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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why no TLM?

I stumbled across this blog entry on the interwebz this morning and I thought I would share my comment to it with you:

On the previous post, "SHOULD I SHARE THE ANTIPATHY SO MANY HAVE FOR THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE ANCIENT MASS?", I received the following very cogent and legitimate comment. Please read it and my response below it:
Anonymous said...June 5, 2012 5:01 PM
This debate is frustrating to read because it presumes the laity to be a lazy, addled, ignorant bunch of quasi-Catholics. Those of us who go to mass every week go because we are called to, and that time at church is sacred to us, and we work hard to teach our children respect for the host (and yes, they are "naughty" sometimes and don't "do it right" sometimes, and we have to deal with that among many things they do "wrong" on a regular basis), and we are in awe at the miracle that happens before us when the priest consecrates the bread and wine. The above debate belittles our "ordinary" mass experience and the prayer and worship we throw ourselves into. Perhaps you can find a way to criticize the church without patronizing the church militant who are in our pews doing our best to do what we are told.

Blogger Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...June 6, 2012 5:19 AM
Granted there are some who comment on this blog who would prefer only the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I feel for them that we don't have enough priests to allow this form weekly. It could have happened here if there were at least 150 to 200 people desiring this Mass weekly. As it stands at our 2:00 PM monthly Mass we have about 40 parishioners--that does not justify turning one of the 4 Sundays Mass we have in the Ordinary Form into an Extraordinary Form Mass. Now we do have another parish in the city that only has one Sunday morning Mass and certainly another Mass in the EF could be held there weekly, but that is out of my hands.
I do not share the antipathy that some here have toward the Ordinary Form Mass. However, that doesn't mean that the Ordinary Form Mass doesn't need to be protected and improved. There are many ways to do this and Pope Benedict is modeling the primary two ways, directing prayer of the priest and congregation toward God, not toward one another and kneeling for Holy Communion. These are minor revisions and about a 1500 year precedence in the Liturgy of the Latin Rite.
Also I do not share the antipathy of those who love the Ordinary Form and have an antipathy towards the Extraordinary Form Mass, but I do recognize that this Mass needed and needs revision, minor revision, such as more flexibility and more vernacular.
I firmly believe too, that Pope Ratzinger believes that both the 1962 missal and now the current missal fall short of what both could be and thus having both missals available will point out the strengths and weaknesses of both and allow for a more organic renewal of the Mass with the advent of yet another missal in the future to be the Ordinary Mass of the Latin Rite. In other words I believe the 1962 missal will always be the Extraordinary Form of the Mass but the 1970 missal and its 2012 revision are temporary and that it (the Ordinary Form Missal) will be replaced by something new that will be a combination of the 1970 and 1962 missal and probably and more of a 1962 feel and look and spirituality. 
As for the first line of the the comment above: "This debate is frustrating to read because it presumes the laity to be a lazy, addled, ignorant bunch of quasi-Catholics," the same could be said of a certain percentage of the clergy. Never before though, have the laity be able to write their comments or create their own blogs on Church issues for others to read and make comment. I think most priests do want to know what the laity are thinking. This does two things, it helps us to hear their thoughts and if within the context of our faith and tradition to confirm them. If, though the thoughts expressed fall outside of our faith and tradition and even outside our academic understanding of such, then it allows the priest and now other laity to critique what is said and hopefully move the conversation forward. But another thing also happens, laity have corrected me on this blog and that's something new too! I think it is a two way street!
Finally, I would hope our discussions on this blog that go beyond liturgy, although the liturgy is the source and summit of our Catholic lives, will help us all to grow in our faith and understanding of our faith and the morals of the Church, especially those morals which today are hotly contested by both Catholics within the Church, Catholics who have left the Church and the non-Catholic community, especially those who have joined the new, modern religion of the USA, Godless Secularism. 

I'd like to make a couple of comments.  I really think that your point about 150-200 people is short sighted.  You're not fulfilling the concept of what the Holy Father intended by saying that because there aren't 150-200 people we can't have the TLM.  No.  The Holy Father wants the TLM in every parish.  That much is clear.  It shouldn't matter that a Novus Ordo Mass is replaced.  To the contrary, I think that is exactly what the Holy Father intended in his writing on the subject.  The restoration of the TLM isn't contingent upon the "consensus fidelium."  The restoration of the TLM is based upon the desire of the Holy Father to restore the TLM.
It is my contention that if the TLM is made available at a more "normal" time, 2:00pm is not "normal" for Mass on Sunday, then it would get a greater foothold.  I know that I'm just one person and that ultimately my personal view doesn't amount to a whole lot, but there are many people like me who are thinking the very same thing, but are not willing to say something about it.  So, what is there to lose by replacing the 7:00am Sunday Mass with a TLM low Mass?  Or since there is this idea that the TLM has to be a High Mass, which is not absolutely necessary, why can't there be a Sung Mass at 9:00am?  Here's the shocker...the real reason is that the pastors are afraid of losing revenue.  Right now, more people go to the Novus Ordo and pastors are afraid that they won't go to the TLM and therefore they will lose money.  Well, here's the rub of the pastors have so little faith in the people that go to the 7 or the 9 that they will just stop going to Mass altogether?  Assuming they don't just remain and accept the TLM (which I think they would, btw with proper catechesis), I would think that they'd go to another Mass and THAT Mass's collection would go up.  But, in the meantime, the parish would be gaining the dollars from those who assist at the TLM who don't normally go to Mass at your parish.
Bottom line, this whole 150-200 people issue isn't anything other than the abject fear of losing money.  And that is not the point.  It never has been.
As for the argument regarding revision of the TLM, why?  Why is it so hard to catechize the faithful on the spirituality of the TLM?  Why is there this overriding need to insert the vernacular?  The words of the Mass are irrelevant to the faithful.  They are there to worship.  Their worship should be internal first and foremost.  This idea of participatio actuosa being a blend of external and internal participation is an erroneous view of the concept.  Participatio activa speaks more to the blending of the two.  Participatio actuosa speaks firt and predominantly internally participating by uniting one's soul to the liturgical action.  So, what the priest says is irrelevant.  So, it should be in Latin for a great many number of reasons which I will not take the time to list, but are easy enough to find.  This idea of the vernacular is horizontal theology at best and Protestant theology at worst.  In any event, it is not Catholic (Latin Rite).
I tend to disagree with the idea that most priests want to know what the laity are thinking.  The majority of priests that I know (and I know a lot) are not interested at all, because it means more work for them.  My experience in trying to engage priests in a theological discussion usually leads to frustration on both parts, because the priest won't catechize mainly because he wasn't taught how to in seminary.  So, he just dismisses what the faithful has to say and simply goes about his own business....too bad, because there are a great many of us (I do include myself) who study and are genuine about our love for the Church (from all time, not just 1962 onward).
I won't comment on taking the blog past the liturgy other than this.  It's your blog.  You can write about whatever you want.  So, you call the shots.  If you want it to be more than just a liturgical blog, write about some theological issues.  However, I think that today, the most pressing issue is the liturgical action, because it is how 99.9% of Catholics view themselves, exclusively and they should. 

Ultimately it comes to this, priests need to embrace the TLM.  Priests need to start listening to the Holy Father and they need to embrace the TLM.  The reason they don't is money.  These men are some of the smartest men in the world and they can't learn a new language?  I call BS.  They're learning Spanish.  The languages are similar.  This has everything to do with antipathy toward the TLM and traditional Catholic thought.  Oh, sure, it's nice to say that one is traditional, but that is sort of "bad boy en vogue" right now, but ultimately when these priests are pushed, they won't change their tune.  It remains the same..."We don't have enough people to attend (not assist)." Although the TLM is the fastest growing segment of the Church.

"We can't learn Latin, it's too hard."  How's that Spanish coming, Father?

"I've tried this fight in the past and I lost."  This isn't the past.  The rules of the game have changed, 5 YEARS AGO!

"My bishop doesn't allow it."  It isn't up to the bishop any longer.

This isn't an issue of anything other than abject denial of the immemorial aspects of the Church.  99% of priests today will only go back as far as 1965 with regard to the Mass.  Sure, they'll quote older stuff, when it is in their best interest to do so, but by and large...

By and large we need to stand up and tell our priests what we want.  Fr. McDonald says that he wants to hear what we have to I say let's tell him.

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