ASK FATHER: Can I go with my children to SSPX Masses twice a month?

José Gallegos y Arnosa faithful at massFrom a reader…


Lets cut to the chase my soul is torn. I asked the Blessed Mother to save my children and give them Catholic friends (they know NONE right now) I have lived my whole life without knowing someone who is actually simply up and down Catholic. (The Church teaches it they believe it). I am aware that there are no Conservative, progressive, liberal, or traditional Catholics. There are only people who believe the faith and people who don’t (many of the latter wear collars but lets skip that). I have never had the benefit of a latin mass. Till the other day. SSPX mass. My mind is blown small explosion but there you go. I cannot stop going to the NO. The Blessed Mother has explained to me that they need me. That sounds arrogant but that is not entirely what I mean. They need people attempting to be holy. They need grace and someone to ask the Mother of God to merit it. (my merits tend to be things only a mother could love.) Can I go to this mass part time? technically its Valid but not licit which covers every mass I have ever seen in this desert called Australia. I have never seen a mass that requires and instills so much humility. That drives you to humility. Arrogant people can’t sit through that mass. Prideful people cannot sit though that mass, and if they do their pride will surly begin to die or they will stop going. The mass is only in town 2x a month. Can I go to them half the time and go to the NO the other half? My children are getting old enough that they need to hear the faith from someone other than their father. If they are not supported by at least a sub section of society they won’t make it. What do I do here? What is the smart play?

Clearly you are sincere and earnest.  Clearly are you concerned to fulfill your vocation as a father.  Clearly you have a strong devotion to our Blessed Mother and you approach Holy Mass with piety.

From what you write, I discern that you desire the reverence of the traditional form of Mass.  You don’t seem to seek it out in protest against the Novus Ordo.  You seem to be saying that you would more happy attend the Novus Ordo Masses available to you if they were celebrated with greater fidelity and reverence.

From what you wrote, I don’t see any problem with attending the SSPX Masses occasionally, and as you describe.  I’m glad that you also want to continue to attend your regular parish.

Meanwhile, I can assure you that “arrogant people” can and do “sit through that Mass”.  I sense that you are not one of them.  At the same time, we are all works in progress.  Humble and arrogant alike bend the knee… and learn – some quickly, some over lifetimes – to bend the knee of the heart.  It might be helpful to review Luke 18:9-14 before heading off to Mass.

Be good and give a good example.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    ‘O my deare hert, young Jesu sweit
    Prepare thy creddil in my spreit,
    And I sall rock thee to my hert
    And never mair from thee depart

    But I sall praise thee evermoir
    With sanges sweit unto thy gloir;
    The knees of my hert sall I bow,
    And sing that richt Balulalow’

  2. thomas777 says:

    Thank you for your response Fr. Z. My 11-year-old is starting to ask the important questions. And well, until now its been my family Contra Mundum. I have been sure there were a thousand people in a cave around here somewhere. There are people in this group who are really trying to be Catholic. The mass itself was more than I could have imagined. I have never had the benefit until now. Words cannot describe the experience. My 11-year-old can learn the mystery of the faith from that. There are other kids whose parents really care about the faith at this mass. Other people who read books more than 100 years old. Perhaps, just maybe, I will find some people my own age who actually care about any of these things. I guess only time will tell.

    Thank you for the advice.

  3. iamlucky13 says:

    I’m not sure the situation is as lonely as the questioner perceives. The question of how ardent those around me are crosses my mind frequently, and I have to remind myself not to make presumptions. But especially when attending Mass in parishes where the congregation faces each other, it’s hard to avoid thinking about it.

    I encounter a lot of very casual attitudes towards the faith, and actions that I have difficulty reconciling with belief in the True Presence, and many other Catholic teachings.

    Yet, in the midst of that, subtle reverence does show up, and sometimes not from people I would have a few minutes before expected. I think we have a more serious catechesis issue in the present Church than we do a faith issue.

    Therefore, I would not prevent your children from making friends with other parishioners. Just focus on educating your children well and setting a consistent good example of faith to them. That and being devoted parents in general will the most important things you can do for them. You may find more of your fellow parishioners believe at least what they have clearly been taught, and you and your family may be a good example to them.

    Also be very careful about the “Real Catholics” talk. I encounter a lot of people deeply offended by anything that even sounds just a little bit like that, and it’s great fuel for those who despise the older liturgical traditions of the Church or even some of her teachings to sow division between those who prefer the older traditions and the mainstream of the Church.

  4. thomas777 says:

    hello I am lucky,

    I understand what you mean in many of your points. I have seen, to my humiliation, many people get a contact high because of something I say or do. Comments like, I could listen to you all day. I have to remind this person I am in ignorant fool who has found a single coin long abandoned and polished it up. Sometimes the penitent cries in a confessional, but I was shocked one day to find the priest crying in the confessional.
    No, I cannot leave the regular parish life. There is no Benedict solution. It did not work for him and it won’t work here. But at the same time you state my problem very accurately, they do not know the faith. They have no idea what they are missing. My children require a Catholic culture. A band of sisters (in their case, all girls). I am involved in the parish life. You object to real Catholic. I’m not sure what that means. What I mean is there are no people who believe the faith as best they can and are devout about their faith. If they know the faith they don’t allow it to affect their lives. Not really too worried about those ones.
    It’s the ones who refuse to believe what they know to be the faith and then insist that you approve and follow suit. Imagine having to explain to your children that there are Male and Female people in heaven. I mean sure great object lesson. I can have a class for my kid a teach her right that’s great. How long is it going to take for that to wear thin? How long until she rejects the faith like everyone she knows but mom and dad? 2 years? 3?
    How many parents before me agonized over this problem and lost many of their kids to the faith. My dad lost 3 and he worked really hard. the army saved me. That is I was passed from Catholic family to Catholic family. In the military, of 20 years ago, there were strong religious subgroups which a Catholic can feed on for spiritual support. My brothers had none of that. The short story is I have hope for them but at the moment they are lost.
    I am not a more REAL Catholic by going to a different rite. But I can be made more holy by association with holy people. (that is people making an honest effort). And if my children hear a lot of Catholic sermons and Catholic music they might try to be more holy too. I would not imagine I was better than people in another rite just because I go to a different one, but I will keep going to the old parish to make reparations for them. The Blessed Sacrament is in both places. He wants to save us all. He is not going to get all, but He is going to try. And I will help him.

  5. Tom A. says:

    Given the deplorable state of seminary formation the past few decades, your reader should be asking if its ok to go to the Novus Ordo twice a month.

  6. catholictrad says:

    My parish is a very rare TLM-only diocesan parish. A “personal parish” rather than a chapel, may God bless Bishop Robert Baker of the diocese of Birmingham, Alabama.

    After attending the Traditional Mass for five years, I find the nearby New Order Masses deeply painful. It is like dropping in on my early Baptist upbringing, except that we had more reverence as 1970’s Baptists than is found in the five nearby NOs.

    I was first exposed to the Traditional Mass on Christmas morning 2012 in Savannah, Georgia in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. It was like I had taken the red pill and left the Matrix. There is no returning to the NO unless to console the suffering Lord who suffers there with them.

  7. TonyO says:

    Thomas777, I strongly sympathize with your situation. I grew up in a decent place, but where none of the Catholic schools were teaching the Faith straight up – so my parents got together with 20 other couples and formed a Sunday school on their own to do it, using the Baltimore Catechism. But none of our Catholic neighbors were doing it (indeed, most of them didn’t even make the effort to send their kids to the “Catholic” schools), so nearly all of our school and neighborhood friends were not in touch with the true Faith. Result: 5 of my 7 siblings are not practicing Catholics. So far, prayers still in the worls…

    As an adult, similar things were going on at my former parish. My wife and I had the great benefit of being able to drive an hour to an (at the time, indulted) Extraordinary Form mass, but we realized that being an hour away meant we could not feed into the ordinary life of a parish that way, and our kids could not maintain friendships that far away: one hour a week isn’t enough. We ended up moving to a different (Novus Ordo) parish which was much better, enough so that there were a significant number of people who knew and practiced the Faith (or at least were trying to, though like me they fall sometimes too), and with whom our kids could be friends without grave moral danger. In addition, we are able to homeschool, and our kids participate online in digital (live) classes with other such kids in a Catholic enterprise, where they meet and get to know other practicing Catholic kids. Once in a while they even get to functions where they meet those kids in person.

    This won’t answer for everyone’s situation, but can you consider moving to a different parish? Or (this might be much more difficult) even move to a different diocese? Not every parish or diocese is alike, and you might get one close enough to ‘good’ that you can let down your guard a little bit. Is there a parish within reach? Lacking that, I would suggest seeking out like-minded Catholics with whom you can meet with some regularity (even if it is only once a week or two, and even if it requires a bit of a drive) to foster family connections: eventually over time you might locate closer families than you otherwise would have known about. Looking for the long haul, it is more important for your kids to have even just a couple good friends who live the Faith than to have many ‘friends’ none of whom they can to for spiritual inspiration.

  8. Gabriel Syme says:

    Tom A,

    Given the deplorable state of seminary formation the past few decades, your reader should be asking if its ok to go to the Novus Ordo twice a month.

    Indeed! Although of course we must not discount the fact that there are good diocesan priests doing their utmost at this time of confusion.

    One of the good guys in our Archdiocese is seeing good fruits from his great fidelity to the faith, his patience in the face of hostility and his promotion of the traditional mass and spirituality.

    Recently the Diocesan offices contacted the parish to breathlessly enquire why his mass collection amounts were shooting up. It turns out that, if you offer people the real Catholic mass and faithful teaching………..people come and, what’s more, they donate. Who could have guessed?

    A great reward for him is that Cardinal Burke is soon to visit his parish to offer a Pontifical High Mass. Sadly the Archdiocese isn’t making the most of this outstanding event, presumably because it clashes with the “Catholic Charismatic renewal” weekend which offers “mime, dance and family mass” (what appalling rubbish).

    But, going back to the readers query about attending the SSPX: I tried that arrangement at first – going to the novus ordo Saturday Vigil and then the SSPX latin mass on a Sunday. But it didn’t take long for me to bin the novus ordo.

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  10. thomas777 says:

    I know what you mean about the good guys working very hard. We have an Indian priest in for 3 years and he explained it to me quite well. He said he can’t preach the same way he does in India. He has to go to a web site and download his sermon and say that. He prays 3 times a week before a painting of the Auxilium Christianorum. He is working very hard for his adopted parish.

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