Request from Fr. Z for old Mass/new Mass thoughts – Part 1


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 set a few parameters.

  • Do your best to leave aside bashing of either form.  Since both are legitimate forms of Holy Mass, let’s accept that for this exercise and move on.
  • State your age, and if you are a cradle Catholic, revert, or convert and whether or not liturgy had anything to do with your once leaving the practice of your faith, your return to the Church or conversion.
  • Try to be brief.  Stick to a couple hundred words if you can.  Do a little editing.

We need to be able to explain ourselves to others when we discuss these matters, and provide the whys and wherefores for our liturgical choices.

Rather than make this a project for the combox, I suggest you send them to me by e-mail.  I will post them as I can. 


Responses are pouring in.  I posted some below.  I will post more later.

Thanks!  This is enormously interesting.

UPDATE 15 Jan 1612 GMT:

PART 2 is here.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I am a 23 year old male, who converted to Catholicism at the age 19 from formal atheism. I have a B.A. in History, which I believe allowed me to be more open to Catholicism than the protestant sects for historical continuity. While holding true that both forms of the mass are equally valid, I have a strong and unambiguous preference for the older form of the mass. I believe also that my historical background allows me to be more open to the traditional liturgy of the Church, while from “the view in the pew” the older form is without a doubt more prayerful and leads more easily into, as you say, “the encounter with mystery”. I attend the ordinary form at least once a month, not including daily mass, so that I my tendencies of preference may not become obstacles. My pastor introduced the older form over 2 years ago, very soon after the Sumorum Pontificum. by the Holy Father. I owe my love of the older liturgy to my pastor’s hard work at learning the older form (he was ordained only in 1992) and for his perseverance in teaching the older form.

  2. Another response:

    I grew up in a Ordinary form parish during the late 80s and early 90s. I attended parocial school and had a constant exposure to the novus ordo exclusively since birth. My fascination with the MEF happened at a very young age. As a school child the women that teached us in class would tell us how in the old days the priest faced away from us during mass and it was all spoken in latin. Personally i wondered why this was not done anymore. I felt as if something that belonged to me (or was supposed to anyway) was taken away from me. Even at that young age i felt that way. Our parish still had the old high altar in tact along with the communion rail, but they were never used, relegated to mere architectural eye candy that lecked usefulness. Large felt banners with rords like peace and love were hung from the stone gothic sanctuary on a regular basis, even then i knew that it just didnt feel right. I knew that this church was built for something more fitting. In the late 90s as i matured, i learned about the MEF, i learned how beautiful and spiritually enriching it is, and i also learned how it was taken from an entire generation. My entire generation and even the one before me was robbed of our patrimony. The first 10 years of my adult life were spent at mass wishing that i could experience the eucharistic sacrafice as my ancestors did, and all the saints before me. I endured negativity from priests when i asked them about the old mass, priests who before that my entire life were kind and patient men. It seems that priests of a certian age feel as if you personally attack them. Anyway, thats my story… i grew up knowing something was wrong , feeling that something had been taken. Thankfully, our holy father has a marshall plan, and i will pray that i live to see it through. In the mean time, the parish i grew up in has experienced a VERY positive change in liturgy in the past 5 years, We now have latin propers often, the priests say the black and to the red, and NO MORE FELT BANNERS!

  3. Response:

    I will be 23 in two weeks, cradle Catholic. I didn’t really take an interest in my faith until I was 18. I found the Extraordinary Form for the first time at Our Lady of Clear Creek Priory in Oklahoma. Immediately I knew that I had found something exceedingly Catholic that expressed what I felt ought to be the Worship of Almighty God. In every parish that I have ever visited that offered the NO in every different way (from the very banal to the very reverent) I still have not found that “I don’t know what” that I see in every EF Mass I attend (from Low Mass to the Solemn Pontifical Mass).

  4. Response:

    I’m a 23 year old cradle Catholic. Despite having attended Catholic school since kindergarten, I was never taught about an older form of the Mass. So I didn’t even know about it until my grandmother mentioned it. I went on a whim, then began attending regularly in high school. Within a month I was serving Mass. Now, when I have to attend the newer form, it’s a bit of a letdown because I know how good it COULD be. That is, though the newer form of the Roman Rite is a perfectly valid form of Mass, the manner in which it’s celebrated in most dioceses drives me away. I like the chant, silence, reverence, and beauty the the old form offers. However, my appreciation isn’t only aesthetic. I like the beautiful, intricate prayers the old form requires.

  5. Response:

    I am a cradle Catholic, 28 years old. My father served the TLM in his youth but never said much about it other than the need to learn Latin. I never questioned the changes of the Council because I simply had no knowledge of what went before. Despite this, it just felt right on those odd occasions when Latin was heard during the Mass, or when the thurible was employed. I did not understand why this felt right, except that it added to the solemnity of the Mass. My first exposure to Gregorian chant was through my piano teacher, a dedicated high Anglican, and the first time I heard it employed was at Westminster Cathedral when, again, it just felt right.
    I was introduced to the EF through friends with whom I attended the occasional Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. For sheer mystery, I have to confess that nothing can quite beat the Divine Liturgy but I have warmed to the EF. I probably fit that oft-spoken of demographic of post-Council Catholics who really don’t care what form the liturgy takes, EF or OF, as long as it is reverent, majestic, and not of this world. If the OF could be rescued (and there are hopeful signs) then it could, one day, stand proudly alongside the EF. I do not make regular trips in order to attend the EF because I am firmly convinced of the need to stay in and pray from my parish, in obedience to my priest and bishop. I would love the EF to become more widely available but do not believe this can happen if all those who love it flee from their appointed parishes. For better or worse, we must remain in our parishes and build from within them. Nevertheless, your blog and others bring frequent joy from seeing what is becoming more common elsewhere, namely correct liturgy in utroque usu.

  6. Response:

    My wife and I are both converts, and I am 29, she 27. Married for 4.5 years, 2 kids. We have attended a TLM for a little over a year. It is without question an aesthetically rich and theologically profound rite, with practically no need of adjustment, IMHO. I thank God every day for the beauty of our Holy Religion, and I have felt the “gravitational pull” of the EF in my job as a parish school music teacher. I am much more interested in teaching Gregorian chant/Latin/sacred music to my students knowing that it all has a place, a purpose, an end for which it was designed. An Ordinary Form Mass is perfectly valid but its usual method of celebration seems so bereft of beauty or mystery. No Latin, Gregorian chant, none of the solemn dance of priest, deacon and servers. That fault usually lies with the pastor and/or music director and/or chief liturgist having not read the GIRM, but the fact remains that OF Masses frequently offer less solemnity and less beauty, and that is why we attend the TLM. Why should we hear a bit of reading and preaching and folky songs when we can see Heaven itself on the altar? I’m just sayin’….

  7. Response:

    I’m 32 years old and a cradle Catholic. I attended Catholic primary and high schools. I went to a certain Jesuit university in Wisconsin where I got a top notch education but at the same time drifted away from my faith and stopped attending Mass regularly. Now that I look back in it, I think the abuses in some of the Campus Ministry liturgical practices played at least a partial role in my drift, as I literally felt uncomfortable at times in these masses. I did start to renew my faith in college however when I joined the Knights of Columbus chapter on campus. Now I have 2 small children and I’m trying to educate and form them, along with my poorly cathecized wife (also a cradle Catholic who grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s) in a more traditional Catholic faith with an emphasis on reverence, devotionsu, the rosary, and Eucharistic adoration. I prefer the more reverent form of the NO Mass, as the Holy Father celebrates it. But I’m open to the TLM and hope to learn more about it.

  8. Response:

    I am 30 and my wife is 23, and we’re both Vietnamese (married 2 years now.). We’re also both cradle Catholics. My wife is an immigrant, while I was born here. We normally attend a Catholic Vietnamese parish. I was aquainted with the traditional Latin Mass in elementary, but my wife and I only learned about it just last year as I began to study my faith more. Traditional Catholics seem to be bitter people, but I tend to run towards things I don’t understand. So I found the beauty of the traditional Latin Mass, and now I consider myself a traditional Catholic. My was at first shy about the going to a different form of the Mass, but grew to love it soon after a few experiences. When we go back to the Novus Ordo, the form we grew up with we begin to realise more and more how much nonsense goes on in it. We see so much focus being put on the priest and/or on the other committess within our parish such as the fundraising comittee, kitchen, etc. It saddens me that our Vietnamese parish priest has not wanted to discuss with us about the extraordinary form of the Mass or attend one with us when we invite him. We can only try again to approach him. In the future, I wish that there will be Vietnamese parishes that will offer Mass in the extraordiary form. We would like to retain our Catholic tradition and our Vietnamese communities as well. Also, I think it would be awesome to have a good 1962 Roman Missal in Latin-Vietnamese and other languages such as Korea, Chinese, and Spanish, as I believe this will help the form of the Mass I love to gain more momentum.

  9. Response:

    I am a twenty year old cradle Catholic. I would not really say I ever embraced my faith, however, until I was about eighteen or so. As to why it took so long, I am not really sure if that is an easy answer, but it leads me to my thoughts about the different forms of the mass.

    At this point in my life, I have been to the Extraordinary form often and prefer it to the average Ordinary form, but I am a student in college so most of the time the E.F. is not available. I am perfectly fine  with the Ordinary form of the mass for myself (especially on weekdays).

    What truly worries me however is when I think not of myself but of the children I will one day have. One of my favorite things about the old mass is the effect it can have on children. Both forms of course direct our souls to Christ, but I think the Extraordinary compared to the average Ordinary directs our bodies much better. I think this is what children need. They are simple, pure souls and something like genuflecting or the canonical digits can have a profound effect on how they understand the true presence. I would not say the Ordinary Form inherently is without hope however, and I am certainly not qualified to say that. Take for instance St. John Cantius in Chicago. A beautiful church with priests who practice the Ordinary form with due respect to the rubrics. The liturgy is filled with as much reverence there as in any E.F. parish.


  10. Response:

    I am 37 years old, and a convert to the faith. I am 17 years baptized, 9 years a religious, and 2 years a priest. My conversion was related to the liturgy in the sense that a desire for the sacramental life seemed to me to flow immediately from confessing Jesus Christ as the incarnate Word.  In my life as a Catholic I have shared in many expressions of the modern form of the Roman rite Mass, ranging from the devout and reverently executed to those that were an appalling mess of liturgical abuse. I had no interest in or experience of the older form of Mass until the appearance of Summorum pontificum.  SP appeared the same week I was ordained priest. I read it, and learned that the faithful now have the right to request the older form of Mass. Thus, it was my responsibility to learn it, I thought. I had been using the typical edition Liturgy of the Hours for some time already, so I already had a start with liturgical Latin. I bought myself a hand missal and began to attend a Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Sunday afternoons, for purposes of observing and learning.  I was immediately struck by the reverence and devotion—the true “active participation”–of the people who attended the Mass. Until then I had not realized how much I desired these, and had sometimes missed them in my Catholic experience. The people I met, even more than the Mass itself, made me want to continue to explore, and I have.  I see the virtues in both forms. Stripped of its common abuses and certain options which have hardened into mandates, the newer form of Mass has much to recommend it. The “richer fare” of the reformed lectionary cycles and the elimination of certain repetitions are two examples. On the other hand, an experience of the older form of Mass can be a salutary corrective for the lack of reverence and erroneous ecclesiologies of which the newer form has sometimes been made a vehicle. This is why my attitude toward the two forms of the Mass is to desire the “mutual enrichment” which Benedict calls for in the cover letter to SP.

  11. Response:

    I am 53, and was baptized as an infant according to the older form – for which I am eternally grateful.  As a child of the 60s and 70s, I have vague memories of the pre-conciliar mass.  I have fairly clear memory of the 1965 missal, with the presence of both vernacular (a decent translation) and Greek/Latin (it was in this form that I served as an altar boy). 

    Of course, after the asteroid hit, all of this was swept away.  I and my contemporaries were cast into a desert of ignorance, invited to survive on indifference and sentimental kitsch.  Of those who still practice their faith, most are still lost in that desert.  Dis aliter visum: for me there was a different path.  Entering the 8th grade in 1969, I elected Latin as a foreign language.  Perhaps because the pitch seemed more intelligent that the utilitarian appeals coming from the other language teachers.  I continued with Latin in college, and spent a year studying in Rome.  Through all these years, I was conscious and resentful of the fraud committed against my generation.  I had always known that the re-engineered “religion” product peddled in the Catholic schools and in my Jesuit parish was shallow, shoddy, lame, sentimental, inadequate and (to appropriate one of Their favorite words) irrelevant.  I lacked the words at the time to express these opinions, but knew things had gone terribly wrong.  During college, my faith was mostly dormant and I was absent from the sacraments: I lacked the apologetic tools to sustain a lively faith, and was unable to take seriously a Church that did not appear to take herself seriously.  I consider myself a revert.

    The Latin Mass to which I returned in 1980 shortly after college graduation was I believe the 1962 missal (this was in a parish of the archdiocese of New Orleans).  I am not completely certain of this, as my liturgical understanding at the time was virtually nil.  But certainly I have no memory of there being three lessons plus a responsorial psalm.  If this was according to the 1962 missal, I cannot explain why it was tolerated, unless it was for the sake of a personal regard our archbishop had for the pastor, a fellow Irish-American in a traditionally Irish parish.  Certainly this must be one of very few diocesan parishes anywhere in the world where Sunday mass has never ceased being celebrated in Latin.  The style of celebration was quite traditional: low mass with hymns, ad orientem, with the Leonine prayers afterwards.  The church was 19th century and never wreckovated (quite the opposite, in fact), so the communion rail never fell into disuse.

    Clearly, the pastor was a visionary, a hero, a wizard at fund-raising and restoration, and an adroit politician who kept in the archbishop’s good graces.  After many years he was succeeded by the current incumbent, a man of brilliant liturgical and musical gifts, who has built wonderfully on the safe foundation he inherited.  St. Patrick’s in New Orleans is surely the liturgical flagship of the Deep South, and has been generously compared to TLM parishes of global reputation.  Our pastor is a treasure.

    My recourse to the Latin Mass in 1980 was a self-rescue attempt.  It was a bid for dignity, for continuity, and for authenticity.  It was an escape from what I had always known to be half-assed, condescending, phoney, and faux-folksy.  I am not implying that my reversion was instantaneous, but can truly say that access to a liturgy that rescued me from my own age is a great grace for which I continue to give thanks.  


  12. Response:


    I am a married, 26 year old, male, attorney, and cradle Catholic who has spent the majority of his life in the Archdiocese of St. Louis (with the last few years spent in the neighboring Diocese of Belleville).  I was raised on the Novus Ordo and frequently attend it, but have studied and attended EF masses. My preference is for the EF.  My preference for the EF stems from the fact that you never know what type of mass you’re going to get when you enter an OF.  Will it be reverent with communion at the altar rail (I’ve seen this)?  Will it be in English, Latin, Spanish, or something else (I’ve seen all of these)?  Will it use proper materials for the bread and wine (I’ve seen leavened bread used)?  Will someone try to hold my hand at the Our Father (sometimes I think this is why pockets were invented)?  How can you focus on the Mass when you are constantly trying to anticipate the priest’s next move? In the EF, you will (almost) always get a consistent product, and in this day and age of divorced parents, job transfers, and tv overload, consistency is one the primary things people from my generation desire.  Sure it takes some extra education to learn Latin, but all schools require a foreign language, and since it is a Romance language requirement in most schools (usually Spanish), wouldn’t Latin help everyone (btw, I have never studied Latin formally, but from the study of church materials, I’ve picked up enough to understand it fairly well)?  A larger background in Latin sure would have helped me through law school and my wife through medical school. Despite what many baby-boomers think, my generation is not dumb.  In fact, I like to think we’re one of the smartest.  Most of us can operate a computer inside and out, operate a dvd player, absorb massive amounts of internet materials, use an MP3 player, use a cell phone, send emails, and obtain more schooling than was ever required or even desired in previous generations.  How many of our parents can say they know how to do all those things (or even say they know what all those things are)?  If we are smart enough to balance so many things at one time, surely we can learn to understand an hour or two worth of Latin. That said, I have heard stories about abuses in the EF.  One of my favorite from a professor of mine (overall a conservative guy), who used to serve 8 minute masses.  The priest would say the prayers so fast the altar boys literally could not respond fast enough.  However, with the requirement of Latin, and the required rubrics, these abuses look minor and pale in comparison to those that happen by even some of the best OF priests. Sometimes I wish there was an in between.  A place where we could find consistency, while still experiencing aspects of the OF.  I like to respond to the prayers, I like to sing, I even (but only in small doses) like some of the Mass to be in English (like the readings).  I also like communion rails, Ad Orietem worship, male only servers, and a priest-deacon only distribution of Holy Communion.  And until we can reach a day where all Masses will be consistently celebrated in the same manner by all priests, I will continue to support and prefer the EF.

  13. Response:

    People who complain about the form of the Mass are people who have been given the gift of eternal life, and complain about the wrapping paper.  I am in my early forties, and I have no recollection of the Ordinary form before I was 23 years old.  I prefer the Extra-Ordinary form.  But what is realy important is the way in which the Mass is celebrated.  I have been to Ordinary form services at the Brompton Oratory and St. John Cantius which by virtue of their language, orientation, and tone would make the eyes and ears of aging hippies bleed with outrage, and I am sure even the most reactionary Catholics would not find anything in them objectionable or risible.

  14. Response:

    I am 62 years old, male, married and have three grown sons. Born/raised RC. I became an Orthodox Christian about 25 years ago. The primary reason for leaving the Roman Catholic Church was the change in the liturgy. Related to that was, what appeared to me to be a disregard or even a disdain for tradition.  I could probably have lived with the newer liturgy except for the introduction of novel practices and a purposeful attempt to dumb everything down. Even today, when I’m required to attend a Roman liturgy (usually due to the need to support a family member for one reason or another) I’m appalled at what I see in the local parish – the music is abysmal and just when did clapping become acceptable?? I’m not sure what the fasting rules are any more, but it’s my impression that you can have a Grand Slam at Denny’s and go to Communion an hour later – if that doesn’t suggest that nothing important is going on, I don’t know what would. Even though I became Orthodox and I took my two younger sons to Orthodox liturgies, I still enrolled them in Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school and I’d do it again for the academics and discipline. Unfortunately, their religious instruction left quite a bit to be desired and I doubt that any of them learned anything of substance. If fact, what I tried to teach at home – simple things like abstaining from meat on Fridays – was undone by what they experienced in the school.  I wholeheartedly agree with your focus on liturgy above all – everything stems from and is dependent on the integrity of and reverence displayed in the conduct of he liturgy. There are, however, any number of other matters, such as the abandoment of pious traditions, a failure to catechize (HUGE) and the apparent widespread indifference among the clergy (at least in my experience.

  15. Response:

    I’m a 23 year old cradle Catholic and the way I see it, both the Ordinary and Extrordinary Forms are great but the OF gets watered-down easily whereas the EF does not. For me the ideal Mass is OF ad absidem (i.e. ad orientem) and chanted, preferably in Latin but the vernacular is fine. Language makes a difference but not as much as some make it out to: it is more important to chant the Mass and use the ad absidem position than to use Latin. Short of that specific ideal, the next best thing would be the EF because a certain sense of reverence is basically mandated (especially in all the little details, which I must admit are a little overcomplicated at times) whereas in OF Masses that same sense of reverence is considered by some to be old-fashioned or they mistakenly think that it was abolished. Head to head I prefer the OF because it is simpler and has increased participation, both verbal and physical, of the laity, such as having the priest and people say prayers together (as in the OF) as opposed to separately (as in the EF), although the sense of the sacred in the EF is more important than lay participation and whatever else is rather unique to the OF. Many people need to learn that something “sacred” (i.e. “holy”), music especially, is set aside *exclusively* for God and is not mixed with worldly things, even if there is nothing wrong with the worldly thing. We can’t get too attached to this world because we won’t be in it for long. I would rather get a head start on Heaven. So while I would much rather have the OF done in the style of the EF like I said above, I’ll take the EF any day of the week over the common way of doing the OF: vs. populem, recited, done in the least time consuming way, and with contemporary music. The OF should be done with the same reverence as the EF, since they are both Masses after all, but sadly it is not.

  16. Response:

    Age 21 Status: Convert or revert (I think my Grandfather may have baptised me without my parents knowledge In which case I resumed practise of the faith at 18) My strong preference for the Older form of Mass is partially due to the fact that one can participate in accordence with how he wishes to and is not ‘forced’ into making the server’s responses as is the case in all of the N.O Mass’s I’ve attended, one can meditate on the propers, pray the Rosary or make the server’s responses under their breath. The other reason I prefer the older form of Mass is that the propers do not change from year to year and therefore there is no kurfuffle as to figuring out which week of which year in ordindary time we are at e.g. in the older form I know that the epistle for the 14th &,15th sundays after pentecost will be from Galatians 5, finnally I believe that recieving Holy Communion under one kind prevents the laity from thinking that they must recieve under both kinds to recieve the whole Christ which I believe would  be a nestorian attitude.

  17. Response:

    I’m a 21-year-old cradle Catholic who, not long prior to my 18-year- old confirmation, had considered leaving the Catholic church. It wasn’t until my run-in with college Christian organizations (Campus Crusade for Christ and Intervarsity) that I really began to understand the differences between the Catholic Church and Protestant schisms. My love for the Jesus came when I was 17 and learned about the Paschal Mystery through a Teens Encounter Christ retreat weekend, and a follow- up TEC retreat furthered my love for the Catholic Church, particularly Jesus in the Eucharist. I have yet to attend a TLM, however I am completely open to it, and love the renewed sense of mystery and the importance of liturgy that “traditionalists” are bringing back to the church today. I’ve been greatly impacted by attending NO Mass at churches such as St. John Cantius in Chicago where I am a college student. Having never been to one, I am in favor of the TLM. I doubt this will change upon my first TLM experience. Encounters with practicing Catholics (most of whom seem to have more- traditional viewpoints) have led me to receive the Eucharist on the tongue.

  18. Response:

    I am a cradle Catholic who while loving both masses when done right actually prefers the EF mass over the NO mass when the option is available.

  19. Response:

    As a 50-year old cradle Catholic, I have experienced nothing except the NO since the time I was a child.  However, in thinking back over the past 45 years that I can recall, there were elements of the TLM that spilled over into the NO when I was young that are no longer present.  I am dissatisfied with the current liturgy because I am looking for something more.  More reverence, more prayerfulness, more depth.  Oh, and better music.  I would like to experience the TLM if for no reason other than to compare the forms of worship.

  20. Response:

    The discussion about age and Mass appeal is very relevant to me.  I will be 62 in April.  My children are 40 and 37, my grandson 9.  For the last 7 years, I have delivered  80-minute presentations to multiple classes (sections) of mostly Catholic high school sophomores at the local Jesuit high school.  I am old enough to be the grandfather of most of them – in any case there is a two-generation gap.  They are required by an enlightened theology instructor to attend a Latin Mass (EF) and write a two-page paper on it.  He sends me the papers and I read and comment upon them.  While I suspect you would find their conceptions / misconceptions also interesting, it is not the subject.  What has helped me to bridge the generations is tell my story to them as a recovered Catholic.  To do so I wrote my own two-page paper a couple of years ago on the importance of the TLM to me, and, I asked my wife and children to make a similar effort on behalf of the boys.  I do not have the time to read all four papers at every presentation, but I at least read one. 

  21. Response:

    I am a 23 year old male who rediscovered the beauty and depth of his Catholic faith as an undergraduate at Yale University. This occurred while attending a “reform of the reform” Novus Ordo Mass at St. Mary’s in New Haven, CT (founding parish of the Knights of Columbus and now ministered to by the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph). Encountering the spiritual intensity of a solemn and reverent liturgy taught me more about my Catholic faith than 12 years of milquetoast Catholic education ever could. Inside the beautiful sanctuary of St. Mary’s, the reverent prayers of the priest organically meshed with the angelic voices of the Schola Cantorum, as the Ordinary and Propers were chanted in Latin. In only a semester’s time, I knew the simple chants for the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Mysterium Fidei and the Credo. I understood most vividly for the first time that something was HAPPENING, that the supernatural was just beyond the veil of the ordinary. This led me to seek out another sacrament, Confession/Penance, which I had abandoned in my youth, but which in the context of such a powerful Mass became newly meaningful. Sacraments were real to me for the first time. Not just gestures/customs, but real rituals producing real spiritual fruits. I found myself desiring a richer spiritual life OUTSIDE of Mass as well- the rosary, Scripture/theology/philosophy studies, the Divine office, etc.  Since graduation, I have made a spiritual home at other excellent “reform of the reform” parishes; I have also embraced the Extraordinary Form as a valuable part of my spiritual life. As a young person who does not have a “dog in the fight” of old liturgical battles, I am thoroughly convinced of the brilliance of Pope Benedict’s liturgical movement. Reverent, proper liturgy, embracing the entirety of the Church’s tradition is a gift best shared in BOTH the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form. It is my hope that parishes will embrace BOTH as enriching and complementary.

  22. Response:

    I am 33 y.o revert (for over 10 years now). I so badly want to like the Tridentine rite. I love tradition, I am an extremely conservative Catholic. The problem is that most traditionalist priests I have encountered are usually really boring and really hard to follow. Its like they purposely make their voices as monotone and boring as possible during their homilies. While the content of their homilies is engaging, their presentation is not. (I’m not talking about pacing back and forth either, I’m talking about using inflection and raising his voice and whatnot.) In terms of liturgy, the Tridentine rite is beautiful. But again, not as engaging to me as the Novus Ordo. I would like the TLM a lot better if we could actually *hear* the prayers of the priest, rather than just staring while he silently prays. If I could hear the dialogue between the priest and the altar boy, I would feel like I was praying along rather than watching a show. Meanwhile, if I could find an excellent “reform of the reform, say the red do the black” Novus Ordo (or as one of our conservative priest friends says, “New Rite Done Right”) then I would probably be more drawn to that.

  23. Response:

    I think I still classify as a young Catholic (I’m 29). I’m a former Evangelical and entered the Church on Easter 2006. Liturgy played some part in my conversion, but my appreciation and interest has grown since my conversion. I regularly attend the ordinary form of the Mass, but have attended 5 or so Masses in the extra-ordinary form. My first experience with the TLM was a few years ago as a shiny-new Catholic. I attended a low Mass. I was ill-prepared and was quite lost. I wasn’t a bad experience, I just wasn’t overly interested. My second TLM was a solemn high Mass a year or so later. This time the old Mass caught my attention and I was able to follow along much better. The reverence and “otherness” stayed with me. I continued attending the new Mass and began reading your blog regularly. The more I learned about the old Mass, the more my desire for it grew. Over this last year, I’ve attended probably 3 or so TLMs at St. John the Beloved in McLean, VA and have fallen more in love with this form of the Mass each time. What draws me most are a common theme on your blog; reverence, beauty, sacrifice. What really stood out though, is that I am more engaged and way less distracted. My mind wanders so much at the new Mass and I am frequently distracted by music choices, excessive use of EMHCs, etc. At the old Mass my mind is sharply engaged as I follow along, I pray better (and I know very little Latin), and best of all I see Jesus more clearly! I suppose I’m saying that I prefer the old Mass to the new.

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