Hey, trads! Take these words to heart!

I haven’t linked much to Rorate since they declared war on me, but this post exquisitely expresses something that I have tried to convey for years.

It deserves wider attention:

You are wandering through a city filled with historical landmarks. You enter a beautiful church that you had never seen before. As you admire the interior, the priest sees you kneeling, and comes to invite you to a little gathering they are having in an adjoining hall.

“But Father,” you say, “I’m just someone passing by, I don’t want to bother you.” “No,” he says, “you must come! Must I force you?”

The gathering is quite nice, sandwiches and beignets done by women of the community, in honor of a group of people who help in the church. Father makes sure you eat something. He also gives you a booklet on the building. “It’s a gift, take it.”

You tell him, “Father, I’d never received this kind of welcome in a church before.” “Good,” he says, “now we have a new friend.”

This old Franciscan friar had just celebrated a Paul VI mass, just before you entered the church. “Why,” you think to yourself, “have I never seen anything even resembling this level of welcoming of a complete and utter stranger in a traditional community, even after visiting so many around the world? Why does it seem, at least in my experience, that we can’t make the effort to be kinder, gentler, and more welcoming?” Now, one may be well aware that this kind of experience is very rare in Paul VI settings as well, but that is not the point. The point is that those who try to excel in the liturgical worship of God and in the dispensation of traditional doctrine must also try to excel in the charitable welcoming of all.

Thank you, Mother Help of Christians, for this wonderful experience. Please, Mother Most Holy, teach kindness, gentleness, and true mercy to your children in this vale of tears. Each one can begin this small yet significant job in our own communities, with the help of the Lord and the Gentle Lady.

Do I hear an “Amen!”?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Amen, yes!

  2. Bosco says:

    May I say that The Mater Dei Latin Mass Community in the Diocese of Harrisburg Pennsylvania is so very welcoming and family friendly.

    It is a tonic for the heart and soul and the young FSSP pastor is simply marvellous. Their web-site is:


  3. “I haven’t linked much to Rorate since they declared war on me …”

    You’re kidding, right?

    All kidding aside, I have to second this. I do notice that the coffee hour at Old St Mary’s in DC is quite the eclectic gathering. An associate justice of the Supreme Court, and even an exiled monarch, will share a basement room with the homeless, which is something you don’t exactly see every day. And across the river, at St John the Beloved in McLean, people will hang around for quite a bit after the 12 noon Traditional Mass.

    So, in a word, “Amen!”

  4. Adrienne Regina says:

    A bit off topic, but another reason to hear an Amen.
    At Vultus Christi today: http://vultus.stblogs.org/index.php/2014/05/god-hidden-and-unknown/#comments

  5. Former Altar Boy says:

    Why do you think so many trads are referred to as ” the frozen chosen?”

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Thanks for this, Father Z. I have had trads tell me greeters are ‘Novus”. No, greeters welcoming those who come are necessary aspects of making people feel comfortable.

    And, if you see someone new. go up to that person and talk to them.

    Four months ago, a young Baptist man came to the TLM. Not one man talked to him but the ex-Anglican temporary deacon. God bless him. When young men or young women come to look and see, we absolutely need to be open and share the peace and joy of the TLM.

    He came back one more time and then disappeared. One of the problems is that out of the three TLM priests who take turns. only one ever comes into the coffee time after Mass.

    The laity, however, need to be more open to newbies. And, to oldies as well…

  7. APX says:

    This is an observation I have made many times, most notably when I was doing a private retreat at a hermitage at a retreat centre of a questionable orthodoxy. There was a women’s retreat going on at the same time, so they were at over-capacity for accommodations. Unfortunately, as night drew near and the rain poured more, I noticed my private retreat wasn’t so private as I had attracted a number of rodents inside. When I said something the retreat staff went out of their way looking for a place for me to stay, and the friars helped me move all my stuff in rain to the main centre. They were beyond welcoming and going out of their way to see to it I was confortable and had everything I needed. I left thinking to myself how much more welcoming abd friendly they were compared to our Latin Mass Community.

    I will say this: Basic psychology tells us that people aren’t attracted to people who treat them like crap…unless you’re a saint.

  8. Lisa Graas says:

    Well, unless the person has autism, in which case they’re going to be freaked out if you suggest forcing them to come to eat with you. (That would be me.)

    How about just not being mean? I’d settle for just not being mean.

  9. Ben Kenobi says:

    “Father, I’d never received this kind of welcome in a church before.” “Good,” he says, “now we have a new friend.”

    How much joy in my life do I owe the kind ladies who invited me in from the cold? Thank you father.

  10. Darren says:

    This reminds of my experience at St. Anthony of Padua church in Jersey City, NJ last Sunday. I was there for their 9 AM High Mass (moved there from a nearby parish at the beginning of this year). The Mass was over and I figured it was time to stroll down by the waterfront, relax a bit. But, as I walked out of the church an older woman saw me and said, “are you going to join us for cake and coffee?”. She spotted an unfamiliar face (me) and invited me to their little gathering they have most Sundays after the Mass. My intention was just to used the rest room, have a cup of coffee and be on my way. And hour and a half later I was finishing having the most pleasant chat with the friendliest group of people I have met.

    I have been to some other Traditional Latin Mass churches (some exclusively TLM, some being ordinary parishes that added a TLM on Sunday) and was never greeted in such a way. That group, together since 2002, has definitely gotten something right outside of the Liturgy (which I must say was be-a-YOO-tifully celebrated… Fr. John Perricone was the priest, some of the readers here may be familiar with him. He also writes for The Latin Mass magazine.)

    I understand totally why Fr. Brian P. Woodrow (Diocese of Trenton Liaison to the Extraordinary Form) wants there be a post-Mass convivium wherever a new Mass is established in the Diocese.

  11. Mary Pat says:

    We have heard and have (already) obeyed! After our TLM on Sundays, we gather in the rectory with Father to eat and drink and talk and laugh. Everyone is welcomed and asked to join us. We love newcomers and they quickly become friends. This has been going on for years! And, as an aside, four of the “regulars” are in the seminary or are shortly (this summer) to join one!

  12. McCall1981 says:

    A great point.

    And for the record, I’m familiar with two TLM/trad communities, and both of them are very friendly and welcoming.

  13. robkphd says:

    I occasionally attend a TLM. I was going fairly regularly, until I was attacked because my kids were running around at the coffee social afterwards. Talk about unwelcoming. There was one woman, however, who came and begged us not to judge everyone because of the harsh and wicked treatment of the few. She even asked the priest to call us. We don’t go as regularly now, but I do know that not all who regularly attend TLM are unwelcoming. But it is still not easy, nor particularly welcoming. It is a rather insular group. I wish it was otherwise….

  14. NomenDeiAdmirabileEst says:

    While I think it could be better stated, I could not agree more with this point! I think we (traditional minded Catholics) often have a certain stigma toward fraternal community and concepts such as this, which I will include under that broad umbrella. Perhaps it is a reaction to the many liberal churches where the introit hymn is “All are Welcome” and formation of community replaces Adoration, Thanksgiving, Contrition, and Petition as the highest end of the mass. In any case, I can think of some great traditional parishes in my own Archdiocese where there are as many exclusive cliques as in a public high school, stern, authoritative, and even angry expressions on the faces of the men and boys, and families who rush out immediately after mass without even a “hello” or a kind smile. I could rant much more on the topic, and perhaps I will to someone else later. On a concluding note, I try to carry myself with a friendly smile, greeting those who I pass outside the Church before and after mass. I think to carry ourselves with kindness and charity of thought and action is utterly important, and can be done without becoming “respectless hippies,” so to speak.

  15. I have to say, I have been so lucky never to have experienced the trope of an unwelcoming traditional community. The one I am a part of is the most welcoming community I’ve ever found. One of the sweetest, friendliest old ladies I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting practically dragged me to one of the after-Mass socials, and it just got better from there.

  16. Elizabeth D says:

    Amen! I also liked his post. Also it fits very well with my parish’s current desire (beginning to be implemented at the Novus Ordo Masses) to stress welcoming people, for instance with a welcome table after Mass. Rorate declared war on you?

    Also I have seen “Paul VI Masses” where the choir are friends and it is devout but not all about performance aesthetics. If someone is in the choir or serving in some other role trying their sincere best, and they are not good for that for whatever reason, at least don’t leave them feeling disrespected, uncared for, humiliated.

  17. Cantor says:

    Ignoring visitors seems to be one of the Church’s strongest traditions. The only place I’ve found a true welcome was at most AF base chapels. Every other Catholic Church I’ve entered has been as cold as the stones with which it was built. In time, familiar faces become friends, but for the one-time visitor I’ve seen little graciousness or welcome.

    Today, on the other hand, I accepted an invitation to attend a Mormon baptism. From the moment I arrived, people came to welcome me as somebody they’d not met and to introduce themselves. After the service, several of us engaged in a fascinating discussion concerning the different beliefs of our respective religions. (And yes, I know that even though the spoken words are the same, the Mormon baptism is invalid.)

    But the true shocker came while we were chatting. A guy with a carpet sweeper came around, picking up the crumbs of our cookies and juice celebration. It was the man who, a short while ago, had been introduced to me as the bishop! The day I see that in a Catholic church is surely the end of times.

  18. Jeff Cassman says:

    Father, I read you both and wasn’t aware they’d declared war on you. I know of some differences, for sure, and I applaud your willingness to link to them even if they have declared war on you. A message worth repeating is worth repeating, even if it comes from your adversary. Salud!

  19. Mike says:


    This is so important.

    I was reading in the Summa the other day, and Aquinas was asking if love of neighbor is greater than love of God. He cleared it up by saying that that which is loved in itself is greater than that which is loved for the sake of another; and, most importantly, if we say we love God but do not love our neighbor, there is something seriously lacking in our love for God, which should be as a fountain of love within us (my phrasing).

  20. Hidden One says:


    And let us be welcoming in comboxes, too. Living rooms are great places for charity.

  21. Praying4Mercy says:

    You indeed and most definitely have an “Amen” from me! Thanks for the post :-)

  22. Salvelinus says:

    As one that now goes to the ancient rite exclusively, I’ll be the first to admit they…uh, I guess we arent very friendly. .. it might be because it now feels mass is being done in a clandestine manner? Not totally sure… but great article

  23. AgricolaDeHammo says:

    Amen? Absobloodylutely!!

  24. Edelwald says:

    Actually no. I think this is a complete straw man. I have lived in a number of cities over the past 30 years and I was able to go to the EF finally in 1986 in Fargo, ND. Since then, whenever there is an old rite offered, it is at at odd time at a Church where the community is lucky to get ‘altar space’. My experience has been where one rushes in, gets set up and then HAS to leave. The circumstances do not allow for much of anything but Mass. I was at the beginnings of the Mater Eccesia community in Berlin, NJ..and before that formation, we were at the CamdenCathedral and we had access to the Parish hall and had a weekly social–all were invited afterwards. Then with finally a real parish, Mater Ecclesia, fellowship was given an opportunity to exist. Traveling a lot over the years to conferences I can’t say I see that much ‘welcoming’ beyond those greeters now placed at the doors when you walk in when attending the OF. Given the rather shabby conditions under which we have had to experience in order to avail ourselves of the EF, I have found a very ‘welcoming’ and friendly group of people, that when given the chance do sincerely enjoy the company of their fellow parioners.

  25. Bea says:

    I think that’s a big reason why recent polls show Hispanic immigrants are joining other non-Catholic “churches” once they come to the US.

  26. Trad or not, pls do

  27. Gratias says:

    It is a pity Rorate Caeli removed the link to Father Z for these are my two favorite sites.

    New Catholic and Father Z seem to agree with Pope Francis’ premise that traditional Catholics are sour and with saddder, longer faces than the Novusordistas. But this is not the case in my experience. Come to St. Mary Magdalen Chapel in Camarillo, California and you will see. What happens is that people do not talk to each other in the nave of the Church where they pray, they wait until they are in the atrium or front garden to socialize. This is probably because the reformed masses are so full of chatter before and after mass that it seems to many the respectful thing is to allow for silent prayer. But the friendship of the EF congregation at our Mass has changed our life. Wife and I are Biritual and have far fewer friends in our OF parish, who we also appreciate and have been seeing most Sundays for 29 years. In my limited opinion the Faith is stronger in the TLM.

  28. MikeM says:

    I would note that while not quite a traditionalist, myself, I was spurred to learn a lot more about traditional Catholicism (not that I was ever much of a liberal) after curiosity led me to an EF mass and the community was very welcoming. Had they been less friendly, I would almost certainly have felt awkward there, but thanks to their friendly hospitality, I have returned when I’ve had the chance.

  29. My experience has mostly been ‘frozen chosen’, but I think our local TLM community is making an effort to be more outgoing. The young marrieds are nice; there are still a few Starched Young Single Men there who seem to think that women should be seen and not heard. I am sure this will pass in time.

    My NO [versus Dei, communion rail] parish had a socialisation problem, but that was because our wonderful and saintly old PP used to chase us away from talking outside the church. Since he went to God, and we have had a couple of new PPs, we are thawing nicely and are much more matey.

  30. St Donatus says:

    I think I have found both. I visited a FSSP parish in Colorado Springs about two years ago. After Mass I went down for the coffee and doughnuts afterwards and initially nobody said anything to me but someone finally noticed me and then it was all over. Very friendly folks and a great community. Once I was had gotten to know most of the regulars, I started to make it a point to watch for ones I didn’t recognize and invite them down to the socializing after Mass. In fact, Father liked what I was doing and asked me to continue it. He said it was my little ministry. Of course I am not the only one that does it and some are much better at small talk than I but the Jesus commanded us to make disciples and this is one easy way of doing it.

    I have visited other Latin Mass parishes and have always found that they were usually very friendly but like most social situations, because people are so shy. We do need to learn to be more friendly though. The cults and evangelical churchs put us to shame.

  31. JonPatrick says:

    I have been involved in 3 different traditional communities since I became serious about my faith, and 2 of these were very welcoming, at the current one the people are friendly but there isn’t much interaction after Mass. They used to have coffee after Mass but that faded away probably for the usual reasons that the same people got stuck doing it each Sunday.

    A couple possible reasons for the “frozen chosen” perception: (1) People that attend the TLM tend to pray before and after Mass rather than greeting and yakking it up as they tend to do at the OF Mass (2) Lots of people with young children so managing the children and getting them home to breakfast before melt-down occurs takes priority over socializing.

  32. Dundonianski says:

    I am 60 miles from a regular TLM but rely on a once monthly visit by a marvellous FSSP priest to a parish close to my diocesan boundary,so I normally attend a Novus Ordo parish.The parish priest there is sympathetic to tradition (wears biretta and occasional maniple) but dare not for whatever reason utilise Summorum Pontificum. The friendliness and hospitality was palpable, but when I confessed my hope and prayer that our small diocese might hopefully accommodate the TLM sometime sooner than later, I discovered then, that I was exhibiting clear signs of leprosy!

  33. celpar says:

    I think in general (in my experience) Catholics, certainly English ones, are not particularly welcoming, irrespective of which form of the Mass they prefer. We have ‘welcomers’ in my parish whose sole function is to thrust a missalette at you as you enter.
    In my diocese Latin Mass is available about once a month on average, depending on the willingness and availability of the very few priests who say it, and there is no parish base, so little sense of community. Because I turn up regularly a few people have started acknowledging me, but I have noticed younger people (the ones we want!) who come once, are ignored by the mainly elderly regulars and don’t come again. I know, I should do something. There, you’ve inspired me again!

  34. Edelwald says:

    Correction: Mater Ecclesiae, parishioners

  35. Athelstan says:

    Edelwald makes a good point – in some cases, the circumstances under which a TLM is permitted are not exactly conducive to building community – the time slot is borrowed, and the group has to vacate promptly. It’s not their parish. And if it is the only TLM in a given region, such that most are forced to drive long distances both ways, they may not be inclined to stick around afterward even if they could.

    That said, having traveled to TLMs around the country myself, I know there’s truth to what New Catholic is saying. The sole TLM community in the major East Coast city where I work is…notorious for its lack of welcome. There’s no coffee hour, and no one talks to anyone else, save occasionally for a few small closed knots of friends. They’ve been treated badly for many years by the diocese, and I fear it has hardened many of them.

    But this is not the ticket to growing the traditional Mass.

  36. Matthew Gaul says:

    At my Ukrainian Catholic parish, we emphasize the coffee hour, including giving away bread, which I understand is the traditional UGCC thing to do.

    Here’s the interesting part. When we have Protestants visit, they almost always stay for coffee. Orthodox and non-religious visitors will frequently stay, also. Then we have some people who occasionally drop by for coffee hour that don’t even go to the liturgy.

    But with Latin Catholic visitors, it’s 50/50 at best. I am a born Latin, and it took me several years before I started regularly coming down for coffee. Many of the other born Latin parishioners are also less likely to stay for coffee as frequently.

    I think it’s a cultural thing. Whether it’s the Latin Church qua Latin Church, or just US or Anglophone or regional Catholic culture, I do not know. But the presumption is go to Mass, say “hi” to a couple of people, and get on with the day. The Novus Ordo parish of my youth was large and friendly, and many casual conversations were had after Mass, but I do not recall there typically being organized social time, unless there was a special event.

    I recently brought a conservative Lutheran friend to my parish, and due to the liturgical calendar and a guest priest, the liturgy was nearly twice as long as usual. Still he stayed for coffee. Afterwards I apologized that everything ran so long, and he didn’t even notice.

  37. Lisieux says:

    Visiting the USA a few years ago, we went to hear Mass at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church, run by the FSSP. After Mass, my husband needed to use the bathroom, so we went to the church hall; I asked a gentleman where the bathroom was; he pointed, and then returned to his chatting group. My husband was away for about ten minutes, during which I stood around on my own while the congregation drank coffee, gossiped, and ignored me totally. I didn’t expect to be fawned on, but it would have be nice had someone just said ‘Hallo’! There was a very insular, exclusive feeling about the whole thing.

  38. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    You hear an “Amen”.

    I have served as usher at TLM in several towns in North Carolina, always under the direction of the pastor. I greet people whom I know, the regulars, and then go up to strangers and ask them if they have been to a TLM before. If the answer is “no” I tell them:
    1. “don’t worry about a thing,
    2. for postures just do what everyone else is doing”,
    3. hand them a Red Book (with printed propers) and tell them where the Mass begins,
    4. tell them how to receive communion (kneeling, on the tongue), and
    5. if they get lost, don’t worry about it.

    I have a few “Yellow Books” (Latin-Spanish), and I ask folks that are clearly Hispanic if they would prefer this book.

    And would you believe it? — If seen remarks from certain Traditionalists that dismiss my work as that of a Walmart greeter!

  39. Imrahil says:

    Hm… y’know, it’s all a matter of common-sense… and thus, difficult.

    I second what the dear Lisa Graas said except that we don’t really need a term for an illness for it. People can have all sorts of reasons for just wanting to worship and skip the gathering, and I’m inclined to say that, at any rate, the question “Must I force you?” makes it clear that a line seriously has been stepped over. Especially – forgive me – in case this the gathering should primarily consist of the well-known sort of busybodies of middle age.

    That said, I have the rather opposite impression as far as trad communities are concerned. That is real trad communities (legal and illegal). They are certainly not sour. Certainly.

    [And besides, “sour things will make you cheerful”, sauer macht lustig, as the phrase goes… Nothing against a good smile, but as for the ones set-up, I might even think of hiding.]

    Who might, perhaps, be called in a sense less agreeable on first sight is the kind of people you see at a local TLM without any trad community, where some people gather that have been granted a TLM by the bishop – not because the bishop likes it but because he has to give them some care too – with priests of perhaps little celebratory quality. I don’t blame them, though: it’s not their fault that there’s little fresh air in their corner, figuratively speaking.

  40. Imrahil says:

    Dear AgricolaDeHammo,

    are you trying to unashamedly split adjectives?

  41. Eliane says:

    I might be inclined to take the advice more seriously if I were not being called a “trad,” which is an expression of contempt regularly used by those beacons of enlightenment who still want the Extraordinary Form suppressed.

    Well, at least the headline doesn’t say “rad trad.”

  42. I really don’t know where this stuff comes from. The TLM communities of my experience have uniformly been more friendly and more welcoming that the typical mainstream parish Sunday Mass crowd tends to be. Not just superficial greeters, but real warmth and fellowship. I recall a man who brought his young family to what I believe was his and their first TLM, and upon being warmly invited–as are all conspicuously new visitors–the basement convivial afterwards. The next day he e-mailed that they had never before enjoyed such a welcoming experience at a Mass. They are now regular attenders.

  43. Imrahil says:

    Dear cantor,

    From the moment I arrived, people came to welcome me as somebody they’d not met and to introduce themselves.

    Excuse me to fall into the vernacular, but my immediate thought was, indeed, “mir wâr’s gnua”. Which means something along the lines that I’d have had enough of it even in that minute. In addition, I’d always feel myself rather ill in a situation where I’d had to defend Catholicism in argument against people actually eager to discuss it and, no doubt, regularly practicing suchlike – feeling myself ill-equipped especially rhethorically. (Throwing in the one or the other religious statement into a discussion is another thing.) For example, I guess I’d always wait for a breath of silence, to lay down something quitely as good as I can, and then find that the discussion partner has already resumed talking.

    It was the man who, a short while ago, had been introduced to me as the bishop!

    Mormons have a different use of titles than we do. “Bishop”, to them, means what “pastor” is to us (and of a smaller parish that is). Only those they rank as “apostles”, “prophets”, “presiding bishops and assistants”, or “area presidents” are, by position, comparable to our bishops. [Apart, of course, from the fact that our bishops have the character of bishop while they have nothing at all.]

    I do have seen my pastor doing manual labor in the parish.

  44. Phil_NL says:

    Frankly, if every parish did this, I would stop visiting churches while on holidays.

    Not only would I end up overeating (I reckon I easily average 3-4 churches a day in France, Italy or Spain), I would in fact get quite annoyed at the social obligation of joining them for at least some time.

    It might be the Dutch in me, but I would prefer not having to socialize with the crowd, especially the first time – even if I attended Mass. The second or the third time, ok, guess it comes with the territory. But if I’m just passing by, that’s probably because I planned to do just that – and only that.

    On top of that, the one Dutch parish where they employed a greeter never saw me again, for that very reason (and half a dozen others).

    Now, all that doesn’t mean I don’t agree that it creates tons of sympathy, good will and perhaps even conversions if people are friendly towards newcomers. Nothing can be as lethal as “the stare”. But please don’t go overboard in the other direction either.

  45. Mike says:

    We go now and then to the TLM at St. John’s, in Mclean, VA. Happy to say we have experienced nothing but warm welcomes, particularly in those small, quiet gestures that acknowledge the Lord among us.

  46. David Zampino says:

    At our parish (where the Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered 6 days each week, and the Holy Mass is offered 11 times each week) we have hospitality following both Sunday Masses, consisting of bakery items; at least one hot entree (hot ham and rolls; meatballs; chili; etc.) and beverages. Guess what? The parish hall is full, and the church is growing rapidly.

    We WELCOME visitors, and encourage them to stay! If you’re ever in Milwaukee, come give St. Margaret Mary a visit!

  47. Traductora says:

    The only “hospitality” I have seen in traditionalist churches is determined looking middle-aged ladies running forward with a mantilla – or, in one case, a mantilla, a shawl to cover the sleeveless dress and a rosary! – for women who had been probably afraid to go to the mass in the first place, and with their worst fears confirmed, probably never returned.

    That said, hospitality is a problem in all Catholic churches. I’m actually Byzantine rite, with my family having changed rites during the total misery of the 1970s, although I rarely live places where there’s an active Byzantine rite parish. However, in my attendance at both Byzantine rite and Orthodox churches, they always have lunch after mass. Granted, they usually have only one liturgy a Sunday. But still, the principle is there.

    We need to have a routine thing – breakfast, lunch, whatever – to which people can bring things (I loved to bake for the after-liturgy lunch!). Or the regular congregation can contribute a few bucks to buy nice pastries that will encourage people to stay; it’s a pretty cheap form of evangelization! But this way you have an ongoing event where visitors can simply blend in, hang out with a group of people already enjoying themselves (and, yes, the homeless on the plaza can be invited too), and something that also bolsters community identity and connects with older people who probably wouldn’t stay unless they themselves were making the piroshki.

  48. Austin says:

    As an convert from Anglicanism, I found the almost complete lack of “community” at American Catholic parishes uncomfortable and alienating. Of course, most Anglican/Episcopal churches are much smaller, but I can think of very few I have worshipped in, on several continents, that have not had a tea/coffee/sherry reception after mass at which visitors were welcome and, more to the point, welcomed. I often spent almost as much time at the reception as the service, since so many people wanted to chat. In places we lived for any length of time, those people invited us to their homes, called us when we were ill, and encouraged us to be involved in prayer groups and volunteer service. They still pray for us.

    Without exception, the Catholic parishes I have attended in America (several states) have had the “industrial” model of sacrament delivery. At the end of the mass (by which time a third or more of the congregation has already left) one is lucky to see even the celebrant at the narthex greeting people. No opportunity to meet or talk to anyone, no receptions of any kind. On to the next mass, before the carpark empties.

    The traditional parishes we have gone to were better than the diocesan standard model, slightly less alienating, but still not at all warm. Because they have stronger parish life, it seemed clear that, if one stayed for any length of time, one would likely become recognized and included.

    Our kids have been in the same parochial school for almost seven years and we have gone to mass at the parish regularly for three. Still, the only people we speak to are parents we have befriended at school events.

    Explanations I have heard: “It’s about God, not about people” or “Catholic parishes are too big to be cosy” or “Our pastor is too over-worked to gladhand”. I don’t find any convincing. One goes to a huge Evangelical church and one is firmly given the opportunity to be welcomed, if not forcibly included (which can be off-putting). But they set up structures and volunteers to pay attention to such things.

    Perhaps one of the small things the Ordinariates can offer the Church, if they succeed at all, is how important bonding among parishioners can be to create adherence, community, and a deeper experience of the faith.

    And I say all this as someone who is delighted to be Catholic, has no intention of moving anywhere else, and is involved in Catholic organizations. We could do a lot better.

  49. Joseph-Mary says:

    So it having a greeter at the door the most important thing when coming to worship the Lord? Like Walmart? No. I attend the TLM when I can and there are friendly and reverent people there but they do not chat and carry on before or after Mass, at least not in the church.
    Myself, when I notice someone new, I make it a point to introduce myself to them after Mass some time. I have made a number of friends that way.

  50. Imrahil says:

    Dear Eliane,

    having also used this word I assure you I thought it a quite innocent nickname, and beg your pardon.

  51. Imrahil says:

    Dear Traductory,

    hospitality is a problem in all Catholic churches

    well you know, as various people have suggested in this combox, it depends much on the temperament of both host and especially guest. General temperament and also some temperament specifically connected to Churches. You can go to as people as open as the Italians and still be greeted with friendly silence, added by a “ciao” at the beginning and a “ciao” at the ending when you’ve appeared for about the third time. I wouldn’t have it otherwise.

    I’d even say that while any culture has their right (in so far as it is cultural), if something seems rather widespread among Catholic cultures, I’m careful before calling it a Catholic bug. It might be a feature.

    That said, some forceless gathering, even with coffee&cake or also, on the Sunday, with wheat beer and white sausages, does seem a good thing to introduce to me.

    I second, btw., again what the dear Henry Edwards said – traditionalists (better dear Eliane?) are if anything more friendly, and I have never seen anybody given anybody the stare for not wearing a mantilla (in fact, I’ve never attended a Mass, TLM or not, where there was not a substantial amount of women not wearing a mantilla).

    And also, of course, what the dear Phil_NL said…

  52. rbushlow says:

    Amen and Amen!

  53. e.davison49 says:

    Fr. Z:

    I see that you put a link to Rorate back on your sidebar list. It is good to see it there again. Is the cold war over? Is there detente? Will they reciprocate? (Not yet holding breath.)

    [Neither am I.]

  54. Imrahil says:

    As to what Matthew Gaul said,

    you can’t have a major social event because it’s necessary to leave room for the distinct family life. There is no eating-together in general because the family is supposed to eat a festive Sunday meal together at their home table. Or otherwise, restaurants want to earn their money too.

    As Fr Messner put it, while clubs are fine, we have to take that Family becomes the club to belong to. As for concrete activities, this even applies to the Church up to a degree.

    We do have three major get-togethers, though: 1. Corpus Christi, city. 2. Corpus Christi, parish (on the Sunday). 3. patronage solemnity.

  55. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’m probably going to draw a little ire for this, but I’m starting to notice that age makes a bit of a difference in terms of the friendliness and welcoming attitude of a TLM parish. The TLM parishes that I’ve been to where the parishioners are predominantly younger families with children (and where the children are allowed to run around and play at the coffee ‘an after Mass) are far friendlier and more welcoming and inclusive. But the parishes with the predominantly senior populations tend to be the ones where morgue-silence is imposed and proper decorum after Mass is expected. Maybe it’s simply because parents with young kids are accustomed to mixing and mingling with other families at other social events outside of Mass, but I don’t know. I can’t manage to put my finger on why it seems to be this way.

    Sorry to paint with such a broad brush, but that just seems to be the pattern I’ve begun to notice.

  56. APX says:

    In my experience, when I started attending the TLM on a regular basis, it was the younger adults who were the most welcoming. The old ladies I met were more concerned with wanting to get me matched with a man so they could have another wedding, and the young families tended to be more of a clique and not all that open to new people, despite what efforts I did try to make.

    In another city when I was first going to their TLM, I was literally accosted in the washroom by a woman who overheard me explaining to someone who didn’t really understand what “Latin Rite” referred to that the OF and the EF were the same Latin Rite, only different expressions and that the OF was also the Latin Mass. Next thing I know I have some woman jumping down my throat about the communists in the Vatican at Second Vatican Council.

    That is not how to attract newcomers. I don’t understand why trads can’t just be normal. Why do they always have to argue the latest conspiracy theory about Vatican II and everything else that’s wrong in the Church? It’s no wonder we lose people to the Anglican Use Ordinariate.

  57. nykash says:

    So some EF communities have difficulties… two recent masses (Grand Rapids, MI and outside of Boston) were extremely welcoming. Others I’ve found are far less friendly; some were actually hostile.

    Prescribing the medicine of ‘be more friendly’ is a bit simplistic. As others have pointed out, the parish itself may not be conducive to gatherings after mass. The community itself could be going through some difficult times.

    A community needs a minimum of four elements: hospitable parishioners; a good relationship with the priest; a stable meeting place; and, most importantly, God. A lack of any one these causes problems.

  58. Amerikaner says:

    Rorate actually removed Fr. Z’s link twice. The first time it happened I emailed them and made a fuss and the link re-appeared a few days later. Then the second time it happened, I wrote again, got no response and the link stayed gone.

    Honestly, Fr. Z is the better blog. [C’mon. Thanks for the words, but I hope for cooperation and not competition. ‘Cause, in the end, it ain’t about us alone.]

  59. rcg says:

    My experience is similar to Henry Edward’s. Now they TLM parishes may be more serious, well actually they are a lot more serious, but the community spirit reminds me of a farm or ranching region where people depend on each other. Heck, we even had a square dance in our basement!

  60. Athelstan says:


    The TLM parishes that I’ve been to where the parishioners are predominantly younger families with children (and where the children are allowed to run around and play at the coffee ‘an after Mass) are far friendlier and more welcoming and inclusive. But the parishes with the predominantly senior populations tend to be the ones where morgue-silence is imposed and proper decorum after Mass is expected.

    1. This has generally been my experience as well. *Most* TLM communities skew young, so that’s less of a factor. But when it’s dominated by an older demographic, it’s typically more insular. But that is true in regular diocesan parishes too, I think. It makes sense.

    2. The other dynamic that can be a problem is that some TLM communities are mostly a mix of two demographics: a) young families, and b) the elderly, with not much in between. And the two groups tend to mix with their own kind.

    3. But I can also think of a couple TLM parishes (FSSP, in this case) with loads of young families where I received nary a greeting or a nod of acknowledgment. This may have been because I was a single male. Had I brought a a nice sized family in tow, I think I might have been noticed.

    I think there’s a danger in overdoing it, as many evangelicals and pentecostals tend to do. But I think some – many – TLM communities could do a little more to be welcoming to newcomers. We have to evangelize for tradition, too.

  61. Gregorius says:

    Though I normally can’t go, today I got to attend Mass with the local TLM community (which is really just a weekly Sunday Mass allowed by an ethnic parish). This is a group of about 100 people, mostly elderly but good mix of younger people and a few young families. On one hand, they are group that predates Summorum Pontificum, imposes silence on the congregation, have to have rotating priest celebrants, have Masses that are less than picturesque as far as TLMs go, and are not members of the parish that hosts them. On the other hand, they are sure to have a social gathering after Mass complete with coffee and donuts, and every time I’ve gone I’ve found plenty of people to talk to and have many a pleasant chat. The young families and the elders that stay tend to form their own circles, but there are still many good people there, and as this isn’t really a formal community it is a great place to meet other visitors, people who occasionally drop by for whatever reason.

    What I mean to say is it’s still possible to have community at TLMs despite setbacks or unsavory factors. It simply requires the ability to temporarily step outside one’s comfort zone on everyone’s part.

  62. benedetta says:

    Ironically the ones without the official greeters and mandated say hello to your neighbor to your left can be places of more genuine and heartfelt community. It is not necessarily a matter of having greeters or stating “All Are Welcome” in the bulletin. Of course, the Catholic Church has always been and always will be the place where all are welcome. I suspect a certain effort to insist on this mantra as implying that the Church is not the place for sinners or that the Church is unwelcoming per se. I believe that this portrayal is yet another attack on the Church. I’d rather a warm and genuinely supportive community than the union label all are welcome stamp any day. Just because those words are inserted it does not make it so. Coffee hours, greeters, ushers, the all are welcome announcement, and many other things, just do not in the end make it so.

    I would say that a parish that is publicly committed to prolife as a baseline has the right foundation to welcome all. Of course community does not stop at a welcome. And neighbor is something more, and different, than Sunday morning or coffee hour. Even if one doesn’t pass your litmus test politically, can you respect them in their God given dignity? Can you serve them as a brother or sister in Christ? Can you forgive whatever preferences of your own that this person might not seem to be able to live up to, for whatever reason?

    Funny, awhile back, I believe before I began exploring the EF…I was reading Fr. Z.’s advice to those new to the EF, attending for the first time. I remember reading along, taking in the salient points given by a no doubt time harried but encouraging priest, concisely given, and then, reading the line that went something along the lines of “You may seem some people who strike you as odd…”, and taking pause. I thought, what could that mean…well, it means just what it says. If someone who doesn’t strike as odd isn’t welcome in the Catholic Church, whatever form and wherever parish, then, we’ve got a problem, no doubt. The EF is a place where one can be odd, and, one can go about their way, and, live in the fullness of communion. A place that looks upon one who may indeed be strikingly odd with kindness and charity, or, looks the other way and does not judge, or may know all about their histories or family roots or brushes with the law or antics or whatever it may be from the local gossips and may still be friendly and share a coffee after the Mass, well, it doesn’t really get any better than this does it.

  63. Kathleen10 says:

    Well here comes the lemon.
    I like to be friendly and outgoing, and a kind greeter is always welcome, but I have a different take on after Mass chats. I think I’m the exception in this, because it appears so many good people here put such great store in friendliness, so it seems important. But for me socializing with people I don’t know is work. It’s draining, maybe because I have to do so much talking all week at work. Now, I have greatly enjoyed being part of a church community and getting together to accomplish some church activity, decorate the church, tag sales, and so on. It’s wonderful to feel you are in community. But just to go and chat with people I don’t know after Mass, it’s not something I would generally prefer to do. Community takes time and repeated exposure.

  64. jflare says:

    Oddly enough, I’m not at all convinced that I’d like to have the priest or whomever do as the hypothetical situation suggests. Call me cold, but especially if I’ve never been to the church before, I have little or no desire to visit the social hall and chat. I’d much rather take a look in the sanctuary and pray. … I might also have a distinct desire to make certain that I’m not walking into a theological battle theater.
    I remember visiting a beautiful church in a US city several times; I didn’t wish to speak with the members of the parish much though, I’d determined they definitely were not in communion with the local bishop.
    And, of course, I visited many churches in Germany; they didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak German. Even when we speak the same language, it’s often ticklish to discern anything worthwhile to talk about.
    Now, if you want to have someone greet me at the door, politely point out where the Eucharist is and suggest that I pray and listen to a choir singing Chant and polyphony, that’s another matter entirely.
    But that’s not a priest or parishioner dragging me into a social hall for a conversation I likely don’t want.

  65. I would gladly give up the Novus Ordo if an unmarried lady spotted me sitting all by myself at an extraordinary form Mass and started a meaningful conversation with me. It wouldn’t have to start with anything more than, “I hope you’ll have time to join us at the convivium after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,” followed by an eyelash flutter or two. Of course, as the article says, that rarely happens at the Novus Ordo either, so I continue my liturgical wanderings alone.

  66. NobisQuoQue says:

    Unfortunately, my experience with TLM parishes is that they are generally full of cliques. I’ve found it hard to break into these cliques and make friends. Whatever happened to “welcoming the stranger”? I think part of the problem is that those who are more of a melancholic temperament are drawn to the TLM — and I don’t think that melancholics are apt to reach out to strangers or newbies at the parish. Is it possible to love the TLM itself, but not be so keen on most of the people who attend the TLM?

    One exception was in a coffee shop after TLM Mass in Scranton, where some people from the local parish noticed I had also been to the TLM that morning. Though I was a complete stranger visiting their city, they invited me to sit with them and we all had breakfast together. I’ll never forget their kindness and welcoming.

  67. RafqasRoad says:

    Fr. Z., THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!! unfriendliness and even downright hostility at the extreme end of the congregational spectrum is something I’ve encountered in my several decades of adult Christian life, and something that needs to be addressed.

    Rule of thumb: congregations with a healthy number of folk who have a disability have been among the warmest I have encountered. having a guide dog also seems to bring a new dynamic into the mix, bringing the absolute best and absolute worst out of people.

    Some of the most unfriendly encounteres verging on downright snubbing have been at NO parishes, and many SDA congregations I attended during my 21 years with this denomination (remember, I’m only a convert of not yet three years to Catholic Christianity).

    My Maronite rite Church wherein I was received into Catholic Christianity contained (sometimes at the self same mass) the two extremes of this spectrum ranging from hostility that led to tears as I was kicked out of the church re my guide dog despite welcome acceptance of the Mgr. (now our Aus Maronite bishop) and all the priests plus most of the parishioners) and the exact opposite – fine young men and women who would guide me to communion (in a congregation of upwards of a thousand at the English/Aramaeic MR mass on sundays even with a good guide dog, this was often necessary) coupled with folk who made it their business to come up to me during prayer after church and say hi, speak with me, request prayer/join me etc. (very welcomed on my part and often a blessing when I needed it most) In two suburban NO parishes, I’ve had Aaron (guide dog) hissed at in the communion line (very amusing; don’t know what they wished to achieve there) and a self appointed member of ‘God’s police’ in another suburban NO just about go to pieces before the good Fr. there (I heard every word) re the presence of a dog at the Marian shrine in said church (I keep him groomed, clean and in full harness). You know you’ve struck it pretty bad when the congregants try peddling ‘faith healing’ at you (happened more than once in my SDA days) and the absence of this thus far in my Catholic Christian experience has been frankly refreshing.

    As for the sole TLM community in Sydney I attended about half a dozen times prior to moving two hours plus south of said city, Fr. Wong was dear, friendly and welcoming, guiding me and seeing to my needs himself, most welcoming of Aaron in the church and right up there among the truly fantastic yet humble and authentic priests I have come across since entering Catholic Christianity. His parishioners on the other hand would be split 5/95 re the ‘frozen chosens (with a handful of wonderful folk making up for the usual suspects’ behaviour. Where I am now, the congregations are genuinely friendly but don’t force it onto one, have morning tea after church several times per month on Sundays and every Tue morning at our parish ‘HQ’ church. I have also been invited to pray with the small group of layety who pray rosary and CDM after most masses; I split myself on Tuesday mass between the prayers one week, and morning tea folk the other; sometimes if the prayers can be given a bit of a ‘get it together’ both can be achieved. Our churches are full (NO) and though some masses can be ‘hippy’, we’ve public rosary and adoration regularly, a very active St. Vincent de Paul society and regular, good-quality well-attended confession times. The Anglican parish I attended between my SDA days and becoming Catholic Christian was also incredibly friendly, both socially after services and looking after those in need e.g. those isolated, those ill, elderly and frail etc. Same goes with home Bible studies. there. I’d love to get a Bible study group started at my new parish home but prayer and feedback from a young new priest who is a hard worker for Christ indeed indicates that now is not the time…so, there you have it.

    Blessings from Australia.
    to see how to better accommodate visitors/parishioners with little or no sight, go to http://www.torchtrust.org and spend some time researching ‘worship for all’ (how to make churches disability friendly – applicable to all denominations, including Catholic congregations be they EF or OF) and their foursight for the church instructions.
    learn more here:
    and listen to the presentation via the link on resource page above. Cathlics should be streets ahead on this stuff!!

  68. anyone else watching coverage of Pope Francis visit to Holy Land? Doesn’t look well. He’s always been short of breathe but i also noticed he’s bowing in place of kneeling more often than not. From the beginning his gait seems to suggest difficulty. I worry now that our Holy Father Francis may be a short pontificate :(

  69. Amerikaner says:

    “Honestly, Fr. Z is the better blog. [C’mon. Thanks for the words, but I hope for cooperation and not competition. ‘Cause, in the end, it ain’t about us alone.]”

    @ FrZ – I meant that yours is the better blog because you are way more balanced.

  70. Luvadoxi says:

    2 suggestions:

    low-key invitation to coffee hour by the priest at the end of Mass–and have one every week if possible.

    Bible studies

  71. MikeM says:

    Reading through the comments, I get the sense that some are exaggerating what being welcoming means. I’ve been to sufficiently welcoming parishes who take different approaches. If you just give newcomers a hello, a “thanks for coming” and maybe an invitation to come again or to attend some other activity, that could be sufficient if it’s warm and sincere. (For a TLM parish, finding a polite way to reassure people, without being presumptive, that it’s OK if they’re a little slow figuring out what to do might be a good idea, too). Otherwise, be polite, and laugh it off with them if they happen to fall victim to the parish crank.

    Some parishes do great things to build community, which are nice, but have to fit the conditions and the personality of the place. When the weather permitted, my childhood parish had coffee, lemonade and snacks (donuts or cookies or something) under a tent right outside the church door, which worked great (everyone at least had to pass through, people could stop by without feeling trapped, and there was a lawn for any rowdy kids). Another group I attended had masses at night… at the end, the church had to be locked up, but some people would walk down the street to a pub and made sure new attendees got an invitation to come along. Those were appropriate for their situations, it’s probably good for every parish or community to come up with something that works for theirs… but not having anything like that doesn’t mean that it can’t be welcoming.

  72. dominic1955 says:

    Even before I had any interest in the TLM, I liked this about Catholic churches-no one bothers you! I don’t mind going to the reception afterwards, but I’d rather hang out with my own family or friends. I don’t like the big crowds.

    This is also what I dislike the most about visiting Protestant churches. Whether to look at them (because they are rarely open except during service times) or to get a feel for how they do things or how the building is set up (I’m in the funeral business) I don’t want to be bothered, and obviously I’m respectful but they won’t take a simple “No”! I really just wish they’d act like I was invisible, that’s exactly how I’d have it if I could.

  73. “Our churches are full (NO) and a bit hippy.”
    our churches are full(NO)and not the least bit hippy,with rosary and adoration. everyone knows everyone anyway and the priest greets all after Mass. it has always been this way here. I grew up with the TLM and then the change to NO.Our liturgy never suffered the abuses some have endured. So the transition to NO was not a time of upheaval.We are immune from the world here. Not sure why.

  74. Priam1184 says:

    @boxerpaws1952 Been watching wall to wall coverage of the Holy Father’s visit to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. I know that there are miles to go and still many crosses to bear but it greatly warms my heart to see the Bishop of Rome, the Patriarch of the West, the Vicar of Christ sitting next to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and offering praise along with representatives of the Oriental Orthodox churches to our Risen Lord in front of the empty tomb. Deo gratias!

    Francis is 78 I think and he has sciatica so he tends to limp and/or require assistance moving around. I can tell you from personal experience that the steps going up to Golgotha in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are steep and uneven so I wasn’t surprised to see that he need help getting up there. Other than that he doesn’t look to bad for a guy in his late 70s but I can’t speculate on how long his pontificate will last.

  75. I would gladly give up the Novus Ordo if an unmarried lady spotted me sitting all by myself at an extraordinary form Mass and started a meaningful conversation with me. It wouldn’t have to start with anything more than, “I hope you’ll have time to join us at the convivium after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,” followed by an eyelash flutter or two. Of course, as the article says, that rarely happens at the Novus Ordo either, so I continue my liturgical wanderings alone.

    [heavy but fundamentally maternal sigh]

    Here’s the thing, Andrew:

    It is my experience that trad ladies expect a man to be a man’s man. That means, you have to make the first move. Try making eye contact with single ladies (no ring, white mantilla, sitting alone or with friends), and smiling.

    Then you could try actually going up to her after Mass and saying ‘Hello’ and asking about the Mass as a newbie. And introducing yourself.

    Or, you can just sit there and wait for her to come up. In which case, you will be pipped at the post by that other guy who actually went up to her and introduced himself politely.

    This is because all the ladies in the church will be assuming that you’re not interested for a variety of reasons: 1) you’re already spoken for; 2) you don’t find them attractive enough to come up and say hi; 3) you are one of those guys who hangs around the EF because he likes lace rather too much.

    Real women don’t chase men. They don’t need to.

  76. Ah – so sorry – reason No 4 for your perceived lack of interest is ‘you are discerning a vocation’.

    But Andrew (for I remember you now from some years ago) – this is all old news to you! But at least you’re still in the game, sort of.

  77. I love the fact that I’m not bothered by people flying in my face at the TLM. I’m not a “people person” in general…and it seems often that the introverted/melonchalic type (as I am) are often attracted to the TLM. I don’t mind a little social penance now and then but in general, people are best in quotas, and on my time. It’s like I say, I’m not there “for” people….but if you’re going to have communal activities, let them be truly communal, and not people doing their own things in a group setting.

    People are a major turn off for me, but I’ll never treat them disrespectfully if they do approach me…a cloak of invisibility would be great sometimes….

  78. Amateur Scholastic says:

    Sometimes the newbie has to make the effort. I went to my first weekly parish TLM with my wife and children; afterwards, nobody spoke to us at first, but then I swallowed my nerves, and introduced myself to the priest who chatted with us for 10 minutes. Then he introduced me to someone else, and we were talking with various people for about the next hour. I found it much easier to chat to people there than at my local parish, because I could talk about the struggles of living out the Faith without sounding like a loony. (“What? You pray the rosary every day?!!!”)

  79. Aspie says:

    The problem here is that if someone talks in church (e.g. Father welcoming people to stop praying in church to go to his gathering) is I can’t be there before or after mass to pray to the Eucharist because it’s no longer a quiet place conductive to silent prayer. It’s become like a non-Eucharistic gathering place.

  80. Susan G says:

    The community at St Mary’s Church in Riverside, IA does a great job of being welcoming. I’m not a regular as it’s a bit of a hike from Ottumwa, but they have a monthly potluck after the 1:30 Extraordinary Form Mass. Their friendliness and welcoming attitude is very refreshing, especially since it seems to be spearheaded by several of the teens in the parish!

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  82. Any concrete piece of advice for welcoming newcomers properly ? I mean, it’s easy to say “Welcome, what’s your name, we’re happy to have you joining us each time you want”, but making people really want to come again and again is not the same…

  83. And it’s not always easy to convince the priest or the Latin Mass Society’s laymen for the gathering after Mass…

  84. MikeM says:

    “Try making eye contact with single ladies (no ring, white mantilla, sitting alone or with friends), and smiling.”

    Ahh… White mantilla! These are the tips no one gives you anymore!

  85. Imrahil says:

    As to the question of the Belgian Catholic,

    (well… from the viewpoint of a comparatively young male)

    be young, preferably a woman, and not only say all these things but mean them, plus add a heartfelt smile.

    That quite suffices…

    Ah, and should a conversation ensue, you might tell a joke (of the sympathetic, not sarcastic sort) at the first opportunity or half-opportunity. Leastways if you’re a man.

  86. Imrahil says:

    Dear Philippa Martyr,

    well, I think the trad ladies should consider

    No 5 he just can’t man himself up alright.

    I’m not saying they should do the job for him (they’re trad ladies after all^^), and for all I know they might even say that then he isn’t man enough for them. Who knows.

    But one thing I do think: being Catholics and thus experts in humanity, they ought to know that not everyone succeeds at once in doing what he would rather have liked to do, before considering possibilities no. 2 or 3.

  87. Imrahil says:

    By the way,

    “white mantilla” around here means “unmarried” but is quite compatible with having a boyfriend or a fiancé.

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  89. Tony Layne says:

    @ Nobis QuoQue:

    “Unfortunately, my experience with TLM parishes is that they are generally full of cliques. I’ve found it hard to break into these cliques and make friends. Whatever happened to ‘welcoming the stranger’?” I know what you mean. But this isn’t really limited to TLM parishes; I see the same thing at NO parishes, too. In fact, if I remember my Sociology 201, any group over five or six tends to break over time into cliques and factions … not necessarily in the sense St. Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians, but different sub-communities, certainly. The nuclei tend to form around people who have taken part in different parish activities (Knights, Stephen Ministry, Saint Francis DePaul, chorus, etc.) over the course of several years. I know I didn’t really begin to feel part of my current parish until I’d been a member of the Knights council for at least two or three years!

    I think Belgian Catholic, has touched on the center of the issue: The greeting of newcomers is an organic outgrowth of the community as a whole. If the community itself consists of “frozen chosen”, or predominantly of people who move every 2 – 4 years as part of their career paths and therefore don’t get heavily vested in their current community, then it’s difficult to get a welcoming process that feels truly welcoming. On the other hand, the problem on the other end of the spectrum isn’t that “formation of community [has replaced] Adoration, Thanksgiving, Contrition, and Petition as the highest end of the mass”. Rather, it’s that formation of community has become an end in itself rather than that which supports and reinforces the ends of adoration, thanksgiving, contrition and petition.

    In other words, it’s not just getting and keeping butts in the pews but doing so in a way that reinforces the Faith as opposed to watering it down. And here again, I believe the burden of leadership, of striking the right tone, is on the parish priest, though the lay leadership can do a lot. Am I right? wrong? off my chump?

  90. @ Tony Layne
    I agree with you completely. And in this case the aim of extending the community is to help people to deepen their Faith through the traditional liturgy of the Church, it isn’t a goal in itself. There we believe they can better enter into the mystery and the meaning of the Mass, and (re)discover the 4 ends you mentioned.
    The good thing with the gathering after Mass is that the Mass in itself doesn’t become a sort of social meeting.

  91. marcelus says:

    “The other face of the same vice is the Pelagianism of the pious. They do not want forgiveness and in general they do not want any real gift from God either. They just want to be in order. They don’t want hope they just want security. Their aim is to gain the right to salvation through a strict practice of religious exercises, through prayers and action. What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love; the humility to receive gifts not just because we deserve it or because of how we act…”

    Can you believe it. The Pope won’t quit.

    By the way, this is Pope Benedict in 1986 (when he still went by Ratzinger). Not the “new” guy. He is busy excommunicating “We are the Church” leaders and looking into the LCWR. Liberal quack of a Pope that he is. ;)


    THinks this pretty much adds it up-

    .Do not forget, No all is about Liturgy. Probably the most important aspect ? maybe. but certainly not enough. GOd bless.


  92. Imrahil says:

    Pelagianism is the heresy that it Grace is attainable by nature.

    What that has to do with some people (of the good-natured, bourgeois, always-sitting-in-Church, perhaps also embittered variety – why should that particular character defect, if defect it is, lead to an absolute exclusion?) craving for security, orderliness, the refreshing feeling to have done one’s duties, or for excelling in devotional actions, while not denying a yota of Catholic doctrine including the condemnation of Pelagianism – that is somewhat beyond me.

  93. Imrahil says:

    Important precisation of my first paragraph: I meant: Pelagianism is the heresy that Grace is attainable by nature on nature’s own merits.

    Grace is “attainable” to nature in the sense that nature is able to receive her as a gift. By conincidence, that includes the gift of supernatural merit which God makes dependent on having cooperated with grace in a good work.

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