TLM: Evangelize or else close and die.

Some of you are writing to me today about a piece at the National Catholic Register by my friend Msgr. Charles Pope in Washington DC about the future of the TLM or Traditional Latin Mass. Pope contends that a ceiling has been reached and that now, at least where he is, numbers in attendance are dropping. His message is, effectively, “Evangelize or else close and die.”

I concur. I’ve been raising this call for a while now. It has ever been so, at least since the devastating to our Catholic identity inflicted since the Second Vatican Council.

Pope says that the numbers have to increase “to make a viable presence going forward”.

After an introduction concerning the harsh reality of numbers, both the bottom money line and attendance in the pews, Msgr. Pope makes a call to get out of complacency.   This call cuts across the entire board of everything the Church is trying to do, TLM or not.  As Pope says:

Frankly, our problem in the Catholic Church today is not one of money, but of people. When only 30% of Catholics go to Mass and many of those give less than 2% of their income to the Church, many activities, buildings, and institutions can no longer be sustained or maintained.

That’s right.  People get what they are willing to pay for, pay in time, treasure and talent.   If Catholics sit back and let everyone else do all the lifting, the whole thing will fall.  Mind you, this is the situation across the board, not just in the “traditional” sphere.

Our forbears in the faith built churches, school and hospitals because they believed and they were not complacent.

Back to the TLM issue.  Pope writes (my emphases and comments):

Evangelization matters. Effectively handing on the faith to the next generation matters. Attending Mass regularly and supporting the work of the Church matters. Vocations matter. Sacrificially offering our time, talent, and treasure matters. These truths matter throughout the Church and in every different setting.
Now go with me to a very different situation—a different scenario and part of the Church altogether—and see that the same basic rules apply.
Some years ago (as far back at the early 1980s) we who love the Traditional Latin Mass often said (or it heard said) that if we would just return to the beautiful Latin Mass our churches would again be filled. [That was a bit dreamy, perhaps.]
At first this appeared to be happening. As many dioceses (through the various indults of the 1980s and 1990s) began to offer the Traditional Latin Mass, those churches were filled, often to standing room only. Liturgical progressives were horrified and traditionalists were joyfully pleased and felt vindicated. [Pride goeth before…]
But as the availability of the Traditional Latin Mass has increased, it seems that a certain ceiling has been reached. [Perhaps in Washington DC.]
In my own archdiocese, although we offer the Traditional Latin Mass in five different locations, we’ve never been able to attract more than a total of about a thousand people. That’s only one-half of one percent of the total number of Catholics who attend Mass in this archdiocese each Sunday.
One of our parishes generously offers a Solemn High Mass once a month on Sunday afternoon, a Mass that I myself have celebrated for over 25 years. But we have gone from seeing the church almost full, to two-thirds full, to now only about one-third full.  [It could be that people are demoralized by the feckless crawling of the leaders of our Church in the face of attacks from within and without, from the world and the Devil.]
Explanations abound among the traditional Catholics I speak to about the lack of growth in attendance at the Traditional Latin Mass. Some say that it is because more options are now available. But one of the promises was that if parishes would just offer the Traditional Latin Mass each parish would be filled again. [“Filled”? Not in my circle they didn’t.] Others say there are parking issues, or that the Mass times are not convenient, or that the Masses are too far away. [Which means that more Masses are needed, and a good times and more locations.] But these things were all true 20 years ago when the Solemn Mass was thriving. [So, he is talking about one particular scheduled Mass, once a month.  So, just to play devil’s advocate… if it is only once a month, what signals to people that it is worth attending?   For example, at Holy Innocents in NYC, a parish that was slated for closure, the TLM was implemented every day of the week.  Attendance grew.  Not only, most of those Masses are sung Masses and many are Solemn.  Solemn Mass not just once a month, solemn every few days if not more often.  It’s Tuesday: Solemn Mass.  Attendance rose.  Then they started devotions like all night vigils for First Friday… yes, all night vigils, literally from dusk to dawn.  Attendance grew.  They don’t do things by halves.  Did they incur the hatred from some chancery folk?  Of course.  But they built it – at the cost of real sacrifice – and now more people are coming.  I’ve seen this develop over the years and it is amazing.]
It seems that a ceiling has been hit. [Perhaps “a ceiling”, but not “the ceiling”.] The Traditional Latin Mass appeals to a certain niche group of Catholics, but the number in that group appears to have reached its maximum. [And then there is the harsh fact that older parishioners die.  It is going to take a while to get the children of young couples into the mix on their own.]
Some traditional Catholics I speak to say, “If only the archdiocese would promote us more,” or “If only the bishop would celebrate it at all or more frequently.” Perhaps, but many other niche groups in the archdiocese say the same thing about their particular interest.  [Has the bishop been invited?  Repeatedly?]
At the end of the day, for any particular movement, prayer form, organization, or even liturgy, the job of promoting it must belong to those who love it most. Shepherds don’t have sheep; sheep have sheep.  [Right.  This is so.  People should commit to inviting one person per week to come to Mass with them.]
And once again we are back to the fundamental point: numbers matter. Groups that seek respect, recognition, and promotion in the highest places need to remember that numbers do matter; it’s just the way life works. If we who love the Traditional Latin Mass want to be near the top of the bishop’s priority list, we’re going to have to be more than one-half of one percent of Catholics in the pews.  [Even though some bishops lavish attention on other noisy but politically correct minorities.]
All of this is also background to a sad but instructive story that came out of a large archdiocese in this country. I don’t wish to mention the diocese or the name of the parish. If you want to read the details, the story is available here: Church to be Demolished. [Chicago.  Institute of Christ the King.] For the purposes of this article, though, simply note that the church in question suffered a rather devastating fire. The particular church was home to the Traditional Latin Mass community and was rented from the diocese. [I don’t think there should be a “home” to the TLM community in one place.]


This is another situation in which numbers matter. The congregation attending the Traditional Latin Mass in this large urban diocese numbered only about 200. Given the typical pattern of Catholic giving, this is not a number that can sustain any parish, let alone one with an older and larger building.
Nevertheless, many bitter recriminations are being directed against the diocese and its bishop. Because many of the complaints are circulating on the Internet, it is not at all clear that the critics are even among the parishioners or clergy of that parish.
But at the end of the day, it really is about numbers. [Yes… it is.  But is also isn’t.  Numbers are not the only factor.  First, at least in the wealthy North let’s acknowledge that we as a Church are dying.  We are not dying by murder, but by suicide.  We must get our heads into a new “creative minority” mode.  People must choose to be Catholic today rather than just go through motions because that’s what the family did.  Creative minorities are, by definition, smaller than the rest of the group.  Also, because of a lack of advertisement (and this is another factor) there weren’t as many people at our Epiphany Mass as there could have been.  No matter.  We celebrated a beautiful Mass that was pleasing to God.  I have no doubt that it resonated through the cosmos and perhaps … perhaps… kept something dire at bay one more day.  Save The Liturgy – Save The World.] It just doesn’t make sense to plow millions into repairing an old building where only 200 people worship; it is not good stewardship. And ultimately, bishops are not responsible for church maintenance—congregations and people are. Congregations need to pay their insurance and maintain their facilities. Simply having a building is not enough. It must be maintained as well.
Further, simply offering a Traditional Latin Mass is not enough, [Hey!  It’s a start!] as I try to show above. People aren’t just going to pile in, relieved that the “silliness” is finally over. Even traditional Catholics have to evangelize.  [Here is another point.  I think that strong-identity Catholics are demoralized.  The weak-identity drift like corks bobbing on the stream.  I suspect many of them belong to some other religion that has Catholic elements but… they are so squishy after decades of squishy preaching, squishy catechesis, squishy effeminate liturgy, cowardly leadership that they are… something, but not Catholic.  Lately, however, I think that even hard-identity Catholics are becoming demoralized.  You can only beat people so long until a supporting bone breaks.  I wonder, in this scenario of falling attendance, if some people are not going to the SSPX.]


This is why evangelization and effectively handing on the faith to the next generation is so critical. Simply having a beautiful liturgy, or a historic building, or a school with old roots in the community, is not enough. Attracting, engaging, and evangelizing actual human beings who will support and sustain structures, institutions, and even liturgies is essential. No one in the Church is exempt from this obligation.  [Across the board.]
If we who love the Traditional Latin Mass thought that it would do its own evangelizing, we were mistaken. It is beautiful and worthy of God in many ways. But in a world of passing pleasures and diversions, we must show others the perennial value of the beautiful liturgy. [We need hard-identity Catholicism.   And we need to put what we think is important front and center.  Priests… toughen up!  Stop being afraid!   Do you think your TLM is important?  Then make it the principle Mass and be ready to explain why.  Is the bishop your enemy?  Win him over.  Is he still your enemy?  Bux Protocol.]
The honest truth is that an ancient liturgy, spoken in an ancient language and largely whispered, is not something that most moderns immediately appreciate. It is the same with many of the truths of our faith, which call for sacrifice, dying to self, and rejecting the immediate pleasures of sin for the eternal glories of Heaven. We must often make the case to a skeptical and unrefined world.  [But if the TLM is an important tool for bringing back, in worship, those messages that are hard… then we have to have it.  And we have to sacrifice for it.]
Evangelization is hard work, but it is work that matters if we want to maintain a viable presence going forward. The lovers of the Traditional Latin Mass are not exempt.
Evangelize or else close and die. It’s a hard fact, but numbers matter. Too many in the Church today demand respect and support without showing the fruits that earn respect and that make support prudent and reasonable.
If we care, we who love tradition ought to work tirelessly to show forth the fruits of tradition. Surely it will come, by Gods’ grace, but we are not exempt from the work of evangelizing.

Thus, Msgr. Pope.

Moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Sonshine135 says:

    In my experience, I have seen some things that I know we could do better around the TLM:

    1. I have listened to those who did not like the older form of the Mass. These individuals took their concern to Father and Father responded something along the lines, “Don’t worry, you will [like it].” Wrong answer with all do respect to Father. Through further discussion with these individuals, I determined that they were uncomfortable, because they did not understand what was going on. In my own experience, it took awhile to quiet myself and to understand. My bigger point is that we, the attendees of the TLM, should be making more of an effort to educate others on the differences and similarities of the NO and the TLM. It would make that first experience more understandable.

    2. My biggest pet peeve is this sense of tribalism even between churches in the same diocese offering the TLM. I have seen the inclination of one church in the diocese to be focused on by the TLM community, and the others in the diocese mentioned as an afterthought. Now, take this tribalism and see how someone who has attended the NO all their life would see it. It gives the new attendee a feeling of being inferior and unwelcome. Even if we say all are welcome, often the actions speak louder than words.

    I think the resolution is simple: What are we doing to invite others to the TLM? How are we helping them understand the Mass better? Are we working with them and talking to them? Are we educating them? Do we send TLM announcements to all churches and not just the ones that offer it? Your honest reflection on these questions will help a lot.

  2. LeeF says:

    I don’t attend the TLM, but probably would if it were closer. And that is the problem, the same reason so many retail businesses die, location. To attract new people they first need to conveniently get a taste. The problem is that in the parishes of my diocese where it is offered, it is either in an urban center far from the suburbs where I live, or way out in the boondocks. Where it is not is suburban parishes. And even in the parishes where it is offered, the NO is done very reverently.

    But this is where once a month model might work. If a group of the requisite size (75-100?) were to find a willing priest and commit to go once a month, then I don’t see how they could legitimately be refused in a large suburban parish where most of the silliest stuff of the NO goes on. But I guarantee they would have to fight tooth and nail against not maybe the bishop, but against his so-called worship staff and the priest council.

    You need your foot in the door before you can open the door wide.

  3. harrythepilgrim says:

    “I wonder, in this scenario of falling attendance, if some people are not going to the SSPX.”

    I didn’t think anyone was watching me.

  4. Polycarpio says:

    Take heart! A few months after the Crucifixion, there were only about 120 Christians in the world. (Acts 1:15.) So what did they do? … Evangelize or die!

  5. ChrisRawlings says:

    In America in 2007 there were over 200 TLMs offered. In 2013 that number rose to over 400. If traditionalists are now spread over twice as many locations on Sundays, you’re going to see a thinning of attendance at those Masses.

    But I will also point out that the truly exponential growth of the TLM in at least this country demonstrates that it is an awfully new and young movement, which means that plenty of TLM attendees are only now starting families. And if the families of five, six, or more kids are any indication, the capacity for growth is tremendous. For what it’s worth, we share our time between an FSSP parish and a very conservative Novus Ordo parish belonging to the Sodalites. The liturgical form differs, but both are very young communities with young priests and a lot of growth potential. So it isn’t even an exclusively TLM thing.

    Parishes that produce vocations, marriages, and children are going to grow by pure demographic process, and inevitably that brings more cash into parishes. What these groups and parishes should be doing is ensuring that these young families are supported and cared for, in terms of education, parish groups, marriage support, and structural supports that ensure that the many kids growing up in TLM parishes stay in TLM (or even just plain authentically Catholic) parishes.

  6. mburn16 says:

    Actually, as a Church, we’re not dying. The Church is growing like wildfire in Asia and Africa. And while it is shrinking in the United States and Europe, this probably comes more from the die-off of Woodstock-era casual attendees than from the truly devout. There’s undeniably a “Young, Conservative Catholic” demographic that can serve as a future base.

    The liturgy issue is complex. On one hand, its good to have the TLM and we should desire it to grow. On the other hand, if TLM Catholics isolate themselves in TLM parishes and attend only TLM masses, then the opportunities for growth are going to be slim….and beyond that, opportunities to shepherd the NO in a more desirable direction will also be restricted by the absence of these most devout and liturgically-inclined Catholics.

    This is an unpopular view around here, but I don’t believe the TLM – or any Latin Mass – is going to become the dominant form of Catholic worship in my lifetime (which is probably another 60 or so years). I expect its simply a step too far for most, even the most Conservative. We should absolutely retain the TLM as a reservoir of liturgical practice that we can use to shape Catholic liturgy, and encourage new people to experience it…but I expect what we’re going to have to settle for is a “middle way” between the NO and TLM. Which may well not be a bad thing, as they do both bring their respective assets.

    Out of curiosity, for those who attend the TLM – does your Priest wear a mic the whole time?

  7. RafqasRoad says:

    Just a thought,

    Might it be time for the various TLM communities to consider Evangelisation in a far more radical form? Might the time have come for its proponents to consider the masses of unchurched out there and formulate ways to bring Christ to those who do not know Him at all? if we are to make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit might a ‘crusade’ be in order?

    This poses the question:

    for one who has never stepped foot inside a church since childhood (not necessarily a Catholic church either) if at all, or if one merely knows the name of Christ as a tragically abused term relegated to the level of prophanity, are not these in most need of evangelisation, of salvation? I haven’t even touched on corporal works of mercy (a point that Fr. Z. has laboured upon in the past – TLM communities must be seen as working in tandem or even leading the charge within the wider Catholic community re corporal works of mercy. Imagine a traditional version of or conducting the works that these groups conduct (especially Torch Trust, which started as a simple ministry run by a housewife from her kitchen table over half a century ago, having grown into the unique mission and ministry that it is today). Likewise, imagine a Traditional ‘L’Arche’ conducting the amazing ministry this organisation conducts. Too difficult? Not at all when one considers the more than simple and small origins of these groups.. Again, imagine a Traditional Catholic version of the mighty mission of Joni Ericson Tarda (Joni and Friends) that has outreached to persons with profound physical and/or developmental disability in the name of Jesus Christ for 30 years. This would not merely break through any TLM ceiling but utterly shatter it into tinkling shards, truly going out into the peripheries.

  8. Jim in Seattle says:

    Father, you make a very important point about the need for regularity in the offering of the Mass. My experience in large organizations (not just the Church) is that when some activity is done infrequently, moved about, or is suddenly stopped and then restarted, participation in and appreciation of it declines. This applies to major feasts moved to Sundays (Ascension or Epiphany, as an example) or meetings or TLMs. Having been raised on the Novus Ordo, I can attest to the fact that it takes a while to both acclimate to the TLM and see the underlying beauty in the Liturgical year and the Mass prayers and propers. Your blog, among others, helped with the development my appreciation. All your points are valid and deserving of consideration, I just wanted to chime in on the regularity of the offering of the TLM.

  9. MichaelfpiusQuinn10 says:

    I am in the Archdiocses that Msgr. Pope is in I am an altarboy at one of the 5 parishes he speaks of. Another priest in our Archdiocese is Msgr. B. Smith who offers the TLM monthly in our archdiocese he has offered a solemn high Mass multiple times a few years back at his Parish with a extremely large attendance. I recently asked him since he is a mentor of mine and a family friend, why he hasn’t offered a solemn high mass in a few years. His response was”it’s not just walking up to the altar offering a Low Mass by yourself,it requires 3 clerics, a whitty sacristan ,and not to mention a MC (would probably be me)and atleast 10 servers who know how to serve (properly). And to mention Fr.’s comment… If the Bishop has been invited… Father well… Let’s just say you know probally who our Cardinal is… And um… He is friendly… To bassicly… Anyone who only thinks his way…
    I’m only 14 and i have to deal with all these Diociesan politics… When I’m a priest I doubt ill go Diociesan under a Cardinal like ours…!
    God Bless!

  10. wolfeken says:

    I think the “anecdotal evidence” is a little unfair with the stated example. A monthly evening Mass offered ten times per year cannot be compared to a Sunday morning Mass offered every Sunday morning.

    Like the Holy Innocents example, offer the TLM on a consistent and normal schedule and it will thrive. But let’s compare apples to apples if we’re going to talk numbers.

    (BTW, the same church that offers the monthly evening TLM in Washington, D.C. has a consistent Sunday morning TLM that attracts about as many people as all of the six novus ordo liturgies there combined.)

  11. wolfeken says:

    I think the “anecdotal evidence” is a little unfair with the stated example. A monthly evening Mass offered ten times per year cannot be compared to a Sunday morning Mass offered every Sunday morning.

    Like the Holy Innocents example, offer the TLM on a consistent and normal schedule and it will thrive. But let’s compare apples to apples if we’re going to talk numbers.

    (BTW, the same church that offers the monthly evening TLM in Washington, D.C. has a consistent Sunday morning TLM that attracts about as many people as all of the five novus ordo liturgies there combined.)

  12. greenlight says:

    I have attended my current NO parish for 20+ years. I had felt a pull towards the traditional Mass and have been attending at a neighboring parish about once a month. I was finally coming to grips with the fact that I was a “traditionalist”. Then we got Pope Francis. Our regular pastor (who is decidedly… uninspiring) asked me about becoming a deacon but by this point I didn’t feel like I could serve in a NO parish. Now he’s asking about joining a lay-formation program that’s a three year commitment. I’m honestly not sure what to think or do. I want to fight for my faith but I don’t know how or even where. When error is being promoted at the highest levels of the Church, how do you fight? Do you cast your vote by joining a TLM parish? Do you stay and fight, and what does that even look like if you do? I know Fr. Z always talks about doing all the things that need to be done and serving brick by brick etc., but sometimes it seems like that’s propping up the part of the Church that should be coming down.

  13. tz2026 says:

    Here, to quote Yogi Berra, nobody goes to the Extraordinary rite – it’s too crowded.

    But more seriously, something pointed out by the New Emangelization Project is that Men have given up. Get the Men in, you get the family. They had a survey which Pope commented on:

    I don’t agree with everything on the site, but I think they make a point. The Extraordinary Rite is very masculine. Great, introspective, focused, reverent. The way men worship. No touchy-feely group-hug stuff. The Novus Ordo can be done in a far more masculine manner (Here it is a bit more masculine than feminine, but I attended one church that omitted the “peace be with you” – which in ancient tradition AFAIK belongs before the offertory anyway, not interrupting the Canon).

    Perhaps it might pay to focus on the men who aren’t attending and suggest they try the Latin mass.

    One problem I still have (even here) is when you have newer hymnals, they will have “inclusive” language. I suppressed a scream of frustration over a vandalized Christmas Carol that replaced “men” with something that broke the meter and rythm.

  14. Auggie says:

    I think many people who yearn to live in a community of “strong-identity Catholics” end up with the FSSP or SSPX. Some folks are even relocating to places that have that strong identity.

  15. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    I can agree and disagree. Certainly we should invite others and be sure that they are properly prepared, know what to expect, and understand the different approach and ethos of the EF compared to the NO, especially as it is so often celebrated. I attend the TLM at the parish where Msgr. Pope celebrates once a month late Sunday afternoon, but I go to the 9 am Mass every Sunday. That Mass is followed by an English NO and then a Chinese NO, so we don’t lack for variety. Until about 10 years ago we had many at the 9 am Mass who came from Virginia, some driving an hour and a half each way, with small children. Then the bishop in their home diocese decided to allow the TLM at several parishes (this was pre-SP) and we lost many of our attendees. But within a year or two we were built up again, so this was a case of more opportunities causing a thinning of the congregation, but we recovered. We have many, many young families with many, many children. We have a horde of altar boys.

    I know for a fact that the chancery here does not favor the TLM. It referred to our parish in a letter as one of those in the Archdiocese “designated for the EF.” “Designated for the EF”???!?? Haven’t they heard of SP? I also know personally of actions, or inactions, from the chancery to inhibit the celebration of the TLM outside of the few places where it is now celebrated, but if I gave more details it might expose good priests to retribution.

    It is very difficult for priests or laity to evangelize for the TLM when the local hierarchy makes it abundantly clear that there is something distasteful, wrong, “confusing” (another chancery letter), and generally unacceptable about the TLM. The clergy get the message, believe me, and there are very few who are willing to put their heads above the parapet. Thank God for the ones who do.

  16. joecct77 says:

    I would add that in Msgr. Pope’s (and mine) Archdiocese, the (lame duck) Cardinal Archbishop is not a fan in the Extraordinary Form.

  17. rmichaelj says:

    In Texas the TLM is definitely growing, I wonder if Msgr Pope’s opinion is not somewhat biased based on his locale. However, I agree personally that the TLM can be very intimidating when first experienced. While I understand the arguments for Latin, I wonder if a possibility might be a sort of TLM in the vernacular, while retaining certain parts in Latin (e.g. Gloria, Confiteor, Kyrie-in greek) at least once a week as a way introduce people into the Traditional Mass. It would also be a nice test bed to see if something similar could be useful to NO Parishes.

    In regards to evangelization- I teach religious Ed at an NO parish, while going mostly to mass at a TLM parish. Nearest FSSP is just over an hour away. On top of that participating in the TLM at first requires real effort (even just following along and knowing where you are in mass is difficult for a newcomer). Father Z, I would be extremely interested to know if you had any thoughts as the best way to evangelize/invite given the extra obstacle of distance and effort involved. Maybe there has already been a post on this subject in the past?

  18. ChesterFrank says:

    The only TLM here is at a SSPX Chapel, and I have never understood SSPX’s relationship with the Church. Is it a good idea to attend one of their Masses or not? It would be great if some of the religious orders that specialize in that Mass, would take residency of the older churches that were built when that Mass was more widely practiced. Might they be able to raise some finances by giving instruction on church restoration? How does Europe keep its centuries old churches from falling into ruin?

  19. MotherTeresa says:

    It is interesting that Msgr. Pope is pastor in a dioceses with a very high cost of living. In my somewhat anecdotal experience, there tends to be continuing migration among conservative, large-family Catholics from expensive cities to less crowded areas. Much of this is due to the difficulty of raising a large family in an expensive area on one income, but part is just a desire to get away from the worldliness of large cities. The TLM community in our relatively low-cost community is thriving. Every year brings more families from crowded coastal cities. I have never known a large, traditional Catholic family to move from our area to a large, expensive city. Not even one.

  20. kekeak2008 says:

    Despite some minor issues with location and the use of “anecdotal evidence” I think the crux of Msgr. Pope’s article is valid: if we want something and we want something that will last for the long haul, we have to put our money where our mouth is. Fr. Z has mentioned several times that a lot of traditional Catholics are battle-fatigued and weary; that’s certainly understandable. But we can’t let up. If we truly believe that the TLM is at the heart of any true New Evangelization, we’ve got to work as hard as the Lord requires for it to make it happen. But we also have to be warm with newcomers and actively inviting new people to see the TLM for themselves. I’m guilty of not doing this; Msgr. Pope’s article just motivates me to do more.

    We have have to also show people that any and all of the spiritual benefits people get from the Novus Ordo can also be received from the TLM. We have to demonstrate that all the spiritual and corporal acts of mercy are alive in well in our community and that the same camaraderie that can be found in most NO parishes can also be found in TLM parishes. Fr. Z has mentioned this several times; I imagine that a lack of such effort (and not putting our money where I mouth is) may ultimately contribute to the stagnation or the “traditional” Catholic population.

  21. Jackie L says:

    [It could be that people are demoralized by the feckless crawling of the leaders of our Church in the face of attacks from within and without, from the world and the Devil.] – I would agree with this, but we cannot control Church leaders, but we can do much else.

    Regarding the article, I think the growth has slowed a bit, but there is still growth, my parish has ordained two men to the priesthood in the last two years, both came from the Sunday TLM crowd, ours along with the other TLM parishes account for 20- 25% of the seminarians within the diocese. I’ve seen similar numbers in the neighboring diocese, these young men will make a huge difference in the near future. We have also several large families that continue to grow. Our future is very bright.

    It does interest me that with the Novus Ordo mass attendance, at least in the USA continuing to decline, there is at least some concern over a still growing segment of the Church.

  22. Michael_Thoma says:

    Your suggestion seems very much like an Ordinariate solution. That is also within the Latin Rite. Maybe a canonical expert can reply about the legitimacy of offering such a Liturgy to communities of uncatechized or poorly catechized Latin Catholics, even if not of historical Anglican heritage.. although it can be argued that much of NO Catholicism has been culturally anglicanized due to the nation’s secular history, and then further protestantized.

  23. dsollars1800 says:

    Ok, this will come across as a superficial, but most regular church going folks want to attend mass on a regular schedule, and Sunday morning just seems to work for many as convenient “church time.” Offering a TLM on Sunday afternoon, as opposed to 7:30 or 8:00 am, would seem to limit the opportunity for many as our modern world offers several competing things to do on Sunday afternoon. So, one can go to a NO in the morning and still watch the ball games, fiddle in the garden, eat family dinner in the afternoon, and still be a good Catholic.

    Second, some old-fashioned instruction and learning on a large scale will be required. Think about when we slightly “revised” the US NO mass just a few years ago. Printed instruction cards in the pews, homily after homily of instruction, just to change a few of the responses, slightly adjust the creed, etc. For a regular NO catholic the TLM is a whole new thing and can make one uncomfortable as they struggle to find their place in the old red TLM missal. I have always wondered if a TLM priest could, on occasion, go “off rubric” and just explain what is happening and why–shoot, that could apply to a NO priest as well. High mass, low mass? Mantilla? Kneeling for communion? For the uninitiated and unfamiliar, walking into a TLM can be intimidating, especially if all you have ever known is the NO.

  24. Papabile says:

    MotherTeresa nailed it.

    When I was married, I lived and worked on Capitol Hill and moved out of my 328 sq foot – $1575 monthly rent – apartment only when my wife was pregnant with our second child. (We attended St. Mary Mother of God – the one Father Pope offers Mass at.)

    We moved to Springfield VA (17 miles from the Capitol) to a $2000 a month mortgage for a 1585 sq foot townhouse. (Commute is about 1 to 1.5 hours to the Capitol during rush hour. — If one picks up “slugs”, one can get in the HOV lane and it’s about 30 minutes). (We attended St. Lawrence there.)

    When my wife was pregnant with our 7th child, we moved another 22 miles out to Manassas, VA with a $3000 a month mortgage for 3500+ sq ft. (Now we drive 15 miles to Gainesville to go to Mass at Holy Trinity).

    At each and EVERY step of the way, family size was incrementally larger.

  25. iPadre says:

    Msgr Pope think the Washington area is dead, he has to come up north. New England is deader than dead. No matter what you do, most people don’t give a darn. What most people want is entertainment, and we have entertained them in the ways they want for years. But, you can find better entertainment elsewhere and they have finally realized it and have gone there. [Thus, megachurches filled with former Catholics.]

    Many good Catholics I know are demoralized. We must continue on, and pray like there is no tomorrow. Yes, must we do our part, and work as hard as we can, but, I think the only solution now will come from a divine intervention. We can sow the seed, but God alone can make the seed grow.

  26. Former Altar Boy says:

    1. In many dioceses where the TLM is offered with the “permission” of the local bishop, it is held once a month and often on Sunday afternoon. Once a month makes it nothing more than a novelty. Because Sundays are often “family” days for many families, the afternoon is a poor time to attract new-comers, especially since those who actually attend Mass at all are used to going on Sunday morning.
    2. In other places, the TLM is moved around which, tio me, is just the work of a reluctant bishop to make it hard for a “stable group” to be maintained.
    3. Gas may be cheap right now but when it is high, many people, especially people with families are not going to spend the money to travel very far to “check out” the TLM some friend invited them to experience.
    4. Bishops concerned about money (as many are), should check out the donation records of an established TLM Mass vice a Novus Ordo at the same time. The collection at the TLM is almost always greater. One parish I attended while traveling (with the TLM on Sunday morning between two NOs) showed the previous week’s collection totals in the bulletins. the one TLM collected almost as much as the two NOs combined.
    5. Until bishops start insisting their seminaries teach both forms of the Mass as Pope Benedict directed and instructing pastors to dedicate one Sunday morning Mass to the TLM for at least a year, the growth of the TLM will continue to grow at a snail’s pace.

  27. LeeF says:

    I have a question that perhaps has been answered before and I missed it. Many (most?) dioceses have a televised Mass on Sundays for the elderly/home-bound to watch. And I have read here that sometimes permission for a telecast of the TLM has been refused by a bishop. But if Summorum Pontificum is to be taken seriously, then how can such a telecast be refused if there are home-bound attached to the TLM? Maybe it would be too expensive to get a local television station to commit to such a broadcast, but youtube is free. Could TLM venues who can get professional quality cameras broadcast their services each and every Sunday on youtube? Does it already happen?

  28. mburn16 says:

    “We have have to also show people that any and all of the spiritual benefits people get from the Novus Ordo can also be received from the TLM”

    How exactly do you define a “spiritual benefit”? If we’re talking about the spiritual graces and blessings and absolutions from venial sins….then of course,yes, this statement is accurate. But “spiritual benefits” seems to be a much broader statement that could be far more subjective. I don’t really question that there are people who personally feel more spiritually nourished by the NO.

  29. FXR2 says:

    Father Z.,
    Have some Traditional Catholics fled to SSPX Chapels? Undoubtedly. Particularly under this confusing pontificate. Has attendance at some Traditional Masses declined? Yes. I think that that is chiefly a function of there being more Traditional Masses especially Diocesan Traditional Masses available. People who may have attended Mass at one Diocesan location now have many alternatives. They can now attend many Traditional Masses on a given Sunday or Holy day. People who would have traveled an hour or more can likely find a closer Traditional Mass. I believe that a rising tide will lift all boats… eventually. In the short run some locations will see decline in numbers as the overall number of options for Traditional Mass attendance increases.


  30. MicheleQuigley says:

    The EF in Lancaster, PA is doing well. We have more young people and families than older folks. Yes the Mass time is “inconvenient” at 1:30 PM but we make it work. We have worked to build a community there and it’s beautiful. Our bishop — Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg offered a Pontifical High Mass for the Feast of All Saints this past Nov. 1st. and it was amazingly beautiful. You can see a few pictures here (I was the photographer for the Mass):

    Although I agree with Msgr. Pope that we have to evangelize, from my viewpoint things look very hopeful!

  31. majuscule says:

    Imagine my surprise when I found a once-a-month TLM at the church of my youth–an hour from where I live now. I believe it was a holdover from the days when a group in a wide area would have a TLM in various parishes on a rotating basis. There are now some daily TLMs in the metropolitan area but none in this immediate area so this TLM persists. It has not been well attended, but then it is not well publicized. It’s not a parish Mass so it’s not in the bulletin and a call to the office elicits, “We don’t know. Some group puts it on.”

    I’ve researched free places online where you can post up coming events. All allow photos. So I post information about our up coming Mass. I am using a free Google phone number as a contact point so people don’t bother the parish office–they can leave a message and get their questions answered. We’ve formed a schola in order to have occasional sung Masses. At our latest Mass, when the sanctuary was beautifully decorated for Christmas, I took some video and used an iMovie “trailer” to make a short clip to publicize the Mass online. All this costs nothing but time.

    Everyone works to make this Mass happen–the retired priest, the young servers and their parents, the adult severs, the woman who brings fresh flowers and the booklet missals. They set up the back altar and the kneelers (with houseling cloths!) and then put everything back in Novus Ordo order when we’re done. Most are not from this parish and many not from the diocese. They do it simply because they love the Traditional Mass!

  32. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    On January 22, the day of the March for Life in Washington, DC (the largest civil rights demonstration in the world), there will be a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form offered at St. Mary Mother of God at 4 pm. This is the fourth annual Nellie Gray Mass, sponsored by the Paulus Institute and offered for the repose of the soul of the founder of the March for Life, who faithfully attended the Sunday TLM at St. Mary’s. It is standing room only and packed with young people who have participated in the March. This year the celebrant is Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa and the choir will be Vox in Rama from Holy Innocents in NYC. All are welcome!

  33. Gratias says:

    Msgr. Pope is correct that established TLMs have reached plateau levels. The people the TLM attracts is from a small pool of Catholics sufficiently dedicated to attend NO Mass. Steady state does not mean always the same people. People rotate from week to week and return to a pool of Catholics informed that there is a better way to meet God. Inviting new people is done but few stay. I have brought 3, all loved the TLM but no one stayed. Money is the issue which we can address most easily by giving until it hurts. My donations have migrated mostly front the NO to the Vetus Ordo and since they are in different parishes I am certain they have not gone unnoticed. That is a good evangelizing signal.

  34. Gratias says:

    One thing that is not widely realized is that the modern sensitivity after 50 years of VC2 inculcation now demands that sung masses be offered. Low masses do not help recruit new members, they sound odd to the modern man. So we must keep offering High Massed despite the work it is to keep the faith alive for future generation. The occasional Solemn Mass (three priests) is phenomenal; it is hard to believe that a wretch like me attended 6 Solemn Masses so far in his lifetime. If you ever have a Solenm Mass in your area you must see it.

  35. WYMiriam says:

    (all quotes are from Msgr. Pope) ” As many dioceses (through the various indults of the 1980s and 1990s) began to offer the Traditional Latin Mass, those churches were filled, often to standing room only.”

    Exactly what time frame is he talking about, the last two decades of the 1900s, or the post-SP years? Perhaps I’ve been more isolated than I thought I was (still am) — I thought there was a dearth of indults in the ’80s and ’90s, as well as a dearth of EF Masses between 1970 and 2007.

    “One of our parishes generously offers a Solemn High Mass once a month on Sunday afternoon…”

    I do not in the least mean any disrespect when I ask whether the good Monsignor thinks once a month is generous? Granted, certainly, if there is only one Holy Mass per Sunday to begin with. However, he is in a diocese where parishes abound — indeed, where there may possibly be more Catholic churches in one large city than there are in the entire diocese where I live — and where the average number of parishoners calls for multiple Sunday Masses. I don’t understand what he means by “generous.”

    “But one of the promises was that if parishes would just offer the Traditional Latin Mass each parish would be filled again.”

    But please, Msgr., who made those promises? Where did they originate (and what are some of the other promises)? I’m just one Catholic layman among tens of millions, but I do read rather widely in orthodox publications, and I’ve never run across anything that ever sounded like promises in regards to what would or might happen if the TLM were offered. Clarification would be helpful.

    “But these things were all true 20 years ago when the Solemn Mass was thriving.”

    20 years ago was 2005, two years before SP was issued. Call me a curmudgeonly nit-picker if you want, but I’d really like to know what Msgr. Pope means by “the Solemn Mass”, and where it was “thriving” twenty years ago.

    I agree that Catholic laymen [by the way, I’m using the generic term] would do well to evangelize about the EF — and I’d be glad to have any advice as to how to do that when the nearest EF is 140 miles away (one way), and the one priest nearby who has learned to offer the EF has more or less begged off because he “needs” a certain kind of preparation for it (which he did not spell out when he told me this).

    How, for instance, could I persuade someone of the rightness of the priest and the people facing the East together if there is no way for that person to experience that “rightness” for himself?

    Is it only the laity who bear the burden of this evangelizing? Do bishops and priests have no responsibility in the matter? Msgr. Pope says, “Shepherds don’t have sheep; sheep have sheep,” but that analogy breaks down fast, in my poor estimation. The Shepherds of the Catholic Church are supposed to encourage their sheep, aren’t they, and to exhort their sheep to strive constantly for holiness? IF the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass {whether it’s OF or EF makes no difference in this specific question} is truly the most important Thing in the world — being the re-presentation of the ultimate Sacrifice Jesus Himself made for us when He died to take away our sins — then why in the world are our shepherds (bishops and priests alike) not telling us that, and not acting as if it is?

    Our Lady of the Clergy, ora pro nobis!

  36. WYMiriam says:

    P.S. OOPS! My calculator is broken. 20 years ago was 1995, 12 years before SP was issued.

  37. Chiara says:

    I second the thoughts written by Sonshine.

    Because I had heard so much about how beautiful and reverent the TLM is, my husband and I attended Mass at the parish where it is offered in our town. It is a NO parish, and the pastor and parish graciously welcomes the TLM community.

    When we got to church, I was pointedly given the stink eye by the attendees. I put this down to my not wearing a head covering. I was uncomfortable with their disapproval, but decided to focus on Mass.

    There did not seem to be any Latin/English missals available. Everyone seemed to bring their own.

    We were completely at sea during Mass. We have been to Mass in other countries, where it is celebrated in French, Spanish and Italian, and always understood what was taking place and what was being prayed. We only had a vague idea of the flow of the Mass at the TLM.

    When Mass was over, we continued to be viewed with antagonism. No one spoke to us, including the priest who had been imported from an abbey 40 miles away. This is not a practice at the parish, which neighbors ours and where we had attended the NO in the past. We were always welcomed and are acquainted with the pastor.

    Fortunately, there was a Sunday evening NO Mass at our home parish, which we attended since it did not feel we had been to a Mass we understood. We will not attend another TLM in the future. We feel very blessed to be part of a parish where the NO is celebrated reverently and joyfully.

    Frankly, if the TLM community in my area wants to survive and thrive, I think they need to lose the condescension and disapproval they extend to visitors who may be open to joining their community. Respectfully, they are not on a higher tier of Catholicism.

    Also, perhaps it would be wise to invest in a dozen or so extra Latin/English missals to be used by visitors. It would be money well spent if the community wishes to flourish.

    Pax et bonum.

  38. abasham says:

    I think the good Monsignor himself seems a bit demoralized. No wonder, though…there is a pretty large and thriving TLM community in DC and northern Virginia, but those priests in DC are operating in a very harsh environment it seems. I, for one, wish that some of the efforts in DC would migrate across the river into Arlington, where they would find a much more welcoming home.

  39. greenlight says:

    I very much second the second paragraph of dsollars1800’s comment. I’ve been attending the EF once a month for a couple of years now, and even with red booklet I still have trouble following along. Some large scale, long term instruction would go a long way. When I go to a NO parish, I often hear a welcome to new visitors and an invitation to get more information. Something similar at an EF Mass would be most welcome. Also, I second what I think is a recurring theme here that TLM is very much seen as an oddity, an aberration to be indulged, certainly by the hierarchy, but even by the attendees. We must cultivate the idea that historically we’re the “normal” ones.

  40. JonPatrick says:

    To echo what iPadre said, here in New England we live in what is probably the least religious and moist secular area of the US. However there are bright spots. Here in Maine, where there are area where it is even hard to find an NO Mass, yet alone a TLM, we have had growth. A monthly weekday TLM in the Presque Isle area, an occasional TLM in Kennebunk, in addition to the regular Sunday and Holy Day TLM’s in Portland and Lewiston. I haven’t seen numbers but the latter seems to be experiencing a slow but steady growth with a number of young families with children which is encouraging.

    Personally I have attempted talking to other Catholics about the TLM but have found it discouraging as we don’t even seem to be on the same wavelength. We definitely need a new approach here.

  41. Papabile says:

    Since SP, the Arlington Diocese has established at least 8 regular Sunday EF masses, with most being in Northern VA.

    This has definitely contributed to a drain on attendance at St Mary’s in DC.

    Before 2005, almost a third of people attending their were Northern Virginians. Then the Arlington Bishop called the EF for the first time. St Mary’s had a dip in attendance. Then Do was promulgated, it surged. Since SO, at least 6 additional parishes (most in Northern VA have added regular Sunday Masses.

    A dip should have been expected.

  42. LB236 says:


    The FSSP streams the Extraordinary Form online not only on Sundays but every single day of the year—and from three different countries, no less! And if one cannot stream during the live broadcast, they will archive that day’s Mass within a few hours after Mass is concluded; they also leave the Sunday Mass (almost always sung or, sometimes, solemn) up all week.

    Just go to

  43. NoraLee9 says:

    I am feverishly buying Powerball tickets in the hopes that I win and can contribute to the construction of a new church for my congregation. We have 7, 9, 11 & 5:00 PM EF Sunday Masses. I live 10 minutes from the church. If I don’t put my foot inside the car by 10:20, we won’t find seats. I know that some of the other EFs in the area are experiencing “crowding.”
    Yes, we need to evangelize. Legion of Mary is a good place for any EF group to start. If you have Mass transit in your area, set up a table next to the ticket counter or gate. For those near highway rest stops, give out free coffee, rosaries and info, especially at holiday time. The Elks Club does it. Why not us?

  44. xylkatie says:

    One old-timer told me that the way the TLM as practiced is today is “is too much of a show” and it doesn’t resemble at all the masses she had as a child and young woman.

    In my parish, more of the Latin is being introduced into the regular masses, such as for the Gloria. Not every week, and not every mass, but there is a kind effort to nudge us in the the old ways.

    Lastly, to agree with dsollars, pew cards or other prompts are very useful and help new attendees become acclimated to the TLM. I’ve had the opportunity to attend several TLMs. Having not been raised with the tradition and not having taken Latin in school, there is certainly a “fish out of water” feeling. Pew cards or missals or some kind of external cues would make the experience more welcoming. (PS It doesn’t really help if such material is available in the giftshop, and the giftshop is closed.)

  45. norancor says:

    Lots of random thoughts:

    1) Msgr. Pope seems to be talking about Summorum Pontificum based growth, not Ecclesia Dei or SSPX based growth. Community matters. You can see it even in the “fly in, fly out” situation the SSPX has that only having a priest around on the weekends is a big problem.

    2) Being an “embolism” on a parish, at an odd time of day, is tough. Moving the Mass if a priest is moved, or the upheaval of a new priest offering the Mass, is tough. Hostility from the bishop, or chancery, is tough.

    3) People have to WANT that which is more difficult. The beauty, lack of abuse, and clarity of the traditional Mass only carries one so far. You need traditionally minded confessors regularly available. You have to understand the difficulty of shutting out the modern world and pray and sacrifice in order to advance in holiness. It is easy to settle for that which is easier, and hard to strive for that which is more arduous. You have to, in a diocesan situation, have to have a lot of internal motivation, unless or until you can move to a Ecclesia Dei based parish like Mater in New Jersey or an FSSP or ICKSP parish. There, you have a “structure” around you that helps to facilitate growing in holiness, community, and encourage you.

    4) As someone said, the cost of living in many places is prohibitive, so you have out migration as families grow. Someone mentioned the DC area. Manassas isn’t the end of the road. I know people who trek into DC, but live in Front Royal and go to St. John.

    5) Getting a new TLM off the ground is very daunting. It is possible that people are really getting to know this, and in knowing the downsides to implementation under Summorum Pontificum, aren’t starting up new locations.

    6) The Francis Effect. For every person motivated by being scandalized by the Holy Father’s odd efforts and actions and words, who decides to make a change and start going to the TLM, there is a person demoralized by the fight, and look around seeing it get worse from the top-down, and are demotivated in the “fight” for their TLM location.

  46. WaywardSailor says:

    At my parish north of Boston, the TLM community has grown by about fifty percent over the last five years, and continues to grow. This is due in large part to the hard work of our two devoted priests. Solemn High Mass every Sunday, Holy Day and major feast day (e.g. Candlemas, Annunciation, All Souls); Low Mass every first Saturday morning and several evenings during the week; and confession before Sunday Mass, all while keeping an even busier Novus Ordo schedule. Whenever the TLM falls into a time slot normally occupied by a NO Mass (as on Christmas or during the summer, when one NO Mass is eliminated and the TLM is scheduled earlier in the day)and there is a significant number of new faces, one of our priests will come out about five minutes before Mass starts to welcome those who do not normally attend the TLM, let them know what is about to take place and explain some of the differences in the two rites. Many people return for the regular Sunday TLM. We are also blessed to have a devoted group that puts on a collation every Sunday after Mass for anyone who attends, which is a source of further evangelization and a true example of Christian joy and fellowship. Due to the number of families with young children, as well as an abundance of young adults, the average age of attendees at the TLM is probably about twenty. But it all comes back to our priests and the tireless example of zeal for souls they set – we are not a closed, inward-looking congregation, but rather always eager to invite anyone and everyone with an interest to join us.

  47. benedetta says:

    I thought Msgr. Pope made some timely and important points. I do not think that maintaining status quo is a very good objective for those who appreciate and desire that both forms of the rite be offered, or as many as Holy Mother Church provides. At the same time I certainly also concur with Father Z that TLM congregations are shouldering heavy burdens, and in many cases the demoralizing and discouragement could have been avoided or resolved for the good of all. As much as I generally think that if one believes that the worship one is attached to is beautiful, good, true, and protected from the heresies of formlessness we see played out everywhere, then, it is also a responsibility that we carry to be of service, to the Church, to fellow Catholics, to all. Isolating and self protection is really not a Catholic virtue in any time or place.

    As to the demoralization, though, I believe that strong and supportive well formed pastoral leadership is called for. It takes spiritual and experiential maturity, prudence, discernment, courage, tact. There is a huge need for formation to make this a reality for congregations going forward. Yes, large families who support TLM is a huge gift from God, but to accept this gift parents and pastoral leaders need to invest. Growing up in a large family among others who attend TLM is certainly nice, but far from any guarantee, in and of itself, that these children will remain Catholic much less rise to become leaders capable of doing what is necessary, and help grow things beyond just maintain status quo for a self selected isolated group. We see this in some urban TLM parishes. I think the point that a congregation that offers more than just Low Mass by visiting priests on the circuit is going to be the one in it for the long haul — beyond serving themselves in other words. The ideal would be more pastors offering TLMs in addition to their ordinary form Masses in disparate areas of larger dioceses.

    Which leads me to another aspect of the general feeling of demoralization and malaise — on the one hand, people need to be grateful to others who even if not of their original elite group step up and make worthy contributions, and not back bite or deter even if they seem to have come from the world of the ordinary form initially. People need not only be recruited, invited, welcomed, to come, to participate, to make it their own, but then they need to be respected and supported ongoing. Do ordinary form parishes do this better? Some do, some don’t. It is though a value for families regardless and a place that is willing to be a spiritual oasis and home to others will flourish. However, I think that the motu propio still controls: people who have choices to make about resources and the needs of souls entrusted to them are expected, even if this is laughable to some, to be “generous” and “kind” and extend the EF to their flock so much as possible. The standard is to maximize, not retain, smother, or limit, manage or cut off. Some shepherds on different levels are doing exactly this and they are an inspiration to all. I think it of the minds of both BXVI and Francis not to mention Pope JPII to have an approach that values and esteems those who prefer TLM, to make life easier for them just as any other soul one has responsibility towards. To apply mercy and reconciliation and hope where these have been withheld typically in dealings with Catholics who merely wish to worship in peace and dignity in a way that was never wrong and continues to be right and good, to me is very consistent with the approaches of all three of these Popes.

    Another thought to me is that, as these strange times we are living in continue to play out, and situations unthinkable to our grandparents in the “greatest generation” become reality for us and the next generations coming along, people who are attached to TLM may well decide to relocate to places in the country which make for living the liturgical life of the Church in one’s heart and home more doable. For some of us this would be a change from, well, close to living hell to just having what others have the benefit of, the peace to go about one’s life minding one’s own business and worshipping the way their conscience has called, no more or less than in most times in the life of the USA. For others though it would be a step out of a sort of limited or managed or ghetto situation into a place where one can have, as at Holy Innocents, or other places, a day to day life as a Catholic in all the tradition and beauty and fortitude intended and offered by Holy Mother Church — a parish which offers not only Mass but opportunities for spiritual formation, devotions, Vespers, talks, wonderful music of the Church’s patrimony, actions in solidarity with other Catholics in need, opportunities to organize to perform works of mercy of need, orthodox catechesis, a regular pastor who knows the hearts and souls of his flock and can encourage and correct and reconcile and beat back the snakes which invade not only because of political unrest and bigotry but just the age old garden variety places of personal sin. Tall order, I know, but I do think there are young vocations coming along who hear this call. I am certainly praying for this.

  48. WaywardSailor says:

    Correction – High Mass every Sunday, Solemn High Mass on major feast days.

  49. New Sister says:

    You have a geographic challenge that doesn’t figure into Monsignor Pope’s observations. He writes from the National Capital Region (D.C. & N. VA) where one in five NO parishes offers a TLM.

  50. kimberley jean says:

    I don’t know what to say to this. New people show up at the TLM I go to every week. The monsignor is in a challenging diocese and has to be very careful what he says and writes. Reading between the lines is very difficult.

  51. Maxiemom says:

    It’s not just a TLM problem, it’s a Catholic problem. Isn’t the closing and/or merging of parishes proof.

  52. Inigo says:

    I think, the whole thing comes down to this question:

    Do the faithful prefering the extraordinary form of the liturgy want to be extraordinary catholics too?

    Yes the EF is extraordinary in every way (for now) but it shouldn’t produce extraordinary faithful, or an extraordinary faith, or an extraordinary community, it should produce ordinary catholic life. And evangelizing is part of the ordinary life of the Church. Nobody gave an indult for traditional faithful not to actively evangelize: “Oh, you are attending the TLM? That’s extraordinary! Here’s your license stating you are exempt from cooperating with your diocese/parish and catholics prefering the ordinary form. And of course by the virtue of attending the EF mass, you are officially doing everything you can. Oh one more thing: your Liturgy-police badge and liturgical beretta will be given to you at the exit.”

    Summorum Pontificum should be re-read every once in a while to remind us what the Pope Emeritus originally intented, because I’m starting to have the feeling, that the same is happening with this document as what happened with Sacrosanctum Concilium.

  53. Kristyn says:

    II wonder if perhaps it is because in many places the OF Mass is celebrated reverently and without nonsense by a faithful priest. That is the case in my parish. I am not looking to escape a clown mass or a priest who thinks he is on SNL. The rise of people seeking the EF in the 80s may have been a backlash against the irreverences in many parishes.

  54. Latinmass1983 says:

    I agree with Wolfeken, the comparison is not a fair or accurate one.

    The good Msgr. Pope is basically generalizing based on his experiences in D.C., WHICH we all know is the place where the Ordinary DOES NOT allow (basically) any other Bishop to celebrate a Pontifical Mass as Bishop Slattery did a couple of years ago at the Basilica. Don’t we all remember all the noise and drama that went on when Cardinal Castrillón was supposed to celebrate that Mass (and he was very shamefully uninvited, which is why Bishop Slattery ended up celebrating the Mass) — and it was a great success .. and THEN, nothing else happened. The organizing group, it seems, was NOT allowed to do the same thing the next year and the next and the next. And it is in this Archdiocese that Msgr. Pope wants the numbers for the traditional Mass to increase exponentially?

    With Ordinaries like that, the good Msgr. Pope should realize that such things not only discourage and demoralize the people who attend and support the traditional Mass, but it makes them DISTRUST the entire Archdiocese and those who work for (in) it. And add to all of that the very obvious fact that the Ordinary of that place is not the greatest encourager of solid Catholic morals and practices.

    It is clear that the laity, from the beginning of the “traditional movement,” has been very active and vocal about the traditional Mass and that most priests have not or have been silenced, punished, or moved, but this article seems to place even more responsibility on the laity than on the clergy for the growth of the traditional Mass. As much as we would like to take over churches and run parishes (we would probably do a far better job than most priests and monsignors have done in past decades!), we cannot simply go into a church and make things happen without the Pastor’s permission first, and then his support and encouragement.

    Numbers do not simply appear … someone has to make the numbers grow … and it all, normally, starts with the priests who celebrate or allow the Mass. The responsibility to evangelize falls first on the shepherds not on the sheep. What are all the priests doing? Why focus on the traditionalists (laity) to make sure they make sure that the numbers grow? Does he place the same responsibility on the laity that attends the New Order? I find that a bit odd.

    Anyway, another factor that seems to be a bit dreamier is that the good Msgr. Pope seems imply that he actually believed the traditional Mass was a magic lamp: make it available (at whatever time, in whatever place, under whatever–even the worst– circumstances) and the stampede of people will simply come into the church. In addition to that, he seems to imply that the growth was supposed to take place immediately. It hints to the “new Pentecost” type of dreams.

    Anyone involved with anything that starts from scratch and that deals with human beings MUST know and realize that growth in numbers does not take place immediately. It takes time to promote properly and get all the necessary people and resources available to promote and expand and (sadly) to avoid, deviate, and overcome opposition from the highest offices in the Church, in a chancery, in an archdiocese. The good Msgr. Pope does not seem to include these factors in his analysis — these things most certainly affect the growth of the attendance!

    At the Church of the Holy Innocents (NYC), the only parish in the Archdiocese of New York where the traditional Mass is offered daily, where Vespers are sung every Sunday of the year, and Holy Week is celebrated using the older liturgical books, the daily part did not start from the beginning, the weekly (Sunday) Vespers did not start right away — and more especially, the numbers did not increase right from the start.

    This was mostly the case because the Archdiocese pretended for a very long time that the traditional Mass at Holy Innocents did not even exist and because the people in charge also left it up to laymen to promote the traditional Mass and make sure the numbers grew (“if you want it”). Few and rare were the priests who fervently promoted the traditional Mass and actively encouraged people to attend it regularly.

    Most Pastors/priests tend to think that their only duty is to allow the Mass or to celebrate it and then they are done! Everything else should be done by the laity or by the Mass itself. This is extremely unrealistic! For Sung and Solemn Masses, a choir is needed (good volunteers if the parish is not willing or “able” to pay for professionals), committed servers, books and vestments, events and receptions have to be planned, etc.

    When the priest (especially the Pastor of a church) actively support and promote the traditional Mass, it creates a great change in the atmosphere that normally surrounds the traditional communities. If the Pastor goes around from table to table at the coffee hour talking to parishioners and making them feel welcome (instead of arguing with them or complaining about the Rubrics of the old Mass or referring to them as “ghetto”), those people will most certainly come back and be encouraged to bring other people with them.

    Maybe … just maybe Msgr. Pope should start the LPSPTM — the League of Priests in Support of the Preservation of the Traditional Mass! And they can be sent around to different churches and dioceses (like Missionaries of Mercy) to instruct the Bishops and Priests how to show mercy to those who attend the traditional Mass. I guarantee that if this were done, the numbers would increase … even in the Archdiocese of Washington!

  55. wised says:

    Several months ago I asked our new young pastor about a latin mass. He was ordained in the Madison diocese. His response caught me off guard. “I hope I never have to say a Latin mass”. If there was a parish close by with a more responsive priest, we would change affiliation. [His “hope” is one thing, but his obligation according to Summorum Pontificum is another. The Motu Proprio says: “Art. 5, § 1. In parishes, where there is stably present a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition, let the pastor willingly receive their petitions that Mass be celebrated according to the Rite of the Missale Romanum issued in 1962. Let him see to it that the good of these faithful be harmoniously brought into accord with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the Bishop according to canon 392, by avoiding discord and by fostering the unity of the whole Church.” If you are alone in asking, that’s one thing. If there is a stable group of the faithful at your parish who are asking that’s another. Also, I know that in the Diocese of Madison there is an organization which was established to provide help for the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum. HERE]

    I received the same lack of concern when discussing catechesis focused on turning around the lack of reverence exhibited in church. Very disappointing. When I confessed my frustration leading to distraction at mass caused by irreverent behavior, my penance was to read the 10th psalm. I guess it is I who am the problem. Sad. Can I express that and not have to confess? Color me confused.

  56. Benedict Joseph says:

    The mass in Latin, while “available” in my “area” is, nevertheless, thirty miles away. It is impractical to make that journey. As it is, I travel fifteen miles five days a week to go to the neighboring parish where the Novus Ordo is offered with a conscientious reverence by a fine priest, a late vocation, whom many would say is not gifted, but who is truly a gift from God.
    Seminarians as well as the ordained are not encouraged to cultivate a knowledge of liturgical Latin, nor the rubrics of the TLM. Should they wish to pursue such a course, there are many bishops who would frown – many openly, most with a furtive condescension – at the pursuit of such a course, and the fledgling would pay a price at the hands of the clerical vindictive – a cruel sword indeed.
    If we are correct in having “reached the ceiling” on attendance at the TLM, I assure you the ceiling is about to be reached for the Novus Ordo as well. We are undeniably in collapse, bordering on decomposition, with advanced decay right around the corner. Why?
    Because with great aplomb we abandoned the successful catechesis of our young men and women fifty years ago in favor of providing them with enough magazines to assemble collages. One hundred years of superior Catholic education and catechesis was replaced by an aberration that now has produced Catholic parents, entirely ignorant of their Faith. These are raising children and grandchildren who have no concept of Roman Catholicism, but for being dragged to Church to listen to bad music among a bunch of old people. Do we honestly think those coming up now will be sitting in the pews ten and fifteen years from now. Delusional.
    Roman Catholicism abandoned the Faith and its attendant, reason, with the close of the Second Vatican Council. Can we any longer deny that? All our attempts, including those of every pope since then, and all the well intentioned laity (including myself) have been an exercise in self-deception flanking psychosis. Will this pathology find its terminus anytime soon? Surely not during the current pontificate which cultivates it as no other, and never without Divine intervention. Unquestionably we can rely on that intervention, but in His eyes a thousand years are a single day.

  57. jameeka says:

    Re: lack of advertisement. Are there some concrete reasons for this? Once again, I went to several national websites which report the times and locations of the TLM. They are not updated regularly. Locally, at least in Oregon, new spurts of TLM growth are not reported. So, as some of the posters are saying, maybe advertisement strategies ( the kindling) are key too. Could it be that there is still the need for secrecy? And could that be part of the appeal, but perhaps slowing the growth?

  58. Joseph-Mary says:

    I live in a university town. The campus parish offers a TLM every Sunday at noon. I go when I can. The attendance has been stable. But there are college students who come and then fall in love with this liturgy. Some have sought religious vocation and to orders that allow the TLM. One thing that might be happening is that among the older generation who grew up with the TLM and now have returned but are starting to pass away is that during all of the Novus ordo years, their children left the practice of the faith. And so the love for the TLM was not reproduced. But we do see couples with young children and many children and as time goes on the love for this holy liturgy will increase throughout the lands

  59. mike cliffson says:

    Wayword sailor and someone else I can’t find rereading,rightly mention larger families regards transport and cost of living , mpresumably just as greying areas have parishes with an average age of 120 , EF congregations or groups have have the same problem, not because they re EF…..
    You frisk
    “Shepherds don’t make sheep. Sheep make sheep.”
    And give the immediate example of suggesting latin mass/EF mass goers try to bring friends.
    Sheep can also be open to life and produce lambs if the Lord so wills, or not, and some, God send all, of said lambs will stay both in the church and in the particular traditions of the faith handed down to them as the years go by.
    Now , I’m a big sinner, not a martyr, and lots of other “Now”s; also that my experience is England (andW), only a touch of Ireland, and Spain, in selected areas,
    BUT My wife and I have been blessed with eleven AND our experience is there is no place or movement in the church over the last thirty years at least where you don’t meet vocal criticsm and judgement of a large family confidently asserted even at first meeting – I am not saying this is the majority of ,say, the UK latin mass society, wherein larger and largish families are visbly quite common, rather that a contraceptive mentality , howsoever antiabortion, disguised as pushing NFP , (for all that one can meet worse, abortiontolerant even, in Catholic liberaldom) is everywhere expressed confidently and early ; stateside also?

  60. justamom says:

    This is just another reminder that we in the South are completely on our own. The closest TLM is two hours away in any direction, and those times are not weekly or even consistent. Would that we had the TLM and saw attendance start to dip a bit! That would be glorious! Then we too could talk about how to keep the numbers up and write articles about giving til it hurts. As it is, the local priests have all said no. The deanery has said no. The Bishop’s office won’t even bother to respond! Please count your blessings and enjoy what you do have. We will pray for your numbers to grow exponentially! But do pray for us as well.

  61. little women says:

    This is such an interesting topic with so many variables. Our own TLM takes place in a rural though central location for the small, rural communities of the area. We began after years of asking and meeting with the bishop several times. Summorum Pontificum was our saving document. I must give kudos to that bishop for his obedience, though I wish he would have acted under his own power. Our initial group was a very stable 30 people. Now our stable group is around 75, though we often have more.

    Our growth has been slow, but steady, however, I attribute this slow growth to several factors: 1. Each time our priest leaves, there is no one to take his place, so the regular Sunday Mass gets cancelled. We always get a drop-off of attendance after this happens. 2. Mass at noon, which is a terrible time for those with small children. 3. A priest that insists on reading the Scripture readings for BOTH forms of the Mass! 4. Continually being omitted in the Christmas and Easter flyers announcing Mass times. Several people in the past assumed there would be no TLM and did not come. This year it worked to our advantage, however, because we made our own flyer which two parishes included in their bulletins and resulted in a nice crowd! 4. Our current bishop hates this Mass. We invited him 3 years ago, but he created so much of a ruckus and division in our parish over this invitation that still has lingering effects, we will never invite him again.

    Some interesting notes about our position in the parish: 1. Initially, our collections were listed separately in the parish bulletin, but after a few weeks of collecting 1/3 of the total parish collection, this was stopped, and our collection is lumped in with everyone else! 2. The TLM buys items from the parish from time to time, but the pastor insists on keeping it hush-hush because of some folks who would reject the gifts if they knew from whence they came.

    We have made lots of little improvements to our TLM over the years, but I can say the biggest contributor to attracting people was instituting a choir. Our choir began with 5 little girls between the ages of 7 and 12 chanting the Victimae on Easter Day 3 years ago. It now has 10 girls, and lately has been expanded to include women and men. It’s amazing what they can sing when they’re told what they will sing. They sang Victoria’s O Magnum Mysterium Mass for Christmas. Heavenly! The choir has been our biggest improvement and has been responsible for our biggest growth.

  62. I think trads are good at examining ourselves, and willing to be self critical. There are parish models like the type that attracted Father Z to Catholicism (St. Agnes in St Paul) which wasn’t necessarily a TLM parish, but a, shall we say “good liturgy” parish. A good parish should have the whole mutual enrichment thing going on, both forms, but I think most serious Catholics end up landing at a place where the OF is done well. Although I consider myself a traditionalist, I’m just not sure that the Missal issued in 1962 must be used for every liturgy until the end of time. There should be organic growth. Unfortunately Benedict did not provide more clarity or a clear path before his abdication.

  63. THREEHEARTS says:

    Fr Z mentions in his opening comments on 30% of catholics attend Mass and 2% contribute to the support of their pastors. I often sit at masses and wonder. I see women without hair coverings and with very sumptuous hairdos. I am ashamed to say many of these women do spend more time at the hairdressers and more money on their hair than supporting their pastors. Why are we so screwed up? One point made after Vatican 2 was, the Mass is too long We shortened the Mass by adding extra to the Ordinary ministers and then lengthened it by the Lutheran Heresy that we needed to receive the body and blood or else the Sacrament was not complete. I wish that sometime the Sacraments as defined by the Council of Trent was taught at the Seminaries, once again, and the converts from the other sects were taught that you are now to be Catholics and you must leave behind your opinions and follow what the Church has always taught.

  64. Robbie says:

    I think Msgr. Pope is right on the mark. By in large, the TLM has maxed out its attendees because those who have wanted to find it have found it. On the other hand, I would wager more than 90% of Catholics have no idea the TLM exists or is even available. I come in contact with many people who are not enamored with the way the NO is conducted in their parish, but just assume that’s how it’s got to be.

    Moving forward, the next step in the promotion and growth of the TLM is probably promotion of the Mass by the local bishops. If they’re willing to promote or even participate in it, that will expose the TLM to a whole group who never may have known it existed. In effect, that would mainstream the TLM.

    The difficulty of making the TLM more mainstream, though, is more than just making the Mass available. Location matters. In my diocese, the TLM is offered at one parish and in a place where few people live. To attend, most must drive far out of there way. In the areas where most Catholics live now, there is not talk of it and certainly no promotion of it.

    In my view, the TLM’s growth really depends on the Mass becoming a part of the conversation in the parishes where the vast majority of Catholics live. If it’s only held at out of the way Churches, sadly, I suspect most won’t want to make the weekly trek. But if it’s exposed to the “masses”, I think it would become far more common.

  65. benedetta says:

    The commenter who identifies the role of the pastor or priest or hierarchy in all of this as distinct from laity I think correctly articulates the situation, and I also agree with others that many of these issues are certainly issues for the wider Church, not by any means only TLM appreciators.

    Let’s face it, a precious few parents in the families in parishes today had the benefit of a solid Catholic upbringing. A great many who are active came to a regular practice of the Faith through many twists and turns unheard of in previous generations. Deo Gratias that they are led to the Faith, don’t get me wrong, but, at the same time, we can’t help but be infected by the times we grew up in: excessive narcisissm, a pushy, the flashiest and most attractive bully makes the sale approach to leadership, an inability to employ discernment or the virtues, lack of spiritual practice and maturity, inability to defer to valid and good authority for thinking we know better or can do it better, a reluctance to relinquish for the good of the whole, a survival of the fittest mentality applied first and foremost to us and ours at the expense of the other guy. When people try to organize other people, these all really get writ large.

    The answer is the same as always for the Church: there are those who are clerical, there are religious, and there are laity. Some things are much better suited to the clerical. Well, in this department, running a parish, the fact is that, most of what needs to be done to run a solid parish which offers not only reverent Mass but all else that is needed and required, is in all honesty best cultivated through solid seminary formation.

    Why should this be a surprise to anyone — look at what happened to seminaries, in the US, in Ireland, in other places. Look at happened to anyone who attempted the way of say, St. Jean Vianney…or admired numerous other worthy things or endeavored to live holiness. Fr. Z has recounted his experience. Those of us who were in college in that time also know that persecution. So we must include in this long and sadly burdensome list that seminary preparation must play a huge role, and that seminarians need to be prepared to say the ancient Rite and understand the mindset of the faithful who are looking for a bit more “meat” in terms of the spiritual path, for whatever reason (we are not to judge these), acknowledging that a great many souls will be newly enthusiastic but devoid of wisdom as wounded and broken as we all are to some degree by the culture of death whose toxic soil we all carry within us, each to his own, and this only the balm of Christ in the sacraments can fully help us to heal, with penance, with encouragement to form virtues substituting old bad and sinful habit.

    It’s interesting, in these days of Christmas Octave (and Epiphany’s ?) I have had the blessed change to get to read the book that all the great minds seem to me referencing in the Catholic blogosfero, “God or Nothing” by Carinal Sarah. Wow. But if you take a look, there is much edifying there that we can borrow to apply to our own situations in the West. Given that great manys do not grow up in just bascially culturally identifying Christian households, and the culture has long dislocated, and that more and more people in the work force were never even baptized, let alone have had a fully Catholic childhood at least in domestic church if the wider Church did not acknowledge, we are all in a sense living in the west in a mission land. Some are now discussing whether or not evangelizing these via blog has any potential left or if that time has passed. I think perhaps it has passed, but that for people who are looking to take up the challenge, mystery, and joy of a spiritual path perusing blogs like this and several others are places to help get oriented and be encouraged to continue — but that’s a topic for another day. Cardinal Sarah never stops acknowledging with gratitude the tireless mission work of the Spiritist Fathers who provided prayer, catechesis in a friendly way, and the sacraments, and prepared vocations to continue that work there and obviously as part of the Church universal, and at the same time he acknowledges the value in growing up, I believe an only child, born to devout and very humble parents who deferred questions as to how we are to go about living our lives together to these faithful Spiritists. Each did their job. The one did not attempt to co-opt the province or role of the other, or beyond what God entrusted to them. They did not see themselves as bigger than life, nor did they attempt to control others or to use their roles to bring glory to themselves and their personal chocies. They were none of them looking to get noticed or recognized for only doing what a servant was asked. I think the order to the comparatively very poor and simple environment that is presented in Cardinal Sarah’s remembrances quite instructive for all of us even in the West, even as strange as all is here, even with our complex problems. It’s very hard for us I think to remember that the best leaders for our souls are meek, humble of heart, and come in a strange disguise, one that we may not in our distracted existence ever expect. We all crave that dramatic gesture that saves us. We do not look for the still small voice laboring day in and day out. But there are with us, in our midst, in our parishes. And these and more are what we need to help our TLM congregations to grow. “Blessed is the one who is not scandalized because of me.”

  66. Augustine says:

    Interestingly enough, I’ve learned about other families in my previous parish that have made the move to the Vetus Ordo liturgy (I myself transferred to a Maronite parish). A couple of families I’m closer to stated the same reason for their decision: waning reverence. Though our previous parish was considered among the most traditional in our diocese, some families are perhaps hungry for more

    I wonder however if the Vetus Ordo liturgy could be celebrated in the vernacular. In my home country, before switching to the Novus Ordo liturgy, the vernacular was used in the Vetus Ordo liturgy for 3 years. I guess that it was so by indult, but could this be a possibility today? I for one would prefer English to the typical butchered Latin.

    Christus natus est!

  67. Dave N. says:

    I would say that our parish on the West Coast, operated by ICK, is a showcase for TLM–two Masses each Sunday, fantastic choirs, daily TLM every day except Thursday. The parish and attendance are stable (and maybe that’s something in itself in this area) but not really growing either. Here’s what I see as the major stumbling blocks:
    1) As Chiara notes, people just need to lose the “stink-eye”; stop using the TLM as a tool for feeling superior to other Catholics.
    2) The near fetishization of young families needs to be looked at with a much more critical eye. Being in an urban area, you’d think we’d learn by experience that kids eventually grow up, move away, and likely will not be seen again in our parish except perhaps on Christmas and Easter–if then. Certainly young families need the attention of the Church but most people in the U.S. are single. That’s really where the mission of the Church lies.
    3) If you decide that young families are the future of the parish (which I think is a false hope in an urban area), you’re going to need to pay a LOT more attention to catechesis. When you click on the “CCD Classes” link of our parish website, the link is broken. That’s a fairly good summary of the CCD program.
    4) Our parish is in a neighborhood that is becoming increasingly diverse ethnically. However, if you were to attend a Mass there you’d quickly conclude that the TLM is something that appeals mainly to old white people. That’s a long-term recipe for irrelevance; demographic shifts will only make this worse over time.
    5) We simply need to hear more about evangelization from the pulpit. Mass has to be more than being the “righteous enclave.”

  68. Thorfinn says:

    On growth of the TLM — My read is that most people who end up at Latin Mass either happen upon a TLM and are intrigued or read about the importance of the liturgy and start thinking the TLM is the way to go. But most people aren’t Catholic, most Catholics don’t attend Mass, and most practicing Catholics are unlikely to stumble into a TLM because, “Gee, why don’t we trying going to Mass at 2pm 30 minutes away this Sunday just for fun?” is not a common thought process. And most people don’t get their kicks by reading Guéranger. (I haven’t, too!)

    On inviting people to the TLM — There are some pitfalls and some snares here. One snare involves talking about how the Novus Ordo has certain weaknesses. Well, it’s true, but talking down the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in any form is going to raise flags for faithful Catholics who aren’t prepared for the context. So invite people over and over again in a positive way, talking about how Pope Benedict wanted it celebrated in every parish and for the two forms to mutually enrich, and how it is the Mass that Saint Francis & the vast majority of all the saints knew and loved on earth.

    On evangelization — This is a problem for the whole Church. The reality is that in order to evangelize properly you have to get your own soul in order. Some of us have 1 or 2 flaws to clean up before the light of Christ will really shine through. Gotta do what you can and trust the Holy Spirit to make the most of it.

  69. Rellis says:

    (Also posted on NLM)

    I really do think that the local situation in the Washington, DC area has to be taken into account.

    Even though the area is pretty contiguous, it’s split by a Civil War-accidental “Diocese of Arlington” (carved out of the Civil War created Diocese of Richmond in 1974) which ends at the Potomac River. North of that is the Archdiocese of Washington, formerly part of the Archdiocese of Baltimore until around World War II.

    Even though there are two dioceses, there are many Catholics (myself included) with a foot in both worlds. We consider the DC and some MD deaneries to be part of “our turf” even if we live and worship in the Diocese of Arlington.

    The southern diocese has seen a veritable explosion of TLMs in the years after Summorum Pontificum. According to the diocesan website, there are 11 parishes that offer the TLM, 8 of which are on Sundays. I have no doubt that this has absorbed some of what would have been the growth of the TLM in DC.

    The culture of the Arlington Diocese is far more friendly to the TLM. Cardinal Wuerl hates the TLM, a well known fact by everyone down here. The priests of Arlington are very liturgically minded and orthodox, and this has been benignly encouraged by Bishop Loverde (though he has zero TLM interest personally, kind of like a Chaput or a Tobin).

    For the record, there is a growing Juventutem chapter in upper northeast DC, in the parish next to CUA (St Francis de Sales). It, along with the old indult Mass at Old St Mary’s in Chinatown, are the main TLMs in DC on Sunday. There’s also a great Juventutem effort at St Thomas the Apostle parish in upper Northwest, recently taken over by the Oratorians. So there has been some progress even in “the ADW.”

    If not for the Civil War, a “DMV (District-Maryland-Virginia)” diocese would have eventually been created that doesn’t go as far into Maryland as the Archdiocese of Washington does (leaving it to Baltimore), and doesn’t go as far into Virginia as the Diocese of Arlington does (leaving it to Richmond).

    Using that metric, the TLM here is pretty well-established. It’s kind of like viewing Westminster and Southwark as one, legalities aside.

  70. For what it’s worth, a day late and 60-something posts down, I have noticed that where the anti-TLM folks and the pro-TLM folks (such as myself) get in a debate, the anti-TLM folks tend to complain that we’re disobedient to the Church, don’t like the Pope (no matter who he is), quasi-sedevacantists, and somewhat grumpy about the whole liturgy thing. We are not with the contemporary Church, we’re holding her back. I know many anti-TLM-ers who don’t go because of “the crowd” that does. Also, I have found that people take our disfavor of the NO very personally, as if we’re rejecting THEM in some way.

    Here are some ways to dispel these stereotypes and walk on eggshells comfortably.

    First of all, if anyone asks you about the Pope, try to say something positive, and absolutely avoid criticizing him or your local bishop. When asked, I say, “He seems very personable.” But people know I’ve got some theology, so they ask more pointed questions. I demur with,”Well, to be honest, he speaks informally a lot of the time and when he does he often lacks precision – but people seem to love him.” (that last part is what they’ll remember hearing.) But I don’t get into a huff about “Who am I to judge?” Except when I’m at home or among certain friends. Even among co-parishioners at my TLM parish, I don’t go there with those that do. Discourage bitterness.

    Be happy. Be kind. Be understanding. Be positive.

    Do not be political. Do not talk about liberals hijacking a Synod – talk about staying true to things that cannot change. Don’t get angry – instead, talk about hope.

    Don’t talk about how horrible your experiences are with the NO. Don’t complain about the NO. Don’t disparage it. Don’t talk about it at all, even when people ask your opinion. They’ll take what you say personally. If people ask you why you go to the TLM or want at TLM at your parish, talk about how beautiful IT is. And if they ask, “What’s wrong with the Mass we have?” Say, “Nothing. It’s just that the TLM would be a wonderful addition to the liturgical offerings of the parish. It may increase attendance and the collection, too, if people from around the area come here because we offer it.” If they hear you say there’s nothing wrong with what they have now, they will be less likely to take what you say as a personal rejection (but some still will).

    Cultivate a pro-TLM and not an anti-NO attitude – even though for most of us, it was the NO that drove us to the TLM. Seriously, drop it. Don’t compare. Don’t disparage. Don’t criticize. Don’t even call it “Novus Ordo.” Call it “English Mass” or something else. Bite your tongue. Yes, even on a Friday.

    Be honey.

    Or as the recent Cinderella movie says, “Have courage – and be kind.”

  71. acardnal says:

    Msgr Pope wrote, “In my own archdiocese, although we offer the Traditional Latin Mass in five different locations, we’ve never been able to attract more than a total of about a thousand people. That’s only one-half of one percent of the total number of Catholics who attend Mass in this archdiocese each Sunday.”

    Gee. Here’s an idea: Offer the Mass in ALL diocesan parishes every Sunday and the numbers and percentages would increase.


    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  72. Traductora says:

    I think it really doesn’t have much to do with the TLM but with the Church at this time. People are afraid, the boat is definitely rocking, and it seems to be Peter who is pushing it under. I think you will find that attendance has declined everywhere because people are scared.

    This is anecdotal, but I can tell you that in my parish, it has plunged and daily mass goers are disappearing. Our totally NO pastor, who is not very involved in these things but is not unorthodox, is obviously very distressed and doesn’t know what to do. I don’t think anybody knows what to do, because it appears that the Faith really doesn’t matter anymore. Why bother to get up on Sunday morning or even ruin your Saturday evening if it’s all the same anyway?

    What I think is that TLM communities have got to stop thinking of themselves as such and just think of themselves as tiny colonies where Catholicism is preserved. They should not engage in the 1950s redux attempt to live in a past that never was, and not even necessarily get into All Latin Or Die.

    The 1965 Latin-English missal, basically the already approved Missal translation of the Mass with a few less than fortunate VII touches, such as the suppression of the Last Gospel, would have been fine, except that the Bugnini crowd destroyed this and imposed the NO in 1970. And believe me, as someone who was there the first day it had to be celebrated and saw tears running down the face of my (young) parish priest in San Francisco when he had to celebrate it, the NO was even worse when it first came out because it was sort of an outline and the clergy were supposed to do the old soft shoe or whatever to fill it out. The priest, btw, left the ministry to get married less than two years later, while the monsignor simply locked himself in his room and got busy drinking himself to death. It was nothing but destruction.

    But if TLM communities think of themselves as the revival of Christendom, that might help and it really is what people are looking for. Also, somebody way up the thread (or maybe on another blog, I don’t recall) suggested building a community around a charitable activity, and that is certainly a possibility. The big problem would be dealing with Church authorities, unless you live in a sympathetic diocese, and then of course, dealing with the State. But that might actually attract people.

    Still, my thought is that people have got to start looking beyond the issue of the Mass and just present the TLM for granted without apologies (in other words, this is what we do, this is our liturgy) or thinking of themselves as a weird splinter group, and be the face of the Faith and the door to Christendom.

    This is especially true now that we have a Pope who seems to represent the URI (United Religions Initiative) rather than the Catholic Church. People in TLM communities just have to go ahead and build the Faith, regardless of what’s going on with the Argentinian in the Casa Santa Marta.

  73. roseannesullivan says:

    I read Msgr. Pope’s article and sent it to my ICK rector for our Oratory which is the designated location for the Extraordinary Form Mass and sacraments in San Jose. It broaches a subject that needs thought and prayeful analysis. However, I don’t agree with his conclusion. Saying evangelization will bring people to the TLM is not the simple answer we are looking for.

    Many of us invite others to come to the TLM. A few stay. One attendee funded four ads for our Mass in the monthly diocesan newspaper, but I don’t think that had much of an effect. When we first were able to start having regular EF Masses after Summorum Pontificum nine years ago, we thought that attendance would grow. It doesn’t seem to have.

    I agree with Thorfinn. I believe that in order for us to grow like the early Church, we would need to be as holy as the early Church. If we were filled with Christ’s spirit, Christ in us would draw others to want to worship with us.

    It seems to me as a perennial outsider that most people in the congregation are there because their friends are there. They know each other from family connections or from being members of a traditionally minded circle in the diocese for many years. In many interactions, the currents of grade school popularity games seem to me to still apply.

    On the plus side, I see new conversions to the Catholic Church by young people who love the reverence, the veiling, the sacramentals, the blessings, the accessibility of the hard-working priests and of course the Mass of the Ages. Although we don’t have the large numbers of yearly Baptism that I’ve seen at parishes that have RCIA programs, I believe the conversion of the hearts of our newly baptized is quite sincere and deep. The biggest difference in favor of the growth of this form of worship I see is a higher proportion of priestly vocations coming out of the three TLM communities with which I am acquainted.

  74. Thomas Sweeney says:

    From my own experience, attendance at our Traditional Mass has been predicated on the attitude of our Bishop and the quality of the priests that he assigns to us. In our diocese we are a Chapel of Adoration with a Sunday EF Mass. Attendance is very low, along with morale.
    At one time our priests were from The Society of Jesus Christ The Priest, and we had a large attendance. These priest were exceptional men, hearing confessions every day and before every Mass. The loyalty of the parish was overwhelming, and was reciprocated by the priests. Six years ago something transpired between them and our Bishop and they moved to Wisconsin. Since then our Traditional Masses have been cut back to just one on Sunday.
    In summing up I feel very strongly that the success of Traditional Parishes is determined by the quality of the priests and the attitude of the Bishop.

  75. TKS says:

    Who would have thought Las Vegas would have an easily accessible TLM. I visit family there frequently and have seen how the “TLM” group has grown over the years. I can attest that having the TLM as one of the ‘regular’ Sunday Masses has helped – people accidentally attend it and when you treat it as normal, it is better accepted.

  76. WYMiriam says:

    Doc Angelicus, thank you for the suggestions for how to talk positively about the EF while avoiding negativity in other areas that are more, or less, related to it. I appreciate that. I might have a problem with saying “nothing” is wrong with “the Mass we have” — but I could avoid that by saying, “ah, but we are blessed with two ways to offer Mass! And while each are completely valid, provided they are offered validly, I love the EF because (a), (b), (c), and (d).”

    You have given me some wise advice — thank you!

  77. To develop Kristyn’s comment a bit more, perhaps the slower growth of extraordinary form Masses is attributable to the gravitational pull that they were supposed to exert on the ordinary form. Maybe the ordinary form is improving to a point at which it isn’t the penance it once was. In my travels, I have found that the far out stuff is much less common than it once was. Yes, I still see it now and again, but not as much as before. Wouldn’t that be… good?

    Apart from that, a falling tide lowers all boats, and the tide in the Catholic Church is definitely falling.

  78. christopherschaefer says:

    After reading Msgr. Pope’s excellent article, several thoughts come to my mind, from my own experience with this. One is that the TLM must be offered at “prime time”: i.e. it must not be something that we sneak it on Sunday afternoon or offer only once a month. Catholics must know that the TLM is in every way equal in the eyes of the Church to the “ordinary form”—per ‘Summorum pontificum’.
    Also it must be as easy as possible for a newcomer to feel welcome and to participate in some minimal way. People must know where to find “participation aids”—and/or when Mass has begun, ushers must discreetly look for attendees who seem lost and hand them the required materials. (The ushers do this at my own parish.)
    Those of you who attend the TLM regularly likewise should be on the lookout for any newcomers. Quietly hand them your parish’s TLM booklet, etc. and at a ‘very few’ key points in the Mass show them where we are. (My wife & I both do this nearly every Sunday.) Because our 9:30 AM Mass is a Solemn High every Sunday, I quietly tell the newcomer to not try and follow along with every word; at a Solemn High one “actively participates” much of the time simply by watching the innumerable ritual activities taking place. Before Communion, I whisper that if you’re going to receive, it’s “kneeling and on the tongue” only—and don’t say “Amen”.
    At the end of Mass, assure the newcomer that if they attend 6 more times in a row, they no longer will need to follow along in a booklet so much—if at all. Then be sure to invite them to the coffee hour that immediately follows Mass in the parish hall. And if you don’t have a coffee hour after the TLM, you need start one! When the opportunity presents itself, invite a friend or neighbor to attend your parish’s TLM. All of this is about evangelization, i.e. spreading Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ—not just about preserving a particular “liturgical aesthetic”.
    Additionally, TLM communities need to move beyond the 1950s nostalgia and focus on realizing the original goals of the Liturgical Movement that preceded Vatican II—goals that were scuttled before the Council even had ended: prioritize the sung Mass and Gregorian Chant; encourage the congregation to join in the simple sung “dialogue” responses: before the Gospel; at the Preface; conclusion of the Pater noster (sed libera nos a malo); every Amen, Et cum spiritu tuo and Deo Gratias. Be sure the congregation—not just choir—at least occasionally sings a simple Gregorian setting of the Ordinary: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus-Benedictus, Agnus Dei. The Liturgical Movement primarily did not seek to change the Mass itself, but to increase congregational participation in the existing liturgy, to prioritize the ‘Missa cantata’ and to foster a more prayerful and less minimalistic, robotic “rubrics-only” way for the priest himself to celebrate the Mass.
    Right near where I live there is a TLM that is poorly attended. It’s at 2:00, usually a Low Mass and the congregation makes no responses whatsoever. It’s back to the 1950s.
    Consequently, my wife and I choose to drive 35 minutes every Sunday to attend a parish where the TLM is at 9:30 AM, is always a Solemn High, the congregation belts out the afore-mentioned responses, always sings the Credo, there are many young adults and young families, crying babies have to be carried back to the vestibule throughout Mass—and after the sermon the priest invites everyone to the after-Mass coffee hour. So it’s basically what EVERY Sunday Mass SHOULD be, whether Novus ordo or TLM. It perhaps is no surprise that this parish has more recent vocations than any other in the diocese and seminarians—including those from nearby New York—often are in attendance.

  79. Sword40 says:

    Our FSSP parish is thriving. Every week we see more new folks. Many escape before our social hour after Mass but we try and introduce ourselves to them and help them to feel comfortable.

    Each week the head count is up a little and that is for both the early low Mass and the 10:30am High Mass. Our brothers/sisters up in Seattle are also growing. Loads of young families with LOTS of kids.

    Still, the basics of economy hold true for everyone of us. We all need to dig a little deeper to help support the parish and its needs.

  80. abasham says:

    For the most part they are government funded, which (thankfully) isn’t going to happen here

  81. abasham says:

    Ha, I know all those churches well. I’m a bit of a wandering pilgrim of the NoVa/DC TLM scene

  82. LaramieHirsch says:

    “I wonder, in this scenario of falling attendance, if some people are not going to the SSPX.”

    After hearing the tune of “My Little Pony” at the Novus Ordo Mass, and observing FreeMasonry stickers on the backs of cars at the same place–that was the day we decided we’d go to Society Mass. It happened just last Fall.

    I am satisfied with the decision. I am pleased that I will no longer be subjecting my kids to such a confusing and seemingly meaningless….event.

  83. “Gee. Here’s an idea: Offer the Mass in ALL diocesan parishes every Sunday and the numbers and percentages would increase.”

    Who’s gonna do it?

    Gee, here’s another idea. Let’s start with actually requiring training in the Traditional Mass in seminaries, rather than making it an option and counting on priests already ordained to find time during fifty- and sixty-hour weeks to learn in their spare time.

    Then, let’s do the math. Figuring the motu proprio was issued in 2007, that it would take (at least) two years to line up the faculty and course selection, that it would take up to eight years to get through seminary, and assuming all seminaries required it (which they don’t, by the way), the explosion would happen right about … in a year or two.

    But it won’t, because not all of that happened. Here’s what else doesn’t happen.

    In the Diocese of Arlington, one-eighth of the parishes offer the TLM every Sunday, for a whopping, barn-busting … one-fourth of one percent of the faithful. That’s less than the ostensibly-less-“conservative” diocese across the river (which would be that of Washington, wherein resides our own Monsignor Pope). I know priests in my diocese who would offer it in a heartbeat if more than one person asked them. They’re still waiting.

    I hope the good Father doesn’t mind my bringing the party down, but the best solutions are the ones that are based on the problems themselves:

    “If you can’t imagine why you don’t have access to the Traditional Latin Mass in every gosh darn parish in the universe, as of one day after the Pope said you could, or you want to know what has to happen to have one anywhere at all, you should read this.

    “Then you should read it again. Slowly.”

    man with black hat: The Latin Mass: Why You Can’t Have It

  84. Wretched sinner says:

    I wonder how much of this is due to a lack of the Latin language amongst priests?

    [This is a HUGE problem. The enemies of God and the Church knew that in order to get their way they had to eradicate Latin. The elimination of Latin has slammed shut the doors of our intellectual and cultural treasury, dumbed clerics down, and withheld from the Catholic people their patrimony. We barely know who we are anymore. It’s like a different religion. Who are we in the Latin Church if we never hear or use… or even have a minimum working use of Latin? And yet the Church’s law requires that all seminarians be very well-formed in Latin. The disobedience to this law is nothing short of shocking. And after decades of the dumbing-down there is a kind of slothful complacency about this aspect of formation that stems from ostrich-like blinkered denial. /RANT]

  85. Manducat in the hat says:

    A lot of places (in Texas) have reach “a ceiling” because some of the bishops cast the TLM to the far reaches of the diocese, prohibit it on Sundays, allow it only once per month, and even prohibit advertising the TLM. Priests who use the motu proprio in their defense of celebrating the TLM are exiled to the least desirable parishes in the diocese. It’s not hard to hit such a ceiling when the entire diocese is unaware that the TLM even exists.

  86. PTK_70 says:

    An adaptation of a comment I made on Msgr. Pope’s blog at

    Pope Benedict XVI did not normalize celebration of the usus antiquitor Mass in order to facilitate or encourage the establishment of a counter-Church. Quite the contrary! For the beloved pope emeritus it was “a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.” Do take 5-10 minutes to (re)read this letter to bishops accompanying his Motu Propio: There you will find the pope speak of “the spiritual richness and theological depth” of the Missal of Paul VI. There you will read of its “value and holiness.”

    The use of the unsanctioned term “Novus Ordo,” with its pejorative connotations, only ossifies a false dichotomy between that which is newer and that which is older. Once more from the pope emeritus: “…the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching.” Would that the quasi-schismatics accept the sacrality of the Forma ordinaria!

    Does anyone seriously think the Catholic Church would be undergoing vigorous growth in the South today were it not for the 1970 reform to the liturgy?

    Sadly, one of the most significant roadblocks to wider acceptance of the older usage and the older Rites (eg, Dominican Rite) is the attitude of too many who gravitate thereto. The pernicious cocktail of bitterness, snobbery and provincialism does not attract…..not Protestants, not atheists, not poorly catechized Catholics, no one!

  87. RafqasRoad says:

    Another thought or two prompted by several commenters,

    I see an incredible opportunity (untapped) to bridge the gap with another amazing gift Pope Emeritus BXVI gave us, the Anglican Ordinariate Mass. Especially in light of the issues raised by ‘Man with Black Hat’, it ticks all the boxes

    1. For English speakers, especially non catholic and unchurched far less of a language barrier (sacrel English is a far less steep mountain to climb).
    2. Easier for already rushed off their feet priests pulling 60 hour weeks to contemplate
    3. none of the baggage that can exist in NO parishes between the generations
    4. All of the reverence and holiness with no compromise on content
    5. Absolutely beautiful English hymnity and psalm chant patrimony.
    6. I suspect that the AO liturgy as it is today is in fact the type of mass that the NO could have been. I am reminded of the liturgical revisions carried out in the Maronite rite in 1990 that wisely waited for the hippy dust of the 60’s and 70’s to well and truly settle and ensured that absolutely none of the content would be altered between say, an Arabic language and English language liturgy right down to identical hymnity, preservations of holy days on the day itself within the Maronite calendar, robust blessings of sacramental in liturgy (e.g. blessing of water at Epiphany during the mass) and preservation of the Aramaic within all Maronite liturgies.

    And to Augustine, from one Maronite who entered Catholic Christianity via this rite just over four years ago to another, welcome and God bless you.

  88. “One is that the TLM must be offered at “’prime time’: i.e. it must not be something that we sneak it on Sunday afternoon or offer only once a month.”

    With the exception of urban parishes that are all but deserted, it would be impossible and impractical to displace hundred of parishioners who prefer the Ordinary Form, with anywhere from fifty to one hundred mostly-non-parishioners (and likely non-supporters) who prefer the Extraordinary form. For most situations, they don’t “sneak” it in. It’s a (practical) matter of finding a priest who has the time, who has already learned it, and finding a church that is available, and they’re usually booked pretty solid with something the than the TLM on Sunday morning. Hence a TLM that’s NOT on Sunday morning.

  89. thomas777 says:

    I have to comment not out of a mean spirit but out of a real sense of concern for the direction this type of logic takes us. We do not lack stuff and plans and logic. We got that. It’s all there. The work has been done. Everything they need to understand and appreciate it fully. What they lack is the grace. Grace is the defining lack that we have in our society. you want your societies and particular devotional practices to grow. When was the last time you got together as a community and prayed just for the grow of your community by the protection of the parish’s guardian angle. This is not something you do besides. This is what needs to happen first. Use your guardian angles. Pray for the grace necessary to grow your community and your parish. pray for 30 days straight. put groups together so this will continue every day for a month and watch the change. Pray for grace and the restoration. Grace is what is lacking. Not money or numbers or buildings or whatever. just my two cents. not really worth a whole lot in the end, but you might try it. if you can find enough like-minded individuals who care enough to give their time to come to the church and pray for the grace of God to grow your community.

  90. ssoldie says:

    “I wonder, in this scenario of falling attendance, if some people are not going to the SSPX.”
    hello, you better believe it.

  91. ts says:

    Some TLM parishes have members that are not receptive to newcomers, priests that talk only with those whom he ‘feels comfortable with’, no formal welcome to the congregation to visitors, members who ‘established’ the parish who talk only among themselves. Having said this: I have told friends, when they make the same observations of their NO parish that: “we go to Mass to offer worship to God, not to be affirmed by fellow mass-goers.” The bottom line is keeping the commandment of offering worship and sacrifice to God and to give Thanks for said. But a parish cannot grow if folks don’t feel welcome or included!

  92. The Cobbler says:

    Uh, PTK_70, “Novus Ordo” is short for “Novus Ordo Missae” (New Order of the Mass — it was the rite’s Ordo that was revised), which is basically the official name for the ordinary form — and, for the decades from its promulgation to the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, pretty much its only name to boot. Just because some people have looked down on the ordinary form that whole time doesn’t make its name a slur. (Not to mention, it’s not like there’s a list somewhere of sanctioned terms — or, if we were to try to make one by looking for all the terms that can be said to have been sanctioned, it wouldn’t be long enough to discuss much except a few hairy issues of theology like the hypostatic union or transubstantiation.) And do you really want to accuse everyone here who uses the term of A) being quasi-schismatic and B) rejecting the sacrality of the ordinary form, or was that sentence supposed to end some other paragraph? I don’t disagree with the main point there about needing more continuity and mutual enrichment rather than, well, the alternative, I just think it’s a bit ironic to see this kind of smearing in a comment calling for more respect and less division…

    (You’ll also have to be more specific about where you mean by the South, I suspect. Last I heard the Church is thriving in Africa but struggling in South America, which are the two main places I can think of as “the South” outside of a US-specific context unless we want to use Kennedy’s globe.)

  93. KateD says:

    Of the many wonderful, intelligent and devout Catholic families we know who have come to try the Latin Mass, what they all seem to say is, “I can’t understand/follow what’s going on”. The language is an impediment….for the non Spanish speakers…and they don’t recognize it as the same Mass, just fuller (more compete?). I have heard on more than one occasion the request for a teaching Mass, so that they can learn and be fully engaged. Might this be an option?

    It is unreasonable to demand that TLMers evangelise or quit. There are only so many catholic people within a certain geographic area who will be interested in doing what is ultimately most pleasing to the Lord over doing what is more pleasing to themselves. Once that point of equilibrium is met, no amount of evangelization will draw more people…shy of a major chastisement.

  94. Maineman1 says:

    I’d like to make an observation about High Church Anglicans, the Anglo-Catholics, and their witness to Christ in the slums and other undesirable regions. Anglo-Catholic parishes were often at the forefront of food banks, soup kitchens, and overall preaching the Word of God in the worst of England’s slums. High Church Anglicans also are the most “Catholic” of the Anglican adherents, in worship and often in thought.

    This is a statement from the Society of Catholic Priests, an Anglo-Catholic organization within the Communion:

    “As the Anglo-Catholic slum priests brought the slum dwellers and the working class a taste of the beauty and the holiness of the kingdom of God in the midst of their squalor, and brought it out into the streets, liturgically and practically, they were posing a sacramental challenge to the ugliest expressions of industrialisation and capitalism. And in this, they restored a social conscience to Anglicanism.”

    Traditional Catholics should emulate the Anglo-Catholics. Establish mission parishes in the rough neighborhoods. Heck, ti seems that is where the dioceses decide to relegate you all anyhow! Host the soup kitchens, the food banks, and the homeless shelters. Bring the gospels to the slums.

  95. JerrytheYTPer says:

    I know the feeling regarding locations of TLMs. I am attending a Catholic college in a diocese that has been somewhat hostile to Summorum Pontificum, so TLMs are very few. The two parishes offering Latin Masses are all within an hour of each other and are celebrated by a retired priest. One is in a high crime part of town where a taxi ride costs $20 back and forth from my place and is only offered at 9:30 AM (I don’t normally get up until 9:45) and the other parish is a distance of a drive southward (probably less than 40 minutes, but I don’t have a car on campus), offering at 11 AM. Because of that, I have acquainted myself with a Byzantine Rite parish within a two block distance from my school. I agree that convenience is a large problem regarding the Latin Mass. My adjacent home diocese has an FSSP parish, but I live in the farthest edge of the diocese and the parish is on the opposite end. If we want the Latin Mass to continue, people need a location that is easily accessible.

  96. acardnal says:

    Some commentators have reported that some diocesan priests are prepared to celebrate the TLM but no one has requested it. So what! It matters not whether 100 people assist or one. . . celebrate it, and they will come! Word will spread. The Mass, after all, is efficacious and has infinite value in the cosmos – especially for the souls in purgatory. Celebrate the TLM/EF Mass and they will come.

    From Mediator Dei, Pope Paul VI, n. 17:
    “We should also mention ‘the public and social nature of every Mass,’ a conclusion which clearly follows from the doctrine we have been discussing. For even though a priest should offer Mass in private, that Mass is not something private; it is an act of Christ and of the Church. In offering this Sacrifice, the Church learns to offer herself as a sacrifice for all. Moreover, for the salvation of the entire world she applies the single, boundless, redemptive power of the Sacrifice of the Cross. For every Mass is offered not for the salvation of ourselves alone, but also for that of the whole world. Hence, although the very nature of the action renders most appropriate the active participation of many of the faithful in the celebration of the Mass, nevertheless, that Mass is to be fully approved which, in conformity with the prescriptions and lawful traditions of the Church, a priest for a sufficient reason offers in private, that is, in the presence of no one except his server. From such a Mass an abundant treasure of special salutary graces enriches the celebrant, the faithful, the whole Church, and the entire world—graces which are not imparted in the same abundance by the mere reception of Holy Communion.”

  97. Alice says:

    Fifteen years ago my parents were sacrificing to drive us to the closest Indult Mass every Sunday. It was a two and a half hour round trip and a lot of other families with smaller children than us were making similar drives. From what I can tell, although the parish still offers the EF, many of the families have gone back to their OF parishes. It made sense to travel when it was hard to find a reverent Mass in the OF, but that’s changed in a lot of places. Since Summorum Pontificum there have been various attempts at starting Mass in the EF closer to where I live, but it seems that the folks who want it are their own worst enemies, arguing with the priest over liturgical minutiae, requiring dresses and veils on women, loudly proclaiming that they can’t be bothered to get up in time for a reverent Mass in the OF, etc. It’s sad and unCatholic and does nothing to encourage people to explore the tradition of their Church.

  98. Augustine says:

    Dear @RafqasRoad,

    I was a member of a Melkite parish for a couple of years while at college and had been attending the liturgy at a Maronite parish once during the week for about 3 years before I finally came to my senses about my deep love for the liturgy of St. James and became a member of this parish. I even feel the desire to switch rites, but, since this can be done only once in a lifetime, I’m pondering this as prayerfully as I can.

    BTW, those of a traditional bent who appreciate reverence in the liturgy, as found in the Vetus Ordo liturgy, would probably appreciate the beauty of Eastern liturgies too. I cannot recommend them enough to visit a parish of an Eastern Church, preferably Catholic, so that they can partake of the Eucharist, but also Orthodox or Oriental. Methinks that the respective theologies is made more explicit in the Eastern liturgies than in the Western ones, including the Vetus Ordo liturgy.

    The liturgical treasure chest of the Church is immensely rich!

    Christus natus est!

  99. Supertradmum says:

    Several points: one, who is evangelizing the Millennials concerning the TLM? Parish life grows naturally by young people meeting each other, getting married and having children. Without the youth, parishes will be old people’s domains. Parishes in the past grew with marriages and children.

    Secondly, parishes grow because of schools. Schools attract families. Why do not some TLM parishes start schools? I tried to do this in 2006 with a TLM community, about 150 adults came to the initial meeting interested, but nothing came of it. Projects take work.

    Thirdly, people need to move closer to their source of Mass. Natural communities are made from people seeing each other during the week on a regular basis. Seeing each other once a week does not create community. People need to be in each other’s houses, and this natural type of meeting will attract others.

    “Come in for dinner”, needs to follow, “Come see the TLM.”

  100. majuscule says:

    Here is a good comparison of the Ordinary and Extraordonary Forms:

    I’ve printed this out and given it to people because it shows that the parts of the Mass are similar–such as the Collect being the Opening Prayer and the Secret being the Prayer Over the Offerings. I think the simple terms help people who are afraid of being lost.

  101. jflare says:

    ” If it’s only held at out of the way Churches, sadly, I suspect most won’t want to make the weekly trek. But if it’s exposed to the “masses”, I think it would become far more common.”

    That depends to some extent on how one defines “out of the way”. I’ve been to Mass at several churches which were readily accessible, but which I would not wish to celebrate ANY Mass, let alone the traditional form. I think it admirable that priests have offered Mass on the hood of a jeep or on a table in some deployed location. I’ve been down that road. When needs require it, the faithful make do. I do not think though, the average Catholic will be willing to routinely attend Mass, traditional or not, in a place that looks like a gym. I would say that many “out-of-the-way” churches might be best in no small part because they at least LOOK like a church, not a place where we should be holding a basketball game instead.

  102. PTK_70 says:

    @The Cobbler……Peace.

    To respond to your post: were “Novus Ordo” or even “Novus Ordo Missae” the official name of the Missal of Paul VI, surely Pope Benedict XVI would have referred to it as such in Summorum Pontificum. The word “novus” is simply an adjective, which in the 1970s doubtless had descriptive meaning given the revised missal’s recent appearance. So at one time it might have been quite natural to refer to it as the new Order of the Mass (novus Ordo Missae — lower case ‘n’!). But the Missal of Paul VI is quite established now. It is the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is, according to our beloved pope emeritus, “the ordinary expression of the ‘Lex orandi’ (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite.” And it should be accorded due honor in our naming conventions. The term “Forma ordinaria” appears in correspondence from Pope Benedict XVI so that (and its English translation) suffices for me.

    To claim membership in the Roman Catholic Church and at the same time openly refuse to accept the sacrality of the Missal of Paul VI……if such a one isn’t schismatic, he’s at least quasi-schismatic. I mean this objectively.

    By “the South” I specifically meant the southern U.S. states, Dixieland, states with universities in the SEC… get the idea.

  103. How about the real root ROOT cause?
    Learn the interior life of prayer. Without this, few are interested in the treasures of the old Tridentine Mass.
    Prayer life is in crisis – who teaches about recollection, meditation, well-formed prayer, and the crucial interior life anymore? It is much harder to notice a difference in the forms of the Mass without an interior life.

    Conversion must start by teaching about prayer. Real prayer as the Church has taught it for centuries.

    That the laity has never rioted in protest in modern times over the changes in the Mass is a symptom of a very deep chasm in spiritual health. [Belloc cites the time that Parisians rioted in the streets against the hierarchy’s Reformationist intentions – stopping much of that evil progress in Paris].

  104. Alice says:

    Supertradmum, I’m a Millennial. I’m not sure what you mean by who is evangelizing the Millennials about the TLM because those of us who care about religion tend to know about the TLM. We learned about it from the internet or because we were exposed to it at our Newman Centers or because priests who are fellow Millennials think it’s cool. Lots of ink has been spilled about the traditional tendencies of religious Millennials, but Millennials tend to be less religious than previous generations, so if the TLM is going to grow, those who love it need to start spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. If Millennials know Him, they’re likely to find the TLM appealing.

  105. PA mom says:

    Supertradmum is seriously on target here, I think.

    Whether starting a Catholic school or a Catholic homeschooling group, as families grow they tend to build community within their children’s activities (it’s all we have time for). Catholic parishes with schools discount for parish members.

  106. PostCatholic says:

    Non-Catholic and have no ideas of numbers, but I think another peculiarity of Washington DC (where I am based) is there are higher levels of progressive solemnity in the novus ordo mass not always available elsewhere. St Matthew’s Cathedral offers Mass in Latin in that form as does at least one other downtown parish (Immaculate Conception); the cavernous National Shrine has frequent masses by visiting and local prelates (the Archdiocese for Military Services is across the street, e.g., and lacks a cathedral of its own), and has professional musicians and choir; several churches have very skilled organists and music directors and enviable pipe organs; several religious orders and the Vatican embassy and a Benedictine abbey are headquartered in the District; there are other examples. I remember that Cardinal Hickey allowed an “indult” mass in each regional vicariate in the mid-80’s; so that’s 3 of the 5 mentioned by the original author. The DC one was at a once-German parish in the city; the suburban one was at Old St John’s in Silver Spring just off the beltway, and the southern one was located right near the bridge over the Patuxent. All convenient for travelling a distance… the weird things I can remember when the gears start turning.

  107. The Cobbler says:


    First off, thanks for taking the time to respond. I think I managed to overshadow the point I was trying to get across: however fitting the designation “ordinary form of Mass in the Latin Rite” is at this point (about which I have can’t quibble), there are plenty of people who are used to calling it the “Novus Ordo” because that’s what they’ve always called it (indeed, for lack of any better name for most of the time we’ve had it) who don’t deny its sacrality. I don’t know if they’re more or less common than people who refer to the “New Mass” specifically to emphasize that they think it’s too changed, but they’re out there (and on here, some of them!), for what it’s worth. That’s all, really: there’s a big difference between having reason to prefer one name or another and being able to take any use of another name as a sign of ideological enmity. (Although, also, since you brought it up: however established the ordinary form may be, it’s certainly still new in a Church that thinks in centuries…)

  108. WYMiriam says:

    Tina in Ashburn said, “Learn the interior life of prayer. Without this, few are interested in the treasures of the old Tridentine Mass.
    Prayer life is in crisis – who teaches about recollection, meditation, well-formed prayer, and the crucial interior life anymore? It is much harder to notice a difference in the forms of the Mass without an interior life.”

    I agree whole-heartedly! When I heard a young priest before an EF Mass say to the congregation that they wouldn’t hear very much, and they might not understand very much, but they were encouraged to just spend the time in adoration of almighty God, I finally understood just WHAT the Holy Mass is. And now I find I can’t explain it. All I know is that it is far, far easier for me to adore God at an EF — because I’m not in the middle of a constant barrage of noise. And it’s far, far easier for me to be “actually” participating in Holy Mass if it’s the EF — because I have all that quiet time to recollect myself and to consciously work at being united with the action of the priest.

    In a word, when I come out of an EF Mass, I know that I’ve been at a Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Even though the abuses that once were rampant in the OF have largely disappeared, there still is something about it that says, “you need to enjoy this Mass! If you don’t, there’s something wrong with you!” Well, I think that if we participate in the Holy Mass as if it were a sacrifice — and it is a sacrifice — then we may experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit called joy. But if we go to have fun, to enjoy ourselves, we go for the wrong reason.

    I so wish I could live in an FSSP parish instead of the desert . . . but there’s a reason for that somewhere. I need to trust that God knows what He’s doing, and hope for the grace to be faithful to Him. Doesn’t stop me from wishing I could be where I could learn “about recollection, meditation, well-formed prayer, and the crucial interior life”, from being immersed in it, though!

  109. joan ellen says:

    1. Pray…per Tina in Ashburn and
    2. The ‘Honey’ Lesson…per Doc Angelicus give us a beginning solution as they are concrete tasks for each of us if we have any interest. Other tasks can be done…but these 2 are quick, simple, easy…& I offer an Our Father right now for this Evangelization Mons. Pope is suggesting/requesting.

  110. Pingback: Evangelizing the Reluctant Pearl Merchant - OnePeterFive

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