ASK FATHER: It’s hard to be a part of a bitter community.

From a reader…


My friend and I have been attending Mass in the EF for several years. We are the pioneer “young ” adults in our Latin Mass community. We were discussing the other day how both of us haven’t really been attending the TLM as much as we had because, though we both love the EF and the Church’s traditional devotions and traditional spirituality, and both want to grow in holiness, we don’t like “Traditional Catholicism” and the “Traditonalist Movement”.

For example, the incessant pope/priest/bishop bashing and whining and complaining, the conspiracy theories, the looking down on everyone who doesn’t attend the TLM, etc. There’s just too much negativity. It’s hard to be part of a community that’s just so bitter and unpleasant to be around.

At first it was mainly the older members and the biological solution would take of it, but even the young adults and families are getting this way.

I get it that there have been toes stepped on, feelings hurt, unpleasant baggage in the past, but it’s time to move on and get over it. Jesus didn’t come down from the cross, and neither should we. We need to become saints, and we can only do that by embracing the cross (I suppose this is one of my crosses to bear).

Is it possible to have the EF without Traditionalism and its baggage?

Good question.   How can we have exactly what we want without any discomforts or challenges!   After all, isn’t that what we were promised?

Seriously, if there is negativity, try to bring some positive topics in and raise the discourse.   However, isn’t it also true that it helps to “vent” a little?   I’ve tried with this blog for many years to provide a place to “vent”… a little… and then move to something more positive.  How much “venting” should be allowed is hard to discern.  “Venting” can rapidly multiply into something, frankly, sinful.

Another point is that quite a few people in the more tradition loving side of the nave have been pretty badly beaten up for years.  They have suffered a lot.   During the pontificate of Benedict XVI, and especially after Summorum Pontificum, they were unclenching and settling in to being just Catholic.  Now, under this new pontificate they sense – at least this is my surmise – they sense that things might go back to the way they were before.  They are genuinely anxious, and that leads to negativity.

On the one hand, we can’t ignore what is going on.  There are undeniable  causes for concern.  Most of the issues that we might be anxious about are beyond out immediate influence.   However, much can be accomplished by determined and sincere prayer, with fasting.

We are all in this together.

Don’t under estimate the influence that one person can have on a group.  Being upright and cheerful, carefully shifting the conversation away from a topic when it has been exhausted or when it has taken a sour turn us a work of mercy.  When the conversation takes a bad tone, perhaps you might say, “Right.  This isn’t good.  Let’s say a ‘Memorare’ for ___.  ‘Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary…’.” and see if that doesn’t stop it in it’s tracks.  As a matter of fact, if several topics have come up, whip out a small notebook and write them down.  Then say, “Okay,  Tom, you bought up X, Al brought up Y and you all complained about Fr. Z.  I’m going back into church to say a Rosary for these things right now.”

When you pray sincerely for someone, even very difficult people, it becomes harder and harder to bash them.  I suspect that people on the traditional side who constantly bash the Pope probably don’t pray for him with any regularity.  I suspect that people on the liberal side who constantly bash, for example, Card. Burke (one of the kindest and best priests I’ve ever known), haven’t ever prayed for him.

Another thing that might be helpful could be to work collectively on concrete projects.  One thing I have noticed over the years is that when certain people have finally gotten what they wanted (the TLM, for instance) they stop trying to do more. They get complacent and don’t push their envelopes out any more.   For example, they’ll drive across several parishes to go to the church where the TLM is on Sunday and then never give the parish they are receiving services from another thought until the following Sunday.  Producing concrete results in projects is a great lifter of spirits.  You might consider – with the consultation of the priest, or course – some effort focused on corporal works of mercy (e.g., baby clothing drive for families that are struggling), or perhaps making improvements to the church or grounds (there’s always something that needs fixing or cleaning).  It might be that within your community some family needs help with something and you, collectively, might be of service.  Would forming a softball team help?  How about a Holy Name Society?   An HNS might remind it’s members to watch how they talk.

Think about it, all you who tend to be vociferously negative and bitter when you talk together after Mass.   Think about a guy who has been trying to convince his wife to check out the TLM across town.  They get the kids together and drive for a while.  They have enough of a challenge with the different way that Mass is celebrated, but then afterward, in the church hall for coffee and donuts or outside on the sidewalk, they hear all the bitching and moaning about how awful the Pope is.  Is that attractive?  Will that win new members?

“But Father! But Father!”, some trad people might be sputtering, “other people might do these things but would never do that!  And… and you SHOULD hate Vatican II!”

If that’s the case, you are very wonderful, I’m sure.  Please, in your examination of conscience, redoubling your efforts in matter of sins of omission.

Seriously, everyone, examine your consciences and …


There are any number of ways to navigate the negative.  First and foremost, however, contemplate the good things that come your way each day and all the advantages.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Our Catholic Identity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Chiara says:

    Father, thank you for this post and for your kind words.

    I have the blessing of being a lifelong Catholic, thanks be to God, and of belonging to the wonderful Novus Ordo parish where I was baptized. Mass is celebrated beautifully and reverently by our good pastor, who does his very best to properly catechize us with thoughtful homilies and faith formation. I have no complaints in any of these areas.

    However, after reading your blog and others, I began to think that perhaps I was missing something and that maybe the TLM would lead me even closer to God. So I attended the TLM at a neighboring parish and other parishes on several occasions to experience it and see if it was where God was leading me.

    When I entered, I was rewarded with the “stink eye” by the congregation. I was clean and modest. But I was wearing trousers, a high-necked blouse, and a sweater or jacket, and no veil. I had unknowingly offended the congregation. During Mass, I was completely at sea because I could not understand any of the prayers or what posture I was to assume. I spent the entire time trying to “keep up”, and was unable to pray at all. After Mass, I was regarded with cold indifference if not antagonism by the congregation and the priest. It was all very painful and unpleasant. I tried a few more times, but eventually gave up and will never do it again. I know now my place is in my parish, where my fellow parishioners love me and the Church, with my pastor and the Novus Ordo Mass leading me to God.

    As an outsider looking in, so to speak, may I offer a few suggestions to the TLM community?

    1) Do not be so judgmental and unwelcoming to strangers, especially to women. If another woman, my age or older, had come up to me with a smile and made me feel at home, it would have made all the difference. It would have also been an opportunity to gently educate me about the “dress code”, to suggest that I might be more comfortable in a skirt, and to maybe lend me a veil. Attitudes and actions can hurt. I cannot imagine this is how Jesus wants us to treat one another.

    2) Have ushers ready with a supply of Mass translations. Nothing expensive or fancy, just something typed up for visitors. A smile from the ushers would help, too.

    3) Greet visitors after Mass, and make them feel glad they came. Answer questions. Smile.

    4) Exhibit Christian charity. Negativity toward our good priests, bishops, and the Pope is distasteful and does not reflect the joy of the Mass we have just attended.

    5) Realize we Novus Ordo Catholics are your Catholic brothers and sisters. We are not a subspecies of Catholics. We are all beloved children of God.

    I hope this is some help.

  2. Nathan says:

    Well said, Father, and I heartily endorse your analysis and advice.

    Perhaps, though, it may help those who are struggling with “negative Trads” to look at these people as a soldier might. A few decades ago, when I was junior enlisted and then a young lieutenant in the Army, you had to have a “battle buddy” to help account for you at all times when you were on maneuvers or in the field. Who did you want for your battle buddy? At first, it seemed best to have the easy-going, “no problems,” kind and gentle fellow soldier as your battle buddy, it helped because the sergeant or the captain would be on your case. However, over time you realized that this is life-or-death business, and that it was much better to have a battle buddy who was always alert, always checking on what the enemy might be doing, on whether both of you had cleaned your weapons properly, who rode you a little hard and, frankly, seemed a bit crazy and “negative.” And, whether it was actual battle or even an evaluated training exercise, you always were safer and more prepared and did better when you had the “negative” battle buddy. Also, over time, you came to realize that because your “negative” battle buddy cared more than the nice guy, and that the “negativity” was really aimed at helping you (and him) survive, the “negative” guy was really a better companion in the long run.

    It seems to me that many people who, in good faith and with good intentions, react to Trads as “negative” may have a problem realizing that this truly is life-or-death, in an eternal sense. So many times I am tempted to revert to my Army self and shout “[expletive] [expletive], don’t you know you are in the middle of a [expletive] battle here?” Might that Trad who may not be subtle in his or her concerns about the Holy Father or bishops or priests, even with the bitter vibe, be providing you with important information about both the friendly and enemy dispositions in the battle? Do you not want your battle buddy to tell you to keep your head down when the rounds are flying? Even if they’re a bit crazy in your opinion?

    More than any other group in the Church, Trads have been spot on in seeing and warning about the very real battle going in with modernism and compromise with the world. They have been the ones who, when 99.9% of the Church was going down the road of a liturgy that reflected that compromise with the world, raised warning flags that have been repeatedly validated. They have been the ones who have been gadflies when good Catholics inadvertently went along with the nice guys who were “nonjudgmental” or who introduced novelties that seemed allowable at the time but have led to chaos (“I’m a little uncomfortable with Mrs. O’Shaughessy wearing an alb and distributing Holy Communion, but Father and the Bishop say it’s fine”).

    In the middle of a spiritual firefight, as is happening now (and, in many places, for the past 40 years), who do you really want as your battle buddy?

    In Christ,

  3. Very well put Father and very helpful. I struggle with having to attend Mass at my local parish. The nearest TLM is two hours away. The worst part is that a portion of drive can be treacherous. I was so disgusted during last Sunday’s Mass (at my parish) because the celebrant (not the pastor) abused his authority by deceiving the congregation about what the readings were trying to convey. It was disgraceful, especially since I had read Msgr. Charles Pope’s homily prior to Mass. Thank God for the Internet!.

    Regarding praying for people, my penance at my last confession was to pray for a certain person in this way: Jesus, I know I can’t love him like you do, but please don’t stop loving him. My justification for my resentment for being hurt by this person wasn’t challenged or criticized; I wasn’t made to feel guilty or mean-spirited. I was just given a work of mercy to both benefit that person and myself.

    Thank you for your writings and advice Father; yours is one of the few sites I visit daily.

  4. Stephanus83 says:

    Father Z, thank you for writing this piece and responding to the original person who submitted the question. I’m a “millennial” and I got turned off of the extraordinary form because of the negativity that I experienced during coffee and donuts after the Mass. I attended the EF for about six months, but the negativity within that particular community was just too much. I’ve moved to a new diocese since that time, but I haven’t returned to the EF because I was left with a bad taste. There is a parish near me now that offers the EF twice a month, so I’m willing to try it again in the hopes that this group of people will be different. If not, I’ll pray for them a lot more because I am definitely guilty of neglecting to do that.

  5. Juan Carfuneral says:

    “However, much can be accomplished by determined and sincere prayer, with fasting.”
    A little practical advice to those wishing to follow this advice. Don’t read Father Z’s blog while trying to fast!!! Especially when he is posting from Rome.

    [LOL! Busted. Thanks for the chuckle.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. WVC says:

    I would add that, just like not every Novus Ordo community consists of Birkenstock wearing, liturgical dancing progressivists, not every “Traditionalist” community consists of negative and bitter conspiracy-mongers. If one is disgusted by a particular Latin Mass community (and I’ve certainly been in that situation myself), one shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that’s how all Latin Mass communities are or that the Latin Mass isn’t a worthwhile thing because of this one community (it’s no different than lapsed Catholics staying away from the Church because of one bad experience one time with a bad priest/deacon/nun . . . etc.). Every beautiful and glorious thing said about the Mass still stands, and it is the liturgical treasure of thousands of years in which every heart should rightly be invested.

    On the other hand, I honestly don’t understand the obsession in many Traditionalist circles to talk and talk and talk and talk about Vatican politics. Well over 90% of it is entirely out of our hands, and come Judgment Day our opinion of Pope So-and-So or of Cardinal What’s-His-Face will not be very high on the list. Fr. Z’s suggestion to “pray” about these things is, honestly, the only thing most of us can do. It’s a great idea to tell people in a polite way to “put up or shut up.” If we really wanted to “do” something to make a difference, we can pray and fast. Otherwise we’re mostly just salving our own egos.

    Might it be that the reason so many Traditionalist communities revert to Vatican gossip is that they don’t really have anything else to talk about? Most of them live so far apart, they don’t do much in the way of interaction in between Sunday Masses. They can’t chat about local events because they don’t share the same local experience. Also, opinions run high and hard on practically every other topic (some folks like all movies, some like only “classic” movies, some like only “saints” movies, and some think all movies are of the Devil – same goes for Sports, literature, music, homeschool curriculum . . .etc. and let’s not even get into politics . . . . ) Just about the only topic that I suspect most feel comfortable in spouting off on is “Man, that bishop/cardinal/pope is so messed up on [fill in the blank].”

    Perhaps concerted efforts to fill in that vacuum might yield less bitter fruit? Attempts to establish some common ground on topics, or get involvement in non-liturgical communal events (like maybe putting on a show, starting up some sort of routine little league type games . . . etc.) might help nurture the community spirit?

    We live in an age where the great bulwark of civilization has been blasted to smithereens (like it or not, we’re smack dab in the middle of a second Dark Ages). We each, alone, is attempting to rebuild what we think civilization ought to be, and such isolated work doesn’t easily translate into social settings. We all need great, heaping helpings of patience and tolerance, and a true willingness to be open to other opinions and ideas on topics that simply aren’t life-or-death important (maybe consider easing up on the “all movies are evil” position, or find a middle ground that pop songs through the 50s aren’t the personification of Satan, or that, given the day and age we live in, if a woman wears a nice set of trousers or her skirt only comes down to just below the knee it may not be ideal but it’s not the equivalent of a mortal sin . . . .etc.)

  7. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Thank you Father for writing this,

    The extraordinary form is great, it is the people that attend it that have not been so great. I have had similar experiences as the writer and Stephanus83. Perhaps I will try to attend the parish again in the future.

  8. LarryW2LJ says:

    “the looking down on everyone who doesn’t attend the TLM”

    That struck a chord with me. I was once told (by a woman), in no uncertain terms, that I was committing Mortal Sin by attending Novus Ordo Mass. THAT definitely gets your attention, and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

    I’m not expecting a touchy-feeley, pat on the back, kumbaya kind of welcome – but first impressions do last a long time. So be careful what you say, and how you act towards new comers

  9. Eliane says:

    Given my own experience of late with the TLM, I have to question the identity of the writer, as he has the ring of a Fishwrap shill. At the TLM I find people of honor, kindness and decency. But if I encountered someone to the contrary, I don’t think I would leave TLM practice then post tales on the Internet raising generic accusations against the entire community. So for me, this tale doesn’t pass the smell test.
    Meanwhile, a NO parish very near my home changed priests a few months ago. The new one is being spoken of horrifically for getting rid of some modern hymns, insisting that all Christmas decorations be natural rather than synthetic and other similar policies. You would think him a criminal to hear them rave. Meanwhile, his hip predecessor has been poaching parishioners and hiring away the staff. You want to talk about bitter fruit? Taste that.

  10. Ocampa says:

    “When you pray sincerely for someone, it becomes harder and harder to bash them.”

    I would love to see this on a bumper sticker!

  11. Ocampa says:

    “Think about it, all you who tend to be vociferously negative and bitter when you talk together after Mass. Think about a guy who has been trying to convince his wife to check out the TLM across town. They get the kids together and drive for a while. They have enough of a challenge with the different way that Mass is celebrated, but then afterward, in the church hall for coffee and donuts or outside on the sidewalk, they hear all the bitching and moaning about how awful the Pope is. Is that attractive? Will that win new members?”

    This is very close to my story. My wife and I attended our first TLM in Boston 10 years ago, and the Negative Nellies were out in force. It took until 2015 to get my wife to go again, after an email from the pastor of Regina Caeli in Houston assured her that the community there isn’t like that. We’ve been going there ever since. Everyone I know is positive, if not cautious and weary at times. But then again, there is 1 other approved-TLM, 2 less-than-approved, and at least 1 sede church in town. The negative people may choose a different place to go.

  12. Sonshine135 says:

    Thank you for bringing this up Father.

    One of my biggest concerns with the TLM communities is the failure to outreach to others. I have seen examples of where these communities seem to closed and unwelcoming. I can identify with Chiara’s comments above, and I think they should serve as a warning to TLM communities. Either open up, and start welcoming new people, or risk becoming the “fad” Pope Francis believes you to be. You will also succumb to the “Natural Solution” and the TLM with you.

    Do you want the TLM to grow? Encourage growth at N.O. Parishes in your Diocese. Invite people to come to Mass with you- especially “outsiders” who have never experienced the Mass. You might be surprised.

    The TLM had been taking place in my Diocese for 7 years, and never once did anyone invite me. I was a regular Mass attendee at a very liberal parish for a long time, and it took me to figure things out for myself and to go a few times before I felt comfortable with the Mass. How many times I wish someone would have asked me to go before I went myself. The moral of this story is that we are not a tribe. We still have the duties of going out and with zeal, spreading the Good News.

    The result for me is that I attend a bit more of a Traditional N.O. parish with a weekday and first Saturday TLM. I am not a regular attendee of the Sunday TLM offered. This is not because I dislike the community or the Mass, but because I think it would be rather nice to one day see the TLM as a regular Sunday offering in my own Parish- which won’t happen if we all simply abandon these ships.

  13. Hans says:

    Those of us who teach might recognize that sort of negative kvetching, no matter what the level. It’s possible to go on for hours, even with only one teacher in the conversation to do the complaining. I say that having been the guilty party, but all teachers except for the permanently-optimistic (and therefore clueless) have concerns of all shapes and sizes they prefer save for an understanding audience, usually fellow teachers (and not administrators) or dear friends. I have even been given an occasional insight about how I might deal with some problem during one of these sessions, but such insights are alas infrequent.

    That said, it can be wearisome for the hearer, and even counterproductive if allowed to go on too long. So I appreciate your suggestions about changing the trajectory of the conversation, gently if possible and not so gently if necessary, and especially the suggestion to pray for those who trouble us (and confession, always remember confession). There are, however, those who have become permanently-negative (and so equally but differently clueless). It might be possible for your writer to take one such on as a ‘project’, though with great care and patience, to remind them of the beauty, opportunity, and gifts they have received and are receiving.

  14. araustin02 says:

    Just my two cents as someone who is a convert and does not attend an EF Mass. During the months I was taking classes prior to my confirmation as a Catholic, I attended an EF Mass and it was uncomfortable and hard to keep up…and I did feel as though I was judged as an “other” as another commenter here mentioned.

    A few years later, I feel as though I have a better understanding of the dynamic of that Mass even though I’m not a regular. I attend a traditional NO, which I’ve found to also be rare after traveling a bit and finding only contemporary music and multiple appeals during Mass to “brothers and sisters of different faith backgrounds.” It’s not that welcoming non-Catholics is a bad thing to do, but I don’t think it belongs in the liturgy. Silence is a key element to the EF, and the focus is really on reverence and worship. There aren’t supposed to be chatty cathys smiling and making sure to hand out smiles to all attendees. The point of Mass isn’t supposed to make you feel good…it’s to worship God. I think this observance may feel to newbies as judgement or negativity after attending so many services that include nonstop rock band music and hand holding.

    I agree that it may help to offer material at EF Masses to help newbies follow along. That was done for me by a Monsignor in Rome before he celebrated an EF Mass and I found it very helpful even though I did lose my way a few times.

    I think there is reason for being nervous about losing our worship identity, even as someone attending an NO Mass. Some parishes I’ve attended make more use of their tambourines and drum sets than their thuribles and organs. It is still a Mass of course, but a prayerful element is lost and attendees get used to feeling like they are there to be entertained.

  15. paladin says:

    Chiara, I’m so sorry you had to suffer that… but your comment was amazing and spot-on! Thank you for that!

    Yes, there are very understandable reasons why a Trad community can be entrenched, wary, hostile, and irritable (note: not all are like that!)… just in the same way that it’s understandable why an abuse victim can develop behavioral and psychological malformations (no offense intended–I come from a very dysfunctional home, so I’m including myself). But “understandable” is never to be confused with “good”. We are all called to suffer with grace, rather than suffer with bitterness and vitriol and coldness. Am I wrong, here? If we’re serious about evangelizing others toward the treasure that we have in our patrimony and tradition, then–even leaving the obligations of Christian charity aside, for the sake of argument–shouldn’t we at least work toward NOT taking out our frustrations on potential allies who approach us?

  16. Cosmos says:

    I think Fr. Z’s point about venting is very important. You have to remember that:

    (1) a lot of traditional Catholics have, in fact, been marginalized and/or demonized and have a little PTSD as a result, and

    (2) a lot of good, conservative Catholics refused to stand up for the truth because it was seen as anti-social, judgmental, dour, cranky, conspiratorial, etc.

    The people who were willing to stick up for the Truth were often slightly oddball, sometimes anti-social, sometimes conspiratorial types who weren’t as caught up in being part of the mainstream (often because it didn’t want them for obvious reasons). Their weirdness/crankiness made them somewhat immune to the social forces that pushed the rest of us into embracing such nonsense.

    So my advice to the NOers who are offput by the cranky EFers, is that you recognize their contribution, try to marginalize their negativity along the lines Fr. Z suggested, and then embrace your role as “second generation” EFers who can be ambassadors to the more positive, socially-conscience crowd. The cranky EFers need you!

  17. Gilbert Fritz says:

    One of the worst things about Extraordinary form communities (and yes, I belong to one) is that they proselytize other Catholics. So, for instance; I brought a devout Catholic friend to an event. What happens? Well, other parishioners start asking him why he doesn’t attend our parish. He explains that he tried it once, and liked his own parish better. (I should point out that he is quite interested in reverent liturgy, etc.) Then the question was, why he didn’t like it? And he was told he should try again. He eventually retorted that they should try his parish! That response was only fair. Catholics like to be accepted by other Catholics; we are all part of the same church. The future is not an exclusively Extraordinary form future.

    Or, for instance, some parishioners were discussing how “the Novus Ordo” Mass produces effeminate priests . . . And the “Latin Mass” produces manly ones . . .

    This is all a symptom of a bigger problem. In the Screwtape letters, Screwtape suggests that the devils should work to break down the parish system, because it is based on geography not taste. Traditionalist parishes are based on taste, even if it is a noble taste. Therefore they are prone to becoming cliques. We need to get the EF into standard geographic parishes. And FSSP and Institute parishes need to become more “geographic” if they can.

    Finally, because most EF parishes are destination parishes, they self select for devout and committed individuals, which is good. But the people tend to assume that this goodness is created by the group, by the EF Mass. They think that the change of Mass can explain all the troubles of the last 50 years. This is a simplistic view. In the 60s, when everyone attended the EF, there was a mix of devout and non-devout, just as there always is. The Mass could not save itself.

    I can maybe make that last point by comparing the Latin Mass community to the Neocatechumenal Way. Way members that I know are all devout, enthusiastic people; and they claim that this is because of the Way. I think it is the other way around; only enthusiastic people will join special groups! Sunday go to meeting Catholics will not join either. So when traditionalists boast to outsiders about the devotion, large families, etc. produced by the EF, they just look weird and cultish (like THE WAY) to the outsiders.

  18. KAS says:

    I find myself appreciating what Nathan shared already. I find myself sympathizing with the negativity because it is hard to be struggling to be Catholic, and to be formed in all ways according to orthodox Catholicism and struggling to raise children to “know, love, and serve” God so that they can also be formed in all ways to please God and to know it so as to pass it down another generation.

    It is HARD because you want friends who share your interests but the people who share your passion for a hobby are often VERY hostile to the teachings of Catholicism, which kinda puts a cork in the friendship bottle. You can choose to be friends but there will usually come a day when they turn away because you would not reject the Faith for them, or you did not agree (being silent only works so long) with their heretical position on something, and now they treat you differently.

    It is HARD because the entertainment industry presses concepts and worldview on your children that are contrary to Catholicism, and yet, if you refuse to partake there will be negative repercussions from your social circle.

    It is HARD because so many Catholics are ignorant of the Faith and not in the least interested in correcting their ignorance. They will persecute you if you even accidentally disturb their comfort by admitting you are striving to follow some difficult teaching.

    It is HARD because your children will be told that you are a fool, you are ignorant, backwards, even that you are not sane, if you teach them the moral code of God and that it is NOT optional. They will be mocked if they decide to wait on sex. And if going to school, they will be exposed to sex education that is pornographic and tells them that something is wrong with them if they are not exploring promiscuity.

    It is HARD because the women will find most medical professionals will be pushing the pill, constantly, at every appointment, even if the appointment was for treatment for a broken arm! They mock crieghton model NFP, and push the pill, even onto 13 yr olds who may not have the will power to say no and then tell their parents–and they will be told by the doctor NOT to tell their parents about what is discussed in the doctors office.

    It is HARD because if your teen gets pregnant, you may never know about it or about the grandchild who was murdered because the counselor with the psych degree manipulated your child into an abortion behind your back– but you will get to deal with the depression and self destructive behaviors that suddenly show up because her body knows that she murdered her child–and the poor child hardly had a chance because the messages from all sides tell her never to trust her parents and that everything their religion tells them is bad–on morality and actual faith issues– but of course, if the Pope has a personal opinion on science that dovetails with the enemies of Catholicism, well, that she is urged to follow.

    The isolation in the parishes is painful.

    So they are talking negativity at the Latin Mass parish– it may be the ONLY place they have where these fears and concerns and struggles can be spoken about!

    Rather than get negative on their negativity, perhaps it is time to set up small group classes before Mass where people talk, pray for each other, and discuss the work of living Catholicism. Then they may go the Mass with a better frame of mind for worshiping in joy, and the social afterwards will have them better able to greet the new people in a positive manner?

    Solutions rather than abandonment– you love the latin mass, so rather than abandon it, seek to create that community a new way to deal with the struggles and pain of seeking to be Catholic when it is so very unpopular.

  19. Thorfinn says:

    At every Mass I am surrounded by people who have faults — grievous faults. I guess I’m one of them. I submit that this realization helps set a reasonable expectation for what you may find in conversation after Mass.

    We mostly talk about homeschooling & camping & so forth after Mass. I think there’s a general feeling that kvetching about the state of the Church would be more depressing than constructive. Those conversations happen more often at a men’s or ladies’ group or Chesterton club where the problems in society & the Church are discussed within a broader framework of history & philosophy, which helps maintain perspective. I highly recommended seeking out (or starting) a local Chesterton Society group or similar – it’s been a great blessing for us (& includes pints & pipes!)

  20. KateD says:

    I have good news and bad news for this young person. All sheep bleat. It’s what we do.

    You want to see something really scary? Check out a parish with communion service by sister Gene (not a religious) on Mondays and Tuesday’s with a proclivity for liturgical ballet after being assigned a non-liberal pastor. If you opt for a front row seat. Make sure you bring a rain poncho and Saint Benedict’s Cross, because there will be full on 360 degree rotational projectile vomiting.

    The reason TLMers bleat generally differs from The cause of NO bleat. NO bleat is due to rebelliousnesss. The underlying cause of excessive TLM bleat tends to be lack of nourishment. Sheep need to be fed more than once a week.

    We had a good and holy priest who came to our community and diagnosed the problem with the flock right away. He took it to the bishop and immediately implemented a plan. This priest worked himself to exhaustion nourishing his flock with pastoral fodder…and it worked! Within the all too short tenure of this good priest, the parish went from socially awkward familial groupings to a vibrant, joyful, warm and welcoming Christian community. And the number of parishioners exploded.

    For all sheep bleat, a good dose of gratitude seems to work wonders. Encourage those who tend to send a weekly nasti-o-gram to the bishop to instead try penning a short “thank you” note. And bishops, have a treat ready when you receive such a note, to encourage the behavior. We sheep treasure every bit of communication with our bishops. We keep notes and letters in with our most important documents. It was our bishop who taught me the lesson of gratitude. I figured if he, with as busy as he is, can stop and shoot out a quick hand written thank you for some insignificant thing I’ve done, what excuse do I have? Gratitude is a soul-salve that can, through graciousness, wash away years of bitterness.

    Lastly, you’re young! Make your TLM community what YOU want it to be! Go be their Julie McCoy. Bring them out of their shells. I have seen the crustiest old bitties melt into the sweetest dear ladies under the charm of some kind young person. Be that charming young person who offers them an arm after Mass to help steady them. Even if they don’t need it, the attention will make their day.

    It’s these little things that can reduce the acridity of sheep bleat so that it can return to a normal pleasant pastoral sound.

  21. Kate says:

    I attend a EF Mass every Sunday, and I am happy to say that we do not have many problems in that direction. When someone new comes in, they are the center of attention, welcomed, introduced, and everyone is very careful not to say anything negative about anyone or anybody. We have one lady who took a long time to start coming regular (the music is what has brought her this far). She still cannot reconcile herself to the veil, but no one pushes her. We even have a family of twelve who came regular after coming for the first time because everyone was so friendly, and the children so joyful (the mothers own words)!

    When it is mentioned among ourselves, the general trend is “Thank God we have this priest! If it wasn’t for him, we still wouldn’t have this Mass!”, “We need to pray for our priests/bishops/pope”, “We get what we deserve!”, and such things. I don’t think our priest has ever been told he is doing something wrong by anyone in the congregation, he has always been thanked for saying the Mass.

    Most of our after Mass conversation has to do with weather, trees, gardens, and other such triflings with some politics thrown into the mix. The women’s circle talks about homeschooling, finding modest clothing, how missing family members are doing, raising holy children, etc. The girls circle talks about the latest book we wrote, the latest schooling woe, the kittens, getting martyred (yes, this is a common and well enjoyed subject among the youth), and so on.

    This does not say we are without our problems, everyone has some. However, this shows that there is at least one EF Mass without most of the baggage. This is one item that everyone, inclusively, avoids. By the way, some songs from our choir made up of two men, two women, and twelve girls ages 8-18.

  22. majuscule says:

    I encountered a tiny group that is struggling to keep a once-a-month TLM going at the church of my youth (though it’s no longer my parish). So I’ve tried to do what I can to support it.

    Chiara’s suggestions are right on. In my early stage of TLM promotion I ran into a lady (not at Mass) who had tried her local TLM and been told by someone that she could not attend because she had on trousers. She told me that she did not own a skirt or dress. I later learned that there is no such requirement at that church.

    Just recently at our Mass one of the regulars approached two ladies who were looking over the booklet missals and told them they would have to wear the veils that are supplied in a basket beside the missals. After she moved on I showed them how to use the missals and I told them they were not required to wear a veil. I encouraged them to try to experience the feeling of the Mass of they couldn’t follow along. They had been so excited had wanted to see and hear the beauty of our Missa Cantata…but I noticed they were gone before communion. I don’t know when they left.
    As far as trousers and veils go, my thought is that if they are not turned off in the beginning by rude “helpfulness”, people will want to dress in nice clothes and women will want to wear a head covering.

  23. Joseph-Mary says:

    We are blessed to have a local parish where the pastor goes through the trouble to bring in a priest to offer the TLM at noon on Sundays. I have never heard any complaints, conspiracy theories, or whining from those who attend this Mass. We are grateful to have it! And our parochial vicar also has learned it; it is not perfected yet but I have not heard any criticism at all. My experience is not as others describe with nasty, judgmental, complaining trads! Not at all! My brother is new to the TLM where he lives and also has not experienced any of this. In fact he was much edified last summer when traveling and attending FSSP parishes along the way, he was both invited out for breakfast and to a family home when they saw he was a visitor.

  24. benedetta says:

    From experience, cult like and divisive “Catholic faith community” type whiff of dissent and positively pro choice places with elitist music and liturgy and special teachings and dogmas with clubbiness that would rival any competitively for pay suburban country club cliques are not in the least less bitter than the average embattled EF community. The difference in my humble opinion is that the EF complainers are living holier, heroic, lives, in communion with the Church, and, from experience, their prayers, sacrifices, and sufferings, are heard. Perhaps not in the ways that the ones in the clubhouse are aiming to be heard and of effect by the one who holds power over this world. There is a difference. Be angry but do not sin. At the same time, I agree with Father Z. From experience. Wear a smile. God loves a cheerful giver. Ease their burdens. Pitch in however needed and as one is able. Be encouraging. Pray for them. Appreciate and be grateful for what they are doing and have done and have been through (usually the wringer, whereas the rich dissenting clubhouses are in this country almost always the queen bees of the chancery circles of power and money). Sometimes places like this can have leadership which is a little off, or strange people in power. But, it’s often nothing compared to the severe and deep corruption, hypocrisy, and cheerful coddling of fraudsters and murderers (no joke) you find in your average dissent celebratory, suburban mcbrien and american pelosi loving faith community down the road. For real. And, yes, confession is the best help for anyone undergoing the extremes of suffering in whatever ways. Be grateful that you even have an EF community and consider how you are called to be in communion with your specific gifts. Young people add hope and energy to places battle worn. Be aware.

  25. donato2 says:

    You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you cranky.

    I think the crankiness issue, while legitimate, is overblown. I would rather go to Mass with cranky trads than with dissenting liberals. When I was in a (very liberal) new Mass parish I felt no spiritual kinship with my fellow parishioners. Maybe they weren’t cranks but they tended to not be very Catholic either. I would read about how your parish is supposed to be part of your life and I would wonder what that meant — I experienced the parish only as a place to go to Mass (and observe various liturgical abuse and hear liberal mush from the pulpit). Then the FSSP came to town. I feel a beautiful spiritual kinship with my fellow FSSP parishioners. Some of them fit the old crank mold but most of them are just normal people. But whether they are cranks or not we have a spiritual bond.

    Insofar as the TLM has the appearance of being a redoubt for cranks I think we can thank liberal bishops for that in significant part. The appearance of being a redoubt for cranks stems in significant part from isolation. The TLM would lose this appearance if it were integrated fully back into the Church such that, for example, every parish offered one TLM high Mass every Sunday morning and the low Mass was offered on a daily basis according to demand.

  26. Ave Crux says:

    Father Z., this is an EXCELLENT response.

    Having been part of the Traditionalist “movement” for 40 years, I definitely agree there’s been a lot of pain and abuse that people feel a need to vent on and to sort out.

    Fear, too, at what they see happening in the Church. Even Saint Paul endured a “daily, pressing anxiety” about the Church.

    There’s another aspect, too. Part of our human defense mechanism is a resistance built on understanding exactly what is going wrong in the Church, so we understand the dangers, decisions to be made and can mount the moral and spiritual fortitude needed to stand against a veritable tsunami of dangerous errors.

    It is in our Traditional communities that these ideas are often discussed and honed into clarity.

    Along with that, we must “hate” the errors that God hates, the grievous scandal being given to countless souls at this time by the hierarchy. Yes, that can make some bitter.

    Personally, I have found that after Mass God has made it clear He wants me in the Church making an extended thanksgiving to reap all the graces of Holy Communion, in order to receive the spiritual transformation that is more important than any (unsettling) conversations that may ensue among the (duly) upset ranks of the Traditionalist faithful (at least they have their headlights on, which is why they see it, and why they’re upset).

    On the other hand, by spending the time after Mass in extended prayer instead of conversation, one receives all the sanctifying beauty of the Traditional liturgy without having to be upset by conversations one doesn’t necessarily need or want to hear at that point in their spiritual lives.

    As the saying goes: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

    And I’m sorry to hear about Chuara’s experience. I hope you’ll try again. The Traditional Mass is truly transformative.

  27. Ave Crux says:

    P.S. further to my comments above: you are absolutely right, Father, that Traditionalists have an obligation to be aware and sensitive to the spiritual needs of newcomers; to welcome them, help to orient them and to moderate their conversation in consideration of the relatively neophyte status of some individuals just becoming acquainted with the crisis in the Church and the Traditional liturgy.

    Even Saint Paul recognized that some ought to be fed milk before they can eat meat.

    It’s all a matter of true Charity and not adding scandal to scandal.

  28. Taylor says:

    I am in much the same boat – a Millennial who made a strident effort to join and participate in an EF community, but who ultimately left for a reverent OF parish because of the negativity (towards myself and others). Granted, when the word “Millennial” get used, there seems to be a reflexive tendency to mutter “snowflake” underneath one’s breath. However, I’m pretty certain any person, of any age, will eventually stop going where their efforts to engage appear to be for naught.

    To Nathan’s point with regard to those of us struggling with “negative Trads” – most new folks engaging the EF probably don’t have any clue as to the emotional baggage most of these communities carry from the “bad old days” post-V2, and accordingly, probably don’t share it. I definitely think there is value in sharing one’s experience of that time – it would help cultivate gratitude in the relative freedom we possess – but it is worth considering whether the community is in peril of projecting the same sort of bitterness one often finds amongst the 60 and up liberal Catholic crowd. Our enemy, like a roaring lion, prowls around looking for someone to devour, and I suspect nothing would please him more than to use the hurt feelings and battle scars of the Trad movement to drive away potential devotees to the Holy Mass of the Ages. OF or EF, we all are human, and at risk of the wickedness and snares of the devil.

    If one wants the EF community to grow and flourish, which I suspect is the ideal we all (even I!) share, it *might* be worth asking what second-order actions can be done to welcome these people into the fold (the first-order action being the grandeur of a reverent and Holy Mass itself).

  29. Gail F says:

    Chiara’s post is one that every Latin-Mass goer should memorize. Do you want people to come, or do you want to be right? That’s the question you need to ask yourself. If I have everything but I do not have love, what do I have?

  30. Federico says:

    ‘Venting’ quickly devolves into gossip, which is a short distance from detraction.

    Every Catholic (in fact, every human person), no matter how sinful, has the right to a good reputation. The only reason to speak truthful negative of any layperson/deacon/priest/bishop is to avoid scandal or avert error.

    It’s OK to say “Fr. so-and-so said that contraception is OK, but that is not true” to one who may be misled by Fr. so-and-so’s statements.

    On the other hand, it’s not OK to say to one’s friend whom one knows to be well grounded in the faith “You won’t believe what Fr. so-and-so preached today! He said contraception is OK. What can you expect, he is just another crazy liberal priest that is spewing ridiculous heresy.” (and the rant can continue with “These crazys are enabled by this awful bishop we have. I heard in his old diocese he did a, b, c. Can you believe that?”

    As Joe Friday might say, ‘just the facts ma’am.’ And facts need be shared only to protect another (or to ask for counsel).

  31. PTK_70 says:

    God loves us, right? Furthermore, we believe that Christ has been victorious. So we have reason to be happy and to celebrate. What we don’t have are good reasons to walk around all day with dour faces……unless we think God doesn’t care for us. But St. Peter tells us otherwise (1 Peter 5:7). How can the proper disposition of a Catholic be constant crotchetiness? I empathize with the questioner.

    I would like to bring up something that our genial host mentioned on this blog some months ago (and I admit I am paraphrasing): a little sense of humor can go a long way.

    Something else needs mentioning IMHO: a healthy Catholic community is a singing community. Singing communities are joyful communities, not dour and crotchety communities. To be clear I am not talking about “cheap” joy as may find expression in some of the more anthropocentric Church music of the post-conciliar period. (I am borrowing here a term from Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran, who wrote about “cheap grace.”)

    Sacred song – and we all know that plainchant and Renaissance polyphony are at the top of the list – is a hallmark of healthy Catholic worship, whether that worship take the form of the usus recentior or the usus antiquior in the Roman Rite. It’s not just bells and smells, vestments and motions.

    Sacred song is surely critical to the revitalization of Catholic worship. It is also a sign of the health of our communities.

  32. Ben Kenobi says:


    Interesting post about the battle buddy. You’ve given me much food or thought. I agree with you about the negativity altogether. We are at war and it’s often the most observant people that we have to trust because they see things that other people miss.

    That being said – Ecclesiastes is quite important for us to remember. “A time for everything under the sun”. We cannot always be negative. We need to celebrate with our Lord and Saviour. We need to share the joy in our lives with other people. It was the joyful people that drew me in for which I am eternally grateful.

  33. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    I’ve logged in especially to say that, although I have encountered complaints of this kind of thing a few times online, I have never experienced anything like it in real life in about 20 years of assisting at the traditional mass in several different environments. The only thing that came anywhere close was the case of an old lady who once upset my wife by complaining about our infant son’s crying, at the back of church during high mass (a rare thing at that time and place, so a special day). And that old lady apologised after mass. So I suppose there must be unfriendly traditionalists in some places. There just don’t seem to be any where I live. And so people should not be put off.

    I am very happy to be called a traditionalist.

  34. JABV says:

    I know there are somewhat frequent combox debates (if not here then in other places) about “nasty trads” and whether they are common.

    I am beginning to wish that folks would just start naming the communities with which they have a problem (ideally with their identity out there, too). I have been a chorister for the second Sunday TLM held at St. Patrick Church in Weston, WV and for the second Sunday TLM at St. Patrick Church in Ann Arbor, MI, and in neither case have I had any issue with the people involved. I have found them lovely and welcoming. Please join us!

  35. Antonia D says:

    Sadly, I have heard from three different, all very faithful, people about the negativity & judgmentalism of the EF parish nearest to me (it’s an hour away). I go to a very good Novus Ordo church now but will still give the Latin Mass a try as my parish home.

    I agree with Fr. Z and Nathan (commenter above) that trads have been though the wringer for decades (!!), have often been the only ones to recognize the dangers coming at the Church, and often have been the only ones to hold to and pass down the truths of the faith at all! I’d like to have my kids catechized there at the EF parish with a traditional perspective, *IF* the atmosphere isn’t too bitter.

    I really appreciate Fr. Z’s recommendations and will implement them there myself, if necessary. I can’t stay there for very long, though, if the atmosphere really is as judgmental and sour as has been reported. At least while my kids are with me, my priority has to be *forming them* not only with the right teachings, but with the right attitude and spirit of Christ.

  36. VexillaRegis says:

    I would suggest that you bring an allay or three :-). They don’t necessarily need to be “traddy”, just happy mainstream Catholics, and preferably socially high ranking. Then you meet up at the coffee and donut thing after Mass and start a loud and merry conversation about something interesting and including, like an ongoing exhibition of sacred art, a recording of Orlando di Lasso’s latest Mass, your funny cat, mishaps in your kitchen and so on – just things everybody can agree on. Make a positive take over! That will attract normally functioning people. Sour comments are fended off with ” some more coffee?” or “do you think Y team will win this year? or a sunny “your children are so well behaved and cute :-)! We did this many years ago in my parish. (There wasn’t a problem with not so nice traditionalists, but just stupid conflicts and a non existing sense of community.) The result was amazing!

    Enter new traditional leaning – and volatile – pastor. He started celebrating TLMs, but managed to chase away even the extremely few traditional men who attended them! From what I’ve heard, the pastor celebrates most TLMs in solitude.

  37. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    As a priest who was regularly celebrated both forms of the Mass since my ordination in 1985 (back in the days of the Dominican Rite Rescript), I have had the experience of celebrating in parishes with both forms and dedicated EF only congregations.

    While it is not universally true, I would say that I have encounted the kind of negativity the inquirer described only in EF form only congregations. When both forms are available, it seems that the hostile ghetto mentality is mostly absent.

    I know that it is sometimes hard to find an EF Mass at all, but when you have a choice, I would urge first time attenders to go to the EF form Mass at a “mixed” parish. Aids and hospitality to “strangers” are generally good, if simply because there are more drop-ins in such churches. If this is impossible, Fr. Z’s suggestion of offering to pray with the negative types is a great idea.

  38. Sword40 says:

    I am familiar with many of the concerns of some of the posters. I travel two hours each way to the TLM every Sunday. I am a convert (1970) who promptly sought out an Indult Mass. I have experienced much of the pain experience by others who tried to find solace in the new Mass but failed.
    Once we got the FSSP invited into our Archdiocese things began to change. Our FSSP parish assists with praying at P. P. hood. We share processions with the N.O. parish down the hill from us. And our parochial vicar did a 3 day retreat at the diocesan retreat center. If anything our parish “friendliness” may be a little overwhelming to many folks. We are a very diverse race and age mixture.
    We try to have a monthly potluck after our Sunday sung High Mass. Our altar boys are very active as a group, attending ball games and an occasional trip to the pistol range. Dads do the chaperoning. Our girls are also very active and involved with helping the Altar Society as well as other activities.
    We are on good terms with the N.O. priest down the hill and often share time at each other’s parishes.

    This is the first time in my 47 years as a Catholic that I truly feel a sense of community and parish life.

  39. kurtmasur says:

    Very interesting topic and comments. Just to share my own personal experience attending a regular Sunday TLM (at a mixed parish), all I can say is that the people at the TLM there seem either “normal” or even “friendly” to me. However, I’d like to share a few observations/anecdotes:

    1) One time before Holy Mass, I overheard two older men from the congregation discussing how “scared” and “concerned” they felt for the youth of today, basically being very judgemental to today’s younger generations. Sure, perhaps they had a point, but there was something about their tone that was off-putting….can’t exactly put a finger on it, but they gave the impression of something to the effect of “previous generations (including their own) were pretty much saints during their own youths”…. in other words, I felt they were exhibiting hyporcracy with a “holier-than-thou” mentality.

    2) One time during the Holy Mass, a large group of Maltese tourists stumbled upon our parish by pure chance and they stayed for the duration of the entire TLM. The pastor had taken notice before Mass and found out who they were, where they came from etc, and he was even kind enough to devote part of the homily exclusively to this group (he used the opportunity to explain to them the TLM, what it is, etc.). Granted, we are lucky that our TLM is a sung Mass, sung by professional singers who are able to properly (and beautifuly) do the chants (especially the notoriously complicated propers), and the pastor almost always uses incense. After Mass, a few of the Maltese tourists were so in awe of what they had just experienced that they asked me if our Mass was “normal” (ie. if that is the way it is celebrated each Sunday or if it just happened to be a “special occasion” on that day). Upon telling them that it was a “normal” Mass for us, they lamented that unfortunatley that is not how the Holy Mass looks like in Malta. But it did open their eyes as to what exists—perhaps a potential new brick in our “brick-by-brick” buidling?

    3) There are a few eccentric “characters” in my TLM community, especially young attendees. It’s as if some of them have a retro-mentality dating back to the 1920s, 1930s, and you can see it in the way they carry themselves, and in the way they dress. One guy not only wears a suit, but he also wears a top hat! Granted, I’ve only met a few of them, and they do seem like genuienly nice people, definitely not arrogant….however, having said that:

    4) In the spirit of evangelization, I’ve taken a few visitors with me to the TLM (mainly NO Catholics), but one time I took an atheist friend. Although my atheist friend was in awe by the Gregorian chant and overall reverence of the Mass, she said that everybody in the congregation was “arrogant” (or rather, displayed an arrogant look), and that when she turned to look at me, that I too had become “one of them” with the same “arrogant” look on my face. Ha…go figure!

  40. hwriggles4 says:

    Years ago, our Young Adult Group invited the priest from the Byzantine Catholic Church to speak at our monthly meeting, and much of the topic covered the Byzantine Rite, the differences between the N.O. Mass, and the history. At the conclusion, the priest invited our group to attend the Divine Liturgy there one Sunday.

    About six or seven of us went one Sunday. The priest knew ahead of time that we were coming, and arranged for us to arrive early. After a short tour of the sanctuary (the tabernacle is in a caged area on the altar), the priest explained why Byzantine Catholics cross themselves differently, why the Precious Blood is on a spoon, and a few other differences than what we were used to in the N.O. This helped all of us understand the Mass better, and made us feel more comfortable there. People were very welcoming, and I am told that the Byzantine Rite is fairly small (particularly in the Southern United States where I live) so the majority of Byzantine Catholic parishes are filled with regulars.

    My point: parishioners went the extra mile to welcome us and share their faith. That experience was at least 15 years ago, and I still remember that Sunday morning.

  41. christopherschaefer says:

    At my Connecticut parish one of the ways we (largely) avoid the negativity is by having the Solemn High TLM/EF as a principal Mass on Sunday morning: not snuck in once a month on a Sunday afternoon. This prevents the “ghetto-ization” of Catholic tradition—and Traditionalists. We also have one of the best after-Mass coffee hours in the state. I’d say at least 50% of the women who attend our TLM do NOT wear a veil, although you also won’t see miniskirts, tank tops, jeans, Tee shirts with beer ads, etc. When the Introit is being sung the ushers usually go down the aisles looking for newcomers and making sure they have a program. At all of our other Masses—Novus ordo in English and Spanish—much of the congregation’s part is sung in Latin and at the English “High Mass” the choir sings some of the Gregorian propers. At all of the Novus ordo Masses, the Liturgy of the Eucharist portion is celebrated ‘ad orientem’ at the high altar. We don’t even HAVE a free-standing “table altar”. At these Masses during the Introductory Rites, etc. the priest uses a sedilia off to the right rather than a “presidential chair” in the center. (I’d imagine that the typical Catholic, when visiting our parish and attending one of the Sunday Novus ordo Masses, likely would think it was a TLM.) Consequently, on special occasions when ONLY the TLM is celebrated (e.g. Holy Week) everyone in our parish is able to make the responses and, with the help of a program, follow all of the readings, etc. The key is for a parish to mainstream Catholic tradition, including the TLM, and you’ll have a more diverse, more typically-Catholic congregation.

  42. Tom A. says:

    It seems how one prays really forms what one believes. While I do not for a minute doubt anybody’s observation here, it only illustrates the poor job the Novus Ordo does in forming Catholics. The chief complaint seems to be one of not feeling welcomed. This is a direct result of being formed by a style of worship that is focused on the self. The NO is a man centered liturgy and has created a laity that expects certain conditions and a sense of expectation from the congregation and pastor. While a friendly community is desirable, it is not necessary nor the reason we give worship to Almighty God. We go to Mass for God first and foremost and for ourselves secondly.

  43. Deo Credo says:

    we happily attend our EF only oratory but we still help at our local NO parish, our oldest son still serves there, we all volunteer etc. a lot of what I have been reading is more of a smokescreen. guess what, most NO parishes don’t warmly welcome new families either. it is definitely something we as a church need to address, but honestly if we are having an even remotely worshipful liturgy then there is no good way to accost someone in order to greet and welcome them. of course we do have the happy clap churches where we are all ordered to greet each other in the middle of mass which does lend itself to welcoming others.

    are there bitter traddies, heck yes there are. we traddies tend towards being pharisees as well. the thing is, the more you learn about your faith, the more you become concerned. also for some of these families they are very concerned about the influences on their children. it is rather hard to “un-see” pornography, or drug use. nothing at all wrong with keeping your children as innocent as possible for as long as possible. this often comes off as judgy or unfriendly. heck, my kids have been judged “unsuitable” for some of our traddie co-religionists. parents have to do what they can, we all answer to The Lord in the end. I don’t mind. My children attended a youth retreat at the local catholic high school given by our diocese and guess what, some moron 8th graders from a local catholic school streaked during the retreat. kind of hard for high school aged children to “un-see” that.

    one other salient point. weddings occur at our beautiful EF parish. one of the young men serving as thurifer for a wedding said, at least you don’t have hold the paten for a bunch of half naked people to my son. sometimes people who seem “judgy” about the way others are dressed are just trying to protect hormonal young men from near occasions of sin. I always appreciate it when my sons do NOT have to see yoga pants and low cut tops/dresses.

    if someone seems harsh to you, view it with a charitable assumption.

  44. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    From what I have studied about anger, I have formed the opinion that righteous and healthy anger arises in a righteous and upright soul when it reacts to an injustice, especially an injustice perpetrated against an innocent other, and then having made every effort to remedy the injustice, the soul CALMS DOWN to its usual state of peacefulness and serenity once again, whether their efforts were successful or unsuccessful. The healthy and righteous spirit maintains peace and serenity nearly all of the time, come what may, because it trusts in the providential will of Almighty God, and is able to handle being denied its own wishes, needs, and preferences, even unjustly, even for a long period of time, while nevertheless working tirelessly and constructively to rectify the situation, no matter how much effort is involved, no matter how unfair it all is.

    Toxic anger reacts to an injustice not necessarily by constructive action, but by emitting a constant drip-drip-drip of negativity, bitterness, and self-pity. It is ongoing and enduring. Such a soul never reacquires peace and serenity, because instead of resigning itself to the will of God, it rebels against the situation, not with vigor or with purpose, but by sulking, moaning, pouting, and feeling sorry for itself . . and then complaining that their own bad behavior is the fault of others who have injured them or deprived them of something. Toxic anger saps the energy of the soul, leaving the soul unequal to the task of tireless and constructive work undertaken for the very same cause. Meanwhile souls who maintain their serenity and work and pray quietly and cheerfully to achieve the very same goals, but not with the constant background hum of “poor me, poor us, they’ve been so awful to us, ain’t it awful, ain’t it all horrible, the whole world is going to Hell in a handbasket! . . . ”

    I believe that what I have written applies not only to those TLM communities who lack the serenity that comes from resignation to the Will of God, trust in His Providence, and the consolations of planning and putting into practice purposeful work toward achieving their goals; I believe these things also apply to other communities who advocate anything around which there is much debate among the larger groups involved, such as local and even federal politics, and also even in families.

  45. stephen c says:

    Lots of good comments here. With profound apologies to people who have the energy to host donuts and coffee events, I have to say I do not like being offered “donuts and coffee” because I was raised in a big family and a long long time ago I learned in my heart of hearts that people who just offer you donuts and coffee are offering you their second best: someone else will get offered the real meals, the meals that are prepared with real love and compassion. Life is short and therefore I generally decide to avoid the donuts and coffee. So I have no idea if there actually is unfortunate gossip at such events. For all I know coffee and donuts are accompanied by nothing but feasts of reason and wonderful flows of soul. Also, I actually enjoy getting dirty looks from people when I come late to Mass (of course only when I have a good excuse – I learned this in the military when people would come to Mass after all night shifts and worse, often halfway or later through service – better a few moments of prayer at Mass than none at all) : in my not very impressive, mostly distant from God, life, this is one of the few moments where I feel in my heart of hearts that God is Personally showing me who I have to pray for (that is, for the pitiful person who can find it in his or her poor sad heart to glare at another human being at church. Well, if they are right to glare at me, good for them, if they are not, hopefully we will all be able to joke about it in the distant future). I have to say, though, that I have never once gotten a dirty look for coming late to Mass when the Mass was in Latin. Not once, not ever, and I have been late to dozens and dozens of Latin Masses in several different parishes (although I would have preferred to be early every single time, as some of my favorite moments in life have been the long silent minutes before the beginning of Mass.) It (nasty looks for showing up “late’) did seem to happen a few times at Masses in English, but even there maybe I just was being casually looked at by people with an unfortunate tendency to an involuntarily crabby look. Life is difficult for most of us and it shows.

  46. Maelwys says:

    Yeah, I have to admit, I’ve been to EF communities in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and now in Maine (not to mention one and done visits during vacation or business) and never once saw or experienced Chiara’s described scenario. I’ve never been to one that didn’t have the red books out front with the extremely easy to follow English on one side Latin on the other. Yeah, you may not have the readings for that Sunday to follow along with your eyes (unless you happen to be visiting on Corpus Christi), but that’s, what 10% of a Mass? As someone said earlier, I guess I’m sure those EF parishes are out there, and yes most of them have a curmudgeonly conspiracy theorist or two. But in my experience of 5 very geographically disparate EF parishes, not having seen what is described by Chiara as pervasive through multiple EF experiences–my not having seen it happen once, is surprising at the least.

  47. chantgirl says:

    I have honestly not met many of these angry trads in my travels- maybe one or two. [RIGHT! They are not the norm.]
    While it is true that there may be some angry trads, it is also true that many people unfamiliar with the EF and traditional Catholicism expect trads to be cranky and judgmental because they have heard others say so. The Catholics I have met who have been most critical of trads have been those who are not following the Church’s moral law. Most of the trads I know are affable people, and are just trying to live their lives as faithful Catholics in a difficult environment.

    The situations where I have seen more negativity among trads has been in diocesan TLMs where the traditional community is begrudgingly allowed an odd Mass time once every few weeks. Trads in this situation tend to feel like red-headed step children- like they are being tolerated but not really welcome. I have not encountered this feeling at ICKSP or FSSP communities where the people knew that their pastors really did want them around, and they had access to the whole parish experience.

    Finally, in my honest opinion, if you are Catholic and are experiencing no anger right now, you are either not awake or are already in Heaven ;) The Church is experiencing a huge crisis right now, and many souls could be lost. This is cause for righteous anger that is directed towards positive action. Probably most of the perceived crankiness of trads is actually awareness of the crisis and frustration at the feeling of helplessness in front of the tidal wave that is dismantling the Church at the moment. And probably irritation at all of the blog posts lately that have been accusing them of crankiness ;)

  48. Marion Ancilla Mariae,
    That is spot on. I could not have said it better myself. These are yhe lights that souls need. God bless you.

  49. Austin says:

    As a convert and regular TLM worshipper, I must say I have not encountered the bitter negativity mentioned. But I was hoping for more — that the TLM community would offer some of the warm fellowship, relationship-building, and pastoral care that was standard in the Anglo-Catholic parishes I previously belonged to.

    The TLM congregation (at a mixed rite parish) has proved to be just as distant and unfriendly as all the various Novus Ordo parishes we have gone to. Not much in the way of communal life, from prayer groups and bible studies to sherry after mass, dinners and picnics. None of the clergy have a clue who we are after several years of attendance — we are just one of the many thousands of parishioners. And it is not as if we have failed to make an effort.

    After congregational singing and decent preaching, the friendship is what I miss most. Not that I’m going back.

  50. Dave N. says:

    Since a number of people have mentioned the damage that happens over coffee and donuts, ours after the TLM last Sunday featured a heated “discussion” about whether or not Cardinal Burke did a sufficient job removing Masons from the Knights of Malta (as if either of the combatants would have enough firsthand knowledge to know either way).

    But in their defense, the dubia have been featured in at least three homilies since the beginning of Lent. While this homiletic red meat plays very well with some, others are put off by it and have left the community. Then one response to THAT was, “well, they only had two kids anyway” wink-wink-nod-nod. Ugh.

    How is any of this helpful?

  51. wolfeken says:

    Any “movement” group is going to sometime want to, indeed, vent a bit. Anyone who has been active in the pro-life movement, or with a political campaign, will see similarities to TLM congregations. They believe in things.

    I hope just because someone heard a strong line or two at a pro-life rally, a TLM or during a campaign event, that the person doesn’t go running off to the novus ordo to be cuddled and loved. Of course it’s easy to be warm and fuzzy 100% of the time when someone doesn’t believe in much of anything!

  52. Gilbert Fritz says:

    Dave N.

    That picking on how many kids a family has, and how far apart they are, etc. is disgusting, I agree. (I ran into it once.) And I’m blessed to be at an EF parish where it is unusual for Vatican politics to be discussed from the pulpit.

  53. APX says:

    Where I am, the TLM community is rather cliquey and not particularly welcoming to outsiders. There are even young children who are quite proud to announce that they “tell the kids at school that the Novus Ordo is displeasing to God”. No doubt that comes from their parents.

    People who are fed up with it haven’t moved on to the OF. Instead they moved to the Anglican Use Ordinariate that still has reverent liturgy, and orthodoxy, but no cliques. I’m glad to hear that other places aren’t like this. Hopefully, if the SSPX reconcile fully with Rome, those of the bitter and cliquey nature will move their and the FSSP will take back control of the souls entrusted to them.

  54. nadine says:

    What a timely read; and I appreciate so many of the humble and thoughtful responses. I have gotten the stink-eye more than once from little girls in veils. It really saddens me. I am in the Pacific Northwest. The numerous times I have attended the TLM I have been privy to multiple conversations complaining about the liturgy, (wait, wasn’t this what you prefer?), the Latin Mass families huddled together in the middle of the street to avoid conversations with the rest of us, geo-centrists, and anti-Semites. It’s a mixed bag, but there aren’t many smiles. I think battle-weariness plays a big part, and I wonder if there is little opportunity to refresh themselves; seeing that nearly all conversations are complaining about the Holy Father, or church politics, etc… It is a discussion that needs to happen, and I thank you, Fr. Z for the opportunity. May we be unified as we walk the same path.

  55. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    Another commenter deplored “that picking on how many kids a family has, and how far apart they are.”

    Sometimes it is the Holy Will of God that even couples who are open to life throughout the entirety of their marriage, never conceive. And sometimes it’s also the Holy Will of God that some among such as these couples, would never in a million years be able to come up with the $10,000 – $15,000 (minimum, in our state) to adopt even one child. So they remain childless. And gossiped about for it. So sad.

  56. un-ionized says:

    Wolf eked, what you say about the nature of the ordinary form Mass is untrue, but your attitude illustrates perfectly why I avoid the TLM at my parish.

  57. un-ionized says:

    Wolfeken, not spellsuggester name.

    Dave N. How do they know who is a Freemason, unless they have the license plate of course?

    Nadine, I have had the same experiences from the Veil Brigade standing in line for confession before the OF Mass that I attend. I figure if someone wants to be cruel and out themselves as a Sunday Christian it’s just as well, then I know who to avoid.

  58. un-ionized says:

    Marion, what you say is so true. Getting pregnant isn’t that assured. Some people use birth control and have two children, some don’t and have zero children. Worldly people call it the luck of the draw.

  59. un-ionized says:

    Marion, sometimes prolife Catholics seem like they have Mormon beliefs, that a woman’s status in the afterlife is dependent on the number of her children.

  60. hwriggles4 says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen:

    Thanks for bringing up children here. As a Catholic who grew up in the 70s and 80s, it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties when I found out that several priests of that era were privately telling parishioners that ABC was fine, and if you had four, five, or more children (my mom had four, and my dad is Methodist) it was not a sin for either the dad or the mom to get sterilized, because you had “done your duty.” I even heard in the 80s it was normal at pre cana weekends and at Marriage Encounter to mention that ABC was okay.

    That said, many parents of the 70s and 80s are now wishing they had more children. Personally, I didn’t embrace the pro life movement until around 2000, and when I see couples today, and friends who have children, I do not judge them on the number of kids because:

    1. I have a few friends who married for the first time after 35 – three can happen, but two is more normal, and one friend had her first and only child at 42.

    2. I know couples with two kids who survived three or four miscarriages

    3. A buddy of mine who is like an older brother to me (I introduced him to his wife) has three kids – all adopted. They tried to conceive for 7 years.

    4. I have witnessed women in tears when a friend or relative says, “when are you and your husband going to have a baby? You have been married for three years – what’s the problem?” This comes up when the couple has been trying to conceive for three years.

    5. A lady I know told me at her parish one parent was being looked down on because she and her husband only had one child. That’s being judgmental.

    6. An old roommate of mine (one of my best friends) married in his late 30s. A few months after getting married, his wife had an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in a rupture, and complications resulted in surgery that was needed to save her life. The end result was infertility, and these things happen sometimes.

    7. Adoption is a good option, but yes, it can be expensive.

    I am glad a few posters highlighted on children, and there are different circumstances.

  61. APX says:

    We’re quite the opposite of Mormons when it comes to woman’s status in Heavan, since we hold celibacy as a greater degree of perfection than the married state.

  62. un-ionized says:

    APX, missed my point?

  63. un-ionized says:

    The big irony at my former parish was that so many of the friars are onlies or one of two. When people eating doughnuts started talking about whether people were using contraceptives I liked to point out the relationship between social class and number of children, especially when the wife is a professional. Also, as in my case, God will provide for someone who is sterile by steering them into a very satisfying career that greatly contributes to society in other ways.

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