ACTION ITEM: Good article at Crisis. Then Fr. Z rants.

There is a good article at Crisis today, which all of you should both send by email and print out and hand to or send by mail to both your local priests and your bishops.

This is time sensitive.

As I have been hammering away at for some time now, there is a demographic sinkhole opening up under the Church. COVID-1984 accelerated its inexorable yawning. The “beige” Catholics will fall through this hole fairly soon, not to be seen again. The juggernauts of time and biology will take from our midst our dear seasoned Catholics. With them will go their economic support of the Church. Their children and grandchildren, the majority CINO, unchurched, will stop even pretending that they embrace the family faith. The institutional Church will be left without much material support, which will lead in turn to the loss of property, in a kind of cascade.

Present efforts at New Evangelization, as good and well-meaning as they are, are insufficient to face this ontological threat. That’s because they lack an essential component. Adequate sacred liturgical worship.

The fact is: WE ARE OUR RITES.

They shape us from the outside in and the inside out. They inform us and give us our identity. In order to have an impact on the world, which is our Christian duty, we have to know who we are. Hence, we need solid CULT, CODE and CREED. Worship, Catechism, and Law. Every good initiative we have as a Church must begin in and return to sacred liturgical worship. This is clear because of the necessity of the virtue of Religion, which must order our lives, orient us.

Benedict XVI knew what he was talking about when he wrote about a smaller and more committed Church. He knew what he was doing when he issued the “emancipation proclamation”, Summorum Pontificum, which freed up the use of the traditional Roman Rite. He had a kind of “Marshall Plan”, as I put it, to help rebuild Catholic identity after the devastation wrought in the post-Conciliar wars so that the Church could stand as a bulwark against the onslaught of the Dictatorship of Relativism.

Our sacred liturgical worship is the key to who we are. If it is disordered, institutionally, then our identity as Catholic will be disordered.

We are obliged, all of us, to fulfill the virtue of Religion. Justice governs what we give to other human beings as their due. But God is a qualitatively different kind of person. Hence, Religion virtue governs that which we give to God as His due. This is primarily accomplished through our sacred worship, as individuals and collectively. If our worship is disordered, then all the other relationships we have will be disordered as well. We, who are God’s images, will be out of sync.

What we see going on around us in the world and in the Church suggests that this is right.

The use of the Traditional Latin Mass will help us to correct our downward trajectory. It will help to overcome the atomization of our congregations which is bound to accelerate in the near future. As massive numbers of Catholic drop away not to be seen again, those groups with a strong identity remaining in the Church will, perforce, find each other, draw together.

Traditional worship is capable of melding them and supporting them in an increasingly hostile environment in a way that the Novus Ordo simply cannot do, especially as it has been used.

We are at a tipping point.

The knock-on effect that learning the Traditional Latin Mass has on priests is remarkable. That knock-on effect ripples beyond the sanctuary to congregations. Even as swathes of Catholics are going to be dropping away due to the COVID-charged sink-hole, we have a number of seminarians and young priests now who are poised to embrace Tradition and implement it in their parishes. They need support, especially when a few old women don’t like what Father is doing and gripe to the bishop – who usually caves in and throws his priest under the bus… for the sake of avoiding a couple complaints. That’s a dead end solution in the long run.

Tradition, far and wide, is attracting the young, with young families. Priest after priest tells me that they get more financial support from their Tradition loving minorities – for now minorities – than from their beige congregations.

An alarmed Enemy is fighting back against Tradition and fighting hard.

The revitalization for the Church through a restoration of our Catholic identity will require nearly heroic courage from priests and bishops.

Priests need to work hard to acquire tools that they were systematically cheated out of in their formation. They will be objects of intimidation, threats to complain to the bishop. They will fear that they can’t do it because the world will come down on them. They can do it, but it will take hard work and support from others. Graces will be given in this undertaking, because the connection of the priest and the altar is fundamental to the Church’s life. No other thing that the priest does is more important. Priests must also be willing to suffer attacks from libs, many of whom are not malicious but who are blinkered and nearly brainwashed.

Next, it is going to require nearly heroic courage and spirit of sacrifice from lay people who must support their priests and encourage them in projects that they will be reluctant to undertake. Lay people must also be ready to engage in their parishes on a new level.

Remember, friends, that we are our rites. As the Church prays, so do we believe and live.

Everything that we are and do as a Church flows from and returns to sacred liturgical worship. We are our rites.  More rites… more variations and modifications… more different “we”s.

Therefore, I circle back now to what I began with at the top of this rant, the article at Crisis.

The writer, Robert V. Greving, argues that the Traditional Latin Mass, with its stability, its control over the priest, its language, can provide unity in a parish among its various groups that the ever-fragmenting Novus Ordo cannot.   It can draw together various groups and “special interests” which otherwise are ghettoized, apart from each, with their own “specialty” Masses.

Pray for and support your Tradition loving priests.  They are going to be under massive attack.  The Enemy is on the move within the Church right now.

We require bold answers to the challenges we face.

Furthermore and finally, no initiative we undertake in the Church today for New Evangelization, to stem the bleeding or to bring the Gospel to new hearts and ears, will succeed it that initiative is not founded on a revitalization of our sacred liturgical worship.

Start all the committees you want. Issue all the pamphlets you can.  Begin in-person or online “inquiry” classes by the score.  Print articles in the local diocesan paper – so sought after today by so many! – or in parish bulletins  Put up smiley bill boards.  None of that will do a fraction of the good that revitalizing our sacred liturgical worship in our churches.  People will see at that other stuff and perhaps have an initial attraction.  Then they will see how Mass is celebrated in most places and … that’ll be that.

All of that stuff with sacred worship which stresses the transcendent, which doesn’t favor atomization, which requires effort and which can more effectively provide the opportunity to encounter Mystery… that will get people’s attention and hold it.  And it will hold them all, in their differences, together.

We are our rites.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ChesterFrank says:

    The church that I attend is using a program called Rebuilt
    to try and gain parishioners. The diocese is historically known as progressive as its former bishop was probably the longest serving and most progressive bishop in the country. Personally I am more inclined towards traditional, but maybe with enough acceptance of moderate change to keep me from being a true Traddy.

  2. Iacobus Mil says:

    I’ve had a number of priests tell me in recent years that they wished they knew Latin. There are any number of excellent reasons to see that our children learn Latin, but one of the best is that it is still the official language of the Church, and our concrete connection to the traditional liturgy. As an added bonus, if any of your sons have a calling to the priesthood, learning the TLM will be that much easier for them.

  3. Ave Maria says:

    I am in a novus ordo parish but….we have a well attended Sunday TLM (rivaling the best attended N.O. of the weekend) that has families and people driving for miles to attend. No restrictions other than every other pew into which we are packed. The traditional parishes I know of have no restrictions and some are bursting at the seams. There are no reported ‘cases’ in any of these places that I have heard about. My pastor says none here. Oh, our Masses are ad orietem and there is no funny business in the N.O.

  4. The Astronomer says:

    Hello Father,
    You stated “The institutional Church will be left without much material support, which will lead in turn to the loss of property, in a kind of cascade.”

    I beg to differ regarding the impact of losing financial support from the CINO, beige faithful. In exchange to returning to their Obama-era tepid, faux opposition to the new administration’s accelerating embrace of the cultural policies of Sodom and Gomorrah, the USCCB will be rewarded with the Federal Government again opening its wallet WIDE. I seem to remember, this amounted to many millions of dollars in order to pastorally care for, in a nurturing, gathering way, the flood of migrants who will realize the U.S.A. Gravy Train is once again open for business. It is a tad more than thirty pieces of silver, no?

    Champagne flutes are once again being raised in the chanceries and salons of the Lavender Mafia, knowing smiles abounding.

  5. I have to agree with The Astronomer. I can’t recall hearing a single bishop cry poverty during shutdowns.

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  7. catholictrad says:

    The bishops having cash-on-hand from the ‘feral’ government doesn’t keep beautiful church buildings from being demolished or sold off as parishes are combined. And how sad that too many bishops prefer to turn our inheritance into a mosque than to allow Traditional worship.

    As for the TLM-only diocesan parish I’m blessed to attend, it is bursting at the seams and loaded with cash resources. I’m pleased to see so many refugees that I recognize from my time in Liberal parishes. Their tears of joy at hearing a real homily is something to behold.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Important points, by Robert Greving:

    “The Mass deals with concepts that are precise and eternal; it should be celebrated in a language that, by usage, has come to be more precise and eternal in theological matters than any other language we have. Also, there is a decided advantage—almost the whole point of this article—in having a liturgy where the language cannot be tampered with.”

    Fr. Z:

    “An alarmed Enemy is fighting back against Tradition and fighting hard.”

    “Our sacred liturgical worship is the key to who we are. If it is disordered, institutionally, then our identity as Catholic will be disordered.”

    Good comments.

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