The Dispatch: More from CWR...

A father’s plea to the Holy Father: Reinstate Summorum Pontificum

I fear that, by restricting the pre-Vatican II Mass, Pope Francis has deprived me of the best antidote to the world’s callousness and the greatest resource for my family’s spiritual resilience.

(Image: Z I / Unsplash.com)

“Why?” asked my oldest son – an altar server at the Traditional Latin Mass (hereafter TLM) – when, upon overhearing my wife and I discuss whether we would be able to attend Mass at our TLM parish on Sunday, I explained that Pope Francis just issued a document that outlines the suppression of the TLM. I told him we must pray for the Holy Father and for our Bishop.

Our attendance of the TLM was not prompted by some conspiracy theory about Vatican II but by his interest in being an altar server. He signed himself up to serving when he attended the local Catholic school a few years ago. But he found the brief training uninformative, and it left him feeling uncertain about what to do at Mass and whether altar serving was worthwhile.

When we moved, he once again asked to be an altar server at our local parish. Once again he was discouraged by the paltry training he received. This time it was all of fifteen minutes by a disinterested teenager who couldn’t wait to get back to his video games. After the session, he told my wife that he didn’t want to serve anymore. He would focus on scouting instead.

My wife felt for him and asked me what we could do to get him better training. She thought these experiences were giving him the false impression that serving at the altar isn’t an honor and sacred responsibility. She observed that if he signed up for sports, he would be expected to practice for hours a week, exercise outside of practice, diet, and study plays. How awful, then, that serving the Creator at the altar of His Presence expects so little. No wonder why most kids prefer sports to Sunday Mass!

So, we joined a TLM community, where boys train two hours every week, are expected to earn their way into the rotation, and practice everything from balancing books on their head to the Latin responses. They begin and end each session with prayers at the altar rail. They are taught to bow at the name of Jesus. Afterwards they play tag in the parking lot while the parents chat. It’s not at all rigid. But it is serious.

While he fell in love with altar serving, we were taken by the dignity and grandeur of the Mass. It is at once exquisite and delicate, complex and elegant. Our littler children were captivated by the drama of the Liturgy and soaring choir, while my wife and I found time to slow down and rest in the silences as well as unite our prayers to those of the priest rather than just wait for our turn to say the response.

We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of catechesis, preaching, and educational opportunities. Before our daughter could receive her First Communion, she was examined for an hour by the pastor. This was after a very thorough catechesis that expected her to understand her faith and take responsibility for her spiritual life. It was not a hoop to jump through that handed out the Eucharist like a “participation trophy.”

The parish also offers Latin classes and chant camps for free to parishioners. Far from discouraging our participation, we have found that our TLM community dignifies us by expecting much more from us than did the previous parishes which we attended. It turns out that rubrical nerdery does not always entail cold rigidity. In our case, liturgical excellence is accompanied by warm pastoral concern for true devotion, deep community, and sound doctrinal understanding.

We have not experienced the divisiveness and disdain that troubles the Holy Father, though we are certainly aware of it. One recent homily warned parishioners against listening to voices like Taylor Marshall and certain news sites that promote distrust of the Magisterium. The parishioners we know seek only to be devout and deeply rooted in the riches of the Catholic Faith. They don’t dissent from Vatican II. Many still attend the New Mass on weekdays.

The common thread seems to be that parents today are concerned that their kids remain faithful Catholics through adolescence and adulthood. To that end, they desire a compelling and – dare I say – extraordinary form of the Catholic faith to present to their children, a real rival to the allurements of contemporary culture.

Keep in mind that today’s parents grew up watching their peers shipwreck in college and probably did their own bit of drifting before returning to the Ark of Salvation. They lament the way in which our culture is, as Pope Francis describes, a “throwaway” culture and seek only to safeguard their children from becoming pleasure zombies.

As a father, I know that my children have so much more to give than what this culture expects of them. I know that the world is more full of mystery than the misery of our time suggests. Yet I also know that my kids will acknowledge their dignity and behold the wonder of the world only by recognizing themselves as creatures in the image of the world’s Creator. And I know that precisely because we’re made in God’s image, ritual is the key that unlocks the mystery of ourselves and creation.

The Church herself solemnly charges me to provide for my family’s spiritual welfare. She describes parents as “the first heralds of the Gospel for their children” (Familiaris Consortio, 39). She calls me to educate my children “to fulfill God’s law” (CCC, 2222) and says I become most fully a parent when I provide my children with a profound introduction to the Eucharistic and Ecclesial Body of Christ (Familiaris Consortio, 39). Pope Francis recognizes that “raising children calls for an orderly process of handing on the faith” which allows children to witness the prayer lives of their parents (Amoris Laetitia, 287). Thus, modern magisterial documents have repeatedly called upon bishops and priests to catechize parents so they are able to fulfill well their duty to evangelize their children.

But this isn’t happening. The fact is that the typical parish too often offers little for families beyond bouncy castles and donuts. Our local parish celebrates Halloween, not All Saints. For the Year of St. Joseph, we had craft night because St. Joseph was a carpenter. And the celebration of Mass often trivializes the Sacrament by rushing through the Liturgy as if it were an embarrassment and making it mundane rather than mysterious. I can’t blame my kids, immersed as they are in a visual and technological cornucopia, for not wanting to go to a plain Mass. At least give them the smells and bells, anything to arrest their attention.

It is, of course, offensive that Pope Francis cavalierly calumniates me as a person with psychological problems, what he calls “rigidity.” I’m happy to lay on his couch, if he extends the invitation. But I’m afraid he’ll find that he’s the only “daddy issue” I have.

Yes, I am grieved as a father mindful of the Church’s commands and fiercely protective of my family’s goodness. I fear that, by restricting the pre-Vatican II Mass, Francis has deprived me of the best antidote to the world’s callousness and the greatest resource for my family’s spiritual resilience. I lament the fact that he has run roughshod over my parental duty and disregarded my effort to raise faithful Catholics in a faithless culture.

And so I issue this fatherly plea to the Holy Father: please allow those of us who, out of concern for the faith of our families, desire a parish that fights for their attention and souls. Please allow us to go to a Mass that presents a compelling alternative to the mirages of culture, where the miraculous riches of the Catholic Faith are on display and not minimized. Please combine your often acute acknowledgement of the perils of today’s society – its materialism, its utilitarianism, its individualism, its hedonism – with a promotion of the supernatural, the beautiful, the traditional, the eternal. Please see that the legacy of Vatican II is better served by calling upon your bishops and priests to fulfill their duties to catechize the laity and celebrate the New Mass in accordance with Sacrosanctum Concilium than by punishing us parents who only seek oases in the catechetical and liturgical desert.

In my time as a biological father of six children, I have often had to rescind punishments and apologize for acting rashly when I was given a better understanding of a situation. So I must humbly ask, Holy Father, that upon learning that not all traditionalists are contrarian cranks you likewise reconsider Traditionis Custodes and reinstate Summorum Pontificum.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About James R. A. Merrick, Ph.D. 2 Articles
James R. A. Merrick, Ph.D. is the Director of Emmaus Academic and the Director of Clergy Support at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He is also a Lecturer in the Theology Department at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Before entering the Catholic Church with his wife and their six children, he was an Anglican minister in the US and UK for over a decade. He writes for the National Catholic Register, Angelus News, Ascension Press, and Catholic East Texas magazine.

68 Comments

  1. But that would mean admitting a mistake. Once Modernists admit to making a mistake then they’ll have to admit other mistakes have been made over the past few years, then they’ll have to admit that mistakes have been made over the past 6-7 decades. Uh-oh.

    • It’s been my experience that those that use the term “modernist” and who assume the entire church is “modernist” and that the Catholic church is just full of “mistakes” and that only they see these “modernists” and all their “mistakes”, we are dealing with a person on their way out of the Catholic church and who has fallen in love with that heresy known as Lefebvrism.

      • Sampton911, You have got it all wrong. Your thinking is like the thinking of Bergoglio. You’re washing the cup on the outside, but the inside is filled with rot. I happen to like the SSPX, and it’s only out of love for God that I do. You and Bergoglio would never understand that. For me, after Bergoglio slammed the Holy Trinity in the face with his Motu Propio, it’s back to the SSPX. Again, out of love for the Triune God and as a faithful son of the Church. I question Vatican ll, in light of what Pope Benedict XVl says in his biography about it. Some experts are carefully studying the Documents of Vatican ll, and they have indeed found heresies in them. This, Bergoglio hates. And he wishes to deny us of the freedom of reason. I believe all that has transpired in the last few days is Bergolios’s attempt to keep us in the dark. Vatican ll is not a super Dogma. Even he himself rejects it but claims adherence to it. That’s called hypocrisy. I have often read, “No one follows Vatican ll,” and that is a God-given fact. It is my prayer that all of us Traditionalists Unite and fix the problems in the Church. If we don’t, no one else will. For the Glory and Honor of God!

        • [Some experts are carefully studying the Documents of Vatican ll, and they have indeed found heresies in them.]

          There are no heresies in the Documents of Vatican II. “I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves” is the outlook of Martin Luther. It has no place among actually faithful Catholics.

  2. Without vitriol on my part, the question still might be asked whether the recent action by Pope Francis is profoundly misunderstood. Is it an example of “pluralism” of religions—and quite possibly inflicted more by his lieutenants than by himself? Consider:

    …The approval of female altar servers was approved by the termites while Pope John Paul II was hospitalized (1994);
    …Pope Francis was hospitalized for ten days immediately prior to his abrogation of Pope Benedict’s “Summorum Pontificum” in 2007;
    …In China anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from attending any church services, while now in the Catholic Church anyone wishing to observe “Summorum Pontificum,” issued 14 years ago must do so under surveillance and in a rented VFW hall (anywhere other than a parochial church).
    …Islam is an exclusively communal (natural) religion, a “congregational theocracy,” with no trappings of a priesthood or, even less, altar servers.

    A better-crafted instruction from Rome, dealing with possible or very local dangers, might simply have required bishops to ensure that Latin Rite attendees within their respective dioceses were not also schismatics from the Second Vatican Council. This, rather than a toxic airbrush across the entire planet until the end of time.

    Perhaps a draft of the papal instruction was expanded and “weaponized” by the termites while Pope Francis was still convalescing (as with Pope John Paul II, above). Perhaps the Holy Father will actually respond to a “father” and others now crying in the wilderness from the newly-created “periphery”?

    • Many try to claim as you have suggested that perhaps it is not Pope Francis writing these things, but advisors who have made changes in the “dark of night.” We have seen this attempt to excuse now for the past eight years. The benefit of the doubt has exceeded the statute of limitations for him I am afraid. My prayers go out to him.

      • My comment is worded to carefully NOT apply to all “these things” of the past eight years. Only as a possibility (phrased as a question) for the current event, and only to suggest that revisions could be more likely if a distinction is possible between the pope himself and other meddling wielders of the pen.

        The new–and then partly relaxed–rules governing Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica might serve as an example, where it was not clear where the original instructions came from.

        Speaking, now, of the Basilica, it’s curious that the required language for the home of the universal Church is Italian (not even among the top 15 languages in the world). Did some operative decide to flatter the pope who is Italian (not Hispanic), and who also prefers the title “Bishop of Rome” (correct but also capable of misinterpretation) within a “synodal” (federated rather than universal?) church? Just wondering about how the overall game plan might explain specific and seemingly incoherent events, as under the mantra of “pluralism” of religions (the Abu Dhabi Declaration co-signed with the Muslim world, Feb. 4, 2020).

        I join you in prayers for the pope’s intentions, given these turbulent/ globalist times, and given the endangered place of the perennial Church, and given his particular skill set and circle of advisors.

    • I doubt it. Popes tend to find out the things that were done while they were in the hospital, and it’s pretty hard to hide such things. Plus, the rumors were flying that Summorum Pontificum was in real danger for a long time.

  3. I hope your wish will be granted soon.

    Biretta Books has quite a set of resources for boys learning to serve at the TLM, including the classic “Learning to Serve” by the Rev. Charles Carmody:

    https://www.birettabooks.com/latin-mass/for-altar-servers/

    Another edition of “Learning to Serve” from Roman Catholic Books (ISBN 1929291221, now out-of-print) was described as having 50 illustrations. I learned to serve from three or four mimeographed, unillustrated pages.

  4. What a lovely commentary. I have not attended a Latin mass since I was a girl and I am Social Security age now!! However some are conducted locally near me and I have often considered going. I attend a new order daily Mass. I was away from the church for more than a decade and returned through a chance remark by a priest friend. I am grateful to be back and can find myself totally engrossed when I attend Mass.Even this new order Mass! However I have no objection to use of the Latin Mass and if it brings numbers of Catholics closer to God, then what harm could there be? I hope the Pope will reconsider.

  5. Why not ask for better Novus Ordo Masses and parishes instead of the TLM? Your article implies that only TLM parishes can offer authentic or serious Catholicism. That’s displaying the Trad arrogance that you’re not even aware of. Everything you want can be had in a Novus Ordo parish that does it right. And since the Novus Ordo Mass is the will of the Church after Vatican II, the whole Church should be unified in praying it.

    • Carl, many have been asking for better novus ordo masses for over 50 years now. What do you think has brought people to the TLM to begin with? Your snarky comment displays an arrogance that you obviously are not aware of.

    • Mr. King:

      It is you who have an arrogant comment, and you ought to delete your comment, and apologize.

      While I am not currently a member of a Latin Mass parish, not since I was 14 years old, I was born into the Latin Mass, and served it as an altar boy.

      In the link attached, Mr. Merrick’s real experience about the vitality of the Catholic faith in his TLM parish is strongly supported by the combined data on indicators of Catholic faithfulness from Pew Research (secular and politically liberal) and CARA (Georgetown University, of the SJ), as restated here:

      Support Contraception: NO Parishioners 89%; TLM Parishioners 2%…
      Support Gay Marriage: NO Parishioners 67%; TLM Parishioners 2%…
      Support Abortion: NO Parishioners 51%; TLM Parishioners 1%…
      Go to Mass on Sunday: NO Parishioners 22%; TLM Parishioners 99%.

      https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/traditional-latin-mass-catholicism-trads-not-the-problem/

    • Have you ever tried to do this? I have, and the response is to have the door slammed in my face, repeatedly. The hostility to celebrating the OF in Latin is indistinguishable from what you get when requesting the TLM. And not just Latin: try asking local liturgical officials simply to stick to the rubrics and prescribed readings in the current Missal. Same result.

    • Carl, everyone welcomes reverent NO masses. Worshipping at a Latin mass presents no conflict with that objective. And the “will of the Church” liturgically speaking, is what the official documents of V2 were intended to express. Unfortunately post V2 reformers, invoking “the spirit” of V2 took things too far in the thoughtful opinion of many, leading to many of the liturgical abuses we have seen over the past 50+ years.

      • I was raised as a Roman Catholic and loved the Church. I am now an Orthodox monk and priest and it is important to say that I realize most readers will consider me a schismatic. In any event, I hope that my status as an “outsider,” will not invalidate what I say, since it is based in lived experience and serious reflection upon it.
        Like I did while still in Communion with Rome (up to age 22), most serious Orthodox find both the excisions, revised texts, and popular practices of the Novus Ordo to be troubling, regardless of what language is used: they bear only slight resemblance to the actual reform envisaged in the documents of Vatican II (which I have read multiple times), which nowhere called for the wholesale ejection of the ancient Liturgy and its venerable texts and also happened to have mandated the retention of Latin as the primary liturgical language and the further implementation of Gregorian Chant in the liturgies of the Church. The Novus Ordo is not a product of the Council, but rather of a post-conciliar committee of people whose explicit agenda was to make the Mass more accessible and acceptable to Protestants. They were very thorough in that desire.
        I was actually taught that the Church had been wrong, that its ancient tradition was wiped out in the Middle Ages and Counter-reformation, and only now, in the 1970’s, could there be found an authentic presentation of the Catholic Faith. Seriously. I tried to absorb what my teachers taught, but I found it impossible to believe that everything after the 5th century was an aberration up until the 1960s. Yes, that is what our liturgy professor (a priest) told us. When viewed in the light of the overall teaching of those who touted the “new and improved” liturgy, much of which challenged basic even foundational Christian dogmas, I found it impossible to simply keep calm, suck it up, and forge ahead.
        Now, many years later, I still believe that a tree is judged by its fruit: there has been no great renewal of faith in the wake of the “reform,” as we were told would happen. There has been no multitudinous rush of Protestants to embrace Catholicism; and the Novus Ordo and its implementation have served to confirm to many Orthodox that the Papacy has neither regard for ancient, patristic thought and tradition, nor for the tangible things that help people grasp them at a popular level. Indeed, the opposite has happened — and yes, among other Christian groups, too, as they also work to reorient Christianity away from the transcendent and towards the a misguided sense of the immanent, that favors an emphasis on “gathered community,” while obscuring the participation of the faithful in the Death and Resurrection of the Incarnate and Immanent Lord and his real presence upon the Altar and in the faithful who partake of Him. That, not excited passions and elevated emotions, is what accomplishes real union in Christ; that, not worldly notions of justice, is the true fount of mission and evangelism. The consequence of such confusion is an overall sinking down to the level of a fallen world instead of lifting “up your hearts,” and with them the whole world, ascending to the glory of the new creation proclaimed in Christ.
        To question and even criticize how various players used a Council to promote a vague “spirit,” rather than a genuine implementation of decrees, should be welcomed by all who genuinely seek Catholic Truth. “Reception” is an essential aspect of a council, as is plain when one examines history. That takes time, and it takes a willingness to examine, objectively, what happens after the actual council. Many Orthodox see an unfortunate continuity in a Papacy that can unilaterally amend the Creed of the Whole Church without regard for scandal, and also do away with nearly the entire inherited liturgical corpus of his Church by fiat, rather than make limited amendments based on gradual development.
        Even though I am Orthodox Catholic in belief and Western Orthodox in liturgical rite, I mourn for those who will be further hurt, alienated, and confused by the heavy-handed and disdainful restrictions placed upon them, which are so obviously aimed at total suppression of the ancient and inspiring Liturgy of the Latin Fathers and Saints. I hope it doesn’t work out as the Pope intends.

        • Far from condemning you as schismatic, I thank you for this very useful commentary. Unfortunately, it will be ignored by those who most need to read it.

        • Thank you for a beautiful and informative response. There is much in the Orthodox Church that warms my faith. Sadly, my parish, has suffered challenges due to abuse from multiple priests. I have lost all respect for our Bishops.
          What is to be gained by alienating the faithful when there are so many serious deficits stand unopposed. The Church has failed those of us that love God and only desire a safe place to worship with our children and grandchildren.

    • Wow. How incredibly uncharitable Carl. Obviously it is not the will of the Church to force people to attend NO Mass or the Church would have long ago forced all the eastern rite churches to switch. So besides being uncharitable and mean spirited your comment is not rational and ignores a whole set of facts. Your semi-logic is fully in tune with the Holy Father and the modernists heretics so you should take some comfort there. Why are you moved to be hateful to those of use who find the TLM beautiful and faithful? I would never even think about criticizing someone who prefers the NO Mass.

    • People have been begging for that for years, and nothing has been done about it. That is why so many flocked to the TLM and why they stayed, myself included. It has nothing to do with a rejection of Vatican II or the Mass of Paul VI.

    • Carl, I am aware of the trad arrogance that some traditionalists display, and it’s a huge turn-off. That said, let all of us try not to generalize “all trads” or “all people who go to the TLM.” I think it’s counterproductive to unity in the Church to assume all “those” people are alike.

      In the interest of promoting Catholic Christian unity, I would like to point out that each of our geographic locations are very different, as much as each of the homes we live in are very different. For example, in my home, I’m able to put my kids outdoors four to six hours per day, no problem, but a mom in a townhome in a city probably couldn’t do the same thing, so I can’t necessarily offer her my advice–maybe only a principle that children needs lots of vigorous outdoor activity on a regular basis, but she will have to find her own solution.

      In some areas, there are no good Novus parishes to go to. I know people and families who tried for decades to ask for more for their Novus parish and their families, only to be laughed off or stonewalled. If there is a TLM parish close by where Catholics are taking their faith seriously, why not go there? Childrearing is a heavy responsibility, and if you don’t have some kind of supportive village around you, it’s not going to end the way you hope most of the time.

      Thank you Dr. Merrick, for your beautiful article. You’ve said what I’ve been saying to people this weekend: this has the potential to crush the hearts of our children at a time when they are so vulnerable.

    • Carl. Inventive but not truthful. I am faithful to keep Christ without sin or disobedience in Offering the Holy Mass….but it is not the same, the beauty, reverence, and the substance of the NO in approved translations, music, etc…is not the same. It ought to much more than it is presently, yet this is not going to happen, as their absence of ‘having the same mind and heart in you as in Christ….living the same life that Christ lived’….

      I know the Mass in Latin done both well and poor, yet the NO is not yet to be Offered as it ought, how often the Lord in Saint John Paul and Emeritus Benedict XVI worked and directed for this correct implementation but to no avail in the free will of so many….

    • You make a good point. As Father Longenecker said, it is perfectly permissible to do the Novus Ordo ad orientum, use Gregorian chant, and many other TLM things. I am afraid we have too many bishops who absolutely hate those things, with a passion that is hard to explain. It’s impossible to explain their antipathy towards the TLM. It’s the bishops we should focus on. A lot of them need to be replaced with Catholics.

    • Accuse others of arrogance with an arrogant statement? Me thinks you doth protest too much.

      There are two problems with your statement. One theological and one practical:

      On the theological front, it is nothing but a raw assertion to say people can get everything they want from the NO. Do you think it makes sense to tell an adherent of the 100% valid Mass of St. John Chrysostom they can get everything they want in the NO? If the answer is no, why do you think that statement applies to those attached to the TLM?

      On the practical side – it has been pounded into our heads ad nauseum that bishops and priests have exclusive authority over how the Mass is celebrated (there’s a certain might makes right assumption built in to this, but I’ll leave that aside). If your priest and/or bishop is not interested in pursuing “what we want” it is a practical impossibility to bring about any sort of change. The other practical reality is that most priests are mostly ignorant of historical liturgy – and that’s not entirely their fault. One of the genius elements built into Summorum was the mutual enrichment idea. If NO communities don’t have a real world example from which to draw, bishops/priests won’t even know what could be.

      Peace

    • If only I could tell you at length, Carl, how many times I tried that.

      Almost all of the people at my diocesan TLM are refugees from a neighboring parish – over a hundred, all young families, good tithers, involved in their parish. They fought the good fight, and got stomped flat. So they found a new home.

    • Carl, also, see this in the original article linked below to see the vast differences in just this one aspect, the Sacred Scriptures:

      Most of this reading does not occur in the post-Vatican II lectionary. The closest we get is 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12, read on the 3rd Sunday of Lent, in Year C – though it should be noted that, as the Year A readings for the 3rd, 4th and 5th Sundays of Lent can always be used ad libitum, there is no guarantee that this lection will ever be read in the Novus Ordo!

      Here is that reading, with the omitted verses (which are all part of the traditional lectionary!) struck out, and in red text:

      https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2021/07/demanding-impossible-traditionis.html

      (1) I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, (2) and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (3) and all ate the same spiritual food, (4) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. (5) Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (6) Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. (7) Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” (8) We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. (9) We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, (10) nor [We must not] grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. (11) Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. (12) Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (13) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

  6. Fat chance, Doctor Dad. This pope has been salivating all along to do exactly this. He will never admit he was wrong because he believes he is never wrong. He reserves his disdain, insults and vitriol for orthodox Catholics alone. And, for him, TLM types are the archetypes of orthodox Catholicism. We are in very sad times.

  7. They say the proof of a pudding is in the eating. I went on at least 5 Paris it chartes pilgrimages and was bold over by the thousands of young that attended. The piety was emphasize that at every Mass these tired children and adults would go down on their knees when a priest would pass with the Blessed Sacrament. True piety true faith and not a word of dissent of sedavacantism! Are we now Ismael in the eyes Holy Mother Church?

  8. Just a note to remind everyone that with a low TLM mass (spoken, not sung), all responses are done by the altar servers only. With a high TLM mass, all may participate in the responses.

  9. The author’s parish experience sounds like heaven to me.

    God willing there is way through all this trauma in the Church and in the world. Our leaders have no mercy.

  10. It is obvious that this decision has nothing at all to do with theology, dogma, or even liturgy; this is nothing more than an attempt to “cancel” traditional, conservative priests and parishioners who are the only thing preventing complete control of modernists (even socialists/communists) and the expansion of their leftist/progressive agenda within the Church.
    This past Sunday’s OT reading:
    Jeremiah 23 1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. 3 Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, says the Lord.

  11. The Traditional Latin Mass has not been suppressed. For that reason, there is no point asking the Holy Father to reinstate it. What we have is not a case of suppression but regulation. The Liturgy, whether we talk of the Traditional Latin Mass or the Mass of Vatican II, has to be regulated by the Bishops. Without liturgical guidelines, the Liturgy is deformed into a private property, which would contradict the very sense of liturgy. There are people on both sides who resist liturgical guidelines. But there is a more serious issue when an entire Council is maligned, and when the Mass of Vatican II is considered inferior or deficient in imparting grace. That is the view of many, not all, of those who use the Traditional Latin Mass. It is gratifying to know that the writer is not among those who malign Vatican II. I feel at home at both Masses. But it is wrong, I do not want to say blasphemous, to say one is deficient. Let us get this: we are not dealing with suppression but with regulation.

    • Would you admit regulation with the goal of suppression? There is the line in the documents that those in TLM communities will return to the New Mass. Moreover, newly ordained priests are not allowed to celebrate it without permission from the Vatican. And what are we to make of the rule that the TLM cannot be celebrated in parochial churches? It seems like suppression.

    • It sounds to me like you may not be very familiar with the situation on the ground. The way this regulation is written is clearly going to decimate and close many TLM communities. It’s already begun to happen, and will likely continue to happen in the coming weeks.

    • Is it a practical suppression to say that a TLM can’t be said in a parochial church? Is it a practical suppression to say that no new priests can say the TLM without both the approval of their bishop and approval from Rome that will likely never come? Is it practical suppression to say that all TLM communities need to be moving towards eventual celebration of the NO?

      Perhaps you haven’t read what the pope wrote, but these things (and more) are all in there. It’s important to be honest about what we’re dealing with here whether we agree or disagree. This is a wholesale attempt to suppress the TLM as much as the pope can manage.

    • The regulations are designed to exterminate. Parochial Churches are not to be used. New priests are not to celebrate the TLM without permission of their Bishops AND the Holy See. The handwriting is on the wall for those who will read.

    • “What we have is not a case of suppression but regulation.”

      We have to be honest, here. Pope Francis says, right at the end of the letter to the bishops, that this is in fact the goal. Quote: “Indications about how to proceed in your dioceses are chiefly dictated by two principles: on the one hand, to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II, and, on the other hand, to discontinue the erection of new personal parishes tied more to the desire and wishes of individual priests than to the real need of the “holy People of God.””

      “return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI.” That’s what he wants. These restrictions are an interim measure until that goal is achieved.

  12. It has been quite some time since we have attended the Novus Ordo, but it seems the altar servers really have very little to do. Our our Eastern Rite parish, the altar servers are quite busy–hold the insense, candels, Lectionary (during the reading of the Gospel), spoon bowls (because of the pandeminc, everyone is served Eucharist with his own spoon, not one common spoon as before), hold the Crucifix, hold the “fans” (there is a small procession at every Liturgy), hold the three-branch candle. There are no Sacristans, so the altar servers have to do all the things all the tasks that a Sacristan would do at a NO parish.
    .
    Training is on-the-job training for the most part.
    .
    I have only been to a Tridentine Rite possibly three times? And I cannot remember what the altar servers (boys) do, or how many assist. I hope your family/son is able to continue with the TLM.

  13. This comment by James Merrick, is the best I have read. I have read them all.
    What Pope Francis has said regarding the Latin Mass, is similar to the suppression by the English monarchs of the Mass in Ireland in the past.
    In recent times we here had no “Reform of the Reform” nor Summorum Pontificum.
    Perhaps it is good that this issue has arisen. Now we will know the bishops or priests who lack religious sensibilities.
    During Lockdown the 1962 Mass is the most suitable for a priest to say, on his own in his presbytery,.
    The Rites are what transport the Mass into the soul, to bring about the mysticism needed for Holy Communion.
    Pope Benedict knew Liturgy as the expression of Theology.
    Somehow I think that this controversy is political at its roots.

  14. Nothing good has come out of Vatican II or it so-called “spirit.” Nothing. It’s all rotten fruit and that includes the Montini Mass. It’s time to repudiate it entirely and relegate it to the middens of history where it belongs. The salvation of billions of souls depends on it.

  15. Honestly, this ought to be an easily solved problem: “give” the TLM devotes their “own Church” with their own bishops. The Roman’s seem stuck on the “One” Church, but the Catholic Church is really a communion of Churches: The Roman Catholic, the Byzantine Catholic, Maronites, Coptics, Greek Catholics, etc. So why not Novus Ordo Catholics and Tridentine Catholics? The RCC already has Anglican Use (not sure of my terminology) parishes.
    .
    The issue of the Tridentine curtailing came up at our Eastern Rite parish and our priest addressed the issue, extremely diplomatically, by saying that was a Roman (Western) Catholic problem and not an Eastern Catholic problem, and we should not concern ourselves with this (mind your own beeswax).
    .

  16. Yes, Dr. Merrik, you expressed my experience as a parishioner of the Fraternity of St Peter when I lived in Sydney, Australia. The TLM was a beauty like no other. There is nothing arrogant in recognizing beauty and majesty. It has been the way Mass was celebrated for centuries and yes it is something apart and something that the world does not offer. The evidence shows a growth in attendance at TLM. A survey of the flock would provide empirical evidence so it could offer to decision makers the numbers and note that people of all ages are attracted to the TLM. In a FSSP parish in my province in Canada they have added a second priest, due to the growth in attendance. No one is forcing people to come. People are drawn to it. A qualitative study would reveal people’s experiences. Dr. Merrik has spoken for me. Again, it is my personal experience – the TLM and the pre Vatican II parish life I shared in Australia forever dwells, with profound affection, in my heart. It enriched my life.

  17. Tragically, Pope Francis has turned the Mass into something controversial. To continue to assist at the new Mass now seems to me to side with bullying and suppression of diversity. I do not think I could forget what he has done while assisting at what has been our parish for many decades. He would keep me from fully “lifting up my heart”.

    So I do not plan to return to the new Mass except in an emergency when I am unable to travel to another form of Mass, probably the Byzantine (uniate) Divine Liturgy only a half hour away.

    I still support the work of our western rite parish and plan to keep up my contributions and to remain a member. But I just don’t want to be torn apart by our pope’s great injustice while I’m trying to pray at Mass.

    • I too have been yet further alienated from the new Mass by Pope Francis’ motu proprio. As a reuslt of the motu proprio, I now associate with the new Mass leftist-dictatorial suppression of true worship.

  18. I fear that the Pope’s handlers and gatekeepers will not let this eloquent plea anywhere near the eyes of the pontiff. It is obvious he has been fed a whole lot of complaints from liberal bishops who don’t like either the old mass or the old theology or the old morals. Nor the many many young families who love all three.

  19. an interesting read:

    by Pietro De Marco

    A collection of essays from the mid-1960s (Groot, van Hess, Poeisz and others, Study of Dutch Catholics) already contained the whole Catholic drama. “One of the first things,” A. van der Weyer wrote, “is the exclusion of all that is not essential in order to lay bare the fundamental structure of the liturgical event”. The new prayers were conceived according to these premises: “It is no longer the transcendent God but the Father who is close to us in Christ; no longer the God who appears in his glory but the hidden God of the Gospel; no longer the objective sacral relationship with God, but the human love in which we unite ourselves with the man Jesus Christ.” No objective mystery, no sacrament in all this, of course, only an irrational “event.” In addition, the Church must become “aware of being one with humanity as a whole and realizing itself [this thing alone] in the sacraments, in God, and in the faith.”

    I believe the interpretation I have to make here is that it is humanity as such that “realizes itself” in the sacraments, according to the mystical evolutionism widespread in the 1960s, boosted by the success of Teilhard de Chardin. Almost sixty years later, this seems to be the basic theology (humanistic without transcendence and without supernatural life), much more than liturgical, among the majority of Catholic clergy and theologians, in part by virtue of the astute ambiguity of those formulas. An ambiguity so suitable for justifying any subjectivism in convictions and practices that it has been deliberately cultivated by theological dissemination and is now spreading among the unwitting clergy and laity.

    One moment of resistance (aware of the ongoing degradation) on the part of the living liturgical tradition was the pontificate of Benedict XVI. One act, timid for many and for others deplorable, not of magnanimity but of right governance and shrewd theological balance, was the 2007 motu proprio letter “Summorum Pontificum.” Pope Joseph Ratzinger entrusted to the protection of the Spirit a dialectic between “vetus” and “novus ordo” in the Church, so that the presence of the secular canon could act as corrective experience and theology for the universe of abuses small and large, and of dominant, shameful superficiality produced not by the Council but by the liturgical reform of the late 1960s (a true betrayal of the liturgical movement, on which I wrote extensively in 2017).

    It is against this holy balance that the publication now comes, dated July 16, of the threatened and feared repeal of “Summorum Pontificum”. It will have to be carefully re-examined, but at first reading this is what appears: as usual in the current pontificate, a cover letter with a mild and at times heartfelt appearance accompanies a normative act entitled “Traditionis Custodes” whose partisan and destructive motivation (which perhaps escapes the pope) cannot deceive anyone. Naturally there is room for a juridical defense of the rights of the faithful, and this must be used…

    http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2021/07/17/%e2%80%9ctraditionis-custodes-%e2%80%9d-the-commentary-of-pietro-de-marco/
    http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/

  20. James R. A. Merrick, Ph.D.,
    Evangelical Lutheran Here: I feel bad for you guys. Obviously Pope Francis HATES the Latin Mass and the traditionalist movement devoted orthodox members like you and your family as an obstacle for his modernist agenda. Wake up and smell the coffee. Please face reality.

  21. Bergoglio cited anti-Vatican sentiments. Coming from a Pope who believes in nothing. In the Biography of Pope Benedict XVl, there is a startling account about the beginning of Vatican ll. It was a horrible beginning that can only be dubbed “Betrayal”. At this time many experts are studying the Documents of Vatican ll. So far it does in fact contain many heresies. It broke from Tradition that’s a fact. The Council Fathers voted to abrogate the “Old Theology, naming St. Thomas Aquinas by name, and taking for the Church a mandate of the New Theology”. A de facto break from Tradition can be called schism. There have been lame answers for Vatican ll but now there are many solid questions. Are we Catholics not allowed to look at the evidence and make our own judgments about a Council that has always been in question? Is Bergolios Motu Proprio a threat to us so as not to question the heresies and breaks with Tradition in Vatican ll? I thought of faking I was not anti-Vatican ll when attending an Old Mass, but I would be betraying God and myself. As Archbishop Vigano stated and for good reasons, “Vatican ll must be declared illegitimate”.

  22. What will be the unintended consequences of this action by Pope Francis:
    The closing of churches in the inner cities. The Mass in the wealthy Suburbs, is the Novus Ordo Mass. Go to Cleveland. It’s the Latin Mass that is help sustain these parishes. And I am sure in many places it’s the same. Sad commentary on issuing a document without much consultation and review. It needed to be discussed worked out with the bishops who have to deal with it. I thought there was something called “Synodality” that came out of Vatican II. What happened to the church of “Synodality” when most of the bishops were caught off guard by this with no time to implement it and no say in it’s drafting? I am not a fan of the process of “Synodality”, but it may have been the time to use it here. I am just so confused by how the church operates these days. It says one thing, promotes another thing, and then does the exact opposite!?!? Who can figure it out? Seriously!!! Is “Synodality” only used in situations your sure to get the outcome you desire? Help!

  23. “…some conspiracy about VII,” strikes at the root of the why.

    It’s no conspiracy. And the Holy Father, whether you’d like to believe it or not, has a political agenda that has been the works for a very long time.

    In time, you’ll ‘get’ the truth behind what I’ve just written. If you seek real answers to your questions. Your son will also.

    It’s time to stop asking ‘why’ from those parties who, contrary to what Christ admonishes, are using ‘authority’ as the means to lord it over the faithful as the world does.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. MONDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit
  2. Holy Resistance: A Plan to Defend and Promote the Traditional Latin Mass - The Catholic Esquire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*