VIDEO: How are newcomers to the Traditional Latin Mass treated?

I saw an oldish video interview that Taylor Marshall did with Michael Matt of The Remnant.  They range around on many topics.  However, this part is of particular value.  How are newcomers to the Traditional Latin Mass treated?  Welcomed?  Not welcomed?  Engaged?  Ignored?  Criticized?  Supported?

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  1. tgarcia2 says:

    Suspicion is what I would say. When I first moved to Dallas I found the local parish. Mind you, I just got out of grad school and drove 800 miles to move to a new city/job. Got asked why I was single, why I wanted to join the KoC, why did I agree with the NO (and later why did I find the Anglican Use to be a valid Mass). Why are you not confirmed (won’t get into details here). Why did I not go to every Sunday Mass (I worked for an airline, and some Sunday’s J couldn’t). So, I left to another parish where there was KoC support and I went on. About last year I saw they had put a 5:30 PM Mass with the new Pastor. I went, it was fine, didn’t engage much afterward since there was no socializing like after the morning ones. Non Mass related- got 20 questions from the guy in the bookstore asking how old I was, why was I there, who did I work for. I felt like just telling him I’m here for mystic monk coffee for for a medal, do you want my business or not?

    Haven’t been back since. I may try again next week if I can fill in a sign in slot for one of the Masses.

  2. JesusFreak84 says:

    First TLM I attended was in a major enough city that no one paid me any mind. Probably thought I was a tourist or just missed any of the earlier OF Masses… Being a high-functioning autistic, I actually LIKE that people don’t get all in my face when I’m somewhere new, just because it’s a face they don’t recognize. The trad parishes I’ve been to, personally, have a good sense of that area between IN YOUR FACE!!! and ignoring anyone who isn’t already part of the “club.” However, I’m well aware that, like most things in life, YMMV.

  3. Nathanael says:

    I’ve written this comment three or four times now, discussing this part of the video, or that aspect of the TLM I attend, or balancing one NO aspect against another VO one, on the importance of both hospitality and its proper place, and maybe it’s a tricky issue, or maybe I just get more lost in nuance than the most jesuitical jesuit you could imagine giving his or her homily on art history, but none of it was coming together, so I’ll just say this, acknowledging it’s but one emotionally charged anecdote:
    One of the very few obligatory Masses I’ve ever missed was because I was watching helplessly as my mother had the most horrific seizure I’ve seen in my life for the better part of a Sunday. Watching her die slowly and silently over the following week took basically everything out of me, and so the next Sunday the only thing I could think to do was to get me to Mass to pray for her soul and to give to God the little I had left and the huge stores I’d laid up.
    The only Mass I could get to was in a lovely old church with a beautiful high altar that goes completely unused, save as a prop for flowers and a couple of candles, because it’s NO only and it shows.
    As I knelt before Mass, yearning to pray, I’ve never felt so disconnected from God and His Church, and indeed even from His people, in my entire life, as I did surrounded by the incessant, insistent, cackling hospitality of the parishioners chattering loudly, longly, and profanely until Mass began (and then seemingly only slightly less frequently and at a barely reduced volume), their constant chortling and inane banter about casseroles and lawn clippings and this darned heat banshee wails intruding upon my grief and shattering my every attempt at that prayer. [While I recognize your grief at the time, that is NOT what Taylor or Michael were talking about as “hospitality” in a positive sense.]
    I would never begrudge anyone their post-Mass donut hour, nor decry any help given a newcomer to get settled before Mass, but if our hospitality becomes an impediment to prayer and adoration the way it has at many the NO parish, the very best thing we might be able to claim will be that we succeeded in trading away the war to win a battle.

    [I think that if you go back listen to what they were trying to say, really listen, you will get that they weren’t talking about what you described.]

  4. catholictrad says:

    BC (Before COVID) our TLM parish would visit in the parish hall after each of three packed Masses. Several of us have the habit of smiling and gently searching faces for those who need/want a “hello”. This method avoids running of the socially awkward while at the same time giving attention where it is needed.

    As for other TLM parishes, including SSPX and FSSP, I’ve found them to be terrific! I’ve very seldom felt left out, interrogated, or dragged into an unwanted discussion.

    The only thing I’ve found lacking is fellowship for 50+ aged men. I’ve cobbled together a group time and again for Prayer, Beer, and Jesus (PB&J), but they tend to die from people moving away. Devil plagued I suppose?

    As for critics, they aren’t tolerated unless they’re very quiet about it. Only Father is allowed to speak to people about their mode of dress, etc. So unless one of us regulars is out-of-order, people will seldom get the “stink-eye”. If we are minding the state of our own soul, we have no time to criticize others.

  5. I started attending TLM’s from time to time starting in the 1980s after John Paul II issued his indult–because I missed the old Mass. It wasn’t the best of experiences. The priests were kind and holy men, but most of them tended to race through the Mass, as though they were trying to recreate the parish-church experience of the 1950s, when many priests said Mass rather perfunctorily.

    The main problem, though was the other TLM attendees. They were mostly older people who were bitter about the Novus Ordo (probably for good reason, since the 1970s and 1980s were liturgical disasters); many of them seemed to have attended underground TLMs in ad hoc dissident parishes). They took out their bitterness on any member of the congregation who didn’t maintain absolute silence during the entire Mass. No “Amen” or “Et cum spiritu tuo” for them! One lady in front of me on one occasion pointedly walked out of her pew in a huff to take a seat on the other other side of the church” after I dared to chant the “Sursum corda” responses before the Preface. And woe to the woman–expressed by many a dart from other female eyes–who failed to show up not wearing a veil. On another occasion the woman sitting in front of me (a different one) decided that I hadn’t buttoned up my blouse modestly high enough to satisfy her, so she turned around toward me several times during the Mass to do a pantomime button-up on her own chest (I just pretended not to notice). Such behavior was not uncommon then. One of my friends, although a real fan of the TLM, called it “the best Mass for the worst people.” After a while, I just gave up on the TLM for many years (exception: midnight mass on Christmas, because the rest of the churches in my diocese have decided they can get a bigger crowd if they hold “midnight” Mass at 9 p.m. Christmas Eve). I decided I’d rather go to a reverent NO Mass (my own Dominican parish) or an Ordinariate Mass in beautiful Elizabethan English (a friend’s parish) than put up with a lot of irritating people–and besides, my Protestant husband, who usually attends Sunday Mass with me, just doesn’t get the TLM version.

    Then, while visiting a friend in Savannah, I attended a simple but beautiful TLM Mass at the cathedral there–so I decided to give the TLM in my home town another try when my husband had a Sunday morning engagement. I was astonished at the demographic difference. The church was packed–but instead of cranky old people, they were mostly young people in their 20s and 30s, many in families with small children. What a difference it made! I dropped in for the coffee-and-donut hour afterwards and had a great time chatting with friendly people and buying myself a superior Roman Missal to the ancient one I’d carried about for years. The pastor is young–and so are most of the other priests there. So–although I’m not a regular attendee of the TLM (my husband, because it’s a good thing that he attends any Mass), I still go from time to time, especially on special feast days that fall on weekdays. It would have been so different and wonderful had this mood of cheerful faith been there from the beginning. Trad Catholics can be their own worst enemies.

  6. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    The coffee and donut social following TLMs — without a doubt — blow away any novus ordo “hospitality hour” in the U.S.
    Seriously, I think the important point to stress to TLM first-timers is to be proactive in going to the coffee and donut social and then being…social. It is where I have made many, many friends. Yes, there are novus ordo services where the priest will prance down the aisle during the sermon and see a visitor and hug him, asking his name and where he is from — but do you want that? Socialize after Mass. Work hard, play hard, in that order.

  7. I’m admittedly a bit of an introvert, but I go to Mass to be with the Lord. I enjoy active participation with fellow active participants by kneeling in silence with them before Mass, singing with them during the Gloria, standing with them to hear the Gospel with them, listening to the sermon with them, holding our collective breath at the mystery, kneeling at the altar rail with them, and genuflecting at the Verbo Caro Factum Est with them. I know I’m a bit introverted, but the sense of welcome that radiates from a tabernacle is just overwhelming, and nothing anyone could say would keep me from being there, especially at the TLM, where there’s nothing to distract me from the sacred mystery (like unworthy vestments, cute funnies peppered from beginning to end, vapid music, chaotic signs of peace, etc etc). Maybe I’m too oblivious to what other people are saying about me and everyone is wondering who that weirdo is! Haha!

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  9. luciavento says:

    Is it really love shown at the NO Mass if the love of God has been displaced by love of man? If the affection/love/respect/hospitality shown to people at the Mass (before, during, and after) supersedes the love and honor given to God (especially before, during, and after Mass), then one has not accomplished anything. If one does not show love/charity and honor for God, then one cannot show true hospitality and charity toward neighbor. (If I have not charity, I am a sounding brass … I am nothing … it profiteth me nothing.) How can we judge one’s heart? We can’t judge the heart, but we can observe actions and we can choose to show hospitality to others in its right relation to the honor and love we owe almighty God.

  10. Nathanael says:

    You’re right, of course, Father, that they weren’t advocating the sorts of things I described; sorry if that’s what came across. Hospitality in the proper sense is certainly an important area where we can improve, and attract (or at least not scare away) “converts” from the NO.
    What got me thinking along the lines I did was when Michael Matt was talking about how many NO places (utopias?) had “turned the whole church into a gathering place, even the sanctuary is a place where you can hang out and talk and get chummy with everybody.”
    My sense is not that the NO places that do that, for the most part, are doing it knowing it’s wrong, but with the best of intentions; indeed probably intentions very similar to what Taylor Marshall and Michael Matt are discussing here.
    I agree they’re on to something important, it’s something we’ve been working hard on at my TLM since the COVID-1984 panic has actually driven quite a few new folks to us, and we’ve had a lot more socializing after Mass among those of us who aren’t new as well, which has been great.
    My only concern is that we not let our own best of intentions go awry as well. I view it as a somewhat delicate balance, but perhaps I’m overestimating the danger of going too far?

  11. Fulco One Eye says:

    We have found the group in our (diocesan) Tridentine Rite Mass to be no better (or worse) in welcoming visitors than the NO parish we attended for many years. When we are traveling around the country – a thing of the past right now – we seek out parishes with Tridentine Rite Masses and are, truly, visitors. None of these have been unfriendly or questioning in any way.

    I am not saying the folks are gregarious or touchy-feely. They are like Catholics have always been – you are left alone unless you reach out. The few times I felt motivated to reach out, people were very friendly. My personal view is that this is the way it should be. After all, you are their for God, primarily.

  12. Michael Haz says:

    I bounced around from one NO parish to another to another for years. What kept me bouncing was atmosphere, or perhaps its lack. They seemed so…Protestant that I barely recognized the Catholicism of my childhood. I felt empty there. It was like going to a Lions Club meeting at times, and religion seemed the least important thing.

    A friend invited me to a TLM parish. I was awed by the reverence, the bells, the choir, the beauty, the holiness. After a few weeks I decided to join and prepared myself for an interview of some sort. When I called the parish secretary she asked me to fill out a simple form and drop it in the collection basket. I did, and a few days later received an email welcoming me to the parish. Soon after the pastor invited my wife and myself to dinner in the rectory with other parishioners, new and long-time. We never felt so welcomed, so embraced in any parish as we were (and continue to be) in this TLM parish.

    That was 12 years ago. Our parish has grown by leaps and bounds. And nw we extend the same welcome and smiles and words to new faces as was done for us.

  13. Veronica scriptor velum says:

    I love the TLM, it’s beauty, it’s God-centred trancendence and the reverence of the congregation. It saddens me greatly that where I live now (in southern Spain) I can only attend the TLM once a month, and it’s a long drive away. A visiting traditional priest travels down on the first Sunday of the month from Madrid to my nearest city to celebrate it. The little chapel is always packed out these days with mostly families and young people, a sign of the growing interest among Spanish Catholics for the traditional liturgy.

    I know no one there, although some of the regulars nod and smile at me in recognition when we leave. I have never felt the slightest hostility, unfriendliness or suspicion; I’m sure no newcomers do. People at the TLM don’t chat in Church; they aren’t looking around to judge others, what they’re wearing, etc. They go to worship God in the most beautiful way this side of Heaven. That’s the way it should be and it suits me fine.

    I love the dear well-meaning people in my own NO parish, but sometimes I despair at their behaviour. The happy-clappy, community-gathering aspect at Mass is what appears to be most important for many of them. The loud chatter and laughter before, occadionally during, and especially as soon as the priest walks off the altar is shocking. Impossible for anyone wanting to extend their thanksgiving prayers a little longer.
    Lots of love of neighbour for sure, but did not Our Blessed Lord say that love for God comes first?

  14. aptak says:

    I was treated better and welcomed more at the TLM parish in comparison to the various Novus Ordo parishes that I have attended. The folks at the TLM church noticed I was new, made it a point to talk to me, and help me in following the liturgy. As for the many Novus Ordo parishes that I have attended, I have been treated as if I were invisible – just a faceless body amongst a crowd that is always in a hurry to leave.

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