National Catholic Register recently published a post by Monsignor Charles Pope, Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass, that’s getting a decent amount of attention.
The gist of the piece concerns Msgr. Pope’s observation that the number of Traditional Latin Mass attendees seems to have hit a “ceiling” in recent years. He suggests, therefore, that something must be done in order to better promote the ancient rite beyond the “certain niche group of Catholics” to whom it appeals.
Some years ago (as far back at the early 1980s) we who love the Traditional Latin Mass often said (or it heard said) that if we would just return to the beautiful Latin Mass our churches would again be filled.
Msgr. Pope argues, however, that “simply offering a Traditional Latin Mass is not enough.”
He is entirely correct on this note.
The “build it and they will come” theory, whether its proponents realize it or not, is constructed upon the all-too-widely-accepted conciliar fallacy that the truth is so singularly compelling that it’s not really necessary to condemn error; if only the truth be proclaimed amid the cacophony of falsehoods, people will necessarily be attracted to it.
We will return to this critically important point in a moment.
For the present discussion, let us assume that Msgr. Pope is correct in observing that attendance at the Traditional Latin Mass has leveled off in recent years.
My focus herein concerns three things; the reason why this may in fact be the case, why we should have seen it coming, and most importantly, the only solution capable of making a substantial difference.
For his part, Msgr. Pope concludes that responsibility for promoting the Traditional Latin Mass and increasing attendance figures beyond the current “ceiling” lies neither with the diocese nor with the local bishop, but with that “niche group” that finds the ancient rite so appealing, saying:
At the end of the day, for any particular movement, prayer form, organization, or even liturgy, the job of promoting it must belong to those who love it most. Shepherds don’t have sheep; sheep have sheep … Even traditional Catholics have to evangelize.
There are a number of problems with this proposal.
First and foremost, if one’s starting point for addressing any matter concerning the traditional liturgy is to lump it together (even if only in a practical sense) with other ecclesial movements or “prayer forms,” the conclusions that will be drawn are guaranteed to be likewise flawed.
That said, Msgr. Pope didn’t conjure up this idea all on his own; rather, we can thank Pope Benedict XVI – the Chief Shepherd who invented the preposterous notion of an “Ordinary Form” and an “Extraordinary Form” of the “one Roman Rite” back in 2007.
This brings me to Msgr. Pope’s suggestion, “Shepherds don’t have sheep; sheep have sheep.”
While this catchy little phrase might be good bumper sticker material for Pope Francis’ fleet of Humblemobiles, it is – in the words of Pope St. Pius X – “contrary to the constitution on which the Church was founded by Jesus Christ” (cf Vehementer Nos – 8):
The Scripture teaches us, and the tradition of the Fathers confirms the teaching, that the Church is the mystical body of Christ, ruled by the Pastors and Doctors – a society of men containing within its own fold chiefs who have full and perfect powers for ruling, teaching and judging. It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors. (ibid.)
Certainly, the laity are called to sacrifice in order to spread the faith, as well as to defend it as best they can wherever they can, but at the end of the day the Pastors of the Church are the ones responsible for promoting that which leads the flock toward the end that is willed by Christ.
Nothing so leads mankind than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and it is here where the overwhelming majority of our sacred pastors are failing us the most.
Look, I don’t know if Msgr. Pope is correct in saying that Traditional Latin Mass attendance has reached something of a ceiling, but if it has, who can be surprised?
Whenever and wherever evil and goodness are given equal rights, the fallen human condition is such that men will more often choose the former; he will more frequently than not choose that which is easy, and comfortable, and entertaining over and against that which is truly good – even as doing so renders him great harm.
As Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre pointed out in his book, Against the Heresies, “it is easier to do evil than good, it is more in conformity with the disorder in human nature.”
In the present case, not only do our sacred pastors treat the Novus Ordo Missae as an equal to the Mass of Ages; they give it pride of place!
To be clear, I am not simply talking about the ubiquitousness of the Novus Ordo.
There can be no doubt that availability is a factor with respect to Traditional Latin Mass attendance, but of far greater impact is the unmerited esteem with which our Shepherds treat the Novus Ordo.
Think about it: the Novus Ordo Missae – a rite deliberately stripped of numerous venerable treasures simply because they convey the one true faith with such clarity as to make the heretics uneasy – is the only rite that has ever been publicly celebrated by each of the post-conciliar popes from the time of Paul VI to present!
As for the relatively small number of bishops that speak well of the Traditional Latin Mass (never mind actually celebrating it) – while they may do so in one breath, they consistently repeat the greatest lie ever told in the next; namely, that the Mass of Paul VI is simply another “form of the one Roman Rite.”
The Novus Ordo has more in common as a rite with the Lutheran Sunday service than it does with “the one Roman rite.” Even a child can see that.
The Novus Ordo, just as its name implies, is a new rite; one so laced with protestant poison that, when consumed over time by the unformed and unwary (i.e., practically all in attendance), it demonstrably leads to a loss of Catholic faith, at which point the Traditional Latin Mass, for many, will come to be viewed as all but repugnant.
The bastard rite of Paul VI also happens to be precisely the sort of easy, and comfortable, and oh-so-entertaining affair that appeals to the disordered masses (no pun intended), and given that it comes in more flavors than Baskin Robbins, there’s often a Novus Ordo Missae readily available to suit practically every liturgical taste imaginable; e.g., there are quiet Masses, children’s Masses, contemporary Masses, ethnic Masses, and even homo Masses within driving distance of many Catholics.
The bottom line is this:
Lay “traditional Catholics” (a redundancy if ever there was one) can promote the Mass of Ages among their family members and friends, and even their bishops, all they want, but until the “chiefs who have full and perfect powers for ruling, teaching and judging” (ibid) cease holding the Novus Ordo Missae up as if it’s an equal – fallen and ignorant men will more often choose otherwise.
Consider, for example, the parish that Msgr. Pope serves as pastor, Holy Comforter – St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C.
While the Traditional Latin Mass is celebrated there on certain (and as far as I can tell, rare, mostly evening) occasions, his parishioners are regularly treated to so-called “Gospel Masses” that feature the kind of good ol’ fashioned foot stompin’ / hand clappin’ / “Amen!” shoutin’ (see video below courtesy of EWTN) that one might expect to find at just about any AME praise and worship service.
For those parishioners that prefer a “Holy Sacrifice” offering a bit more movement still; they can simply attend the Youth Sunday Mass featuring Holy Comforter’s “liturgical dance ministry.”
In any case, it appears rather evident that these poor souls, like so many others, have been misled by their pastor (and others) to believe that the Traditional Latin Mass is just another flavor of Catholic liturgy among many.
With this in mind, is it any wonder Msgr. Pope has observed a TLM attendance ceiling?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking on Msgr. Pope. Apart from the fact that he actually celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass (which only serves to make him seem all the more credible to the undernourished), he isn’t the least bit unusual with respect to misleading his flock in matters liturgical; he’s simply repeating the company line out of modernist Rome.
And this, my friends, is the point: Until that line changes in such way as to once again reflect the truth, little else will.
In the meantime, one may be compelled to ask where one might hope to find, if anywhere, sacred pastors who not only know the truth, but are willing to speak it plainly; to warn their faithful of the grave deficiencies and dangers associated with the Novus Ordo Missae, and to lead their flocks like true Shepherds?
Such men are rare, indeed, but I have the privilege of knowing a few – men like Fr. Michael Rodriguez (with whom you are invited to join me in traveling to Italy this summer) who are paying the price for their faithfulness.
Other such caretakers of souls can be found in droves in the Society of St. Pius X; from their transitional deacons, to their priests, all the way up to Bishop Fellay.
Their faithful, just like the rest of us, are surrounded on all sides by the Novus Ordo Missae. Many of them must travel great distances, or make other assorted sacrifices, simply to assist at the Traditional Latin Mass each and every Holy Day.
And guess what?
They don’t have a ceiling problem.
If you claim that you can save your soul in the Novus Ordo, you are claiming that the TLM is a flavour of mass that you prefer. If one can save ones soul in the Novus Ordo the idea is that you just subjectively prefer the TLM because of your “sensibilities”. If you claim that the Church can give evil disciplines and liturgies that are incentives to impiety you are a heretic. But if the Church didn’t give the NO, who did?
Excellent points, Louie. One thing: why are we in such a hurry? We must have success right now, or we seem to be going backwards – or to have reached a ‘ceiling’ of some sort.
Not so. My parish (FSSP) is growing steadily, albeit slowly. Not more grey-heads, but more big families (actually moving house for the Mass) as well as university-aged kids who just seem to be showing up, without overt urging by anyone.
Msgr Pope seems to be falling into the modern way of measuring things: it’s gotta be big, it’s gotta be noisy, and it’s gotta be now.
As things get much worse in FrancisChurch we will see the continued growth of Traditional Mass attendance – it may not get big, noisy or quick until the end – the end of Catholic life as we know it thanks to FrancisChurch.
Another point: a priest in my diocese helps out at our FSSP parish when the pastor is on holiday – he is very familiar with it, and with chant. He is considered a ‘holy’ priest by everyone who knows him, and is beloved by his NO parish. The parishes where he has been assigned over the past 10 years are awful! He has had no influence that is obvious – all the bad things that the NO brings are there, even though this priest knows what needs to be done. He says he takes a pastoral approach and seems to feel that if he pushes it will alienate his people.
When asked why he does not say the Latin Mass in his parish is response is mostly “they won’t accept it” or “there is no demand for it” or “I’m waiting until there are X number of people who want it.”
In other words he states that he ‘loves’ the Latin Mass, but doesn’t see the need for it to increase the Faith in his people – or he doesn’t have the courage to buck the system. If he would just say it!!! I believe “build it and they will come” to be a valid argument. Thanks for another great post.
The only way to cleanse ones self is to wash in in the blood of Christ. That’s not possible through the abomination of the Novus Ordo Missae.
For me, sparse assistance at the actual Catholic Mass aligns with the fewness of the saved.
The Fewness of the Saved
The Fewness of the Saved – The Majority of Mankind are Damned
“But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” -Luke 18:8
Listen to what Bp. Williamson says here about the shepherds and the sheep:
To be candid, I don’t pay attention to what Bogus Ordo bishops and priests say. (Fyi, I’m not a sedevacantist.) As the late Michael Davies said (in Pope Paul’s New Mass) and I’m paraphrasing: These people are beyond reason. We must pray for their conversion. So I take the words of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima to heart. And my “Landholt for Congress, 2016” campaign will have Truth as a top platform issue. “Help me, help you!” by following me on Twitter (@TexasGovernor1) and FB (Nicholas Landholdt) to make my campaign go viral. If you don’t want to pay income taxes anymore, I’m your man.
That was my first thought, too.
The VII schismatics. Just as Cranmer crafted a Mass to suit the heresiarch Henry 8, so the rabbinical and protestant experts of VII crafted a service to suit their antichrist and antichurch sensibilities and those of their heresiarchs.
I assume that you think John XIII was an anti pope since you seem to be a hard line sede. This seems to me to be rediculous because that would mean 100% of Catholics were objectivly scismatic because they were in communion with a public and manifest heretic. Thus the Church as a VISIBLE society of men united to Christ would have defected because you cannot be both visibly and objectivly united to Christ and a heritic, though you could be subjectly not culpable because of ignorance. Furthermore, the peaceful and universal acceptance of a pope has always been thought to be an infallible sign that the pope is pope.
The invisibility thing is one thing that makes me uncertain about sedevacantism. But when the Church was in the catacombs was it visible to the rest of the world? Also does the Church become invisible every time a pope dies?What is the true sense of the attribute of visibility?
The Church is very visible, just not (like Anglicanism or Lutherism), in the Novus Ordo.
The Church is much reduced, however, thanks to the continued obstinacy of Novus Ordites claiming the name Catholic. The Novus Ordo rides on the fame, if you will of true popes and the grandeur of the true faith, without having either popes or faith.
@Truth Seeker. During the first couple centuries the Church was small and hard to find not 100% of people were objectively a schematic. I have yet to find a sede who can explain how John XXIII was an anti Pope and was manifestly heretical yet EVERYONE was was in communion with him. If the entire visible Church is in communion with a schematic then it ceases to be the Church of Christ objectively. So I think it is safe to say that we know John XXIII was Pope so therefore at the very least it is probable that the other conciliar popes were popes.
The vast majority of baptised Catholics, and the vast majority of Catholics who are attempting to practise the Faith in some manner – are not aware of the Traditional Mass, or if they have heard anything it’s been condemnatory from those in apparent authority and so they have dutifgully avoided it as an evil. The apostate or heretical bishops in the dioceses and the Holy See have worked very hard to ensure that people are not aware of it, or if they are, that they believe it to be some kind of heretical activity, not belonging to the true Church. The true, unadulterated, Holy Mass of Holy Tradition is available in a minuscule number of places, to a minuscule number of people, and out of all those in countries or dioceses where it is non-existent (most), only a minuscule number know of it and that it is the true Mass of all Ages that they are being denied. As in most areas of Faith and morals, the controlling Modernists control the information that the baptise d are given.
Always words of common sense from you, Lynda. Have we forgotten something? The Church is Christ’s. God’s Providence is all-encompasing and never, never permits evil unless that is for our good. We seem to say that we are more than willing to go through any trial God wishes to send – poverty, humiliation, family sorrows, sickness – any suffering EXCEPT the one we are asked to bear now: the assault of Satan upon the visible Church, and her priests and sacred ministers – and the results of that.
Why can’t we see this trial like the others? Seeing evil triumph is a trial just like all the others. We are to BEAR it. How simple that message is but we WILL NOT hear it.
Is it the powerlessness we feel that makes this Satanic assault so hard to bear? Is it that it is world-wide, with no end in sight. How little we believe in God. How little we trust in Him.
Jesus Himself commanded that we love those who do evil to us. How does that play out? Instead of railing about evil people, putting them into various slots as this kind of evil-doer, or that, why don’t we support each other where we are – in the midst of trial. The sedes here simply tear down – do they have nothing to teach about bearing this trial except over and over and over again describing what the trial is?
I’m very happy to see good Catholic priests posting here. We have the authentic voice of tradition, real Catholic priests who actually LIVE our faith at the altar every day.
I’m grateful to these priests because they are able to put this mess into perspective.
@A Critical Thinker
I would agree that John XXIII might have been a doubtful Pope, but Paul VI had and company had to have lost their infallibility somehow because although Vatican II was not ex cathedra, Vatican II falls under the universal, ordinary magisterium, which is infallible and must be believed under pain of heresy. If Vatican II truly taught errors, then either the Church in not indefectable or the men teaching in Christ’s name lost their authority somewhere, sometime.
Pope Benedict’s Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms explanation is a short road to complacency. I love to read the good priests sermons today and their struggles are edifying! They truly help guard the sheep from falling into laziness.
I also read and re-read Archbishop Lefebvre’s writings and sermons. I choose him for my guide in this dreadful time and if his words don’t make you aware that there is a barrier between the things of God and the world nothing will! He was the best example of how to be angry with Our Lord’s enemies.
Awesome sermons. Thanks, AlphonsusJr.
Heres a look at what we used to have easter sunday 1941 narrated by bishop fulton j sheen
Fewness of the saved litany of the sacred heart 7mins
CT, the conjecture surrounding Roncalli has no Catholic excuse to ignore Montini through Bergoglio; nor their Novus Ordo as substantially antichrist.
The TLMs formerly known as “Indults” may well have hit a ceiling, which would not be surprising when one considers the hostile circumstances under which most of them are offered, and when one also considers the typically joyless demeanor (in my experience) of the Catholics who attend these Masses.
As for the SSPX, however – which, no doubt, Msgr. Pope is not allowed to refer to – we burst through the ceiling a long time ago and continue to grow by leaps and bounds. Part of that growth was due to the lifting of the excommunications by Benedict XVI, but more recently, it has been due to shell-shocked Catholics seeking refuge from the madness of Bergoglio, and even to dissatisfaction with Fraternity parishes.
By Fraternity parishes are you referring to the bogus FSSP?