My friend Fr. Richard Heilman has a good post at his place, Roman Catholic Man.
Fr. Heilman responded to something asserted by Fr. Dwight Longenecker at Pathet… at Patheos. HERE Fr. Longenecker writes: Is the Latin Mass the Magic Bullet? The title is somewhat confused, since he clearly means the Traditional Latin Mass, in the Extraordinary Form. Latin Mass can and should also indicate the Novus Ordo as well. But I digress.
While I support those who promote the Latin Mass, I must say that I find it odd that some of them seem to think the answer to all the church’s problems is more reverence at Mass. I think this is mistaking the symptom for the disease.
The problems in the Catholic church are not due to lack of reverence at Mass. The lack of reverence at Mass is due to the problems in the church.
To which, Fr. H:
Reverent Masses are not the magic bullet, Fr. Longenecker contends. I could not disagree more. I have watched and heard from countless people who tell their stories of having had a complete conversion, once exposed to a heavenly, sacred and reverent Mass. Virtually all of them speak of being agnostic, at best, until they were exposed to the “true beauty and reverence” of the Mass as it should be offered. In that moment, they talk about a light going on inside them, and they knew (and I will paraphrase here) that they had been making their faith “no big deal,” but now they have truly recognized God in these Masses (for the first time), and now they knew this was a “very big deal.”
Be sure the read both offerings in their entirety. The brief excerpts point to the content of each but there is more to be said.
I add this.
No initiative we undertake in the Church, in any of the Church’s spheres of activity, will bear good and lasting fruit unless we revitalize our sacred liturgical worship of God. Everything starts there. Everything returns there. Revitalization of our liturgical worship is the first act of New Evangelization. It is the best means of communication and evangelization both ad intra and ad extra.
This is why we need the Extraordinary Form far and wide, often and everywhere.
Apart from the fact that the Traditional Latin Mass is in itself pleasing to God, from a practical viewpoint, its knock on effects are manifold. I have enumerated them here on many an occasion and need not recite them again.
Given Holy Mass is the primary means of worshiping the Holy Trinity, and the Holy Eucharist is our intimate encounter with the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ, then surely we know that Holy Mass is the locus of right faith, firm hope and perfect charity. It is not about the acquisition of notions and reasons, it is the encounter with the Living God and thus transformative in its essence.
Holy Mass celebrated with distraction and distortion embroidered into its very fabric will surely result in deficient devotion and reverence, not in the laity alone, but in our priests. This we witness everyday it seems, locally and globally.
It seems to me that Fr. Longenecker perspective reveals a near universal disposition held by secularist and the vast majority of clerics, and laity of a certain comportment, who invariably, without awareness, work out of poorly prioritized reasoning. Rather than reducing our existential puzzle to mere anthropological, sociological and psychological oversight, we need begin, relying on the Magisterium, to adopt a supernatural perspective on our situation – not as a second thought, but instinctively. That will not occur as long as “cult” is subservient to “culture.”
An atheist friend once told me that if she were a believer she would be a Catholic because of the moving ceremony of the Mass. I have the feeling that she was thinking of movie representations of the Traditional Latin Mass. She may have had childhood memories, she is old enough, but her family was not Catholic. (Of course, I haven’t been able to get her to attend!)
I say one rosary every day for the intention of more reverence (where needed) in our liturgy.
Finding the TLM again after 40 + years has been a life changer for me. I could go into detail but there isn’t enough room!
Hmmm. I came back to the church after attending a reverent NO Mass. It was so different from the faux 1970s hootenany that is common around here. Now I mostly go the TLM and find my faith encouraged through it. Chicken or egg?
Reverent Masses. Even NO Masses can be reverent…..just turn the Priest around so he faces Jesus on the cross.
Having read all of Fr. Longenecker’s article it seems to me that he shares many if not most of the concerns that are voiced here (He minces no words in his rejection of Polka Masses and Clown Masses). His premise that the true culprit is the tendency to look to ourselves rather than God (a tendency that he traces to the Reformation and Enlightenment and the effect these movements had on the way Western society views the world) is quite accurate. It should be noted that the notion that humans of themselves can do good without God (a product of the Enlightmenment) is the natural, albeit erroneous, reaction to the heresy of Luther and Calvin claiming that human nature became irredeemably depraved as a consequence of the Fall rather than the truth that humanity lost the supernatural gifts with which God initially endowed it.
His point that a reason the Extraordinary Form is more reverent is the fact that it draws a congregation that is better grounded in its knowledge of the Faith than the average parish is directly on target. Having attended many Masses in the 1955 and 1962 forms of the Mass of St. Pius V during my childhood, I can concur with his observation that the Extraordinary Form can be and has often been celebrated in a sloppy and rote manner that lacks any recognition of the Sacrifice that we offer God who is the Author of all the good that we do when we surrender to His Almighty Will. Conversely, the Mass of Bl. Paul VI can be and often is celebrated reverently, focusing fully on that Sacrifice. The fault lies in ourselves and we must pray always that we be freed from our self-centeredness.
“The problems in the Catholic church are not due to lack of reverence at Mass. The lack of reverence at Mass is due to the problems in the church.”
I think Fr. L and Fr. H are both right. Because it’s a feedback loop.
Also, I now like to point out to people, when they bring up Vatican 2, that I’ve looked at the Vatican 2 documents and in 33 years I have never actually attended a Vatican 2 Mass. Been to a lot of Masses, but never a Vatican 2 one.
“…His point that a reason the Extraordinary Form is more reverent is the fact that it draws a congregation that is better grounded in its knowledge of the Faith than the average parish is directly on target.”
He may be on point, but still misses the message. A “deeper understanding of the Faith” is what is drawing Catholics to a thoroughly Catholic rite that most clearly displays the outward signs of being Catholic. The idea at hand is not just sloppiness.
Continued sheep-shaming like, “The fault lies in ourselves and we must pray always that we be freed from our self-centeredness,” is a distraction. Much of the self-centeredness is precisely in insisting that one not look at the fruits for an honest analysis and admit mistakes. No matter how well intended.
The reason I came back to the faith of my forefathers is because of the Mass. Specifically because of the “extraordinary” reverence In the OF that I had never experienced before. Bells & smells, Benedictine altar arrangement, Roman style vestments, Gregorian chant, chanted readings, and most of all the reverence to the Eucharist. I would hear the term by the pastor often: “say the black do the red!” I could go on and on, but it was the reverence that brought me back. The Truth is what keeps me here. I pray often for vocations to the priesthood, for holy reverent priests, thank you all for accepting your vocations.
As Father Longenecker writes, “The cause is much deeper, and it did not start with Vatican II or with the introduction of the Novus Ordo. The cause of the malaise is a very deep departure from the ancient faith . . . The result [from the very deep departure] is a turn away from a supernatural understanding of the faith to a utilitarian and practical understanding. The faith shifted its center from God to people, from heaven to earth, from a focus on God’s redemptive work in the world to our good works in the world. In other words, we turned from looking to God for our salvation and turned to ourselves and our community for our salvation.”
This deep departure is the core issue, it came first. It is the cause. What has happened to the Mass, as typified by the Novus Ordo, and most especially by its abuses, is a symptom of that deep departure. What Fr. Longenecker is saying is that, you must accurately recognize and address the cause in order to effect a cure, not merely treat the symptom(s). He stresses that he supports the revival of the TLM, but that it is not a “magic bullet.” The problem is much more fundamental than revival of the TLM. It is necessary, but not sufficient. I think he is right.
Lex orandi, lex credendi.
I think that the credibility of individual believers, the consistent teaching and worship of the Real Presence, all go together in this and are each inseparable from the others towards renewal.
I think that many of us brought up with only the OF, never fully understood what it was aiming at or going for until we experienced the EF. The OF only makes sense really in terms of the EF, and tradition and orthodox teaching more generally, and it is difficult to grasp the prayers of the Mass and the sacrament fully going on the OF alone, even OF celebrated properly and with reverence.
I think that experiences such as mine and other laity are consistent with those seminarians who are not content to learn to celebrate the OF alone, who draw their spirituality with that continuity between the two, and learning both forms of the Rite. I think that it is essential, for a renewal of the Church, that both be offered in most parishes going forward and not the EF being exceptional with a discontinuous OF predominating.
There is no “magic bullet”: we don’t DESERVE one, Tom.
But having Fr. Longenecker, especially on a blog where he removed any/all access to those faithful who he now claims to be better informed in matters of Faith, undercut the centrality of the TLM (…the prime target to demonstrably facilitate the shift from God to people.) is to pontificate while the patient is, in some cases, bleeding out.
The mass isn’t the only problem – obviously – but it’s the heart of the problem. And Father, despite his stated desire to revive the TLM, is not aiding the requisite urgency to get the heart pumping as it should. If he cannot see that, I pray that he would leave future comments regarding the TLM to Fr. Heilman.
Even that hesitancy and flippancy in diagnosis can and often does contribute to the problem. Why? Because it encourages those who follow Fr. Longenecker to tune out those catechized faithful who could actually help others understand the deeper aspects of what ails the Mystical Body.
1. Benedict Joseph “Given Holy Mass is the primary means of worshiping the Holy Trinity, and the Holy Eucharist is our intimate encounter with the Son of the Living God, Jesus Christ, then surely we know that Holy Mass is the locus of right faith, firm hope and perfect charity.”
2. Fr. H “… truly recognized God in these Masses (for the first time), and now they knew…”
3. Gerard Plourde “His (Fr. L) point that a reason the Extraordinary Form is more reverent is the fact that it draws a congregation that is better grounded in its knowledge of the Faith than the average parish is directly on target.”
4. Tom D from Fr. L “”The result [from the very deep departure] is a turn away from a supernatural understanding of the faith to a utilitarian and practical understanding. The faith shifted its center from God to people, from heaven to earth, from a focus on God’s redemptive work in the world to our good works in the world. In other words, we turned from looking to God for our salvation and turned to ourselves and our community for our salvation.””
Recognizing God in the Mass, especially a reverent Mass, & knowledge of the faith…as from 1885-1960s…& the Baltimore Catechism…could that combination be a/the magic bullet? Or at least a Bingo?
How will mutual enrichment work, in the future? Fr. Heilman gives us a solid look: a united parish which happily has both forms of the Rite, and the opportunity to grow spiritually through all the sacraments of the Church, worthy teaching.
With one EF every three to twelve hour drive per geographic region with all other parishes only offering the ordinary form, the two rites continue to diverge in a yellow wood, it is effective then for some, but is not permitted the real renewal it can offer to the Church, is denied its potential, and the two are used to divide congregation from another.
I know two former Anglicans who became Catholic because of the TLM. For years they knew the Catholic Church was the Church, but they could not reconcile this with the lack of reverence at the Masses they had observed. Once they attended their first TLM, they experienced an “Aha!” moment and immediately entered the Church. One of these people is now a priest.
majuscule–A friend of my mom’s was born in England, so most likely Anglican or Evangelical (she’s lived in the US for many years). When I told her I had become Catholic she seemed delighted and interested, and said, “Oh, all the Latin?” :::sigh:::I only wish. Non-Catholics still think the Mass and church interiors are like the movies. (I know I did when I converted. Was I in for culture shock.) There’s a reason it’s portrayed that way in the movies! That image equals holiness in people’s minds. That’s why in my opinion priestly child abuse seems so much worse coming from traditional orders. There’s an instinctive knowledge that this is something full of power.
yatzer–that’s a very good point. I actually prefer the novus ordo properly done because I like to hear the readings in English. I’ve mentioned in another thread that I have the great blessing this semester of being able to assist at Sts. Gregory and Augustine Church in Oxford, England, where Father Saward is the priest–he translated Cardinal Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy into English. He does both forms, ad orientem. There is a lot of Latin in the novus ordo. It’s like being in heaven–both forms!
“I think Fr. L and Fr. H are both right. Because it’s a feedback loop. “
I was thinking along the same lines. Trying to boil it down to just one factor or the other as a “magic bullet” tends to overlook the interplay between what the faithful put into the liturgy and what they get out of it.
But I also don’t think Father Longenecker’s perception that large numbers of traditionalists think that fixing the liturgy is the solution to all the Church’s problems is very accurate either. I’m pretty sure most understand that individual holiness, as well as catechesis and evangelization are also essential, and that the Church will always be struggling against various false movements in our culture, as it has always done.
Yet his perception that many “defend the Latin Mass in a tone of snobbish superiority, self righteousness and an undercurrent of sour negativity about other Catholics” did not come from thin air. Intended or not, others perceive it that way. To some degree that’s inescapable, because any criticism of irreverence is a form of negative reinforcement, so it is more or less correct to call it negativity, even if sometimes justified (but not the “sour” part). We (fallible human beings) don’t like being criticized, and there’s a fine line to walk in order to evangelize the traditional Latin Mass, or even to correct abuses in the Novus Ordo without alienating other Catholics. At the same time, I fear some actually are motivated by self-righteousness. I know I myself am far from immune to it.
In fact, Archbishop Sample had some similar, if better worded, comments about this in a homily on the Gospel theme of “a house divided against itself can not stand”:
(Transcribed by me from Youtube, with excerpts deleted for length. I apologize if I made any mistakes or inappropriate omissions)
We do need good, reverent liturgy, but that alone will not reverse the modernist tendencies influencing the Church. Modernism and secularism are not only prevalent, which gives them an incumbent position that is extremely influential in both subtle and overt ways, but they’re also very appealing aside from their incumbent influence. They fit our selfish desires very well, and in fact conform themselves to our desires, which because it is so much easier than conforming ourselves to truth, pretty much guarantees modernism and secularization will continue to try to try to worm their way into the Church no matter how holy most of its members are.
At least for the time being, even with the extraordinary form available and hopefully growing, giving Catholics a good and reverent liturgy means ordinary form must also be celebrated well, because the reality is that unless and until the extraordinary form is far, far more widely understood and appreciated, the bishops and the pope are not going to elevate it again to ordinary status.
I don’t like to talk about myself but in this case I will and Fr. Longenecker, I hope you are reading. I have been a dedicated Traditional Latin Mass attendee on Sundays for the past four or five years. I attend daily Mass at my parish which is Novus Ordo (albeit reverent) but go to another Church on Sunday… that is until this year’s winter set in and I got lazy about having to take a train to the other Church and therefore started going to my parish for Sunday Novus Ordo Mass. Now these Masses are still reverent but not at all like the Extraordinary Form. The music is blah, the people talk inside the Church immediately after Mass ends, 90% of Sunday attendees take Communion in the hand and there are women Eucharistic ministers (I refuse to take Communion from them). Well, without going into details, let’s just say I’ve had to go to Confession A LOT since I made the Sunday switch. My belated New Year’s resolution is to attend the TLM Mass on Sunday no matter what the hardships.
Fr Longenecker seems convinced that wearing a particular vestment, standing in a certain place, saying a certain thing, or performing a rite in a particular way does not make a difference. Based on my upbringing within the context of the Novus Ordo, I likely would have agreed with him. ..Then I went through several years in the military. Because I learned Drill & Ceremony, because I learned Customs and Courtesies, because I learned how a subordinate and Commander may interact, I must flatly reject Fr Longenecker’s premises.
My time in the military caused me to look much more closely at many, many of the customs and practices that we live out in our daily lives. If we attend a City Council meeting, we expect a certain typical approach to conducting business; if we attend a sporting event, we expect a certain set of “rituals” that we conduct before the game, and also as the game carries on; if we attend a graduation, there’s a particular set of “rituals” that we conduct to recognize that the graduates have accomplished something; if we attend almost any other sort of public or private gathering, there’s a typical expected “protocol” that we expect to see carried out. If we watch a hearing of a Congressional committee, we expect the Congressmen and witnesses to act according to time-honored parliamentary procedure.
…As a Boy Scout, I became well acquainted with the meaning of various symbols related to devotion to one’s family, country, and god. I have been deeply saddened to witness even these becoming cheapened.
By the time I reached my later 20’s, for all that I (sort of ) understood the rationale behind the Novus Ordo, I had begun to question severely whether “re-creating” the Mass had been at all wise.
I have been told that prior to 1970, we had rigidity within the Mass. You must do this, you must say that. Now, we don’t have rigidity.
Now we have chaos.
Marines know they are Marines in part because of the rituals involved with having been declared to be Marines. Airmen know they are Airmen for the same reason. Soldiers and sailors have their rituals and time-honored ceremonies too.
When we expect various persons in various capacities to fill their roles with the devotion that we have come to know, I’m unable to competently explain why we would treat Our Lord and Savior as though He were merely a here-again, gone-again father who cared litte for the plight of His children.
It may well be that too many Catholics did not understand very much at all of what they could have known about the offering of the Mass prior to Vatican II. Such is tragic indeed.
Such does not mean that we should have abandoned the rubrics for options and whims as we have.
I very much would like to see us actually live out Vatican II as written by the Council Fathers.
I would very much like to see the Mass change slowly over time, but organically as they intended.
jflare – yes! Exactly.
Our magic bullet? We have Jesus, Truly Present on the altar.
When we say the mystery of our faith is “Christ will come again” and the priest has just brought Christ to our altar through the consecration, we miss the point entirely. The mystery of OUR faith, what makes us different, Is Christ is here, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, Truly Present on the altar before us. Praise God! We are Catholic and we believe – Christ is here! That’s our bullet.
EF, OF, NO, if the Mass does not focus us on Christ, what are we doing?
Thoughts lead to words which lead to actions. I have found the same can be reversed: actions, with words lead to thoughts (beliefs). If I start acting like I’m full of joy, saying joyful things, eventually my brain starts believing I am actually having a good day. This same for Mass – we need to act like Christ is Truly Present.
It’s all about Jesus. (Free tip of the day: Everything in life is about Jesus. Why are you here? To know, love and serve God). If you attend Catholic Mass and it is not focused on Jesus, then what are we doing?
Church Militant – We have our orders. Pray for our Church, our Leaders. Go to confession. Act like you mean it, soldier.
“EF, OF, NO, if the Mass does not focus us on Christ, what are we doing?”
Precisely so. And yet the Novus Ordo rite, in and of itself, allows for a laxity that has proven to de-focus the priest and the people on the centrality of Christ in the mass. This is why Our Lord instructed us to judge a tree by its fruits. (…Fr. Longenecker should ask himself “why” the TLM draws more educated Catholics.)
Jflare brings up incredibly important points. People recognize and respond to visible cues and ritual. There is a purpose for what we do. That is why, when people supposedly don’t understand, even rejecting the wisdom of maintaining the Church’s language as Latin (…a dead language that will therefore keep the meaning behind every word instead of evolving), the response should be to instruct and uphold Tradition, not toss it out because we don’t want to appear stuffy or arrogant.
Would that more of our parents had held the line when we were growing up instead of being led to believe that parents being friends was “the” way to go. Teens and young adults very often believe their parents are just sticks-in-the-mud only to realize, when they have the responsibility of children and have experienced some of what the world is really like, that their parents were being their very best friend by being parents first.
If the mass were a car and you needed to get to work to put food on the table – would you really reject the tried and true station wagon just because the kids think it’s old fashioned looking? Jaguars may be fun and flashy, but they are often in the shop requiring reworks and untold attention to tweak this and that. That doesn’t help when you need to get to work.
So, no, Fr. Longenecker, we don’t want the “Magic Bullet”, we “NEED” that which can get us to work so we can support our families and do our duties of state despite being derided by Jaguar salesman who have sunk their fortune into a vehicle that has proven itself to have far too many bugs.
Although I do attend an NO Mass, I do not believe that they are “reverent” for one reason alone [My pastor and his deacon do a wonderful job of celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass.]:
100% of the congregation receives Communion (I left out the word “Holy”). I find that statistically impossible.
It used to be that one fasted from food and water from Midnight Sunday. Now with so many Masses being celebrated in the afternoons, that requirement became impossible to enforce. I would like to see a three or four hour fasting requirement.
I visit Catholic patients in a hospital on a regular basis. Most patients admit it privately when they are in a state of mortal sin (non-Mass attendance, marriage problems, need for Confession, etc.). But in an entire congregation, with an usher urging people to line up orderly for Communion, nobody wants to be singled out as an “ax-murderer.”
When I see someone remaining in the pew at Communion time, I often say a quick prayer for them and admire their honesty.
Fr Z, you’ve set up a straw man here. [No, I really haven’t. I set up a request for people to read BOTH the blog entries.]
Fr L was NOT saying that liturgy and intiative are mutually exclusive or that reverent liturgy in either form has no bearing on the understading of the faithful of their Catholic identity. What he is saying is that a switch in practice to the TLM/NO mass in Latin will not ON ITS OWN solve every problem.
If you take the time to read Fr Longnecker at more length you will see the context of where he comes from: [If you had taken the time to think about what I did, you would have seen that it wasn’t an attempt at a straw man.]
1. He is an American former protestant who became a CofE vicar in England (where he refers to as the “Damp Lands”). He then converted to Catholicism, applied to aq couple of diocese under the pastoral provision and was rejected (for being too orthodox by the magic circle bishops) before being accepted by the Bishop of the diocese for which he is incardinated in the US. His experience of TLM here is that it has been an issue with a class emphasis/divide attached to it (you will find here that the TLM survived in parishes that had a wealthy/educated/upper class patronage and that it was perceived through the 70/80/90’s as being the bastion of privilege in a society going through upheaval and rejection of a class bias that many Americans struggle to understand). One of the problems of the leadership of the bishops in the UK is the liberal inverse snobbery that eminates from that.
His sociological take on the issue in the US is very different. He attaches a lot of emphasis on what he calls “AmChurch” as a contrast to the RCC in the UK. He describes “AmChurch” in the sense that people have become “consumerist” in their approach to religion and about it being there to serve them and not about the people serving God. His posts on church art and architecture reveal a lot on this, as do his posts on the current Primaries.
2. He strenuously argues, and advocates for, reverent liturgy. He talks about how it IS the antidote to a lot of the “AmChurch” syndrome. His argument(s) extends to the fact that until there is a conversion away from a faithful who elect for “cafeteria catholicism”, “winners are grinners, and I’m winning at life so i’m alright” mentality there is still a deep routed spiritual sickness infecting the church and faithful in America.
3. What he (rightly) recognises is that a widening provision of Latin masses may lead to interior conversion, but does not guarantee it. There are far more factors and influences that have to work in conjunction with one another. The premise that he was rejecting is one of “switch to the Latin Mass and everyone will fall into line”.
Put in perspective, people may see the exterior beauty of TLM, the art, the architecture of traditional churches, music and even if given the choice elect to attend them when given the choice, BUT, if they still think in what he calls the “AmChurch” way they will still likely reject church teaching on marriage, birth control, social teaching and so on that they consider irrlevant to the way they want to live their lives.
An adherence to a traditional liturgy can make you more observant in your faith, but it doesn’t automatically follow. There are a number of Catholics I know of who used to attend TLMs organised by the Latin Mass Society in churches around London in the early 90s when I was a student and who have gravitated towards a “renegade” CofE parish near Shpherds Bush where the Vicar developed a liking for the rubrics and started saying the TLM “liturgy” in the guise of it being “Anglo-Catholic in the Oxford Movement” sense because of irregular marriages or same sex relationships.
My mother was Catholic and my father Lutheran when they were married. My father said he had no interest in converting – until the day he experienced an Extraordinary Form mass.
I was brought up in the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. I was drawn to Catholic belief and firmly believe that God brought me to the Catholic Church by going through a ‘High Church’ Episcopal church first. Would my faith have held by going straight into the Catholic Church without developing my love of reverent liturgy I got from that Anglo Catholic parish? It may well not have. I became Catholic for truth, not for much of the liturgy I have experienced in the US, Ireland and here at home!
I’d appreciate some of your feedback on this…
I was thinking about what Frs. L, and H had written, and would we have suffered the results of today had we not deconstructed the mass. What would the council fathers of V2 had done had they foreseen the aftermath of Bugnini, etc.
But, I tried to think of an exmaple of an analogous examplr. Micro level – Campos, seems to support Fr. H. Macro – level, the Orthodox who have never deconstructed their ancient liturgies, but are still seeing major declines in attendance. Seems to agree with Fr. L.
Maybe comparing apples and oranges, but interested to hear your thoughts.
I’m with Father Longenecker and TomD. The problems started long before Vatican II and were never addressed properly. If the extraordinary form of Mass were sufficient, we wouldn’t have gotten here in the first place, because that’s what we had and it wasn’t sufficient in 1962. Why would it be sufficient now, when things are far worse? One could perhaps argue that it is necessary, but necessary is a far lower standard than sufficient.
It’s going to take lots of thick-skinned, determined, courageous bishops, priests, and laity and some dynamic, energetic preachers to sort out the mess we now face. I also think that fixing the problems in the Church isn’t going to happen without the help of new religious orders, as we saw many times in Church history.
“….before being accepted by the Bishop of the diocese for which he is incardinated in the US. His experience of TLM here is that it has been an issue with a class emphasis/divide attached to it (you will find here that the TLM survived in parishes that had a wealthy/educated/upper class patronage and that it was perceived through the 70/80/90’s as being the bastion of privilege in a society going through upheaval and rejection of a class bias that many Americans struggle to understand).”
Thank you for this explanation of Fr. Longenecker’s background. It explains a lot. What you describe is Father having, it seemed, brought along baggage from his old relationship across the pond. And while I appreciate understanding his struggles, he, as a shepherd of souls here in the States, must learn the experience of the flock here. His perceptions are not reality. His experiences – only his. That comes across loud and clear with the presumptive and dismissive articles, taking a deprecatory jab at the ghost of arrogance he left behind, but refuses to shake. Even when folks here in the States point that out to him. (…any rebuttal to his assertions is perceived as that old arrogance rearing it’s head again. An “arrogance” he has been programmed to squelch….. because ‘he’ knows and has suffered. That’s the loop.)
Perhaps that is why there is this perpetuation that, “Traditionalists” are like x, y, and z. Perhaps that bias and overwhelming specter of the past – kind of like, “Don’t tell ME what women are like. I KNOW!” – keeps individuals from progressing. The imprint of what he thinks he knows about the TLM movement is too deeply inscribed by his own experience, that he often, sorry, dismisses the reality that his experience does not match that of the USA at all. Pretending TLM mass adherents in the States are so obtuse as to think the mass itself is some magic bullet is to sketch oneself into a corner and not aid the situation.
So while you display a man who has take a hit for the TLM and Orthodoxy, you also display the reality of one who has little understanding or even a desire to actually learn the reality of the history of the TLM here in the States. Would to God everyone could put away their Captain Decoder Rings, foreign and domestic, and actually discuss facts and concerns with a desire to understand, solve the actual problem and move forward.
Thank you VERY MUCH for that insight about Father.
Looks like the original post by Fr. L has been removed. I think he’ll be thinking about everybody’s criticism.
Tom D says something that I picked up on, too, in Fr. Longenecker’s article:
“What Fr. Longenecker is saying is that, you must accurately recognize and address the cause in order to effect a cure, not merely treat the symptom(s). He stresses that he supports the revival of the TLM, but that it is not a “magic bullet.” The problem is much more fundamental than revival of the TLM. It is necessary, but not sufficient.”
However (and this is a first impression only), while I found *a* cause — Modernism — mentioned by Fr. L, I did not see that he addressed how to treat that cause, let alone how to begin to reverse its effects. Neither did I see him address any of the various ways the treatment can be applied.
For instance, Fr. L states, “people regard the Mass as a celebration of their social activism, or a community festival to increase their self esteem or a sentimental, individualistic, spiritual comfort session. They have ceased to really believe in sin and grace and a God who saves, and instead they look to one another for their salvation.”
I agree with that entirely, Fr. L. —– so, how are we going to get people to regard “the Mass” as what it truly is — the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass — instead of celebrations of themselves and their social activities and the answer to their personal self-esteem needs?
May I venture to suggest that one cannot give what he does not possess, and one cannot possess what he is not given? If one has been taught that “God is Luv”, and that “God luvs you unconditionally”, and has not been taught that we have a God Who is just before He is merciful, then how can he give God the honor and duty and adoration and praise and thanksgiving that He is due? What has happened to the teaching office of the Church, from the pope to the bishops to the priests?
What might happen if all priests began to act as if the Holy Mass were a truly holy action, as it is supposed to be? Revival, maybe!!
I think that we need top-to-bottom education on this, starting with a *thorough* education in the proper way to act at Mass, and, above all else, the REASON WE ARE THERE. Those who saw the abuses in the OF over the many decades since Vatican II knew they were abuses — but who listened when they tried to protest? When they tried to get Father Clown back into proper vestments? When they appealed — fruitlessly, too often — to their bishops? They were already educated enough to know that something seriously wrong was going on, but who was listening? And what was being taught, reinforced, and handed down just as rigidly as the “pre-Vatican-II-ers” were accused of being?
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is NOT for ourselves, although God gives us grace to carry on if we do our best to honor and adore Him through the Holy Mass. Holy Mass is a requirement — nay, a necessity! — because we owe God our reverence, our praise, our adoration, our gratitude, our love. Nothing less.