“Dear Traditionalists,…” Wherein Fr. Z repeats a rant.

Two years ago today I posted this. I haven’t changed my mind one little bit. Not an iota.

I had this from a reader. He said he was not advocating these things. However, liberals will advocate them.

I’ve got some other suggestions.  But first the wacky liberal stuff:

I have an idea for a blog topic – how about brainstorming with your readers on the top 10 changes that Pope Francis will make that will shock the Church and the world. I would orient the discussion around the Pope’s “vision” that the Church is for the poor and should itself be poor. For example, here are some ideas I had:

1) Pope Francis will live at the Lateran Basilica as an example that he will live a simple life away from the Vatican.
2) Pope Francis will allow the ordination of women deacons in service to the poor.
3) Pope Francis will sell the Vatican Museums to a private company and give the proceeds to the poor.
4) Pope Francis will get a petition from the English speaking bishops and will rescind use of the 2010 RM because the language is too complicated.
5) Pope Francis will repudiate Humanae Vitae since too many children tends to perpetuate poverty.

Yep. This is precisely what liberals will push for, hopelessly. [In fact, they are pushing for some pretty subversive thing, but I don’t think they will get their way.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be a lot of damage.]

What do I think we should push for?

As many celebrations of the older form of the Roman Rite as possible in as many places as possible as soon as possible.

It’s ‘grind it out’ time.

I am getting some defeatist email.

Those of you who want the older form of the liturgy, and all that comes with it, should…

1) Work with sweat and money to make it happen. If you thought you worked hard before?   Been at this a long time?  HAH!  Get to work!  “Oooo! It’s tooo haaard!”  BOO HOO!

2) Get involved with all the works of charity that your parishes or groups sponsor. Make a strong showing. Make your presence known. If Pope Francis wants a Church for the poor, then we respond, “OORAH!!” The “traditionalist” will be second-to-none in getting involved.  “Dear Father… you can count on the ‘Stable Group of TLM Petitioners-For-By-Now-Several-Months” to help with the collection of clothing for the poor!  Tell us what you need!”

3) Pray and fast and give alms. Think you have been doing that? HAH!  Think again.  If you love, you can do more.

4) Form up and get organized.  You can do this.  Find like minded people and get that request for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum together, how you will raise the money to help buy the stuff the parish will need and DO IT.  Make a plan. Find people. Execute!

5) Get your ego and your own petty little personal interpretations and preferences of how Father ought to wiggle his pinky at the third word out of the way.  It is team-work time.  If we don’t sacrifice individually, we will stay divided and we won’t achieve our objectives.

At the midway point of SEAL training, BUD/S, there is a “Hell Week” to see how much you want it to keep going.

Do you want this?  Do you?  Or, when you don’t get what you want handed to you, are you going to whine about it and then blame others?

The legislation is in place.  The young priests and seminarians are dying to get into this stuff.  Give them something to do.

And to those of you will you blurt out “But Father! But Father!… I don’t like your militaristic imagery”… in order to derail the entry, here’s a new image from your own back yard.

Pope Benedict gave you, boys and girls, over the course of his 8 years, a beautiful new bicycle!  He gave you a direction, some encouragement, a snow cone, and a running push.  Now, take off the training wheels and RIDE THE DAMN BIKE!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", "How To..." - Practical Notes, Be The Maquis, Classic Posts, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Linking Back, Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. cda_sister says:

    Oh Fr Z…thou doest not mince words. The gauntlet has been cast down and the challenge issued. Ahh…but who will answer?

  2. Br. Augustine of Nubia says:

    Our Church began using Latin in the OF of Mass during lent. The Kyrie and other parts are in the traditional form. Maybe the powers at be can leave it in for the rest of the year? I am lucky because our priest does a great job on the EF and OF.

  3. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Getting involved with works of charity in the parish, along with prayer, fasting, and alms giving is too hard and time consuming. It’s much easier, at the computer, to spy on every move of Pope Francis and catch him at every faux pas, and then discourage the rest of the community with shrieks that the sky is falling. That way, God won’t expect us to pray or work on holiness because He will blame Francis for everything that we don’t do.

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    Amen, amen, amen.

    (“snow cone”: *chuckle*)

  5. Sword40 says:

    Precisely what our parish (TLM) is doing and have been for the past 4 years. But now we have this new challenge and we are rising to accept it. Our men, women and children are answering the call.
    These are exciting times. With God’s help we will persevere.

  6. Traductora says:

    I agree in many ways, although the “charitable acts” are a little on the dubious side. My parish doesn’t support its “crisis pregnancy” program but seems to be more into government funded nonsense programs (as a result of the newly empowered leftist on the parish council). However, one can put up with harmless nonsense, because I think our priest is orthodox and well meaning and doesn’t know what to do under Francis. Pray for these guys!

    Also, just as an aside, mass attendance and donations have plunged here since the “Francis message” has gotten out. Who wants to be part of that indifferentiast message, much less give money to it?

    [You are probably not impeded from suggesting additional activities.]

  7. mtpensaventus says:

    It occurs to me that your suggestions, Fr Z, are admirable
    but contingent on us maintaining a presence at a parish where we don’t want to be. [Where in the Handbook of Guarantees for Life are we promised an easy road?] Many/most?/all? of us would probably rather just change where we go to Holy Mass — I.e. Voting with our pocketbooks. Low attendance, and therefore low collections might mean low numbers of novus ordo Masses (ultimately). Just a thought

  8. andia says:

    I’ve started asking for more Latin Masses and get answers ranging from :It will never happen here” ( the altar is oriented wrong for that, the priest is solid) to,” If I get enough requests I’ll think about it.” Things here are changing…and in many ways I think it’s headed in a good direction. The vast majority of priests are very reverent. I am blessed

    [Keep at it. Be persistent.]

  9. Fr. Reader says:

    Good morning,
    In the place I come from, “traditionalist” was equivalent to being part of a schismatic group strongly linked to a very-far-right-fascist-violent-secret-society (and I am not exaggerating or using these words as an analogy, but I also know that this is not the average traditionalist) So, the “TLMs” have a bit of PR work to be done. Things are not done just in order to change the opinion of the people, within or without the Church, but it has to be done. Please, if you want to change our opinion, follow these 5 advises and ride the new bike.

  10. faithandfamily says:

    What does one do in a diocese where no diocesan priest will step forward to offer to learn the TLM and your bishop isn’t yet open to consideration of allowing the FSSP to come in. Love of Tradition and the TLM is abhorred by the majority of priests, others think it is a career killer to speak in favor of it. Involvement in Parish ministries is great, but so very difficult for parents with 4, 5, 6 and more children, who are the majority of our community. We pray constantly for a parish and priest for our spiritual needs, have tried all your suggestions for many many, years, but people are getting frustrated and it becomes increasing difficult to keep this movement alive. Any further suggestions would be appreciated.

    [Keep trying. Keep at it. Persuade, bribe, covert. There is nothing else to be done.]

  11. Christ_opher says:

    Why is it so difficult to receive what is correct ( TLM ) and so easy to obtain what is not correct? :) [Satan. And this is yet another proof of the effects of Original Sin.]

    Getting back on my bike!

  12. Gerard Plourde says:

    Fr. Z,

    Your comments urging involvement as a way to live out the faith nourished by the Extraordinary Form are right on target. There has been a long tradition in the Church to put one’s faith into action to ameliorate suffering.

    The St. Vincent de Paul Society, for example, was established by Bl. Frederic Ozanam in 1833, over sixty years before Rerum Novarum was promulgated. The Catholic school system in this country was spearheaded by St. John Neumann in Philadelphia in the 1850’s. St. Katherine Drexel, also of Philadelphia, established an Order of Sisters in 1891 to evangelize and improve the lives of African Americans in the South and Native Americans in the West. St. Marianne Cope of Syracuse went to Hawaii in 1883 to assist the work of St. Damien of Molokai and took over the work upon his death in 1889.

    The Mass and reception of the Blessed Sacrament are sources of grace to do what Our Lord commanded us to do when we are not in Church – feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, tend to the ill, visit the imprisoned, and comfort those who mourn.

  13. OldProfK says:

    Good advice, Father, and good advice on the St. Vincent de Paul Society from Mr. Plourde above.

  14. jlmorrell says:

    Good comment, Mr. Plourde. Of course, there is a big difference between your examples and the promotion of the TLM. Can anyone guess…anyone, anyone (Bueller?, Bueller?) . The difference is that almost all of your examples were led by clerics or religious with the support of the hierarchy.

    The TLM, especially at the diocesan level, is almost completely a lay-led endeavor. Furthermore, it is still strongly resisted by the hierarchy in most places. And, I say this not to be a complainer, but because it is the reality. For the record, I’m an advocate of Fr. Z’s post and have been involved with TLM promotion since SP. I founded a Diocesan Latin Mass community from nothing with a Bishop and diocese fiercely opposed to it. It can be done, but it takes a determination many lack. The difficulties and sacrifices required will make our victory, in the end, all the more glorious.

  15. Chiara says:

    Father – As a reader who loves and is devoted to the Ordinary Form of the Mass, I thoroughly agree with you on this advice you give to those who want to support the Extraordinary Form, especially with your points #2, #3 and #5.

    Respectfully, one thing I notice with those who want the TLM invariably are so single-minded that they have no interest in other parish affairs. It is admirable to be passionate about something one believes in. But to be a good parishioner, one has to get to know other parishioners who might not share those views, and do it with charity. And to also serve the parish and the greater Church in some way, to give time as well as talent. When I attended a Latin Mass, hoping to find the beauty I had heard so much about, I was met with condescension and coldness. Truly, it was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, just as the Ordinary Form is, but there is more to being a Catholic than taking up space in a pew every Sunday. We must care for one another. It might be helpful to remember that those who love the Latin Mass are not on a higher level of Catholicism than those of us who love the Ordinary Form. We are all Catholics, bound to love and serve God and each other. You will not attract others to your cause by being stony-faced, dismissive of visitors, and unwelcoming. If you love God, reflect it to others and let it show.

    Prayer and fasting are always good for the soul and the glory of God, and thank you for reinforcing this, Father.

    And finally, God does not give us priests only to take care of us. We must take care of them as well. They are not our personal servants to be constantly corrected on every little thing they do. And they are not always the perfect men we in the laity often credit them as being. As a work of mercy in this Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, praying every day for the spiritual, mental, and physical health and protection of our parish priests, pastors, bishops, and Pope Francis would be a splendid and worthy offering.

    God bless you, Father, and all your readers, this Holy Week.

  16. ofHippo says:

    Yes yes yes! Also we must recall our brethren on the other side have an unholy alliance. So we need to want it at least as badly as they do. If we love the sacred and TLM then need to get over our slice of the playground and support one another in each and every effort. I have seen far too many new families and endeavors that are not embraced by the gate keepers of TLM. And they become more isolated in their efforts. If you read Fr. Z you can see he is supporting all who are trying. Just look at his ads and links. Contrary to what the fish wrappers say- he is supporting a community of those narrow path seekers and it’s a rough road so the spiritual and practical guidance here is a GIFT. And if he receives any benefits we are assured where they are applied. Let’s go!!!

  17. PTK_70 says:

    I sense that efforts to promote traditional celebrations of Mass will yield more fruit when the advocates of the usus antiquitor tighten up their use of terms. In other words, I wish to make a case for semantic excellence. Words matter.

    The term “Latin Mass” is at best ambiguous and should not be used to refer specifically to the traditional form of the Roman Rite. The term “Latin Mass” could rightly be understood to refer to any Mass celebrated according to the norms or uses of the Latin Church, be it Dominican Rite, ordinary form of the Roman Rite, Ambrosian Rite, etc.

    The term “Traditional Latin Mass” or “TLM” should be avoided as well. It similarly suffers from ambiguity. The term seems to imply there is one such thing as a “Traditional Latin Mass” but this is not the case. There are various Rites in the Latin Church, each with a distinct, age-old manner of celebrating Mass. So a Dominican Rite Mass can be characterized as traditional and Latin just as well as an extraordinary form Roman Rite Mass.

    Within the Roman Rite, of course, there are two forms for celebration of Mass, the newer and the more traditional. “Ordinary form” and “extraordinary form” are the terms the beloved Pope Benedict XVI chose to employ. Surely we are safe to follow this example.

    Now on to perhaps a more touchy subject……the use of the term “Novus Ordo.” Where did this term come from anyway? In what papal or Church documents is it found? I think Bl. Paul VI made mention of the “novus Ordo Missae” in an address in the mid-70s. The adjective “novus” surely had descriptive power at that time but by now decades have passed since the liturgical reform. There’s also a pejorative element in the use of the term by Vatican II rejectors, who seem to relish in heaping scorn upon the “Novus Ordo” church. Had the term not been thus hijacked, it might be less grating to the ears. Terms such as “ordinary form” of the Roman Rite, or perhaps “reformed usage/order” of the Roman Rite Mass, will be less alienating, I think, to our fellow Catholics who are either ignorant or suspicious of the usus antiquitor.

    I am no authority. I am just a “bricklayer.” I only offer these thoughts because I think they are 1) correct and 2) important to the cause of keeping us from turning into liturgical Methodists.

  18. Fr. Reader says:

    Thank you for your post.
    LATIN. Regarding the “Latin Mass” (as in the book “The Latin Mass Explained” by Msgr. George J. Moorman), using it to describe the Extraordinary Form is a terrible mistake, and product of shallow thinking, perhaps they haven’t read the Sacrosanctum Concilium (36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.) By using the term in that way, they are in fact closing the door in the mind of many to a more extended use of Latin in the Ordinary Form. Perhaps is what they want, I don’t know.
    NOVUS ORDO. The term “Novus Ordo” it is often used in a pejorative sense ((as in “Some 2 bit novus ordo cleric” – Anonymous if I am not mistaken)), it is useful to know the origin of the term. Well, all Masses have been new in a certain moment. The Extraordinary Form is also Novus Ordo. It is not the most recent one, but is Novus in relationship to others.
    TRADITIONAL. To apply the term “Traditional” just to the “TLM Mass” is certainly wrong. Is there tradition only in the Extraordinary Form? And why there and not just the Didache? No tradition in the “Novus Ordo”, and what about other rites?
    I don’t have a view like that of Chiara (“those who want the TLM invariably are so single-minded”), but I might can change that “invariably” to “some times” and the “so” for “a bit”. In any case, we are all a bit single minded in some issues.
    I am repeating things I said in a post before, sorry for that.

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