FISHWRAP: Piteous tirade about the people who attend the Traditional Latin Mass

Happily, I had not sullied my eyes with a glimpse of the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) for some time.  Then I received a message from a priest friend asking if I had seen the opinion piece there about the Traditional Latin Mass and the people who attend it.

So, with a heavy sigh, I went to the Fishwrap – eye wash at hand.

There you will find a jeremiad not so much against the TLM, as it turns out, but against the people who prefer the TLM and frequent it.

The great advantages to this opinion piece, written by a woman who seems to have a lot of issues, is that it is so long that very few people will bother reading it.  Another advantage is that she doesn’t bury the lead: she’s really angry.

To be fair, I check on her a little bit with some searches and found much to commend!  She is clearly smart and, for the most part, has some good positions on a number of important issues.  I was happy to see her positive comments about women taking an NRA course to become familiar with handguns.  HERE  She also likes baseball, which is never bad.  She needs some course corrections in matters Catholic, however.

Throughout, the writer applies a combination psychic powers of mind reading with  gnostic certainty about the thoughts and the hearts of those she met.  That’s the most off-putting part of her sad piece, it seems to me: her swift willingness to judge others by their appearance, her snap judgments of people after momentary encounters.

For the umpteenth time in reading one of these manic anti-Tradition screeds, I am forced to ask myself about where on earth was this chapel or church or parish she attended.  It doesn’t sound like any place that I have experienced.  It could be – and this is merely a guess – that she stumbled into some extremist renegade place and thinks now that it is representative of all places where the Traditional Mass is offered.   Maybe there is such a wretched place. Maybe there isn’t.

It could be that most of the problems at that chapel she brought in with herself.

There are a lot of nutty things in the piece, her fixation on veils chief among them.  Sadly, she seems to share with many people who prefer the chapel veil a common problem, which is a lack of biblical grounding for the use of the veil by women.  There is, indeed, a biblical foundation for the chapel veil.  It is not an easy aspect of Pauline teaching, however, and it needs careful explication.  She, however, raves about oppression of women, blah blah blah.  That’s not what the veil is really about.  Depending on the community, there could be some unhealthy notions about and the use of the chapel veil, but the writer in this case is nearly unhinged.

She also picks on how some women dressed.  It is interesting that some of the harshest comments I have heard from women – some very smart women, too – concerns their perception that TLM communities in some measure require women to dress like “Catholic Amish”.  I see that tendency here and there and I ponder it occasionally.  Modesty doesn’t require dressing like the Amish.  Poverty might.  Personal preference might genuinely lead there.  But there is nothing inherent in desiring traditional liturgical worship that requires women to dress as if they are going straight back to the milking-stool or the sewing bee.  Anyway, this was part of the writer’s tirade and it has come up before in my conversations with very smart women.  For some, this is a neuralgic spot, and it needs some reflection.

With that in mind, if you do head over to Fishwrap – with eye wash close at hand – to read any or all (good luck with that) of her piece, you might use it as a negatively charged point in your own examination of conscience.  It won’t hurt people who frequent Traditional Latin Mass chapels and churches to examine their own attitudes and actions.  Correction is needed if they are in any way guilty of over-emphasizing some aspect of their practices.  They must constantly strive to excel in being charitably solicitous toward new-comers.  Charity is, of course, the sacrificial love that considers first the true good of another, rather than imposition of one’s own preferences under the guise of concern.

In any event, the woman writer at Fishwrap had a spittle-flecked nutty in public.   I don’t want to fall into the trap that she fell into in her snap judgments of others, but she seems to be in need of prayers.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. scoot says:

    I am involved in the young adult ministry at a very charismatic new-fangled Catholic Church. I have attended one TLM and I loved it. But when I told my friends at new-fangled Catholic Church about it, I learned that there is this horrible misconception that attendees are snobs who disdain all other forms of worship (not me, but prior experiences my friends have had with TLM). Maybe that is actually how their experiences went. It’s hard to explain why I prefer the one without the subtext highlighting what isn’t in the other liturgy.

    In any case, my present policy is that where there is a valid consecration there is a valid Mass, so it’s not good to make anyone feel bad about going to a valid service. There’s plenty of legitimate reasons to go to TLM without disdaining the vernacular.

  2. Mike says:

    It appears that a Rorate correspondent was there who knew the author. According to the correspondent’s report, the author was refused Communion in the hand, a virtually certain trigger to insecure sensibilities.

  3. teomatteo says:

    When I have encountered women (catholic) that have an attitude about other women who veil while attending Holy Mass I simply wonder if they would look askance at muslim women who wear their hajib out in public (not just in their mosque) or encourage their daughters to participate in the ‘hajib day’ at schools.

  4. In re “Catholic Amish”: what does that mean, exactly? I guess that depends on where you are on the feminist spectrum. Clothing is intimately connected with the idea of “liberating” women. I will go along with that to the extent I am thankful to be liberated from having to wear hoop skirts and whalebone corsets; but some people seem to think “liberation” means being freed from the constraints of modesty. There are women who take it as far as wanting to walk around topless in public.

    And speaking of which, has anybody else noticed how many of the things we women are told we need to be free — abortion, contraceptives, scanty dress, indulging in behaviors that break down our natural feminine inhibitions — are really designed to give predatory males freer access, without consequences, to women’s bodies?

  5. Suudy says:

    We have a decent contingent of women who wear veils at our parish for the NO. It’s not even an issue. So I’m not sure where this disdain for those who wear veils is generated.

    However, we have a young priest who loves to use incense, frequently uses Latin at times (especially during the Eucharistic prayers), and it HAS caused some spittle-flecked nutties. Indeed, the Catholic school attached to the parish wants to incorporate some Latin into the students’ weekday mass, and this was met with fierce opposition–not by the parents!–but by the regular weekday mass attendees. Fortunately, both our priests have persevered and allowed the students to use the Latin they are learning in school during mass.

  6. donato2 says:

    I love the traditional Latin Mass and, to be honest, am alienated from the New Mass because I associate it with everything that has culminated in the Amazonian Synod. Even one like me finds the TLM crowd a slight bit odd in various ways. But for me it’s part of the appeal. The devout will always seem odd to the world (cf. Romans 12:2). That’s just the way it is. My new Mass parish is full of people who are totally normal. They fit right in. Like the world at large, they have no problem with legalized abortion or gay marriage and will soon will be honoring requests of men to be addressed as women and vice versa.

  7. roma247 says:

    The sad truth is that many, many have experienced going to Latin Mass chapels that correspond to her description. That was my own first experience. That chapel was truly toxic, and it breaks my heart to this day. Thankfully I fell so deeply in love with the Mass itself that I simply sought out a different church that offered the Latin Mass.

    Not everyone is blessed to have more than one Latin Mass within reasonable driving distance, and moreover, many are turned away from the graces that abound in our Traditional worship by the lack of charity of those who attend. As you say, Father, all of us in Traditional Latin Mass communities should examine ourselves and see what we can do to change this.

    If we truly abound with the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love, the natural consequence of these will be JOY, even in the worst of circumstances. If we haven’t got Joy, then something’s not right, and we need to find what it is. We should all go around looking like that courageous fellow Alexander Tschugguel…did you see how he smiled?

  8. mysticalrose says:

    Progessive Catholics are the most judgemental group of Catholics I have ever come across. In liberal parishes you receive death stares for merely kneeling, are refused communion on the tongue, and are given dirty looks for wearing something other than gym clothes to Mass, but it’s the traditionalists who have the problems! I’m so over this narrative.

    The subtext of this purportedly “feminist” take is that no woman would choose a veil or modest dress for herself, so it must have been forced upon her. Way to totally eliminate female agency for the author’s ideology!

  9. BrionyB says:

    Interesting that you mention “mind reading”, Father. I’ve noticed a similar thing in other criticisms of traditional parishes and the TLM – there was one recently where a family felt they were receiving “disapproving looks” because they only had one child. This writer believes other women were looking askance at her clothing and earrings. Maybe they were, I don’t know, but sometimes a look is just a look, and it’s natural for people to glance at a newcomer out of curiosity.

    It seems to me that if you go anywhere with a defensive attitude and the preconceived belief that everyone else there will be nasty and judgmental, you will find yourself reading all kinds of unpleasant motives into the most innocent look or friendly comment. If this lady has truly had bad experiences in the past that have led her to go about with this rather paranoid mindset, then I am sorry for her.

    It’s sad to see this kind of division in our church – it should be the case that a Catholic can go into a Catholic church anywhere in the world and feel they are “at home”. Even if some customs vary in different places (e.g., Eastern v. Latin rite), there shouldn’t be a sense of “this is a different religion”. But that seems to be what has happened.

  10. Lurker 59 says:

    Being a convert, I have been to many different types of worship services, read about others, and talked with people about even more. When an individual goes to a worship service that is not their own, the only reasonable attitude is to approach that worship service through the socio-cultural and religious lens of those to whom the worship service belongs. You also have to appreciate the fact that you yourself are an alien and outsider and the worship service can often leave you feeling alienated because you are literally not a part of the group. If you go expecting to feel included (or rather that your particular religious and cultural sensibilities be appreciated), you are likely to experience a greater sense of alienation.

    There are two types of people who go to the TLM for the first time — those that seek to enter into the worship and those that don’t. Both will experience a certain sense of alienation, the former that the they are not yet where the worship is and the later that the worship isn’t where they are. Additionally, as a convert myself, when one starts going to the Mass for the first time, there is a sense of frustration in seeing and experiencing something that you have been denied. Some people will sell everything that they have to obtain that pearl of great price — others will try to smash the pearl so that no one can have it. I suspect this is the same with the TLM. There has never been an opportunity for me to go to a TLM but long ago I had opportunities to go to Eastern Divine Liturgies, which in congruent ways underscores what has been removed liturgically and culturally from a normal OF Latin Mass. The author would have had a congruent experience going to an Eastern Divine Liturgy but she would never write an article like this one for that experience. That says something.

  11. Dad of Six says:

    I second what Anita Moore wrote above. Predatory males have been the beneficiaries of modern feminism.

    A Memorare has been offered for the author of the fishwrap article.

  12. dbf223 says:

    So she objects to the chapel veil because it lacks a clear biblical foundation? [You’ve misread this. The writer and the NCR don’t have the slightest clue about a biblical foundation for a chapel veil, the theology underpinning St. Paul’s admonishment. There is more to St. Paul’s statement than meets the eye. But they have no idea about that.] Let’s ignore whether that’s true and simply push this point a bit further. When did the NCReporter and its writers start showing such reverence for and deference to the Bible? Is she so committed to the Bible that she accepts the harder verses also? What about the ones about homosexual acts?

    And in regard to chapel veils – isn’t veiling one of the most common dress practices for women across cultures? Would the same writer object to any culture that practices some form of veiling, or Muslim women wearing a hijab? I think veiling is associated some notion of modesty in all such cultures – can Muslim women wear a hijab for the sake of modesty, but not Catholics?

  13. dbonneville says:

    As a father of 3 grown young adult boys, I can’t comment pragmatically on how to raise (or dress) girls. I also attend a fantastics FSSP parish where the scenario above is impossible, times ten, to imagine. However, we do have a touch of the “Catholic Amish” thing, which mystifies me.

    There is a peculiar way in which girls (and mothers) who dress like this go about doing it, that I can’t help but notice: there is a tendency to, how shall I say it politely, simply mismatch fabrics / styles. This weird fashion sense of wearing a dress like this, boots like that, frilly sweater like,this, blousy thing like that, sporty coat like this, doily veil like that, creates a weird fashion concoction you only see at church. It almost seems to me like a weird calling card (to whom?), a signal that screeches “I’m modest” or “we are a modest family”.

    However, it has the affect of drawing attention, with the ramshackle luck-of-the-drawer approach to dressing. It’s my opinion that these girls (and women) are more conspicuous by their attempts to look “modest”, but it’s very odd. This “Catholic Amish” thing has the opposite affect of drawing all the eyeballs to themselves, instead of dressing more “normal”. Again, as a father of boys, dressing them is pretty easy, but even then, I would correct things like “no, the polka dot tie does not go with the striped shirt” and “no a sweatshirt is not a dress shirt”. I’ve seen this “CA” style of dressing at every TLM I’ve been to, but usually in a very limited sense. Although there was that one TLM friary out in the woods where 98% of the women and daughters dressed this way, and it was absolutely the calling card without which no females could enter the inner-circle of “very spiritual women”. Sad, but true.

    Finally, I’ll add that if your daughter is of the right age and disposition, dressing them in the “CA” style is not going to help attract the right kind of young male suitors. The snappy suit-wearing getting-it-together TLM-loving confession-going young men looking for a potential wife are going to go for, how shall I say it, not the “CA” style girls?

  14. mepoindexter says:

    I thought these people had nothing but tolerance and acceptance for those who worship different then them.

    Some things in the TLM are different. Somethings shockingly different. You shouldn’t be surprised. Try not to freak out.

    Some of the pious old church ladies can seem a little austure. But then you get to know their smack talk when they play a game of Euchre and it’s all good times.

    There’s so many different people at the TLM. Just try to be a good Catholic, a good Christian. Don’t judge. I thought they didn’t do that either.

  15. Suburbanbanshee says:

    St. Paul’s argument throughout the whole letter seems to be that Christians need to recognize their status as parts of Christ’s Body and adopted co-heir children of God. Men model the dignity of Christ, the New Adam (and true God too), and women model the dignity of Christian humanity.

    So women gotta wear dignified headgear on account of the angels, because they are also going to judge angels (not just the men). Women’s hair is also like the shekhinah glory cloud of the Temple, except it is the glory of Christian humanity and of women. Pretty cool stuff.

    Anyhoo, I think it is interesting that as women stop wearing hats inside or in church, men have started wearing them. There is a tendency toward mutual distinction, whether we like it or not.

  16. Dismas says:

    Ah, Fishwrap insecurity dialed to 11, and for good reason. As I see it, nothing perturbs the protective layer of self-absorption necessary for a hedono-solipsist than authentic Divine worship.

    Unlike those radicals of previous generations, the current ones have not been innoculated with familiarity of the TLM. Because of this, they can only recoil in horror, as they must either reject the Mass or reevaluate their lives, which is usually more terrifying than the prospect of torture and death.

  17. Kerry says:

    This commentor in South Dakota wonders does the Fishwrap writer-ess know, have seen or spoken with any Amish? “I think not!” They are our cultural allies; the innocence of their children refreshing and beautiful. In public, (in this area of the U.S.), the women dress in royal blue. They are industrious, circumspect, honest and God fearing in a fine, older sense of the expression.
    Six years ago the Fair Penelope & I moved here from the Twin Cities. An Amish man and his son, with horses of course, pulled his bandsaw mill here and cut up my elm logs into planks, from which I make chairs. Recently another man and wife, (ten children) traded with me, 9 of my ducks for 50# of potatoes. To her “Amish Catholic” speaking I set Brian Blessed’s reply to Michael Maloney, the Dauphin: “Scorn, and defiance, slight regard,…”

  18. dbf223 says:

    Fr Z: In response to your comment, that was sort of my point. It would be hard for me to take seriously any claim that a writer for NCReporter might make about the Bible.

  19. Ellen says:

    There is one woman at Mass where I go who out Amishes the Amish. She wears a long black skirt, black stocking and heavy shoes. She also wears a dark sweater jacket and a shawl over her head. All this in 90+ degree heat with corresponding humidity.

    [And you know what? Some people like to dress that way! Fine! Have at! BUT… the point is that there is nothing inherent in the desire for traditional liturgical worship that REQUIRES that sort of dress for the sake of modesty. There are many different dressing strategies for that.]

  20. Cy says:

    Boo dbonneville!
    Absolutely one can wear the right spotted tie with the right striped shirt.
    There are many styles in CA; including those avoiding the male-version of amish one tends to see — “I just stepped out of a 1950’s garage sale” look.

  21. Sean says:

    I find that at the Latin mass parish that I go to as a wonderful parish. The pastor is one of the kindest priest that I know. In no way have I found the priest or the parishioners judgemental or rigid.
    The only time I that I experienced clericalism was at a ordinary form mass with some old priest who denied me communion because I would put my hand in the cibororum and pick up the body of Christ myself. I don’t hold the novus ordo as judgemental and rigid. I know some great priests who only say the ordinary form.

  22. Cy says:

    Oh dang I misunderstood part of you dbonneville ca = Carholic Amish. My bad. I agree with you in all except the tie shirt comment!

  23. bwfackler says:

    I frequently hear how sexist it is to ask women to cover their heads at Mass but no one has any pity on the poor men freezing because they can’t cover their heads when it’s hovering around 0 degrees F in the church

  24. Elly says:

    I highly doubt all her stories are factual. I think veils are great but I never got around to wearing one. With all the kids and supplies I have to wrestle with during Mass, dealing with keeping a veil in place doesn’t seem worth the effort at this point in my life. I have never felt judged or looked down upon at a Latin Mass for this reason, even when I was visiting a different church and noticed I was the only woman in the entire church without a veil.

  25. Elly says:

    As am aside, I have felt judged for other reasons at Latin Masses, such as for not keeping my kids completely silent. I was brought to tears one time by an older lady who told me to not sit near her anymore. At English Masses I receive so many compliments about how well behaved they are. At Latin Masses, half compliments and half criticisms. However, no one seems concerned by my not wearing a veil.

    [This, too, is a really touchy issue. It is great to have signs of life in the congregation. It is also great to have some silence, or at least not to have prayers, readings, chants shattered by shrieking. The fact is that little kids can be squirmy or unpleasantly noisy. They can be serious distractions to people on BOTH sides of that Communion rail. If your children need to be taken out with some frequency, then it could be a good idea to sit near the door. Some people are hypersensitive to child noise. Some parents are oblivious to the chaos their children are causing. There is a balance point to be sought at each Mass and in each place and within each congregation. There are no hard and fast rules to cover this.]

  26. beelady says:

    I am a female convert and regular reader of this blog. I feel like somewhat of an outsider because I have never been to a TLM.
    I am honestly afraid to try it because I am afraid of being judged on my clothing. I don’t wear skirts but I do dress modestly for Mass in business attire. I am also afraid of being forced to wear a veil because of my gender.
    My mother attends the TLM with my sister-in-law at a parish in Pennsylvania. She has told me that there is a sign inside the foyer telling women that they must wear a veil in order to enter the church.
    That parish even provides veils for women who do not have their own.
    My sister-in-law is a very unpleasant person who seems to think wearing a veil and dressing like a “catholic-Amish” makes her holier than me and most of humanity.
    I am not implying that all veiled women feel this way, just pointing out that I believe the author of the post was looked down upon by some women at that Parish.
    Unfortunately, women can be very cruel to each other.
    I think it’s great that Fr. Z linked to this article.
    I hope that it gives those who love the TLM some insight into the challenges faced by women like me who are curious but afraid to try the TLM.

    [Insights for women. I think that some men don’t quite get this because, frankly, there is very little of this sort of thing applied to men. Thanks for trusting enough in the other readers here to post this. I’m sure that they will treat your sensibilities with respect. Also, your fears ought to be a point of reflection for some who are out there. When we love something, we want to share it with others so that they too can have in it the joy that we have.]

  27. Luminis says:

    I attend an FSSP parish once a month. Some gals veil, some don’t. No one seems to mind either way. I veil at OF and EF . Usually I am the only veiled woman in the church at my OF parish. I do it for Jesus. As I receive My Lord and King it is to show Him every possible physical sign of adoration possible. He is Lord of Lord’s and the King of King’s.

  28. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    “. . . that she stumbled into some extremist renegade place and thinks now that it is representative of all places where the Traditional Mass is offered. Maybe there is such a wretched place. Maybe there isn’t.”

    Father, I don’t know, of course, and it’s not for me to armchair psychoanalyze someone I’ve never met, . . . however, it occurs to me to wonder – just wonder – whether some *some* people who have big problems with even the soundest traditional environments may be people who also have really terrible inner conflicts about the choices they’re making, their attachment to the sins they’re committing, and the lives they’re living. In this unfortunate state, they enter the transcendently holy world of the traditional environment, and suddenly the guilty feelings they’ve been suppressing come flooding — roaring in — like a tsunami. Which can be horrifying for them.

    I posit these speculations, only because, many, many years ago, when I was young (we’re talking about before the invention of the internal combustion engine), I went through some of the same dilemmas . . . horrified by the choices one was making, attached to the sin, suppressing the guilt and horror, all while yet tethered (thank God) to my Catholic faith, . . . and being blasted in the face with these contradictions when one went into very holy places. The kind of inner turmoil all of this triggers is one of the worst experiences there can be, worse, even, then a broken bone (which I’ve had, too). Better a broken bone and inner peace, than bodily health and fitness, with inner turmoil. A billion times better.

    Anyway, perhaps some of these poor souls, to cope with the inner turmoil they’re experiencing when they come into contact with even the soundest and most level-headed of churches with stained-glass, statues, a beautiful altar with the tabernacle right in full view front and center . . . must characterize that environment – – and not the way they’re living – – as somehow pernicious and wretched (as you put it). *We* are the ones who are wretched, not the environment! And it’s too painful, too scary to admit that. Hence the defense mechanism.

    I don’t pretend to apply this to anyone in particular – only speculating, in all empathy and compassion, based on one’s own past experiences – having been there!

  29. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    beelady – from a woman who wears the veil to my Novus Ordo parish – hugs to you! Don’t *mean girls* make life miserable for us women? And *mean girls* come in all shapes, ages, and sub-cultures. Some mean girls at my parish “snoot” me, I think, because I’m wearing a veil. Oh, well. Their loss!

    My dear friend, remember whom you are in the Church for – that is, for Our Blessed Lord, and also our dear Lady, who are overjoyed to see you no matter how you’re dressed or what you’re wearing, as long as what you have on is the very best and most modest you can manage. . . to adore Him, and to honor her.

    If wearing a veil is something that makes you feel put upon – and I don’t blame you one bit for feeling that way until you come to love the veil – can you wear a pretty scarf, folded into a triangle, placed over your head, the two ends gathered under your hair at the nape of your neck, and knotted together . . . ? (You’ll look _chic_, like Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy, who famously wore just those!) And with all that, your head is thoroughly covered. And if anyone gets on your case, about not wearing specifically a lace veil with loose ends, then you can tell them from me, an inveterate veil-wearer, and I quote: “my head is properly covered, and I’ll thank you to leave me alone, please.” Unquote.

    I send you a big kiss and a hug. Go to TLM. Tie a scarf on. Sit in the back, if you’re more comfortable there. Ask Our Lord to let the beauty enter your being and light you up. I think you’ll love it. And don’t let any of your fellow congregants bother you. Most are very nice and very cool with newcomers. As for the mean ones – well, the beauty hasn’t entered their being yet. Ask Our Lord and Our Lady to protect you from People-Who-Aren’t-Quite-Yet-*Brimming*- With-the-Virtues-of-Humility-and Charity. Pray for them! And please pray for me, too, as I will for you, my dear.

  30. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    P.S. to beelady: Another thing you can say to anyone who tells you that a scarf doesn’t suffice at that Mass . . . raise your nose into the air, look them in the eye, a pregnant pause, and then say in the deepest tone of voice you can manage, “I beg your pardon! Have we been *introduced*?”

  31. Gab says:

    There appears to be growing criticism of the faithful attending the TLM. Some of it may have a basis for that, some may not, however there is a concerted effort in the media and social media, as well as from the Pope. The devil is getting very frustrated and on the attack.

    I don’t know if I’ve been given “looks” at Mass because I’m focused on why I’m there and I don’t look around at what others are doing. And that was the case when I was attending the NO Mass too – except one time when a number of people turned around to look at me as I knelt during the Orate fratres (what we’re supposed to do according the rubrics here). Apparently, I was the odd one out. Meh!

    We have young families at the TLM with children who screech at times and some parents attend to them, other parents don’t say a word and let them carry on screaming. However, they keep coming back each week so I’m tipping no one gives them looks either.

    I have veils in liturgical colours and one time forgot to bring a veil for Mass. Nothing happened, other than me feeling weird for not veiling. At my parish some veil, some don’t but I’ve never heard of any criticisms over those who don’t veil (we all catch up for coffee after Mass on the church grounds – newcomers and all).

    These criticisms seem to be increasing against the TLM even though statics are showing the Mass is attracting more people, especially the young. As I said, the devil is on the attack.

  32. says:

    It would seem Father, that our list of who we will pray for is getting longer everyday.
    That is a good thing.
    Just want to say, without asking her, my wife purchased a “Catholic Amish” dress and her Chapel veils are in hand.

  33. Kathleen10 says:

    I have attended the TLM for about 5 years. I am often the only un-veiled woman there. I’m getting there, it just hasn’t felt right yet, that transition. I have worn a hat, which of course suffices for the head covering, but I am earnest about when to start the veil. I will when the time feels right to me. Nobody else gets to make decisions about my head but me. It’s my head. The lady who wrote the article, I wish I could tell her, mind your own business. What Catholics wear to TLM is not your concern. If you don’t like it, simple, don’t go. I really dislike bullies who think it is appropriate to weigh in on things that are none of their concern, and way too many people can’t find one good thing to say about others. Women are the worst offenders. I know, I’ve suffered from them. Women are brutal to each other. Yaya Sisterhood, hah! That’s a myth and a joke. Case in point.
    I think the women who veil look modest and terrific. It’s a beautiful way to live our Catholic faith, and I can only speak for myself here, I’m going to live my Catholic faith the way I want to regardless of what other people think. I really don’t care at all.
    @beelady, live your Catholic faith. People at TLM are focused on the Lord, present at the altar. I couldn’t tell you one thing anybody wore at Mass last week, I only assume they had clothes on. It’s not a fashion show, it’s worship. Don’t cover your head, cover with a scarf or veil, wear a hat, it’s your choice. I feel very certain nobody will judge you. What may get noticed, I’m just saying, is short skirts, tight pants, or low cut or clothing that just shows too much. It’s not appropriate for God’s House, that’s all, and TLM attendees as a whole are probably more aware of “custody of the eyes” than your NO attendees. That’s a good thing. So come on home to the TLM. :)

  34. Fr. Reader says:

    I have not commented anything in this blog for a long time.

    I have had not so good experiences with people attending “TLM”, especially young men. They seem to be convinced that they know everything about liturgy and in general about everything, and often correct and criticize others. Serving the so called “NO” Mass they behave in a very awkward way, trying to over TLMize the NO Mass. These young men constantly tell me what I should do and what I should not do. Somethings they dress very elegantly (not Amishly). It is very tiring to deal with them. At the same time, some of them have very little interest in spiritual life, prayer, acts of mercy, etc. I know not everyone is like that, but I understand those who dislike the TLM places for these reasons.
    Please be kind, super kind, friendly and charitable.

    [Father, yes, it is very difficult to deal with young men. They are idealistic. They long to dedicate themselves to ideals. In this time of chaos, they are grasping for something that has meaning. They understand the symbolism of the things of tradition and they long for the ideals. They are zealous and they sometimes overstep themselves, get out too far over their skiis. With a proper hierarchy they are channeled and thrive. They DO have interest in ALL of it. YOU have to show it to them. Each challenge is an invitation to form them. The best thing you can do is to create a corps of these young men and form them. Anything else is a lack of leadership, not a lack in them,]

  35. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    There are actually dresses that are Boho (“Bohemian”) which are long and loose like the the so-called Catholic Amish. So a woman may wear a hippie Egyptian print, patchwork, Earth-mother Granny gown that looks a lot like what organic-gardening, anti-nuke-demonstrating, ultra-Progressive enclave-dwelling women habitually wear, probably politically, religiously, and culturally diametically opposed to traditional Catholics, but which matches “Catholic Amish” dresses square inch for square inch!

    So, if that’s more to your taste, try that on for size!

  36. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Reader wrote: “Please be kind, super kind, friendly and charitable.”

    That’s a two-way street. So is negativity.

  37. sibnao says:

    My two observations:
    1. Alas, women are generally highly sensitive to social expectations, and entering a community of people who “ought” to be “like me” and do not present openness to the way “I am” can really bring out the crazy. For example, a middle-class (or upper-middle, as the NCR reporter) woman entering an African American Baptist congregation and encountering women in heavy makeup, elaborate hats, super high heels, and gloves, won’t feel they are judging her, since she understands that she isn’t part of that community and enters with humility. She understands if she gets a few quizzical glances that they are curious because she is a visitor, and that these ladies dress the way they do because of an internal culture that has its own values, history, and boundaries.

    Put that same middle-class white reporter in a Latin Mass community where many of the other women appear to be white and middle-class (although of course we have many people of color, and working class/poor in our pews) wearing chapel veils, long skirts, flats, and high-necked blouses, and this visitor will feel condemned and unloved, just by the fact that these are people more “like her” and yet react to her the same way. Also, how many times have I glanced at someone with a frown on my face, not meaning to, but because I am struggling with prayer, or to focus my attention, and perhaps she took it to mean that I thought she was a slut for wearing pants? (Which I never would).
    2. Alas, people who attend the Latin Mass are every bit as sinful as people anywhere else. If you dare to show up to your average OF Mass in your chapel veil and long skirt, you might get negative reactions, and the same is unfortunately true of skin-tight miniskirts or jeans/tank tops at the Latin Mass chapel. It shouldn’t be, but it can be. The FSSP parish I attend has never felt condemning, but I’ve heard enough stories to know that it isn’t an uncommon experience. Then back in August, I walked into the narthex to hear a woman (clearly a visitor) who was wearing a long dress with spaghetti straps, defending herself against a comment about her bare shoulders — she is traveling and had to wear what she had to get to Mass. This poor woman was with at least five children and no husband in the pew ahead of us, and I just prayed that the person offering criticism of her attire was a sister or mother! I prayed that she wouldn’t go home and vow never to attend a TLM parish again, but …

    Latin Mass sisters: Please go out of your way to smile at and greet the visiting women — a thousand arguments won’t win them over the way that kindness and normal charitable behavior will.

  38. Fr_Andrew says:

    Fr Reader, if I may,

    I’m a priest who exclusively uses the Extraordinary Form, so have some experience on the “dark side”.

    What you describe does accurately represent some young men. It is a minority, but they do this just as much to us priests who do not use the newer form of Mass. They tend to get very interested in the rubrics, and in minutia which is important, but secondary.

    This is often understandable though. they have that “new convert” zeal, but not a great deal of foundation on which to pivot towards developing their spiritual life. Usually this goes away after a bit of time and patience.

    I can appreciate your frustration, but in my experience, these are very limited in number, and you have to admit that even if they can be imprudent (and they often are), they do have their heart in the right place and are trying to love God more.

    One point I might suggest telling them, gently, if they attempt instruct you on things (and they do not have a point), is that if they have such a problem with things why are they coming to you and not going to the Extraordinary Form?

    I try to preach occasionally to my faithful about how we need to be good Catholics, and not insular, and also not judgmental towards other Catholics. I have told them often that there are probably many people who despite what they might consider a deficit in liturgical practice, are much holier than they are, and so they have no room to take shots at people. I hope that brings some comfort.

    Fortunately, I have found the vast majority of the people I deal with zealous and balanced. I find I can motivate them much easier to days of penance, Catholic Action, etc. than I could in a typical parish. For instance, when a pro-life group from the diocese put on a conference, I brought nearly 200 people from our little group of traditionalists. We accounted for over 75% of the attendance, and I was the only priest. No one else from the diocese came, and few of the others were Catholics, even though the group was sponsored by the diocese. I find the same with prayer vigils at clinics, and other similar Catholic action. Each year I end up with thousands of dollars to buy groceries and meals for the hungry at Christmas out of anonymous (so no tax benefit) donations from my faithful. I could not ask for a more fervent and devoted, and really Catholic parish, and often feel I am not adequate in my own holiness for a parish, since the pastor needs to be more saintly than his flock if he hopes to help them.

    Yes, you get weirdos and the unbalanced, but you get that on all fronts; We all do. I fear that your experience with the majority of traditional Catholics might be lacking, and you, like it seems the woman in the NCR article, are basing your thoughts on too small a sample size.

    I hope you do get to experience some of the things I’ve seen, Father. I pray for that, and I offer my prayers for you and your ministry.

  39. maryh says:

    I go to an NO Mass with Latin, many women who veil, ad orientem, altar rail, communion on the tongue, etc. I’ve also been to a few TLM Masses, which is where I found out the Mass I grew up with was not the TLM. It was the post VII Mass that actually obeyed VII and not the “Spirit of VII”. I find the NO Mass I attend to be very familiar except for two things: in the 60’s, in the US, women wore hats, not veils. And the music at my current parish is MUCH better (a function of our wonderful choir, not the format of the Mass in this case).

    While I have not felt at all disrespected at the TLM, it is different and difficult for me to follow. It actually requires some preparation if you’ve never been before. If it takes you a while to get comfortable with differences, I can easily see being put off by it, especially if you’re prone to see anything different from the NO as subjugation of women or clericalism. I’m still awkward with it, but would like to get well enough acclimated to it that it becomes a comfortable option. I definitely believe in the “pull of gravity.” NO Masses can be reverent, but how often does that happen without the pull of the TLM?

    BTW, the woman in the article does not refer to the Catholic Amish. She implies something more sinister – a need to cover women as much as possible, and to completely cover the hair as well. That is quite different from CA, and has no inherent connection with veiling. I wonder if an aversion to the veil is something from my, older generation. I grew up with the hat tradition, and there is something of a “foreign” feel to the veil for me. For the youngsters, any covering at all is new, so probably the veil is no stranger than a hat, and has a more “traditional” feel. In addition, I feel “hat lady” has a kind of iconoclastic (in the good sense) connotation, kind of like “the little old lady in tennis shoes”, so I have no plans to veil anytime soon.

    However, I can understand the visceral reaction some people have to it. Same with skirts and dresses vs pants, which is another thing the author brought up. Now, of course, women’s pants can be just as uncomfortable and restricting as skirts, but I can remember when it truly was freeing to be able to wear comfortable clothes you could move easily in. (Although some skirts and dresses qualify as well in most cases.)

  40. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Imagine the first time Our Blessed Mother met the Magdalene. Although the latter corrected all her faults as quickly as she could when she converted to Jesus, yet some small details might have escaped her notice. But the proper Jewish ladies would have noticed such details right away. And they knew her reputations. Fallen human nature being what it is, there were surely “mean girls” among these ladies.

    Our Lady didn’t notice such things about other people; Our Lady’s only care was God, and her Son. She attended to no one and to nothing else . . . except to what the Holy Spirit directed her to attend to, again for love of God. And for love of Him, Queen Mary turned her gracious and regal notice to Mary Magdalene. No detail escaped her notice . . . yet no detail disturbed her peace or her freedom from any trouble or annoyance over things that don’t matter to God, to her Son.

    Our Blessed Mother immediately showed Mary such tender affection, such solicitous regard, that Mary felt almost as if she herself were the one being treated like a lady of the highest estate, when in fact, she knew it was Mary the Mother of Jesus who was of royal estate.

    How lovely to dress and deport ourselves so as to look like Mary Our Blessed Mother. How much more lovely to be like Mary on the inside, concerned only with God and the things of God, and extending to others only the love God wants to give to them through us.

  41. Fr. Reader says:

    Please allow me to continue. Among these friends there is the obsessive type (the one who texts me on Ember days to make sure I fast), the fashionista (who loves wearing and discussing clerical attire and taking pictures of these things), the political (who dreams with a dictator who will finally impose Christendom on society), the networker (who runs around the world searching for traditional bishops to take pictures with them.)
    Sometimes when Pope Francis criticizes traditionalists, some react: “How does HE dares to criticize ME? Who does he think he is?!!!”. I think many traditionalists (and all of us from all colours, spiritualities and liturgical sensibilities) should use the words of Pope Francis for a bit of examination of conscience.
    Then, there is the violent type. Just a small example, in a city in which I lived for some years, during a Mass of the FSSP, some FFSPX activist protested outside of the church and painted some accusatory slogans with spray on the walls. In this place, many violent political activists have been closely associated with the Lefebvrians (violent far beyond using spray on walls). And then, traditionalists complain: why they say that we are this and that…

  42. Fr. Reader says:

    Father John, I just saw your reply in red. Thank you for your words.

  43. beelady says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae II,
    Thank you so much for your kindness and your prayers!
    Your comments brought me to tears and touched my heart – you made my day!
    Sending a big hug and a kiss back to you!
    I love your suggestion about the head scarf. I can do that without any trouble – my grandmother was a stylish woman who wore her hair that way frequently. I had no idea that something like that was an option.
    I also appreciate your suggestions on what to say if those “mean girls” hassle me. I feel SO much more confident thanks to you.
    I am going to try to work up the courage to go to a TLM very soon – hopefully during Advent.
    When I go I will remember you and offer my Holy Communion for your intentions.
    Thank you again, your a blessing to me!

  44. RLseven says:

    We Catholics are all hell-bent on who’s doing it right and who’s doing it wrong. I love the TLM, and find that the quiet feeds my soul. Whether one attends TLM or NO Masses, they are attending to worship God in community. Let people go where their soul is fed.

    As for women wearing the veil– this is not a rule of the Church, but an optional spiritual practice. It may not be for all– women who choose not to wear a veil are no less Catholic, nor are women who do wear it more Catholic.

    Someone mentioned the writer had been refused Communion in the hand. This is wrong, and I’d be mad, too. The GIRM states: “People may receive the Body of Christ either on the tongue or in the hand.” [First, the GIRM is irrelevant. The legislation for the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum is such that the minister is not allowed to distibture Communion in the hand. Communion, in the Vetus Ordo, must be received on the tongue.] It isn’t the priest’s place to force either. I prefer receiving on the tongue, but if someone doesn’t wish to do this, they are not bad Catholics and should not be refused or judged.

    The NO is the norm in our Church at this time in history, and we can be grateful to have ample opportunities to celebrate the TLM. But why keep fighting about it?? Go where your soul is fed. God will be there! [There are norms by law and there are norms by fact and tradition. So far the NO is a tiny blip on the timeline of the Church. The “norm” has been the Vetus Ordo. This is the Mass that produced saints, architecture, music, art, missionaries and shaped cultures. So far, it is too early to tell if the Novus Ordo has produced or ever will produce lasting fruits commensurate with what the traditional form has produced.]

  45. beelady says:

    Fr. Z, thank you for your comments and your blog.
    You and your readers are a blessing to me!

  46. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Um… You do all know that wearing a hat or a scarf or a hood or a snood or a shawl or a diadem or a stola is not less Catholic than wearing a veil. You could argue that they are more Catholic.

    Lace veils are newfangled. I mean, sheesh, lace is a newfangled invention, on the scale of history.

    So making yourself ready to wear a veil instead of a hat is about a fashion or social choice. Nothing wrong with socializing and sisterhood and signalling, but you should know that is what it historically would be. Empress Theodora, the medieval ladies, and the early Christian martyrs wouldn’t know a chapel veil if it bit them.

    Fit in with your parish fashion, okay. Wear something different, same thing as custom and devotionally.

  47. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Back to the actual article — there does seem to be a rule that people in turmoil have trouble getting a clear view, but they also have trouble with running into people on the fringe who are sketchy. Maybe there really was a weird prejudice against red clothes, or maybe it was a neighborhood that believed in the “red clothes on Friday mean you are on the make” custom.

  48. PaulusFranciscus says:

    I have two reactions to the article:

    1. I’m willing to bet that more than 90 percent of what she described either never happened, or was provoked by her own toxic attitude toward the TLM.

    2. She sounds like the Blackberry crowd from back in 2010, clinging fast to their Pearls and 8830s , desperately trying to convince themselves of its superiority to the iPhone’s despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    The TLM might be old, but it’s evergreen.

  49. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Reader wrote:

    “Among these friends there is the obsessive type (the one who texts me on Ember days to make sure I fast)”

    That is not obsession. Annoying sure, but not obsession.

    “the fashionista (who loves wearing and discussing clerical attire and taking pictures of these things)”

    Our genial host and many readers here enjoy the photos and discussion of vestments. There was a fundraiser for Fr. Johnson in May after his plane went in the drink.

    “the political (who dreams with a dictator who will finally impose Christendom on society)”

    That is not “TLM” or “traditional.” Such an individual tends to be a theocratic totalitarian infected by the socialism virus to one degree or another- who also does not understand the Gospel, history, or human nature.

    “the networker (who runs around the world searching for traditional bishops to take pictures with them.)”

    A harmless pastime. Sure beats drugs, pornography, and bestiality.

    “Sometimes when Pope Francis criticizes traditionalists, some react: “How does HE dares to criticize ME? Who does he think he is?!!!”. I think many traditionalists (and all of us from all colours, spiritualities and liturgical sensibilities) should use the words of Pope Francis for a bit of examination of conscience.”

    Nice try.

    “Then, there is the violent type. Just a small example, in a city in which I lived for some years, during a Mass of the FSSP, some FFSPX activist protested outside of the church and painted some accusatory slogans with spray on the walls. In this place, many violent political activists have been closely associated with the Lefebvrians (violent far beyond using spray on walls). And then, traditionalists complain: why they say that we are this and that…”

    You classified a vandal as violent, alluded to but did not detail other violence, then you proceeded to link all of that to “traditionalists.” Nice try.

    Note well Fr. Reader: If you are Catholic you are traditional (e.g. 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Your comment is hypocritical, sanctimonious, and a defamatory assault on your “friends.”

    You are not a propagandist. You are a Man. You are a Shepherd and a Leader. You are Alter Christus. May God assist you with your prayerful reflection on these matters. Pax.

  50. SuperTrad says:

    @dbonneville on the other hand, if the guy is making calls on whether or not to get to know a girl based off of whether or not she has fashion sense, then he has got a problem as he is focused on the wrong things. Now, I have as much fashion sense as a bull dog, but I have talked to some of these girls you talk about at that parish and they really seem to be dressing the way they want to look, not to show off how modest they are (with a couple of exceptions).

  51. bigtex says:

    Maureen Malarkey wrote a great defense of TLM attendees in the Federalist. Apparently, Fr. Ripperger started a lot of this nonsense.

  52. FN says:

    Dear beelady, let me add more love and support for your journey. I am in the early stages of that journey myself. I live somewhere there is no TLM and have only gotten to go a handful of times while traveling. Every time I have worn jeans because that’s what I have got. No veil either, not because I am opposed, in fact I think women look lovely and dignified in chapel veils, but I don’t need the stress of the baby pulling it off my head every five minutes on top of the stress of managing three small kids at church. (You know how babies grab your hair… and I know what mine would do to a lovely expensive lace veil with dangling ends.) So my fashion choices are a mixture of pure practicality and reasonable modesty, i.e. no skin-tight stuff or cleavage. Sure I WISH I could dress in an elegant film-star outfit with veiled hat every Sunday. I wish we all did. But at this point it ain’t happening. Better to be there in 501s than not be there at all, right? As for the definition of modesty, I genuinely believe that trousers / jeans are not immodest per se in our society. Supposing that modesty = long skirts is just the kind of antiquarianism that tradition-haters love to criticize, not without reason!

  53. Mariana2 says:

    Marion Ancilla Mariae II,

    Thank you for your lovely ‘description’ of Our Lady meeting Mary Magdalene!

  54. Fr. Reader says:

    @Fr Andrew. Thank for the reply. It is true that I am basing my thoughts on a very small sample size.

    @Semper Gumby
    I am just trying describe why so many have a negative impression on the traditionalists groups. The characters that I described did not became a bit weird because of the TLM, I am sure of that. Of course there is nothing “TLM” in being theocratic totalitarian infected by socialism. It is just that it happened to me to meet many (in proportion) weird people who also like TLM. They are close to me because I too celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and use the Roman Breviary. But I understand that others do not like them.
    I apologize if I sound hypocritical and sanctimonious. The same things that I write here I also tell my friends face to face.

    @Fr John Z. Sorry for bringing negativity into your blog.

    [Let’s take something positive out! May I suggest a book? This was written by a couple of retired US Navy SEALs who use some of their life lessons from training and battle to explain principles of good leadership. The basic idea is that a leader finds ways to bring people in to share, or rather own, a common vision. Then a real team can be built. Work with these odd balls who are attracted to the TLM. They are already more than half way toward a vision. Work with them and shape them. It could be, as is so often the case across the board right now, that these young men haven’t had strong male role models, hence their “weirdness”. I just had a flash in the back of my mind from the silly but charming old movie Going My Way. Bing Crosby, Fr. O’Malley, turns a bunch of boys who are running around getting into trouble, into a choir. Of course it doesn’t have to be a choir, but that was a Bing Crosby movie, right? Altar boys, ping pong team, book club, ham radio society, chess club, cricket team, schola cantorum, carpentry team, parish newspaper team…]


    Extreme Ownership

  55. Kerry says:

    Semper, “Whoa, take ‘er easy there pilgrim.”

  56. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Fr. Reader wrote: “I think many traditionalists (and all of us from all colours, spiritualities and liturgical sensibilities) should use the words of Pope Francis for a bit of examination of conscience.”

    I try to keep up with the Holy Father’s words to traditionalists to do just that. The undertaking is formidable. I recommend The Pope Francis Little Book of Insults which is available online as a reference. For those who may be interested, here is a sample of the papal insults to traditionalists that I’ve worked through so far:

    “Old maid!” “Fomenter of coprophagia!”(I had to look that one up.) “Rosary counter!” “Self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian!” (I had to look that one up, too.) “Restorationist!” “Ideological Christians!” “Museum mummy!” “Ideologue!” “Sourpuss!” “Authoritarian!” “Querulous and disillusioned pessimist!” “Pickled pepper-faced Christian!” (I love that one – so evocative!) “Children! Afraid to dance! To cry! Afraid of everything!” “Little monster!” “Creed-reciting, parrot Christian!” “Inquisitorial beater!” (Ain’t it the truth?) “Fundamentalist!” “Older people nostalgic for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world!” (I’m into the customs; the structures, not so much!) “Christian hypocrites only interested in their formalities!” “They make themselves up like little holy cards, looking up at heaven as they pray, making sure they are seen!” (I know I need to cut that out.) “Christians with all the paperwork, all the certificates, in order!” and “Christian bats who prefer the shadows to the light!”

    What’s helped me to do a proper examination of conscience on each of these papal insults has been to set up a 3-ring binder, and when I come across out a new series of insults, I simply print them out, punch the corresponding holes and add the new leaflets. I leave plenty of room on each page to journal as I work through the examination of conscience for each insult, and then document my progress as it occurs.

    I find the early morning after our Rosary group’s self-flagellation period works best for me. Your mileage may vary.

    Happy examining!

  57. JesusFreak84 says:

    One thought I have had about being told no red…did she stumble into a sede chapel by mistake? I don’t think she would know the difference between FSSP, SSPX, SSPV, or CMRI ?

  58. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    To beelady (again!) thanks so much, my dear: *you* bless all of us with your devotion and eagerness to grow in the love of God.

    May God continue to bless you richly, and I wish you and yours a most holy (upcoming) Advent season.

  59. Archlaic says:

    Two brief – for me – comments: 1.) yeah, nearly every TLM community with which I’ve ever had more than a passing acquaintance (in 20+ years of nearly exclusive attendance) has some of these “odd ducks”. But it’s hard to believe that the “Fishwrap” writer has encountered virtual hives full of them… it smacks of e.g. the “composite girlfriend” in B. H. Obama’s memoir. To me it seems that these folks are wounded in some way, and many have been hurt by the revolution in the Church they love. A little tolerance can work wonders…. When the writer’s premise seems to be “see, you don’t find nuts like this at the N.O.”, one could fairly ask; “and who are the elitists here?”

    2.) My wife’s take on the article was much more succinct: “she (the writer) has issues with men”…

  60. robtbrown says:

    Are TLM attendees a different breed?

    Consider that many have to drive at least an hour or so one way to attend Latin Mass. There is one man whom I have known for years, Little League baseball, school, and high school football, who drives over 150 miles one way. People willing to do that are likely to be different than those who for years have simply driven 10 minutes to their local parish.

  61. pbnelson says:

    1) Every paragraph drips with condescension towards masculine authority. Her parents were divorced. Connect the dots?

    2) The article is premised upon Feminism, specifically how the TLM suppresses it. We all know what kind of Feminism she means. Not Marian.

    3) Speaking of which… she forgot to mention Mary, the Mother of God. She did mention the Rosary twice, but disdainfully. Her one reference to confession was in the same context.

    4) It’s very hard, as a TLM lover, to read such unbridled hatred. But if I’m being honest I have to confess I’ve tossed a lot of hatred over that wall in the other direction. Coincidentally, I just chanced upon this challenging passage in 1 John 4: “If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

  62. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Fr. Reader noted: “the fashionista (who loves wearing and discussing clerical attire and taking pictures of these things)”.

    Perhaps you didn’t intend to, Father, but you did imply that the wearer of magnificent clerical attire loves to discuss and photograph this apparel for its own sake . . . or for the sake of him who wears it.

    Nothing could be further from the truth, Father. Don’t you recall Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, and Patron of parish priests, who, “in order to make the practice of religion more attractive for his parishioners, . . . sought to beautify and decorate the little parish church. In this work he was greatly aided by Mademoiselle d’Ars, sister of the Vicomte d’Ars, who himself generously provided the little church with new vestments and altar vessels.”* When it came to his own clothing, however, patched and shabby were good enough for Vianney. The Curé’s fellow priests “were often displeased at his poverty-stricken appearance and regarded his shabby clothes as a reflection upon their dignity.”*

    The contrast is noteworthy. Was Vianney trying to indicate that on the altar, he was worth more, worth being clothed in costly attire, . . . but off the altar, he was unworthy – and shabby and patched was good enough?

    Far from it. True; the saint did look down-at-heel in his everyday life, that he might have more to give to those in need. But when he ascended the altar, he was no longer the simple Curé; the one clothed in the rich nobleman’s gift was Christ Himself, Christ adorned; Alter Christus Ipse Christus. And by wearing these vestments that Jesus may wear them, this priest offered yet more adoration, honor, praise, and glory to Our Lord, King of the Universe and High Priest.

    And today’s priests may do the exact same thing . . . that is, if they care to.

    What, indeed, could be more suitable?

    Kudos to Fr. Z for not omitting to offer suitable honor to His Divine Majesty!

    *Anonymous Author. The Life of Saint Jean Vianney, the Cure of Ars. 1911. Joseph Schaefer, New York, US.

  63. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Suburban banshee wrote: “Empress Theodora, the medieval ladies, and the early Christian martyrs wouldn’t know a chapel veil if it bit them.

    All true! Evidence of the existence of lace before the late 15th century AD cannot be documented.

    When people ask, “don’t you want to look like (The Blessed Virgin) Mary?” the donning of a veil of lace will not establish the sought-for resemblance, for during her lifetime on earth, Our Lady would never have seen lace, much less a veil made of lace.

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  65. fmsb78 says:

    There is a link between NCR’s article and what happened in the Vatican during the synod.

    Certainly, after having the very pope desecrate St Peters in front of the whole world, many catholics of good will asked themselves if those weird trads could be right all along. Notice also the timing of the NCR reaction when the FSSP just got some attention for their Mass attendance growth.

    [Sometimes timing matters.]

  66. dbonneville says:

    No prob! But, think one-inch dots and one-inch stripes, and there is no salvaging that choice :)

    “…if the guy is making calls on whether or not to get to know a girl based off of whether or not she has fashion sense, then he has got a problem as he is focused on the wrong things.” That’s wrong. What if she’s wearing a tank top to a TLM and he chooses not to talk to her. That’s not what I’m saying in the least. We could elaborate that this “Catholic Amish” can be an indicator of mindsets that are not spiritually attractive. The same goes for wearing “spaghetti straps” to a TLM is an indicator of a different kind of something that is not spiritually attractive. It cuts both ways.

    I’m sure some people want to dress that way…that’s why they are doing it and it may be just fine. But what I have in mind is the “calling card” style that seeeeeeems to be more concerned with broadcasting, as on a loudspeaker, ones “modesty” and “orthodoxy” and paradoxically becoming a center of attention. Why not dress neutral in a way that isn’t a “Mass-only” oddball fashion ensemble? The point being that male or female, one can dress in ways to grab attention, and not enough or too much clothing can be broadcasting something. All that to say there is a way to dress that just seems right. I couldn’t exactly describe it…but I know it when I see it, male or female, and there is no end to the diversity of what it looks like.

  67. MundaCorMeum says:

    Nothing like a discussion of appropriate attire at Mass to get the comments flowing! I attend the TLM in a location having a tropical climate. Relatively speaking, what constitutes formal dress here would be considered informal in most other locations. I recall a wonderful individual who used to wear 3-piece tweed suits to Mass, looking like he was from the early 1900s, with pocket watch and walking cane. That really made him stand out. Personally, if I were attending Mass in a different locale, I would not wear what I typically wear to Mass at home (although considered appropriate and sufficiently formal here). If I did I would expect to have some sideways glances. There is an element of dressing appropriately for the location and event. Perhaps the concept could be considered sartorial inculturation. I would think NCR readers should all be in favor of inculturation.

  68. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Saint Thomas Aquinas says that Christians should adapt their dress and deportment to the surrounding culture, avoiding, of course, what is evil. Other than to avoid evil, to stand out is usually immodest, the opposite of the virtue of modesty, which is a part of temperance.

    It’s not a sin against modesty to wear attire that’s less revealing than is customary in one’s own culture. To wear revealing clothing, especially to Holy Mass, or to wear clothing that makes the wearer appear as if he or she just stepped out of Vogue magazine, would be to stand out, to gain attention, and is therefore immodest. But to go “the extra mile,” so to speak, in the opposite direction, and to wear the drabbest possible, ostentatiously tent-like garments, or to wear actual sackcloth, or, on the other hand, to dress for Mass in a way that covers the body well, but looks like an outfit you’d wear to paint the house: all of these are likely to be distracting to others, will make the wearer an object of attention, and are thus sins against modesty.

  69. Marion Ancilla Mariae II says:

    Erratum: Please forgive me: I made a mistake in the post of a few minutes ago: I should not have written “sins against modesty.” I should have written, “in my opinion, immodest.”

    I’m in no position to judge such things as “sins.” Careless. Won’t make a habit of it. Thank you.

  70. WarriorSpirit says:

    I am old enough to remember the Latin Tridentine Mass we all attended prior to the questionable “Vatican II” Council/Document. Although I was quite young when it all changed for the worse, I can still remember how intrigued, mesmerized, and wide-eyed I always was at Holy Mass. I loved everything about it, from the movements of the priest, the “mysterious” Latin, what I couldn’t see because the Mass was celebrated ad orientem, to Benediction, Adoration, and the much smoking thurible. Sadly, now there are no Tridentine Latin Masses celebrated anywhere close to me and I must say my heart and soul longs for that Mass again.

    And yes, that writer is most likely burning from some action or supposed slight against her easily offended feelings, and is also most likely nuts, even though she very well may be quite smart.

  71. Semper Gumby says:

    Kerry: No, his attention is required here. Cheers.

  72. Semper Gumby says:

    bigtex: Well done with the link to Maureen Mularkey’s article. Fr. Ripperger is way out of line.

    “[Fr. Ripperger’s] sermon exhibits the very “elitist,” “gnostic,” and uncharitable tendencies its composer projects upon the traditionalist movement.”

    A transcript of that “sermon” reveals an unhealthy side of Fr. Ripperger: a hawker of insults and sweeping generalizations. One expects better from Fr. Ripperger.

    On the bright side, the spike in attacks on the TLM means progress is being made. Excellent.

  73. Semper Gumby says:

    bigtex: A buddy makes a good point regarding Fr. Ripperger’s “sermon”:

    A word search of the transcript shows that he used “anger” five times and “angry” twice. He should broaden his vocabulary and consider that “traditionalists” (i.e. Catholics) are disgusted and revolted.

  74. SuperTrad says:

    @dbonneville I figured the part about if she is not dressed modestly went without saying, what I was talking about was if someone decides not to talk to her because she dresses like she is Amish, then he has a problem. I do believe that these people (for the most part) dress this way because it’s the style they like or that’s how they believe they should present themselves at Mass, not because they are trying to broadcast how modest they are or show off. That’s what I have observed while attending there anyway.

  75. MundaCorMeum says:

    I found Fr. Ripperger’s sermon troubling. Yes, there were the perennially good points about avoiding pride and anger. I think that generally applies to everyone. However, I began scratching my head when he moved into odd generalizations about traditionalists violating the 6th commandment more than others. How else do he and his confreres get this information other than through confessions? Even if priests found that traditionalists confessed sins against the 6th commandment more than others, wouldn’t one distinct possibility be that they are more likely to confess such sins? At my TLM you need to show up very early before Mass in order to make it through the confession line. At the local N.O. parish it is out of the ordinary for me to see one other person show up for confession. A much more plausible explanation of such a phenomenon would seem to be a combination of the lack of going to confession with the likelihood that many who have only experienced “modern” catechesis may not even realize that certain actions constitute mortal sins against the 6th commandment that need to be confessed.

  76. Charivari Rob says:

    For the umpteenth time in reading one of these manic anti-Tradition screeds, I am forced to ask myself about where on earth was this chapel or church or parish she attended. It doesn’t sound like any place that I have experienced. […] Maybe there is such a wretched place. Maybe there isn’t.
    That’s very similar to my reaction whenever I encounter comment-box references to “Clown Mass” and other such tropes.

  77. MundaCorMeum says:

    Charivari Rob: Interestingly enough there is a church in my neighborhood that actually advertises a Clown Mass. Fortunately, it is a Lutheran Church!

  78. Semper Gumby says:

    MundaCorMeum wrote:

    “Yes, there were the perennially good points about avoiding pride and anger.”

    That is a surface reading of Fr. Ripperger’s harangue. Note this slur for example: “Anger’s a real problem among traditionalists.” Fr. Ripperger would benefit by avoiding calumny, defining “traditionalists,” and expanding his thinking out of the narrow confines of his “angry” perspective. Fr. Ripperger’s harangue is best ignored. Cheers.

    Charivari Rob: You would benefit by doing a little research into Clown masses, LGBT masses, Firebowl masses, etc. Cheers.

  79. Ferretti says:

    I’m coming in late to this conversation, but I’d suggest berets – it’s my favorite headgear for either OF or EF. Or grocery shopping. They come in winter or summer weight and a variety of colors. And they stay put, which I’ve noticed is often a struggle with the triangular, lacey veils. I suspect there’s a difference between women having their head’s covered and ceiling.

  80. Ferretti says:

    Oops. Veiling.

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