There’s a common thread among many traditional Catholics (and some left-wingers too) that “the Church has gone down the tubes.” This seems to be a basic set point in too many conversations, and if one runs too far afield from this view they are “one of them” or are “off message.”

But I want to say to all the negative ones: the Church is a Bride, not a widow.

I have, in twenty-five years as a priest, found a great deal of affinity with traditional Catholics. I love the Traditional Latin Mass (and have celebrated it since 1989), chant, polyphony, traditional churches, stained glass, and I toe a line in rather strict conformity to the Church’s teachings and Scripture’s admonitions. I preached Hell and Purgatory even when it wasn’t cool.

But in recent years I have found my relationship to many (not all or even most) traditional Catholics tested and strained. I say “tested” because I have found that if I do not adhere to a rather strict, and I would say “narrow” line, I am relegated to be thrown out of the feast, and there in the “outer darkness” to wail and grind my teeth.

It would seem that for some, I am required to bash bishops, lament that the Church has “never been in worse shape,” and that every single solitary problem in the Church today is “due to Vatican II” and the “Novus Ordo” Mass. Stray too far from this, either by omission or commission, and I am in the hurt locker, the penalty box, and relegated to being no better than one of “them.”

Last week on the blog was especially hurtful. All I did was quote what I thought was an interesting statistic, that the average number of priests per parish in 1950 was “1” and that in 2013, the average number of priests per parish is also “1”. There are many interesting questions that can be raised about this number. Perhaps there were more ethnic parishes then, perhaps church closings now are a factor, perhaps many of us remember the Northeastern Urban experience, but knew little of the rural experience back then which balanced our reality. Yes, there have been closings and declines of late, but overall there are 17K  parishes nationwide today, slightly more than in 1950, and double the number of putative Catholics. And at the end of the day, the number averages out to “1” priest per parish. More here: [01] and here: [02]

Anyway, while one may dispute how helpful or illuminating the statistic is, the real grief came to me with just how hostile and even nasty some comments (many of which I had to delete) were. There were personal accusations against me, there was a bevy of bishop-bashing, and Pope-bashing statements, and any number and variety of venomous attacks against perfectly legitimate Church realities, liturgical forms, and the Second Vatican Council itself.

Wowza! What a hornet’s nest. And all over a simple statistic that I found interesting. But it would seem that many found the statistic troubling, and generally seemed to find it, (and me) “off message.” It didn’t fit into, or help the narrative that some wish to cling to that the “the Church has gone down the tubes.” It got so bad and wearying in the combox that I finally had to shut it down. I was having to delete more comments than I approved.

It was even more discouraging since I have never shied away from talking about the need for reform and what does trouble the Church today. We have covered quite a lot of the “what ails the Church” territory here at the ADW Blog. I am no cheerleader for the Church of Wonderful. There are problems, and we discuss them.

But that said, the Church has not gone down the tubes, and things were not all wonderful (or all bad) before 1965. And frankly, we have NO WAY of knowing if the Second Vatican Council “ruined things”  or saved things from being even worse. Those who say they do know, are just speculating, and some are also engaging in a post hoc-propter hoc fallacy. The fact is, we are where we are today, and we need to live now, and move forward. All the blame, bickering and murmuring generates more heat than light.

I was pleased to read an article by Jeff Mirus over at Catholic Culture.org because he says well what I have tried to say here, namely, that we are not without problems, but things are getting better, and there is a lot to be excited about today. Here are excerpts from what Mr Mirus writes:

A few of our readers seem intent on rebuking me for not taking every possible opportunity to condemn bishops for their weak leadership, as if my job is to be a whistle blower. Of course, I’ve offered my fair share of criticism, and that is unlikely to end any time soon. But it is probably true that I was quicker to criticize when I was younger…..

I suppose most readers are familiar with the tale of woe which haunted the Church, especially in the rapidly declining West, after the call for renewal in the 1960s was distorted to justify a neo-Modernist accommodation with rampant secularism. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, we rapidly lost our Catholic institutions—religious communities, dioceses, parishes, schools, social services—to a false and highly accommodated vision of the Faith….But that is simply untrue today…..The institutional Church, in the West generally and in the United States without question, is substantially healthier now than thirty years ago….

Today the institutional effort at genuine renewal is palpable. There are notorious holdouts—especially among women religious, the Jesuits and the universities they influence (along with others like them), wide swaths of academic theologians, and some sectors of Catholic health and social services. But most dioceses have better leadership now than then, the seminaries have been largely reformed, the priesthood substantially revitalized, and the push for both the recovery of lost territory and a new evangelization is both very real and very strong. Happily, this is no longer your father’s Church. [03]

Well said! I remember how awful it was back in the 70s and 80s. Things are so much better today. I am sorry if this insight is “off message” but I am quite convinced it is true.

Mr. Mirus goes on in his article to cite a particular case of the Dominicans, and how reform has blessed them. And to his focal instance I can add that there are great new seminarians here, and younger priests overall who love the Church and are solidly formed. The seminaries are in better shape, and many new and reformed religious orders of men and women are coming alive and and making their mark.

Add to this many great new lay movements, publications, EWTN, and its nationwide radio affiliates, Catholic Answers, and some great new and reformed Catholic Colleges.  I am humbled too, and gratefully pleased at the wonderful caliber of converts from the Evangelical denominations who bring with them love for Jesus and the Scriptures, and are so enriching us with a zeal for the faith, and who make up a great percentage of our most effective apologists.

Every day I also meet many younger adults who are alive, focused and enthusiastic about the faith, and who do not want to make the same mistakes that their parent’s generation made. Some are turning to traditional forms, other to more contemporary worship, but either way, they are alive and eager for the truth and to spread it.

I have little doubt that our overall numbers may continue to drop in the Church for a while more. But the reform is in place, underway, and deepening. And the Holy Spirit is accomplishing this in many varied ways. We’re getting our “mojo” back and I am happy to see it.

Again, sorry if this is “off message” for some. But I speak to what I see and experience and I don’t think I am wrong. I walk in the wide Church and see a lot of variety, and what I see looks better every day.

All of us ought to be careful about ingesting too much of a steady diet of negativity. It tends to make us negative, even hostile to the good and surprising work of the Holy Spirit.

Rejoice with me! We’ve been through a lot, and there are sure to be more troubles (for there always are), especially as our culture has not recovered in many ways. But God is faithful and his Church is ever young. Great reforms are underway and seem destined to continue, perhaps in spite of us!

Again I say, rejoice! The Church is a Bride, not a widow!

Photo Credit: JLM Weddings – St Francis Church

156 Responses

  1. Ora et Labora says:

    Around where I live here in Florida you can’t win for trying. I go to the TLM and they don’t want you to speak or sing any responses and yet this is what makes the TLM Incredibly beautiful and mystical. Instead, I’m supposed to sit there quiet with the regular depressed fiolks who attend there. What is funny is when the Hispanics from the other side of town venture over for the TLM, they will belt out the refrains all during mass and makes me happy. I will also attend the Novus Ordo and it makes me happy to receive the Lord and I don’t fume about the music or the alter girls, all will be resolved in God’s time. Basically I would be the happiest man on the planet if I could attend a daily mass where the Gloria or Credo are sung like this and with everyone participating like these Poles do. Is this so much to ask for?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AOoMqhiwe0

    • Sister Pat says:

      I couldn’t agree with you and Msgr Pope more! We were originally founded as a traditional community of Sisters. The more I got to know SOME of the Latin Mass community, the more uncomfortable I became. Some were so narrow and hostile I wanted nothing more than to keep my distance. Some years ago a priest – perhaps a Msgr. – dropped dead during Mass and one of the comments was that it “served him right because he fought against the TLM”!!!!! That did it for me. One of the TLM groups were also very cruel and underhanded with us because of petty jealousies. No thanks. They are their own downfall as far as I can see. I love the TLM but not many of the crowd who follow it.

  2. Magdalen says:

    It is a shame that there was venom over that article. I love the TLM myself and now one is available at noon on Sundays at a nearby parish so I do attend from time to time. I live in a diocese with a full seminary and we have a good young pastor. But the renewal is not everywhere! When I travel I still find ugly churches with no kneelers, confessionals, and the tabernacle in another room with many liturgical abuses so I know some places are stuck in 1980. I had to move from my former parish and diocese or I might have had to follow my friends into the Greek Orthodox church for reverent worship and to not be upset all the time at Mass. It was worth the move to worship in peace at a holy Mass properly offered. I appreciate that!

    Could still use better catechesis but it seems to be slowly improving.

  3. RobW says:

    I have a couple thoughts. There has been way too much uncharitable remarks by both left and right catholics I think. And while I try to be hoepful having the same amount of priests per parish as in 1950 is not something that makes me hopeful. Its apples and oranges…there were alot less U.S, citizens and Catholics then, Also the killing of innocent babies, rampant contraception use, gay “marrige” etc werent issues so I see the embrace of such evils as confirmation that things arent going well in the Church. If as the Church goes so goes the world is true then it doesnt look good. I am hopeful however, we must never lose hope. Trust in Jesus and in NO politiicans.

    • Christian says:

      There were always bad things going on in the world and the Church has always had to combat these things. Have you read St. Augustine? He lived during the fall of Rome where cities were sacked and people slaughtered in the streets by barbarians. As a bishop he had to deal many pagans blaming the Church for these things and threatening its existence physically as well as in other ways. And think of Christ crucified and the apostles in hiding! Was this not a sign of things to come–in other words, for how the Church was to exist on earth?

  4. Doug says:

    Msgr. Charles Pope,
    Thank you for your blog. Sometimes NewAdvent has your picture, and I click on and read something interesting. Other times there is just a title which piques my interest, and I end up at your blog. And I say to myself “Of course. His written something intellectually and spiritually worth my time again.” I appreciate your work.

  5. Magdalen says:

    Of course there is this dose of cold water:

    http://www.renewalministries.net/files/freeliterature/novaetvetera11_1martin_%282%29.pdf

    Also it is true that the number of priests and sisters who left religious life is huge. When you criss cross this country you see closed Catholic schools everywhere. There used to be vibrant parishes and sisters to teach the children and so many are gone. My children have grown up never seeing a nun in a habit.

    • But there are also good things, and a lot of signs of renewal.

      • Louise says:

        Sadly, Father, not where I live. Here in England, our local parish preaches outright heresy (not to mention as irreverent a liturgy as you can imagine). The only Catholics I know here who even attempt to follow the Church’s teachings are Traditionalists, and as you point out, there is a strong strain of paranoia and anger there, although I must say I am grateful to them for preserving the Faith. It makes me nearly despair…it seems there is no middle ground between a Traditionalist approach that advocates associating only with Catholics and cutting oneself off entirely from the world, or a heretical do-whatever-you-want-and-ignore-any-Church-teaching-you-like approach.

        • Gretchen says:

          Thank you, Louise. In the Northeast of the United States where we lived until very recently, our parish is commanded by a deacon. The priests are relegated to ‘sacramental ministers’ and Catholic identity has been overrun by Pentecostal tent revivals (all in the name of ecumenism), healing services, and now Sunday morning adult catechism classes that feature prominent Protestant authors like Max Lucado, and so on. Of course, the local Latin Mass Society is being ‘surveyed’ to see if they are going to be tolerated any longer in the parish.

          The acute suffering on the part of parishioners is simply ignored. If one complains or heaven forbid, tells a bishop about it, the persecution is intensified. The pressure to suffer in silence or be termed a ‘heretic’ or ‘troublemaker’ or ‘schismatic’ is plainly awful. It is as if the hierarchy is pushing traditional Catholics and Catholic identity out the door. Add to that, prominent Catholics who pooh-pooh the suffering and/or go along with keeping a lid on it, contribute greatly to the suffering of their fellow Catholics. I wish those who think things are so much better than yesteryear could walk a mile in the shoes of parishioners who live with this persecution on a daily basis. To know that it comes from within the Church makes the pain that much more acute.

  6. Taylor says:

    Being a Traditional Catholic is extremely hard, even in the age of Summorum Pontificum. But it does not excuse the actions, particularly the anger and backbiting, that we commit, nor does it excuse desire for retribution against those who don’t agree with traditional ways.

    Forgive our misguided, untempered zeal.

  7. Bob D says:

    I recently read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 it really is sticking in my brain, at various times it comes to mind “… Do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal”. It seems appropriate to me that a little more love in the com-box discussions would be helpful. I notice that when Saint Paul has a point to make in his letters he does it with great charity. I am trying to let that beautiful chapter affect my actions too.

  8. Nellie says:

    I agree that there is definitely a renewal underway. But it is hard not to wallow in the negative at times in this weird world we live. I am a Novus Ordo Catholic, because that is all I have. But I long for the beauty and ritual of the TLM. And I long for a priest who will tackle the tough topics like hell, purgatory, sin, etc. The children in my parish learn about evolution and zen meditation. (Chatechism books aren’t what they used to be.)

    My husband is turned off by the lack of masculinity in the Church. And my boys are annoyed by the bossy alter girls who always want the “good jobs.” And we often don’t feel like Church leadership is on our side when it comes to the moral issues of the day. It is not an easy time to be a Catholic. However it is better than the 1970s and 80s, I’m sure. So there is a bright side. Keep doing what you’re doing, Msgr. We need you.

  9. Rose says:

    Jesus taught us love and compassion. I love your blog and the interesting insights you share. Thank you for keeping it honest and thoughtful. Blaming all our troubles on Vatican II does not fix anything. We need to learn from the past, but live in the present. To offer the traditional Latin Mass is important — to evangelize and reach out however we can is important. It is a shame where Catholic institutions have had to close, but it would also be shameful not to rejoice where there is renewal, and not to try and be part of the evangelization. We can evangelize our families, become catechists, donate time or money to Catholic parishes and schools. It is important to try and be part of the solution and thank God for our blessings. I am a catechist and we have used Jeff Cavins Bible Timeline with our students to open Bibles in class and focus on the narrative thread of salvation history. There are good things happening. The current reality is that the sexual revolution has wreaked havoc on families, including broken homes and aborted children. It is today’s holocaust. The media is selective on sharing information. Tonights news made no mention of all the Christians being persecuted in Egypt. Churches being torched and looted, etc. We need to make our own rallying cries to help those in desperate need. Remember we are the Church.

  10. Ro says:

    Msgr Pope is interesting to know that there are slightly more parishes now than then. I am glad you looked that up. That does seem to have made it more relevant as far as the number of priests per parish. I agree it is improving as far as the number of priests and the caliber than from 30 years ago. I don’t think the Church has recovered yet though from the 1930s and 1960s. It would seem that the root of the 1960s do lie in the age of Teilhard. She will but I highly doubt that it will be the last tribulation the Church will experience. History if full of them.

    While there may be better priests and even some vibrant lay movements the Church has sadly lost not just influence over vast Catholics but also access (since most Catholics,in the technical sense, no longer attend Mass). While the problem was present back then at least most Catholics back then were in the pews and the Church had a way to reach them directly and whatever they thought of the Church and its teachings they at least did not have the temerity to publically dispute what is in the Deposit of Faith. That and the secular culture was not so widely different as it is now on even the most basic of issues.

    By the way do you have any stats on Sunday attendence back then as opposed to now? It would be interesting if you could definitively settle that. I have heard of a stat that said there was many more back then but can’t recall the source or numbers.

    On another note it would seem many traditionalists online would seem to forget that the Church has gone through times just as serious if not more. The Arian controversy, the Montanists, the protestant persections and revolt, the French revolution and the list goes on and on.

    I tend to think it intially had to do with the ostricizing of the traditional community by many priests, bishops, the more modern “movements” in the Church, etc in the past. It has created a rift and wounded many. It deprived that part of the Church from a legitimate authority and segrated them fromthe rest of the flock against their will. Because of the hostile stances of many bishops and sometimes even priests (from denying them a legitimate aspiration which even Rome said was permissible at times) it has created a “ghetto subculture” in that community. The memories still linger amoung some and the wounds are not imaginary. It is a section of the Church that has suffered very much the past 30 years or more. Most of that generation has passed on though. They are the ones that while they disputed with many bishops and priests over what is now recognized as a legitimate aspiration still respected the office and may not have always made mountains out of mole hills. There is a new generation which knows some of the suffering of those who went before them. However, due to the lack of respect of proper authority that was encouraged not just in the secular world but also inside the Church Militant they have not learned how to properly respect the office while you may disagree with the person. Not only that but the isolation that was once enforced form the outside is now being reinforced from the inside. They are often converts or even “reverts” but more after the style of Robert the Dominican (inquisitor who was finally restrained by Rome for his excesses). Being a convert myself I hope I understand something of that temptation. Many “cradle Catholics” admire converts more than is there pproper due. We are not really martyers for the faith. Often what is mistaken for zeal is often self righteousness. It is used to be Catholic society a convert was taken under the wing and gently guided in the right path. Now they are often set upon a pedal as if they some how merited special treatment for recognizing the fact that they are a sinner and in need of salvation. Sort of a bizarre phenomenom by the way. It deprives some of the most vulnerable brethren of guidance and can easily intoxicate them with a false sense of their own merits.

    Many converts/ reverts who are attracted to the Tridentine liturgy are because they want to be as counter cultural as possible but do not realize that their extreme swings are not always tempered by charity or even truth sometimes. While they value much that is good they do not always appreciate the vitality or essence of it. They usually only have a superficial grasp of the traditions and liturgy they hold so dear. Sadly they don’t realize it and due to the previous attempts of many in authority to crush or discourage thatpart of the flock they no longer trust the shepards. It is sort of like a spiritual form of rabies. They don’t even recognize true sheperds all the time and frequently turn on them. Sadly after such experiences many sheperds understandably develop an apathy for such sheep and start to steer clear of them leaving them to the wolves (ie Satan or even those “independent priests). It is understandable but sad since the priest forget their vocation to be an “alter Christus” and they injure the shepherd God set over them.

    Thankfully in the local community I am part of we don’t see so much of this. I hear it can be more common in others though. I do think that converts in the Church while being warmly welcomed should not be adulated- it often leads to misguided judgements. If they were not adulated then such converts/ reverts who develop an attachment to the Older form of the liturgy might realize that they need to examine themselves to determine what appears to be zeal for the Lord’s house is not really pride in their own knowledge or form of piety. They would learn the healthy habit of what is known as the examination of conscience and learn to trust themselves less.

    • troy says:

      “from prophet to priest, they say there is peace. . there is no peace”
      the converts are typically better educated regarding the faith and know what it they converted t, when many cradle Catholics are truly ignorant and rationalist. Most average Catholics have a pop apologetic catechesis while most converts that have a love for tradition go beyond catchy. cd speakers and fad television talk show.

  11. Gordon says:

    Msgr. Pope,
    I am a Catholic, which kind I can not describe. I was formed by the Baltimore Catechism, Daughters of Charity, and of course a very devout mother. I wandered away from the Church in the early 1970’s as I began college, made contact briefly to marry, wandered away, gifted with a son, and came back in 1991. Left knowing Latin, serving Mass 6 days per week, and when I wandered back it happened to be to a parish with the only Charismatic Renewal priest in our diocese. Wow! I thought to myself, this Church has changed! I was very uncomfortable with the CCR, at first anyway. But there I came to know that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and that those Charismatic’s love Jesus and they love their Pope and they love their Church and they love their fellow pilgrims be they Catholic or not. Over the succeeding years I have moved to attending Mass, usually daily, at our Cathedral. The beauty of the architecture, the stained glass windows, the quietness and solemnness of the worship there is beautiful. Also, it being the Mother Church of the diocese, I have had the occasion to meet and get to know a very wide variety of seminarians, deacons, priests and Bishops, from all over the world. I have also traveled quite a lot, and when I do I attend Mass at a wide variety of parishes. Phoenix AZ, where I found that if you are not early you will not get a seat, El Cerrito CA where the Vietnamese pastor has a international choir, Anacortes WA where the Archbishop concelebrated the Mass and the average number of children per family was probably 6. Pinedale WY where the missionary priest from Nigeria gave one of the finest homilies I have ever heard, it even impressed my currently quasi-agnostic son. Puerto Penasco Mexico where I didn’t understand the language but the place was packed and I knew exactly what was going on. I have also gone to my local parish and witnessed a liturgy which the priest basically blew off the Gloria, the Creed, did a stand up comedy routine complete with the only curse word I have every heard in a Mass. I came out of that thinking that God must really be challenging me to focus on Christ today. My point is that no matter where we go to Mass, Christ is there, He is the Center and for me that is ultimately what is important. When I read Pope/Bishop/Priest bashing from folks who are Catholic the thought occurs to me that their words are probably what Christ heard as He began his journey through the streets of Jerusalem to Calvary.
    Peace and God Bless,
    Thank you for your ministry Msgr. Pope

  12. john654 says:

    Msgr. Pope,
    When you said, “and that every single solitary problem in the Church today is “due to Vatican II” and the “Novus Ordo” Mass” I trusted you! So called “traditionalist” are MEAN!

  13. lisag says:

    It seems to me there are Catholics, not traditional or liberal Catholics, and then there are protesting Catholics. Either you follow the church or you don’t. If you wish you had “this or that” or if “this or that” is presented by leaders of the church then you are protesting what the church is. For example the missal is clear about when to stand, kneel, or sit and yet you see all kinds of variations. The church is clear on homosexual teaching and abortion, and yet there are “Catholic” organizations that support both. Everyone needs to stop protesting and just be Catholic.

  14. JoAnn says:

    Thank you Msgr. Pope for the breath of fresh air! I am so tired of hearing how bad the Church is and how far it has fallen! I admit that I did not like the new Mass after Vat II and I stormed out of Church one Easter Sunday morning and didn’t go back for many years. When I came back, I was older, wiser and the Mass had settled into something more recognizable to me! I started to enjoy being able to praise God in my own tongue (English) and it made the Mass more personal for me. We have a Monastery nearby that says Mass in Latin and I do enjoy going on occasion also. It always amazes me how much I remember!!!!

    I was baptized in the Holy Spirit in 2000 and that is when things really started changing for me! He made me VERY aware that what happened on the altar was THE most important thing that occurred during the Mass. It didn’t matter if I did not like the church, the Priest, etc., etc., etc. I was there to worship HIM and pay attention to ONLY HIM! I see signs of renewal all over and it is so encouraging to me. Young and old people hungry for God and His word. The nay-sayers have forgotten one important fact – In the end God wins, He may allow bad things to happen but He is in control, always has been and always will be.

    This is the first time I have read your blog and I will be back! Thank you for your faithfulness! God bless you.

  15. Jason says:

    Well my heart just breaks for all of you who simply can’t abide us mean old “traditionalists.”

    Look around. The Bride of Christ has been battered to the point of being almost unrecognizable by non-“traditionalists.” Lodge your complaints in the direction of those who are responsible: the modernists who destroyed the liturgy, emptied convents, emptied seminaries, emptied pews, opened the door of the priesthood to an army of sodomites and stood by silently while children were raped, altar girls, communion in the hand while standing, extraordinary ministers of holy communion… the list is endless.

    But keep pointing fingers at “traditionalists” Monsignor while what’s left of your invented novus ordo church burns to the ground.

    • That would make you happy, wouldn’t it? But your response is emblematic of the sort of hostile, blame game negativity that ignores St. Paul’s admonition that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities of darkness in the high places. I am not your enemy, nor are others who request a civil tone to the conversation in the Church and an appreciation of legitimate differences. Your remarks would please any hater of the Church from the far left or from the ranks of unbelievers who revel in the saying the very things you. Your litany is wrong because it is incomplete. We have well discussed the problems you lis, many of which began long before the Council or New Mass. But there are other good and healthy realities in the Church.

      Look at your tone, when all I suggest is that there ARE many good things going on today and palpable signs of reform. Your poison pen it not winning any converts to tradition. I cringe at your type, because while tradition is beautiful, you make it look ugly, harsh, and mean spirited.

      In the Church we must speak with clarity, but also with charity. Have a nice day Jason, unless you’ve made other plans.

      • Don Haverkamp says:

        Msgr. Pope. My deepest apology for the tone of Jason’s post. But please do not associate his tone and remarks as typical of most traditionalist. I describe myself as a Vatican II orthodox Catholic. I believe the teachings of the Catholic Church (not just those I am most comfortable with.) My home parish offers only a Novus Ordo liturgy but it is done with as much reverence as possible but could use a good dose of traditional reform. When I visit my two daughters (in Seattle and Sacramento) I am blessed to be able to attend the FSSP parishes in those two communities. I have yet to encounter the type of negativism you have encountered. Both parishes have welcomed me most graciously. In fact, I believe I know more members of the parish in Sacramento than I do my home parish. I have again fallen in love with the TLM that I remember as an altar boy before VCII. So I guess I would also call myself a traditionalist. But I would rather look at the TLM/Novus Ordo discussion as a glass half full argument. If both parties to this discussion would see the advantage of working together positively, perhaps Pope Benedict XVI’s hope that the reform of the reform could be accomplished and any divisions that today exist could be eliminated with both parties respecting each other. I pray that the negativism that you have encountered is from a small (but unfortunately vocal) minority. But please don’t paint all traditionalists with that brush. God bless you and your priestly vocation. The world needs good holy priests.

  16. Michael Hecker says:

    Msgr. Pope,

    I think that you are feeling the frustration that is the fruit of the confusion within the church. Many catholic’s are receiving a dual message from the pulpit and from the rectories of their local churches. Many times truth isn’t being proclaimed and the gospels aren’t being lived by the clergy.

    Nationally we have politicians that claim to be catholic and practically shout it from the rooftops but their actions are anything but catholic. They are in support of same sex marriages, they support abortion and many other agendas that are counter to the catholic church. Numerous colleges and universities that are supposedly catholic host gay pride festivals, support abortion and pass out contraceptives, which is clearly counter to the teachings of the church. Yet these institutions and individuals remain catholic and no bishop or clergy has publicly admonished them nor have they been excommunicated. (One exception is that of Fr. Pavone and Nancy Pelosi)

    On the other hand we have groups like Michael Voris and the Church Militant. They were publicly scolded and forced to remove catholic from their ministry. I realize that Mr. Voris can be quite controversial and he does manage to rile a few but, his teaching is in line with the magisterium.

    Examples from my own parish included the parish priest not willing to talk about abortion, sin, hell, heaven or even the sacraments. His is a wonderful orator but there is no catholic substance in any of his homilies. I had to leave the Knights of Columbus for fear of loosing my soul. What they proclaim to be and what they are are two different things. Many are alcoholics and looking for others to party with or they are looking for time away from their families. I was disgusted at the dinners and breakfasts to see these men, who claim to be the right hand of the church, intoxicated and serving families. It was a poor example of what a catholic man should be. Yet they were not admonished by the priest because he is one of their buddies. Even more disgusting is the fact that many are unwilling to give to the church because they think their money would be mismanaged by the priest and the church. We have had to shop around for a catholic school that is in line with the church. We have been to a school where they had seances, one where several of the administration are openly homosexual, another that catered to the wealth of the parish and did little for the poor. I have a friend, that when asked why he doesn’t send his kids to catholic schools told me, “Why should I spend all my money sending my kids to a catholic school only to see them loose their faith”.

    Sadly this is how many of the catholic parishes are perceived today and these are only a few examples in a small corner of the town that I live in. My point being that there is a dual message being spoken/acted out, it is confusing, it causes discontent and the fruit of it is frustration.

    Msgr., I don’t have the answers. I know the Holy Catholic Church is being guided by the Holy Spirit. I know that the Catholic Church holds the deposit of faith. I know that when I am in adoration that I truly am in the presence of Christ. I don’t think we are any worse off today than yesteryear. Lastly, I know that living a life in line with the Church and as a true follower of Christ isn’t easy. As my friend likes to say, “I’ll pray for thee if you’ll pray for me”. Maybe that’s the answer. Prayer.

  17. Christopher Manion says:

    Our family prays for you and all our good priests and bishops (including the Bishop of Rome!) every day, Monsignore. Hang in there.

    One of the greatest gifts to the Church in the past fifty years is Humanae Vitae, which, as Cardinal Dolan laments, has not been taught since it was promulgated in 1968.

    If our laity and clergy could unite to bring that binding, infallible document’s beautiful truths to the suffering culture that surrounds us, it would revitalize the Church as well as our beloved country.

    Oremus!

  18. Rod says:

    Rather than worry about whether traditional Catholics are nice and friendly or not, why don’t we worry about what is really causing problems, like for example the terrible scourge of unfaithful priests, irreverent and sacriligeous liturgies, disregard and abuse of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and the teaching of heresy from pulpits etc.
    The real problems in the Church are more serious than the crankiness of a few traditional Catholics, most of whom should be tolerated for the simple fact that this has come about through the general bullying and abuse of clergy since Vatican II. The mere fact that a whole generation was told that the TLM was forbidden when we now know this was a lie and an abuse of authority, should be enough to show the injustice they suffered for years. I still remember myself attending the TLM in funeral homes, in garages etc because we were told this was forbidden and that we were unfaithful if not schismatics.
    That injustice alone is enough to make any faithful Catholic angry. What about those poor priests in the 80’s that were silenced and sent to a monastery because they wanted to be faithful to the mass of thier ordination? I know of one, Fr Neilsen of Vancouver that died shortly after being exiled in a monastery,,, he was relatively young, but died of a broken heart over the direction of the priesthood.
    Isn’t anger a natural reaction to having your faith ridiculed, ripped apart and degrated over the years, and you being powerless to do anything about it?
    I have great respect for the trailblazing traditional Catholics that lived through the 70’s and 80’s, having gone from a Church of revernce, respect and othodoxy (at least on the surface) to being told it was all wrong (and yes the priests in fact condecendingly did say that the TLM and devotions were ‘wrong’ ‘backward’ and ‘stupid’) and that they needed to get with the times, no matter that the times were clearly not conducive to living the moral life.
    I personally haven’t experienced many unfriendly traditional Catholics, but when I do, I am reminded of the spiritual abuse they suffered at the hands of modernists and cut them some slack. I would think that those of us who know the score might be a bit more charitable to them than to the modernist ‘feel-good’ hippy Catholics that have a smile on their face but little true devotion to the Church.

  19. Brian says:

    I’ve been down that negativity road… it’s a venting of all the emotion when you found out you’ve been deprived and lied to your whole life growing up in the post V2 era and have discovered the Church’s liturgical, disciplinary, and theological traditions. But at one point you’ve got to move on otherwise you risk making your religion a reaction and not a positive response to God’s grace. I fear that some never make it to the ‘move on’ stage and foster the negativity until they find themselves into the dark pit of sede-vacantism or it’s ledge; those communities not in communion w/ Rome.

    If you’re not using Tradition to better yourself and get ahead spiritually but instead use it as a weapon to bash others that same Tradition will be your accuser before God when it was intended to be your means of sanctification.

  20. Kevin says:

    I hear what your saying Msgr. Pope but I have seen so many abuses with the new Mass from two occasions where the Body of Christ was taken in the hand once Jesus was left in the pew and once on the floor to homilies attacking the pope and even a priest who once told us he’s not sure if he believes in Jesus.

    All this was done with smiles on the face.

  21. mjballou says:

    Thanks for this column, Msgr.!
    As a musician, I’ve worked in a variety of liturgical styles, EF, OF, not to mention Russian Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican. I’m an expert in chant and love traditional music and liturgy when they’re well done. At the same time, the separatist attitude of many traditionally-minded Catholics is deeply disturbing to me – and in some ways, Summorum Pontificum seems to have worsened the situation by removing from ordinary parishes many people who care deeply about doctrine and liturgy and enabling them to isolate themselves from the “contamination” of other Catholics. In my part of the country, their musical preference remains for the dead-silent Low Mass with an occasional vernacular hymn. And in fact, musicians seeking to do otherwise are unwelcome. But these are institutional problems.

    What seems even worse to me is that there is such deep distress in this world and that we Catholics are so focused on our own little project, on institutional survival, on our own personal satisfaction with clergy and liturgy – that we have no time and little interest in the suffering and empty lives that surround us. How do we preach the Gospel to men and women addicted to pornography, the girls growing up in a “hook-up” culture, to people living anesthetized by alcohol and drugs, and to those who are just unhappy and who don’t have a clue why they’re alive? What do we say? “Sorry, we’ll get to you later after we’ve straightened out this liturgy business”?

    Even if some of these folks stumbled in the door, who would want to join a church where the main activity of many members is attacking each other?

  22. John M. says:

    Msgr. Pope:

    Thank you for everything you do to keep and pass on the ancient Catholic faith.

    Some people might call me a “traditionalist”, but I’m really just a plain and simple Catholic. To add a little background, I will say that I only discovered the Traditional Latin Mass after Summorum Pontificum. After being exposed to the TLM, I came to learn of the perennial teachings of the faith that had never been taught or explained to me. As a young man I must say that I felt as though my Catholic patrimony had been (intentionally?) hidden from me by a certain generation of churchmen.

    It was eye opening for me as I delved more deeply into this Catholic world that I’d never known previously. Here is what I did NOT find. I did not find angry or bitter people, nor anti-semites, nor holocaust deniers. All I found were Catholics who wished to worship, pray and believe as their forefathers had, and who were genuinely concerned, out of love for the faith, with the direction of the Church.

    I must say also that I’m bewildered by this slew of anti-“traditionalist” articles since the election of Pope Francis. I really don’t understand it. Why are we spending so much time attacking a group of good and orthodox Catholics. From Catholic Answers to Taylor Marshall to Mark Shea to this article, I’m baffled as to why this is happening. For me it is interesting to note the change in demeanor towards “traditionlists” since the reign of Pope Benedict ended.

    In the Holy Hearts,

    John M.

    • Lucy says:

      Hi John – I think that your parish might be the exception to the rule. My experience when discovering the TLM two years ago has been completely different. I love the TLM, but my experience with the community has been less than stellar. I’ve been scandalized more times that I can remember and I am a faithful Catholic loyal to the Church and also a convert. I desire holiness in my life more than anything. I desire to love Christ best I can, but I’ve had too many stumbling blocks.

      • love the girls says:

        Lucy,

        You were scandalized?

        What parish? What was said?

        I can say that here in the Denver area Mark Shea’s comments concerning traditionalists are absurd. And as he admits are not grounded in personal experience at the parish level, but from experience online. And as anyone with experience online knows, strangeness never found elsewhere is commonly found online.

        I’ve been part of what is now called the traditionalist movement for a long time, and have never heard, nor has anyone I know, heard the kind of discussions Mark Shea says do occur.

        • Lucy says:

          I concur. I have not appreciated the attitude Mark Shea has had recently. Although I think that at one point he did apologize quite sincerely.

          • love the girls says:

            Miss Lucy,

            It did appear that way, but in an exchange we had he says that he only apologized for his tone, and stood behind every negative comment he has made.

            I was glad for his change in tone, of course, but disappointed that he insists his experience trumps all others.

      • John M. says:

        Lucy,

        Thanks for your comment.

        I can say that I’ve been to the TLM in many different places over the past several years. I really have never run into the kinds of “rad trad” things some people are trying to use to tarnish the “traditionalist” movement with. Have I met people that are a little odd or socially akward? Sure. Have I met people that are frustrated with the state of the Church? Of course. But I’ve never run into anti semitism, ostentatious anger or bitterness, or the other so-called faults.

        Now, I’m sure I could find this if I looked hard enough and got into enough in depth conversations with enough people. But this doesn’t prove much. Any large group of people is going to have a few kooks here and there. I deplore the attempt by some to use these few occurrences or, more likely, online blog forum comments, to tarnish the whole traditionalist movement.

        In any case, I do hope you continue (or return) to attend the Traditional Latin Mass as I think the further expansion and spread of these holy traditions is crucially important for the Church.

        Be assured of my prayers as you continue to strive for holiness.

        In Jesus and Mary,

        John M.

        • Lucy says:

          Thank you John.

          I haven’t encountered anti semitism or even anger. I completely understand that there are kooks and yes people who are odd or socially awkward. Honestly I don’t want to write too much here because I don’t want to dwell on it and move on. Maybe I can disregard a couple of incidents, but not when it is a constant current of attitude it seems to me. One example is when I went to receive communion. I was kneeling, holding my squirming two year old and keeping my arms and hands well below the rail (but not under the altar cloth), and on the verge of receiving communion, a man came up to me `and physically tried to put my hands under the cloth. There has been a serious lack of charity in many other areas. I don’t want to elaborate on other instances. It doesn’t do me or the Church any good.

          I can’t understand with such a magnificent liturgy, regular practice of many of the excellent devotions in the Church that have been abandoned, there isn’t more charity – which is at the heart of our faith. But then again, I must remember that I am not the judge of hearts. I must be careful. I have just been let down personally and it has hurt greatly. That said I do appreciate your sincerity and I have met online traditional Catholics who have genuine humility and I greatly appreciate them. I must practice charity and humility and depend completely on God knowing that I too have my faults.

          I hope that this helps clarify things.

          Thank you for your prayers. I am a third order Carmelite and I pray for you together with the whole Church.

          God Bless you,
          Lucy

          • love the girls says:

            Dear Lucy,

            Unfortunately, the TLM does attract Jansenist Jerks like the one you mention.

            If someone did that to my wife, there would hell raised by me. Which is why no one would, they know better.

  23. love the girls says:

    Msg. Pope writes : “lament that the Church has “never been in worse shape,” and that every single solitary problem in the Church today is “due to Vatican II” and the “Novus Ordo”

    Traditionalists blame the novus ordo for causing problems in the Church?

    Well I suppose I might be one of those, although it’s rather difficult to discern what caused, and causes, what? For instance, the novus ordo doesn’t by nature cause disordered church architecture, but there does seem to be an accidental connection between the two. Not that traditionalists are spared from bad architecture given that they have of late done their best to corner the market on disordered design. In other words, the cause is not so much the novus ordo, but disordered society at large that all participate in, traditionalists and others alike.

    The difference is that traditionalists seek sanctuary and not progress, while not knowing either their own Catholic culture, or the underlying causes of modernist progressivist society.

    It should be noted that most traditionalist do attend the novus ordo on occassion, especially for daily Mass.

    And I actually prefer the latin novus ordo dialogue Mass over the old rite, although its now been 30 years since I was able to do so on a regular basis because they only seem to exist on a few college campuses.

    And it might be worth noting that about 15 years ago Latin Mass magazine had an article that said the new Mass saved the old because all the innovations went into the new.

    As for Vatican II, what is never read cannot be a cause.

  24. Patt says:

    I prefer the Mass without the altar girls, hand holding during the Our Father, and the love fest at the Sign of Peace.
    However I am not a Traditionalist–I guess it would upset the Traditionalist should I attend Mass in slacks, or did not have my head covered.
    All I seek is a nice quiet Mass (English or Latin) where I can pray and not be distracted by others. Maybe that should be considered…

  25. alaskamom says:

    I have to tell you Mons. Pope, your statement that the Church is a Bride and not a widow made me laugh! Thank you. I tell myself everyday but in a different manner. Christ’s bride is a beautiful, pure offering that will be presented to the Father at the end of time. This bride can look terribly sullied from all the abuse WE (each and every one of the members of the Body) that sin (anyone not in this category) foists upon her image each day. But the beauty is still there and it comes from each and every one of us who will give ourselves to Christ to be transformed (and that is an action of grace), who will offer our sufferings for the purification of the Church ( I love Revelations description of this) and this includes all our feelings about what we see going on in the Church today. As Mother Teresa said to someone who asked her what was wrong with the Church, she responded with, ‘look in the mirror’! Ouch! That took me by surprise, then I had to smile once more about my ongoing battle with vice.
    Mons, Pope, I wish my local church had a priest such as yourself to serve us with balanced wisdom to help us grow in our spiritual life. Don’t lose hope, but then that does not seem likely.

  26. Stephen Spencer says:

    You are a courageous priest, but of course the issues are too complicated for a combox or even an article. Indeed, not even a book.

    When traditionalists talk object to Vatican II, to understand the meaning you have to insert “To the extent that Vatican II was different, it…” At issue is only those sections that were, in fact, different than the past. That those exist are not in dispute: the recent Popes all said as much and rejoiced!

    So, why no just let it lay? Because we keep getting told that we have to go back to Vatican II to get it right: the implication is that everything that happened before 1965 is no longer of any avail to us any more. But if the PROBLEM was Vatican II in large measure, well you see…

    Are we really surprised that a Council which sometimes wrote with ambiguity breed confusion? That a Council that could find nothing negative to say about other religions helped breed religious indifference? That a Council that did not give the REASON for evangelization (like Scripture and the pre-Vatican II Church did), would decrease commitment to evangelization and decrease concern about hell? I could go on.

    The Church is in horrible shape–despite the hopeful signs that always exist during crises. God is truth, and he does not want us to minimize the current decay.

    You are a blessing to us all!

  27. Mike says:

    I loved your comments so much I am saving it. Christ said His church would not be conquered by anything and His church has been a major light in the world (no one clothes, feeds, shelters, heals and educates more people in the world “THE WORLD” than the catholic church) To me the mass is about communion with Christ and others and bringing that to the world all of the other stuff is gravy and the core of the mass has not changed even with Vatican II (maybe we have lost our focus). The church will go thru trials and tribulations it has too per Jesus but there is no place else I would rather be. I may have a unique in experience in watching two new catholic elementary schools built during a depression and having 3 parishes within 15 minutes from my house (2 within 10 minutes) each staffed with at least 1 priest , but it doesn’t make it any less real. I and would argue we have so much to celebrate let’s not let this world steal our Jewel or our Joy. Others may not know it but where would the world be without the Catholic Church

  28. Janet O'Connor says:

    I agree with the points made in this article concerning the negativity by so called trade, but my point is this do they have any valid points when they complain about the state of the Church in the west. I also agree with the Pope Emeritus who said in his letter to the bishops from his Moto Proprio that certain people in the church are being treated like lepers which where his own words, and should barely be tolerated. And yes this has increased since the election of Francis and it does not stop with certain cardinals and theologians. I am one of those people who happen to care about the Faith of our ancestors. The ones include the above mentioned bloggers who seemed to be the ones who are bitter negative and hateful so I think it takes one to know one.

  29. Glenna says:

    I agree with this post. My sense is that the Holy Spirit is using Pope Francis as a sign of contradiction to unmask the hypocrisy of those who claim to love the Church but obviously love their idols more…

  30. Brian Offer says:

    Msgr Pope, thank you for your blog and faithfulness. I appreciate your sentiiments and what it must be like in the arena.

    I am a protestant convert of 6 years. I was drawn to the Catholic Church because of its Apostolic line of authority and Magisterial truth.

    I am very sensitive to those in my EF community who question the validity of Councils, Popes and Bishops for political / theological / liturgical reasons. By my definition that path too easily leads one into Protestantism. It’ s not wrong to question, but do so only with great caution and always pray for the proper spirit of meekness before the Throne of God, and those He has ordained to lead His visible Church. Excessive questioning or even disobedience, is a disheartening path towards anarchy, against which God granted us the bulwark of Magisterial truth and the Apostolic line. Such attitudes are clearly destructive. Thank God for the Keys of Peter.

    Governments rise and fall. Civilizations come and go. Social fads disappear when the wind blows. Even democracy, and its focus on the autonomous individual, will one day come to its logical end. The Keys will remain, until given back to God at the last day when God establishes His eternal Kingdom. The Church will endure, and all the opinions about sickness and doom will not change my love of what I saw when I left my sinking protestant ship for the Barque of St. Peter.

    God bless Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. And God bless the Church visible and invisible.

    • You write: I am very sensitive to those in my EF community who question the validity of Councils, Popes and Bishops for political / theological / liturgical reasons. By my definition that path too easily leads one into Protestantism.

      Exactly and sometimes ever further. To hear some of the more radical traditionalists talk is almost like listening to some of the harshest atheist and secular critics as they tick off their list of every Church issue or problems, including references to sexual abuse etc. While the Church has her problems, you’d think that at least a Catholic would balance a discussion of the problems (which every institution with human members have), there would at least be the perspective of love and a sense of what was also good. Some of the comments I had to delete could have been written by the most militant of anti-theists, or homosexual activist who hate the Church and everything she stands for.

      Anyway, thanks for coming to the Church and for being willing to put up with some of our in-fighting. I am sure you bring many blessings and also the witness of how precious unity can be.

  31. Carol says:

    It must be a joyless life to live in the glass half-empty world of the “traditionalist”.

    With some of nasty comments in this combox, who could blame a Pastor from not wanting to deal with such ugly people? What Bishop would welcome them into his diocese?

    First you hi-jack the word “traditionalist” and claim that anyone who does not attend the Latin Mass may not call themselves traditionalist, even though one says the Rosary, attends Bible Study, says Novenas, attends daily Mass and partakes of the Sacraments.
    Then you have the nerve to bash priests, Bishops, and now even Pope Francis.Who are the REAL traditionalists?

    Oh and BTW, I am 70 plus yrs old and so I was brought up in the Latin Mass and was very glad when the Mass became vernacular. No more flipping around in a missal, no more not being able to hear anything the priest said. And if you were able to hear some of the words, no more trying to translate the words into English.

    Now, I can go to Mass, close my eyes and totally immerse myself in the Mass. I can beg for forgiveness and mercy. I can praise God in the Gloria and the Sanctus. I can offer my neighbor the sign of peace, knowing that I have reconciled myself with the rest of humanity. Then when the priest says, “This is my Body”, I am full of joy and thanksgiving. I am truly standing at the foot of the cross, I see the blood running down Our Lord’s face. I see the tear-stained faces of Mary and the other women. No, I would never want to go back!

    • The line of your comment which says, With some of nasty comments in this combox, who could blame a Pastor from not wanting to deal with such ugly people? What Bishop would welcome them into his diocese?

      This is exactly one of my main points! And there were many even nastier comments I had to delete.

      Unlike you, I am predisposed to like the TLM and I like the challenge of the Latin, its mystery and the sense of antiquity. It was the form of the Mass most of the Saints knew. But all that said, even being predisposed to like it, I such as the priests and bishops you imagine, often cringe when I see the traditionalists coming. And suddenly I have to walk on egg-shells and be aware of even the smallest errors liturgically and fear that they might make comments to other parishioners that are hurtful, etc., etc. Whew…

      For me it so very sad, especially since the TLM is more widely available now and so many options exist for traditional expression. You think there’d be more happiness.

      • Jim says:

        As I stated before, the late Cardinal Bernardin identified a number of distinct spiritualities existing in the catholic church. That said, we should not be surprised that some prefer the mass of Trent. I say the mass of Trent, because that mass is celebrated using Latin, not all “Latin” masses are masses of Trent.

        With regard to your statement concerning: “It was the form of the Mass most of the Saints knew.”

        Well, I for one will not undertake a counting, the mass of Trent did not come into existence until that very council which occurred 1545 to 1563.

        Considering our age of 2000 yrs. more or less, many saints were not alive during the time period of 1540’s to the 1960’s.

        That very fact is what puzzles me when folks say we should “go back”. Why stop at Trent?

        Latin is a language that developed as a result of the ruin that occurred during “dark ages”. Greek and Hebrew were vernacular prior to that.

        That said, I congratulate you for your courage and I admire your patience and your ability to articulate a disappointment with those who are heavy handed in criticism.

        For those who actually believe “the church is going down the tubes”, you might want to study the history of the church through out the ages!

        Perusing the “official church calendar of saints” and following up on their story one will be well informed of the issues that belied the faithful…… almost from the beginning. To circumcise or not is not a relevant question today is it? Many of the martyrs, doctors, and so forth were all about bringing about ” REFORM”…….. one heresy after another was rebuked too ; there were popes & antipopes; popes were kidnapped and taken across the Alps in order the France might be the seat of the church, and of course, after the spring thaw, the were again “kidnapped” and brought back to Rome.

        The good “olde days” are now, and that is true in every time and age. Emanuel. God IS with us!

  32. RJH says:

    I asked myself when first reading this article what purpose it could possibly serve. After reading your replies, I see you’re just attention seeking.

  33. Stephen says:

    Charity folks…Charity. Charity, wisdom and a little humility doesn’t hurt. Look to the Saints for examples; even when they were persecuted by their own. The evil one’s strategy is to divide.

  34. Brian Offer says:

    Rod, in ref to your comments of Aug 20,

    “I would think that those of us who know the score might be a bit more charitable to them than to the modernist ‘feel-good’ hippy Catholics that have a smile on their face but little true devotion to the Church.”

    We cannot possibly know whether such Catholics possess true devotion and of what quality it may be. We can only know what our own quality may be through the sacramental gift of Confession.

    I have found personally over my years as a Protestant, and now Catholic, that it is easier to project our own (my own) spiritual struggles onto those failures we see outside of us, than it is to turn inward and deal with the scary stuff that resides within. The visible problems of our Church are very much alive within the “cellular structure” of our Church …. The Faithful. You. Me.

    Whatever injustices may or may not have been inflicted upon the Church in general and the “TLM” in particular by our Bishops, they are between the successors to the Apostles and God through the Holy Spirit. They will be judged, and rewarded, by the Just. Our own part is clearly depicted in the Apocylypse: did we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for widows and orphans, and visit the prisoner. In other words, did we model Love in an unlovely and sinful world that does not want or appreciate us, seeing Jesus in the most unlovely, angry or common people.

    God honors obedience, I think. He values patient suffering and quiet perseverance. If the “TLM” has been returned to its liturgical place, it is because our Father wants it there, not as the reult of political victories still being fought. We should be thankful for this, and all similar gifts, given to us by merciful God. Then return to the plough and work at rooting out sin and replacing it with virtue.

    The REAL battle is personal and inside of each of us. It is invisible spiritual warfare and it is lethal. Our only hope is the Church through whom the Spirit works upon is and within us. And that Church is as much in the Ordinary Form Parish and its parishioners as it is in the most fervent TLM. ONE BODY, ONE LORD.

  35. Marie says:

    “It must be a joyless life to live in the glass half-empty world of the “traditionalist”.” – Carol

    Carol,
    What a nasty thing to say.
    Two can play this game but…in the name of Novus Ordo charity, why not just stop it now.

  36. Rachel Gehring says:

    Thanks for this column. We must be a people of believers, trusting in the the Lord’s providence at all times. Sometimes I look around at all the garbage happening in the world and feel a tendency to despair but this does not come from the Lord. The fact is that constant negativity counters the new evangelization.

  37. Wendi Steeds says:

    We are called to be holy with joy in our hearts. If you see a problem in a mass celebration report it, pray for change, and move on. The Bride has been around 2013 years and has seen it ALL. Pray for the misguided and unknowing. TRUST God to answer your pryers in his time.

  38. Jim says:

    I love all the folks who blame vatican II and all the “horrible things it caused” for the “lack” of vocations.

    I guess God gave them a pass when the call was sounded……. everyone else is a heathen because of Vatican II….. but they’re somehow exempt!

    So can I ask the nay sayers why they did not become priests or religious?

    Then tell me why others can’t offer the same EXCUSE

  39. [...] Msgr. Pope recently made a few comments based on data from Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The basic message of the Post was that the number of Priests/ Parish is now very similar to what it was in 1950. The corollary to this item is the suggestion that those (mostly on the Church “right, let’s call them traditionalist,) who decry the current state of the Catholic Church, often citing other statistics, such as falling vocations and declining mass attendance may be overstating the case for Church decline, and that 1950 was not so much better than the situation today, so maybe things are not all that bad. Obviously on this blog we have tended to side with the traditionalists and agree that there is a crisis of faith within the Church. To be fair, Msgr. Pope acknowledges plenty of problems in the Church that need to be addressed.  One can view the article in question here . He received a great deal of feedback and it seems a lot of it was hostile from the right, there has been a bit of back and forth over this, and Monsignor Pope’s comments and dismay over the hostility are discussed here. [...]

  40. [...] prominent blogger, Msgr.Charles  Pope laid out the narrative of the Professionals three week ago , and this column is a rehash of a column he had written on the subject a year or two [...]

    • I certainly regret the turn that Michael Voris has taken. He’s always been hostile, but in a manner consonant with the prophetic tradition. But now his attacks are becoming personal and good people who do great work for the Lord are being disparaged.

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