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The Traditional Liturgy Demands More and Delivers More

Image courtesy of Marc Salvatore.

We have probably all met people who are thinking of attending the traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis and who, when they actually start going, are struck by how much extra effort it costs. Perhaps we ourselves once felt the same way.

For starters, you are expected to kneel for long stretches of time. There is a lot of silence to get used to (and, if you are a parent, to keep your children relatively quiet in). Sometimes there are lengthy readings, chants, or prayers that may test your patience and stretch to the limit your capacity for meditation. You might be confused about what words the priest or the schola is saying or singing, because the hand missal you picked up from a bookcase in the foyer is over a thousand pages long, and you haven’t figured out how to use it yet. So much is strange, even overwhelming; sometimes it seems random. And the whole of a High Mass might last for an hour and a half or even longer, depending on the solemnity of the rite or the volubility of the preacher. Everyone dresses up more; women are expected to wear veils; the atmosphere is more serious. An eager devotee might volunteer the information that Catholics who come to Mass here often try to observe either the three-hour Eucharistic fast or the fast from midnight. The usus antiquior is premised on asceticism and a reverential beauty in no hurry to be done. This Mass demands a lot of you and your family, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Is it worth the effort?

On the other hand, going to the Novus Ordo can be such a breeze. With regimented logic, everything happens in sequence, step by step—just one thing at a time, with no confusing layering of ritual. The texts are in your own language, so no one gets lost. The music can be better or worse, but you know basically what you’re getting: a four-hymn sandwich with a squirt or two of instrumental relish. The liturgy’s style is not medieval and meandering, but modern and microphoned. We recite the Creed, rather than singing that whole list of doctrines. The church building is full of your friends and acquaintances, so you get the social benefits of chatting outside before and after Mass. It feels comfortable and homey; the dress-code is relaxed; no one thinks of a lengthy fast before communion, and if you like to receive in the hand, no one bats an eye. The children will still squirm or cry, but you’re in and out in an hour. This Mass places “reasonable” demands on you and your family, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It was designed to be easier for Modern Man, and not surprisingly, it is—on the surface.

“Behold, Lord, we have left all things to follow you. What reward shall we have?” said a brash St. Peter to his Master. We can ask the same question about the liturgy: “Lord, we have left all the conveniences of the modernized and simplified liturgy; what’s the pay-off for us?” Those who persevere in attending the traditional Latin Mass discover layers and dimensions of the Catholic Faith of which they would never have become aware if they had not at some point taken a leap of faith by committing themselves to this ancient ritual, the “road less traveled.” Indeed, they find that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass becomes far clearer in its meaning and far more potent in its impact. “Thy discipline hath corrected me unto the end: and Thy discipline, the same shall teach me” (Ps 17:36).

First, you come to realize that even after years of attending the Novus Ordo, you had not developed much of a “liturgical interior life”—that is, the ability to rest in the mysteries shining forth in the Mass, to absorb the prayers or Scripture texts, to connect deeply with the Real Presence of the Savior. The usus antiquior makes ample room for the growth of the spiritual life at the pace and in the way most suited to each individual, offering many helps or “handles” for penetrating into the marvels of the Eucharist and of the Church’s liturgical year. It gives you a lot more to pray about and a lot more room to pray in.

After experiencing this for a while, it can be like a shower with ice-cold water to return to the Novus Ordo and discover that it is pretty much a non-stop extroverted exchange from start to finish, with now the priest speaking, now the congregation, always “something doing,” and never, or rarely ever, an expanse for resting, absorbing, connecting. Even though the classical liturgy has a lot more going on in its minutiae, it operates on broader lines at a more leisurely pace—an inheritance from the ancient Mediterranean world and the monastery-rich Middle Ages. It offers shelter to the pilgrim and hospitality to the beggar, a gleaming of facets to the artistic, an intricate mesh of symbols to the intellectual, a starry vault to the dreamy. To the working man it offers graced repose, to the simple man an immediate contact with the divine, to the cultured a colorful tapestry for contemplation, to the God-thirsting an endless series of provocations and illuminations. The Novus Ordo is surprisingly thin on and bereft of these goods, and even if it had them in abundance, its operative principles would interfere with their assimilation.

Second, at the traditional Mass you start to notice a plethora of little things that serve as windows to the infinite and eternal: the priest kissing the altar time and again; the bowing of heads at certain phrases in the Gloria or the Credo; many signs of the cross made at significant moments; the clink of thurible chains and floating clouds of sweet smoke; the subdeacon holding the paten under the humeral veil; the pregnant silence of the Canon; the lifting of the chasuble at the elevations; the many ringings of bells; the corps of servers with straight backs and folded hands; the touching of sacred vessels and of Christ’s holy Body by ordained ministers alone…. All these little things (and the list could go on) are so many signs or calls of love from God, who is drawing us with exquisite gentleness into the depths of His mystery, preparing us for our beatitude with Him. He would never wish to give us anything less than the fullness of the orthodox Faith, in the fullness of its sacral expression.

(“Now wait a minute,” you may say; “can we not sometimes find the same little things in the Novus Ordo, too?” Yes, you might find some of them, on a good day, if you’re lucky.[1] The problem is that they rarely appear in that context, and when they do, it is with the slightly awkward feel of strangers who have arrived at a casual party vastly over-dressed. They do not belong to the company, and they sheepishly depart. In the old rite, these little things are completely at home; the house belongs to them and they to the house, like servants at a grand mansion. The combination of prayer, music, and ceremonial, orchestrated by carefully determined rubrics matured over centuries, is both perfectly natural and perfectly supernatural. One can surrender to it, trust oneself to it, be endlessly inspired by it. Dignum et justum est.)

Third, by immersing oneself in the ancient Roman liturgy, one’s identity as a Catholic, and the content of Catholicism, becomes thicker and richer. With the aid of good illustrated books, sound catechesis at home, and patient parenting, your children will have the opportunity to become more fully Catholic, too, and their unspoken sense of the reality of the Faith, the powerful reality of the things we say we believe (such as the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament), will grow. This, in itself, is worth all that it takes to get to the traditional Mass: children will be confronted again and again with unequivocal signs of the holiness of God, the dignity of priests, the set-apart sacredness of the sanctuary, the altar as a place of sacrifice, and the special privilege of receiving the Lord from the anointed hands of His minister, as we kneel along the altar rail to receive the precious Body of Jesus.

The traditional liturgy is like the old catechism writ large, in vivid characters, imprinting fundamental truths on the souls of those who attend it—truths for which there is little obvious support in the Novus Ordo, with its democratic permeable barriers that allow laypeople and clergy to mix roles and functions, its positioning of the priest versus populum as a “presider” at a social event, its treatment of the altar as a table, its dearth of signs and symbols to catch hold of and elevate the mind, its nearly institutionalized use of substandard church music, its lack of intrinsic silence, its encouragement of informal attitudes, and much else besides.[2] If we want to avoid all this, we must not dither and second-guess. We must make up our minds to attend the Church’s traditional liturgy, which enshrines the totality of Catholic dogma and responds to man’s deepest religious needs. Whatever our vocation is, whatever our state in life, whatever the state of our soul, we stand to receive a treasure infinitely greater than any sacrifice we might make in order to obtain it. If we are parents with children, we are greatly increasing the possibility that God may give our families the greatest gift after the Most Holy Eucharist, namely, a vocation to priestly or religious life—a vocation that the traditional liturgy awakens in a disproportionate number of its adherents.

An awakening to the interior life; the finding of dozens of new paths to the knowledge and love of God; the enrichment of one’s identity and faith as a Catholic—this is what the extra effort of attending the traditional Mass wins for you. Is it worth it? Can we say that this is a “reasonable” demand for modern people?

Maybe that is the wrong question to ask, for the truth is better than we expect or deserve. The tradition makes foolish, unreasonable demands because it aims not at our comfort but at our divinization. Its aims at passion, death, resurrection, and ascension, and efficaciously accomplishes them. We would do well to follow this narrow way that leads to abundant life.

Returning to that conversation between St. Peter and Jesus: what did Jesus reply? “Every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting” (Mt 19:29). Something like this is true for us, too, especially today. Everyone that has left comforts and real human goods behind—be it a short drive, the social camaraderie, smooth relations with family or friends, the sense of being “normal” and mainstream, the naïve security of thinking “it’s all good”—shall receive a hundredfold, and discover in the glory and peace of the sacred liturgy a foretaste of the kingdom of heaven.


This article, in rewritten form, is now chapter 5 in my book Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass (Angelico Press, 2020).



[1] I recognize that there are a few shining exceptions, such as the Brompton Oratory, where many visitors might mistake the Sunday Ordinary Form Mass as a Tridentine Solemn Mass. But such communities count for less than 1% of the usus recentior “in the wild.” The fact that a self-consciously contemporary ars celebrandi has dominated for decades at every level and that it enjoys the support of most members of the hierarchy means that we are never likely to see the Oratorian approach greatly extended.

[2] Good sacred music and some of the other good things mentioned in this sentence can be found at a growing number of Ordinary Form liturgies, but the number of these is still a tiny minority against the backdrop of the global Church—even after decades of attempted liturgical “course corrections” under Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Anyone who reads or travels extensively will know that in most places the liturgical reform is still stuck in the 1970s, and, alas, there is a strong push on the part of an aging and dying generation to make it irreversibly stuck in the 1970s.

133 thoughts on “The Traditional Liturgy Demands More and Delivers More”

  1. I go the usus antiquior (as a low Mass) by myself on Sunday morning while also attending the usus recentior with family at 5 pm on a Saturday. The two cannot be compared, for the reasons stated in the article. There is truly an enormous gulf between the two ‘uses’. I cannot get my wife or children to attend the usus antiquior except as my ‘birthday present’, which causes me spiritual sadness. I don’t think the novus ordo missae bears or carries the fullness of the Catholic faith – therefore, while licit, and while it can be done reverently (even if rarely done so), the usus recentior fails in being able to communicate the fullness of the faith. It fails in gesture, symbol, sermon, and practice.

        • The Ordinariate done Ad Orientum is the future of the Novus Ordo…but with more Latin added in. I personally believe that’s what Cardinal Sarah has in mind when he speaks about liturgical unification. For the sake of the Church as a whole…and everyone should want this…the two rites must coalesce into one. That’s why Cardinal Sarah says the TLM mustn’t be a novelty trapped in too must be allowed to evolve ORGANICALLY as what has always happened to the liturgy in one or another and the artificial creation (non-organic development) of the Novus Ordo is what most people have a problem with concerning the NO.

          Trads NEED to be prepared for ANY conservative/traditional pope to do such a thing. Flipping the liturgical switch on millions and millions of Novus Ordo attending Catholics would be a scandal. We have to be realistic about how all of this will work itself out.

          • The only way it’s trapped in 1962-5 is the fact that Ss. Padre Pio et. al. feasts technically don’t exist in the Traditional Missal.

          • I’ve wondered about the Ordinariate as a model for the future, too, but if folks have some issues with the NO, I can see sparks fly over Quo Primum and the Ordinariate Mass, too…

          • That’s why Quo Primum needs to be understood properly. No pope should be able to bind another on things that aren’t dogmatic or tied to salvation of souls. We all don’t want what Pope Francis is doing to be binding upon the future with regards to several matters so why make Pope Francis’ argument for him with regards to Quo Primum?

          • I have been using the Ordinariate Missal for my private Masses for good six months now. At first glance, one would think that it is like a Novus Ordo Mass done in a traditional fashion; but quickly I noticed that it is not so similar as one would think. For example; the Mass Ordinaries are all translations of pre-Vat. II Masses, not NO Masses in “posh” language.
            It has many more Altar-kisses and genuflexions as well as signs of the cross. There are two choices of Offertories, the traditional or the newer NO version. And there are all the verses of prayers that were kept in the NO, but shortened, re-printed. (eg.: Confiteor and the Secret prayers before Communion.) In fact, after a couple of weeks using it, I started to use the old Lectionary as well, just because the readings fitted the Mass formulars so much better.

            All in all, I would have to say, that it is much more similar to the Vetus Ordo as to the NO.

          • No we must accept that the Novus Ordo mass must end. And all Catholics worship God by the Traditional Latin Mass.

          • It would not be a scandale by everyone worshiping God by the Traditional Latin Mass. This must be done ASAP. Our Lord chastised us with the covid pandemic for rejecting the Traditional Latin Mass.

      • Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston Texas! Oh our joy in Houston, two years we departed from Houston but the Latin Rite Comunity here in New Orleans is an authentic expression of Christ love of me and our family! Thankfully the Ordinariate and the Latin Rite do not suffer differences in solemnity be it English or Latin! Although the children did enjoy constant solemnity in English…hope remains regardless of the current state of affairs

    • I know I will be berated for this but what the hay: my wife and I discuss decisions be they potentially life changing or as simple as dinner for the night. But there are times–rarely–when I say in a serious tone that I am the man of the house, appointed to lead it by God and that in that capacity I am not asking for obedience but demanding it. In nine years this has probably happened three times. When it does happen, it is met with big eyes, a nod and obedience. No, I don’t beat my wife or kids and I generally give way to her when are making decisions because she is holy and prudent and we are called to give ourselves, to forget ourselves.

      But some decisions have to be made and when those decisions concern our souls, there is no discussion to be had. Have you ever tried this?

      • My husband always says that I’m in charge, but if he ever puts his foot down ( a very rare event) I consider it my duty to do as he says. Someone has to be the authority. God instituted that it is the husband. My take on it is that if you are thinking of marrying a man that you are not willing to obey, find someone else. This was never meant to be a licence for men to throw their weight around, only to be the ultimate authority where there is a conflict. Marriage is a partnership (well, ours is). Live and work and pray together. Our policy is generally that I try to work out what he happiest with and he does the same for me. It works. We have had 25 years without an argument.

      • Saint Paul says that the Husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the Church (cf. Eph. 5:23). So, Jesus is our Example.

        I wonder, though, how many times Christ in the Gospels told his disciples, in serious tone: “I demand that you obey Me!”

        Although, maybe it was understood . . . ?

        • “Get behind me, Satan!”.


          Okay, besides that, God’s Commandments were clearly laid out. Christ reaffirmed and elaborated the Commandments. I’ve always interpreted those to be non-negotiable commands (present mentality and faithlessness of some notwithstanding).

          • Aha. Well, Matthew, that’s a problem, now isn’t it? We accept Jesus in his totality. We don’t pick-and-choose whatever affirms what we want. Jesus isn’t YOURS or MINE. We are HIS. And you may want to brush up in the Bible if you think Christ wasn’t frank in His speech: He never equivocated; never told somebody something to make them feel good.

          • Just in case we both forget, neither of us is Jesus. Rather, we are His disciples . . . very true.

            I don’t think, in my humble opinion, that your own attempt at authoritarianism towards your bride is necessarily exhibitive of Jesus’ general attitude towards His Bride, the Church.

            Any time you want to do a “Bible throwdown” . . . you know where to reach me. LOL.

          • Ephesians 5 also speaks of the wife’s role in the marriage. Ephesians 5:22-24
            says, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is
            the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of
            which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also
            wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

            Yes, Matt, let’s do it! Anytime you want. If you think Christ’s relationship with the Church is one in which Christ lefts his commandments and the Curia get to debate him, then you are SORELY mistaken.

          • . . . and, the Pope is Vicarius Christi . . . so, you are in the “wife’s” role of what Eph. 5 tells your own to do to you.

    • I also attend the Extraordinary Form on my own, though I only go for certain holy days rather then every Sunday. Although my wife has told me that I can take the kids once they have received their First Communion, as part of the education in Latin I will be providing them

    • Then, you would have been duly disappointed by the ancient liturgy of Rome, which allowed even less ritual than the so-called New Mass.

  2. You mention casual dress of people at the Novus Ordo. These people wouldn’t go dressed like that to a wedding or funeral. I don’t get why they offend Our Lord. Padre Pio’s Mass would sometimes last 2 to 3 hours.

    • Quite frankly, I dread weddings. The men look fantastic in their tuxedos, but the women! Most brides and bridesmaids today wear topless/sleeveless dresses. I prefer funerals because at least people dress with some modicum of modesty.

      • Those are the fashions that offend our lady and her son gravely, last saw that a year ago at a family funeral, really shocking dress, it will take some sort of chastisement to end that style of dress.

      • Once saw a girl at a baptism. Her dress went down to the floor. The upper part had no back and precious little by way of sides. The neckline was slashed to her waist. She wore a tiara. Apart from the obvious and horrible immodesty, she also looked utterly ridiculous.

        • That sounds like the dress my niece wore for her First Communion. (And some of the other girls were dressed modestly too!) The worst part was seeing her receive her First Communion in the hand. That broke my heart even more than the immodest dress.

    • I’ve been to a couple of different TLMasses and you still see people dressed casually. Not a lot, but some. If the TLM were made the only Mass overnight, everyone would still come to Mass dressed the same way. If you watched the Pontifical Mass on EWTN in Philly last week you may have noticed dress casual attire and not even half the women were veiled.

      • Yes, some people do come to the TLM dressed casually. I wish they wouldn’t but we don’t have any dress code police at our chapel. I guess the pews aren’t full of trad meanies…

      • It takes time to acclimate your dressing for Mass when you begin to attend the Old Mass. As a child in the early sixties, we always wore coats and ties to Mass. But then again, all the adults wore their “Sunday best” to lots of functions that today people would look at you as “over dressed” if you showed up in a coat and tie. My dad and uncles wore fedoras! That was then. As a society, we have “dummed down” dressing where casual dress is fancy dressing and wearing jeans and t-shirt is casual dressing. Please allow those who are new to the Old Mass time to understand where they are and how to dress when they come to worship the King of Kings. My family and I were there once. But given time, we understood and dressed accordingly. Patience is a virtue.

      • I like chapel veils just fine, but it occurred to me several years ago that for the first time, women had abandoned hats/headdress in the sixties or so. They were still wearing them for Church and weddings (my parents’ wedding reception was filmed – it’s a delight to see, although almost everyone is smoking, which is hilarious) up until the end of the decade. I think we should bring back hats and gloves for general use (obviously not for use with jeans etc).

    • Oh yes they would dress like that for a wedding/funeral, even worse actually. The young women today (non trads) are caught up in some extremely vulgar fashions. The last novus ordo I attended was one year ago this month, a funeral for my mother and a few of my early 20’s nieces were dressed extremely inappropriately, one of whom if I’m honest looked like some sort of prostitute. That’s harsh I know but I have to be honest. They weren’t my kids, I didn’t raise them but I do pray for them.

      • The last NO I attended was my nephew’s baptism 8 years ago. If you didn’t see the Stations of the Cross and the statues of Our Lord and Our Lady, you’d swear it was a Protestant church (which it actually WAS before being purchased by Catholics).

      • I remember the first time I went to Latin Mass here (I got curious, and when I got a reply from the Chaplain to my e-mail that Holy Communion was received on the tongue while kneeling, I decided to try it), I compared my dress to those of the young ladies. I was dressed in a clinging Calvin Klein sheath dress (but tried to cover up with a blazer), then when I saw teenage young ladies in their modest attire, I felt ashamed of what I was wearing (I thought, “I look like a harlot”). I have since changed my wardrobe. Skirts must cover my knees when seated (if anything, the closer to the floor the hem is, the better) and I try to wear looser tops, wear layering shells with sleeves, check the necklines, etc. I help out as hospitality (greeter, answer questions, hold the doors open, etc.) at a novus ordo, but my outfit is still the same as what I would wear to the TLM (and yes, my head is veiled!).

  3. It is not a secret anymore that those who instituted the New Mass were deceitful in their ways of getting it approved by a pope. It does not matter that it is a valid and licit Mass. The foundation of the New Mass is flawed, built on sand. It will not stand because of the lies it was built on. For that reason, which is only my own, my family attends the Old Mass, whether we like it or not, because its foundation is built on rock. It will stand the test of time.

  4. “and, if you are a parent, to keep your children relatively quiet” …everything written afterward becomes irrelevant to the parent trying to keep their children relatively quiet while kneeling for long periods of time. So much time for that inner meditation at mass during that sacred silence..while kneeling…for long periods of time…while trying to keep my children quiet for everyone else, lol.. If anyone who’s been to a TLM they know it’s usually filled with crying babies…which isn’t a bad thing’s just the TLM looks FANTASTIC in photos like this..when you don’t have to hear the crying babies and all the other sounds that break the “long periods of sacred silence”.

    Articles like this while nice..seem to be written for twenty-somethings and retired folk..neither who have kids ages newborn to 6…lol..

    • Yes, TLMs are full of young children and babies. I find them very distracting…because they’re so cute. Their parents don’t get to spend a lot of time kneeling and meditating but I’m sure God appreciates their efforts to raise children in the faith.

      • Whenever I hear the crying babies I thank God for more traditional Catholics, some of whom will be priests and nuns. Now if we want to talk about something angering it will be a cell phone ringing, once, twice, three times while the person fumbles through their things to silence the phone, then they stand up and go out to take the call. Must be important, I’m sure they’re a first responder care giver or something (yeah right).

        • I’d rather hear a baby crying than a cell phone ringing in church. That literally makes me jump out of my seat (full disclosure: I scare very easily!).

    • Didn’t the Lord himself say something along the lines of: Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of God. Did Christ mean that statement or not? The children (and their parents) are coming unto him. It is a joyous noise. These babies worship too in their very own language. As for cell phones, not so much …..

      • I’m the 38 year old with three kids and one on the way…I’m not against kids : ) I’m just applying my experiences with both myself and other young families to what the article proposes. You can’t have both a “joyous noise” AND sacred silence and meditation at the same time…just can’t.

        • God bless you. It was 14 years ago that we had four children under 7. Tough gig! But totally worth it. Honestly, I just think Mass is tough with young kids no matter where you go. I will say that even with the crying etc, the Quiet Mass is still quieter than the New Mass, if for no other reason than that the music and microphones are often set up so very loud (I notice this more now) and even if not *as* loud it’s still too loud, imo. There is a lot of extraneous “chatter” at the New Mass and I’m not talking about the parishioners. There is also a lot of dumb stuff – like the cantor who raises her hand to indicate that we need to sing the responses, like we haven’t been doing this for the last 48-Freaking-Years.

    • Nick,
      What you are saying is a serious misconception. Notice how I said “relatively” quiet. No one minds some background noise, and if a kid starts wailing, one takes him or her out. The Latin Masses I attend, all over the world, are full of young families with lots of babies and toddlers. The babies sometimes sleep or need to be walked around the back; the toddlers sometimes have to be taken out for a little while; parents take turns and older siblings eventually help. It’s a family enterprise. And to get back to the point of the article: IT’S WORTH IT. This is how we raised our children, and they love their faith and love the Holy Mass.

      • Yes I know..we do the same. But take everything you just said and compare it to the rest of the article which focuses on sacred silence and meditation and the two don’t gel. You can’t have it both ways..especially if you’re trying to say it’s exclusive to the TLM and not the Novus Ordo. In fact, in tends to be the opposite in fact because the congregations are older now in the Novus Ordo and younger at the TLM. I routinely find it quieter at the Novus Ordo than when I go to the TLM.

        What I’m trying to say is that the article doesn’t speak to the parents who have do everything you mentioned. Which again as a growing family of three, we have done ourselves plenty of times. IN fact my kids are great, it’s the anxiety I get worrying about what other people think..which is silly I know..but with so much silence and kneeling there’s very little if any time for myself at Mass.

        • When I was little, this is how we sat in church: me, Dad, my sister, Mom and then my brother when he wasn’t serving at the altar. My parents ALWAYS sat in between us so we wouldn’t misbehave. (And according to my Mom, yours truly slept in church throughout the Divine Liturgy!)

        • One thing I love about the TLM in most places (there are always exceptions) is that there is more of a sense of freedom of motion that goes along with the freedom of prayer. Some people sit, some kneel, some walk their babies in the back, and it’s all fine because the focus is on what is happening in the sanctuary. The liturgy carries all the burden, so the people don’t have to be burdened. When I enter a TLM parish, I feel like I can let myself go in the liturgy. With the Novus Ordo, there is a heightened sense of “performance,” of “get with the program.”

          The main thing I would say is that parents of small children are making a noble sacrifice for the sake of the children. There will come a day when the quiet praying at Mass is possible again, and will be all the more welcome after those years of family effort. I know some parents who “trade off” weekday Masses, e.g., Monday morning just Mom goes to Mass, Tuesday morning just Dad, so that each can be free for that time to give himself or herself to prayer.

          These two old posts might be of some help at least for ideas:

          God bless!

          • “With the Novus Ordo, there is a heightened sense of “performance,” of “get with the program.””

            That’s because in some ways it was set up to be “all about me”…and I’m not Jesus…

        • Nick, it speaks to me. I have seven children – five of them age 10 and under down to 2 years old. We’ve attended the Latin Mass for all their lives. Since 2004.

          Yes, there’s a lot of walking out back. Yes, there were years when I never even sat down once in a pew. But the silence is, by and large, maintained through the efforts of all the parents who do the same. And the Mass is efficacious without us. But every time a child fell asleep, or calmed down, and I had a chance to re-enter that sacred space, it was entirely clear to me that what was going on was far more sublime than what I grew up with with all its intentional business and noise and distractions.

          I have attended chapels in various places, and the one I’m in now is FSSP. It’s always packed, every Mass, mostly with young families. The noise is barely a thing. It’s a group effort, and it pays off.

          • In our childless, dead culture it is easy to forget what children are and how they act. That is, we don’t have many examples of big families with which to gain a general idea. So I think the struggle in a sense must be harder for those like you guys that have large families today.

            My kids are grown and gone but they are all converts to the faith and getting on with having babies. God be praised! I know the difference between a disobedient kid and a kid, and I LOVE to hear the “kid noise” in Mass. It is the sound of LIFE. A great time to pray for each and every one you hear and their parents, whether you know them or not.

            I only had three. I contracepted the rest of the blessings God had for me into limbo or oblivion. God forgive me!

            First time I entered a FSSP chapel for Mass I cried. I saw LIFE.

            And I can promise you I will never be one of those gray guys that gets pissed off when a baby cries or a little kid fidgets but you might hear me wearing out the guy that does!

            God bless you men. God BLESS you men.

    • i don’t know about the others, but I tend to love hearing the children. Even once, during Communion, a young mother holding her baby was beside me. Suddenly, the baby just reached out and grabbed my hair and veil! I wasn’t annoyed, I was smiling, and I thought that Jesus might be smiling, too, since He loves the little children. If humans are annoyed with the voices of the children, Jesus is not. Neither am I.
      (My son is already twenty-two years old, so I know what it is like to have a child in the terrible twos or a baby crying)

    • That’s some funny stuff, no one can give me a thumb’s up? Can I get a thumb’s up? 🙂
      C’mon everyone gather round the altar for the tambourines and strummin’ geetars.

    • I like this song–very much actually. No, I love it. And I’m a card-carrying neo-Pelagian. (I try to go to the 6 pm Saturday NO with the family and then to the SSPX on Sunday morning–it’s close enough to walk.)

      There are some goofy vernacular hymns from the 60s/70s–as there were in the 1760s and 1860s (mostly Protestant, because Catholic vernacular hymns were much thinner on the ground back then). Most of the bad ones drop out of use, some of the good ones are remembered.

      Anyone remember “Sons of God”? Apparently not gender-inclusive enough for today’s ears. You can find it here: What? You don’t have a Folk Hymnal for the Now Generation? That’s like, so square, man.

      I’m not convinced (as this post says) that the Tridentine Mass is ‘more work’. Kneeling at a low Mass can be easier than jumping up and down like a jack-in-the-box at the Novus Ordo, especially if (like me) you rest your bum on the pew. And the Mass of the Catechumens, IMO, moves along a lot faster than the NO Liturgy of the Word. (I only wish priests would skip repeating the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular…I mean, even those poor so-and-so’s who aren’t completely fluent in Latin have missals, haven’t they?)
      One final thought–we all resent the NO crowd trying to ban the TLM. But let’s ever be seen as trying to do the same to them. We should nurture the TLM, but let’s not do to others what we’ve suffered ourselves.

  5. But such communities count for less than 1% of the usus recentior “in the wild.”

    A mass like Brompton Oratory’s N.O. is a whole lot less than 1%; you can probably count the number of places around the globe offering such a Mass on both hands with fingers left over, I’m afraid.

  6. The “Traditional” Mass is a gateway to and a summary of traditional, authentic, orthodox Catholicism — the True FAITH of Our Fathers. It offers to Almighty God the only true and full worship and praise which is His due. Its leisurely pace gives this adoration in a reverential, attentive and summisive manner that is most fitting and proper being addressed, as it is, to the Most Hugh God by his exceedingly worthless servants. As such soon it will be, again, the only Mass accepted by heaven as was infallibly intended when it was promulgated by St. Pius V.

    The Novus Ordo is nothing more than a suped-up rendition of the Anglican High Church Sunday service. Its only redeeming feature is the (still) valid consecration of bread and wine.

  7. Pray for those of us who do not have a viable TLM anywhere near us:
    -Pray that we’ll have the masses offered soon;
    -Pray that we have the strength to properly catechize our children in the meantime.
    -Pray that the NO will at least be reformed to some degree so as to be more faithful to the mass instituted by Christ.

    • It’s a losing battle, it will never, can never be “reformed”. Quo primum is law, period, no new rites of mass, valid though they may be, licit they will never be.

  8. Having grown up with the Novus Ordo, begun attending the TLM in college when introduced by comrades, and now attending the TLM as a young adult almost exclusively, it is odd, to me, to read the statement that the Novus Ordo has “regimented logic” in comparison to the TLM. Perhaps I felt that way 4-5 years ago, but now – knowing the Ordo Missae of the TLM better than I ever knew that of the NO – it feels exactly the opposite. The TLM profoundly follows an order that transcends the natural – truly, the divine order inherent to the life of the Trinity. Once you understand the – as you call them – “operative principles” of the Old Rite, things just click. Everything that is done makes intuitive sense. Everything. Then, compare that to the Novus Ordo, where the assimilation of the parts of the Missal feel more like a hodge-podge of cumbersomely juxtaposed activities defined in large part by the sensibilities of the cleric and/or congregation… and it is just chaotic. Very little in the sense of true, ultimate rhyme or order to be gleaned from it. In fact, the times I find myself in a Novus Ordo nowadays, I find myself following along only by translating what is currently going on to its closest equivalent in the TLM. The Novus Ordo to me is like a second language anymore – one that is only haphazardly comprehensible at best.

    • Jim,
      I think you are quite right — there is a deeper logic in the traditional Mass. But it’s somehow an organic, poetic, and intuitive logic — not a modular, stepwise logic where only one thing can happen at a time. Overall, it leads to a more peaceful and orderly experience of worship once you get used to it. That’s the key: one has to give it time and then it makes sense. The sad truth is that having giving my utmost to the new rite for decades, it makes less and less sense. It doesn’t pay back big dividends with long exposure, but simply makes one long all the more for something more reflective of the mystery and holiness of God. This is why it is a tragedy that so many Catholics either know nothing about the old Mass or refuse to attend it for fear of any number of things. Their ignorance or their fears prevent them from discovering the treasure hidden in a field.

      • Every time I’m forced to assist at a Novus Ordo Mass in order to meet my Sunday obligation, I feel as if I’m a kindergartener being lectured to and directed by a micromanaging teacher:

        “No, you can’t just pray or meditate on the sacred mysteries (not that we call them that any longer), children—I mean, “community members”; you must stand up and make the responses just like everyone else. LB236, I see you not paying attention there. Get your eyes out of your 1962 missal (why do you have one of those here, anyway, you quasi-schismatic you?) and do what everyone else is doing. Oh, and don’t you dare genuflect at the incarnatus est in the Creed, or remain kneeling after receiving Communion (which, by the way, LB, you do really need to receive from one of our gaggle of “Eucharistic ministers”, rather than stubbornly insisting on only receiving from the priest; is your ego so large that you want to draw attention to yourself, you Pharisee?), or any of those other passé, pre-Vatican II practices that only reactionary, most-likely-schismatics like yourself think are still important.”

  9. Perfectly stated “Anyone who reads or travels extensively will know that in most places the liturgical reform is still stuck in the 1970s, and, alas, there is a strong push on the part of an aging and dying generation to make it irreversibly stuck in the 1970s.”

    My earliest memories of Mass in ~ 1980 ring the same brown hymnal of the 1970s as today! God bless the Ordinariate and the Latin Rite Communities!

    Saint Peter pray for us

  10. Anyone who has read, even modestly, into the history of the Roman Rite knows that what people think passes for the “traditional” Roman liturgy is — well — not. It’s certainly not “traditional” in the sense that it was ever the liturgy of the Roman Diocese. Let’s clear up this Traddie legend right here and now: The Mass celebrated according to the Missal of Trent was never the Mass of Rome.

    Rather, what is called the “Mass of the Ages” by so many — too many — Traditionalist Catholics is and was the much abbreviated form of the Papal Eucharist celebrated by the Pope and officials of the Curia in private.It is in fact a much truncated form of the Roman Eucharist without all the elaborate pomp and circumstance of the Papal liturgy — without all the elaborate processions to Rome’s “stational” churches, the litanies, the lengthy psalmnody, etc. Instead, it developed as a form of “Quickie Mass” used by the Pope when celebrating (more or less) privately for the Curia. It was not the public liturgy of the Roman Diocese, rather a much truncated version.

    And, it’s not even authentically “Roman”: The “traditional” Roman liturgy was very simple and reserved in practice — even more so than the much-maligned “Novus Ordo” mentioned above. Anyone who has had even a little peek at the ancient Ordines Romani knows how rubrically inert that form of worship was: Most things were just DONE, without any symbolic action or prayer or Signs of the Cross or anything. The Gauls wanted to be closer to Rome, except they found the actual Roman liturgy so bo – ho – ho – ring, that they added all sorts of ceremonies (e. g., the Paschal Candle blessing at the Easter Vigil), symbolic actions (e. g., Signs of the Cross everywhere, kissing this and that), and prayers (e. g., the famous Offertory) from their own Gallican tradition. This hybrid form eventually made its way back down to Rome.

    Saint Francis of Assisi and his “little brethren”– God bless them, but holiness does not guarantee accuracy — made the unfortunate mistake of thinking that the Curial liturgy was the true liturgy of the Roman Church. Hence, out of their filial devotion to the Roman Pontiff, they adopted as the standard for their Order what they thought was the true Papal/Roman Mass.

    Ironically, with all its faults, the concoction which came out of the Consilium is actually closer to the ancient Roman liturgy than what’s found in the Missal of 1962.

    Personally, I think that, if I had ever had had to attend the ancient Roman liturgy in, say, 500 A. D., I would have been bored out of my mind. The abbreviated Mass of Trent, even with its Gallican additions, isn’t much better in my humble opinion. So — thank you — you can keep your “traditional” Latin Mass if that works for ya.

    As for me, I’ll keep taking my spiritual nourishment from the Liturgies of the Eastern Churches. As the Bulgarian envoys recounted to their King about having entered the Hagia Sophia during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy: “It was as if we had walked into Heaven itself.”

  11. “On the other hand, going to the Novus Ordo can be such a breeze. With regimented logic, everything happens in sequence, step by step—just one thing at a time, with no confusing layering of ritual. The texts are in your own language, so no one gets lost. The music can be better or worse, but you know basically what you’re getting: a four-hymn sandwich with a squirt or two of instrumental relish. The liturgy’s style is not medieval and meandering, but modern and microphoned. We recite the Creed, rather than singing that whole list of doctrines. The church building is full of your friends and acquaintances, so you get the social benefits of chatting outside before and after Mass. It feels comfortable and homey; the dress-code is relaxed; no one thinks of a lengthy fast before communion, and if you like to receive in the hand, no one bats an eye. The children will still squirm or cry, but you’re in and out in an hour. This Mass places “reasonable” demands on you and your family, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It was designed to be easier for Modern Man, and not surprisingly, it is—on the surface.

    I could not pass up some comment on Dr. Kwasniewski’s rather silly portrayal above:

    “On the other hand, going to the Novus Ordo can be such a breeze. With regimented logic, everything happens in sequence, step by step—just one thing at a time, with no confusing layering of ritual.

    C’mon, that’s not even true. Does the revised Mass have less ritual than the Trent Mass? Yes. But, ritual there is.

    And, is Dr. Kwasniewski really trying to argue that the Tridentine Mass is better on account of the confusion it creates?

    The texts are in your own language, so no one gets lost.

    . . . and, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, BL. Anthony Rosmini-Serbati (+1855) called the continued use of Latin in the Mass one the the “wounds” of the Church, because people couldn’t understand what was being said.

    The music can be better or worse, but you know basically what you’re getting: a four-hymn sandwich with a squirt or two of instrumental relish.

    Frankly, the music should be the Psalms — not a ditty from David Haas or a motet from Desprez. I’ve at through enough interminable Alleluia chants to know that just because something is in Latin and chanted doesn’t make it beautiful or spiritually edifying.

    The liturgy’s style is not medieval and meandering, but modern and microphoned. We recite the Creed, rather than singing that whole list of doctrines.

    Um, . . . yeah. I wonder just how familiar Dr. Kwasniewski really is with the “Old Mass.” Perhaps, he should watch this: Start at around the 10-minute mark.

    As for recitation, as anyone who grew up before Vatican II would know, the NORM on any given Sunday was the recited “Low Mass.” And, not just any “Low Mass” . . . usually, the abbreviated “Mass for the Dead.”

    Oh, by the way, don’t you love how the Priest, Deacon, and Subdeacon sing the Creed during . . . oh, no, wait! . . . they’ve finished reciting the Creed and are sitting down . . . even while the people and the choir are still singing it! I guess, Dr. Kwasniewski sees no liturgical “cognitive dissonance” in that . . . ?

    The church building is full of your friends and acquaintances, so you get the social benefits of chatting outside before and after Mass. It feels comfortable and homey; the dress-code is relaxed; no one thinks of a lengthy fast before communion, and if you like to receive in the hand, no one bats an eye.

    O. K., . . . but, these comments seem to me to fall more into the category of “pet peeves,” rather than rational argument. So, Dr. Kwasniewski doesn’t like these things. I might agree on some of them.

    The children will still squirm or cry, but you’re in and out in an hour. This Mass places “reasonable” demands on you and your family, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. It was designed to be easier for Modern Man, and not surprisingly, it is—on the surface.

    You can be in and out of a “Low Mass” in 30-40 minutes — even for a Feast of the 1st Class with Gloria and Creed! I’ve experienced it personally. The “Old Mass’s” demands are not that impressive, either.

    Dr. Kwasniewski clearly loves the old liturgy. That’s fine. Some people like vanilla ice cream; some like chocolate. His observations really just come down to his own personal affection.

    • Matthew,
      Not my personal preferences, but the tradition of the Church for 1500 years and more — until the headiness of the 1960s prevailed over wiser counsels.
      I concede that the situation with the old Mass was not ideal everywhere before Vatican II. But now, where the old liturgy has returned, it is being celebrated well. The same cannot be said of the Novus Ordo, which is rarely celebrated well anywhere — and that, for systemic reasons.

      • Thanks, Dr. Kwasniewski, for the reply.

        But, as I wrote in a previous post which (for some reason either went “down the rabbit hole” or was not permitted to be posted) that “traditional” Roman liturgy which you describe above does not exist.

        As any reading of liturgical history will demonstrate, the so-called “Traditional Latin Mass” is anything but. Rather, to summarize very briefly, there was: first, the Pope’s liturgies at Rome’s stational churches with its lengthy processions, elaborate chants, and (surprisingly) scant ritual . . . then, the Roman liturgy as it was received and, then, modified by the Gauls after the 9th century A. D. Considering the Roman Mass too “sober” (read: boring), they added all sorts of prayers and rituals from the Gallican liturgies . . . lastly, that Gallo-Roman concoction made its way back down to Rome, where Vatican bureaucrats considered it too long for very daily use in the Papal Chapel and for their own Masses — so, they shortened it further.

        This LAST iteration is what St. Francis and his brother-friars saw celebrated at the Vatican and which they — unfortunately and incorrectly — presumed was the true Mass of the Roman Pontiff.

        So — no — the “TLM” doesn’t go back 1500 years, rather only about 800 at most. Hardly the Messe du toujours!

        If one wants the traditional Mass of Rome, then he or she ought really to look at the Ordines Romani, especially (if I’m remembering correctly) vol. X. As Fr. Cassian Folsom explained during a lecture given at your own school (viz., “The Great Divorce: An Attempt to Diagnose the Root Cause of Our Liturgical Ills”), it was on THAT especially that the Consilium’s experts based many of their rubrical (so-called) innovations. Perhaps, you don’t recall . . . ?

        • Mr. Dunn,
          You seem to be failing to notice something rather obvious and important. To my knowledge, no traditionalist has ever claimed that the Roman Rite has remained the same, unchanged, for 1500 years. Obviously it has developed organically (which does not mean without surprises) during that whole period. What we have in the 1962 Missal still embodies and reflects that long journey of living faith and culture, although it is already suffering from the reductionist changes inflicted in the 1950s. The experimentation of the mid-sixties and the Pauline missal of 1969 are a rupture with that long tradition. In this sense, there is only the Messe du toujours and the Mass of Yesterday.

          It is perfectly characteristic of the modernists/modernizers to want to go back to so-called primitive models, which are conveniently pre-medieval and pre-Baroque (and so, pre-scholastic and pre-Tridentine), and therefore to attempt to undo a development desired by God and guided by His Holy Spirit. Modernism and false archaeologism go hand in hand.

          • Actually, the missal had already suffered from “reductionist changes” in the Curia of the 1100’s . . . but, I disgress.

            In point of fact, which I should have pointed out above, the so-called “Traditional Latin Mass” is not even the traditional Mass of Rome: It was never the liturgy of Rome, rather of the Curia. The Roman Rite was the Papal Stational Mass I’ve already mentioned above found in the Ordines. So, the claim for the TLM’s patrimony of 1,500 years or more is historically false as is the claim that it represents or represented the true liturgy of the Roman Church. Again, alas, no.

            And, as for “archaeologism”: I’ll have to remember that whenever someone brings up the antiquity of the Roman Canon against the “new” Eucharistic Prayers.

          • I still think you are missing the point. I am not saying there were not variations in the Latin-language rites. There were multiple uses, yes, and multiple traditions. But they had far more in common than they had elements that separated them. And their development took place according to well-known laws of elaboration.

            Since you seem to have a great interest in these questions, I recommend that you read Alcuin Reid’s book “The Organic Development of the Liturgy.” Reid establishes that there really is such a thing as a continuing “deposit” of the liturgy, of which the Roman Canon is the best example, and that this deposit is elaborated in a process akin to doctrinal development. The Canon remains, but, for example, the Offertory and Communion rites are built up around it, almost like the slow growth of a medieval city around its cathedral and commons.

            Short of spending your time studying Reid, we will just keep talking past one another, because we are talking about different things.

  12. You can delete my posts all you want, Mr. Skojec; it’s your blog. The facts are there. Dr. Kwasniewski’s comments above are simply poppycock.

    Interesting that you should fault the Vatican for blocking the Correctio Filialis website. Yet, authoritarians usually can’t handle being told when they are wrong.

  13. Could someone here at OnePeterFive (or one of the participants on this thread) tell me where the photograph of the Tridentine Mass (at the top of this article) was taken?

    I am curious to know what church or religious order this was photographed at.

    Thank you for your time / assistance.

    242 😉


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