A note from a reader in Washington DC, where Card. Gregory has treated the faithful with great cruelty. My emphases:
Thank you for your reporting on the TLM situation out here in the DC area. I have written to you before about the situation out here, and I must say that the recent announcement from the Cardinal was indeed a cruel blow, though not unexpected. An interesting fact: the nearest diocesan chapel where the TLM will be offered is going to be only 15 minutes away, but with seating for only 75; we’ve regularly had that many children under 14 in attendance at just our DC parish TLM on Sundays…
We are obviously and deeply hurt by this decision by the Cardinal, but for the time being we’re committed to our current parish and to assisting our pastor (who is committed to celebrating as prayerful and reverent of a Novus Ordo Mass as he is allowed…what a strange thing to say) while he navigates through this cruel situation. It is a hard thing to be forced to choose between our parish and our preferred prayer. Nevertheless, I now must find ways by which I can explain these developments to my two eldest sons (of 6 sons), while also trying to figure how and when they will be able to still occasionally serve the TLM out here.
Amidst this sadness, I’ve got to say, Father, there is likewise a strange level of peace I have about this return to the “Good Old Bad Days”. I also have a sense that all the cruelty of the last few years (COVID interdicts, Traditionis Custodes, general breakdown of society etc.) will end up being some sort of preamble or advanced spiritual training for whatever other battle is coming.
All things considered, this is a really nasty blow for us, but we know Christ wins in the end. So our decision is that we will hold fast to The Faith of our fathers, and work towards growing in holiness as a family.
Please continue to pray for us here in DC. Please pray for Cardinal Gregory. We will continue to keep you in the intention of our daily family rosary. Once again, thank you for all you have done to educate and encourage us during these times. Keep The Faith!
Such faith. God bless and keep these good people.
Back to the catacombs of the 70’s as a family converts their living room into a chapel for the offering of the TLM. pic.twitter.com/QjCV3n31MX
— Father V (@father_rmv) July 25, 2022
While I respect your decision as a parent of a large Catholic family trying to pass on the faith under hostile circumstances.I think you should consider absenting yourself from your old parish or at least withhold your time and treasure. Cardinal Gregory hopes you’ll acquiesce and he will have succeeded in stomping out the Vetus Ordo without consequences. Sympathy for your Pastor is misplaced ; he can be easily replaced by a hostile Modernist Priest. I urge you to if your difficult family responsibilities allow , attend the Old Mass or at least withhold donations. Give nothing to the Cardinals Appeal and tell them why. I pray that soon you will be able to provide your family with traditional worship without enduring such hardships. God Bless you and the Mother of God protect you.
There are true succesors of Judas in the Church.
Thank you for this, Father. This situation has been weighing heavily on my heart, and the oppression, dread and other negative feelings are tangible. I know that I personally am being called to a stronger faith and trust in God, and to charitably pray for the Church. This letter just confirms my sense of communion with my suffering brethren. We must all fast and pray, because it is in the cross that we are sanctified. Thy Kingdom Come! Jesus, I trust in Thee!
Even though Oregon is extremely liberal and overall quite anti-Christian (which makes me want to move, but that is a different discussion), I am very thankful we have so much availability for the TLM. Archbishop Sample had dispensed the archdiocese from Traditiones Custodes and all TLMs continue as before. There are even several churches that celebrate their NO Masses ad orientem. I really feel for all those whose bishop has suppressed their TLM.
It hasn’t happened to us yet and I hope we will be the last to cave if it comes to that.
I know everyone can’t do it but…why not support your own parish if you have a good priest as the OP mentions while at the same time supporting the TLM, if it’s close by as the OP also mentions.
Imagine the possible newsworthinesses of Mass goers overflowing the small chapel!
Although our TLMs are still on a normal schedule here I have been for several years on most Sundays attending my parish NO Mass and also driving a distance to the TLM in support of both.
I know not everyone is in a position to do this, but it’s a thought…
My old Neapolitan Grandmother would say” without money the priest does not sing the Mass” I think these troubled times call for a new practice “ No Vetus Ordo Mass, no money”.
Come across the river, brother. I don’t know how much longer we in Alexandria will be allowed to continue to celebrate as our ancestors did, but in the meantime allow us to welcome you and your family to worship with us. Come.
With prayers for the repentance and conversion of bishops,
Your friends at St Rita
Words that will likely seem prophetic in a few years:
” will end up being some sort of preamble or advanced spiritual training for whatever other battle is coming.”
I’m always torn as to whether it is better to send nothing to the Bishop’s Appeal or to pledge $.01 and tell them where the rest of my donation went.
When I was a little kid, every Mass at our parish had men standing/kneeling in the side aisles by the walls, while women and children sat in the pews.
(Partly because it took a while to rebuild one nearby parish after a tornado, and partly because another neighboring parish didn’t get money to enlarge above basement level until the Eighties. The basement church was also standing room only.)
It’s not a big deal, per se, albeit it’s kinda sacrificial. But it sorta reinforced in my mind that Mass was important, because it was so crowded.
I heartily endorse the “vote with your wallet”: at a minimum, don’t donate to the bishop’s causes, and (if you feel you have little to lose from the bishop knowing your name) tell him why.
On the other hand, I also think it is OK and often good to support your local priest if he is orthodox and just has to obey the bishop: if you are sick or dying and need the sacraments, your parish priest is the likely source of them. You need him.
However, it is a fine balancing act to support your priest without supporting the bishop: a portion of the weekly till goes to the diocese. You can get around this, by being creative. Here are a couple: suppose you want a mass said. Instead of your usual $20 donation/stipend, make it $200, or whatever you might have donated to the parish for a time. Donate in kind, with groceries, or pay an auto repair bill, or provide gift certificates to the local grocery store. Or pay the electric bill once.
I do have a question and please help me out here. I don’t understand this seeming intransigence to reject the NO mass. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate TLM. I go to TLM once in a while. But NO mass is where I normally go to. But if TLM is suppressed, it is not like we will never have a mass ever again. Do some people think NO mass is either invalid or inferior? Because if they do think this way, isn’t that at some a level a rejection of what the Church teaches? And therefore at some level it is a form of disobedience on our Church? And therefore at some level one is at risk of sinning (if not already sinning)? There is no other power on earth who can decree how we publicly worship God. That power is given to Church alone. And the Church has decreed that the NO mass is our ordinary way of publicly and communally worshipping God. Are we then not rejecting the Church if we refuse to accept what the Church had decreed? If NO mass is either bad or invalid, then are people also rejecting the sanctity and sainthood of Pope JP II who has been enthusiastically promoting and celebrating NO masses? But if they accept that Pope JP II is a saint, then surely they accept that nothing that Pope JP II did contradict or harmed the Catholic faith. This means that him, promoting and celebrating NO mass does not contradict nor harm the Catholic faith. On the contrary, if they accept the sainthood of Pope JP II, then they also accept that his actions enrich our faith. Since the most important and highest actions that he can ever do is to celebrate the NO mass, then one can only conclude that his NO masses enriches the faithful of God. The objection that NO mass is susceptible to abuses does not render the NO mass inferior or even an invalid form of mass, I do not think. The problem are the abuses, not the mass itself. As an analogy. We do have free will. Since this free will is given by God, then it must be good. But our free will often times get abused. Are we then to say that free will is bad? I think we need to show humility and submission to our Holy Mother Church, not defiance and bitterness as if the Church is out to get us. Such feelings cannot possibly be of God.
Having lived through the changes of Vatican II and being deprived of Catholic Tradition once ; I am unwilling to go through this iconoclastic persecution again. I have been attending the Vetus Ordo with the approval of St John Paul II and Benedict XVI for over 30 years the Church cannot abruptly change that and expect me to pay for the privilege. The Novus Ordo Mass is valid attend it if you like. The Traditional Mass is sacred and beautiful if it’s robbed from me don’t expect me to hand over my wallet too.
I feel like I must respond to Arturo’s post above. I don’t speak for anyone but myself, but I, for one, refuse to be bullied or coerced back into attending the Novus Ordo as my regular Mass. I reject mentality of “Why not just be a good little boy (or girl) and abandon the traditional Mass like kindly old Pope Francis says you should?” Sorry, no. Personally, I don’t reject the Novus Ordo as “invalid.” But I do believe, based on my own study of it and analysis of its history, that it is a watered-down, protestantized Mass that has turned out to be a failure over these past 50 years. I have to be true to my own conscience. Those of who truly believe that the Traditional Mass is worth preserving and promoting have no choice but to continue this fight and not cave. Ultimately, it’s the same sort of fight that the Catholics in England faced in the 16th century. There were certainly some saintly, pious Catholics who decided to go along to get along and reluctantly conformed to the new Church of England (which at that time styled itself as the “Catholic Church in England”). Others were martyrs and recusants. In the play A Man for All Seasons, the Thomas More character explains it well, “And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?”
I wish to address a few of the mistakes that Arturo above invites us to make:
Do some people think NO mass is either invalid
Some think that, but the vast majority of TLM people do not. It is, in effect, a false flag theory.
or [think it is] inferior?
Most certainly, many do, but not all by any means. The objective grounds for thinking the older mass is objectively superior are many and well attested by numerous prelates who were sound, in union with Rome and the pope, and died in good odor in the Church. It takes several books to lay out the details of these vastly many facts – books which HAVE BEEN WRITTEN and are readily available. It is puerile to simply assume that these sources are all mistaken, without even attempting to consider them.
However, many who go to the TLM do not do so because they think “The TLM is objectively a better mass”, they do so because they find that mass better feeds their needs. It is a personal observation about their own situation, not a claim about the objective, impersonal facts. This observation cannot be overturned by reference to some external claim, unless the external claim is that The TLM is objectively a bad mass. Because the TLM was the mass of the Latin Rite for 1500 years, such a claim would be EVEN MORE outrageously nonsensical than a baldfaced assertion that because the NO mass was the mass Paul VI came up with, it MUST be better than the TLM.
Because if they do think this way, isn’t that at some a level a rejection of what the Church teaches?
Absolutely not. The Church most certainly DOES NOT TEACH that the Church never makes prudential errors. Indeed, the Church does make such errors, and Francis is currently teaching just that by acknowledging and apologizing for Church errors in Canada regarding past actions about indigenous peoples.
The Church teaches that an ecumenical (universal) council cannot err on a matter of faith and morals in a dogmatic pronouncement. The Church (even seated in such council) can err in non-dogmatic decrees. It can issue unclear, vague, ambiguous, and ill-formed comments about various truths. It can issue poorly decided juridical decrees that will cause more harm than good. All these the Holy Spirit permits, and this is Church teaching.
The Novus Ordo mass, however, was (a) NOT the Church in Council issuing a dogmatic pronouncement, it was the result of a committee formed after the Council closed. (b) It also, clearly and unambiguously, DOES NOT follow the directions given by the Council in Sacramentum Concilium. Hence, even if the council of Vatican II were protected from error in every word of Sacramentum Concilium, that protection would NOT also protect the NO mass from defect.
And therefore at some level it is a form of disobedience on our Church?
It is possible to disobey the Church on the matter of the TLM, but not merely by preferring the TLM, and (for nearly all lay people) not by going to mass at a TLM. The Church has most definitely NOT issued orders that people must prefer the NO mass to the TLM, so people are free to prefer the TLM. Nearly all of the mandates, explicit orders, in Traditionis Custodes, are directives to bishops, not to lay people, and hence lay people cannot even obey OR disobey its directives. Canon law makes it clear how and when we have to comply with directives from Rome, and when they are not binding on us. One of those interpretive rules is that constricting rules (like “you may not say the TLM under X circumstances) are to be interpreted narrowly – with the least degree of constraint consistent, not the most.
And therefore at some level one is at risk of sinning (if not already sinning)?
One can commit a sin by obeying the letter of a law but confounding the spirit of the law, when the spirit of that law itself is in protection of the true common good. When a law is damaging to the common good, or when it is merely unhelpful to the common good, not abiding by the spirit of the law does not constitute a sin.
There are many, many, many ways in which TC and its coordinating body of “rules” (even calling them “rules” is a bit muddled) are unhelpful to the common good, and some ways in which they are positively damaging to the common good. The simplest way to see that is that the underpinning by which Francis attempted to ground TC, that the NO is the “unique expression” of the lex orandi of the Latin Rite, is so muddled, so confused, so degraded with respect to truth, that the rest of the document could hardly be prudent law. But if even that is too difficult to see: Francis’s claims about the TLM are simply in contradiction to Benedict’s assertions about it, so one of them is wrong. If one pope is wrong on it, then it must be the case that the Church (in the person of the pope) CAN BE wrong in claims about the TLM. (Such claims are not even REMOTELY protected by infallibility.)
My reply to sumorumpontificum777 (I’ll get back to TonyO later):
“I don’t speak for anyone but myself, but I, for one, refuse to be bullied or coerced back into attending the Novus Ordo as my regular Mass. I reject mentality of “Why not just be a good little boy (or girl) and abandon the traditional Mass like kindly old Pope Francis says you should?” Sorry, no.”
This kind of attitude needs to be reexamined. [You are not anyone’s spiritual director here.] Defiance to the point of pride [Rash judgment?]cannot possibly be a virtue and cannot possibly be of God. Let us look at the example of the saints who were unjustly treated by their superiors. Let us look at the example of the saints who were treated so cruelly and badly by their superiors. On the objective level these saints are victims of injustice. But despite the abuses they are subjected to, they did not show defiance. Rather they show humility and fall into submission to their superiors. They followed their superiors faithful despite them being wronged. They were meek and humble. They offer everything to God. One way to determine whether a visionary is authentic or is witnessing a heavenly vision is whether they are obedient to the Church’s representative. If they show even the slightest defiance or disobedience, this is a huge red flag. In fact obedience is so fundamentally important that our Lord Himself told St Faustina that even if He asks her to do something but her superior ask her to do the exact opposite of what He said, then our Lord told St Faustina to follow her superior. I believe our Lord is teaching us a lesson here. He is telling us that He guides His pastors (priests, bishops, popes) as they shepherd His flock. Unless what is asked of us to do contradicts the teaching of our faith (for example if Pope Francis asks priests to give communion to divorced and remarried), then we are called to imitate the saints and follow our Lord’s advice to St Faustina. In the case of NO mass, this is even more pressing because it is the Church herself, the mystical body of Christ, that decreed it to be the mass to be celebrated by the universal Church of the Latin rite.
“Personally, I don’t reject the Novus Ordo as “invalid.” But I do believe, based on my own study of it and analysis of its history, that it is a watered-down, protestantized Mass that has turned out to be a failure over these past 50 years.”
I believe this also may need reexamination. To presume that one’s opinion trumps what the Church is teaching us (that the NO mass is equal to TLM that it replaced, not an ounce less nor an ounce more) is I think a form of pride. [That’s strike TWO.] One basically is saying they know better than the Church. If you allow yourself to think this way, you basically allowed yourself to fall into slippery slope. It is not surprising that those who reject the NO as invalid fall into the trap of making themselves believe that they know than the Church on other matters.
“I have to be true to my own conscience. Those of who truly believe that the Traditional Mass is worth preserving and promoting have no choice but to continue this fight and not cave.”
Is this really a matter of innocent conscience at work? Or is it rather a misinformed one that somehow darkened one’s mind and as a consequence starting to see the Church as an oppressor rather than the Bride of Christ whose ultimate mission and supreme law is the salvation of mankind? [That’s strike THREE.] It is true that I miss Pope Benedict. And whatever one thinks of Pope Francis, the fact that TC was decreed means that God allowed it to happen. And if God allowed it to happen, we are called to follow the example of the saints and the advice of our Lord to St Faustina. Notice that God did not allow the push to contradict the teaching on communion on divorced and remarried during the synod of family to materialize. This shows that God is in control. He did not permit the synod of family to contradict the settled teaching of the Church on divorce and remarried. And yet He permitted Traditionis Custodes to be decreed. Think about that.
“Ultimately, it’s the same sort of fight that the Catholics in England faced in the 16th century. There were certainly some saintly, pious Catholics who decided to go along to get along and reluctantly conformed to the new Church of England (which at that time styled itself as the “Catholic Church in England”). Others were martyrs and recusants.”
The big difference is that while the martyrs are being faithful to the Catholic Church by resisting a schismatic group, people who are attached to TLM are actually showing defiance against what the Catholic Church decreed.
“In the play A Man for All Seasons, the Thomas More character explains it well, “And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?””
St Thomas More has an innocent conscience. Not the corrupted one. God cannot be fooled.
Our Church History gives many examples of resisting ecclesiastical authorities including the Pope , who are in error .St Paul confronted St Peter to his face regarding observing the Old Law in the Church. Catherine of Siena hectored Pope Gregory XI to get him to return the papal residence to Rome.St Nicholas slapped Arius at the Council of Nicea. Archbishop Lefebrve consecrated Bishops without a Papal mandate to save the Old Rite from extinction at great personal cost. So the caution to pray , pay and obey is not appropriate in this urgent situation.
What I have in my local parish is the NO. If we look at the NO as compared to the Eastern Rites, it is quite obvious that it is qualitatively inferior (it is not quantitatively inferior as all are valid forms of the Divine Liturgy (but do remember “valid” is a low bar qualification. It just means “has met the minimum standards)). This isn’t the case with TLM when compared to the Eastern Rites. It stands on its own alongside of them, instead of in their shadows.
This isn’t to poke at the NO but to indicate that there are issues with the NO far beyond sentiment, “smells and bells”, NO vs TLM liturgy wars.
Some theological points with what you said that will help clarify things:
*Saints on earth are not impeccable – they do commit sins and often mortal sins.
*Popes are not inerrant. Papal infallibility, and infallibility in general, isn’t a positive statement about truth content, it is a negative statement saying what it is not.
*The Church doesn’t have the power to determine how we worship God. We are commanded to worship God in specific ways by Christ which comes to us through the Apostolic Faith. Card. Ratzinger famously commended that the liturgy is, itself, an independent source of Revelation. The judicial/legislative authority of the Church over the Liturgy is fairly limited. (you can see this in the way that TLM isn’t by judicial fiat eliminated, but the attempt is being made by loopholes, undercutting, and legal fictions.)
*A will is free when it chooses according to the hierarchy of the good. It is bound when it chooses against the hierarchy of the good. So you can abuse a will, but not really abuse a free will – at the point of choosing evil free will no longer exist.
*It is not the virtue of obedience to obey an authority when they tell you to commit a sin.
*It is a sad reality that those who have authority in the history of the Church, have abused their authority and commanded their subjects, on the “pain of the sin of disobedience”, to commit mortal sins.
Here I want to take your questions and pivot back to the original post.
There is a problem of “church shopping”, very common in Protestantland where one tries to find a minister that fits their sensibilities and sentiments, even if it is couched in terms of being more “bible-believing”.
This can be a good check for navigating the issues between NO vs TLM in such situations as this post. Does one stay at a parish that is suddenly NO only because they like the personality of the priest, because his personality means that he will do the NO as relevant as he is permitted (not as relevantly as it can be done)? Does one switch to a TLM “across the river”, because that priest has a better personality? These things need to be weighed.
It should be clear that there are certain prelates out there that want to break the Faithful — get them to commit moral injury, compromise, offer a pinch of incense so that they can get them to abandon the Faith altogether. The bait is the personality of the good priest forced to say only NO, as relevant as he is permitted, and the loyalty to all the hard work put into a certain parish. What is permitted WILL CHANGE, more and more will be taken away. It is not the NO, which can be reverent, that is the problem, the problem is prelates that think the Mass is their plaything, a vehicle for showcasing their personality. They think the liturgy is their plaything, they think doctrine is their plaything, and they think the treasure of their laity is their plaything.
To be clear, it is not really the issue of the NO here that is a problem, but the issue of prelates abusing their authority, making non-essentials essentials, forcing people to adhere to heterodoxy, if not outright heresy. TLM cannot be permitted in the DC area because what needs to serve the politicians there is a Catholicism that is worldly. If the focus in DC was on holding elected officials’ feet to the fire, preaching the Gospel, and working diligently to promote a culture of life, would shutting down TLM be as big of an issue? No. But then again, such a focus wouldn’t result in shutting down TLM.
And that is the real issue: TLM can only be perceived as a threat if its theology and the way of life that it proposes is seen as a threat. The animus directed towards TLM is so disproportional that it cannot be simply about the continued practice of an “antiquated” liturgical form.
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These home Masses are quietly offered in many places currently. In times of persecution this is always allowed. Laus tibi Domine!
The blatant suppression of the TLM By Bishop Burbidge of Arl. Virginia is so explicit in its banning of the TLM outside a consecrated churh to a nursery school or gym setting w/out printing or allowing time schedules to the parishoners to attend–Speaks Volumes.
Is Bishop Burbidge exposing the absurdity of this decree? He must know TLM will continue to exist. No time schedule? Now you’ve created an underground church. Time/resouces & parishoners are obviously dealing w/a paranoid Vatican structure. Truly an Alice in Wonderland monment. We must continue support of TLM through sacred means. As Padre Pio was forbidden to say Mass, we too will suffer through these crazy decrees.