A priest on what saying the Traditional Mass meant to him

priestI received this note from a priest:

Just a quick note to say you and the others attending the pilgrimage/conference were in my prayers this morning, joined at the sacred altar (thankfully in the Extraordinary Form on both sides of the ocean!). What an important anniversary this is for the whole Church — for those of us who know and recognize it, for those still to learn, and even for those who presently resist the value of tradition.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

This anniversary is also a personal one for me since ten years ago today was my first time to offer the Extraordinary Form, a Solemn High Mass which I was able to pull off thanks to the dedication and the assistance of kind Fraternity priests who helped me prepare, served as deacon and subdeacon, and provided the infrastructure (MC, altar boys, schola). Knowing it was my first time to offer that Mass, some lay faithful asked my reactions and reflections afterwards. I could honestly say then and now that I have never felt more like a priest than at that Mass. The need for the priest, the role of a priest, what a priest does is not more clear than in the Extraordinary Form, and particularly in a Solemn High Mass. It was a grace that has impacted me ever since and has led to my further familiarity with the EF and with its theology and the theology of the priesthood. It has come with some challenge — as I predicted it would — not just from folks who are adversaries but also an internal challenge because I find myself more interested in a tradition I have been denied. [Yes.  We’ve all been robbed of our patrimony.] Thus, offering the Novus Ordo most days is not what I would prefer. But brick by brick… [And I suspect that learning to say the traditional form now informs your Novus Ordo ars celebrandi.]

Though I have seen much of the world (in my NAC days), I am not much of a traveler, but perhaps some day I will make it a point to participate in the pilgrimage/conference.

Thanks for all you do to raise awareness of the EF and promote it far and wide!

And thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his courage and his vision in giving the Church Summorum Pontificum!  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

Thanks, Father, for the great note.  I believe you are not alone in your experience.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. He isn’t. I began priestly discernment w/ the F.S.S.P. in Nebraska. Although my calling was ultimately expressed in my home diocese, the E.F. remains a enduring, strong influence in my priestly life.

  2. RichR says:

    I think, as a layman,the EF appeals to me because the priest has a strong fatherly role in it. Just like in society, the Church is in need of rediscovering manly, fatherly virtue.

    It’s not wrong to want to be the visible leader of those whose spiritual well-being you are responsible for. My wife and I make sure this is evident in our family home. I sit at the head of the table, I lead family prayer, I have final decision if there is a stalemate in family issues. This is because I will be held to a higher standard on judgement day. My kids see this, know this, and see how fatherhood is an awesome responsibility that is only possible by grace. They visibly see Dad, and that fosters respect and sets standards for their own development into responsible family leaders. As a leader, when all eyes are on you, you tend to “man-up” and make those hard decisions each day. You may not enjoy it, but it gives you a sense of order and propriety.

    Priests are no different. They want to provide for their spiritual children. They want to feed their children . And when priestly roles are co-opted by their children, it emasculates priests. The EF is very manly.

  3. PTK_70 says:

    Amen. And all those who think that the beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI didn’t “do enough” need to get off their high horses and pick up a trowel……

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  5. JesuitEducated says:

    To be frank Father, priests like the FSSP and what they espouse would drive me away from.the Catholic Church. The stories I hear about the Church in Nebraska also give me pause for concern. Why is it Bishops like yours and priest like Father Z feel that they represent the views of all American Catholics, and that only their views are correct?

  6. JesuitEducated says:

    Yes, these manly men who sexually abused children and hid behind the cloth? As men we may not like it, but the days of patriarchy are long behind us.

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