Old Mass/new Mass thoughts – part 5

Under another entry there has been some consideration of the age of Catholics who prefer the newer form of the Roman Rite, the Novus Ordo. 

Some suggest that people of a certain age may be more interested in the Novus Ordo, while younger people are more open also to the older form of Mass, the TLM.

So, would some of you younger folks take some time to write your thoughts about the new Mass/old Mass question?

I also invite seasoned Catholics to do the same.

Let’s see some responses.

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  1. Response:

    Husband: Cradle Catholic 37, Old Mass

    Me: Convert from Mormonism 33, Old Mass

    Our two oldest children 18 and 13 Both prefer the Old Mass.

    I sought out the old liturgy before I even received into the Church. it just made more sense to me to put it quite simply. I was very confused when I found out during RCIA that there even had been an old liturgy and looked it up. I compared the old and new and felt more drawn to the obvious worship and beauty in the old liturgy. From a formerly Mormon point of view, doctrine is clearly expressed in the old liturgy. As my Dad would put it, there are no if’s, ands or buts about it. It’s clearly Catholic. By the way I do still hear Mass at a N.O.parish regularly close by.


  2. Response:

    I am 57 years old male with a BA in political science and master of arts in public administration (MPA); although raised in a Baptist tradition, I am a

    2004 convert from Zen Buddhism which I professed & studied for 30+ years.

    Liturgy had a lot to do with my conversion; but, more than liturgy TRADITION was the driving factor.  I immediately excluded Baptist, Methodist, etc Protestant denomination because they were each an authority unto themselves

    — no central authority.  I looked at the Anglican denomination, but could not get my head around women priests and how disorganized they were.  Later, (after I chose Catholicism), the Anglican pro-homosexual agenda only reinforced my decision to enter the One True Church had been correct.


    I am a third-generation army officer army retiree and was raised with traditional concepts such as “duty, honor, country”, etc.  I thrived in the organized pyramid of the military and greatly value chain-of-command.  I have worked in such a hierarchy for 20 years in the military, and now 15 years at NASA …

    Adding to my decision to enter the Catholic Church was my martial arts development and background in Japanese Sword Arts.  I have been a practitioner in TRADITIONAL Japanese sword arts (iaido/battodo) for over 30 years and am a licensed teacher (w/Japanese-issued teaching cert and high rank); therefore, I greatly abhore people who break-off to form their new school, or those who studied only by books and invent a new “ancient tradition” while at the same time claiming a direct lineage to the system founder.  These people want to have “power” and “followers” — they are NOT concerned about tradition.

    As you can devine, much of what has gone on in the Christian religion has likewise happened in Japanese Martial Arts.  Therefore, when selecting the sword style I wanted to study, I researched the Japanese schools, surveyed the “American Made-Up School of Anything Works,”  — and  elected to join a 230-year art with an unbroken lineage containing documented established rules, norms, etc. — having a single person (e.g., 26th-generation head

    master) whose oversight of doctrine and technique was “infallible” (a “pope,” if you will).  Novices first wonder why they must do a certain technique when people no longer wear swords or armor (Americans would say “that’s ridiculous, it won’t help if I’m being mugged); however, once they realize it is NOT about them (or self defense), then they understand how the technique developed originally on the battlefield — and why, 300 years later, the same technique was modified to a non-combat environment.


  3. Response:

       I’m a revert. I spent some years in evangelical churches, but eventually came back into the Church. When I came back, I was still in college and studying medieval history, art, and literature. I loved medieval expressions of the Faith, and I came to be bothered that the Novus Ordo I attended was so similar to a Lutheran liturgy I had previously attended. I was also scandalized by abuses I saw in the Novus Ordo. These were not part of the rubrics, but they happened anyway. And I’ve never seen abuses at a TLM

      I’m particularly blessed because the parish where we attend the TLM has a wonderful schola and sings a full polyphonic Mass every week. My wife, who was initially standoffish about the TLM, became habituated to it over time, and often describes a garden variety Novus Ordo as having a “Romper Room” feel. She still wishes that parts of the TLM could be translated into English, but she prefers “ad orientem”, all-male altar boys, and the more solemn, less- self-consiously “entertaining” style of liturgical performance

       Anyway, we were married in the traditional Latin Mass this September, and the reaction from our peers, most of them irreligious or non practicing was one of universal appreciation. “It was beautiful,” “transporting,” etc. There were some among my parents generation who said it was “beautiful but not my cup of tea.”


  4. Response:

    You asked for comments about both forms of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, so here goes.  (and I will be kind about it).

    Hopefully my name won’t be published only because I live in a town where the TLM barely is tolorated.

    First of all I am a 55 yr old male, who has lived in the pre-conciliar/post conciliar Church, My comments about the TLM/N.O. are as


    Who can forget that abrupt rupture in the implimentation of the Novus Ordo???

    Pope Benedict answered a question alot of us pondered after the TLM was no longer allowed???  Why????  And now Thank GOD is allowed or suppose to be for those who request it.

    A personal view on this is there are enemies in the church….who tried to destroy the Church from being to Roman Catholic.

    But to get back to the point, there was a feeling and still is of disconnect, of tradition, sacredness, and solemnity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    The Priest facing the faithful and total usage of the local language and the MUSIC, it was alot to understand and accept. All the beautiful Music went out the window…..on the flip side of this, have attended the N.O.

    when Father faces the east, prayers are in English and some Mass Parts are in Latin, (Like EWTN’s Daily Liturgy) and it is absolutely beautiful!

    Reform of the Reform PLEASE LORD JESUS, we are so in need of it!

    TLM (High Mass) will always be first in this person’s heart, but one has to realize Jesus is Present Body, Blood Soul and Divinity in both Liturgies!

    God Bless, and Keep Our Present Holy Father in Good Health so he can continue the reform. Notice how is suggesting instead of handling the reform like the new Liturgy was implimented Advent 1969?


  5. Response:

    Novus Ordo, cradle Catholic, “old enough to have grown up with the older Mass celebrated in Latin” 

    Minor reason: three year lectionary cycle Main reason: the Church put forth the new Missal and I believe that the Church is guided, safeguarded, by the Holy Spirit. Yes, there were elements seizing the opportunity to derail it, but those in authority saw a need for the 1969 Missal.

    There seems to be an unstated assumption in the premise of this poll.  Let me ask two other questions:

    •    How many attended Mass prior to the 1969 Missal?

    •    How many attended Mass prior to 1964?  (when the vernacular – English – was allowed with the 1962 Missal)

    All those attending Mass after those times are looking through a very different lens than those who grew up with the earlier Missal.

    Since fewer people “of a certain age” are likely to find this poll, allow me to speak for them.

    •    Some who grew up with the 1962 Missal have always wanted to keep it.

    •    Some who grew up with the 1962 Missal became dissidents and now oppose both Latin and the EF because of their dissent (certainly the most vocal group).

    •    Some who grew up with the 1962 Missal were not well catechized then either and they drifted away from the Church.

    •    Some who grew up with the 1962 Missal are orthodox.  Their reaction to the news of Summorum Pontificum was initially speechlessness, then an emphatic desire for the Novus Ordo. Let me emphasize that they are *not* dissidents.

    That people who grew up with the 1962 Missal would want the Novus Ordo is something that seems very difficult for EF advocates to understand. 


  6. Response:

    I’m 21 and I converted to Catholicism at the age of 18.

    Liturgy had little to do with my reasons for converting, but I will say that it has certainly been a major factor in forming me as a Catholic.  I came into the Church at what some might consider a fairly conservative parish.  My RCIA instruction was very solid, as was the Liturgy that I attended.  It was/is N.O., but celebrated with great solemnity.  In my three years of being Catholic, I have had the privilege to participate in Liturgies of the Maronite Rite, Byzantine Rite, and both forms of the Mass in the Roman. I’m not sure that I could say that I prefer one form to the other when it comes to the EF/NO, however.  It is a different worship experience for each (I am speaking when they are both celebrating with solemnity and reverence).  I’ve found that when I attend the EF, I’m caught up into the mystery of “awe”someness of God.  It is truly very moving for me.  The N.O. lends itself toward a different type of worship experience (in a way– both are obviously the Holy *Sacrifice* of the Mass).  The following is from a reflection I wrote about a year and a half ago about my first experience with the EF:

    The experience was absolutely mind-blowing! I’m not even sure if I can put it into words… I remember thinking, in the middle of Mass, of how amazingly beautiful and awesome the celebration is: how spectacular it is that we are participating in the Sacrifice of Christ and that for that moment, the veil of time has been torn, and we are in union with all of the communion of saints! It truly revealed the nature of the Mass as a form of heavenly worship. It lifted me into a higher worship experience. It was simply beautiful.  I should like to note, as a disclaimer, that I also love the Norvus Ordo when it is celebrated reverently. I find that I have different sort of worship experience with the N.O. than I do with the EF, one in which I am more focused on exactly what is happening during the Mass and really uniting myself with Christ’s sacrifice, as opposed to being taken up in worship with the entirety of the communion of saints. I suppose, in some ways, in seems more personal rather than communal.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.  I suppose in some ways it seems as though I am “taken up” with the EF, but in the N.O I am the one putting in the effort.  Both seem to be fruitful, but in different ways.


  7. Response:

    I am a 48 cradle Catholic. Consider myself having a horrible religious education while in Catholic School. Always been drawn to tradition in the Church and a firm desire to know more about my faith.  Got married and always searched for a better Mass, I was never satisfied, until I went to a Carmelite Monastery where they had a mix of Latin and English, and it was reverent and quiet–never could go back to parish churches after that.New priest arrived 3 years ago, he started doing EF Mass. These are observations I noticed in this area/diocese: in the NO Masses there are a LOT of priests who like to free lance in their choice of words before and after consecration. It seems like they are entertaining than saying the Mass. NO Masses generally are like social halls..people are tapping others on the shoulder on the way up to receive Holy Communion, many people wear jeans, or generally casual clothes (like shorts in the summer)most don’t genuflect(if they can even find the tabernacle)Worse of all, a large portion come VERY late, and leave ASAP, or socialize in the church as they leave. BAD music…very BAD.

    In the EF form mostly we have young families..many larger families, many homeschoolers. Attendance has gone up over the year. It is always very reverent, it is a peaceful Mass. People rarely come in jeans or shorts, rarely come late, and mostly stay and pray in thanksgiving after Mass. I love the ceremony, the bells, the smoke,the chant, the boy servers-it makes the Mass seem that much more grand. I have 13 children. The older ones grew up attending the monastery, they use that as their comparing standard of a good place to attend Mass-they do not love the EF Mass as I do, only because, I believe you grow to love it as you understand the kneeling, the sitting and the responses, and they have good NO Masses to attend.  I have been to EXCELLENT NO Masses, but, prefer the EF Mass and the NO Monastery Mass.


  8. Response:

    I am a 25 year old male, married, with a 2 year old son. I converted to Catholicism in 3rd grade when my mother converted (we were formerly Presbyterian). I did not become interested in my faith until high school, and my “inner conversion” was not a result of the Eucharist, but instead the sacrament of Reconciliation. I spent 2 years in the college seminary before discerning a call elsewhere. In that time I had the opportunity to work with my diocesan liturgy commission thanks to the fact that the Director of Vocations was also the head of the liturgy commission. Doing this I developed quite an appreciation for a properly done NO mass, and as it was the mass I grew up with, I will likely always have a preference for that mass. The problem is how rarely it is properly done, in comparison with the EF, which is almost always done properly (if not necessarily well). It is my hope that having the EF more readily available will be a source of strength for the NO, allowing it to become what it was meant to be.

  9. Response:

    I am a 19 year old, cradle Catholic. While my family has always been practicing Catholics I was not fully invested in my faith until about two years ago. I met a very good friend who was also Catholic and we rediscovered the faith together. Just this last summer we traveled to Rome on pilgrimage. Since this time, I cannot stop reading anything about the Church. When it comes to the Mass I sit somewhere in the middle. I find the TLM beautiful for its reverence. It is impossible to find a parish that offers the TLM that does not have well-catechized and reverent congregation. This speaks of the TLM’s ability to bring the proper reverence and beauty to the Sacrifice of the Mass. However, I am not a Novus Ordo hater. In fact, I think that the Novus Ordo can be incredibly beautiful and reverent. While the Novus Ordo Mass does not have the same amount of rubrics as the TLM Mass I think that when the Novus Ordo is treated with due respect it is proper. I love to watch Papal Masses, and the Masses on EWTN to witness the beauty of the Novus Ordo Mass. In fact, I spent my Christmas break from college touring traditional parishes in the area surrounding my hometown. I think that, often times, people forget that things like communion rails, cassocks and surplices, incense, maniples, amices, the use of Latin and chant, etc are not gone. In fact, they are still just as appropriate and beautiful as ever.   

  10. Response: 

    I am a convert to the Catholic faith from Evangelicalism.  I chose to convert primarily because as an Evangelical I increasing found myself asking: “What is the point of our Sunday ‘worship’ services, and how precisely should we understand them as ‘worship’?”  I was genuinely confused.  Was worship to be defined as singing emotionally charged—though often quite insipid—praise songs at a ‘church’ service?  Why should it be?  I could gather with friends to do that anywhere, so what was the point in going to ‘church’?  Or was worship to be found in the act of listening to the pastor’s sermon?  As a Protestant, I was exhorted to study the Scriptures for myself—as the highest of virtues—so why should I privilege any particular pastors’ opinion over my own, let alone deem it an act of worship?  Or perhaps worship was in the gathering of community that took place at ‘church’.  But then again, I could build community with my Christian friends much more successfully outside of a structured hour on Sunday.  So again, I was faced with the question, what is the point of all this?

    Thanks be to God it was at that moment in life that I was introduced to Catholicism.  And what Catholicism is was!  At the time (2005) I was living in Chicago, and was blessed beyond imagining to attend my first Mass ever in the Extraordinary Form at St. John Cantius.  There, at last, was a definitive answer to all my confusion regarding worship, and how ought it be conducted.  I was floored.  Completely blown away.  I will never forget the first time I saw a woman prostrating herself before the Blessed Sacrament.  To steal a line from Lewis, it was for me like lightning from a clear sky.  I was thunderstruck.  I simply had no categories in which to comprehend what I was seeing.  And then, the Mass itself!  Sweet heavenly liturgy!  There was absolutely no mistaking what was going on there—the unequivocal worship of God—and that it was emphatically not something that I could reproduce or forfeit on my own.  Needless to say, I was won over in no time by the apologetic of worship where Goodness, Beauty, and Truth were delivered into my heart through the reverent vehicle of a sacred and living Tradition.

    Sadly, however, I soon moved away, and remember how keenly I felt the utter paucity of a Mass in the Ordinary Form, which tragically was almost indistinguishable from many of the Protestant services I had attended before becoming Catholic.  Granted this was almost the opposite extreme (liturgically speaking ) from St. John Cantius, but what I noticed was that the spirit of reverence and adoration present in the people (both clergy and lay) seemed to have been jettisoned right along with the rubrics.  In short, there was nothing which communicated to me what was actually going on—what I had in fact been caught up in.  An uninformed outside observer would have seen only a man in a felt poncho—surrounded by strummers and drummers—orchestrating a bunch of shuffling people around a table and in an out of folding chairs.  But when I was that uninformed outside observer at St. John Cantius, there was no ambiguity regarding what I saw: reverent worship and ritual sacrifice.

    Since then I have fortunately attended many reverent Ordinary Form Masses, but still I find that such they require me to remind myself more frequently of the fact that I am participating in the very Paschal Mystery of Our Lord, whereas with the Extraordinary Form, I find that I am caught up in and carried along by the liturgy itself.


  11. Response:

    I am a 20 year old cradle Catholic.  I like both the OF and EF as long they are celebrated reverently and according to the guidelines of the Church.  For me, it’s a plus when the OF is celebrated ad orientem and the Communion rail is used!  (ok, I’m a “longtime” – more than half of my 20 years – parishioner of St. Agnes in St Paul… what can I say?  Having attended the OF Latin High Mass there for about a year by the time of my first Mass in EF, I was surprised by what little difference there seemed, at least on the outside, between the two – that they both recongizably had, for the most part, the same organic structure. Almost needless to say, the transition (for me) didn’t take terribly long).  I think what particularly draws me to the EF, though, is the thought that it’s the very Mass that many of my favorite saints heard and evidently loved – St. John Vianney, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Edith Stein, ect.  I wouldn’t doubt, however, that I am also naturally inclined towards the traditional aspects of the Faith (which includes the EF), because of all the people I know/knew and respect who tend to love what is orthodox and traditional – parents, friends, and, yes, priests.  I’d like to add, if it wouldn’t make this much longer, that I love the silent Consecration in the EF! When I first attended, the lack of noise during this part of the Mass – as well as the lack of action elsewhere, which I later found out also happens, or should happen, in the OF – especially drew my attention to the Sacred Act then being performed on the altar. I was struck by how much this highlighted the Consecration as “the heart” of the Mass (as I have somewhere read it described).  It’s simply beautiful!  

  12. Response:

    I am 50, a cradle Catholic with fuzzy memories of the last iteration of the Latin dialogue mass in the mid-60s.  I ran hot and cold on the NO, but eventually my wife and I gave up on it after continued frustration that peaked at an Easter homily on the meaning of the Easter bunny.  Not kidding.

    We attended an Eastern Catholic parish for 5 years.  Liturgically wonderful.  Made the Eastern claims of converting the Rus through liturgical beauty (“we cannot forget that beauty”) completely believable.  The people did not sing at the liturgy, they sang the liturgy.  Then the archeparchy ordered liturgical changes out of the late 60s Latin-rite playbook.  I was furious, my wife heartbroken.

    We drifted into a parish with an ad orientem OF Mass, and then “graduated” as it were to the Latin EF Mass.  I still miss the Divine Liturgy, ikons, singing prostopinije.  My wife and daughters have completely assimilated into the EF parish and can’t get enough Latin, mantillas, rosaries.  I don’t _get_ the EF Mass yet.  But my family loves the place, and that’s good enough for now.  I hope to learn the 62 missal and stop fixating on what will happen next.

  13. Response:

    I’m 55, and a convert from a fundamentalist up-bringing.  I converted in the early 80’s, and honestly, if I’d had pre-Vat. II Catholicism thrown at me at that time I might not have been able to make the transition from Protestant to Catholic.  At this time, however, I would welcome the “old” Mass, if it were to come to my parish.  I do feel the TLM is a better way to worship God, but I’m also quite fond of my existing parish and will not abandon it to attend a weekly TLM that is now available across town (in a rather dangerous neighborhood).

  14. Response:

    I’m a 46 year old convert, received into the Church in 2001.  I was raised in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, detoured through another Lutheran group and then Anglicanism along the way.  I have a preference for the older form of the Mass because of its reverence (although I do see value in the three-year cycle of readings as opposed to the one-year cycle).  The Holy Sacrifice is the central event not only of history, but of eternity.  Too many of us do a very poor job of recognizing that fact, myself included.  The language, postures and positions of the older form elicit, or at least simulate, reverence.  The varieties of the newer form do not always accommodate reverence. 

    My wife – a cradle Catholic – has an equally strong preference for the newer form of Mass.  She has an incomprehensible, yet intense, aversion to everyone facing the same way during prayer. 

  15. Response:

    I am 44, cradle Catholic, RCIA director in my parish (please do not release my name).  Long time reader, very infrequent commenter.  I was an altar boy growing up, serving at what I recall to be very reverent Novus Ordo masses in the 1970s (the elderly pastor of the church where I grew up was by no means an innovator).  I have never been to an EF Mass — closest sanctioned Mass is a good hour away — so I don’t have personal experience to compare by, but I still place myself in the “Reform of the Reform” camp.  It is clear to me that the liturgical changes in the wake of the Council were pretty much an unmitigated disaster, and yet it also seems to me that there were certain aspects of the reform of the Old Mass which were justifiable — chiefly having the readings read in the vernacular and having all the priest’s prayers audible.  Note that’s not a long list.  I have been to excellent NO masses celebrated in the Reform of the Reform spirit — ad orientem, saying the black, doing the red, incense, appropriate music, a good mix of Latin and English, high quality vestments, excellent servers, etc. — which to me strike an edifying balance in terms of reverence, mystery and accessibility.  I single out Stella Maris parish in Sullivan’s Island, SC in this regard.  If only more NO parishes could celebrate Mass in this way! It troubles me greatly, though, to hear people on either side of the divide run down the other form of the Mass and those who adhere to it.  The Church has taught us that both forms are valid, and I feel we should be happy and grateful for whatever form of the Mass Holy Mother Church offers us.  I think in a perfect world every parish would offer both forms (with the NO celebrated the way it’s meant to be and not the way it has been).

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