Separating The Mass From Its Purpose…

Separating The Mass From Its Purpose…

From the Catholic Herald, 8th September, 2017…

Matthew Schmitz is right that young Catholics are more traditionally-minded. But that doesn’t always mean the Old Rite

Everyone, including Catholics, wants to figure out millennials, the much-maligned generation to which I undeniably belong. 

Last week, my fellow native Nebraskan Matthew Schmitz wrote a piece for the Catholic Herald entitled “The Kids Are Old Rite”. Schmitz argued that the younger generation today – us millennials – are trending increasingly traditional, much to the dismay of some older, more liberal generations of Catholics.

On that point, generally, I don’t disagree. I see in myself and among my fellow millennial Catholics a desire to return to more orthodox practices, teachings and ways of thinking. We saw what happened when our parents’ generation flung open Pandora’s box – sexually, religiously, morally – and we’re not loving the results. Divorce, abortion, and the breakdown of the family have had less than desirable effects on the society we’ve inherited.

In particular, the quotes from Archbishop Augustine DiNoia that Schmitz included on the subject were spot on:

My sense is that these twenty- and thirty-somethings have been radicalised by their experience … in a way that we were not.” After “God-knows-what kinds of personal and social experiences”, they have come to know “moral chaos, personally and socially, and they want no part of it”. A sense of narrow escape guides their vocations. “It is as if they had gone to the edge of an abyss and pulled back.

However, the piece implies that young people are increasingly preferring the Old Rite – the Traditional Latin Mass – over the Novus Ordo, and that the “liturgy wars” of old will now be divided along generational lines.

But based on my experience, and that of my peers, I don’t think it’s true that we’re clamouring for the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in large numbers. I also don’t think we’re interested in reviving the so-called “liturgy wars” of old.

I have some friends who prefer the TLM, or the Byzantine rite. But they’re still the exception, rather than the norm, among my wide circle of Catholic friends that comes with living in a Catholic millennial hub like Denver.

My TLM friends think that the old rite is beautiful, but they aren’t going to go so far as to “shove it down the throats” of others, as one of my friends put it.  
From what I have seen, the Traditional Latin Mass appeals to some Catholics, but I don’t think it will ever become the norm again. I personally prefer the Novus Ordo Mass, because it’s the form with which I grew up and with which I am most familiar. I’ve gone to public school my whole life and have never formally been taught Latin, and so I prefer a Mass I understand.

An unscientific poll of my young people friends tends to agree – we haven’t been taught Latin like the previous generations, and we don’t see what’s wrong with a prayerful and reverent Novus Ordo Mass.

Judging by the ever-growing crowd of young people at the Novus Ordo Mass I attend weekly, at which we chant the opening antiphons in English and have incense galore, we’re looking for reverence, but at a Mass we understand.

In true millennial fashion, however, I’d like to take a moment to check my privilege.

As a daughter of the notoriously traditional Lincoln Diocese in Nebraska, I never felt the need to seek out more reverent, prayerful forms of Mass, because the Novus Ordo Masses I grew up with were lacking in neither. Similarly, when I made the move to Denver three years ago, I had little trouble finding a Novus Ordo Mass that was celebrated beautifully and reverently.

I realise that the story might be different if I had lived in other dioceses. Given the choice between the Latin or a questionable liturgical dance Mass, I’d choose Latin any day.

At the end of the day, it’s hard enough to be a young Catholic today, that I think most of us recognise that can’t let “liturgy wars” bring us down.

Do you feel closest to God while wearing a veil and chanting Latin? Great. Is the Novus Order Mass in English, with the promise of coffee and donuts afterwards, the only way to get your butt into a pew on Sunday? More power to you.

We’re just happy you’re here, because we want you to meet Jesus.    Source – Catholic Herald, 8/9/17          



Support for the above thesis / praise for the novus ordo came from an unexpected source in last week’s Catholic Herald – none other than Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society (LMS):

“Rather than throw every parish into confusion with a new top-down reform, it is better to foster the existing liturgical pluralism, which includes the reformed Roman Rite [Ed: the novus ordo, the new Mass], the Ordinariate Use, the growing presence of Eastern Catholic Rites, and the pre-conciliar Latin liturgy, now widely available once more. Among these, surely, we have something for everyone… the liturgy should not be a battlefield, it is a table at which the Catholic soul is nourished.”  Joseph Shaw: After the ‘liturgy wars’, a pluralistic truce? Catholic Herald,  1/9/17.

What seems to have been forgotten by these writers is  the fact that the Mass is not for us.  This appears to be an error peculiar to our times, for although there are various rites within the Church, the novus ordo alone appears designed to cater for personal whims of taste and fashion of various types – for example, popular music, lay activity.  But the Mass is not for us, in that sense.  The Roman Rite  was approved centuries ago by the Church, in the form we now term “the traditional Latin Mass”  for the purpose of offering true worship to God – not because the locals found it entertaining, or held their attention or suited their imagined “spiritual” needs. 

So, how can this concept of “pluralistic truce” be justified in the current crisis of Faith in the Church?  Is the Mass primarily a “table at which the Catholic soul is nourished” or an altar on which the Holy Sacrifice of the Lamb is re-presented to the Father in order to offer Him true worship, which is wholly orthodox and pleasing to God… Does our often superficial “enjoyment” of Mass in the vernacular, easily understood with popular music and easy on the ear and conscience homilies, trump our duty to offer the worship which has nourished saints and martyrs down the centuries, and is manifestly pleasing to God? Think: “by their fruits…” 

In summary: what’s your take on a “pluralistic truce”?    But before you answer, check out this critique of the new Mass

Comments (17)

  • editor

    The latest ‘Breaking News’ at Rorate Caeli fits in perfectly with this thread showing, as it does, how the current chaos is set to worsen – the liturgical equivalent of Hurricane Irma…

    Breaking: Motu Proprio “Magnum Principium” granting authority on liturgical translations to Bishops’ Conferences

    September 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm
    • Margaret USA

      You’re originally from Nebraska 🇺🇸? WOW. I thought you were a born & bred Scotswoman. 😊


      Re the liturgy: When I was little, the entire Liturgy (except for the Epistle & Gospel) was in Slavonic. Two Ukrainian gentlemen took turns each week reading the Epistle in Ukrainian, while my late father and Joseph, another gentleman (more on him later) took turns reading the Epistle in English.

      We had Liturgy in our church hall. One end served as the sanctuary. The rest was a hall which was and still is used for bingo. (People dressed up better for church then than they do now, when we actually *have* a proper Ukrainian Catholic Church.)

      In 1988, the liturgical language of of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was changed from Slavonic (1000 yrs) to Ukrainian (there’s actually different versions of Ukrainian depending on which region you’re in plus one that’s a hybrid of Ukrainian and Slavonic).

      Our late cantor (eternal memory!) tried to reason with Father and begged him to keep Slavonic in the liturgy. Father said we had to obey the Synod of Bishops. Eventually a compromise was worked out: During Paschaltide, the Great Fast (especially the 3rd Sunday of the Great Fast), the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (coming up next week, btw) and Christmas we could sing certain parts of the Liturgy in Slavonic. Otherwise, it’s English on Sat. evening and English/Ukrainian on Sunday. That’s the way it’s been for almost 30 years.

      We lost half of our parish as a result of the change in language. Most of our good hard-working parishioners were Byzantine Catholic like my Mom. They left our church for nearby Byzantine Catholic parishes, went Roman [rite], or stopped going to church altogether.

      Joseph (the gentleman I mentioned earlier) was Roman [rite]. He was in the seminary during VII and was 1 year away from being ordained a priest. In 1967, the Latin rite of priestly ordination changed. He left the seminary rather than be ordained according to the new rite. Since he was part Ukrainian Catholic, he switched to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

      +Joseph was our sacristan, janitor etc – you name it, he did it. Anything Father needed, he’d ask +Joseph. +Joseph was a very quiet man (just like his saintly namesake). The only time he’d get angry was if someone said anything against the Faith. Then – watch out!

      When I started wearing wearing a chapel cap to church, he’d hold the door for me and say: “Margaret, you look very lovely in your mantilla (sic).” I’d reply: “Thank you, Joseph.”

      Somehow, he managed to get a full Rosary in before Liturgy even with babies crying and children talking!

      +Joseph was truly a Catholic gentleman.

      I still know my Our Father, Angelic Salutation and Creed in Slavonic and parts of the Liturgy (even the words of Consecration!) in Slavonic. However, most people in our parish are comfortable with English. Some years ago, we tried to put a little more Ukrainian in the liturgy and that didn’t work out.


      I hope this doesn’t go through in the Latin Church. Imo, the Latin Catholic faithful have been deprived of their heritage. The Russian Orthodox would NEVER put up with the stuff that’s going on now.

      In the fall of 2007, my parents and I visited my paternal uncle and aunt. Somehow the conversation came to the Good Friday prayer. I tried to explain that PB was pressured to change it. My aunt (a *devout* Russian Orthodox woman) pounded the table and shouted: “He had NO RIGHT to do that!!!” The way she talked, you’d think that she was a traditional Catholic because she gave all the arguments *against* changing the Good Friday prayer that +John Vennari (RIP) would write about in CFN.

      She got that angry over ONE prayer. I guarantee you that if she was living, she’d go straight to the Pope and give him $ 10.00 worth of her mind instead of two cents. (And he’d probably listen to her since he’s favorable towards the RO.)


      Sorry for the extremely long post, but that article just got my keister. I hope the RC faithful start coming out of their post-VII slumber. Somebody needs to say: “Enough is enough!”


      Margaret 🇺🇸

      P.S. Just wondering: What’s the longest reply you ever had on CT? 😉

      September 9, 2017 at 7:30 pm
      • editor


        Not sure what makes you think I’m originally from Nebraska (not the case!) but I’m glad to see you here, since I’ve been thinking about you a lot watching the news reports of Hurricane Irma and hoping and praying that you are OK. I see you are as chirpy as ever, so I take it you have avoided the worst of it. Thank God (in any language you wish!)

        September 9, 2017 at 7:48 pm
      • Vianney


        Perhaps you write with a Nebraska accent.

        September 11, 2017 at 3:44 pm
  • RCAVictor

    Leave it to the information controllers of the Novus Ordo world to come up with rubbish like this. A quick glance over the contents revealed the following characteristics:

    1. The concept of “liturgy wars” is false, and implies that the advocates of the traditional Mass are warring against the Novus Ordo advocates, when actually the opposite is true. Moreover, traditional advocates are far outnumbered. Is this falsehood being spread in anticipation of widespread resistance to the “new, new, new Mass”?
    2. If Denver is a “millennial Catholic hub,” then I’m the next Pope. The faith in Denver is as watered down as can be, thanks to the reign of the allegedly conservative ++Chaput. I attended a Novus Ordo at a large Denver parish several times, years ago; it was disgustingly casual and the “homilies” were brimming with cheap pop psychology instead of teaching the Faith.
    3. No one is “shoving the TLM down the throats” of anyone – this is more falsehood imputing that traditionalists have a belligerent attitude. Moreover, as I posted in another thread, it was the Novus Ordo that was shoved down the throats of Catholics illegally, and the “new, new, new Mass” will be enforced using the same dictatorial process.
    4. The article reeks of the “it’s all about me” mentality, the unwillingness to learn Latin (or to discover that the English translations are side-by-side with the Latin in the Missal! – God forbid a Catholic should have to do any work or study to advance in the Faith…);
    5. The article also reeks of ignorance of the Faith, and therefore of ignorance that the Novus Ordo is a poison, a Trojan Horse that destroys the Faith rather than teaching it.
    6. I note the reference to the Diocese of Lincoln, NB as “notoriously traditional.” How about that for a slip of the tongue – tradition is “notorious” rather than true! Furthermore, the former bishop of Lincoln, Bishop Bruskewitz, was the very one who threatened to excommunicate SSPX parishioners (along with various liberal groups).
    7. There is confusion between using Latin and Tradition. Tradition is not synonymous with the use of Latin, since the Novus Ordo is also offered in Latin sometimes. Latin is only one feature of Tradition, though a unifying feature, to be sure.
    8. The worst thing about this disgraceful article may well be the conclusion, which is, in effect, “Whatever floats your boat is perfectly fine.” In other words, the modern Church is all about man, not about God, despite the alleged desire to “meet Jesus.” Does this writer actually think one can “meet Jesus” over coffee and donuts? Now there’s the kind of sentiment of which a Jesuit would be truly proud.

    September 9, 2017 at 7:13 pm
  • editor

    RCA Victor,

    Well said – so much so that I’m wondering how to get you comment into the possession of the author of the Catholic Herald article – Mary Rezac. She really needs to read that.

    I remember once, a priest laughing heartily when I praised his sermon and added that “I hope they were all listening closely…”

    What on earth is funny about that?

    September 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm
    • RCAVictor


      If you’re going to send the author of this “I’m OK, You’re OK” nonsense something, send her this…

      …and suggest that it might be helpful if she would start educating herself before spreading her ignorant, anti-Catholic thoughts in public about the Mass.

      I’ve also finally finished my first read-through of The Catechism Explained by Spirago and Clarke, and discovered at the end an Encyclical Letter of Pope St. Pius X on the Teaching of Catechism. In it he laments the woeful state of catechesis in 1905, pegs the widespread ignorance of the Faith to lack of catechesis, carefully distinguishes it from sermonizing, and encourages catechesis by preaching, by a priest who holds the un-glamorous Office of Catechist, rather than by reading books. He also orders that this catechesis be based on the Catechism of the Council of Trent.

      I found it online:

      September 10, 2017 at 3:45 am
  • Petrus


    A few things struck me as I read the article above. First off, of course the author won’t find anything wrong with the reverent Novus Ordo Mass if they do not understand what the Mass is and the history of the Novus Ordo. I remember telling my grandmother that six Protestant ministers helped write the New Mass and she was affronted. She had never heard that before. Ignorance is bliss!

    Secondly, this business of going to a Mass that can be understood is a red herring. I have never studied Latin and I can understand the Mass perfectly. If you can read you can follow a missal! I think this person has fallen for the propaganda without even realising it.

    September 9, 2017 at 9:34 pm
    • editor

      Spot on, Petrus. You have nailed the situation perfectly. The old saying comes to mind, and permeates the article you can’t miss what you’ve never had…

      And, as RCA Victor says, the attitude of the author, Mary Rezac, seems to be – and is abhorrent – that “Whatever floats your boat is perfectly fine.”

      Mass is just one more consumer choice, in other words. Feel free to pick ‘n mix… Let’s just all just go along to get along…

      September 9, 2017 at 11:18 pm
    • gabriel syme

      this business of going to a Mass that can be understood is a red herring

      Indeed Petrus, the author writing off the traditional mass as being something which ‘cant be understood’ is an exceptionally lazy analysis.

      One wonders how the Church could have spread across the globe and lasted 2,000 years, if no-one could understand its ceremonies. What patronising rot!

      It makes my blood boil to see modern Catholics vomit up these protestant tropes, that Catholics “cant understand the mass”. I suppose its another proof that the modern Church and its dwindling number of adherents are protestant in all but name.

      In reality, the language of the mass – as well as its liturgical action – are powerful signs of unity (or indeed a lack of unity).

      I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “reverent novus ordo” – I tend to file such talk along with “unicorns” and the like – certainly I have never encountered one. But, even if there was, it will do you no good whatsoever should you happen to visit a country with a different language. Suddenly you find yourself completely alienated from proceedings (right enough, that’s probably a blessing, given the standard of most novus ordo masses).

      There is also the small matter of how wildly the novus ordo differs from parish to parish, let alone from nation to nation.

      In contrast, offering the same mass in the same language across the world means we can practice our faith easily and coherently and can gather with our brothers and sisters with one voice.

      I always remember my first experience of a latin mass abroad – in St Agnes, Amsterdam – when the priest began the prayers at the foot of the altar, it was like a light coming on and I though “bingo!”.

      Recalling efforts to attend masses on holiday with my family as a youth: you would think “I don’t understand what the priest is saying and I’m intrigued as to why he is brandishing those maracas?! Am I even in the right place?!”.

      It was frankly idiotic of the Church to introduce vernacular masses and this new move by Francis is another great display of idiocy.

      Both directly lead to fragmentation and disunity and both are great examples of the “knavish imbecility” Belloc referred to, when discussing how well the Church is run.

      September 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm
  • Athanasius

    The author of the article above clearly has no theological understanding, and the so-called “liturgical pluralism” advocated by Dr. Joseph Shaw is nothing more or less than liturgical indifferentism, the hallmark of the LMS since its inception.

    The Novus Ordo is not the same Mass as the ancient Latin Mass, despite claims to the contrary. It was designed by clever Modernist liturgists to undermine fundamental Catholic truths that were offensive to Protestants and an obstacle to false ecumenism, just as it’s chief architect, Mgr. Annibale Bugnini admitted in a L’Osservatore Romano article on March 19, 1965: “We must remove from our Catholic liturgy and prayers all that can be the shadow of a stumbling block to our separated brethren, that is, to the Protestants.” By 1973 the same Mgr. Bugnini felt able to rejoice in his achievement by stating again “The New Mass represents a conquest of the Catholic Church.” He could say this with honesty knowing that the liturgy he had created with the help of six Protestant ministers was in line with the reformed liturgy of the Protestant Reformers of the XVI century. That Catholic elements sufficent for validity remained was unimportant since the overall sense being conveyed to the people was of a liturgical meal centred on the people rather than the Traditional Holy Sacrifice of Calvary being offered to God the Father for the remission of sins.

    At any rate, the ancient Latin Mass of the Church has produced numberless saints and martyrs, from the lowest uneducated servants to the highest nobles. All were sanctified by this Mass because of the grace that flows from it, not because they understood Latin.

    The New Mass on the contrary has produced universal apostasy on an unprecedented scale and Sacramental sacrileges the likes of which the Church has never before encountered. That’s what happens when the divine gives place to the vulgar, and I’m not just talking language! These people have no idea how ridiculous their argument for liturgical pluralism is in terms of the theology of the Mass, the teaching of the Church and the lives of the saints. They can’t even see the bitter fruits the New Mass has inflicted on the Church before their very eyes. Crazy times indeed!

    September 10, 2017 at 1:07 am
  • Lionel

    Their new religion “with irreversible reforms” is summarized as follows: I repudiate the Bride accused of sowing disunity, for she is judged to be unconstrained by my personal ideas and goals, and turn to the prostitute and adopt her masonic principles: religious syncretism, relativism, indifferentism, apparent fraternity between often divided people, evolutionary truths, falsification of religious texts, institutionalized falsehood and apostasy, unbridled morals and so on!…
    For reformers, these “reforms remain irreversible” because they know perfectly well that “no one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24) and that these reforms condemn those who are the initiators and the propagators and who intend to impose them on all Christendom…

    September 10, 2017 at 8:32 am
  • RCAVictor

    I think a word or two needs to be said about the newspaper that published this drivel. Catholic newspapers are supposed to be edifying and instructive to the faithful, but here we have a Catholic-in -name only newspaper promoting ignorance, cheap sentimentalism and indifference to the Truth…and thus, apostasy.

    St. Pius X would have either shut down this rag, or had everyone fired and replaced with real Catholics.

    September 10, 2017 at 5:32 pm

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