Some Thoughts on Motu Proprio Mania

I was gratified when the long-awaited motu proprio from Pope Benedict, urging a wider celebration of the Tridentine Rite, came out. I’m happy for those, including my son, who love to worship in that way. More power to 'em. Some of the loveliest Catholics I know are devotees of the Tridentine rite.

That said, I was not personally excited by the news of the motu proprio since it doesn’t especially affect me. I attend a Paul VI Mass that is reverently celebrated by the Dominicans of Blessed Sacrament parish in Seattle. My attitude toward liturgy is "Just give me my lines and my blocking." I then endeavor to learn and forget about them in precisely the same way I endeavor to break in my shoes. The point of shoes is not to notice them, but to walk in them. Shoes you constantly notice are Bad Shoes. Liturgy you focus on is liturgy that's not doing its job, which is to refer us to God, not to itself.

Now there are two basic reasons people focus on liturgy instead of God, just as there are two reasons a person will focus on his shoes.

The first reason is that the shoes hurt. Lord knows that in a time of widespread liturgical abuse, people have been hurt by badly celebrated liturgy and I empathize with those who have. Many have suffered from self-styled “progressives” who regard the Paul VI rite as their personal playground and laboratory. Worse, they have treated the Tridentine rite and those who attend it as throwbacks to some imagined Dark Ages. In place of the authentic Paul VI Mass, many Catholics have had to endure a perpetual Feast of St. Narcissus celebrated by Fr. Heylookatme at what writer Amy Welborn has aptly called the “Church of Aren’t We Fabulous”. Instead of the worship of God, we get perpetual hymns like the execrable “Anthem” celebrating our Usness, affirming ourselves in our okayness, and glorifying our wonderfulness for being kind enough to admit God into those parts of our lives where we feel comfortable with him. The notion among such “progressives” often seems to be that Mass isn’t enough. They appear to think people who come for the Christ who is present in word and sacrament have to be bludgeoned into a sort of plastic bonhomie with artificial glad-handing and yukitup homilies about sports and TV shows. The phoniness of such “community-building” experiments on the lab rats in the pews can be awfully wearying for those who have lives and who do not require that Mass be transformed into a Kiwanis club meeting in order for them to be socially fulfilled. We like our commandments in the proper order: Love God, then neighbor.

 That’s one of the reasons for the motu proprio, to try to give succor to those injured by dreadful abuses of the Paul VI rite. I wish fans of the Tridentine rite well in finding a Mass that is reverently celebrated and in receiving redress for legitimate grievances about real abuses, just as I hope a man with painful shoes will soon get new and comfortable shoes: so that they can get on with the business of walking with God.

But I also note that there is another reason some people become focused on their shoes—or the liturgy: oversensitivity. Some people are hypochondriacs who imagine injury where there is none or who grossly exaggerate small irritations into great big ones. Did the priest hold the Host high enough during the Consecration? I can’t stand that hymn! Is that person dressed in a way I think fitting for Mass? I can’t bear altar girls! Those people held hands during the Our Father! There’s a parish “renewal” program in the bulletin. I wonder what that’s supposed to mean? I see they’ve added that 15th Station of the Cross. That tells me all I need to know about this place.

Some people become so inflamed about such matters that they sacrifice the love of neighbor on the altar of liturgical correctness. Some can even reach the point where they regard those who attend the Paul VI Mass—even a reverently celebrated one—as second-class Catholics. I know this, because I’ve been on the receiving end of such judgments repeatedly. When I’ve stated that I believe the Mass is the Mass is the Mass and so I’m content with either the Tridentine or Paul VI liturgies, I’ve been asked by Tridentine enthusiasts, “Is a Black Mass a Mass also?” (talk about telegraphing contempt!). I’ve been told repeatedly and in no uncertain terms that the only reason I like the Paul VI rite is that I a) don’t know any better, b) am still a Protestant at heart, or c) need to have exposure to the true Mass, which is vastly more nourishing to the soul than the pathetic dessicated “Novus Ordo”.

When I reply that I have been exposed to the Tridentine Rite and that my chief impression from the experience was, “Ah! Now I see why they wanted to reform the liturgy!” I elicit frowns of disdain. Mind: I don’t mean that I think the Tridentine rite “inferior” any more than I think the Paul VI rite inferior. I think my proper response to the Mass is gratitude, not a critical spirit. But, speaking only for me, I find the Paul VI Mass more spiritually nourishing (though any liturgy promulgated by the Church is good enough for me and I wish all good to those who attend the Holy Liturgy in any of its approved forms).

For this sin of believing and professing that any approved liturgy of the Church is good enough for me and that it’s not my job to find fault but to gratefully receive, I’m told that what I’m really saying is “it is all about me and what the liturgy does or doesn't do for me.” In that marvelous "heads we win, tails you lose" arrangement, I am supposed to feel the superiority of the Tridentine rite and if don't feel it, it's because I'm selfishly putting my feelings ahead of the TRVTH, which is fully expressed by the feelings of Tridentine rite fans.

I don't think those who prefer the Tridentine Rite are either better or worse Catholics than those who are at home in the Paul VI rite. Nor do I regard the Mass as something we are commissioned by Christ to weigh in the balance and find wanting. To be sure, I dislike liturgical abuses, whether they be the apocryphal clown Mass or the five minute Tridentine Hunting Masses of European nobility (in which the Mass was sped along at light speed so m'lord could get on with his fox hunting expedition). But I don't throw the babe out with the bath and say that because the Paul VI liturgy is often abused, it is therefore an abuse itself. I go to a parish where the Mass is reverently celebrated and we find it every bit as nourishing to our souls and as full of praise to God as the Tridentine rite is for others. I have this weird notion that my business is to listen and receive, not to compare and contrast.

Consequently, I lack a lot of interest in the motu proprio. I'm glad Benedict is interested in it. That's his job. I simply don't see why it's my job. My parish is reverently celebrating the Paul VI rite. My job is to receive that gift, not to look it in the mouth. Nor is my job to suggest that if you like the Tridentine rite instead you are a second-class Catholic and a narcissist. It would be nice if many enthusiasts for the Tridentine liturgy could return the favor.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 5:00 am

    Excellent article, as usual!

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 6:58 am

    I think there is a serious mistake in suggesting that liturgy should be easy, or unnoticeable. If its task is to elevate us to God then we should not fail to notice and be zealous for the proper worship of God. Once we think that liturgy should be easy and comfortable then we lose sight of the awesomeness of what is being done. This is why the Novus Ordo is so prone to abuses and banality – it tries to bring liturgy down to us rather than elevating us, by means of the litrugy to God.


    Moreover, throughout salvation history God has been insistent that He be worshipped in a precise way. The principle applies that he who is faithful in little things, will be faithful in big things.


    I would also suggest that people familiarize themselves with the history of how the so-called reform came about and who was involved. Can we honestly say that one is as good as the other when one is the fruit of two thousand years of tradition and the other (as Pope Benedict himself said before becoming pope in his preface to Msrg. Gamber's book) was fabricated by a committee that included non-Catholics 40 years ago.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 7:36 am

    In reference to the comment "widespread liturgical abuse" – an observation  – I have inquired to the Archbishops' Office in the archdiocese I live in as to why the abuses continue when they are brought to the attention of the Archbishop's Office. The official response from the ArchDiocese Director of Divine Worship  is that the "enforcing of rubrics" is left to the "personal wisdom of the pastor". If this is the direction the archdiocese is taking in stopping abuse, I dont think it matters what rite of liturgy is being used. The abuse will continue until the respect for the rubrics is understood and accepted and part of the celebration of the liturgy.

    – just a thought.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 7:48 am

    I agree that the liturgy itself should not draw attention to itself which is what I think Mark was saying (not simply "easy" or "comfortable"), so every analogy – the shoe analogy being one – always falls short of what is ultimately meant.

    I think I am in 99% agreement with Mark's article given my own experience as well.  I have been blessed to know what the Novus Ordo is like when celebrated with 100% respect, focus, and beauty.  I even get to experience this on a very regular basis.  I have seen it (especially when I travel) completely abused, so I do sympathize with those that suffer through abuse.

    I have attended the Tridentine twice since October.  I can follow along well enough, and my Latin is good enough to be able to fully participate.

    I noticed one very important (for me) thing.  The orientation of the priest IS important – just as Mark pointed out.  When the priest faces the congregation, it IS a temptation (especially for the priest) for it to be all about HIM instead of ALL.  When the priest faces away, it is more clearly the congregation WITH the priest.  However, there is then a temptation for the congregation to think it is all about HIM and not about them at all (hence the Rosary beads come out).  Either way, there is temptation for the Truth to be forgotten.

    I have ordered a DVD for children to help them participate in the Tridentine Mass, and a CD for myself further explaining it.  I will be getting the missal this week (for Sunday and feast days) for myself.  However, I do this so that the Tridentine will be BEST understood and followed and live by my family when we attend ON OCCASION.  Because it seems so important to the pope, we – too – should make our best efforts to follow (which is where I disagree with Mark).  He said, I'm glad Benedict is interested in it. That's his job. I simply don't see why it's my job.  Because it is his interest, it ought to become our interest enough to unite with his interest.  But that does not mean we have to go all or nothing.

    I think we have an obligation to learn the Tridentine Mass because in just another generation or so, those that remember it from their childhood may no longer be around.  The faithful should continue to appreciate it especially since the pope has made it fairly easy to do.

    That being said, I will almost always go to the Novus Ordo – again because of what the pope said.  The Tridentine will remain the EXTRAordinary form of the Mass, while the Novus Ordo will remain the ordinary form of the same Mass. 

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 7:49 am


    Not only that, but only those priests that say the Novus Ordo Mass with respect and love will be the ones that re-learn the Tridentine Mass as well.  I don't see how this will stop abuses in the least.  It will help those that are frustrated with abuse to more easily find a Mass without the abuses.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 8:31 am


    I, for one will never go to a NO Mass again if I can help it. I've been to too many hootenany Masses to stomach it any more.

    No I don't like the altar girl thing, or anyone else being in the sanctuary except for the ordained. I don't like the lectors being there or the shaking hands at the sign of peace. It all takes away from my concentration.

     I do believe it is valid though and appreciate your article Mark. It's the best I've seen so far on explaining both sides. Nice writing.


    AndyP/Doria2  Yonkers,  NY   Hosea 4:6



  • Guest January 9, 2008, 8:43 am

    The Tridentine Mass or the Mass of St. Pius V is the living trunk, the core, from which our modern-day rite springs. The reasons for which the Pope has made this move (with the motu proprio) are surely profound and meaningful. It is certainly not a question of styles and of taste–rather, it is about something far more serious and urgent and I would encourage both sides to look deeper and with more charity.

    It is a bit like music: Classical music may not be to all people's liking, but there would not have been Elvis without it. There would not be any music as we know it today;music today continues to be generated from the same rich tradition. Pope Benedict has made very clear his desire to return to the tried and true traditions of the Church– for that is the bedrock upon which the Church is built, and with which faith is nurtured and preserved.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 9:38 am


    You wrote, "I have ordered a DVD for children to help them participate in the Tridentine Mass, and a CD for myself further explaining it.  I will be getting the missal this week (for Sunday and feast days) for myself."

    Please share with us your source.

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 10:26 am

    I have found a parish where the Novus Ordo is celebrated reverently and fittingly. Having been to Tridentine and Dominican Rite Masses in the past, I am very happy with the N.O. What I find impossible is to truly pray reverently in a foreign language (Latin). English is all bound up with my heart, is the language of spontaneous prayer, and is the language I talk to Jesus in. Even if I learned Latin fluently it still would not be as close to my heart as English, my mother tongue. So I'll be staying with the Rite of Paul VI.


    "I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for the things you have hidden from the wise and the learned you have revealed to the merest children." -Matthew 11:25

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 10:35 am

    “Is a Black Mass a Mass also?”]]


    Wow..thats harsh! That makes me think of the protestants that insult the Blessed Mother just to prove how NOT catholic they are. It borders on (by a hairline) blasphemy.

    Mr. Shea, I'm sorry our fellow catholics say anything like that to anyone much less YOU!  I'm SO glad you found your way home to the church. You are a real gift to us cradle catholics.



  • Guest January 9, 2008, 11:18 am

    The Liturgical reforms of the post-Vatican II era were not made up by a committee 40 years ago they were the fruit of a liturgical movement that had been going on with the Church's blessing form at least the beginning of the 20th century.


    Secondly, the "Tridentine  Mass" is no more or no less of the two thousand year tradition of the Church than any of the other officially approved rites that Catholics have used to celebrate the Eucharist.  The Mass of San Pio V was already one iteration of a whole series of liturgical waves of fervency, laxity, reform, fervency ….  The absolute exaltation of one particular rite accomplished in time is not an expression of orthodoxy but a liturgical preference.  One could easily move to Milan to experience the beauty of the Ambrosian Rite or to India to celebrate in the awesomeness of the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the Syro-Malabar Rite.  To attack one's orthodoxy because they feel perfectly comfortable in worshiping at a reverently celebrated Mass according to the approved rite approved by the Holy See is to deny the authority of the Holy See to regulate the liturgy and may in fact be a step toward heresy.

    What Shea is also saying is that to spend one's time at Mass being the  liturgical police when what is being done is in accordance with the rubrics is to no longer worshiping; and I would add renders your participation meaningless.  As one who celebrates Mass reverently I have always been amazed at the need of some people to verify that I was using the pall or corporal properly.  From their position in the the pews was that their concern?  Could they even cite to me in the GIRM where the use of the pall is governed?  And while I suffer those questions patiently it pains me to think that the reason they came to our Church was not so much to worship God but to check us out.  Reminds me of a scene in a movie about Padre Pio in which a representative of the Vatican, timed his Mass to ensure that they were in the standard time of the average priest of the day and when seminarians were trained by having string attached to their hands so they would get used to holding thier hands at the exact width that was never prescribed but utilized because of an inquiry to the Holy See.    Should I enforce the rubrics ruthlessly?, really?  Should I embarrass those who out of piety kneel to receive Holy Communion rather than according to the rubrics the way someone tried to embarrass me when they were not even correct in waht they were saying?  I think not – and I never would.  

    Let's proceed in reverence and charity. 

    Will our young men want to become priests if the holiest of our people spend the bulk of their time talking about the Church carping about priests, treating them as though they were diabolical ne'er do wellers intent on destroying Christ's Kingdom?  Certainly there are abuses of the liturgy and these must be handled but they must be done in charity not in a self-centered spirit and the criticisms must also be done not according to personal taste but what the rubrics and liturgical law actually say not what we wish they said.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 11:18 am

    DHeenan wrote "I think there is a serious mistake in suggesting that liturgy should be easy, or unnoticeable."


    There I agree, but otherwise Mark's article is spot on. The beauty of the Mass is in all the parts of it – sound, smell, sight. If we miss out on one, e.g. if we don't understand Latin (or Greek, Malayalam, Aramaic, etc) the visual part of the liturgy can still guide us. That's my experience from Eastern liturgies.


    When the creed is omitted, communion is taken, not given, by intinction from a chalice left on the altar, one does long for something more sacred. That can be found in the Pauline Mass or the Tridentine Mass or the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, or the Holy Qurbana. Some people also want to feel in touch with a more ancient liturgy, and the feeling of transcending time can be found with that.


    Both are good, both can be abused, and I think it's wonderful that both can now exist side by side in the West. I've longed for this for a long time. I'll always go to both, at least I'll start when the Tridentine Mass becomes available here.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 11:21 am

    Ave Maria!

    I attend Mass in a diocese that did not have an indult and does not have an extraordinary form either. Our Novus Ordo is not celebrated properly or reverently.

    I read from a Latin/English missal so as to endure the Mass and to really pray it.

    I would gratefully attend an extraordinary form of the Mass as soon as I am able to. I am even considering moving for our parishes are more and more protestant and the Gospel is not preached. A protestant is coming for our 'parish mission'. Even this morning Father told us that the Gospel is just stories to make a point!  There is no historical fact to Jesus walking on water after all. 

    And Mass–our pastor said–is a gathering of the assembly.Lets all clap for the entertainment shall we. We are chosen so let us sing of ourselves!  We don't  have to do anything more.

    Yes, I LONG for the Latin Mass and all the true teachings that I hope accompany it.  And then everywhere one goes, Mass will be the same wonderful Mass.



  • Guest January 9, 2008, 12:28 pm

    "Certainly there are abuses of the liturgy and these must be handled but they must be done in charity not in a self-centered spirit and the criticisms must also be done not according to personal taste but what the rubrics and liturgical law actually say not what we wish they said. "

    to Pmccrsp: I wish I knew of an instance in which an abuse was pointed out and actually was corrected. I have had experiences of liturgy where the priest felt saying the Gloria on a Sunday Liturgy during ordinary time  was not necessary, so he never said it and another who refused to do the Labavo because he felt it wasnt necessary. In both cases I was dismissed as if I didnt know what I was talking about (the GIRM is available online as most everything is). There is real beauty in understanding the rubrics and why the liturgy is prayed in the way it is "set up" to be prayed. So please someone answer me this — why do we have rubrics anyway especially when the abuses are excused away because of fear of offending those who are doing the abuse ?  The abuse is a distraction to those who do not want it to continue.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 1:03 pm

    sorry for ranting, but if something that is not according to the rubrics is being done deliberately, consistanly and constantly, why isnt anything done when it is broughtto the attention of the appropriate people ( for fear of hurting the abusers emotionally?) It is my experience that if you ask anyone why they do anything in the liturgy a certain way all the time ( i.e. not bowing during the creed at the mention of the Incarnation or say holding hands during the Our Father) they think it is the way it is suppose to be done. They havent been educated as to why it ought to be changed. My question stand — why do we have rubrics ?

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 1:26 pm

    to spend one's time at Mass being the  liturgical police when what is being done is in accordance with the rubrics is to no longer worshiping


    I would add that to spend one's time at Mass in critical observance of what is going is no longer worshipping the way one should, regardless of whether what is being done in the Mass is accordance with the rubrics or not. However, when the Mass deviates from what it should be, one is almost forced into such an attitude.

    An article that I read once (at CWNews, I think) said that our brain cannot worship God and think critically at the same time. So when the liturgical abuses, heretical hymns, or heterodox homilies wake that part of the brain up, we can no longer worship God because we're now on alert for what else might go wrong.

    I suppose that many people are spared this particular agony because years of lousy catechesis means that they don't even know what's supposed to be going on, therefore, if something is amiss, they are blissfully ignorant. (Like the hymn sung every Sunday at the nearest parish to us that blithely repeats Lutheran theology that Jesus is "here in bread and wine.")

    However, this is one reason that I am exceedingly thankful that I am now a member of a Latin Mass community (staffed by the wonderful priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter) and I can go to Mass and simply worship God. I do not have to worry for one minute whether the priest might do something strange or say something contrary to what the Church teaches. Being in a parish where abuses (even if well-intended) were the norm was tremendously detrimental to my faith.

     And in agreement with Joe above, I've never seen an abuse (regardless of how carefully approached, though I agree that it's very easy not to be charitable in broaching the subject) corrected.


  • Guest January 9, 2008, 1:32 pm

    Dear Joe,

    While I don't think in our religious community there have been serious abuses, but when the new GIRM was issued, in addition ot the diocesan workshops, we held meetings once a month going through it line by line to ensure that we knew the new regulations were being followed in our normal liturgical practices.  We acted to make sure our celebration of the Triduum was in order.  WE took steps, also as a result of a layperson's request, to remove a "resurrection-style cross" from the sanctuary to another chapel and replaced it with a processional crucifix, and in our forthcoming renovations will have an even more prominent crucifix.  We seek to correct some error in sanctuary decoration but some will have to wait for the aforementioned renovation.  I also know of at least one parish in which truly desecratory treatment of the Precious Blood has been corrected by the pastor's intervention after discussion with laity.


    Have to run,

    Peace and blessings 

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 1:47 pm

    Right On! The "devotees of the Tridentine rite" are in error anyway. We are supposed to be devotees of God through the liturgy of the Mass. Sometimes some people just get it wrong. Thank you for a very well written article. Happy New Year.

     Edit to add: We don't go to Mass to worship the liturgy. Liturgy exists to carry the sacred actions of the Mass. It is God we're supposed to worship through the sacred actions of the Mass.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 1:56 pm

    thanks for the reponses. I believe that catechesis is the answer. And the bottom line it really isnt that difficult to do. God's graces are there to help in the understanding and the implementation. It just has to be done.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 2:40 pm

    AMEN, Mr. Shea. Our Pastor says the Novus Ordo with the highest respect and holiness, it is a joy to participate. I was raised with the Tridentine Mass, and certainly enjoyed being part of the sacrifice. I did notice Priests who mangled the Latin and raced through so that they could get on with their day, just as I see Priests today who appear to think that finishing in 15 minutes earns a "Bonus.


  • Guest January 9, 2008, 3:30 pm

    Interesting discussion.  Recently I was thoroughly shocked when one of our young parish priests  thought the Latin Mass was a "cult" Mass and had never attended one!  Since I am 77 years old, I grew up with the Latin Mass and knew it very well once.  I enjoy the newer form of Mass but would like to attend a Latin Mass again too.  Don't know what's wrong with having both forms.

    One comment, the advantage of the Latin Mass is that it's the same Mass all over the world, so if you're in Timbucktoo you know what's happening even though you don't understand the homily, which in some cases isn't so bad.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 3:47 pm



    Check out this thread:

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the exellent article! It went to the core… some "traditionalists" are that way, as you described. Unfortunately. 

    About the shoes…anyway, me, as a woman, might say there could be a third reason why to pay attention on one's shoes :-) that being, the beauty of the shoes.. :-)
    Our family goes to NO normally (since here in Finland we don't have the opportunity to go to TLM very priest here is able to say it), and it is reverently said here, with gregorian chant and latin, too. Our daughters (aged 6 and almost 3) are exited, now that I bought a church veil, and they want me to use it, too. I feel a little hesitant, however… I wouldn't want anybody to get disturbed by it. (maybe I'm just being too sensitive..?)
    We pray in latin, and in finnish at home. I would say latin mass can be a normal, happy part of a normal, happy family life, with nothing "fundamentalistic" or "better than others" approach. 
    Happy new year and many blessigs to all!!
  • Guest January 9, 2008, 4:58 pm

    Mark…great article and spot on.

    A point of order for my brothers and sisters out there:

    The current Roman Missal is the "Mass of Paul VI" or "1970 Missal", not the "Novus Ordo"—the words mean "New Order" in Latin and it's been come to be used as an ephithet by far too many.  At one time the Missal of 1962 was also a "novus ordo"…

    Notwithstanding the liturgical shennangans we've been forced to endure for too long, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…it deserves respect from the faithful as well as the celebrants.

    Ad Iesum per Mariam 

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 6:24 pm

    Very good, Mr. Shea. You often have the way of expressing my thoughts far better than I could ever do. I, also, am for the availability of the TLM. Our wonderful parish has it every Sunday – three of our 6 priests are trained and capable. We are even working on a scola.

    My only problem is that to even hint to the TLM regulars that I am not actually interested in going is to invite a deluge of accusations, name calling, and irrational statements. The moral superiority surfaces quickly.

    There is an underlying hostility here that I just don't get.

    I am 60 so I have been around….. the attitude I am getting reminds me of 40 years ago if I dared question the way out living room wonder bread liturgies running wild. Get with it! You are so out of date! It's like I am talking to the same people all over again!

    It is almost as if the modernists and the TLMers have the same fault: it's all about the appearances not the substance.

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 6:46 pm

    I am sorry that some people have had bad experiences with those who love the TLM.  I attend both the TLM and the NO, but I only attend the NO when I must, for I find the TLM to be the superior rite.  Note I did not say I LIKE it better, but that it IS better.  There is a difference. I object to altar girls and some hymns not because of personal preference (I actually like the idea of altar girls) but because I know that girls really do not belong in that sacred space; I have become convinced of this by reading Church documents and studying the liturgy.  I reject some hymns not because of personal preference, but because I have examined them and found them to express a theology that is at best questionable.  


    Perhaps I can shed a little light on the anger some TLM people feel.  For many years we were denied a rite that we loved; we were made fun of for even saying that we preferred it.  Some who desperately wanted to go to a priest to receive communion because they found it hard to accept communion from a lay minister were openly ridiculed.   I have seen far more disdain shown by NO Catholics toward TLM Catholics than the reverse.  I have to smile when I hear NO Catholics worried about having the Latin Mass "shoved down our throats."  That is exactly what happened to traditional Catholics with the NO Mass.  We had no choice whatsoever. Pope Benedict is wise enough to know not to do that again.


    There is one point in the article I would like to take issue with–that NO Catholics and TLM Catholics are equally good Catholics.  That is not my experience.  The TLM Catholics that I know are more knowledgeable about their faith, they go to confession regularly, they are consistently more reverent in Church, not one of them campaigns for women priests, and from what I see, they do not practice birth control.  All in all, they really do seem to be better than average Catholics.  


    All that having been said, I know one can be a devoted Catholic and attend the NO.  I know that the New Mass can be said reverently, and when I assist at the NO I do my very best to pray and receive the graces it gives with gratitude.  I pray that both rites may be celebrated with reverence, side by side in each parish in the world.   

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 7:32 pm

    Nice post, Viola.

    I have had the privilege of serving as Master of Ceromonies at both liturgies.  What struck me in the TLM was it's sacred rhythm, orientation, and climax that I found lacking in the Novus Ordo. 

      But, putting aside aesthetics, what we like and don't like, I think what should be troubling sincere Catholics is the philosophy behind the changes that seem to be ongoing in the Mass.  Progressive Catholics seem to be embarrassed by the traditions of the Church, such as miracles, metaphysics,  heirarchy, precision, grandeur, etc..  I think this is they why disdain the TLM.  It reminds them of a time when, in their mind, the Church was unenlightened and superstitious.

    Mark, although you tried to put a positive spin on the issue, some parts of your article seemed arrogant.

    The only positive I took from this article is something I already knew: that some trads can be obnoxous.  (I deal with it frequently!)  We shouldn't let personalities distract us from the issues.  There are some critical people in the pro-life movement, but that doesn't detract from the issue.   

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 7:49 pm

    I don't make distinctions as to NO Catholics or TLM Catholics and I hope we don't identify ourselves that way but if it's wisdom and experience that I'm after, I'll go to a TLM Catholic first.

    Case in point, the comments of viola: "I reject some hymns not because of personal preference, but because I have examined them and found them to express a theology that is at best questionable."

    Contrasted by the comments of izonbg1: "We are supposed to be devotees of God through the liturgy of the Mass." …………..???

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 8:09 pm

    God loves you .

    We have a CE project over at CE-Wide topic: ‘Raising a Mass-Loving Youth’ that you may have stories to share with us for possible use in CE ‘bonus’ materials, such as Mark Shea’s podcasts, etc.

    You needn’t think that we’ll expose you – well, except to some nice fellow CEers. It isn’t a typical forum piece – no give-and-take. The power editors here were nice enough to permit me to volunteer (everybody else stepped BACK) to edit the project, and be responsible in a preliminary way for the final product.

    I invite you take a look at what other have posted so far, and plead with you to give us a hand with your own stories. Of stories so far, I can tell you there is one negative story. Why don’t you come find out who THAT fool (meant KINDLY, now) was? But, negative stories help others to think of positive ideas. Having failed is but a lesson on the way to how to succeed.

    How’d this get started? Well, you can read about that HERE!

    Come on over, brothers and sisters – think of it as a Catholic “‘practice’ altar call”.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    Toward our holy and prosperous New Year in Christ,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 8:40 pm


    Well put as usual!  Yes, the focus is on the Lord.  I'm glad that our church can be meaningful to a broad spectrum of people.  We must remember why we go to mass; we go to worship the Lord.  How we can complain about eachother's preferences is beyond me.  Thank God we have the unalienable right to practice our religion!

    Some of our brothers and sisters do not have that right.  I wonder how they would feel about our complaining!?

    Paul Polito

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 8:47 pm

    Mark, thanks for taking the time to write an article on the moto proprio.  We were disappointed not to see any articles on Catholic Exchange written on such a monumental event in the Church – so thank you.  Your article brings up many excellent points on both sides of the issue.  However, I couldn't get past the feeling that you are polarizing and simplifing the issue of the liturgy into personal preferences.  You and "them", or, those who are happy with the Novus Ordo and those who are happy with the Tridentine Mass.  If only the subject were so simple!   Pope Benedict, who's expertise is the liturgy, has now made it the focus of the Church herself – not just the focus of his own personal interest or the personal interest of those who are tired of abuses in the liturgy.  The Moto Proprio is not just a personal or relative issue depending on whether you need a more respectful form of worship in your parish.  The Moto Proprio brings the subject of the liturgy to the whole Church as a universal issue, leading the entire Church to embrace the concept that the Tridentine Mass is still the Mass for the WHOLE Church for extraordinary use.  "The Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage….They (NO and TLM) are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite." (Summorum Pontificum)  If the Church has given us two usages of the same rite, then it would certainly seem to be the business of every Catholic to become familiar with both usages.

     I have to say, I simply don't get the comparison of shoes with the liturgy.  Yes, you SHOULD NOT notice good shoes, but, you SHOULD notice good liturgy.  How is it possible not to notice the liturgy?  Isn't that what it's there for?  The Church has always taught that man learns and worships with his senses.  He is not purely intellectual, but physical, too.  So, by "noticing" the liturgy, man is brought into the divine prayer of the Church.  To compare the liturgy with shoes is lacking, since we do not need to keep looking at our shoes to walk better, (which is the purpose of shoes); but, we do need to keep looking at the liturgy so that we can pray properly with the Church.



  • Guest January 9, 2008, 8:48 pm

      I found Mark's article very intersting and insightful. The single most frightening thing to me about this whole discussion is to hear Catholics refer to themselves as  "NO Catholics" or "TLM Catholics".   That seems to me to be an oxymoron.  Your are Catholic or not.  There should and are no qualiiers.   

       To distinguish and/or disparage based on which Holy, and valid form of Liturgy you perfer or think is the best, using whatever criteria seems to miss the point of being Catholic. Unity in Christ.  
  • Guest January 9, 2008, 9:49 pm

    "Frightening!"……artbjr, you must scare easily!Smile  Sometimes people will say NO Catholics or TLM Catholics as a short way of saying "a Catholic who enjoys going to the Novus Ordo Mass" or "a Catholic who enjoys going to the Traditional Latin Mass".  It is presupposed that we are all Catholics and are unified by baptism into the one, true Church of Christ, but that we hold a different attachment to one of the two usages of the same rite.  Nothing really scary there.

    Besides, how often did you see someone mention themselves as a "NO Catholic or TLM Catholic" on this forum?

  • Guest January 9, 2008, 10:40 pm

    There is a third catagory out there momof5 and that's the – No TLM Catholic.

    When they encounter the TLM's they look at their shoes.

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 3:15 am

    "I was thoroughly shocked when one of our young parish priests  thought the Latin Mass was a "cult" Mass " – if he wasnt kidding, what seminary did he study at ? that's really scary. God help us.

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 8:25 am

    We should not reduce our discussions of liturgy to mere preference. It is important that we look at the real history and the ideology that motivated the so-called reform. There have been instances when the Church has made prudential mistakes and that in no way compromises the infallibility of the Church. Following the Protestant revolt the pope for a time allowed Catholics in part of Germany to receive Communion under both kinds against the advise of some prominent cardinals. About thirty years later under a new pope the Church realized that that decision only caused confusion, bluring the distinction between Catholics and Protestant. The permission was withdrawn.


    This is an appropriate example because so many of the changes done to the liturgy were carrying out what Luther proposed five centuries ago and the Council of Trent forbade.


    We should also judge by the fruits. We have a decline in vocations, Mass attendance, belief in the real presence, etc. Traditional orders, on the other hand have abundant vocations, Traditional parishes are filled with fervent Catholics who know the faith and practice it.


    I do not mean to suggest that Novus Order Catholics are not fervent, sincere, or devout by any means. I know many people who do not yet appreciate the Traditional Mass who are all of those things. What I do mean is that the Traditional Litrugy is more conducive objectively to all those characteristics.

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 9:12 am

    Well Viola…. I grant you that all the people who make that effort to go to the TLM are rock solid Catholics.   Maybe I just feel more comfortable among my fellow riffraff, sinners, tax collectors,and less than perfect worshipers over at the N.O.  These is a certain level of comfort for me in knowing I am among other less than perfect souls instead of the rarefied perfected holy crowd at the TLM.  Pray for me- maybe I will achieve such perfection some day and be able to attend the TLM with the elite.


    "Arrogance: overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors"

    As Mark would say in this article:  if the shoe fits, wear it! 

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 11:05 am

    Before converting to Catholicism, I read a number of your books and articles.  I was and still am quite impressed.  However, I was a bit taken aback by your comment that "My attitude toward liturgy is 'Just give me my lines and my blocking.' "  Hmmm, that's an interesting attitude from an orthodox Catholic apologist, whether it's the Novus Ordo (NO) or the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) we're discussing.  I would add that there is a third reason people are interested in the TLM other than (1) liturgical abuses or (2) being a “hypochondriac.”  Some people are looking for a rich and uncompromising expression of the historic Catholic faith.  This is not to say that a properly done Novus Ordo cannot do this; I believe it can. However, the TLM is a Mass that contains much that centuries of Saints, Popes, and Catholic laypersons prayed and chanted.  The TLM takes very seriously the ancient maxim “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi.”  I like the NO, but I’m not sure this finds the same full expression there as it does in the TLM.  The TLM emphasizes, more than the Novus Ordo, what is at the heart of Catholicism as opposed to protestantism: the Mass is a sacrifice!  Lastly, since you used a shoe analogy let me use a culinary analogy: one way to think of this is to imagine the NO as a nourishing meal, a meat a three veggies.  It’s warm, it’s nourishing, and basic.  On this analogy, the TLM would be a multi course dinner by comparison.  The first may be sufficient, but the latter is a true feast!     

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 11:38 am

    Mr. Shea seems a bit over or hyper-sensitive himself, also. He seems offended by the question: “Is a Black Mass a Mass also?” It does not seem as that offensive a question. It appears to be a way to ask Mr. Shea where does he draw the line. He appears to have a "la-di-da" attitude about this whole issue (i.e., it is the Pope's issue, not mine …), and maybe the questioner was merely trying to shake him out of his complacency. It does not seem as any contempt is conveyed to Mr. Shea by the asking of the question. It sometimes seems, on the other hand, that Mr. Shea has some contempt for those attached to the Traditional Latin Mass by his revisiting of this issue from time to time. But perhaps there is no contempt on either side. Perhaps not.


    Since Mr. Shea can compare a Mass to wearing a pair of shoes (perhaps, continued attendance at the New Order Mass causes these types of comparisons:-) , I suppose I can draw a corollary to the Church's teaching on the death penalty. It is clear that the imposition of the death penalty by the appropriate civil authorities is permissible in certain circumstances under constant Church teaching, but it also seems clear that JPII was at least personally opposed to the use of the death penalty in today's modern society. Something like how Ben XVI might be personally in favor of more use of the Extraordinary form of the Mass in today's irreverent and often ugly society. Am I then free to disregard JPII's and Ben XVI's issues, because these are their issues, and not mine?

    M. Andrews

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 1:15 pm

    M. Andrews:

    Thanks for providing a marvelous illustration of the common inability of Traditionalists to take yes for an answer.  That, and the inability to figure out why comparing a valid and licit Mass to a Black Mass might be offensive and blasphemous says, better than anything I could say, why Traditionalists will continue to repel so many people who are basically empathetic to their concerns.  Deal with your rage and bitterness, get the log out of your eye, and you will do far better at making the case for Traditionalism.  Like it or not, people look at fruit, and the fruit of Traditionalism is, all too often, this sort of paradoxical blasphemy of our Lord, fully present on the altar of a Paul VI Mass.

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 1:24 pm

    All TLM Mass devotees,

    Is there PEA at the parish where you attend?

    In Christ,


    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 2:22 pm
       Why are you so hostile? To be honest I find your attitude both in the article and in the reply you made in the comments section to be simply hurtful.
  • Guest January 10, 2008, 3:14 pm

    Mr. Shea:

    I apologize if you took any offense at my comments above. No, in answer to your erroneous presumption, I am not what you would call a Traditionalist. I am an orthodox Catholic who is perhaps more sympathetic to Benedict XVI's aims in Summorum Pontificum than others (who shall remain nameless) are. The overwhelming majority of the Masses that I have attended over my life and recently have been in the ordinary form. It would take a whole lot of abuse to occur before I missed Sunday Mass or an opportunity to receive our Lord in the Eucharist. I am sure that I would take a pass on a Black Mass, however.

    From past reading, BTW, a so-called Black Mass would not really be a Mass, because the priestly consecration does not take place during said ceremony. Instead, a consecrated host is procured from a legitimate Mass for use at the so-called Black Mass. It goes without saying that the proliferation of communion in the hand makes such procurement easier.

    If you believe that it is the intent of those who questioned you about the Black Mass to compare the sacrilegious ceremony to the New Order Mass, then I can see how you would be offended. It seems to me that it was just a knee-jerk response to your oft-quoted statement that "the Mass is the Mass is the Mass." Well … yes, your statement is true in the final and substantive equation, which is why I go to whichever Mass I can get to. But there is another very real way in which the statement is not totally true, which is recognized by the Holy Father in Summorum Pontificum. The Holy Father thinks the difference is important, but obviously not everyone else does. As is said in France,

    Vive la difference!

    I'm not the one raging here. Perhaps we can agree to disagree. Perhaps not. God bless.

    Yours truly,

     M. Andrews

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 3:47 pm

    Marc, you have to admit using words like "mania" and "more power to'em" is just fueling the fire.  If you wanted to suggest that devotees of the Latin Mass should be more respectful and not so touchy, I get that and I'll start with myself.  But, how about focusing a little on the positive side of the traditional resurgence in the Church, too? 

    Obviously, you are taking it too personally to write objectively about the issue.  If you are really that disinterested about the Moto Proprio, then perhaps someone more disposed could write an article for Catholic Exchange readers. 

    Although this article was personally condescending to me, I usually enjoy your articles.  Keep up the good work! 


  • Guest January 10, 2008, 3:48 pm

    mshealy, you wrote,

    Lastly, since you used a shoe analogy let me use a culinary analogy: one way to think of this is to imagine the NO as a nourishing meal, a meat a three veggies.  It’s warm, it’s nourishing, and basic.  On this analogy, the TLM would be a multi course dinner by comparison.  The first may be sufficient, but the latter is a true feast!     

    I have heard this analogy before, and in all honesty, it grates at my very spine.  The Mass is THE sacrifice of the Lamb, and THE Heavenly wedding feast.  Whether via the Novus Ordo or the Tridentine, it IS the True Feast regardless of the missal used.

    Your analogy only points out the "what's in it for me" aspect.  It is as if you are saying 'to me the Tridentine is a greater feast.'  Hogwash.  The Lamb (not the liturgy) that is the infinite feast.  His sacrifice was sufficient and superabundant for God.  Who am I to demand more?

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 4:27 pm


    Sorry it grates at your very spine. You might want to get a chiropractor to look at it.  Or you should probably take that up with the Pope since he saw fit to issue Summorum Pontificum. Isn't is always better to attend a Mass in which the rubrics are reverentially and properly followed, such as Mr. Shea is blessed to attend, versus one in which it isn't?  I believe that the same analogy by mshealy would apply in comparing a well-said Novus Ordo Mass to an irreverently said Mass.  They are both still the Mass, but there still is a difference that matters, a difference that Mr. Shea himself admits to.

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 5:36 pm

    Hi  I just want to say that I have heard complaints about people who sit in judgment of how the mass is said and suggest that they can't really be worhsipping if they notice things like that–  but when I am at Mass and things happen that shouldn't happen, that is what makes me struggle– I don't go intending to look for things to be wrong– but I am  very disconcerted when the priest says not the Paul VI Mass, but the Mass according to Fr. So and So.    I don't need to have the whole old Mass back, but I would like the Mass to be the shared prayer of the Church.   The last time this happened, sister gave the homily and I had to get up and leave cause it was so upsetting.  And then I look for Mass times to find out where else in the area I can go to Mass– and don't know what I'll find when I get there. 

  • Guest January 10, 2008, 10:11 pm
  • Guest January 11, 2008, 3:44 am


    Thanks for demonstrating, yet again, that the principle fruit of the spirit for much of what styles itself as Traditionalism is rage and bitterness.  I hope the readers of this piece check out your article to see what I'm talking about when I speak of being treated like an enemy of the Faith merely for being grateful for whatever Mass the Church approves.

    Oh, and my son and I get on famously.  He's a terrific guy.  So you can cease the amateur psychoanalysis.  He also likes to go to our Dominican parish.  Great guy, very funny, and a splendid disciple of Jesus.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 9:29 am
     How is it that you can say such mean and hurtful things about people and then when they get upset you say "see I told you they were full of rage and bitterness!" That is dishonest and disingenuous. It seems to me you are the one who is producing bitter fruit. Your article and the way you are responding to people is so unprofessional and un-Christian that it is almost embarrassing. I think it would be wise for you to take some time and really examine why you are so angry and what kind of example you are setting. Check the log in your own eye.
  • Guest January 11, 2008, 9:37 am


    You might want to actually read what I wrote in both posts.  What does the fact that the pope wrote Summorum Pontificum have anything to do with one missal being a feast and the other being mere meal?  Nothing.  If such an assertion was true, then he would have made the Tridentine the ordinary and not the extraordinary form.  Unless you are suggesting that the Holy Father intends to hold back on insisting the best for his children always.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 11:13 am


    I told my wife I'm an extraordinary Catholic and she's an ordinary Catholic.  Did I say anything wrong?  Now, I'm eating oatmeal for lunch and dinner.  How can I patch this up?

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 11:46 am

    Here's my reply to Mr. Shea's pathetic attempt at a rebuttal:

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 11:57 am

    How did the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit of Truth, get it right in the past, but fail so miserably at Vatican II?

    What documents contradict Church teaching?

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 12:49 pm


    After sincerely congratulating devotees of the Tridentine liturgy for the motu proprio, I basically said "I'm grateful for any Mass the Church offers".  For this sin of expressing my contentment with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of Holy Mother Church, I have been called pathetic, had my relationship with my son maliciously psychoanalyzed, and the Mass I attend compared to a Black Mass.

    And when I suggest there is something wrong with this, you tell me I'm being mean.  I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.  Instead of emoting at me, could you actually give me an example of what was so mean about my article, about defending my son from defamation, or about protesting blasphemy of the Mass?

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 1:06 pm

    "How did the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit of Truth, get it right in the past, but fail so miserably at Vatican II?"

    You know, David, that's a good question.  I wouldn't say she failed miserably, but Paul VI gave an intriguing answer to the jist of your question (which it seems was on the mind of alot of Catholics after the Council).  It always stuck in my mind because it offers a very real answer to an undeniable question, and is given by the most trustworthy source at the time.  There are several different translations of it, but they all say basically the same thing:  "We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation…. We thought that after the Council a day of sunshine would have dawned for the history of the Church. What dawned, instead, was a day of clouds and storms, of darkness, of searching and uncertainties. [Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972, Homily during the Mass for Sts. Peter & Paul, on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his coronation]   This quote can be confirmed on the vatican's site:   

    What a quote!  Sometimes it is hard to comprehend the magnitude of the battle at stake. 

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 1:10 pm


    I can't comment on other parishes, but where I attend the TLM does not. I suspect that's for a couple of reasons:

    1) Logistics. I think that the closest (geographically) members of our community drive 30 minutes one way to get to Mass. Most drive much further…it's not unusual to see people driving 2 hours.

    2) We share the church. We are actually renting the space for when we have Mass…it's not actually "our" parish. This is not an unusual arrangement, unfortunately.

    A number of parishioners therefore participate in adoration (if it's available) at a geographically closer parish to them. That's what my family does. We would not be able to do the late evening time slot that we do if we had to drive 40 minutes (not to mention to a "bad" neighborhood.)

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 1:26 pm

    Just a word about this quote: 

    "We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation….

    It is curious that this quote from Paul VI seems to be constantly given the weight of an ex cathedra definition of the Faith and constitutes almost the only words Paul VI ever spoke that I have ever heard quoted by Traditionalists.  The words themselves are true and I agree with mom of 5 that they illustrate the magnitude of the battle we are in.

    I simply want to note (not for mom of 5 but for some of the more nasty critics of the Council), that these words are often cited for the none-too-subtle purpose of suggesting that the actual magisterial teaching of the Church in Vatican II (and, I might add, in approving the Paul VI Mass as valid and licit) is an error.  Speaking of sowing doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation….

    The opposite of Progressive Liberal Dissent from the Magisterium is not Reactionary Dissent.  It is orthodoxy and fidelity to the Magisterium.  Both the Progressive and the Reactionary Dissenter have this in common: they are dissenters.  Those who say the Tridentine Mass is an evil relic of the Dark Ages and those who compare the Paul VI Mass to a Black Mass have this in common: they are hostile to the teaching of Holy Church.  They are also ingrates for the great gift of the Eucharist.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 1:28 pm

    mark,  it is with eagerness that I read your few responses to this forum, only to be disappointed with each one.  When will you tackle some of the intelligent questions raised in response to your article, instead of bringing it down to a personal issue.  Only one person did what you said: "called {you} pathetic, had my relationship with my son maliciously psychoanalyzed, and the Mass I attend compared to a Black Mass."  Why do you let ONE person take over the whole discussion by focusing solely on that?  There are over FORTY intelligent replies to your article in this forum.  Could you please respond to some of those and ignore the personal accusations.  Any editor or person in the limelight knows there will always be few petty, personal remarks about what he said, but it takes maturity to look past them and focus on the real issue.  This topic is too important to get bogged down by the small things.  I would love to hear your response to the real questions raised in this discussion.  You usually approach topics in an objective and intelligent way – keep up the good work.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 1:48 pm

    Mom and Mark, 

    Do we have an understanding of the context in which he used those words? I am still trying to navigate to the entire homily…

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 1:53 pm

    I can only find it in Italian…

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

     Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:03 pm
    Mark — 
     Your article is thick with a condenscending, insulting attitude. I see no sincerety in it at all. I cannot imagine an article like that coming from Jesus or the Saints and I stand by my assertion that it is un-Christian in it's tone.
    And parts of it such as:
    "Some people are hypochondriacs who imagine injury where there is none or who grossly exaggerate small irritations into great big ones. Did the priest hold the Host high enough during the Consecration? I can’t stand that hymn! Is that person dressed in a way I think fitting for Mass? I can’t bear altar girls! Those people held hands during the Our Father! There’s a parish “renewal” program in the bulletin. I wonder what that’s supposed to mean? I see they’ve added that 15th Station of the Cross. That tells me all I need to know about this place." 
    are hyperbole at best, calmuny at worst.
     And your replies to others have been full of spite and anger:
    "Thanks for providing a marvelous illustration of the common inability of Traditionalists to take yes for an answer."– "Deal with your rage and bitterness"– "the fruit of Traditionalism is, all too often, this sort of paradoxical blasphemy of our Lord" –"the principle fruit of the spirit for much of what styles itself as Traditionalism is rage and bitterness." 
     Emphasis is mine ~ to demonstrate that this is apparently your feeling towards the majority of those attached to the Extraordinary Form and not just those you may have had words with.
  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:13 pm

    I think the Pope is well aware of the concerns you voiced.  That, I believe, is the genius of the Moto Proprio, bringing the TLM back into mainstream Church life –   that this treasure doesn't belong just to the hardliners, but to the whole Church. Your son is a wonderful example of the balance this can bring.

    Forgive me for writing so much.  God bless.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:19 pm


    There's only one of me.  Do you really think I have time to respond to forty people individually?  The purpose of the forum is not so that writers can drop everything and respond to every reader.  It's so that readers can talk amongst themselves.  I addressed a couple of posts that seemed to me to illustrate exactly what I was trying to address in my article.  Lots of the posts here agreed with what I initially said and didn't need me to write back and say, "I agree with you that I'm right."  A couple of people made a number of points that were nicely addressed by others.  When people like Devoncroix write the sort of things that they write and I *don't* reply, I get hammered for "refusing to face criticism".  When I do reply, I get hammered for speaking to them and not forty other people.  Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:32 pm
     Mark,  I have not seen anyone call you pathetic, defame your son, or blaspheme The Mass. Could you please show me examples of these?
    Edited to add~ Also I was curious as to your source for "the five minute Tridentine Hunting Masses of European nobility (in which the Mass was sped along at light speed so m'lord could get on with his fox hunting expedition)."
  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:37 pm


    Condescension is what you brought to the article, not me.  I am perfectly sincere in my happiness over the motu proprio and in my accolades to the (non-bitter and rage-filled) Traditionalists I know.  If you choose to believe otherwise, there is nothing I can do about that.

    The examples you assume are hyperbole or calumny come, like it or not, from personal experience.  And they are not the worst samples.  I have known very wonderful Traditionalists who have actually received death threats from the bitter and rage-filled types for going to a Paul VI Mass.  I have known people at my own parish who have been physically threatened and shouted down by the bitter and rage-filled types.  I have watched as bitter and rage-filled Traddies have spread gossip and calumny of the ugliest sort against a holy priest I know whose sandals they were not worthy to untie.  The examples I gave of the sort of unpleasantness I have seen from not a few Traditionalists were actually rather mild.  There's plenty more where that came from.  But I chose to try to focus on what is good in Traditionalism precisely because I meant what I said when I said that that some of the very best and most beautiful Catholics I have known were Traditionalists.

    I'm sorry that you cannot cope with the fact that not a few Traditionalists have made Traditionalism a *very* ugly thing in the experience of those of us who have been their victims.  But that's how it is.  Rather than try to shout down somebody who is (I repeat again, wearily) basically empathetic to their concerns, suggest that the Paul VI Mass is like a Black Mass, mutter scurrilous gossip about my son, and snarl when somebody tries to say something nice to you, it would be really nice of Traditionalists could admit that there is a problem in the way a lot of Trads relate to those outside their tribe.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:40 pm


    Go to page 2 of the comments and read fedelm's nastygrams.

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:47 pm

    Sorry, Marc, I didn't mean to add to your frustration.   I certainly didn't expect you to address each comment personally.Smile  Thanks for explaining why you chose to answer the ones you did.  You certainly aren't damned!  You're alive and well and hopefully, enjoying your day, and you started a wonderful exchange of ideas!  God bless!

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 2:53 pm
     I read what fedelm wrote and he never said anything bad about your son. He did not blaspheme The Mass and he called what you wrote pathetic, never you.
      But all that aside your last post has hurt me so much I think it is better if I don't respond any further. I am sure that will make you happy. I do think though if as you say death threats have truly been made, those are serious accusations and proof (police reports, witness verification) should be required before you post them here. I humbly request that you retract that whole last post you directed at me since it was obviously done in anger and is so very hurtful. I am just a wife and mother who is trying to do my best to follow Christ. I am hurt to my very core by your scathing reply. This is not "emoting". But rather real emotion.
      God bless you Mark and I will say a prayer for you.
  • Guest January 11, 2008, 3:46 pm

    I read what fedelm wrote and he never said anything bad about your son

    Sure he did.  In writing, "[It would appear that Mark has some personal baggage here, which might explain what is latent in what we read below.]" he was suggesting there was some sort of conflict or hostility between my son and me.  Indeed, he uses this imagined conflict as the basis for his equally imaginary charge that, in congratulating devotees of the Tridentine Mass for the motu proprio I was actually saying I am "less than gratified by those who are attached to the Traditional Latin Mass".

    The clear suggestion is that I am, in this piece, somehow working out my "baggage" with my son, at whom I am (it is insinuated) displeased for his participation in and love of the Tridentine rite.  It's a sleazy bit of cheap psychoanalysis that has no basis in fact.  fedelm should be ashamed of himself.

    He did not blaspheme The Mass

    Sure he did.  In suggesting that it's perfectly fine to compare the Paul VI rite with a Black Mass.  It's not. It is the Mass of our Lord Jesus Christ and ought not be compared to the offerings of demons.

    I don't know why you want me to retract what I wrote, since none of it was untrue and none of it was, so far as I can see, uncharitable. You charged me with various things, I answered the charges.  Now you are hurt that I have done so?  I don't get it. 

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 3:53 pm


    Sweat thou it not!  Thanks!

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 7:58 pm

    Fedelm is greatly upset that after our leaving links to his screeds up here (on page 2 of the comments) so that people can read them for themselves, pointing people to these links, and even letting them be republished again in Mr. Garrison's post above, we are not allowing fedelm to keep posting the links along with his charity-filled commentary, yet again.

    The answer is simple: fedelm is being nasty and CE has no obligation to give him a platform.  Readers are welcome to discuss my evilness at fedelm's site. 

  • Guest January 11, 2008, 11:16 pm

    Mark, I have to take issue with both sides of this (made-up) controversy. 

    The "issue" I take is that some very "un-Christian" things have been said and done by both Paul VI advocates and Tridentine advocates.  (And, I'm not just referring to this article and following comments.)  I have neither seen nor heard some of the more outrageous specifics, but I've seen and heard enough to make me cry (and I'm not an emotional woman).

    Folks, how are we making our faith 'enticing' to others when we are at each others' throats?  Didn't Jesus–our LORD!–pray for unity among His followers?  The only unity I've seen here is the "us" vs "them" variety.  What about "love your enemies" and "do good to those that persecute you"?  What about "forgive 70 X 7 times"?

    We do have an enemy to fight!  And, he ain't us!  But, he sure is using us!  Shame on us all!

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 12:50 am


    I quite agree that Traditionalists have been abused.  I said as much in my article and attempted to express my empathy with those who have suffered at the hands of Progressive dissenters.  For my troubles, I was called pathetic, insincere, and condescending and my relationship with my son was called into question.

    I'm quite willing to forgive folks like fedelm for their abuse of me.  But CE doesn't owe abusive people a forum so they can go on abusing.  If he wants to apologize, I'm quite happy to listen.  If not, he's got his own blog and can abuse me there.  Forgiveness does not mean saying, "Thank you sir!  May I have another!"

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 8:28 am

    {edited post}

    By the way, have you all read Summorum Pontificum? Some, if not most of the comments here, begs the question.

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 11:30 am

    Cooky, I understand your point.  However, if we are spiritually mature, we should be able to discuss these issues without being at each other's throat.  We need not panic if we don't agree on everything.  Blessed be God for the work He is doing through Catholic Exchange, however, I think this was a missed opportunity.  

    I've been in traditional circles for some time now and Mark's point is valid.  There are extremes.  However, I agree with momof5 that hopefully the Moto Proprio should bring balance back into the Church.  (Let this be the focus.)  The traditional mass does not belong to extremists, but to the whole Church!   Perhaps this is naive,  but it is the thinking of the Holy Father: let us rejoice!  God bless.

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 11:57 am


    Readers may be welcome to discuss your evilness at his site, but you are not able to discuss his intentions or receive answers to his claims. My posts have been removed.

    He states that Vatican II produced documents that contradicted previously promulgated or established documents. As of yet, the only response was to remove my posts and question my sincerity.

    I asked if his desire was to attack Mark, his opinions, the Norvus Ordo, Vatican II, etc., etc., because I really couldn't tell if it was one or all of these that he held in contempt. I was called coy and disingenuous. It is now clear that it is all of the above.

    I do not see why it is such a shock for people when incendiary comments or illicit posts are removed from CE. I am removing my links to his site, posted to show another poster what she might have missed, because it should be more difficult for someone to find.

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 11:58 am

    Does anyone have access to an English version of Pope Paul VI homily from 1972 on the 9th anniversary of his pontificate?

    In Christ,

    There, now you have a couple of little Abe Lincolns from me…

    Remember, the Sun is always shining!

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 12:09 pm

    At first, I thought the use of the word "mania" in the title to the essay was derogatory (and it still seems a bit so to me).  I would have preferred the word, "excitement," in its place.  But Mr. Shea is the author and has a right to his own title. It did rub me the wrong way, however.  I wonder if perhaps the essayist paints too broadly concerning his views regarding certain Catholics.  I still maintain that the "black mass" comment was not necessarily intended to be a comparison to the new Mass, but seemed to be more a reaction to the "mass is the mass is the mass" remark, which I agree with. I just think that some masses are more reverent, beautiful and appropriate that others, as does the essayist.  But I tend to prefer the Extraordinary form when it is available. But that is a position I've grown into in my Catholic life, and the essayist is a convert, so give him time and an open mind.  


    M. Andrews

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 12:27 pm

    Sorry, David, it's hard to find an English translation of the entire homily.  Looks like you're going to have to brush up on your Italian and translate it yourself or find an Italian friendUndecided.

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 1:43 pm

    There are English translations of the homily, they're just not floating around on the web.  Probably in some archive of a periodical at the time.  Let us know if you find it.

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 8:48 pm

    Mark, I apologize for antagonizing you further.

    Yes, you did indeed show empathy for the Traditionalists who have been abused.  I didn't mean to imply that you didn't.  I didn't mention it, but I have also been 'bashed' (altho' not 'trashed') by BOTH TLR and P VI advocates.  I've learned a lesson our mothers taught us: consider the source…..and let it go.

    As for "asking for more", no, I agree that one doesn't "earn any Brownie points" by standing meekly by and letting all comers get their hits in.  However, I learned many years ago, from an incident within my marriage that remains unresolved, that forgiveness isn't dependent on the repentance–or, even, acknowledgement–of the offender.  It's something we do because Jesus commands us to, because we want to be like Him.  No?  By 'releasing' the offender (i.e., forgiveness), we allow God to work in his/her soul as it pleases Him.  Perhaps the offender will, by God's grace, see his culpability and repent and be won!  Or, perhaps, not.  That's between the offender and God; it no longer has anything to do with me (which is how I've been able to stay married to my offender for 47 years).  God has already given me justice: He died on the cross for all the times I offended Him!

    As for your own feelings, I propose you look up Matt. 5: 11 & 12.  In two seperate instances with priests "dressing me down" at Mass, that has kept my soul right where it belongs: in Christ.

    God bless you, kiddo.

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 9:11 pm

    Randallino: I agree that we "should" be mature enough to discuss our differences without getting into "knock down – drag out" fights.  That seems not to be the level of maturity, here (and, I'm not faulting Mark for that). 

    Additonally, I agree that BOTH the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of Mass belong to the Church.  God willing, those advocates of either will come to realize this truth…..but not, it seems, without some bloodshed.  That's not our German Shepherd's fault.  Nor, is it God's: He already shed His blood.  I was merely trying to point out that it is not incumbent on us to try to supplement that!

    As for CE, I am blessed by it every day.  I read this even when I don't have time for any other site.  I love what they do and–mostly–how they do it.  But, I reserve the right to "correct" when I perceive a need for it (see 2 Tim. 3:16), as I expect to be corrected.

  • Guest January 12, 2008, 11:53 pm


    I agree with have to extend forgiveness even when the person does not repent.  That's why I said I was willing to forgive.  But that's still no reason to let fedelm go on abusing me, hence the deleted posts.

    Thanks for your good heart!

  • Guest January 13, 2008, 12:10 am

    Dear Mark: I never meant to suggest that you shouldn't cut off fedelm–and devoncroix, as well.  In fact, I wish you'd done it sooner, since they seemed to be the most virulent. 

    I'm also glad you've come to an understanding with your son.  If it's any comfort, my youngest daughter left Catholicism and is currently studying for an M. Div. at a United Methodist seminary.  It could be worse!  Wink

  • Guest January 14, 2008, 9:07 am

    Hi Cooky:

    Actually, I wish devoncroix had not chosen to end the conversation, and I had no intention of hurting her feelings, but I agree with you that fedelm was over the top.

    FWIW, I haven't come to any understanding with my son, because there was never any disagreement to begin with.  He likes to wander off to the Tridentine Mass with a local family we know.  Really wonderful people with absolutely outstanding kids.

    I'm sorry about the difficulties with your daughter.  If it's any consolation, Jeff Cavins followed a similar route.  You might want to check out his book, My Life on the Rock.