QUAERITUR: How to get people to stop doing Novus Ordo things in a TLM?

From a reader:

In my parish there is offered both the TLM or EF and the NO. Sometimes parishioners who almost exclusively attend the NO come to the TLM (which is a great thing, praise God and Vivat Papa!) . However, often these members of the faithful import customs from the NO, post particularly they approach the communion rail with arms folded and expect a blessing (which, because our holy priest is very charitable and not particularly traditional, they receive). They also sometimes insist on saying the Oratio Dominica [For people in Columbia Heights that’s the Lord’s Prayer.] with the priest and (I digress a little now) wear clothing that unfortunately is not out of place at a NO Mass, but is very much so – and even offensive, at a TLM.

Can I do anything to stop these things while exercising charity to stop these things which are distractions to me and other members of the faithful, and which Mother Church in her infinite wisdom does not deem part of a TLM?

Perhaps, friend, you need to worry about other things.

Three observations.

If the priest wants to give the blessings at Communion, that is not part of Mass but neither is it the end of the world.  We are in a time of transition.  I am also reminded of the parable in which some workers are resentful that others who didn’t work as long are getting a wage for a day.  But I digress….  Let the priest deal with these things, perhaps in sermons, announcements given during Mass, or bulletin notes.

About the Lord’s Prayer: Pope’s Pius IX and Pius XII indicated that the congregation could say the Lord’s Prayer together with the priest.  This was long in place before the 1962 Missale Romanum.  It is one aspect of participation at Mass from before the book we use for the Extraordinary Form you may not prefer it, but don’t say it has nothing to do with the Extraordinary Form.  It does.  I know that some people who prefer the TLM don’t like that.  Sorry. Again, let the priest guide the development of the local customs and application of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.

Also, while somethings are distracting to you, other things are distracting to the new comers.  For example, not saying the Lord’s Prayer and not receiving a blessing, when all their lives they have been doing these things, is a matter of real distraction.

I would let things be and not worry about them too much.  Life is sometimes messy.  New blood coming to the parish is good.  People figuring out the lay of the land on their own without coercion and then changing their ways to fit in is a good thing.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I went to Catholic school for a year long before I was actually Catholic, and I remember the Latin masses at our small town church. They were not like the TLMs I have attended in recent years. The words might have not changed but the atmosphere has.

    Yes, we used to say the Lord’s prayer with the priest, in Latin. We had a choir-I was in it- but the people also sang the Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and so on with the choir. This mass was, after all, the common mass that everyone went to and so it had its share of little kids whimpering, people whispering and people dressed poorly. This was true at all the parishes I attended and also the diocesan cathedral, in those days.

    The years that the TLM has spent underground have changed the common practice, the part that isn’t on paper. I expect that if the TLM became more common, you might pick up some of that kind of thing again, so what the reader says doesn’t surprise me much.

  2. Very sensible response, Father.

  3. Tom Esteban says:

    Sigh. I long for the day to complain about these issues. Oh to complain that the EF has a few elements of the OF! Alas… I am stuck complaining that the OF where I am is incorporating the local Charismatic-Baptist-Pentecostal activities into the Mass.

  4. jbas says:

    Traditional congregants would serve the Lord well by seeing themselves as missionaries of the new evangelization rather than as new “pharisees” of an old covenant.

  5. JaneC says:

    Thank you for this, Father. I well remember one of my first experiences with the EF. I was 18, it was my first summer home from college and I was sorely disappointed with how Mass at my home parish compared to Mass at the university. I persuaded my unwilling parents to take me to the local indult Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi. I had only been to two TLM Masses before, both of them High Masses a few years earlier, and was completely unprepared for the Low Mass that faced me that day–especially the dirty looks the other congregants gave me when I made responses out loud! I honestly had no idea at first that I wasn’t supposed to, though I caught on pretty quickly. Even though a few people there knew me, and knew we weren’t regulars at the TLM, nobody said anything to me after Mass or welcomed me or said anything other than a brief and cold “Hello, have a nice day.” For that reason, and for others, it was a really awful experience and I didn’t go back to the TLM for two more years. My parents have never gone back.

    When you see new people, who seem unfamiliar with the EF, consider taking the time to talk to them for a moment after Mass, if they seem amenable. Ask them if they’re new to the EF, welcome them, ask what they thought of it, and if they have any questions that you, as a regular attendee, could answer. It could mean the difference between them feeling like total outsiders and interlopers or feeling welcome and wanting to come back.

  6. Speravi says:

    I also know some people who, in part, choose not to attend the TLM because they feel vulnerable to getting dirty looks.

  7. Rachel says:

    “New blood coming to the parish is good. People figuring out the lay of the land on their own without coercion and then changing their ways to fit in is a good thing.”

    Very true! And I think it’s also good, if you yourself get criticized by someone at Mass, to remember that that person doesn’t own the parish and isn’t authorized to lay down the law for others.

    I love the TLM and when I go I try to smile and look welcoming to anyone new, so they’ll feel like this Mass belongs to them too. An exclusive-club attitude will only keep us marginalized. There are a few TLM-goers who make it their business to correct others with glares or furious whispers– only a few, but they do a lot of damage.

  8. Dan says:

    That’s interesting about what Piux XII said about the congregation reciting the Pater Noster along with the priest. I’d actually prefer it that way! One of my favorite parts about an OF Latin Mass is the chanting of the Lord’s Prayer before communion…very moving – especially when you consider that everything we pray for in the Our Father is what we receive in the Eucharist.

    When I was at the Pontifical Mass in DC back in 2010 there was a gentleman sitting in front of me who just about had a fit when people starting joining Bp. Slattery chanting the Our Father. I suspect that most of the people there were used to the way of doing things in the OF and just assumed that everyone sang the prayer together. Unfortunatley, this man starting flailing his arms about and yelling at everyone in his vicinity to shut up. It was so unpleasant and I felt like punching him in the face (yes, I know it’s not the most charitable thought to have during Holy Mass). But, I think the point of this story is that “traditionalists” who set themselves up as the liturgical police are often creating the very distractions and discord that they purport to be combating.

    As one who has attended both forms regularly, I often find attitudes among EF massgoers to be very unpleasant. So much so that I now assist at OF Mass much more often than at EF Mass. Even the priest in our diocese who spends his Sundays traveling to 3 different churches to say Mass in the EF has said to me, “I don’t know what it is about this Mass, but it sure does attract a lot of nuts.”

    Maybe if we put as much effort into reforming ourselves as we do into correcting others we would start to make some real progress….I’m just say’n…

  9. sallyr says:

    There’s a parish in my home town with TLM and EF masses. They have the most beautifully restored and newly embellished church and the most amazing and accomplished choirs I have ever heard at a Mass, doing polyphany masses of Palestrina and Byrd and also extremely accomplished chant.

    I would love to go there every week. But the congregation seems so angry and unwelcoming that I can only get myself to go there if I bring someone along with me. I don’t wear a chapel veil and I don’t dress in dowdy long skirts and long sleeved shirts, but I do consciously wear modest and respectful clothing. I have never felt welcome there, and instead of feeling a sense of peace and joy at being in such a beautiful place of worship, I usually come away with a sense that I have somehow offended people with my mere presence (and I do not import any aspects of anything, as I only do what the congregation does). Never a smile, never a nod of welcome after mass as we are leaving the church, and several times a real cold shoulder or disapproving look.

    What is is that makes people so angry even though they have seemingly got everything they ever wanted in their liturgy, good priests and magnificent liturgical beauty? I just don’t get it. What would it take to make these people happy?

  10. dad29 says:

    What Diane said.

    The celebrant at our EF Mass is an OF-trained guy; he had to learn Latin on his own, as well as all his sung parts. It shows, but hey! He wants to help. There are a few other quirks which will settle out over time; it is, as you say, transitional.

  11. APX says:

    This post is steeping with truth. I’m still relatively new to my parish. I love the EF Mass, but since I’ve learned that I’m not invisible at Mass, and that people actually pay attention to other people at Mass (a woman came up to me and informed me I was wearing the wrong colour veil), I’ve been beyond distracted with making sure I do everything correctly. Now I’m paranoid I’m not genuflecting every time I’m supposed to and that people are judging me as being irreverent because of it. I’m taking both my parents to the TLM today, which will be the first one for both since it was on its way out in the 60s, and worried they might do something to upset one of the regulars and I’ll be “that person”.

    One thing I noticed at my parish back in Lent is it seems when someone complains to the priest about something such as was mentioned above, it seems to backfire on them because then the priest gives a strongly worded sermon on not correcting people and being welcoming to the newcomers.

  12. I know a lot of EF folks who are sweet and nice and kind and fun. I know a lot of EF folks who just concentrate hard on Mass and have a sort of game face on. I know EF folks who are young and cute and others who are old and dignified. All kinds of people.

    But yeah, there’s also the dirty looks brigade. They stare disapprovingly at you if you fan yourself. They stare disapprovingly at you if you wear a hat instead of a veil. They stare disapprovingly at you if they think your shoes are too squeaky. And they stare disapprovingly at absolutely nothing if nobody does anything they can possibly dislike. I honestly think that their faces really have frozen that way. It is a great warning to those of us with an eye for detail/nitpicking.

    Obviously you find this sort of person at the OF also, and pretty much everywhere else in life, and you can’t pay too much attention to them. But it is wearing.

  13. Hidden One says:

    I am not surprised by the earlier comments on this post.

    Alas… just as ‘orthodox’ and ‘virtuous’ have different meanings, so do ‘usus antiquior-attending’ and ‘charitable’. I know this firsthand – I am orthodox and been present at dozens of usus antiquior Masses!

    I presently do not (cannot) attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form, but have little doubt that if I did I or those I would bring with me if I did would incur the displeasure of someone improperly focused. I would have a brief and sharp response for such a person: “Tace et abi! Orare conor/conamur!” (Be quiet and go away! I/we are trying to pray!)

    I’m waiting to hear of a priest delivering his short sermon on humility at an EF Mass first in Latin and then in the relevant vernacular.

  14. albinus1 says:

    When the TLM is celebrated in my parish (infrequently of late, but will be once a week starting Oct. 30), it has become customary for the congregation to recite the responses audibly. Perhaps this is because the former pastor learned how to celebrate the TLM in the wake of SP, and in many ways it was easy to tell that he was used to celebrating the NO. There is also the fact that, in our University town, the percentage of the congregation at the TLM who actually know Latin is probably higher than average. Whatever the reason, audible congregational responses have become the custom in our parish. Now our new young assistant pastor has been learning to celebrate the TLM after years of celebrating only the NO and will be our weekly celebrant, so we will see what happens in the future.

    When I used to attend a SSPX parish (in a former life), it was customary at High Mass for the congregation to chant the Our Father along with the celebrant. I agree with the poster who indicated a preference for that.

    The TLM never is and never has been celebrated in absolutely exactly the same way always and everywhere. Devotees do themselves and their cause no favors by taking it upon themselves to act as “liturgical” police. Aside from a few practical matters — our Latin-English Mass booklets contain a note reminding people that Communion is kneeling at the Communion rail, there is no Communion in the hand, and one doesn’t respond “Amen” to the priest — some charity would seen to be in order. Yet too many traditional congregations seem to preserve a “catacombs” mentality of “us against them”, and even take pride in the notion of the being part of the the Elect — a Protestant notion is there ever was one. Nothing will turn off potential supporters or well-wishers sooner than that attitude.

    Besides, what many people think of as “tradition” can itself be idiosyncratic. I have run into too many self-described “traditionalists” whose definition of “tradition” is “the way Fr. So-and-so used to do it at Our Lady of the Old Neighborhood when I/my parents/my grandparents were growing up”.

  15. I will say that, even when EF musicians and choristers have bad memories and issues that may come up in music discussions, they are generally a friendly bunch. A lot of times, the stricter the choir discipline, the friendlier the choir is when practice or work is done.

    So if you’ve got the time and the interest and decent skills (or even just aptitude, if the need is great, which it often is), people who are a bit intimidated by a congregation may find it a little easier to become part of a parish by way of the choir loft. :)

  16. cpaulitz says:

    Yes, it’s distracting, but at least they stay! When NOers cone into our parish (you can always tell them as they’re the only ones in jeans, shirts, miniskirts,etc) they almost always get up and walk out after 5 minutes or so. Just sad.

  17. Imrahil says:

    Concerning the clothes, it has its reasons that clothing has been treated under the title of modesty, header temperance, by moral theologians. And to find out what is appropriate for an occasion, does not exceed the limits of moderation, and to choose among these, is a person’s quite private decision. Thus: As long as somebody does not breach a certain dresscode established by law*, and does not wear clothes that much outraging that he simply must have acted contrary to his own conscience as well, I can’t see any room for fraternal correction in this matter. [*Or a firmly established leading opinion of moral theologians which says specifically enough: To wear this or that is a sin, and that it were none is no probable opinion. I doubt such exists.]

    And considering the qualifier “appropriate for the occasion”, the occasion is Holy Mass, and this is not changed by either rite or usage.

  18. heway says:

    Thank you Father, for your response. Hospitality is one of the most important values in welcoming newcomers to your church…..OF or EF. At our OF, we have a couple of TLM people. They kneel for communion; she wears a head covering and leads the Sunday rosary – but still has a Ghost in her prayers. Never says Holy Spirit although her husband does. No one makes faces or comments, as that is not charitable. And without charity, it doesn’t make any difference what Mass is said.. you really are not attending the sacrifice if you allow such distractions? in your life.

  19. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Sit in the very front row.

  20. Phil_NL says:

    My 2c, if I may (let me state in advance that any commenter mentioned here is just referenced for the example they provide, nothing else, no offense meant):

    I must say that some of the responses here amaze me, in the sense that ‘temple police’-like types seem to have a huge impact on some people. (to name some examples, the comments from JaneC, sallyr and APX). That alone should make the persons throwing fits – over what are demonstrably minor issues, fully within the realm of choice, afterall responding is allowed and even encouraged, veils are purely optional regardless of color, etc. etc. – think twice. Charity and common sense, ladies and gentlemen; it’s about the Lord, and not about the people at Mass.

    Which brings me to the second point of my amazement: that people actually care so much about the cold shoulders from others. Of course, if people start telling others to shut up during Mass, like Dan encountered, that’s something to get worked up about, but the stares? Let them stare. It’s not as if one comes to Mass for anything else than Mass. In fact, in Europe it’s very much the custom not to have any activities planned directly after mass, not to socialise either, and if you’re a stranger attending, chances are no-one will say a word to you (we don’t do ushers here, thankfully). That may sound cold and uncomfortable to those not used to it, and might actually have roots in the situation in Europe that strangers have a decent chance of being foreigners who speak a different language anyway, but we still attend Mass. That doesn’t change one bit with this habit. Perhaps it’s also time to change our expectations a bit, and focus them more on the Mass itself and less on the congregation.

    One could even say that’s also a subtle example of making everything about ourselves.

  21. Banjo pickin girl says:

    sallyr, Some people are never happy with anything. And for the other poster, for somebody to say you’re wearing the wrong color veil is just plain rude. And stupid, what is it, a fashion show? But maybe it is really. We are all being judged. This is why I stay where I know I will be welcomed.

    Just be thankful the banjo is not a liturgical instrument.

  22. AnAmericanMother says:

    BPG –

    Let the organ moan her sorrow to the roof —
    I have told the naked stars the Grief of Man!
    Let the trumpet snare the foeman to the proof —
    I have known Defeat, and mocked it as we ran!
    My bray ye may not alter nor mistake
    When I stand to jeer the fatted Soul of Things,
    But the Song of Lost Endeavour that I make,
    Is it hidden in the twanging of the strings?

    With my “Ta-ra-rara-rara-ra-ra-rrrp!”
    [Is it naught to you that hear and pass me by?]
    But the word — the word is mine, when the order moves the line
    And the lean, locked ranks go roaring down to die!

    The grandam of my grandam was the Lyre —
    [Oh, the blue below the little fisher-huts!]
    That the Stealer stooping beachward filled with fire,
    Till she bore my iron head and ringing guts!
    By the wisdom of the centuries I speak —
    To the tune of yestermorn I set the truth —
    I, the joy of life unquestioned — I, the Greek —
    I, the everlasting Wonder-song of Youth!

    With my “Tinka-tinka-tinka-tinka-tink!”
    What d’ye lack, my noble masters! What d’ye lack?]
    So I draw the world together link by link:
    Yea, from Delos up to Limerick and back!

    -Kipling, “Song of the Banjo” :-D

  23. Geoffrey says:

    “One of my favorite parts about an OF Latin Mass is the chanting of the Lord’s Prayer before communion…very moving…”

    I second that! I also like how most Papal Masses and the daily Masses on EWTN use simple Gregorian chant melodies (Credo III, etc.) to encourage congregational singing. When I attend an EF Mass, I feel like I am the only one singing these other than the schola… and getting dirty looks besides.

  24. AnAmericanMother says:

    You know, maybe I have the hide of a rhinoceros, but I don’t get this.

    If somebody gives you a dirty look, so everlovin’ what??? Just give them a big innocent smile back, or ignore them. You’re there for Christ, not for Bertha Better’n’you in the next pew.

    Since I travel a lot, I’ve been in all sorts of places, and I have to say that I’ve gotten more funny looks, raised eyebrows, etc. in the Hootenanny sort of parishes than at the EF — e.g. for not holding hands at the Our Father, genuflecting, communion on the tongue, etc. That’s probably because our parish, while OF, is on the ceremonial and old-fashioned end of the scale.

    I have made plenty of silly mistakes at the EF, ’cause my tendency is to go on autopilot when nervous, but nobody was ugly and everybody was always very welcoming after Mass. Actually, nobody’s ever been outright ugly to me anywhere. Like I said, maybe I am insensitive to the finer shades.

    I think the take-away from this is to remember when we are “at home” to be nice to visitors and cut them some slack, whether we’re OF or EF and whatever the customs “at home” may be.

  25. Jennyfire says:

    Hello everyone. At our EF Mass, which we are fortunate enough to have each Sunday at our parish, there are many beautiful people and I mean that literally, if anyone is looking for a spouse you should come to our parish tee hee. I understand commentors here who have been hurt by the seeming impoliteness of Mass goers because some people are more sensitive than others because of their temperament, and not necessarily pride. I suppose it would be best to simply not look at others much at Mass. If you have a large family of children, you may have already had much practice in the art of not paying attention to the looks of others in public. There do seem to be a handful of TLM lovers who are very rude and judgmental type of people, I know a young married woman like that in my neighborhood and she dresses very dowdy too. I guess we can only hope that people like that will get over that stage in their lives and grow up some. An American Mother, you must have very good vibes. I’ve had many people be outright ugly to me in all sorts of places.

  26. campello says:

    I attended my first EF mass in 2007 at the ripe old age of twenty six. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had actually printed the order of the mass and rubrics out on computer paper and drove an hour out to this mass in a church that has “never” had a NO mass. Everyone (including the five year olds) must have been thinking who is this pineapple as I rustled through the pages trying to keep up. Now whenever I catch myself judging the way someone has dressed, or that they missed a genuflection during the EF mass. I think back to the guy in the row fumbling with computer paper. It keeps me quite humble, at least at mass.

  27. Charles says:

    I’ve been going to the older form for years, and I am sure that I still get dirty looks from other parishoners. I was even chastised recently by a fellow parishoner for little noises my less- than- one year old daughter was making by dropping a toy on the floor. My response was less than charitable. I think that the best policy is that each person minds his own business during mass, and if something is distracting, let his keep his mouth shut, if not for charity, for saving his teeth from getting punched in.

  28. sallyr says:

    I agree that the cold shoulder types are not sufficient reason for staying away from the beauty on offer at the EF or TLM Mass, and I do go this beautiful and reverent church from time to time. But what it does make me think is – Boy, if this is the spirit that this TLM encourages, I don’t really want to be a part of it at some fundamental level. I don’t feel at home there, and that is a shame and something that I wish I could feel.

    And it also just puzzles me, more than anything else.

  29. Sid says:

    You’re reply is quite correct and timely, Father.

  30. Sid says:

    Having now read through the comments through 140pm, I am pleased with the responses. And to IBAS’ remarks at 633am, a hearty “Hear! Hear!”

    I am happy to report that at the MEFs that I attend in North Carolina, many folks gather– after Mass and outside the church — to socialize. Y’all come and visit us!

  31. boko fittleworth says:

    Or, newcomers to a community or a different form of the Roman Rite could sit in the back and shut up for the first couple of weeks. Learn the lay of the land. See how the natives do things. Respect their customs. When do they sing? When are they silent? How do they dress and comport themselves?

    Just throwing that out there as an option to doing whatever you want and then complaining about the “uncharitable” responses you provoke.

  32. DavidMiller says:

    Many years ago when my brother had long hair, I invited him to come to a Latin Mass with me. An over-zealous parishioner handed me a chapel veil and told me to give it to my friend. When I told him that was my brother, you should’ve seen the look on his face! Far from being offended, it has been a source of humor for us ever since.

  33. Daniel Latinus says:

    Some years ago, a priest in my area said from the pulpit that permission was being sought from Rome to permit the congregation to join in the singing of the Pater Noster at the TLM. (I suppose this would be handled through the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei“.)

    Fr. Z, do you (or does anyone else) know if such permission is being sought, and if or when something will be done about it?

    I attended World Youth Day in Denver. Bl. John Paul II invited all those present to join him in singing the Lord’s Prayer, in Latin. In the section where I was, I could only hear a few people singing. It was a sad thing. All Latin Rite Catholics should be able to do this.

  34. Phil_NL says:

    @boko fittleworth :

    Don’t forget that this is the same parish, people who are native to the place happen to catch a Mass in the other form. Something that will be much more common in the future, most likely, as more parishes will have EF Masses, and priest shortages cause mergers. Your advise might be appropriate – to some extent – for people moving parishes, but in your own church? No way. Not only is it not appropriate to split a parish like that, also it’s not feasible as the cross-overs will not be lone people very now and then, but many , and new ones all the time.

    Moreover, noticable disapproval of perfectly admissible behavior is simply stupid, and the hall-mark of control freaks.

  35. To add to what Fr. Z said, at the extraordinary form Mass near me, the priest always welcomes newcomers to the Mass before his homily and makes special note for those newcomers that Holy Communion is offered at the altar rail, kneeling and on the tongue. I suppose that if any other aberrations are observed, a priest could gently remind people about those too. More than likely, many folks just don’t know any better– not everyone is a liturgical expert. It took me several visits to extraordinary form Masses before I felt as though I could talk about it with any sort of authority or intelligence.

    I think too that perhaps what we are seeing here is what many traditional-minded Catholics actually fear, namely, that, well, just what would happen if everyone attended the extraordinary form? I mean, it would be just like the ordinary form! It might actually change now and then. It would be ruined. I suspect that many traditionalists are actually quite comfortable with the idea of being in a ghetto (or perhaps another way to describe it is a liturgical boutique) all by themselves, which is a problem. Don’t get me wrong: ordinary form attendees can be just as self-righteous in their own way. We are all sinners. But sin is something to be rooted out and left behind.

    This morning I had the opportunity to sit towards the front left of a small church. I found it good for me because I did not see too much of what was going on around me, which kept me from judging what others were doing and how they were dressed (which does concern me). We need to keep our focus on God as best as we can at Mass. Another thing I have been doing a lot at Mass is simply keeping my head bowed, which keeps me from seeing some of the silliness.

  36. Gulielmus says:

    @boko fittleworth–

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

  37. Jennyfire says:

    Our EF Mass is very well attended. Some people come late and so I get the impression that some attendees are there simply because it’s one of the last Sunday Masses offerred and they want to fulfill their obligation because maybe they didn’t get up early enough for a NO. There are all sorts of dress at this EF Mass, though I would say a small majority dresses up respectively and to the nines, in heels and suits and what not. Again too, I would say a small majority of the women wear veils, all different colors. It’s cute seeing the little girls along with their mothers wear them too. A few women are in jeans but still cover their heads. I wear slacks and no veil myself and I don’t recall anyone seeming to have a problem with that, but then many times I’m occupied with my baby. Some of the young women, though looking very feminine and at first glance, wearing attire that seems acceptable, don’t pass my personal modesty guidelines but I do set them pretty high and I just don’t pay attention. Some of the attendees are very friendly. One time though, a person hissed at us to be quiet when my young son was asking me a question about the Mass but I didn’t really let it bother me bc probably I should have waited until afterward to try and explain things to him, even if I was doing it quietly and we were in the second half of the church. I’m sorry if other people have experienced impoliteness at EF Masses, don’t let it get you down. I would try to not pay attention to others at Mass. I’ve had to sit and tend to my youngest through many parts of these Masses, plus I think one time I was crying a great deal through one of them and barely following along at all. It didn’t occur to me that these things might bother others. Too bad for them I guess.

  38. MissOH says:

    I have been blessed that when I decided to start attending the EF mass, all of the congregations have been very friendly and welcoming. In fact, I met more people than I had in the previous 4 years I had been in the area simply because two of the masses had coffee & donut/bagel gathering times after mass. All of the masses have their differences, one of them is a solemn high mass and the congregations sings the propers including the Paternoster.

    Hearing about the “glare patrol” and lack of charity to new faces does drive me crazy. Having heard some of what people went through in the 70’s and 80’s simply because they were attached to the TLM, I do have sympathy for them. I also see how their experiences led to a bunker mentality and hyper-vigilance over “their” experience of the TLM.

    When I seen new people at mass, I always try to say hello and welcome after mass. I also try to make certain to let those with children know they are welcome. Even at the church I attend that was the original indult TLM community, whose members tend to be older, and who definitely prefer a silent low mass, they are wonderfully tolerant of the mild squirming of children. Probably because they recognize that is the sign of the EF being preferred by many young adults. At the 80’s era church that started a TLM that I attend, I provide and launder veils that women can use when they attend, but they are in the foyer and ladies can wear them or not. I just provided them because there are no Catholic bookstores in our immediate area. Women can wear them, not wear them, wear a hat, scarf or hoodie. Unless someone was strolling in wearing a bikini, I try to make my focus on keeping our 4 year old reasonably engaged, worshiping God and receiving Jesus, not fashion.

    I hope that as the number of TLM’s slowly but surely increase, the “old guard” can shed the bunker mentality and realize that the best way to spread the good fruit of the EF is to be charitable and joyful people.

  39. RichR says:

    I echo Tom’s comments above. I only wish I had an EF Mass. The OP should really count his blessings. Many in this country would gladly trade places.

  40. James Joseph says:

    In Mormon country I am glad to wear jeans and a collar shirt or a nice t-shirt to the holy Sacrifice.

    I really want one of those shirts that says in bold print, “Habemus Papam!” or “Introibo ad Altare Dei” on the front and, “Qui laetificat juventutem meam.” on the back. Maybe that’s going a little far…

    I find it preaches that there are folks who are not in the in-crowd here. It bucks the system a little when hundreds of people are walking in fours and a lone soldier in the Army of Mary comes marching along singing the Salve Regina. The best part about being Catholic is that all are called, not just the Brook Bros. suitmakers. And, besides I get poo and blood on my clothes during the workweek. A polo and jeans is a step-up… like a cowboy tuxedo.

    I like the dirty looks and dismissiveness. We are a people set apart.

    Now, if I were in regular America, shirt and slacks, or even a suit is called for.

  41. everett says:

    As much as I complain about elements of the liturgy at my parish, one thing that my parish does extraordinarily well is hospitality. They do a great job of recognizing and welcome those who are new to the parish, and trying to make them feel welcome. Unfortunately this is often done within the liturgy, rather than before or after, but it is one thing that I very much appreciate.

  42. lux_perpetua says:

    it’s times like this i am oh so grateful to be blind. can’t see the stares, can act like i don’t understand the pointed remarks are made toward me, just pull my veil a little closer about the face and get my kneel on. oh, right, and i don’t get distracted by immodest dress either.

    when i first started going to the tlm i was petrified of the starers, since i am not able to do things like kneel during the Creed when the priest does, or during the Last Gospel, etc, unless the church is crowded enough for me to hear others kneeling around me. this is one reason why i prefer a Low Mass because i can hear the priest reciting the prayers and so can folow his gestures. at first i was like “ohmygosh, if i’m standing during the “et incarnatus est” everyone will hate me!!! now, after going for a bit over a year, i couldn’t care les. i’m there to give my best to the Lord and if i don’t kneel because i don’t know it’s happening, He knows my heart and the rest can just head on over to the confessional.

  43. jfm says:

    At the first Latin Mass I attended, I was glared at by an older gentleman when I started mumbling the responses. I felt like I was accused of spitting on the crucifix.

    Then a sweet older woman who was sitting near me whispered to me “follow along and respond silently — the mass is between you and Christ”.

    Don’t glare. Gently correct and educate.

  44. Louis Tofari of Romanitas Press (also of Angelus Press) has written two brilliant essays on the history and analysis of the so-called “dialogue Mass.” Both can be found here: http://romanitaspress.com/articles/dialog_mass.htm

  45. catholicmidwest says:


    Yes, it’s unpleasant to be glared at, but all in all, it doesn’t bother me that much. I even sing because I think the congregation ought to be singing. I like it. And I wear jeans, because I wear jeans Everywhere.

    You could say I’m easy to amuse and hard to discourage, and I wouldn’t mind, because that’s that’s how I got into the Church in the first place.

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