Philadelphia Bulletin on TLM

I posted the other day about a Mass celebrated by Fr. Gerald Carey at St. Paul’s Church in South Philadelphia.

This is in from a Philadelphia news source The Bulletin.

My emphases and comments.

Past Is Prologue At Latin Mass Event

By Mary Hall, The Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If you are a Catholic born before Vatican II, you might recall the Latin Mass, [We must get away from this inaccurate term.  The Novus Ordo is also to be celebrated in Latin.] or, as some think of it, the way Mass used to be.  Now it is regularly referenced under several names, not limited to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite and the Tridentine Rite, but most openly as the Traditional Latin Mass, or TLM, due its dissimilarity from the modern Mass in the vernacular, otherwise known as the Novus Ordo, which superceded it.  [See?  The Novus Ordo is in Latin also… at least on paper.]

While the list of differences between the two rites continue, recent papal actions make it better to think of the differences as marks of distinction, rather than disparity. This is particularly true in light of two related actions that have come from Rome in recent years.  These have included the issuance of Summorum Pontificum, a 2007 papal document clarifying that the older form of the Mass had never been forbidden, but simply had fallen into disuse [Ehem… noooo.  It was actively supressed, and wrongly so.  It didn’t just fall into disuse.] and Pope Benedict XVI’s decision last weekend to lift the excommunication of the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). The SSPX is a traditionalist group that disagrees with the changes made by the Second Vatican Council. [et al.]

Pope Benedict XVI has devoted a great deal of time and energy to making it possible for both forms of the Mass to peacefully coexist.  Under the pope’s guidance, the Traditional Latin Mass  has become both more accessible and more common than many imagined possible.  His support for the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass has inspired many priests to study and celebrate it themselves.

Father Gerald Carey, former director of worship for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, celebrated his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form this past Sunday at St. Paul Church in South Philadelphia. It honored the conversion of the parish’s namesake, a feast day which falls on the same date in both the pre- and post-conciliar calendars.

An analysis of conversion supplied the thesis for Fr. Carey’s sermon.  He gently stressed the importance of recognizing that, theologically, the term does not define a one-time event, but a continuous string of conscious decisions to prefer God in everything.  As recorded in the Bible, God revealed himself to St. Paul in a second, but a lifetime of opportunities and choices followed, wherein he had to be repeatedly converted.

“Today does not mark the end of St. Paul’s conversion,” said Fr. Carey, “But the beginning.”

The revival of the Traditional Latin rite is likewise only in its earliest stages, despite support from Rome[It hasn’t really been that long since Summorum Pontificum went into force.] Some have wondered, due to the pope’s affection for the older form of the Mass, why he has not applied more pressure to widen its use.  His method has been paced slowly, but after so nearly four decades of the new Mass, more and more Catholics only remember the modern rite of Mass.

 Education, in some cases re-education, is key for priests who have the desire to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass because they have an equally strong desire to celebrate it correctly, with care and reverence.  It is this attention to detail that the pope hopes will gradually convert Catholics to a deepened appreciation of the Traditional Latin Mass, and a greater need for it will arise as requests increase.  [This might overstate it a little.  Attention to detail applies to the newer form too.  The Holy Father wants a radically corrected ars celebrandi, as he explains in Sacramentum caritatis.]

Some distinctive features of the Traditional Latin Mass are easy to recognize, such has kneeling to receive communion, or women choosing to cover their heads in church. [UGH.  That is not a feasture of the TLM.] Others, such as details in the vestments and setup on the altar, are more subtle.  [Neither are these.] At St. Paul’s, a great deal of attention had been placed on the music. [Nor is this.]

 “Beautiful and appropriate liturgical music should be part of any celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass, whether in the Novus Ordo or Extraordinary Form,” music director Dr. Robert Hall said[Exactly.] “However, it is a more critical factor in the proper celebration of the Latin Mass.  Except when celebrated as spoken or ‘Low Mass,’ the various parts of the Mass are truly meant to be sung and, indeed, must be sung.  This would normally include not only the portions of the Mass assigned to the priest, but also other parts which are taken up by the choir or, in certain cases, the full congregation.  Structurally, this plan creates an atmosphere of intensely active participation among all those involved in the liturgical action.”  [Well done!  This fellow has understood what is going on.]

The question remains as is whether the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated by Fr. Carey will be the first of many more like it in the Philadelphia area.

 One young man, who had traveled from North Philadelphia for the Mass — his first, as well — called it the “most beautiful, most reverent thing [he] had ever seen.”

Many people traveled substantial distances to attend.  A good number came from Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church in Berlin, N.J., where the traditional rite has been exclusively celebrated since 2000, with full approval from the bishop of Camden, under the pastoral guidance of Fr. Robert Pasley, who assisted Fr. Carey at certain points during the Mass.

“We’re here to show our support,” stated one Mater Ecclesiae parishioner.  “We think it’s important to be here, today.  We’re very proud of what Fr. Carey is doing.”

Mary Hall can be reached at

Good article, all in all.  There are a few holes, but the piece got to the most important elements.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Father, forgive me if this becomes a rabbit hole but the matter of women covering their heads at mass reminded me of something that will probably make many traditionally minded people do a double take. I volunteer with the teen ministry at my church and they use the new life teen model for teaching. The assistant director of life teen here is a woman in her young 20s who wears a mantilla to mass and adoration and encourages other young girls to do so.

    I think this is a wonderful sign for the future.

  2. TJM says:

    All in all, a very positive article, one which would not have appeared a few short years ago. Tom

  3. Bob Magno says:

    Thanks for posting this article and kudos to Ms. Hall and her fine Philly paper for taking the time to investigate and publish on this most important topic. Bravo

  4. Pat Rebuck says:

    I was at the Mass and it was beautiful! The music was tremendous. Fr. Carey is doing great work in South Philly. And I thank Ms. Hall and The Bulletin for this fine article.

  5. chironomo says:

    “Beautiful and appropriate liturgical music should be part of any celebration of the Roman Catholic Mass, whether in the Novus Ordo or Extraordinary Form,” music director Dr. Robert Hall said. [Exactly.] …[Well done! This fellow has understood what is going on.]

    Yes, Dr. Robert Hall is one of those that “gets it”, as do many out here. This is excellent news, and from a decidedly “outsiders” perspective. Many of the superficial aspects of the TLM that the author pointed to evidence this… speaking about theological aspects of the liturgy or even some specific liturgical issues such as ad orientem would have meant little to the intended audience.

    But I am curious why you commented that music is not a distinctive feature of the TLM? I am fully aware that chant/ polyphony should be equally at home in both forms, but the fact is that they are not, and that Gregorian Chant is, at this point in time, a distinctive feature of the TLM. Oh that we could change that!

  6. Mitch says:

    I can’t wait to read about one of these recoveries in Queens or Brooklyn, NY….God Bless this Priest in Phily, and know that we are all watching and praying from afar for continued success and Blessings..

  7. Boko Fittleworth says:

    So you’re telling me there’s a TLM about a quarter mile from Geno’s?


  8. Bob says:

    I was at Saint Paul’s Parish in South Philly for the Traditional Latin Mass last Sunday. It was beaut
    This was the third time at a TLM.
    It was different and more Solemn and I would say Holy. The proceesing of the priest
    and the vestment old school and priest with CASSOCK and the biretta cool. I knew that they were priest.
    Will I need to go to more TLM often to understand.
    BUT I still don’t get it. I guess I need to learn Latin First?????
    Is there a DVD to explain the parts of this type of Mass for the laity.

    Thanks to Father Z I have become more Traditional type of Catholic. I just could not undertsnd the need for a priest to dress up for a barney mass for kids.

  9. TJ says:

    Sadly, it seems certain the devil will wear an overcoat before Cardinal Rigali supports and encourages the EF in Philly. He is far too much enamored with ecumenism to ever be associated with something so exclusively Catholic as the EF. Nearly every week in the archdiocesan newspaper are photo ops of him at one or more interfaith services or other ecumenism event. There is even an official office of ecumenism and interfaith dialogue in the Archdiocesan building. If the EF begins to grow in the Philadelphia Archdiocese it will be in spite of the hierarchy, not because of it.

  10. Bob K. says:

    And it makes it even harder for us in the Philly area to follow the EF calendar, go to a traditional Mass and appreciate our 2000 year old Catholic heritage when are Archbishop and many parishes don’t even care.

  11. Angela says:

    Excuse me for being an ignorant non-Catholic, but if the contemporary Mass can be said in Latin or the vernacular, why can’t the Traditional Mass be said in Latin or the vernacular?

  12. Origen Adamantius says:

    Connecting ecumenism (strongly supported by the past several Popes–Including Benedict) with opposition to the Ef seems rathaer fallacious.

  13. Timothy says:

    I live in Philadelphia. Cardinal Rigali does support the celebration of the Extraordinary Form. He has asked St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to teach the seminarians to celebrate the Extraordinary Form and he has encouraged the priests of the Archdiocese who wish to do so to avail themselves of special training made available at the seminary.

    One major correction to the article: the Mass at St. Paul’s was not the “first” in Philly! At least two parishes in Philadelphia offer the Extraordinary Form every Sunday. I recently joined Our Lady of Lourdes, where it is offered every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. I joined because of the Extraordinary Form. I am very grateful that I live only 4 miles from the parish.

  14. truthfinder says:

    In the features of the TLM, the article seems to suggest that only the TLM women cover their heads, or people receive Communion kneeling, or have good music. A rather ridiculous assumption if priests would support and celebrate the NO Mass properly these would, at least with far more frequency, be there too.
    God Bless

  15. Josiah Ross. says:

    Indeed. Our Mother of Consolation was the first in the archdiocese to offer it regularly.

  16. J. C. Oberholzer says:

    [See? The Novus Ordo is in Latin also . . . at least on paper.]

    Well, in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, the main Novus Ordo Holy Mass on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 11AM is and has been offered in Latin for at least the last 16 years that I have assisted. The choir is superb!

    It would be a natural for the TLM at least on one of the main Sunday Masses, but it hasn’t happened yet. I believe that the Cathedral should be leading the way with the TLM and propagated from there to the local parishes.

  17. fxr2 says:

    J. C. Oberholzer, TJ, Bob, and Bob K:
    Our Lady of Conciliation in Northeast Philadelphia has a 1300 Hrs. EF mass. If you would prefer a sung mass try St. Peter’s, just 5 minutes from the Ben Franklin or Betsy Ross Bridges, in Merchantville, NJ at 12:00 Hrs. (Diocese of Camden) or Mater Ecclesiae, about 20 minutes from all bridges, in Berlin , NJ (also Diocese of Camden). Cardinal Rigali seems to be a good man; perhaps he is getting more resistance to Summorum Pontificum from his Priests than from the laity.


  18. Bob K. says:


    I know about Our Lady of Consolation. But the timing and location is very bad for me. I work in South Philadelphia. But I work third shift and I have about a 120 mile commute 4 times a week just for work. I get done work at 7:00 AM. I am looking for a EF Mass at 9:00 AM or 10:00 AM, and in the Upper Bucks region. Plus many of the older priests in the Archdiocese 50-70 do know Latin and can be retrained. But they simply don’t care and don’t want to be bothered. So for now my only option to attend a traditional Liturgy. Is the Divine Liturgy at a local Orthodox Church, which offers Orthos (Morning Prayer) at 9:00 and DL at 10:00. Another option is a local SSPX Church in Eddystone near South Philly. But I have off on Sundays and spend enough on gas as it is. My dilemma.

  19. Josiah Ross. says:

    Bob K-
    There’s the Latin Novus Ordo mass at Our Lady of Lourdes. It’s celebrated every Sunday ad oriented with traditional vestments, Gregorian chant, and the choir sings polyphonic motets and mass settings from time to time.

  20. Timothy says:

    Bob K.,

    Please give Our Lady of Lourdes a try. It is an incredibly beautiful church. It is located at 63rd and Lancaster. After work, just go north on Broad Street and make a left on Walnut. Take Walnut all the way to the end; that’s 63rd Street. Make a right and take it to Lancaster. You will see the church. Park on the street. There is always a space.

    Afterwards, go west on Lancaster just a block or so to City Line Ave and make a right. That will take you toward Bucks County.


  21. Timothy says:

    Bob K.,

    Josiah mentions the 10:30 a.m. Novus Ordo in Latin at Our Lady of Lourdes. I am suggesting that you try the 7:30 a.m. Mass in the Extraordinary Form. You should be able to get there by 7:30 if you leave work at 7 a.m. It would be more or less on your way home, and you could “crash” at home afterwards! ;)

  22. Bob K. says:

    Thanks but I\’m already off on Sundays. How far is it from Quakertown. If it\’s over 20 miles it\’s to far. As I said before I already put over 400 miles a week on my car just on work. There are about four Orthodox Churches less than 15 miles away from my home, but not one single TLM

  23. Timothy says:

    Bob K,

    Try to contact others who want the TLM at your local Catholic parish, ask the pastor for it, and follow through — patiently, charitably, persistently — with the procedures outlined in Summorum Pontificum if your request is declined or ignored. Perhaps Our Lord is calling you, through your unfavorable circumstances, as an instrument to provide the Mass of All Ages to others in your area.

    This is how it will grow. Through you and all the other Bob K’s out there. Please do this.

  24. Bob K. says:

    Quote from article:
    “Q: What about “Summorum Pontificum” has led you to support the incorporation of that document into the life of St. Charles Borromeo seminary? Are you foreseeing a greater demand for the traditional form of the Mass in the future?

    Cardinal Rigali: The Holy Father has indicated that the Mass according to the extraordinary form as well as celebration of the sacraments should be available to the faithful when there is a genuine pastoral need.

    Many of our clergy have never celebrated Mass or administered the sacraments according to the 1962 missal and the other liturgical texts. In order to provide for the pastoral needs, should they arise, the current seminarians should have the opportunity to be properly educated as to the rituals involved and the theology that underlies these forms.

    At present I do not foresee a great demand for celebrations according to the extraordinary form of the Mass. In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the requests we have received are very few. Most Catholics today find spiritual satisfaction in the Mass as celebrated using the Missal of Paul VI, and this remains the ordinary form of the celebration.

    This being said, we are blessed to have two parishes in different areas of the archdiocese that celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form, who had already for some time been offering Mass with the Tridentine Missal by grant of the necessary indult. I am grateful that these parishes provide for the spiritual and pastoral needs of those faithful who prefer the extraordinary form.”

    Looks like I’ll be sticking with the Eastern Churches for a long time.

  25. David D. says:

    Bob K.

    I believe there is a weekly TLM at St. Stephen of Hungary in Allentown which is about 14 miles or so from Quakertown. I believe the Mass is at 10am but you may want to confirm with the Rectory (Phone: (610) 439-0111).

    There is also a weekly TLM at 11:30 am about 30 miles south on the NE Extension at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Plymouth Meeting.

    There are also numerous Eastern Catholic chruches throughout Pennsylvania ( Perhaps one is conveniently located for you.

    I don’t know you or your situation but quite frankly and in all charity it appears that the TLM really isn’t all that important to you. The fact that you’re willing to drive 60 miles to work but not more than 20 miles to Mass is telling. Most of us have long work weeks with often brutal commutes (try 2 hours each way 5 days a week) but very few of us have access to a TLM at the perfect place and time. Also, what makes you think you can satify your Sunday obligation by attending an Orthodox liturgy? Do you think any tradtional priest would approve such a practice?

  26. Bob K. says:

    Thanks!!. They have one on Sunday 10:AM Extraordinary Form/ Latin-Tridentine. Never thought to check the Allentown diocese.

  27. Bob K. says:

    The Orthodox do have a valid priesthood and sacraments. I usually go to the Vespers on Saturday night. I can’t see anything wrong with praying the Vespers with them. The Ukranian Catholic Church in the area doesn’t have a Vespers service on Saturday night. They replace Vespers with the DL, like the West does. I personally like Vespers on Saturday night and the DL or Mass on Sunday.

  28. David D. says:

    Bob K.

    I didn’t mean to sound harsh. I hope the Mass in Allentown works out for you.


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