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy promulgated under Pope Pius XII on September 3, 1958:

    32. Since the Pater Noster is a fitting, and ancient prayer of preparation for Communion, the entire congregation may recite this prayer in unison with the priest in low Masses; the Amen at the end is to be said by all. This is to be done only in Latin, never in the vernacular.

    And from a document (N. 40/97, 26 March 1997) signed by the President and Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei:

    2. b) This Pontifical Commission sees no difficulty in the entire congregation’s singing of the Pater Noster in all sung Masses.

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    I have seen very little mention of this version of the TLM. What was/ia the status of this form under the TLM?

    Not much really to mention. Many Latin Mass congregations join the choir in singing the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, etc) and dialog responses — or in saying them at low Mass. Also, many don\’t. It may depend on the music; people frequently join in Gregorian chant, but not in polyphonic settings. Or at a given Mass, perhaps some people make the responses, and some don\’t. However, it\’s hardly a different \”version\”. Precisely the same Mass, just different degrees of exterior participation by people present, depending on their different inclinations or local custom. (Just at an ordinary Sunday Novus Ordo Mass, where some people join in sing the hymns, but some don\’t.)

  13. David Sullivan says:

    Note to Jim McM:
    Msgr. Charles Pope does regularly celebrate the TLM at St. Mary Mother of God in DC. He almost always is the celebrant for the monthly 5:00 pm Solemn High Mass. He is pastor of another parish in the city. He always does a beautiful job as TLM celebrant, and is an excellent preacher as well. I recommend attending the afternoon Solemn High Mass sometime (second Sunday of the month, 5 pm, September through June).

  14. Mike Williams says:

    The Archdiocese of Washington has long had three weekly TLM’s– One downtown, one in the near suburbs, one in the far suburbs. There are one or two others that are monthly. St Mary Mother of God downtown is the best attended, but for what it’s worth (in light of the recent discussion of the fate of Latin Novus Ordo masses), the 10am Sunday Latin NO mass at St Matthew’s Cathedral easily outdraws all of the Tridentine masses put together. There may be several reasons, not least among them the fine music at the cathedral, but it’s interesting that thus far no other parish in the Archdisocese has taken advantage of the motu proprio. Perhaps the “demand” is being met by those masses currently available?

  15. Elsie wrote: “Please explain how one of the priests mentioned in the article is permitted to synthesize the TLM with the NO.”

    I believe this correspondent may be referring to the practices of one parish in Virginia where the offertory procession and the faithful joining the priest in chanting the Pater Noster are both done at the TLM. Neither practice originated with the reformed liturgy, and the pastor in question has explained these practices on this blog in the past. The offertory procession was done with approval in the USA as early as the 1940s, was already prescribed in the Papal Mass, and Pius XII refers to it as a matter-of-fact practice in his encyclical “Mediator Dei.” As to the chanting of the Pater Noster, Mr Edwards has provided the correct citation for the practice of the faithful chanting it with the priest.

    Personally, I see no conflict between inward and outward participation in the liturgy. It would appear that many see one to the detriment of the other. I could be wrong, though…

  16. Maureen says:

    I don’t see any conflict, either. But I do see a lot of people who think laypeople aren’t participating unless they’re acting as ministers, or unless they are visibly singing, talking, etc. The former is is a big denigration of being a normal layperson, and the latter assumes that vocal people are more _there_ than silent ones (or those who are mute, paralyzed, or for whatever reason cannot respond outwardly).

    “Assisting” or “worshipping” at Mass is such a wonderful way of saying it. Much better than “attending”, and much more expressive of the importance of being there and directing one’s attention to God.

  17. “I don’t see any conflict, either. But I do see a lot of people who think laypeople aren’t participating unless they’re acting as ministers…”

    Oh, no need for convincing there. But the submission illustrates my point, in part. The other side of it, at least with respect to the TLM, is the notion that any form of outward participation by the people is based on some “Novus Ordo” conspiracy, when the history of the Mass in the 20th century, and the decrees of most Popes of that time, simply does not support this. The “contemplative” and the “active” are both part of “assisting” at Mass, just as in religious community, just as in life.

  18. giovanni says:

    I hesitate to jump in, but I hope this will be useful. I am no expert, but I have often been to the St John TLM discussed. I have been to the TLM in London, Chicago, (at the well known places often mentioned here) and here in DC, not to mention Novus Ordo masses in Latin and the vernacular all over Europe, including Rome.

    I can say that the Mass at St John is reverent, beautiful, has led me to this website, and made me a strong advocate for the TLM. Before, I was aware of the need of the reform of the reform, but now I sense something really important and good going on. Great things often begin in a small way. Today the church was quite full, I would only be guessing at numbers. Please be assured that the good Rev. McAfee has done his homework. Note to Choirmaster: Maestro, More of those wonderful motets! They are awesome! Thanks.

  19. Jim McMurry says:

    Response to Michael Sullivan,
    I appreciate your clarifying Msgr. Pope at St. Mary Mother of God in Washington. I have not, in fact, attended that evening mass downtown and thus had never seen him. I stand corrected (and tempted to get down there for that monthly mass. Thanks

  20. Jim R of ADW says:

    I’ve assisted at mass at Our Lady Queen of Poland a couple of time. Can someone tell me the names of the priests who celebrate the TLM there?

  21. Ken Wolfe says:

    “The offertory procession was done with approval in the USA as early as the 1940s”

    That makes it about as traditional as the color TV and the microwave oven.

  22. giovanni says:

    I don’t know about you Ken, but personally I find both of those items quite useful, when used properly.

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