The young want the patrimony of which they have been defrauded!

17_05_31_PontMass_Queenship_07One of my perennial tropes is that generations of Catholics have been robbed.  They have been cheated out of their patrimony.  They have been defrauded of their inheritance.   When the libs “reformed” the Church’s liturgical worship with little regard for the few true mandates of the Council Fathers, they both slammed the treasury doors shut and hide the key and then brought edifice down to hide its existence from sight.

They thought that they got away with it.

Here is something of interest from the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald (for which I have for years written a weekly column… print edition only) with my emphases and comments.

The kids are old rite
by Matthew Schmitz

Young Catholics feel they have been denied their inheritance. Where do they go from here?

Last week, in a speech to Italian liturgists, Pope Francis appeared to set in stone the liturgical changes that came at the time of Vatican II. “After this magisterium, after this long journey,” he said, “we can affirm with certainty and with magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” Liberal commentators celebrated his comments as a blow to the “the re-emergence of a certain neo-clericalism with its formalism” and rejoiced that the “restorationist movement in liturgy is being reversed”.

Liberals have reason to be glad: Francis has shown that he is sympathetic to their desire for a liturgy that feels more like a communal meal than an ancient sacrifice. [Hence, the nadir we have reached in some places where Communion is reduced to “they put the white thing in my hand and then we sing a song”.] But does Francis’s declaration mean that after millennia of development liturgical evolution has arrived at a final state and now must stop?  [I don’t think that is what Francis meant.  What he meant isn’t entirely clear to me, but I don’t think that’s it.  Sure, however, his ghostwriter (at least) was showing his animus for any sort of “mutual enrichment” of the Novus Ordo by traditional forms.  That suggests who really wrote it.  HINT: He can’t stand Benedict XVI.]

In a word, no. One might as well magisterially declare that spilt milk can’t be put back in the carton, or dogmatically define that Humpty Dumpty can’t be reassembled, [or forbid the tide to rise] as proclaim that liturgical reform cannot be reversed. It is like proudly stating that one cannot undo a grave mistake. The observation is incontestable, even if shame would be preferable to boasts. The question is not whether we can undo past blunders, but rather how to clean up the mess.  [Before you can correct something, you have to see that there is a problem.]

Francis’ remarks are yet another sign of his anxiety over the traditional direction in which young Catholics are carrying the Church. We have seen this before, in the stories he tells about young priests who shout at strangers and play dress-up, unlike the wise, old, compassionate (and liberal) monsignori. Francis has played variations of John Lennon’s Imagine: “We are grandparents called to dream and give our dream to today’s youth: they need it.” [Okay.  I’m getting the impression that the writer is not a huge fan of Pope Francis.] Maybe so, but the youth do not seem to want it.

As any young progressive or old traditionalist will tell you, age does not dictate whether one prefers dogma or liberty, ritual or casualness. Yet across much of the Catholic world, young traditionalists are competing against old progressives. [Competing?  Really?  I wonder if young trads know that they are competing with old libs?  The libs know that this is now a race against the clock, against the Biological Solution and that they are losing.  Thus, they fury.] Ironies abound, as youths who revere the venerable face off against elders who chase the up-to-date, and progressives who fear the future battle with traditionalists who loathe their immediate forebears.  [Again, I wonder about that “loathe”.  Loathe?  That’s more the stuff of libs.  I think that traddies tend to loathe what the libs have done, especially in robbing us of our patrimony.  Libs, however, don’t just loathe what traditionalists want, they loathe the people who want Tradition.  I think that’s the major different.  Sure the combox at some more traditional site can get a little sharp.  I try to tamp all that down.  But any sharpness on the more conservative side is nothing compared to the sheer nastiness and anger of the combox at, say, Fishwrap.]

Anyone who doubts the reality of the conflict should visit a monastery or convent, where young monastics will almost invariably be more traditional than their elders. In France, in 20 years’ time a majority of priests will celebrate exclusively the traditional Latin mass. Wherever one looks, the kids are old rite.  [Some years ago a friend of mine opined that he thought that, over time, the Novus Ordo would pretty much die out and that the Traditional Form would be again the dominant form.  I pooh-poohed that at the time.  Now I am not so sure.]

Few have spoken as eloquently about the changes the Church is undergoing as Fr René Dinklo, provincial of the Dutch Dominicans, and the only member of his order from Generation X. One of Fr Dinklo’s earliest memories is of a confessional filled with the drums used by the youth choir. By the time he joined the order in the early 1990s, the Dutch Dominicans had discarded their traditional prayers and come to believe that the order would be transformed into an assembly of laymen. He had reason to think he would be the last priest in a province that had lasted for 500 years.

Then the province began to get vocations. The young Dutch Dominicans were eager to reconstitute the forms of life and prayer their elders had dismantled. “We are on the brink of far-reaching changes,” Fr Dinklo observed in an address last year. “In this situation tensions between generations may arise.” The younger men want to wear the habit and “re-discover a number of religious practices, rituals, forms of singing and prayer from the tradition which the older generation has set aside”. In order to avoid generational conflict, these young men are being established in a new house.  [Is this what has happened the Eastern Province of the Dominicans in these USA?  The London Oratory? I was talking with a priest friend last night and the topic of dying communities of women religious came up.  It was suggested that a group of young women should organize and then one by one join some order that is nearly extinct and take them over as inexorably as the rising tide.]

In a 2010 address, Archbishop Augustine DiNoia described the experiences of these young traditionalists. “My sense is that these twenty- and thirty-somethings have been radicalised by their experience … in a way that we were not.” After “God-knows-what kinds of personal and social experiences”, they have come to know “moral chaos, personally and socially, and they want no part of it”. A sense of narrow escape guides their vocations. “It is as if they had gone to the edge of an abyss and pulled back.”

DiNoia’s generation sought to unite the Church and the world, [Gaudium et spes, luctus et angor…] but the young priests believe the two are finally opposed. “It may be hard for us to comprehend, but these young people do not share the cultural optimism that many of us learned to take for granted in the post-conciliar period.” [This is a good point: false optimism.  I could be that, back in the halcyon 60’s there was an overly optimistic view of a) mankind (which made them lean towards anthropocentrism) and b) the world.  Of course the three eternal enemies of man are the world, the flesh and the Devil.  Have you heard much about these over the last 50 years or so?] They lament the “Church’s own internal secularisation”, particularly “the disenchantment of the liturgy”. This explains their enthusiasm for the 1962 missal. [By “disenchantment” he probably is referring to the way that nearly every sign that points to the transcendent were systematically and brutally stripped from our liturgical worship of God by those modernist immanentists… okay, tautology, I know.]

DiNoia is anxious for the priests of his generation. Despite their talk of being open to the future, “I am not certain that we … are entirely ready for the kind of radical rejection of the ambient culture on the one hand, and, on the other, the radical commitment to the Dominican-Catholic alternative way of life that we recognise in the young men.” [And that is not just in the Dominicans.  It is also found in the diocesan presbyterates, for sure.  There is a generational gap.  And it must be truly threatening to some of these older guys.  Many of them sense in the younger generation’s desire for tradition an implicit attack on their own persons, a criticism of their whole life’s work.  They were conditioned in those halcyon days of change and revolution to the point that they and their goals have forms a kind of mythic icon.  The sight of a biretta, a black chasuble, ad orientem triggers a violent flashback.]

Many young Catholics feel that they have been denied an inheritance that was rightly theirs. [“Say the magic woid, win a hunnad dahlahs.”] They have had to reassemble piecemeal something that should have been handed to them intact. [RIGHT!  And does that irritate me!  Think about how much money has been squandered because they, worse than the VANDALS ever did, rampaged through our churches trashing what the People of God paid for with their hard-earned offering. As the head of the TMSM I am constantly reduced to begging you all for money so that we can have the vestments necessary for the celebration of Holy Mass in the Roman Rites paradigmatic form: the Pontifical Solemn Mass. Think of the cost there was to tear out those altars.  Think now of the cost require to try to make wreckovated churches look like churches again.  WHAT A WASTE.  If that doesn’t make you angry, then you need a new… a new…. angry thing.] An English academic recently told me of his attempt to obtain a copy of the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, a reference book that went from impeccable authority to liber prohibitus at the time of the Council. He contacted a Belgian who helped declining religious houses dispose of their libraries. This Belgian found a Franciscan community that was willing to sell its set – but at the last moment took a different course. The monks decided to burn the books, “to prevent them getting into the hands of traditionalists”.  [When I was in seminary one bastard of a priest – vice-rector who left the priesthood after my second year – told us seminarians to haul all the old vestments to the dumpster… chalices, altar stones, etc.  They were duly taken to the dumpster… and not dumped.  But you get my drift.  But imagine burning something like the classic Dictionnaire for that reason.]



That’s enough.  You get the main point.

My Spidey Sense is tingling.

I sense that there is a big storm just over the horizon.  We had better clear the decks, reef the topsails, batten down the hatches and prepare to run before the wind.

¡Hagan lío!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Nathan says:

    As someone who has been in this battle for well nigh forty years, it is very heartening to know that there are fresh, inspired young troops beside us in the proverbial foxhole. Dealing with the temptation to weariness and the temptation to think that insufficient numbers have joined the cause gives a certain urgency to getting word out that the young are in the ranks and ready to engage.

    In Christ,

  2. Anneliese says:

    As a convert, I’m not sure I understand why some people dislike beautiful things and want to replace it with something ugly. I was baptized at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church in St. Louis. The building has beautiful stained glass windows but no statues are within the main sanctuary, not even an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which can be found in even some of the most liberal parishes in that diocese. The altar is a wooden table and the parish puts out tie-dyed banners during Lent. They never offer Adoration and people never kneel during consecration at their main Sunday Mass. A few blocks away, however, is a completely different story. The Cathedral Basilica is one of the most beautiful places where a person can sit in the presence of Christ. The liturgy is beautiful. During Advent and Lent, Latin and English are used during the Liturgy. There’s an organ that always used with or without the choir. And, there’s isn’t one Marty Haugen song in the hymnal. I think the Basilica is a prime example of how the liturgy should be in a post-VII world. Alas.

  3. lmgilbert says:

    “I was talking with a priest friend last night and the topic of dying communities of women religious came up. It was suggested that a group of young women should organize and then one by one join some order that is nearly extinct and take them over as inexorably as the rising tide.”

    As great an idea as this is, no doubt they would have to run an ideological and liturgical gauntlet to make it to vows, or even to be accepted as a postulant. True story: Several years ago the lay archivist for a rapidly aging and dying order told me that when a young woman expresses interest in the order these days she is told, “Now, my dear, you have to understand that when you enter here, you will be entering a place of death.”

    Talk about a self-inflicted vocations crisis!

  4. “The monks decided to burn the books, “to prevent them getting into the hands of traditionalists”.”

    Books are burning, and the only “catechesis” we see in Germany is made with stone saws and jack-hammers when they approach long unused altars.

    While I enjoy every article about restored dignity of US altars, chapels and churches, here are still attempts to extinguish worthy altars, or were they are protected by preservation orders to make them unusable. Even the first generation of post counciliar altars are under attack, because they are deemed to be to big and remind too much of graves of martyrs instead of the favored small cosy dining table.

  5. Clinton R. says:

    “Young Catholics feel they have been denied their inheritance.”

    While being in my early 40’s, perhaps I am not so young, but I do feel strongly of being denied my Catholic heritage.

    After a lifetime away, I returned to the Church via my parish’s RCIA program and was of course so humble and grateful to be in the Barque of St. Peter. I had little to no awareness of the Latin Mass, only from bits I remember from scenes in classic black and white movies. It was not until after receiving the Sacraments that I had a great desire to research the history of the Church, and upon doing so, I realized how much the Mass I was assisting at every Sunday had changed from centuries before.

    In my study of Church history, I was stunned to discover how much the Mass had been altered and now bore little resemblance to the Mass that had existed for centuries. Rather than gentle pruning, a chain saw had been taken to the liturgy. Of course, radically changing the way Catholics worship drastically affects what we believe. Lex orandi, lex credendi indeed.

    Thanks to the modernist movement in the Church popes such as Pius IX and Pope St. Pius X sought to put a stop to, we Catholics in the post Vatican II era have indeed become spiritually poorer than our forefathers. The promulagation of the Bugnini created Novus Ordo has opened the window to heterodox teachings, an endless array of liturgical novelties and out right blasphemies, and most sorrowfully, a tremendous loss of faith world wide.

    Our hope is always in Christ, and we thankfully can see small shoots of greenery through the scorched earth. Young men and women have come to embrace the timelessness of the Catholic Faith and her beautiful Mass of All Ages. My fervent prayer is for the form of the Mass that nourished the faith of centuries of saints may once again be the ordinary form of the Mass in the very near future. As Father Zuhlsdorf has often noted, we cannot effectively evangelize until we have a renewal in sacred liturgy. Save the Liturgy, Save the World. Countless souls have been brought to Christ because they have been attracted by the beauty of the TLM, the most glorious form of worship of God this side of Heaven. Despite the decades long work of robber barons, we have faith in the Lord that what He desires may be restored throughout the Church. +JMJ+

  6. MikeyinPHX says:

    My son, who turns 18 tomorrow, received the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion (both in the same service as is the custom in the Diocese of Phoenix) and was received into the Catholic Church in May (he grew up evangelical).

    As he was searching for a church, there were several that after attending “Mass” there he would come out and declare…”that church doesn’t seem very Catholic to me”… Growing up Protestant….he new the difference

    Many of his friends are also drawn to more traditional parishes (most NO but definitely Catholic and very reverent)…we haven’t seen an altar girl since we’ve moved to Phoenix etc.

    Young people can see through the shallow lib agenda…no doubt!!

  7. benedetta says:

    I question the nostalgia of some, now writ large, for a bygone era that insisted the Mass to be so entirely what whatever some want of it to the extent that whole generations of Catholic youth, if not for the vigorous interventions of a saintly pope, pretty well near recognized prayer and the Mass as useless or perhaps just a thing for people involved in church work professionally who worked for the Church. I think when we want to know just what it is that is being reiterated through this drip drip process of attacking the interest in traditionally based spirituality many of us consider that what seems to be prioritized as irreversible was completely dysfunctional.

  8. billy15 says:

    As someone in my late 20’s, this is exactly how I feel, Fr. Z. My patrimony was hidden from me for many years. Thank you so much for posting this.

    This might also be of interest to you, and some of your readers here. An interview with a Ruthenian Catholic priest, Fr. Thomas Loya, on worshipping ad orientem. In it, he exclaims:

    “You know what the hope is? Young people; they love this stuff because they weren’t told to hate it! My generation, they’re the ones that rebelled against [their traditions].”

    There’s a second part coming next week with another Byzantine Catholic perspective; this one from a Gen X’er of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Fr. Wroblicky. Keep an eye out for it, because there’s good stuff for readers here to check out.

  9. Mark says:

    Great article father. So how do those of us in our 20’s and 30’s find what was stolen from us if there’s no one in our area interested in helping us? There’s only so much reading and researching on the internet I can do before I start to feel very alone in all this. And talking to my parish priest doesn’t help, not because I think he’s antagonistic towards tradition necessarily, I just don’t get them impression that he understands where I’m coming from and so he can’t seem to help me. At some point I would really like to have a friend to go thru this all with.

  10. Dafyd says:

    Yep. It’s been the riches of Catholic patrimony that beckoned me to the Tiber’s shores. Even hints and images of it, like scenes from Beckett or the Baptism scene at the end of the Godfather, pt I (not the whackings, but the actual Baptism) whispered something rich, something vibrant, something heavenly.

    Ah, but then one goes to a denuded parish with vestments that look like napkins with a hole in them, an altar party that gallops down the central aisle, music rushed and over-instructed, and a guitarist who thinks he is the next James Taylor.

    The soul hungers for “Pange lingua gloriosi” and to sound the loud triumphant lay, but must settle for “Peace is flowing like a river.” The mind yearns for a Fulton Sheen, but must settle for yet another iteration of “y’all play nice” riddled with jokes and anecdotes. The body aches to kneel and be still, but must settle for holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.

    I realize that may sound over the top, but for a young thirty-something Latin / History major, I daily feel robbed. We’re stuck eating mud pies in a slum when there could be a holiday at the sea, to steal shamelessly from C. S. Lewis.

  11. rdb says:

    “In France, in 20 years’ time a majority of priests will celebrate exclusively the traditional Latin mass.”

    That will happen in certain places in the US. The Archdiocese of Kansas City in KS had 100 active priests 20 years ago, now there are less than 70. With the current vision of Priesthood presented by the Archdiocese, it is not unrealistic to imagine that in 20 more years that number will probably be in the mid 40s. With the FSSP apostolate growing and with the possibility of a reunion with the SSPX (they have a chapel and community in the archdiocese), there could be almost as many traditional priests within the archdiocesan boundaries as diocesan priests.

  12. JustaSinner says:

    Class action lawsuit, anyone?

  13. yatzer says:

    I most likely will not live to see the results of this, but go young traditional Catholics!!!

  14. slainewe says:

     “[Some years ago a friend of mine opined that he thought that, over time, the Novus Ordo would pretty much die out and that the Traditional Form would be again the dominant form.  I pooh-poohed that at the time.  Now I am not so sure.]”

    I think your friend is right. Is not the New Mass really the Modern Mass; that is, the Mass that conforms to the sensibilities of Modernists? As the heresy of Modernism dies out, will not this Mass become unrecognizable to priests and people?

    A previous thread referenced the infamous introduction of New Coke and suppression of traditional Coke by the Coca Cola company in 1985. (Public outrage forced executives to bring back “Classic Coke” after just 77 days.)

    But the end of the story is that after selling both Cokes side by side in the USA, New Coke was discontinued in 2002 and, in 2009, the word “Classic” was removed from traditional Coke labeling. The last traces of New Coke were eliminated just 24 years after its inception.

    I think the “Ordinary” Mass will likewise be discontinued and the word “Extraordinary” removed from the Mass of the Ages. But who knows how long it will take? (Too bad that the “children of light” are not as efficient as the “children of the world” in fixing massive blunders.)

  15. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    “Many of them sense in the younger generation’s desire for tradition an implicit attack on their own persons, a criticism of their whole life’s work.”


  16. ResMiranda says:

    Ah, yes, I see now that I had completely misunderstood Pope Francis’ comments to the Liturgists. You are right, of course, as is Mr. Schmitz. Over and over again I have found that the thirty-somethings and all the way down to the teenagers have been so under-Catholocized (cause that’s a real term) that they don’t have the words to ask for what they are trying so desperately to communicate that they need. Now I just need to figure out the best way to make lio…

  17. PTK_70 says:

    What a cogent and apt phrase: “the disenchantment of the liturgy”! When Archbishop DiNoia speaks, IMHO anyway, it’s time to listen.

    A narrative coming out of Vatican II was that the Church had opened her doors to the world. Pope St. John Paul II flipped the script and enjoined the world to “open wide the doors to Christ”. Those who are Gen X and younger – and remain in the Church – realize that the world has not really done the latter. So what now? Circle the wagons and shut ourselves off from the world? This would seem to be opposed to both the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the pontificate of St JPII. I suppose the answer is in part “circle the wagons” and in part “engage”.

  18. Andrew1054 says:

    I remember when I showed a video clip of the old Mass to my high school students when we talked about the changes made to the Mass after Vatican 2. Immediately after the clip one Grade 11 student struggled for the words and then said the older Mass seemed more “respectful”.

    Out of the mouths of babes.

  19. Eric says:

    I am in my 40s, cradle Catholic, so I grew up with nothing but the Novus Ordo. I always thought myself as a very knowledgeable Catholic. The Mass was the Mass as it has always been. I just thought the “Latin Mass” was just in Latin, no real difference, and dismissed it. My first Latin Mass in my 40s was disorienting but I somehow thought or knew deep down it was “mine.” Any Catholic who really digs into the history of this all cannot but get angry. “Many young Catholics feel that they have been denied an inheritance that was rightly theirs.” I guess I am not young anymore, but that sure hits the nail on the head.

  20. Fr. Hamilton says:

    I’m glad you made the comment about your spidey sense and a big storm on the horizon. I had the same sense when I read this article and when I consider all the other data I have experienced that points to youthfulness and a future in the Traditional Latin Mass. It would seem the traditional movement, kept on the periphery for so long, is now protected in law, is terribly frightening to libs, and is solving mutual enrichment on its own. I sense many others ready to move in a traditional direction and it will see the TLM grow while the Novus Ordo shrinks.

  21. robtbrown says:

    1. Abp Di Noia’s reputation as a scholar is well earned and justified. No doubt true that his generation might have been concerned with the unity of the Church. The motto of the Dominicans, however, is Veritas not Unitas.

    2. I have to wonder whether Abp DiNoia’s reference to the 20 and 30 somethings being radicalized doesn’t indicate that he has confused political compromise with the theological golden mean that exists between two contraries. After all, the Dominicans abandoned their rite that goes back hundreds of years (with a few post Summorum Pontificum exceptions). Wasn’t such an abandonment radical?

    3. I was once told of a religious priest who after the Council stood in front of the fireplace at the House of studies and enthusiastically tossed one Liber Usualis after another in the flames.

  22. GM Thobe says:

    Undermining tradition certainly puts one in an awkward position when trying to educate the next generation.

    Here’s hoping that the storm on the horizon has the pleasant secondary effects of bringing rediscovered transcendence to classical music, sculpture, architecture, and other fine arts, which are in rather desperate circumstances at present as well.

  23. asburyfox says:

    I have a hard time seeing the Novus Ordo Mass die out simply due to the bishops. It will die out if diocene priests had complete control to celebrate TLMs and replace Novus Ordo Masses with TLMs. Alas, most, if not all, the bishops do not get it that priests can celebrate the old rite without their permission. Even conservative bishops have policies regulating the use of the TLM. Not only do bishops regulate a priest’s use of the TLM, they would forbid replacing Novus Ordo Masses. Add to this that even in good dioceses, the setting up of diocene priest based TLM personal parishes, as allowed in Summorum Ponticum, is non existent. Never mind negotiating something like 5%-10% of all parishes becoming TLM only, not even one TLM only parish can even be established in dioceses. Parishes that are non FSSP and staffed by the diocene priests.

  24. Pingback: FRIDAY CATHOLICA EDITION | Big Pulpit

  25. Grant M says:

    3. I was once told of a religious priest who after the Council stood in front of the fireplace at the House of studies and enthusiastically tossed one Liber Usualis after another in the flames.

    1965 tosses Liber Usualis on the fire…
    2017 downloads PDF of Liber Usualis to tablet…
    Heh..heh.. 1965 didn’t anticipate internet and mobile devices…

  26. AHCatholic says:

    I shudder to think what that “big storm” might look like. It seems like it’s been nothing but big storms for the past four plus years.

  27. HealingRose says:

    Being one of the “young” who feels cheated, I am starving for weekly spiritual nourishment at a Mass, but I only receive it by attending TLM. If I don’t periodically attend TLM, I start to become depressed and struggle in my daily life.

    The other thing I struggle with is trying to find a priest who doesn’t want to use Confession as an advice box. Please, I just want to confess and keep it simple. I can make an appointment if I need more than 2-3 minutes. It’s not unusual to see some people in Confession/counseling for ten minutes or more. I prefer Mass AND Confession in the traditional way.

  28. Peter in Canberra says:

    I am not young anymore (50+) but I certainly feel I have been robbed of my patrimony. 12 years of Catholic school in Australia in hindsight a disappointment except for some heroic nuns and one lay teacher in primary school. My sons now receive even less than that.
    Pray for the Church in Australia – it has huge education apparatus that is well intentioned and probably secular humanist but is staffed by teachers who are either poorly formed or not formed at all in the faith.

  29. rtjl says:

    “Young Catholics feel they have been denied their inheritance.”

    I am no longer young but I remember feeling this way when I first became aware of more traditionally oriented Catholicism. In my case, that came about through the discovery of traditional sacred music – Gregorian Chant and Polyphony.

    The Liturgy of the Hours had long been the core of my personal prayer life. I had long known that the psalms were meant to be sung but had no idea how to do that. There were simply no resources available in English to do that and since I only knew English, I had no opportunity to learn to sing the psalms.

    Then the Mundelein Psalter was published in 2007. This Psalter contained all of the official texts of Morning and Evening Prayer and provided simple adapted psalm tones that could be used to chant the texts in English. Suddenly the door was opened to enable me to learn to sing the Liturgy of the Hours in English. But that wasn’t the only door that was opened. The door to liturgical chant was opened in general. After learning to chant the office in English, I went on to learn about authentic Gregorian psalm tones, Latin Gregorian psalmody, Antiphonales, Mass Propers, etc. The whole world of traditional sacred music was opened up to me and I was suddenly in a position to understand what Sacrosanctum Concilium meant when it said that “the musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. ”

    At first I was angry, oh so angry. “What was that generation thinking when they effectively trashed all this beautiful music overnight? How dare they rob me of this incredible treasure? I had a right to receive this.”

    I am no longer so very angry. I have gone on to begin a small recovery of some of the Church’s sacred tradition on my own and with friends. I meet regularly to pray the Liturgy of the Hours with friends. Mostly we sing vernacular liturgical chant using resources we’ve collected from where we can. But we also make a point of praying and singing in Latin when we can. After long years of patient and solitary work, we have even begun to find acceptance in parishes and have been invited to contribute to the liturgical life of those parishes – and not begrudgingly. These are small gains to be sure but none the less very real.

    One of the beauties and geniuses of the Church’s sacred music tradition is that it is enormously practical in this sense. It has produced truly aesthetic music that spans the entire range of musical abilities. Chant doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful, but it can be. There are pieces of sacred music that can be sung well and beautifully by people with even the most basic skills and there are pieces that require real and advanced expertise. And over the long centuries the Church has learned how to blend these pieces together in a way that allows each person to participate in their own way according to their own skill level. What a loss the loss of this tradition has truly been.

    I am also not so very angry because I have learned that “tradition” and “reform” do not need to be antithetical. They have been up until now but they do not need to be. In order to get to the point where they are not antithetical, however, it is absolutely necessary to reconnect what is happening in main stream parish life to tradition so that the process of organic development can begin again.

    Fortunately we are beginning to see that happening. Or at least we were beginning to see that happening. The resurgence of “progressive liberal” liturgy under Francis is troubling. Still, even in my oh so progressive diocese, a re-connection to tradition is under way.

  30. Articles like this always remind me of a line from Fr. James Schall: “What we need is a generation of students angered at the fact that they have been deprived of their intellectual and spiritual heritage.”

  31. Michael_Haz says:

    I’m in my 60s, a cradle Catholic, and remember the Latin Mass from childhood. The NO seemed soooo light – and the various doodads it introduced were so disheartening that I fell away from the Church for a time. It seemed so…..Protestant. Clown Mass? We had that. Polka Mass? Yep. Folk singer Mass? Uh huh. Ballerinas dancing through the church bringing hosts to the altar? Sure thing. The band and chorus front and center, making the floor show more important than the Mass itself? Say no more.

    I felt robbed. The Mass had become, for me, empty. The beauty and permanence of the liturgy had been replaced by fad-of-the-day stuff.

    I found and joined an ICKSP parish eight years ago. It had been newly formed, and the few church-goers in the pews were all elderly, hold-overs from the pre-NO era.

    Flash forward to today. The parish is vibrant and growing. The pews are full, the line at the confessional is long. Restoration of the building is underway. And the greatest growth, by far in parish membership is people from their middle teens to their late forties. Ask them why the joined and the reasons all boil down to one thing: traditional liturgy.

    Deo gratias,

  32. PA mom says:

    “These (Dominican) young men are being established in a new house.”

    Herein lies a big part of solution, in my opinion.

    Kudos to the older Dominicans, who may disagree but are assisting the younger men in their worthy pursuit!

    I think that the religious orders can have an influence on the Church beyond their numbers. They can support each other across diocesan borders. In terms of history and geography, they have the bigger picture.

    And how many diocese have beautiful empty or nearly empty monasteries and convents to put them in? Most, I would guess?

  33. albizzi says:

    One must be crazy in burning the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique so that “it will not fall in trads hands “(!) since an original edition is worth at least $1000 on Abebooks. All the more so since Abebooks (thanks God!) made available many EBook versions (.pdf format) of the 1868 and later edition at the ludicrous price of € 8,64 /ea
    These poor franciscan monks are already defeated in their anti-trad crusade: They will end in the Church history’s trash anyways sooner than later.
    Seeing the many offers in E-version I guess the trad customers should be a great number.

  34. Austin says:

    Orthodox young people taking over the dying religious orders is highly desirable.

    Few people realize how many of these disappearing groups are sitting on millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars in realised and unrealised assets. At present, these assets are being managed and invested, some of them in leftish ‘impact’ funds, and the revenue supporting liberal and secular causes as well as the dwindling religious.

    A guerrilla insurgency to gain control of these assets and put them to work for the traditional faith would be powerful. And the right thing to do. After all, that’s what the money was given for in the first place.

    Overcoming the current management would not be an easy path, however. They have the fanaticism that comes when one sees extinction looming.

  35. lmgilbert says:

    Father, this post echoes a theme that I have been harping on for a few years myself, that the young want authenticity, that they do not want to join an order that is in a perpetual identity crisis over the hemline, the charism of the order, whether to veil or not, and who have a labyrinth at the mother house. They would much rather align themselves with a way of life and an order that has been producing saints for centuries. And so the traditional orders are flourishing

    HOWEVER, that being said, there is reason to wonder whether these young people will have to relive for themselves the liturgical renewal of the thirties, forties and fifties. For example, I can think of an hitherto very traditional convent where the nuns have been singing the chant in Latin for at least ten years and having the TLM as well. They are now moving the chant into English, and as my daughter said-searching for an analogy- it is as if the psalms were in black and white before, but now they are in technicolor. They are also glad -and relieved-to be once more on the same page as the rest of the Church in their liturgical calendar. Moreover, she said that having the same readings every time a Confessor is celebrated was causing her to zone out.

    Also, I want to register a concern that those who are endeavoring to recover their patrimony do so without rendering themselves ridiculous. For myself, I thought it hilarious to come out of Mass one cold and rainy day to find a young priest on the porch wearing a saturno, a clerical hat devised ( I assume) for the clerics of very sunny climes such as Italy. Maybe I am wrong, but it struck me as ridiculous anyway. And I am sympathetic, but what of those who will therefore think the whole recovery of tradition ridiculous?

    Then there is the recovery of and focus on liturgical minutiae. If all this were happening in concert with an intense program of preaching and pastoral initiatives directed to the sea of unwashed unbelievers around us, that would be one thing, but to me at least it seems very in-house, inbred and self-referential. Of course we need to recover our patrimony, but a very substantial part of that patrimony is urgent concern for the massa damnata around us. That I do not see.

  36. Fr AJ says:

    My take on the statement of Pope Francis is that the Reform of the Reform and Traditionalist movements are making such progress that he and his ghostwriter felt the urgent need to tamp down on them.

  37. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    My parish family looks as a village should: a wide range of ages and conditions of man. There is a growing contingent of 20-somethings, among whom some are converts from “nothing”, some former atheists, some former Anglicans, and a few cradle Catholics. The number in the parish who are “nostalgic” for the “good old days” is tiny, not because there is a small number of old people, but because everyone is interested in sharing the same faith, the same worship of God as something immediately relevant, but timelessly valuable.

  38. John_by_any_other_name says:

    I became fascinated by the history of “Dictionnaire de théologie catholique”; it appears it is online, mostly complete due to being in the public domain but also totally in French (the material is apparently digital images and not plain text which could be translated online). One would have to feed it through some OCR and then translate, I suppose…and the only French I know is to declare that I speak only a little of it.

    Can anyone point to an English version of this? Or, is this similar to the Catholic Encyclopedia as found at a site like I’m curious what is in this “Dictionnaire” that appears to make it the bane of liberals.

  39. Windswept House says:

    @Marcus der mit dem C. There is a battle going on in a small, rural community in Minnesota to preserve its church. This parish is part of a diocese that is close to the uber hip Benedictine’s in Collegeville, MN, which has a powerful influence in the area. Their Bauhaus influenced abbey church is representative of the modernism you referenced. The bishop (and a complicit pastor) want a cozy new church, and he is willing to ram a new structure down the throats of his parishioners. ( It has divided the parish and it will not only destroy a church that can be restored but will change the culture of the town.

  40. Dominicanes says:

    robtbrown, the Dominican Rite (or technically “usage”) is not just the Mass but the Divine Office, rubrics, processionals, calendar etc. By 1969 there was little of the Dominican rite left thanks to St. Pius X. Read Boniwell’s History of the Dominican Rite for this. Friars were more mobile and more in parishes unlike the past and people would contact the pastor or chancery to complain that the visiting Dominican was not saying the Mass correctly. The Dominican rite Mass is actually quite similar to the Ordinary form. In areas that had Dominican priories, convents and monasteries it was known that if you want to go to a quick Mass go to the Dominicans as it was so short!

    That being said, letting go of the Dominican rite left a big, black hole that has yet to be filled. Many Dominicans use their own Graduale, Antiphonarium, etc. and many particular rubrics have been retained but what do you retain and what do you drop? Some rubrics were not really “Dominican” but 17th and 18th century accretions.

    The story of the priest at the House of Studies burning copies the Liber strikes me as odd because Dominicans don’t use the Liber anyway. Many of the texts and chants are different.

  41. hwriggles4 says:

    Some of you reading this remember high school youth ministry in the 1980s. Yes, I was there too, early to mid 1980s. My main motivation was for social reasons (i.e. meet girls), and while we did have social time (i.e. dances, car wash, meal time, movies, etc.) I remember too much “pop psychology” of just having small group discussion talking about feelings, love, relationships, etc.

    Although we did bring up issues like suicide, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, sexuality, dating, etc., there was very very little catechesis (welcome to 1984) and I am sure some of the kids had parents who didn’t care whether or not they attended Mass (I was an altar boy all through high school, attended Mass weekly, and a couple girls thought that was a cool thing – the girl I took to my high school prom I met through youth group).

    While I did make friends there (and it was a good place to have friends outside of school, and those who weren’t afraid to get out of their clique), I have felt since my reversion story (which began circa 1993) that my generation was duped on catechetical formation. However, I was a Boy Scout, and I have said like a broken record that I learned much more about the Sacraments through the Ad Altars Dei program than I did in three years of elementary and junior high CCD.

    For what it is worth, my younger brother and I both have seen that many of the kids that participated in youth group during that timeframe (My little brother graduated high school in 1990) “graduated” from the Church not long after graduating high school. Many of those kids never returned. Hence, the denomination “raised Catholic “.

  42. KT127 says:

    Yes. This is how so many of my generation feel. Even the now non-practicing Catholics. This anger is our cross.

    My parents were young adults when these changes started. They never left but there was always a feeling of sadness and disgust that the tried to hide. My father told me once the old Mass was the most beautiful thing in the world. There was always a disconnect between my devout Catholic home and Mass. But my parents were increasingly confused about what was necessary, they were getting up in years and getting tired. By the time I came along (their last), there were only echos of a true Catholic education. I long accused my parents of expecting me to learn by osmosis and holding me to standards they never taught. It took me years to push pass my anger and understand what happened.

    It was my daughter who brought me back. It is my daughter who gives me the strength and courage to fight for our heritage. I pray to Christ and all the saints I can that she will not reject or take for granted our Church. My generation will not win this fight, but may we arm our children well.

  43. Adaquano says:

    I grew up in the Diocese of Arlington VA, so far from some of the horror stories that you hear from the 70’s-90″s. The first parish my family was a part of was staffed by the TOR’s, with some really solid priests and a few “safe” priests, but usually nothing too wonky in the liturgy. This was compared to what was supposed our home parish, which was church in the square and Jesus nowhere to be found.

    My second parish was founded in 2000, with a then young pastor who was emphatic about building a church quickly and that it should be beautiful. This was my first exposure to serious Catholicism.

    Once I left the more cozy confines of Arlington, I saw how far Catholicism had strayed. Fast forward to now I see many people my age either embracing the very secularized religion of the age or finding our great traditions. I’ve only attended the TLM 3 times, one of which this past week. I had gone to confession at the new FSSP parish, and stuck around for Mass. The ability to be there with Christ without distraction after cleansing my souls was beautiful. Even at my very middle of the road parish, where our pastor mostly stays out of the way I usually feel distracted. The difference being that at the TLM it is all about Christ, the community fades away from sight and my gaze is on our Lord.

    Many people my age are victims of the sexual revolution and seem to be finding the cure in sacred tradition

  44. Knight from 13904 says:

    I am 57, cradle Catholic that attended Catholic schools up through high school, drifted from the faith due to several reasons (all incredibly stupid). Felt an emptiness and need for brotherhood right around age 50. Had gone to a few protestant churches during my searching phase. My dad was a Knight of Columbus so when I came back to the church in 2012 the first thing I did was join the knights. I thought I knew Catholicism but God used the knights degree program to show me I knew nothing of significance at all. I was shocked and embarrassed and started reading everything I could. The thing that changed my life was when I saw the Mass as a sacrifice. From Abraham & Isaac, to Moses and the Passover to prophet Malachi to the Last Supper all the way to wedding feast of the Lamb in Revelation.
    My first reaction was that I was so pissed. How could something so vital and fundamental be hidden from me. I then came to realize that the first attack by Satan on the Mass & priesthood started at the Last Supper (Luke 22:31). This attack on the Church has been ongoing and involves forces outside and inside the Church. Not pissed anymore just committed to spiritual warfare. Weapons are TLM at St. Stanislaus Parish in Nashua NH and the rosary.

  45. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    “We had better clear the decks, reef the topsails, batten down the hatches and prepare to run before the wind.”

    And Killick says, “Which the Captain has double-lashed the stern chasers but will loose them to fire on the enemy approaching!”

    [Which it’s always a pleasure to hear from Preserved Killick.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  46. q7swallows says:

    Enemies of the EF must get phosphoric burns from success stories like the recent one about Fr. Illo’s thriving parish in San Francisco:

    As for the young being attracted to the EF, Byzantine Liturgies, et al (as I was after spending the first 40 years of my life in nothing but liturgical desert), that’s only natural. The hunger and love for well-ordered Beauty is inscribed in the human heart. So, it WILL eventually overcome because it’s a . . . no-brainer.

    “There never failed the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, before the people.”
    [Exodus 13:22]
    The same God goes ahead of us through every desert — including the liturgical ones.

  47. donato2 says:

    Measured in numbers, e.g., numbers of TLMs available within any given diocese, Sommorum Pontificum 10 years out has been only a moderate success. But measured in terms of impact on the Church, it has been a huge success. I think that it can be said with confidence that the TLM is now firmly re-ensconced in the life of the Church. I am very gratified that this is so.

  48. tho says:

    Father, that post brightened my day. So many of my friends and relatives have left the church, because of its childish liberalism. There is a maturity to the TLM that I feel any thinking person would appreciate. I lived to see the Berlin Wall come down maybe I will make it to see the TLM practiced as a matter of course, not as some exotic rite that the Bishop condescends to let us have.

  49. RichR says:

    My boys love serving at the new Latin Mass at our parish. They are quickly seeing the differences between the two forms and how meager the “celebration” of the OF is compared to the EF. They are very talented pianists, and are now asking me about pipe organ lessons. On my part, I’m helping with the altar boys and continuing with our ten-man Schola Cantorum. Our priest has always worn maniple and fiddleback, and the holy water is blessed via Rituale Romanum….this is in a mainstream parish. We have Perpetual Adoration and Confessions multiple times a week (behind the screen only). The youth group has a great leader and the religious ed is packed. And this priest is in his late 50’s. The younger priests are ready to take the baton and recover a hard-identity Catholicism here in Texas.

  50. James in Perth says:

    @Adaquano, my experience in the Diocese of Arlington from 1999-2001 was very similar. I attended the Cathedral parish and the liturgies, the music, and the homilies were all beautiful. I felt very fortunate but it was generally consistent with what I had experienced before and after. I guess I am one of the lucky ones!

  51. robtbrown says:


    I know the OP Divine Office is different. I have the Breviaries among my books, also one that just has the feasts.

    Generally, “rite” refers to what’s in the missal

    BTW, some years ago I served the SOP mass of Fr Augustine Thompson OP at the Angelicum when he was visiting.

  52. Maineman1 says:

    The modernists will never concede that their initiatives have destroyed Faith across the globe; they will never admit their wrong-doing. And, naturally, they would never consent to reversing their policies.

    This is ultimately a matter that will be settled by Spiritual Darwinism.

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  54. Wandile says:

    I’m part of the youth today and I certainly wish for a return to the traditions of old. Coming from South Africa, former mission territories tend to be influenced by lax liturgy but nothing major. Abuses from time to time but never out of a pernicious modernisms but simply because the first generation local priests do what the European missionaries taught them.

    In the young, tradition will grow and devotions are growing and desire for other traditional practices grow. In time the youth will take over and restore the church but not without a final backlash from the modernists firsts. This might result in a schism.

    I pray to God the restoration comes quickly.

    Pray for me for I am discerning a vocation to the priesthood. If I do follow through on this then I desire to know both forms of the Roman rite! How can one claim to be a Roman priest but not know the full Roman rite? That is my logic

    God bless you all and thank you for your work Father Z

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