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The Church is a Bride, not a Widow. A Word of Reminder and Encouragement to the Faint-hearted and Negative Ones.

August 18, 2013 156 Comments

081813There’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!

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Comments (156)

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  1. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Thank you for this—and for saying what needed to be said, and what so many need desperately to hear! The Church, praise God, is very much alive.

    (And now you know why I don’t have open comments on my blog…!)

    • Thank you Reverend Deacon! There is a wisdom in the closed combox. It is akin to the Lord having “nowhere to lay his head.” Because what that meant was he didn’t have to repair the roof/boiler/hvac/mow the grass/insure the property/or otherwise have too much to lose! But thanks be to God there are two good comments for every negative and hateful one.

      Thanks for your great work!

    • Gordis57 says:

      I cannot blame you at all, Deacon Greg for keeping your comboxes after the kind of venom and spite I have seen on the Internet. Lots of it comes from folks who call themselves “traditional Catholics” or “Pre-VII Catholics” whatever that means. I stopped visiting those sites as I found them to be upsetting and poison to my spiritual health. Bashing and ridiculing Papa Francis is divisive and scandalous and yet, on some sites it is allowed. With all the pain and violence that is currently happening in the world, I could no longer visit these sites.
      Here is one example of where are prayers need to be focused:
      http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=18767&amp

      Our Holy Father and our beloved Church needs much prayer for unity and for true and faithful renewal. The recent events of WYD in Rio give me much hope as do all of what the Holy Father is calling us to do. I want to remain hopeful and positive and to keep praying that the Church can overcome the darkness in and out of the Church and her many members, myself included!

      No more negativity for me! I want to be joyful no matter how hard life will become! Amen!

  2. enness says:

    I agree! A certain self-indulgent enjoyment can be gained from nursing the idea that we’ve never had things worse, but that would be a wild historical inaccuracy.

    Last weekend I had dinner with a group that included two seminarians and a Franciscan, all solid. Yesterday I met another seminarian and hung out with several people who have been called to fill the gap that exists in many parishes in young adult ministry. I should mention that I’m 27. Let’s not despair.

  3. Tom Perna says:

    Right on, Msgr. Pope! You are so correct about the Church today. The reform is set and things have turned around for the Church from those darker days. I don’t attend the TLM, but the Novus Ordo Masses here in Phoenix, at least at the parishes I attend, are sacred and reverent. I am also breathing with the other lung of the Church and attend the Eastern Rites now too. The East provides a mysticism that is often missed even in the most sacred Latin liturgies. I just wrote a post about this on Friday on my blog. Thanks for a great post and don’t worry about the haters.

    • Pasisozi says:

      I am a member of an Eastern Catholic parish in the Phoenix area. I consider myself a traditionalist. I keep the Traditional fasts according to my strength and pray according to the traditional prayers of the Byzantine use, both devotional and Divine Office.

      What disturbs me about so-called “traditionalists” of the Western variety is that they embrace many non-traditional practices such as pope and bishop bashing, Tridentine rite congregationalism where an independent priest is the highest authority, magisterium of questionable mystics and personal opinions, and even sede-vacantism. Since when are any of these traditional?

    • Andrew Smith says:

      My family does the same thing. We go back and forth from a reverent NO Mass and an Eastern Divine Liturgy. We were struck by the ancientness and mysticism of the Eastern Rite and think it has a role to play in re-converting the West. We don’t attend the TLM largely for the reasons Msgr. outlines.

      • Mike Kurz says:

        “I don’t attend the TLM largely for the reasons MSGR outlines”. ?? Msgr just told you he goes to the TLM! Having return to the TLM 1&1/2 years ago, I can tell you the huge differnece in worship it presents, both from the N.O. Paul 6th Mass and the Eastern rite. The TLM IS the legitimate liturgy of Catholicism, (see Quo Primum, Council of Trent) and you feel i to te depths of your soul. There is no doubt about the legitimacy and efficacy of the Eucharist. You KNOW its been consecrated. Can’t say the same for most Novus Ordo Mass I’ve seen in so. Cal.
        Stop being small minded Mr. Smith. Go to the TLM and quench your soul.

        • More accurately the TLM is “a” legitimate liturgy of Catholicism. Not only does you remark as written offend the vast majority who attend the Ordinary Form it is also offensive to those who attend the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. Also, your doubts about consecration are highly unlikely as a problem even in the OF masses that are celebrated poorly. Your comment ought to be reworked substantially and references to “small minded” see ironic given the narrow vision you articulate. Like the TLM – Great but please avoid snubbing other rites and forms. It seems to this reader that for all the quenching it does for your soul, it doesn’t seemed to have done as much to stir you to greater love and respect for your brethren from other legitimate rites and traditions.

        • Andrew Smith says:

          Perhaps Mr. Kurz is correct in his assessment. I did not mean to imply that the TLM was not legitimate or efficacious. I have attended the TLM in the past and probably will in the future.

          On the other hand, as I look over the fruits of Summorum Pontificum, I cannot help but wonder how positive they are. Several issues have arisen since the document was issued that have brought some confusion, in my opinion.

          The first is the calendar. We now have two “official” calendars and everyone is free to follow whichever one they want. This means different Feast Days for different Saints, which is confusing, especially to those who are not familiar with the all the intricacies of the debate. How will this be resolved by the Church?

          The second is Pope Benedict’s idea of the two Masses, the TLM and NO, coming together at some point to make the Mass that VII called for. His hope was to have the reverence of the TLM affect the NO and inspire it. But is this actually happening? I am not sure it is. Can someone point to a Diocese or a Church where they can honestly say the NO has been vastly improved since SP was issued and that the TLM was the cause of said improvement? Was Pope Benedict’s vision a bridge too far?

          Third is the main points of Msgr. Pope’s column. The bitterness that comes with so many that attend the TLM. I have felt this myself among friends who attend the TLM and it has made relationships awkward. I was greatly disappointed to see the incredibly negative comment coming from some in the TLM community on the day of Pope Francis’ election. What is it about this community, which has many good members in it, that inspires this kind of hatred? That’s an honest question.

          As far as Mr. Kurz’s comments to me, I can honestly say that I definitely know the Eucharist is consecrated in the NO Mass, even a NO Mass that is experiencing major liturgical abuse. I have found it very helpful to develop my spirituality from a Eucharistic perspective rather than from the perspective of how well, or not how well, a particular Mass is being said.

          I would prefer not to be insulted for merely asking these questions. If I am wrong in asking them or wrong in my opinions then I am happy to be corrected.

          And thanks Msgr. Pope for your excellent work on this blog. It is a sure stopping point for those of us sincerely interested in living a life of holiness.

      • Mike Kurz says:

        Sorry, pressed enter before edit. “… and you feel it in the depths of your soul.” is what I meant to say.

        • Troy says:

          those of us who lament the destabilizing effects of post Modernism( pun intended) need to discern the spirits much better. There is a season for peace as well as war. maybe we shouldn’t bash bishops but we should champion those faithful to orthodox Catholicism. if there is a rotten Apple in the bunch the faithful followers will know it’s fruit. The wholesome ripe fruit should should be ever more put on display, like a bouquet on grandma’s table. and the hungry will eat. There will always be wheat and weeds.. even dandelions look pretty for a while.

  4. TaillerHeunws says:

    Wonderful :-)

  5. Christian LeBlanc says:

    Where I live in South Carolina, the Church is in better shape than I have seen in 50 years, and it is a great time to be Catholic.

  6. dquinn40 says:

    Father, hopefully you haven’t become too discouraged. You have a wonderful blog here. I really appreciate all the work you put into it. I can vouch for your work here helping at least one(and I’m sure many more) soul in it’s faith journey.

    Great points about the church. It is a challenging time, but(as you mention) the Church has been challenged many times throughout its history. If man was left to combat these challenges alone this blog would not exist today, but luckily we haven’t been.:) I too see great things happening in the Church as it seems we are going through this cleansing period. There are still, and always will be, many challenges ahead. However, I’m excited to see the fruits of the Lord’s work!

    Thanks again for everything you do!

    • Janice says:

      I agree with what you say, and you have confirmed what I came to the realize about myself just a few months ago; that I had become one of “those traditionalist” people that was overly critical. I began to feel that a lot of like minded folks around me sounded as if they were always trying to “one up each other”in their traditionalism, and I didn’t like how I had come to think about everything post Vatican II in such a negative light. I can still prefer the TLM, but I can respect the Novus Ordo and I do attend that Mass also, but I don’t have to be so critical, not bash bishop’s and worse! Thanks for confirming my revelation.

      • Yes, I have had a similar experience. Though inclined to traditionalism I have been increasingly, over the years distressed at what I see to be increasing venom. I find it very painful since I love tradition and want to see it appreciated more widely. But the “turn-off” factor is so strong. I don’t think that a lot of traditionally minded people understand that they themselves are too often the very reason many feel averse to things traditional. With friends like the TLM frequently has now, enemies of it are largely unnecessary. Making people in parishes and diocese offices cringe when your number lights up on the incoming call, is generally not a good way to open doors or influence people.

        Early on it was less this way. Most traditional Catholics in the 1980s loved the clergy, especially the Pope, They loved the Church and were seeking recognition and recourse for the tradition in more helpful ways. In those days it was the left that was anti-clerical and hostile of Church structure.

        So sad. Again not all traditional Catholics are this way, not even most. But a significant minority make life very difficult and sully the relationship that could otherwise be strong. The minority imposes loyalty tests and treats clergy like me who have tried to reach out to them as well as others. They treat us like an “Uncle Tom” because we don’t toe the whole line or join in the condemnation “required” by certain self-appointed guardians of tradition. Perhaps we understand the need to love others in the Church and make room for more diverse expressions of the Liturgy. Perhaps they call us soft because we cringe when others we also love are savaged by them or ridiculed. I do understand that many on all sides do not like certain aspects of Church life or liturgy. Fine, preference are OK, but hostility to permitted diversity makes me very sad. Anyway, sorry for the vent here. It’s just that once again I have had to read and delete some very sad comments today.

        • Rick 12 says:

          Very nice post Father and this post toughes on a few things that I have been trying to work on as a “Traditional” Catholic. The main thing I am trying to work on is explaining why I love the TLM and the older forms of catchisis for myself and my children, rather than constantly say what I dislike about the Novus Ordo mass or Vatican II and what it fostered in the Church. But on a given post the topic is laser like and it either fits into the big puzzle or it does not and that is why I think a given post can draw some much vitrial. The other think I always try to keep in mind is everybody is on a different part of their journey and during some of my stops it was all negitive, attack, attack, attack because it can be a very passionate subject. Don’t win many converts with that! Explain why you love it and live it, be a good example of your faith. I also am trying to listen more. It is a work in progress. Keep up the good work, Father always injoy your posts they always get me thinking and praying. If your getting hit from both sides your probably about where you should be.

  7. Ryan Ellis says:

    I’ve actually been banned from people’s Facebook pages for saying Pope Francis isn’t so bad.

    In fairness, very prominent “New Evangelization” conservative Catholics have done the same for criticizing Pope Francis on liturgical matters.

    I think social media in general could do with better dialogue. Part of that includes rolling with the punches, which you’re very good at. We tend to silo ourselves.

  8. Mark O'Neil says:

    I pray for a strong Catholic Church, so focus on your standing before God and do not focus on sheep which tend to wander and also by the way stink too. Focusing on God will keep everything in perspective. When you hurt or suffer you are sharing in the sufferings of Christ and reflect God’s character/nature in being long-suffering, patient, being innocent for the persecution against you. God will reward you one day with a crown of glory for what you did for His name’s sake. 1 Peter 5.

  9. Jody says:

    Thank you for saying what I believe. And thanks for the shout-out to the Evangelical converts because that’s what my daughter and I are! We love the Church!

  10. Maggie says:

    From someone looking in from outside.

    I think the problem is that people don’t like change and the older you get the more difficult it is to accept major changes. Dramatic changes such as those which occurred during Vatican II etc would have been welcomed by most but would have confused others. I, like many felt saddened that so much of the old Latin hymns and liturgy seemed to be swept aside, almost denounced. Although a lot of changes have been beneficial, the feeling of stability created by having ancient hymns and devotions maintained was initially disregarded. I can’t see why both ancient and modern can’t exist together. Perhaps this is changing now or even has changed without my knowing.

    I’m surprised that Jeff Mirus (in the excerpt quoted) sees the Jesuits as being ‘hold outs’. I was brought up to admire the Jesuits and their intellectual pursuits as well as their devotion to education, missionary work and ceremonial accomplishments and thought they were fully behind the changes brought about by Vatican II.

  11. Mishka Michelle Wu says:

    Your message is very on for us here in Hong Kong!Our diocese has never been so dynamic,more solidly formed newly baptized,more lay ministries etc,more talks & seminars for the Year of Faith!We have started new Bible Study class in my parish & my choir has monthly spiritual sharing.We a group of Catholic composers here in Hong Kong are trying to establish a platform to share & sell our compositions similar to OCP which is very exciting for me.Also,many of us here follow Pope Francis’ homilies,sayings & news,almost all of us are very impressed & praise God for giving us such a timely leader who can reform our Church.In short,I have never felt more Catholic!

  12. Michele says:

    I am a re-turned Catholic and it happened in the mid-90’s (that’s the time, not my age…:) and I noticed what you are talking about fairly quickly. When I came back to the faith, I noticed that some people (with a traditional bent) loved the Church of the 50’s, blame Vatican II for everything and now think the Church is going down the tube (because they think only “they” love the Church enough and resist changes) while other people (with a progressive bent) love the current Church although there has not been enough changes to really please themt… Both group (and this is a generalization) are falling to a temptation: rigidity and exclusiveness leading to contempt, complaining and bashing for some, vs openness and lack of boundaries leading to confusion and sloth, laissez-faire, leading to complaining and moaning…. Both groups can turn to “idolatry”, glorifying the wrong things. Remember that God kept the Jews in the desert for 40 years because they complained that they missed the leeks of Egypt and because they built a golden calf when Moses did not come down the mountain quickly enough in their views!

    • Ian88 says:

      Michele,

      I understand your point, but am not too sure that comparing fellow Catholics to people who longed for the days of slavery under a false religion of polytheism and who, in their impatience, decided to worship a golden statue, is comparable.

  13. Janet says:

    Last week, I sat down and spoke with a beautiful, bright young woman who wants to joint our parish’s RCIA and asked her the same question that I asked the other six vibrant young people who are already attending – “Why would you want to become a Catholic today??” They all answer basically in the same way – they are looking for more meaning in their lives and they see what they want in the teachings of the Church. And they are not shying away from the “hard teachings” of our Faith.

    Six or seven catechumens may not sound like a lot in some areas, but we are in a neighborhood that has seen 3 out of 5 parishes closed along with all of its Catholic grade schools. These young people have given my faith a big boost and it makes me optimistic for the future of our Church.

    We need to focus on the mission that Jesus gave to all of us to go and make disciples. The rest will fall into place.

    And a suggestion – you may want to follow Deacon Kandra’s lead and stop the comments on your site. Even though you do have many great and thoughtful commenters here, I think that the ability to anonymously vent about a pet peeve brings out the worst in many of us and can even be an occasion of sin.

  14. dontex says:

    Excellent posting Msgr. Pope.

    As a senior citizen, I have learned that even in the Church it is not always black and white – because I personally do not know all the circumstances of a particular situation. Those Church leaders/members we may not agree with will all have to answer to God one day. Accepting the fact that God is in charge helps me get through some difficult situations.

    Do I like everything about everything in the Church these days? Of course not! But to borrow an old (and somewhat trite) expression “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”

    Keep up the good fight and may God continue to bless your work.

  15. Cynthia BC says:

    You may recall the PBS series in which several families set out to live for several months as if they were in an earlier era. The series included “1900 House,” “Frontier House,” and “Colonial House.” The series provided a fascinating insight on what life was really like for a typical household.

    I confess that they also completely dispelled any romantic notions I may have had about life Back Then. It is one thing to think that one could do without this, that or the other convenience, product, or technology. The reality of living without those things is another.

    Not to suggest that the Church life of my grandparents’ time was primitive, but I do think that we view Back Then with rose-colored glasses.

  16. JACK says:

    Thank you Msgr. for this glimmer of hope!
    Here in the “Great Northeast” things have been particularly dismal for many, many years.
    I look forward to this new renewal and hope I live long enough to see it.

  17. Drew says:

    Thanks be to God for the holdouts!

    “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.”

    We need prophets to call us to the service of others. (I wonder what Pope Francis would say about keeping company with ‘notorious holdouts.’)

    • Well I think “holdout” here does not refer to caring for the poor. It refers to those who dissent from Church teaching. The first thing the poor and anyone deserves is the truth. Dissent does not help or serve anyone. I suppose that Pope Francis would say to these holdouts what he has already said: repent. I would hope, Drew that you might be cautious about false dichotomies that pit doctrine against the poor or justice. I think the Church in every era has a great track record in caring for the poor within her own doctrinal tradition, not apart from it.

  18. Mike says:

    Thank you, Monsignor. Without detracting from your frustration, I ask that you remember that you are speaking not only to older Catholics who saw the Church and Her liturgy thrashed by post-Vatican II abuses (notwithstanding the fact that, by honest accounts, many abuses existed before the Council). Your audience also includes those of us who were “catechized” in the 1970s to believe that everything was going to be Just Awesome! if only we would wave more in the pews, wail along with the unsingable hymn-of-the-month, and support trendy left-wing activism even when (or especially when) it varied from what the Church had been teaching for centuries.

    A generation later, there’s still an awful lot of the latter spirit around, parading as “conscience.” Those of us who push back are too often counseled — not by you, to be sure — to Coexist and not to be Obsessed With Gynecology.

    It is a blessing to observe and participate in the beginnings of an authentic Catholic counterculture. I understand that. Please be patient with the rest of us in the vanguard, and pray for us. As few are in a better position than you are to know, it’s tough out here.

    • OK, but here is an example of what is not necessary. Why was it necessary for you to ridicule charismatic worship and refer to obsession with Gynecology. It’s “cute” to a certain group who already agree with you. But do you really think that your approach speaks to others to encourage and persuade, or does your mode just make you feel better? I stand by my comments. There are a lot of great things happening in the Church today. As I also state and you acknowledge, that does not mean everything is great everywhere or “just awesome” Ecclesia semper reformanda

      • Mike says:

        Since you ask, I engage; one hopes in charity. To be frank, what I have seen of the Charismatic Renewal and its byproducts leaves me with a decidedly mixed feeling with regard to genuineness or appropriateness. And it seems to me pointless to ignore the mainstream-media barbs that not only attack the Church but are bandied about by many of its members and some number of its clergy.

        If it is not all bad — and, as you state, it is not — we still seem far from achieving, to borrow your locution, the Church of Wonderful.

          • Peter Wolczuk says:

            I’ve loved my personal experiences with the Charismatic as the joy flows to my within and bursts out. However, I will admit that all the people whom I’ve known to be there (including myself) are imperfect – just as all people are imperfect. One could focus on imperfections as the value is tuned out. But then one could focus on Jeremiah and Jonah trying to cop out of their calling. On Moses committing murder when he was a young dilletante before his reformation when he did physical work to raise a family in a foreign country. So many other people and groups we could devalue on a few imperfections.

          • Ro says:

            Coming from a penecostal back ground and understanding that the modern Charismatic movement is profoundly influenced by its protestant roots I would strongly caution against it. Aside from the fact that it entered the Church in the 60s/ 80s (I don’t remember offhand the exact date) through some Episcopalians who did not recognize the authority of the Catholic Church and in conjunction with Catholics who sought a “pan Christianity.” By that I mean they considered the doctrinal and theological differences between different denominations and even the Church as at best unimportant or menaingless.

            My main reasons or caution, however, are that it is heavily dependent upon emotion (ie.I feel great so I’m close to God today or its polar opposite I’m feeling miserable I must have done something really wrong and seperated myself from the Holy Spirirt. While those things can be true they are not necessarily true. Basing one’s faith primarily upon emotion is a very dangerous thing to do. Allowing emotion to dictate to the liturgy is not good either as it loses it connection with the Church and allows the current fad or emotion to sweep all before it.

            Liturgy need to be primarily ritualistic as it connects us not only to something greater than ourselves (namely God) but in a manner that helps us transcend the present and even our current emotional state. Its purpose is to transcend space and time in a sense so that simultaneously we are at Calvary weeping at the foot of the Cross and with the blessed in Heaven worshipping God and declaring His wonderous deeds.

            Having said that Emotion is a God given gift the problem is that the modern man tends to let it rule him and gives more credence and authority to it than is its proper due- that is the main problem with the Charismatic movement upon a whole. I have seen people questioning their salvation based solely upon emotive reasons. I have also seen cultic scenarios arise when some people have a certain attractive charisma and draw others to follow them. All those people in those scenarios claimed it was the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Sadly it is common in charismatic circles (at least protestant- which inevitably does influence the Catholics who adhere to the movement) that a pursuit of knowledge is not of God because Knowledge puffs up (quoting Scripture out of context- also very common).

            However, as “traditional Catholic,” whatever that means, I must say I do believe in miracles of healing and yes even of tongues though I truly do not believe that nearly all that passes for that gift in modern charismatic circles is genuine. God does not do things for no purpose or to show off. While I grant that we may never understand why He does what He does I do not believe that He would have people speak in some form of babbling that is not scientifically unrecognizable as a language to only to have someone else translate it into something so everyone in the room can understand it. That is just silly. Pentecost had a point and it wasn’t to show off. It was to demonstrate to foreigners the magnitude of what had occurred and witness to His glory. Rather than doing that there are elements in the Charismatic movement barking like dogs and claiming that is of Divine Origin or the so called “holy laughter.” I am not saying that I am more holy than a “charismatic Catholic is. Knowing many people over the years in the movement I have no doubt of their sincerity and devotion. Knowing my own many sins I do not possess the arrogance of comparing myself with any of them. However, if they were not held back by the bonds of emotion I would think they would have possessed a far greater spiritual maturity and less confused/ deceived by the wiles of the devil.

            All the great and solid treatises on the spiritual life warn us to be wary of placing too much confidence insensible consolations and yet that is exactly the euphoria that the Charismatic movement as a whole place the highest value on. It is not really an either or my friends but first and then the second. All things in their proper place, all things in their proper place.

  19. Cathy R. says:

    I like to read “The Deacon’s Bench” and I am sorry that I cannot comment on that blog because I find dialog interesting. I love your blog because I get sound doctrine and it is one of the places I can see what my fellow Catholics are saying (this site tends to have mostly “Trad.” comments.)
    Although I am a Novus Ordo Catholic and prefer that mass, I am totally supportive of people who love TLM and hope that it will continue to be offered. The “fall off” of Catholic church attendance did just happen to occur right after the Second Vatican Council (which also happened to include the turbulent 60’s and 70’s). The decline might have been due to Vatican II, or not – we don’t really know. In my “studies” of the Trad/Rad controversy I have found that while some “Rads” are doctrinally “off base” the Trads tend to be self-righteously unkind (thinking that by saying the most hurtful Ad-hominem remarks they can somehow “correct” their brothers and sisters.) Yes, I know all about Jesus’s comments to the priests & scribes but I don’t think this is working for us. We need to be firm, but not unkind! & thank you father Pope, for allowing comments.

  20. Susan says:

    Wonderful! Thank you!

  21. Father Joseph LeBlanc, SJ says:

    Don’t get discouraged Msgr from negative statements . .your blogs are great teaching tools for catechesis in parishes and I personally pass them on to our men in parishes. So hang in there and continue the good work.

  22. Michelle says:

    I want to thank you, Msgr. Pope, for your wonderful blog. I cannot count the number of posts that have helped me since I first was made aware of your blog. I come here every day, and am blessed by your guidance, insight, and loving care for your followers. I have learned so much, and have shared your words with others.

    That said, I want to say that I agree that things are getting better in the Church than they have been in the past 30 years. Like Mike above, I am a product of the 70s and 80s, born in 1969. I’ve been told by older, more “progressive” Catholics, that I am to young to understand things because I didn’t live before Vatican II. This is not so. I do know what I saw change in the Church, and know how much was lost to us in the 70s and 80s.

    I am uplifted to see many good practices returning to the faithful. In my 30s, I was finally introduced to Eucharistic Adoration, something I’d never experienced, nor even heard of until that time! There are wonderful conferences and retreats being offered, and so much information out there for us to learn and grow in our Catholic faith. I’m so encouraged by the faithful young men and women entering our seminaries and religious communities. We are hearing more from strong bishops and priests.

    I am so thankful to be Catholic now, raising our 5 children with the kind of faith I wish I had had when I was their age. God is good. Thank you, Msgr. Pope, for reminding us that Christ hasn’t left His bride, nor will He.

  23. tjmanetti says:

    Thank you for this blog…blessed by your evenhandedness on this and many other topics.

  24. Romulus says:

    Msgr. Pope, I think you are one of the good guys and certainly am aware of and appreciate the good things that are happening. I am friends with many good priests and seminarians. But I will confess I’m not in a mood for happy talk. Most Catholics do not bother to practice their faith even formally. The minority who do are frequently deeply ignorant and confused. A selective and utilitarian approach to the moral law is the norm. In their view, the Church exists to affirm them or else to grease their passage through life. Conversion? Isn’t that something for, you know, converts?

    Yes, things are looking up, and I am particularly impressed by young priests, but here is a serious question: Why was the faith not transmitted for thirty years or more after the Council? Not in the universities or parochial schools. Not in the public square. Not from the pulpit. Not even in the seminaries? What explains the collapse in Catholic practice, the erasure of Catholic identity, the withering up of evangelical Catholic confidence that we have urgent good news for the world — what Evelyn Waugh described as “a coherent
    philosophic system and intransigent historical claims”? I am not asking for bishop-or-pope-bashing. I am asking for honesty and acknowledgment of the accountability that Christ assures us will be assessed on the last day.

    Yesterday I had a long talk with my sister. She is considering taking a part time DRE position at a struggling parish. The pastor is out of money, entrusted with a massive old church. There is not enough money coming in for him even to maintain a decent space for CCD. He is thinking of moving his bed to another part of the rectory so he can save a few dollars on air conditioning. He has had to let go his housekeeper, and no longer has a full time parish secretary. Yes, his masses are well attended — but what is wrong with people that they have no sense of ownership in their parish and will do nothing for their priest who’s at his wits’ end? How did they get to this pass, with faithful who do not keep faith, and pastors who don’t know how to lead? My heart breaks to think of it.

    • midwestlady says:

      We stopped preaching conversion at some point to distinguish ourselves from Protestants. It was a sort of boundary maintenance for us. As long as we could do that and get away with it because of the structure of society and family life, it worked–but only sort of. We ended up passing along customs and a formal sort of faith, but personal faith took a beating. That’s run down now, since the culture has changed and we can’t get away with it anymore. Real evangelization is now necessary.

  25. Charles R. Williams says:

    Your point is well-taken. How do we account for this vigilateism? I think a great many people have been deeply scarred by what happened in the aftermath of the council. A church that teaches with authority suddenly tolerates disobedience, heresy and dissent. Those who exercise that authority fail across the board to exercise it responsibly. People are left with the choice of abandoning their faith as they understand it – and the line between what is essential and what is incidental is never clear – or looking to the sensus fidelium of a faithful remnant. This spawns a posture of paranoia and distrust.

    So the abuse is heaped on you, father, and you don’t deserve it.

    The people who abuse you do not see the big picture. They are not religious professionals. The past is very much alive to them and when they see the present they experience it from a very local perspective. The religious professionals they deal with seem to deny or minimize the depth of the abuse THEY suffered in preserving their faith in that difficult time.

    Only the passage of time will heal these wounds.

    • I am not sure what vigilateism means. Also, I wonder it the “THEY” referred to here must be those largely over 60. Frankly for most Catholics younger than that, especially in their 20s 30s and 40s “Vatican II” and the “past” that you described is a largely unintelligible reality. Latin Masses and authoritarian stances were never the Church they knew. Hence there may be some value in focusing on the here and now rather than how things changed over 50 years ago. And however superior you may wish to paint the Church of those years, at least factor in that the system you describe produced the revolutionaries. The 60s radicals in the Church emerged from those packed schools and seminaries and the steady diet of the Baltimore Catechism, strict discipline etc of the 40s and 50s. So something was going on beneath the surface. But again that was then. In 2013 many Catholics do not have the baggage you (THEY) have unless you chose to load it on their shoulders. Many are working with the situation called “now” rather than 1965 and maybe that’s good. Knowing history is good, but 1965 is only a small sliver of history. The wider view shows many ups and downs.

      • Nate C says:

        I’m sure it was a typo for “vigilante-ism”. “THEY” are those in and around their 30’s who’s parents loss of faith resulted in much pain and suffering, these “scars” so to speak. Latin Masses and authoritarian stances were definitely not the Church we knew, but we know all too well the opposite. This idea of focusing on the here and now, about looking forward seems short sighted to me (please pardon my negativity).

  26. Candida Eittreim says:

    Msgr. Pope. Please don’t be discouraged. You are a comfort and a lighthouse to so many souls, who are often wading in deep waters. The internet seems, in some souls to unleash the monster in us. And people who would rarely if ever, say anything harsh or unkind offline, just roar here. I pray for them, though when we are being attacked, that’s often so very hard to do. We need your counsel and your wisdom. God bless you and may the Holy Spirit continue to fill you with its graces.

  27. Linus says:

    Amen to that Msgr..

  28. Teri says:

    Thank you!! I am one of the new former evangelicals that brought my love of Our Lord with me when I became Catholic.

    Was my experience in RCIA and with some catechetical leaders what I expected of The True Church? Sadly, no. About one third of the Parish was in the “false spirit” of Vatican Ii

    My RCIA Director told me while I was still In Formation that if “things go back to that old stuff we used to have I’ll be the first getting the hell out of here” meaning the Catholic Chuch period.

    I’ve been dismayed by some ugly actions from that type of indivual and now, I’m shocked by the ugly action of “traditionalists”!

    However, I love the Church…it’s beauty and truth…and I too prefer the solemn Mass, chants, etc. I feel a part of the Church in all of its ages when it is observed that way.

    Msgr. You are right about the Church not being a widow. But for those who pull away on one side or the other going so far as to leave for more traditional ‘sects’ or become Cafeteria Catholics, etc…. They need a bit of warning from a former Protestant as much as that may anger them.

    Jesus is coming back for A Bride…not a harem. You never read of the saints leaving the Church during the worse times in history. I know about St. Athenatius and the Arian heresy, but this is not the same situation as you well know.

    Fundamentalist Protestants did so much damage they drove others away from God with their Pharisaic mean spirited judgements. The Catholic Traditionalists should be forewarned, especially since Our Lord didn’t look kindly on those types in his time on earth.

    Blessings and peace be with you always!

  29. RichardGTC says:

    I agree. I would include the SSPX in the list of holdouts. I don’t know what more Pope Benedict could have done to bring them back in.

  30. MV says:

    I think this post may exhibit a tendency sometimes present among those faced with how bad the situation in the Church and in the world is, that tendency being a desire to suppress the overwhelming nature of it by minimizing the extent or magnitude of the crisis. A man knows some faithful Catholics among young people, or some good seminarians soon to be ordained, or some good priests or religious, or is moved by something the pope said, and temporarily ignores the evidence of the devastating apostasy racking the Church and the world in favor of the temporary emotional comfort brought to him by the positive news happening in his own small corner of the world.

    But the fact that you can find pockets of positive news or optimistic anecdotal cases at a parish here or there doesn’t change reality, and reality unfortunately is what St. Pius X said it was over 100 years ago:

    “…We were terrified beyond all else by the disastrous state of human society today. For who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction?…When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that there may be already in the world the “Son of Perdition” of whom the Apostle speaks (II. Thess. ii., 3).” (E Supremi Apostolatus)

    Also Pius XII: “We are overwhelmed with sadness and anguish, seeing that the wickedness of perverse men has reached a degree of impiety that is unbelievable and absolutely unknown in other times.” (Feb. 11, 1949)

    So St. Pius X said, in the early 1900’s, that the situation was so bad that it seemed to portend the near approach of the Antichrist, and Ven. Pius XII said that the wickedness of men in his own time, the 1940’s, was so horrendous that it had never been seen before ever in history. And both of those popes lived before widespread legalized abortion, the homosexual plague overrunning society, the massive apostasy of whole nations from the Catholic Faith, institutionalized perversity, pornography, contraception, collapse of families, blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy, and other evils on inconceivable scales such as they occur today.

    The desire to shout down those who echo the warnings of those holy popes was actually a mark of the Vatican II age, as when John XXIII criticized those “prophets of doom and gloom” who refused to embrace his notion that the 1960’s era Cold War times was actually a rosy and optimistic time full of hope for the future, when in fact that same time was just on the brink of unleashing the societal disaster we see today. Even Cardinal Ratzinger, always a fan of Vatican II, admitted this: “I am repeating here what I said ten years after the conclusion of the work: it is incontrovertible that this period has definitely been unfavorable for the Catholic Church.”

    Without being able to comment on what your specific interlocutors may have said, Monsignor, it’s not unfair or inaccurate to point out that at least some of the Church’s problems do come directly from the failure on the part of leadership, particularly bishops and popes, and that it’s not “bashing” to simply point out this reality. Some of the bishops themselves have in limited forms admitted this; if I recall, for instance, it may have been Cardinal Dolan who conceded what a poor job had done been by Catholic leadership in teaching and enforcing Humanae Vitae, as we can see by the fact that the government easily succeeded with its HHS mandate in dropping this bomb on the Church before having Obama re-elected, of course with a majority of “Catholics” who had no problems voting for this infanticidal butcher despite his open persecution of their nominal Church. Similar remarks of course can be made about the scandalous failure to forbid pro-abortion heretics or inaccurately self-described “Catholic” public figures from sacrilegiously receiving Communion, something which all priests and bishops are obligated by divine law to forbid from happening, but which they refuse to do in a certain number of dioceses.

    Even the attempt made in this post to point out alleged positives tends towards minimizing one of the key issues pointed out by traditionalists. This is apparent, for instance, when speaking of young adults “some…turning to traditional forms, other to more contemporary worship,” which could almost be taken to imply that the primary difference between a Solemn High Mass and a charismatic free-for-all with someone pretending to speak in tongues or jamming on an electric guitar is one of personal preference. You say that “I walk in the wide Church and see a lot of variety,” as though consecrated hands distributing Our Lord in Holy Communion on the tongue (the old Mass) is pretty much the same thing, or only a legitimate “variety,” as unordained laity handing out Hosts “the size and consistency of a personal pan pizza, which tends to crumble and leave fragments all over the floor,” as C. Ferrara said of the Hosts used at the NC Way Masses. But in reality the “variety” is in some cases not a question of preference, but a different in objective value which has a direct connection to questions of Faith. How someone worships at Mass, for instance, tells us what they think of God and what they believe about Him on the level of Faith, whether He is the Supreme Being, our loving Father, that is true, but also the Lord of Lords before Whom the angels tremble, or whether He is regarded as a sort of drinking buddy with whom we casually pal around. And that is far more important than a mere “variety” in aesthetic taste.

    Once more, it’s not “bashing” to point out these facts, unless calling attention to reality is “bashing.” But Christ said that the truth would set us free, and that includes truths which don’t inspire warm sunny feelings. Christ Himself prophesied that before His second coming, the Faith would be almost extinguished on Earth (Luke 18:8), so it’s not surprising to see that things are very bad today. Bits and pieces of positive news aside, it’s absolutely correct that people need to have a sober and keen awareness of the gravity of the crisis, and attempts to shout down or belittle those who point out its gravity, however well intentioned they may be, can often come across as an attempt to evade reality.

    The Church is a Bride, but her Spouse is crucified, and her children are supposed to follow Him in what the Church herself refers to as “this vale of tears.” If reality happens to be depressing or negative, it is still reality, and recognizing a depressing reality is superior to constructing an artificially optimistic unreality.

    • I have given ample evidence for the view that things are greatly improved and that reform is both palpable and real. I have given the evidence here and in other posts. I am not living in La La land and have dealt forthrightly with the need for on-going reform in the Church in the pages of this blog. Your move to dismiss my description and to allege myopia by me are not well based and I intend to disregard the charges as ill-founded, non-evidential and rooted largely in all or nothing thinking by you.

    • Erin Manning says:

      “The Church is a Bride, but her Spouse is crucified…” Oh, I have to respond to this, though if you don’t publish it, Msgr. Pope, I’ll certainly understand. :)

      The Church is a Bride, and her Spouse is Risen! He has already won the triumph over death and sin, and though we may live in this “vale of tears” we are also citizens of the Kingdom. Alleluia!

      • AA Cunningham says:

        “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:23-24

        “For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until He come.” 1 Corinthians 11:26

    • Thomas says:

      I have preayed in tongues for 15 years and I’ll have you know i am not pretending. Saying that is incredibly hurtful. It is tantamount to someone – who claims to be a Chirstian – speaking of your prayer life as “pretending to talk to God.”

      The same Spirit who allows me to pray in tongues that I do not understand led me to convert to Catholicism. Or does that not mean anything to you since my Catholicism probably isn’t good enough for you despite the fact that you know nothing about me?

      • MV says:

        Thomas,

        I made no comment at all about you personally or any gifts God may have granted to you. As you said, I don’t know you. My comment was a general remark about the phenomenon of feelings-oriented spiritualities which seek extraordinary signs and wonders as an essential component of Faith, when Christ Himself discouraged such things (John 4:48), as well as the problems which can occur and have occurred in the charismatic milieu. I know a priest who is an exorcist, for example, who has spoken of the problem of laity laying hands on people during charismatic meetings, which is useless, since the laity are not ordained, do not have consecrated hands, and so are not authorized to give such blessings. If I recall he also pointed out that the gift of tongues needs someone to interpret what is being said. You yourself said you pray in tongues you don’t even understand. What use is that? Scenes are described of charismatic meetings where people fall to the ground after being “slain in the spirit.” As one former Charismatic asked, what “spirit” is that? How do spectacles of people toppling to the ground after being prayed over advance a person’s personal sanctification and glorify God?

        Further, it was pointed out that the desire to seek sensible consolations and extraordinary signs as an indicator of the health of one’s spiritual life is a disordered tendency, since it is the degree of charity (which often goes together with the absence of any sensible feelings, great dryness and aridity, or even the total darkness found in the “night” spoken of by St. John of the Cross) which measures one’s holiness, not the sensible signs or feelings they experience, which can co-exist with very great imperfection (in fact, a gift like prophecy can even be found in those in mortal sin, as Caiphais prophesied (John 11:49-51; Matthew 7:22-3) while in the very midst of plotting the crime of deicide).

        You may find this article on Charismaticism to be of use: http://www.christianorder.com/features/features_2000/features_feb00.html

        Once more I would emphasize that the important point is not whether my comments are “hurtful” or how they make someone feel, but whether or not they are true. At times people need to set aside wounded feelings and focus on the substance of the argument, not worrying about how something makes them feel, but whether or not something is true, even if it might hurt their feelings. I would also note that you refer to “my Catholicism,” as though Catholicism comes in different styles or flavors, when in reality the fundamentals of the Faith are the same for everyone. If your Catholicism is Catholicism at all then it is good for every Catholic.

  31. Catherine Cantalin says:

    Thank you, Msgr. Pope for your interesting article. Personally, I think it unwise to invite comments as there are many (I believe) who would like to see Catholics fighting with each other. I find traditional Catholics to be very well behaved and unlikely to say hurtful things. Again, thank you!

    • Perhaps. Generally I think the combox experience is a good exercise in sharing ideas. I just wish the impersonal quality of the interaction could be overcome by more people. I think the impersonal quality generates some of the lack of charity that would be avoided in more personal interactions.

  32. Donal Mahoney says:

    I am a traditional Catholic in spirit who attends a Novo Ordus Mass at three different churches at times because I like variation in the liturgy. I intend to begin offering it up for priests in Purgatory, hoping they will be sprung sooner.

    That said, I have to believe that in time the Novus Ordo Mass will attract more converts than the Latin Mass ever did. And it will not seem so extemporaneous once the Vatican tightens it up. I hope to still be alive when that happens.

    Besides, since catechesis among cradle Catholics is so poor today, the Novus Ordo Mass is less apt to confuse them. No need to mention the “Collect” or the ushers will pass the basket.

    Any traditional Catholic who takes issue with Msgr. Pope is simply wrong to do so. Why mess with a kosher priest who has a blog and is unafraid to speak the truth. If you want to be offended, try reading the National Catholic Reporter and U.S. Catholic Magazine. Buy a little Prilosec first.

    The nice thing is that I think I can still say the Suscipiat even though I have not had to say it as a server since 1952. Did I know what it meant? Sadly, no, but I took care to say it correctly. More difficult than the Misereatur. But Catholics didn’t read the Bible back then either.

    Let’s not bother orthodox clergy. Let’s send letters to clergy who write for NCR instead.

  33. Leigh Anne says:

    Hi Msgr.-
    Just wanted to say that I saw your post last week and thought how pleasant it was to hear something NOT “doom and gloom” for a change! Please keep sharing interesting statistics whenever you run across them or feel like it! There’s more than enough negative and distressing news bombarding us, and I’m grateful when I get to read or hear something encouraging. May God bless you and everyone else who is able to share a little optimism!

  34. Nick Esposito says:

    Msgr. Pope, This is a relevant (and very good) article pertaining to this subject by Fr. Paul Scalia.

    http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/the-church-militant-or-the-church-belligerent

  35. Molly says:

    Msgr Pope
    Thank you so very much for your post. I read you all the time but felt compelled to write as this negative element of ‘traditionalist’ Catholics is a bigger hindrance to the New Evangelization than many realize. It is also decidedly uncatholic and misrepresents Mother Church with its lack of obedience and humility.
    This mean spirited hystericism you speak of has nothing to do with God and everything to do with fear and pride. And I know personally many dear friends and family that struggle with the idea of returning to the faith or conversion because of these self anointed prophets of Catholic doom.
    Please keep up with the excellent articles! I have many non Catholic friends read you so they can get to know the authentic faith. I should also mention I am 34 and grew up very much in but not of the culture courtesy of some very loving and well catechized parents:-) I KNOW we need more of those in both the traditionalist and left wing camps as I have close friends in both. Let us pray Mary mothers them all!

  36. RichardGTC says:

    Monsignor, I don’t know how I posted the same comment twice and I think your software is supposed to prevent that. However, what has been posted has been posted and I stand by both statements, however identical they may be. Further, in both statements, ‘then Pope Benedict’ would have more precise.

    • RichardGTC says:

      I see one of my identical comments has been removed now, so please also delete these two comments on my identical statements.

  37. Greg says:

    Monsignor Pope,

    You need to watch out for those Rorate Caeli Catholics. They are either your best friend or worst enemy.

  38. April says:

    This is why you still continue to be my favorite blogger, Msgr. Thank you, thank you: for your yes to God’s call to write with clarity and charity, and for looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty. You reflect Our Church. God Bless you.

  39. Daniel says:

    Msgr, when I’m at Novus Ordo I cringe at the horrible songs on the cd player (The CD doesn’t have piano, it’s something tropical that’s a cross between a tiki bar and a very slow elevator). Lord, please forgive me for wanting to punch people that will walk across the aisle to hold my hand (I’m holding a 2 year old and a 1 year old baby, with my 3 year old grabbing my leg, k, thanks.)

    Oh but to go to the Russian Orthodox vigil! The dignity, the incense, prayers grounded on worship of GOD, and no priest hand-holding the altar girls!!!

    I wasn’t alive for those aweful masses in the 70’s and 80’s.

    But I’ve been to good Novus Ordo…I’ve been to good EF…I’ve been to good Catholic Divine Liturgy…and while I am too timid to go to EO Divine Liturgy, I have been to heavenly EO vespers and vigil in the Russian Orthodox tradition.

    But what I have for my Sunday morning mass isn’t a good Novus Ordo, it’s just a shiny turd. That the turd is shinier than what you had in the 70’s isn’t a consolation to me as it is to you.

  40. MikefromED says:

    I am an altar server at Novus Ordo Masses during the week and attend the TLM on Sundays. I was also away from the Church for about 40 years beginning around 1970 so I missed the anni horribilis (to use a phrase used by HM Queen Elizabeth some years ago when referring to one particular year in her life). I am totally shocked and appalled that any Catholic would speak to any body else, let alone a Catholic priest, in the ways which you have experienced. Some people seem so totally caught up in a particular version of where the Church is that they seem to have forgotten the basic message: Love your neighbour as yourself. We shall just have to add such people to the long list of people who need our prayers.

  41. brian says:

    Dear Monsignor:

    First, thank you for hour blog. Although I’ve come to hate Traditionalist infighting and dourness, I have to say there are bishops who feed it. I live in a Diocese that was systematically wreckovated during from the 60s through the late 90s. When a bishop came who was supposed to be a conservative who would re-form the Diocese, he made a few small changes and opted to let the rest unfold gradually. In my not so humble estimation, he has done too little and faithful Catholics are paying the price for it. I was heavily involved in parish life throughout my youth. Now I have no use for it. Most Catholics know so little about the faith that talking anout the faith requires going over the most basic rudiments of Catholicism. Since they have lived a good part of their lives as Catholics without them, and because they are otherwise educated, they have little chance of ever grasping them. One parishoner once told me that she *knew* there was no virgin birth because she was scientificcally trained. She was in the middle of her life and had been Catholic all along. For myself, I cling to the Sacraments and catechize my children, and try to avoid being any more discouraged than I already am. With regard to the Bishops, the Irish poet Yeats’s words apply: “The best lack all conviction, but the worst are full of passionate intensity.” They have authority and power from Christ, and I have decided I will not get in their way, but there is nothing, and I mean nothing inside me that wants to go out of my way for them, and when I was younger it was exactly the opposite. They have squandered so much of their moral capital, it will probably take two or three generations of consistent, authentic holiness to get it back. For help from me, they will have only my prayers. In fact, I actually begrudge the portion of my tithe that will go to them.

  42. Dylan says:

    God bless you, Monsignor! I hope I can shake your hand before one of us dies. I’d just like to suggest that you may have a kindred contemporary in Fr. Angelo Geiger from the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate who has faced similar issues as a priest offering Mass in both forms. +JMJ

  43. Lynn says:

    Thank you for this post, Monsignor. I grew up in the 70s and 80s and was poorly Catechised, but my mother was a good example to me and somehow I always loved the Church even if I didn’t understand my faith completely. I have seen a lot of things on the Internet about the Church, and some of it sounds a lot like the current political climate her in the US – both sides so intent on being heard that there is no room for real discussion.

    I have never been to a Latin Mass, though there is one offered at my parish once a month. I would like to go, but I would also have no idea what to do. I don’t really know much about sacramentals other than the rosary, I don’t know the names of all the items used on the altar at Mass other than the chalice. I am traditional in my faith, but not with a capital T. I wear skirts but i wear pants as well, I am sure many would think what my children wear to church to be inappropriate, but as we had gotten out of the habit of going to church at all, I am just glad to have gotten to the point where they just assume we will go to church each weekend and that the only variation is which Mass we go to. I am sure i would not meet the approval of many so-called Catholics, but i can only continue to move forward and try to grow in my faith and help that of my husband and children (yes, i only have two…). One step at a time. I try not to assume anything about anyone else’s faith or the state of their souls, so I would hope for the same from others.

    I am sorry that people have been so rude in their comments, and I guess we can only pray for all of us. Please continue to write the posts you do. Many more people read it and don’t comment (like me, until now) than those who do.

    • Nate C says:

      I wish this person would return to read this reply, but sadly it is so unlikely given the format, but hopefully it helps someone. Any parish offering a Latin Mass is likely already one of the most conservative and orthodox parishes in the area. Lynn, I think your insecurities about what you know about the Mass need not be made into mountain! Again and again I hear about Catholics who are afraid or intimidated by some perceived judgment that will come to pass on them by “Latin Massers”, but let me tell you that it is unfounded, merely propaganda from those who wish it to be so. I wore shorts and sandals to Latin Mass for over two years, nobody said anything, nobody frowned at me, in fact I know now that Latin Mass communities are happy to see new faces, because they want nothing more than to share the fire of the Holy Spirit which permeates every moment of this Mass of the ages! Nobody looks down on those with few or no children, but you will be encouraged and strengthened in faith by the outward example of faith by those with large families! I know, the example of one family in particular changed my entire life.. and they were nasty judgmental people according to some, they sat directly in front of us but we almost never spoke, we didn’t need to we were there to pray the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to assist in the closest thing to heaven on earth! I remember feeling relieved for fulfilling my Sunday obligation, the biggest obstacle of the week was merely getting to Mass and it sounds like the same is for you. Let me tell you that I now LONG for praying the Mass constantly.. I can’t wait until next Sunday, I look forward to holy days of obligation, etc! All this since understanding my faith through the Latin Mass. But it’s not a process that happens overnight, it takes weeks or months to fully understand the depth and beauty of the TLM, but it’s worth it, it’s so worth it. The first time you go look for a red book hopefully provided which is the English/Latin translation. If you can’t find one print the pages and bring them with you, don’t worry about being able to follow along, just read the prayers silently, sit in the back if it helps (helped me the first time) and take it all in. You will never be the same again, you will never forget the experience. Most of your time will be spent in quiet prayer, and you won’t have to worry about being embarrassed, just sit stand and kneel when you see others doing it.. easy as being a Christmas/Easter only Catholic. I’ll pray that God puts the Latin Mass in your path somehow.

      • Lynn says:

        Nate, thank you very much for your very kind reply. I will get up my nerve (and arrange my schedule!) soon to get to one the monthly Latin masses offered near me. Thank you for the encouragement. I suspect my parish is not especially conservative in general, and though I like much of what the pastor says in his homilies, I can’t say he ever really speaks to the bigger issues, even during the presidential campaign last fall. I just found out recently, however, that the priest who says Mass on the first Sunday of the month, who actually had a very good homily about gay ‘marriage’ a few months ago, is actually the priest who says the monthly Latin Mass.

        I, too, have been inspired by some of the large families I see, as well as by those women who choose to veil for Mass, though I have not been called to that. I know I have grown in faith in the last year or two, and as I work on my consecration to Mary I hope I will continue to do so. Now that I have more understanding of why the Church teaches what she does, I feel more confident in my faith, and I hope I can continue to learn more.

        There isn’t a lot of feeling of community in my parish, not a lot to be involved in, but I hope that will grow. I thought about changing parishes, but my husband was reluctant to do so (and didn’t care for the one Mass we went to at the parish I was looking at!). I know very few people at mass by name, people aren’t rude, but they aren’t, well, encouraging, when leaving Mass, etc. I know, someone will say, start a new program or group in order to help with that feeling of community, and at some point I probably will, I am just not at the point in my personal life where I can do that and still take care of my family.

        Thanks again Nate.

  44. Doug Lawrence says:

    ‘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″. ‘ – Be careful. Pope Francis might label you as one of those damnable Pelagian heretics!

  45. Peter Wolczuk says:

    “holstile” “nasty…comments” “personal accusations” “bishop bashing” “Pope bashing” “venomous attacks”
    Where is there value shown in their negative reaction? Do they offer reasonable disputes to what is in the main post or just verbal?emotional violence? Sure passion would be appropriate if it tied in effectively with reasonable dispute.
    Proverbs 11:11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

  46. Bill Foley says:

    Msgr. Pope,
    Please continue to take comments; simply delete those that espouse disobedience to the magisterium or that are filled with venom.
    It was a rough time in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s for us papists–those totally loyal to all the teachings of the Vicar of Christ–who were holding down the citadel. We kept waiting for the young papists to come along. It finally happened in my diocese around 1990 when Janet Smith came to speak about Humanae Vitae at the Newman Center. At the intermission of her talk I approached two other papists and asked them if they were on cloud nine. They said yes; the reason for this was the fact that four young priests were present and were supporting Humanae Vitae! And many more such good young priests are coming out of our seminaries! Also, the large home-schooling Catholic families are another sign of vitality in the Catholic Church. And how about those wonderful converts like Scott Hahn and Alex Jones!
    The gloom and doomers need to read more church history. Even 50 years after the Council of Trent there was still much reform needed. May I suggest Daniel Rops’ The Catholic Reformation Volume II, chapter “Reform must always begin anew,” pages 170-171, in which he points out the sad state of affairs in the clerical ranks in many areas. The Council of Trent should not be blamed for this, and the Second Vatican Council–please read the documents–is not the cause of the dissent during the past 50 years. The dissent and the liturgical abuses that took place were in opposition to the letter and the true spirit of the text of Vatican II.
    God bless you, Monsignor Pope; keep up the good work.

  47. midwestlady says:

    Balance is important if we hope to tell the truth about what’s going on. Yes, we are in a tight spot. Demographics look really bad right now, and anyone who dismisses that would be remiss. We have problems. On the other hand, there are some things that are better than they were just 10 years ago–the New Evangelization, for instance. It’s picking up and people are learning more about it by the day, and this is good.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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?

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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

  59. 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!

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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!

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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?

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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…

  72. 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.

  73. 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!

  74. 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

  75. 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.

  76. 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…

  77. 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.

  78. 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!

  79. 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.

  80. 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.

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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

  86. 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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