It seems that every time I post on a topic even tangentially related to the Latin Mass, a parade of people from whom I have never heard before chime in to tell me that they were made to feel unwelcome by the TLM community.
In my previous post, I had a commenter accuse me of being one of those snobby TLM types that this blog repeatedly “makes him feel bad about himself” because he doesn’t know Latin.
Oh the horror. Only one little problem with this anecdote of incivility, I don’t speak Latin. Oh and I never use Latin on the blog.
I think that this is very common these days for people to ‘hear’ about the snobbishness of the TLM community and to project their own feelings on to anyone they suspect is in that camp.
I don’t speak Latin and certainly have never criticized anyone for being just like me. And while I have an affection for the traditional mass, I only attend the mass maybe 10% of the time. That means that 90% of the time I attend the same mass as all the non-snobbish people.
I suspect that such projection makes up a substantial amount of the anecdotes of how upon first attendance at a TLM, people were ‘made’ to feel unwelcome.
How do you make people feel unwelcome so quickly? Do they sneer and glare at the interloper? Do they tell them that they don’t want their kind round these parts? I highly doubt it.
Rather, I think that people show up to a mass in a language they do not know with customs they do not know, they see all these other people who seem to know what is going on, and they simply get intimidated. I suspect that some people project the source of their own feelings of inadequacy on to those who seem adequate. Maybe not all, but a lot.
Are there things that Latin Mass communities could do for these folks? Sure. Most have the free little red missals to borrow in the back to help out. But beyond that, I am unsure.
I am sure if smiling member of Latin Mass communities were to descend on to every unfamiliar face that walks through the door ‘to help them’ the horror stories would triple.
As for my own experience when first attending a Latin Mass some 13 years ago, I had no idea what was going on. None.
So after mass I hung around to introduce myself to a few folks. They were overjoyed that somebody was expressing an interest in the Mass. They told me about the little red missals and they told me to sit next to them next time and they would help me out. They were about as welcoming and helpful as could be, but I had to introduce myself first. That is human nature I suppose. I took the first step and they were delighted to help me take the rest.
Eventually, after attending more frequently, I bought my own missal and was able to learn many of the proper responses. I never learned Latin, but I learned enough to know what was going on. In short, I became adequate. To an outside eye, I suppose I seemed like I knew what I was doing.
As such, I was able to help a few other folks out over the years giving them a red missal and pointing out a page or what week of the year we were in.
This is something that I have never done or seen done at a ordinary form mass. Maybe it is easier because it is in the vernacular, but I never see anyone finding the newbies and helping them out. I have only seen and done this in the TLM community. And when I attend the TLM in a community where I am an unfamiliar face, I usually have a lot of old ladies smiling at me.
I regretfully only get to attend the TLM occasionally now because of our crazy weekend schedule with the kids, but I do when I can.
I know first hand that the TLM can be intimidating in its unfamiliarity, but to those who ask for help, help will always be given. If you think it won’t, that this ‘type’ of person will never help you, perhaps the snob you despise is in the mirror.
February 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm
Sorry Pat but you are wrong on this one. Leaving aside your uncharitable and unpleasant tone (a sign that you feel insecure about your arguments), you need to have a break and step back – then look back over the tone of your comments on the TLM. There is a section of TLMers who are snobby, defensive and patronising to OM attenders. Work on it, champ!
February 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm
And having had a chance to read the comments of the likes of people like Adrienne, TTC (same old cliches, stereotypes – yawn!) only confirms my view. As I said previoiusly, I have no problem with the TLM; it's just with small minority of hardcore over-defensive trads who look down on the rest of us.
February 17, 2014 at 8:49 pm
Wow! There's a lot of sterotyping here coming from both sides; both forms of Mass are valid. Period.
Oh, and federoffm? The Catholic Byzantine Rite was suppressed in this country which greatly benefited the Orthodox. When Byzantine was allowed, there were many Latinizations which have only recently been done away with. Where I live, there are three churches within a mile and a half of one another; one Orthodox which was meant to be Catholic, two Catholic because Byzantine Rite Catholics from an area with its own church left the parish and formed a parish attached to their own church.
February 18, 2014 at 12:07 am
John, I agree with what you say about the clown mass thing – I've never seen a clown mass in this diocese, put it that way. The issue is the text of the mass – does it teach the Faith and nothing but the Faith? If the Novus Ordo Missae is such a good representation of Catholic teaching on the Real Presence, why do so many anglicans use it? Bugnini wanted a broad, ecumenical text that could be understood in different ways by people who believed different things – and it worked. Orthopraxy has replaced orthodoxy in many places. People get upset because the stakes are very high. We could all be more trustful in God's Providence, but the situation is bleak. If you're going to the NO, I hope you're reading some good material on the mass – Mediator Dei, for example – to guard against the misunderstandings that are rife in the clergy and the laity.
February 18, 2014 at 1:45 am
Leaving aside your uncharitable and unpleasant tone
Work on it, champ!
(same old cliches, stereotypes – yawn!
Do you people even contemplate the irony of your statements at all, or are you completely lacking in self awareness?
February 18, 2014 at 2:22 am
Wowee, where have I been!
I don't know much, but I do know this,
as long as nothing in the Sacrament has been omitted, overlooked, or undermined, and proper obediance and respect has been made to the living presence of God in his house, I'm pretty much good with either form.
Having observed and experienced some very questionable practices during Mass in my lifetime U'm usually not in the mood for undo surprises.
As an active participant in the Mass, I take some effort to prepare for celebration in whatever form is celebrated.
February 18, 2014 at 9:30 am
Augustinus, thank you. It's been almost two years and I feel like I'm home. The fighting over this topic, not just here, is really awful, though. I know this much: the loudest and the most visible 'voices' get the most attention, and while I am not fooled into thinking they represent all Catholics, many are, and thus we should be careful in what we say, how we evangelize, how we admonish, we educate, how we win the hearts and minds of others.
February 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm
I rather wish to say, "Why can't we all just get along?"
First of all, we are so very incredibly blessed to be Catholics! We can go to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself! This greatest gift! But we must receive Him with a pure soul, and thus we must go to confession regularly.
I am in a good Novus Ordo parish that has confessions 6 days a week. And some people are always there to receive the sacrament. Still, it is a small percentage when essentially every person goes to Communion. Sundays are the most difficult sometimes with the chatting, the hugging at the 'sign of peace', the army of women 'Eucharistic ministers', and the bad music.
When I can attend the TLM on a Sunday, there is no chatting in the church, no one comes in shorts, flip-flops, or tank tops. We are NOT there to socialize and glad hand! We are not there to be overly 'welcoming' to each other inside the church! That is for outside. We are there to worship Our Lord and Savior. No one leaves early right after communion whereas in most Novus Ordo parishes, a good deal of the back third of the church on a Sunday is out the door before the end of Mass. Right?
Yes, I know that there is a danger of an elitist attitude that can creep in and so it is for each one of us who love the TLM to never let that happen and to be charitable. We see the things that disturb us at the Novus Ordo but we must also know that 90% of Catholics only know this.
If we really are seeking comradeship and the coffee and bagels and skits at the protestant church then we are off base because those ecclesial communities do not have the Real Presence. Let us be thankful to God for what we have. Even in the most sacrilegious Masses–and I have been to many–Our Lord allows Himself to be present. Deo Gratias!
February 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm
I seldom read comment pages on this blog, just posts, so I don't really know the usual tenor of them, nor the dispositions of most of the regulars.
But I would like to say that because I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot around the US, I have "actively participated" at a good many different parishes, in a good many different diocese.
I am OF, but as a "liturgical tourist," I have attended many EFs, occasionally at a parish where I have also attended OFs, as well as Eastern rite Divine Liturgies, and there seems to me NO CORRELATION WHATSOEVER between kindness and genuine charity and the Rite celebrated.
I will say, the most "welcomed" I have ever felt was at a TLM in a big city, and the most "judged" at a NO in a small rural town.
(I do not consequently think farmers' wives, or Catholic farmers' wives, or Vatican II Catholic farmers' wives are snobbish and unwelcoming, however.)
God bless you all, whatever your (licit and reverent) liturgical preference.
(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
February 18, 2014 at 6:50 pm
To me, this discussion highlights something that keeps occurring to me, and I imagine many others: the idea of the Old and New rites being in separate locations, exclusive of one another, is a big challenge we face. To me, it behooves the Church to find a way to tell the universal Church that all parishes must have at least one of each rite every weekend, by a certain year. My parish has both rites in its regular schedule and I believe it goes a long way to break down the idea that TLM should be "over there" at some church where only it is celebrated, while, "over here" only the NO is celebrated. I realize people will avoid one or the other even within a parish if both are offered, but at least they are both then available and part of the life of the whole parish. TLM parishes are very nice, no criticism to that idea per se, but I think that both should be offered at each parish. If that means in time going to a Rite 1/Rite 2 concept like the Anglicans, maybe so be it.
February 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm
Philacav, some years ago I knew of a parish that had both TLM and NO in its schedule and it seemed to work well. In thinking about this, I am reminded of the low and high Masses from my childhood prior to Vatican II. Not quite the same, but I do recall distinct preferences by some parishioners for one over the other.
February 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm
@seamusberen, Actually, the Vetus Ordo is as valid and "equal" to the Novus Ordo. Summorum Pontificum was not some nod to placate the throwbacks until they they could be helped to "get with the program" (replete with countless "eucharistic ministers", liturgical dancers and "presiders" in rainbow vestments).
I attend a NO parish most Sundays and HDsoO. However, my wife and I have the honor and pleasure of worshiping with the Friars of the Immaculate at their Friary on First Fridays. At first, I was concerned with the "spanking" that was going on against these holy men, but after praying on it, I realized that even if they were forbidden from using the old rite, their NO would be faithful, reverent, mostly in Latin, solemn and communion would still be distributed at the rail on our knees and on our tongue.
It's not so much Latin that I look for with the Friars, it's the attitude of the Mass. The focus on our Eucharistic Lord, and his holy mother.