Not all is dark in the Church. Tradition is flooding back!

Remember that “survey” that the CDF wanted to make of the world’s bishops about the use of the “Extraordinary Form” and matters concerning Summorum Pontificum?

Keep your heads cool.  Don’t panic.

Christian Marquant reacts post factum in the Paix Liturgique newsletter there is an interesting tid bit.

First, a refresher.  I’ve been writing for a while now that, even as availability and frequency of the Traditional Roman Rite is growing, there is a demographic sinkhole opening under the Church into which the “nones” and the tepid, the “beige” will soon fall.  This is exacerbated by COVID-1984.  Also, the clock keeps ticking on older, senior Catholics.  It ticks for all of us, but some are closer to the end than others.  When they go, their material support of the Church goes with them.    But “trad” families are large and committed.


Paix Liturgique: And that, then, is why you are so pleased with this Roman survey among all the bishops of the world.

Christian Marquant: At the beginning of this interview I spoke of those Italian bishops who are hostile to the expansion of the traditional liturgy. Now, the results of this survey are supposed to be handled at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by the personnel in charge of the traditional liturgy. Yet the Italian bishops, who keenly spotted the inherent danger of this survey, have arbitrarily modified the procedure outlined by Rome: the Conference of Italian Bishops has instructed the bishops of Italy to send their answers not back to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but straight to the Conference of Bishops, which will then take it upon itself to collate them, summarize them, and send its summary to the Holy See. Without wishing to seem naïve (I am fully aware that those opposed to the traditional liturgy will do their utmost to thwart it), I see this as proof that they have been rattled by the truth. And this truth is the weight of the Summorum Pontificum world, which is a stand-in for the discontent of a considerable proportion of Catholics worldwide.

Paix Liturgique: So you believe that the current situation bothers them?

Christian Marquant:  I do believe so, and I’ll give you a reason why: a few days ago our dear friend Marco Sgroi, the president of the Italian Coordination of Summorum Pontificum, was telling us that the number of places where the traditional liturgy is celebrated in Italy had increased from 129 to 134 within the space of the single year 2019. This represents an increase of five venues, or 4%, within 71 of the 222 dioceses of Italy. He also told us that requests for celebrations are more and more numerous in Italy (at least thirty verified requests where the traditional liturgy is not currently being celebrated), even though there as elsewhere the drumbeat had long been that “the traditional problem concerns only the French, in France” … Understandably, the Italian bishops are as worried today as the French bishops were yesterday.


This is the same Italian Bishops Conference whose daily news association just defended the child-porn promoting “Cuties”.

In France, more and more the life of the Church is being influenced by the TRADITIONAL form.  That will happen in Italy and everywhere else, too.

Bishops are frightened.  That means they will lash out.  They will continue to target priests who do traditional things.   For insecure bishops, every time they hear about Latin (which they don’t know) or see a TLM is being said or a – GASP! -an picnic table altar is being removed or Mass is going ad orientem – they lash out at the priests.

Bishops are frightened because they see the statistics.  Demographics are changing for priests too, not just lay people.  Younger priests are more and more open to Traditional.  That is scary.

The Church’s landscape is going to change massively.  Tectonically.  A few groups will remain strong in the Church, including Traditionalists (who are having lots of children, who are dedicated and generous with their money). There are also committed converts from a more Evangelical background. There are charismatics who have strong Eucharistic and Marian devotion.   Out of necessity these groups will find each other.  There will be friction, but something amazing will grow out of their contact and integration.  The TRADITIONAL LATIN  RITE, not the Novus Ordo, will being them together.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Si vis pacem para bellum!, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. acardnal says:

    THREE new weekly TLM Masses this month at three parishes in the diocese of Madison! Two on Sundays and one on Mondays.

    Thank you Fathers!

  2. CasaSanBruno says:

    I know a priest who, when speaking with his bishop and on account of the demographics in his parish, always refers to the EF Mass in his parish as “the youth Mass”. It drives his bishop nuts to no end.

  3. JTH says:

    My parish priest is thinking of adding a second TLM on Sundays due to an increase in interest for the Mass. Two and half years ago when I started attending there were maybe 30 people at the TLM. Now it’s closer to 200.

  4. magistradomina says:

    This is good news, with a caveat. The support of the Church by her oldest demographic will wane. But if the current Vatican regime is looking to China to pay the bills, as rumors of billion dollar “donations” swirl, the impact of tradition minded pewsitters can yet be muted.

  5. arga says:

    Based on what Fr Z has written, I would say it’s likely that Rome will come up with a few very clever maneuvers to thwart the growth of the TLM or even to roll it back.

    [Nah… I don’t think they will.]

  6. lh says:

    We keep praying for an increase in our area. There were 200 families who requested the TLM. We had property donated as well as monies and volunteers for everything needed. Still our request was rejected by our bishop. We keep praying. Those who attend TLM are very blessed. Pray for those of us who don’t have the opportunity.

  7. NOCatholic says:

    “The TRADITIONAL LATIN  RITE, not the Novus Ordo, will being them together.”

    Respectfully, I believe the liturgy, whether the TLM or the NO is only part of what will bring traditionalists, former evangelicals and charismatics together.

    As an evangelical Protestant convert, I was drawn to the Church, in part, by a reverently celebrated, Novus Ordo Mass (celebrated by a bishop who could sing the liturgy very well. But since it was in English, it was both attractive and accessible. I have to reserve judgement on the TLM being attractive since I have not been to a High Mass, only a Low. But the TLM is not all that accessible.

    Only God knows what will unite the faithful remnant.

  8. WVC says:


    Perhaps you should learn more about the Traditional Latin Mass? Fr. Z and many of the folks here have spent a great deal of time both in the NO as well as the Latin Mass, and they have found something important in the traditional liturgy that they did not find in the NO (even when celebrated reverently). As I’ve said before, at my parish I believe that the NO is celebrated as reverently as possible (ad orientem, no passing of the peace, Communion received kneeling on the tongue) and it is still very jarring to me after having spent several decades with the Latin Mass.

    I would point you to Scott Hahn – a famous convert who was first attracted to the charismatic movement within the Church, but who eventually moved towards the Latin Mass. There is something important there that is well worth everyone’s time and effort. At the very least, every single Catholic in the Latin Rite should feel obligated to attend a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It’s part of the Church, of our shared heritage – it’s a treasure trove passed down for generations upon generations. Why deprive one’s self of these riches?

  9. kurtmasur says:

    @lh: “Still our request was rejected by our bishop.”

    If I’m not mistaken, I think that that was precisely the point of Summorum Pontificum, that the TLM could be accessible to the faithful without the need to get approval of the bishop (as had been the requirement up to that point). All you need is one priest, just one, to agree to say the TLM for your community.

  10. JesusFreak84 says:

    The ICKSP just announced they’re starting a new parish in Ohio. I was worried that WuFlu would make it impossible for them to start any new parishes this year, so this is doubly-excellent news! The numbers game is ultimately in the TLM’s favor, IMHO.

    As far as charismatics….that stuff’s all so far in the emotions that I’m not convinced it’ll survive, to plagiarize CS Lewis’ Screwtape, “5 minutes genuine toothache,” let alone the actual persecution that’s inevitably in our future.

  11. Veronica scriptor velum says:

    Certainly one is assured that “not all is dark in the Church” once you have gone on the annual traditional Chartres pilgrimage!
    I have been going on this beautiful walking pilgrimage since 2001 (only missing a few years) and I can say with all sincerity that it is the greatest spiritual boost and testimony that Tradition in the Church is indeed “flooding back”. The numbers of participants, especially among the non-French chapters, is rising – over 14,000 in 2019 – with an average age of about 25 to 30 more or less.

    Can you imagine 14,000 traditional Catholics from all over the world fired up with love for their Faith? All prepared to suffer all sorts of hardships and fatigue on the 62 mile hike for love of Christ and His Holy Church? At the daily celebrations of the TLM you could hear a pin drop; the attentiveness and devotion of these young Catholics is wonderful to behold.

    Whenever I feel tempted to despair at the terrible state of things in the Church (in Rome and worldwide), or the betrayals of so many of those who identify themselves as Catholics, I simply recall the Chartres pilgrimage and the hope for our future that it brings.

  12. Praying that Tradition will spread and be all the more accessible. Those of us with young families more than embrace the authenticity and beauty of the TLM and true unchanged doctrine.

  13. hwriggles4 says:

    I received first communion in 1974. We lived in Orange County, which at that time was still in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Had an old school pastor (this parish had four priests: the old school pastor, a young priest (who I hope stayed a priest – many left in the 1970s) , a priest who Spanish was his first language, and a Benedictine. The Benedictine priest did my first communion. and the parish must have had ten Masses each weekend, which included one Latin Mass at 9:15 am on Sunday and one or two Masses in Spanish since I do recall an 8:00 am Sunday Mass in Spanish). We had our first confession a few weeks before and we received kneeling at the altar rail with a platen so we didn’t drop the host. My mother told me “don’t chew it.” I wore a blue tie, blue slacks, black shoes and a long sleeve white shirt. The girls wore white dresses and veils. I still remember all of us processing in that Saturday morning in April with hands in prayer and following along. One reason I remember this was we moved to Texas that summer.

    Fast forward a few years…my younger brothers received first communion in Houston (late 1970s). Both of them could pretty much wear what they wanted, and I know my youngest brother wasn’t obligated to have first confession beforehand (sadly this was not uncommon at many parishes during the 70s and 80s – excuses like they will get scared off and what serious sins do they have and that’s old church we don’t do that today) . It’s a no brainer why many Catholics like myself who grew up in the 70s and 80s looked at confirmation as a graduation – they didn’t “get it.”

    I am glad I received my first communion where I did, and I thank an old school pastor for sticking to his guns.

  14. NOCatholic says:

    To clarify, when I said “accessible” I did not mean “available”. Rather, I meant that the ability of someone not familiar with that form of the Mass to meaningfully add their active participation (understood as interior, prayerful, participation) to the liturgy — that is, accessible to their participation.

    @JesusFreak84: Some charismatics come to a serious and deep appreciation of the Catholic faith. Others spin off into the ozone. Every renewal movement (including traditionalists with their sedevacantists) has experienced similar problems.

    @WVC: I’ve already learned a great deal about the TLM from Father Z’s postings. My experience, at the one Low Mass I attended, was a mirror opposite of yours with the NO: Having spent several decades with the NO, I found the TLM rather jarring. I expected the Latin and was helpfully provided with a “red book” when I and my family entered. And I was not put off by altar rails nor receiving on the tongue (my normal pre-pandemic preference). But the Mass was hard to follow, and both the priest (even for those parts that were not “secret”) and the layman reading the server’s parts, were hard to hear, and proceeded rapidly. It was. simply, not accessible in any practical sense. If I ever attend a High Mass with its chant that might make a difference, but those are few and far between around here.

    But the NO in and of itself, does not jar me, nor bother my conscience, nor make me feel I am missing something” as it seems to do for many here. So I have no special motivation to seek out the TLM other than my own interest. Honestly, I look forward to the “mutual enrichment” that Pope Benedict envisioned.

    Interesting about Scott Hahn, whose background I’m quite familiar with. Thanks for the info, I’ll have to find out what he has to say. He has written extensively on the Jewish Passover antecedents to the Mass.

  15. OssaSola says:

    I have read that there are now Catholic children who have never attended a Novus Ordo and all of whose sacraments have been given in the Latin version all the way through Confirmation! This was amazing to me and gives me hope!

  16. Semper Gumby says:

    NOCatholic wrote: “But the NO in and of itself, does not jar me, nor bother my conscience, nor make me feel I am missing something as it seems to do for many here. So I have no special motivation to seek out the TLM other than my own interest.”

    I, I, me, me.

  17. albinus1 says:

    kurtmasur: But the bishop could still make life very difficult for that one priest.

  18. WVC says:

    @NOCatholic – I sincerely hope you soon have the opportunity to attend a High Mass. Although, sometimes we have to make opportunities happen. I use to drive an hour+ on Sunday to attend the beautiful Mass in the lovely Gothic Old St. Mary’s in D.C. (mobilizing numerous small children to hit the road by 0700 to make it in time for 0900 Mass isn’t the most relaxing Sunday mornign routine). Then I found a community close by, and sold my home to move within 10 minutes of that parish.

    I have lot of analogies about one raised or solely familiar with the NO encountering the TLM, but they all come across as unflattering, at least in a comment threat, so I’ll leave them out. I can say that my own experience was similar when I attended my first Latin Mass, a low Mass, where I was completely lost in the little red book within about 5 minutes. Even then I learned a very important lesson that had escaped me until then – the real purpose of the liturgy. It was, quite literally, a life changing experience.

  19. NOCatholic says:

    As Catholics, the Church allows each of us the freedom to choose which form of the Latin Rite (either the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form) we use to fulfill our responsibility under Divine Law to give God the worship He is due — an individual responsibility and choice.

  20. NOCatholic says:

    @WVC: I hope I have that opportunity as well.

  21. Semper Gumby says:

    NOCatholic wrote:

    “…nor bother my conscience…”

  22. lh says:

    @kurtmasur the bishop here has made it clear to his priests that if they agree to offer TLM there will be a heavy price to pay. There are some priests willing but they are afraid of the consequences.

  23. jmrat24 says:

    Well, youd have to tell that to some of the bishops. Even a revarent NO Mass is punished in some dioceses, and the priests who try anything get sent away to timbuktu or a retreat somewhere for a few months. Not naming any names, I pray for a TLM to happen in our diocese. Tired of feeling like my children and I stick out like sore thumbs just for recieving on the tongue and kneeling after Communion.

  24. Semper Gumby says:

    Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.

    2 Thessalonians 2:14

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