Is the TLM movement backfiring?
  • While some think permitting the TLM is a step forward, it is appears in some Diocese that this was a political move against orthodoxy.

    Rather than encouraging the adoption of a more orthodox liturgy, this effectively takes the most rabid proponents out of parishes and frees the parishes to go about their guitar-strumming ways while the traditional Catholics are celebrating Mass in what is essentially a Catholic Ghetto.
  • this may be the case. I think what may be encouraging, if the numbers are correct, is that younger people (like me, who wasn't even alive before Vatican II) are growing more interested in the extraordinary form after experiencing 10, 20, 30 years of banal music, general irreverence by the congregation, and elevations that resemble a "toast" rather than a sacred act. Also, the priests of the previous generation, the rupture "enthusiasts" for lack of a better term are getting quite aged, and being replaced by younger "john paul ii" priests, which I assume to mean a more traditional/orthodox "continuity" priest. This is just based on articles I've read - I'm not a researcher or any data/evidence, just anecdotal heresay, which I report here.

    anyhow, this might all be taken care of by the natural cycle of life and death . . .
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,197
    Hard to say, Noel. I know one gentleman who signed a petition for the TLM a few years ago. In that petition, he agreed to accept Vatican II and the Novus Ordo as valid. Some months ago, he called me and protested that the EF Latin Mass community held benediction in which the priest used a host consecrated in a Novus Ordo mass. He was outraged at this sacrilege. Some of the TLM'rs are nuts and were never very good at getting along with others to begin with. They marginalized themselves. Fortunately, many others are good people who simply cherish the EF. It has been my observation, that the EF can sometimes bring up the level of dignity and reverence in the other masses at a given parish. But again, this is all hard to say, since it can vary so much from parish to parish.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 663
    Patience will be needed to see the fruits of Summorum Pontificum. After 40 years in the desert, it could take 100 years for a restoration. What we should do now is to expose more people to the TLM, and to ensure its purity. Priests, servers, and singers need to be well-trained and reverent.

    I don't begrudge those who labor in the Other Field, but I don't think it's worth my effort. If the slow trickle of people away to the TLM is truly undermining the ROTR, then the ROTR was too fragile to begin with. If instead of a trickle, there is a flood of people to the TLM, then Summorum Pontificum should be judged a resounding success.
  • Okay, let me restate the question: is the TLM "movement" backfiring?
    First of all let me reiterate my unequivocal support for the cliche "Save the Liturgy, save the world."
    That said,
    Are the constituent parts of the question accurate or characterizations?
    What exactly is meant by the "TLM?" A universal rubrical rite codified by Pius V, or John XXIII; a comprehensive respect and adherence to all rites and expressions that are organically tied to "the Roman Rite (a la "Ambrosian);" or a means for the EF (in its respective forms) to re-authenticize errant or impotent OF praxis?
    Is there enough evidence to support the claim that a movement is afoot? Does a litany of photograph essays at NLM and sporadic reports of packed liturgies (such as St. Margaret Mary's with Oakland's Bsp. Cordinleone) around the vast geography of earth really bespeak a rising tide of popular interest such as has been seen here in the states with the Tea Party people and the Health Care town hall meetings? Apples v. oranges, you say? Well, in my neck of the woods, you want to spark interest, you mention the systematic dismantling of the farmlands irrigation economy and you'll have a movement. You mention "Traditional Latin Mass" to likewise informed catholics, and you'll see a glassy-eyed stare that says "Wha'?" The only people carrying the torch for the EF in my diocese are myself, a friend with a garage schola, and some Una Voce folks who comprise a wafer-thin demographic.
    "Backfiring?" Given my concerns with the two previous terms, I don't think backfiring (in an automotive sense) is an apt term. Sputtering, coughing, a starter cranking over and over to fire a spark in a vast cylinder that is among thousands of cylinders manned and governed by tired, reclusive and reactionary pastors and priests whom, if you're fortunate, have learned to cease and desist with the ad libitums, much less the gross intrusions upon their textual responsibilities at liturgy. Ironically, up until a couple of weeks ago, my pastor always began Mass with the "In Nomine..." Now, in some effort to focus (catechetically) the faithful's attention to their role, he has begun to instruct all to basically "let go, let God" before he ritually utters the canonical text of the opening collect. Noble, yes. But contrary to the admonition of St. Francis to preach always, using words only when necessary.
    I would love to know that Chrism's vision will come to pass. But, I believe there is some sort of pervasive, passive rejection of the absolutely honest efforts of this papacy to address the fundamental issue of how our liturgies can reform our mentalities and behaviors in this unfathomable world. Our bishops and priests haven't signed on en masse. Should we expect the people to wake up?
    Instead of thinking backfiring, I think we continue to light the signal fires as depicted in "The Return of the King." And we should keep whatever fires we can nurture going in our little GPS coordinates by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
  • The flocking of the TLM people from their local parish nests to the sole church or two in a Diocese that offers the TLM Mass seems to give much joy to those back in the local parishes who do not want change. While "they" are gone, the mediocrity can continue unchecked.

    It is disheartening to see the Bishops turning their backs on Rome.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    Backfiring, well no.

    There has been resistance to the Orthodoxy within the Latin Rite Church for quite a few years and some dioceses had virtually banned it until the latest "Moto Proprio" and even after this, there is still sometimes strident, even acrimonious resistance, though now the "resistors" are now on anything but solid footing. So, there is really nothing new to the resistance, which may seem intensified because the profile of the "traddy" movement has been raised. Quite a bit of this heightened awareness has been due, I would say, to the personage of one Mr. Mel Gibson and the attention the press directed toward Mr. Gibson concerning his religious identity and activities vis-a-vis "The Passion of the Christ" and the ruckus raised over that and the light being shone in the direction of his church, his father's beliefs and the rest.

    So on the one hand you have the crowd that would never ever want to go anywhere near the older rite, and then on the other side, Latin only crowd, some of them suffering from rose glazed glasses syndrome (everything was great then, nothing valid in VII at all). So, it could be said that the extemities are battling, but what else is new? Most persons, I would suspect, are somewhere in the middle, as is our pope, so I would say that the pathway lies in that general direction, rediscovering and reclaiming the treasures of tradition with out being hide bound to that whole mindset, i.e, everything was perfect then. There were some things, say I, and many other people that indeed respect tradition, that needed rethinking, and of course, on the other hand, the "Spirit of Vatican II" sort of reductionism has been a disaster. So, with the help of the Holy Spirit we move forward. As someone said to me recently, the pendelum swings too far, usually, and so there is a natural tendency to have a sort of "swing back" sort of corrective. I think this may adequately describe, albeit quite simplistically, what is going on in this regard.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    I'd reply that the most significant TLM celebrations are those 1) where non-regulars visit and 2) the liturgy is done with reverence and beauty. As, say, at the recent Basilica pilgrimage with CUA next door.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I would love to say the EF is "backfiring", but this hasn't been my experience outside of the labyrinth of crazies known as the Internet. For a time I attended the EF at a church a few blocks from my apartment (there are, if it's possible, too many of them in my city). The music is exceptional for being put together on the spot (Missa Cantata with all but the gradual from the Gradual and a motet), and the people are actually NORMAL! Most of them don't even care about conservative politics, the latest Vatican power-grabs, or anything else you see on the usual trad blogs. They aren't by any means people "of the world", most have the large families one would expect, and most won't sing anything but "et cum spiritu tuo", but they're not the weirdos you find in comment boxes. Most of them couldn't even pronounce Bugnini or Rajinth. The only people who tend to be the dour, unfriendly types associated with the EF are the elderly ladies clutching their rosaries pretending there isn't a Mass going on, but did someone say "biological solution"? It applies there too.

    I will say there is a danger in a restoration of the insular Catholic culture left behind in the 40s. But that just goes with a certain extreme conservatism, which needn't be (and often isn't) linked with the EF.
  • Piggy-backing on d. linux's comment, Summorum Pontificum was intended as much for priests as it was for the laity. I know of some priests who would like to say the TLM more regularly than they do. It seems quite possible that they will say the N.O. masses with increased reverence on Sundays.
  • "While "they" are gone, the mediocrity can continue unchecked."

    Well, I'm not sure that the mediocrity was not unchecked while the more traditional people were there. Even before the motu proprio, you tended to have a lot of segregation, with "liberal" here and "conservatives" there, so what you've described has been going on for a while now.

    I think it depends on where and under what conditions the EF is celebrated. If it's outside of a parish setting at an odd hour, then I can see you point a little more readily. On the other hand, many new EF masses have been in parishes, where "they" (those who prefer the EF) don't go away, and hopefully, may have some influence on the overall liturgical life of the parish. Granted, these tend to be in parishes where liturgical life is already pretty solid, but I think the "mainstreaming' of the EF is the key. It will have a beneficial effect if it's part of the normal life of a parish. Otherwise, it will continue to be viewed as a strange, foreign, or even negative influence.

    Sam Schmitt
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    Backing up a bit, folks should certainly have realized that changing from Latin to English would inevitably have a devastating MUSICAL effect.
    As Eamon Duffy observes (Stripping of the Altars, p465) regarding sixteenth century England, "...the switch from Latin to English immediately rendered obsolete the entire musical repertoire of cathedral, chapel, and parish church. Not the least of the shocks brought by the prayer-book at Whitsun 1549 must have been the silencing of all but a handful of choirs..."
  • I'm with Sam on this subject. The former "indult Masses" were famed as a device for moving folks who weren't happy with sloppy liturgies out of the parish. "If you don't like it here, go there" was the mantra. If there are both forms of the Mass in a parish, being celebrated by priests in that parish (not an imported EF celebrant), I do believe that the EF can lift the OF. If the Extraordinary Form is at an odd time and/or place, it will remain exotic and have little influence.
  • I was referring to the odd time Mass, thanks for bringing this up.
  • tdunbar
    Posts: 120
    I agree, having an EF as one of the masses in the Sunday 9am-3pm timeframe is the most helpful for a parish.
  • A significant number of (former) indult Masses are celebrated in settings where there is little or no chance for any parish life aside from the Mass itself. While it's extremely important to be able to take refuge from the profound liturgical abuses found in many dioceses, refuge is simply not enough. I, for one, feel a profound need for a real parish community, not just the prayerful company of folks who show up at the same Mass I do. Similarly, many of the details of these Masses--the roster of servers, the arrangements for music, incorporating newcomers, etc.--remain exactly as they were established at the beginning, with little or no attempt to upgrade or improve them as attendance and appreciation grows. Again,this subsistance-level existence is simply not enough. Those EF Masses whose attendees constitute a formally-recognized congregation with a formally-assigned priest are often the exception to this pattern, but are very uncommon in many parts of the country.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,007
    It is my experience that sometime the indult before SP was used to get traditionalists to stop demanding good liturgy in the NO Masses.

    At the same time, it is important for everyone to realize that "we all have to give a little". Traditionalists who have the "Low Mass mentality" have to realize that the sung Mass is the normal form. NO people need to take the initiative to learn, say, the ordinary in Latin. Ideally, the parish pastor will support both forms of the Mass and encourage them to enrich the other. This does take a very special priest, though, and it is far better if the support comes all the way down from the bishop.

    Some of the curia were worried about the universal indult because of the "Catholic ghetto" factor (Cdl. Arinze is usually mentioned, though he certainly supported the Holy Father through the end of his tenure at CDW.)
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    I will say there is a danger in a restoration of the insular Catholic culture left behind in the 40s. But that just goes with a certain extreme conservatism, which needn't be (and often isn't) linked with the EF.

    I think that depends on the number of EF Masses available in a given SMSA. If there's only one, or two, you'll get a concentration of people who are generally opposed to anything the Church has done since 1963---or 1570.

    However, if there are quite a few, you'll get "normal" Catholics who simply want to attend Mass, no matter in what form.

    Therein lies the 'resistance' path taken by many Bishops to the EF. They simply bottle all the EF people into one (or two, or three) EF Masses offered within 50 miles, and hope that B-16's efforts will be for naught.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,789
    I note that MJBallou and D Page make the same observation......
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I can't say that I see evidence of this. There are plenty of people who would be very happy if the OF were celebrated well in Latin and will continue working toward that in their parish. There are probably even more people who would be very happy if the OF were celebrate well in the vernacular and will continue working toward that in their parish. If there were really so many people flocking to EF Masses then the EF would become, well, ordinary. Until that happens, there are still the majority of us who are taking little steps every week in our OF parishes.

    I know in my parish, most of the PIPs don't know the difference between the pre-Vatican II Mass and the Novus Ordo, thinking that it was just a change from Latin to (in our case) English. I'm using the the English translation as an opportunity to educate our liturgy committee about the major differences between the two forms of the right, and how the new translation does not represent a change to the untranslated text of the Mass.
  • But, is the existence of a TLM Mass drawing people from a parish that would normally be working towards reform, in essence take pressure off local parishes to reform?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,956
    It's all up to the clergy. If they want the EF mainstreamed, if they want to celebrate the OF well in English or Latin, and know what to require of the musicians in each case, they can make it happen.

    Until they want it, it's not happening.
  • Last month the pregame show at the cathedral was changed to include the announcements:

    "The norm for receiving Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Please do not genuflect before receiving; a slight nod of the head is sufficient. In light of the Swine Flu Pandemic you should take Communion in the hand, not on the tongue."

    Meanwhile the sole diocesan church which implemented the EF Mass says it once a month on First Friday at 6pm in a rather uncomfortable downtown neighborhood. It is said alternatingly by a pair of priests in their 70s/80s with a dwindling attendance (down from 50 six months ago). Nobody else in the diocese is being trained to take over.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Should we take a cue from John and Yoko and send out Christmas cards that say "The High Mass is Normative (if you want it)"?
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    Not that I'm disagreeing, but in many places, without the Indult the TLM would not have survived at all: besides Spanish, we have much larger numbers of people asking for Masses in Portuguese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, etc. So the fact that they were segregated is not preferable, but at least they had something which survived.

    We have a weekly Missa Cantata at a parish under an arrangement with the Bishop and the Pastor, neither of whom is a fan of the Extraordinary Form, but who are 'pastoral' in the good sense - wanting to provide for those who are attached to the TLM. Living in a parish for 14 months as a 'community' which is probably 90% from outside the Parish is not ideal, and there have been problems, but we are gradually building bridges and trying to make our 'community' part of the Parish. We have hope that we will succeed.