One note before I begin. I am turning off comments for this post as I am getting personal about my experiences with the Latin Mass. Certain readers and/or bloggers might not like it, but this is my blog, and my experiences. I don't need more headaches this week anyways ..... _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ - - _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ - _ _ _ _ _ _- _
Yesterday was an important day in the EF of the Roman rite. It was the 7th anniversary of the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, released by Benedict (Emeritus) XVI. This is THE document that gave Catholics much freedom to celebrate the Latin Mass without persecution from bishops and controlling priests. This post will be an overall, but also personal reflection, to me of where it has taken the Laity and myself, and what needs to be done to keep it going strong.
The past 7 years generally
Since it's release, more and more priests and parishes are embracing the Latin Mass with gusto. The gamut ranges wide from the occasional, monthly mass, to full blown daily Mass communities and introduction of EF societies and personal prelatures (e.g. FSSP, ICKSP) in dioceses worldwide. Furthermore, practices surrounding the TLM are even being embraced in Novus Ordo Church culture, such as sung Latin hymns and chants in the Mass, ad orientem worship, and even traditional catholic practices like Eucharistic processions. Some parishes have even limited their serving core regardless of the form of the Mass to boys only, and these dioceses have seen an enormous surge in vocations to the priesthood.
However, as many good advances there have been in such a culture, Satan has been immensely on the prowl, trying his best to poison this deadly weapon against him. Because these traditionalists won't fall for the heresies and modernism of the usual Church culture, he's gone the opposite way, attacking it through radical extremism/Pharisaic-ism. Sadly, numerous web bloggers and even certain members of a priestly fraternity have been more than happy to fall on he opposite side of the narrow gate, and have become the Church's, newest, roadblock to the proliferation of Traditional Catholicism.
And their actions haven't gone unnoticed by the Vatican, so much so, Pope Francis has taken afew well- needed stabs at their dismal actions in his daily Fervorinos in the Santa Marta chapel.(Hey! The Vicar of Christ, is acting just like Christ did ... he's calling out the Pharisees! Ha Ha ha!) He even was so bold as to call out the Trads Behaving Badly in his Apostolic Letter, Evangelii Gaudium, in paragraph 94 as the "neo-Pelagians." In addition, not all priests and bishops have been on board with the "reform of the reform" as it were. In certain cases, such as with Una Voce Costa Rica, and recently, the sacking of Fr. Wylie in New York under Cardinal Dolan, not all is good and well in Traddie Land. At least, there are some examples where the Church has appropriately intervened when Trads have gone Bad, such as with the Franciscans of the Friars Immaculate, and Fisher More College under the archdiocese's bishop.
Regardless, there is clearly still an antagonism in general towards the Latin Mass, which is being further aided by those who act all Pharisaical, regardless of how "passive" or calumnious and detracting their tone is. Yet ... more and more it seems as if the cracks are appearing in the dam, and eventually, it's gonna burst wide open in the Church.
Personally, my own reflection on the growth of the EF via my Archdiocese
I cannot speak for much of the early years post SP, as I only came onto the scene in 2011 to the EF, but what I have seen I can comment on in a short span of 3 years. If I can speak on the pre-2011 times, it is only from what I've glanced at from web sources about my own diocese.
Our archdiocese of Toronto had a great start when SP came out. The Oratorians of St Phillip Neri began to do daily masses with SP surpassing the 1988 indult, and the two lay groups began to do Masses, first together (to an extent), then sole organization of their own Masses around the turn of this current decade. On the serving end of things, there was a good size of about a dozen or so plus a few of us serving and we did anyone's Mass. We even had the FSSP priest Fr. Venette for a time, though he left in 2010 before I appeared. That initiative wassoon replaced with a parish community I've blogged much about here on SUD, St. Lawrence the Martyr, with its chaplain Fr. Szakaczki, under the guidance of Fr. Roy Farrell, a dream team if I ever saw one in this author's opinion.
If there is anything I have seen though, that has been a barrier to SP being more fully fruitful, as a server, in my diocese and worldwide, it is the radical traditionalism that certain members hold within he movement and their public expression. While the majority of EF attendees come to the Mass for its sake and the glory of God, a sizable minority have chosen to undertake either online and/or on the ground leadership in the TLM, and the witness has been one that sadly gives The Holy Father credence to "slam" them as it were, in his Fervorinos and Evangelium Gaudii. Their witness, as defined by professional Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong, in his e-book Mass Movements: Radical Catholic Reactionaries, the New Mass, and Ecumenism: "...is one of [a] self-important attitude: a Pharisaical, relentlessly legalistic, know-it-all, holier-than-thou mentality,and lack of faith in the authority of Holy Mother Church; also anunwillingness or inability to think along with the Mind of the Church. That lies at the root. It's "spiritual kindergarten" (location 202 - 206)
For me, I have witnessed, have been the target of, and continue to witness bullying at the online or personal hands of these leaders. Just last week in fact, Michael Coren, a popular Catholic writer and columnist for the Toronto Sun and our Catholic Register, was the target of a TBB hate-fest, because Coren has changed with regards to his views on how to treat those with same-sex attraction, after being horrified by the hate crimes being done to those with SSA in Africa. While Coren does have to further clarify his statements regarding Dr. Teresa Pierre of Parents As First Educators and the Sin of Sodom, after seeing the hate-fest that occurred online, I cannot believe that I have to be in the same ``camp`` (of which all EF and/or traditional Catholics are lumped together in) with these bullies. I sure do NOT condone what they did (Cue the hate bombs from those bloggers.)
As a Latin Mass server, I personally could not continue to serve in some capacities in this Archdiocese, and do not frequent the Latin Mass as I should because I became enraged and sick of the harassment in those parts of the community, as well as feeling "spied upon" by the laypeople attached to these leaders in misguided loyalty. I will say to its credit, that in certain parishes and/or communities, this happens less or is not present, and hence why I associate with the groups and parishes I do.
It is also not only me who has been affected. During the dark hump that was occurring in mid-2012 to mid-2013, besides other things had the displeasure to witness two of my former serving colleagues stop EF serving altogether and serve either the Novus Ordo only, or other rites in the Church, because they too got sick of all the politics and hate. I also watched a different serving colleague sadly become lost to the Society of St. Pius X who are NOT in communion with the Church, and have NO SACRAMENTAL MINISTRY.
If you have followed my blog for some time, you can see why I write the way I do and cover the way I do because of these things. Unfortunately, the archdiocese and His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Collins, have become aware of a portion of this activity, and needless to say they don't appreciate it.See here with ++Collins speech to youth at this theology on tap in May 2013 at 13:15. I side with them, completely.
But yet .... there is hope here in Toronto ....
However, despite of all the sub-culture politics and mudslinging, I am proud to be part of the activity I am involved with, and blessed to be under the spiritual authority of ++Collins. My Eminence clearly understands the beauty and sacredness present in the EF, so much so, he chose to rise above all this, and was present not just in a physical body sense, but as a greater prelate in a Solemn Latin Mass for the 75th ordination of Msgr. Foy. That means, for those of you new people or confused on the word, that he was in the Liturgy on the altar, in copeand mitre, said the EF prayers at points, and was seated on a pontifical throne raised on a platform, with other priests as attendants, while the main servers and clergy (celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon) did the Mass like usual. That my friends, has never happened since Vatican II in the Archdiocese of Toronto. NEVER .... UNTIL NOW! That is a BIG statement in the Church.
The diocese took the helm in the organization of the Mass and had control in it's liturgical aspects. My serving colleagues, a number who I`ve served with for St. Patrick`s Gregorian Choir Masses, proudly were the torchbearers, lighting the way for Christ.
Further, there has been no halting, stopping, or banning of the Latin Mass in neither the parishes in the West and the East of the Archdiocese of Toronto (Oratorian ones and SLTM respectfully), nor the lay organizations who help put on these Latin Masses, even with all that has happened online and in person. All EF parties have continued to, as evidenced by my reports and listing pages, holding these Latin Masses in parishes,and at certain times there have even been multiple EF Masses on specific feast days. Also, there has been the odd new joiner here and there that has ventured in for serving and the Masses.
With such an example in this Foy Mass, and the continuation of the Latin Mass parishes and the lay groups, there is clearly a future in our archdiocese for the Latin Mass. I can positively feel like there are good things to happen for the EF, including myself as a Latin Mass server.
The future? My hopes and what must be done.
So where does this leave us after today? Generally speaking in the Church, while growth is steadily increasing and more youth are coming to this form, there is a ton of work to do. We must increase the education of the laity and priests in this form, dispelling stupid notions such as "the Latin Mass is not suitable to contemporary Catholic worship." If anything, it is NEEDED to complement it, and even enhance it, where Novus Ordo liturgy is done inappropriately.
We need to increase the number of priests and servers trained in this form, and this everyone .... means emptying out your pockets and paying up. I just bought 5 books recently for the Latin Mass and after shipping and handling it's over $120 Canadian! That's just one example, although I will admit half of the cost was because, inspired by the Foy Mass and seeing it as a reference book in my other books, I bought the Caeremoniale Epsicoporum reprint from the FSSP. This stuff is not cheap! Even cheap metal stuff is not cheap in the EF!
Another note on training: while some dioceses are allowing EF societies or groups in to handletraining, most aren't. It will this be up to individual priests and laity (that means MCs too!) to train both clergy and servers who can't afford excursions, training packs, or can't go away from their home diocese to train. As for the music end of things, that's not my forte, but how about giving young music students who've completed musical studies degrees in classical arts and/ororgan studies, jobs in parishes or part time with Latin mass groups with stipends for their work? They gotta eat and save up for families too, you know.
I will stress however that the biggest hurdle, as a young lay server, that will deter people from exploring the Latin mass, especially clergy, is the online and in-person "policing" as it will. Extremism does not appeal to the majority of people unless they are in a desperate situation. Further all it does is fortify the stereotypes already in place about us "trads," even occasional ones like myself. This also extends to politics in the Latin mass itself. When the trad behaving badly stuff gets to people, they often want nothing to do with the EF, and they won't return. On some occasions, it might even send them further into that realm, and they might associate with groups like the SSPX who aren't in canonical communion with the Church.
I'll admit I've been testy at times here at SUD in my zeal for the EF, for +Collins, and to fight radical traditionalism. But we all MUST start expressing positivism and mercy in our online personas, and even mix and mingle with those "Novus Ordo" types. If there is anything we are supposed to learn from Pope Francis, it's to extend a hand if mercy and Christ's Love to others to show them what we are about, all the while defending the teachings of the Church. He clearly is not for extremism, and I think we EF people should likewise follow his example. Until those people responsible for the bulk of this nonsense start expressing this mercy, and dioceses startcurbing those who don't want to tow the line after repeated attempts at peace, then I forsee this will continue to deter most priests from opening up their parish doors to the TLM, so as not to attract 'those crazies with the Latin Mass.'
In terms of my Archdiocese, I think what would be a really cool idea, would be to "complete the compass" as it were. There's already a "West end" TLM parish, and an East one. What about having a South/Downtown T.O./Central TLM site, as well as one in the North of this diocese? In fact, I am thinking of a community who doesn't have a parish built yet that could be a potential, perfect spot for a TLM (with of course, needs to add in communion rails in the planning).
Personally, in the interim, I would also prefer if the Archdiocese also set up a training school for the lay/inferior ministers to be able to train properly for the TLMs, until there are enough groups/parishes that can supply those training needs to a set standard. However, the staff chosen to train people, must have a proper, TBB-free attitude and if need be, no affiliation with groups portraying such an attitude.
However, one good thing that will likely happen here with the TLM in Toronto, is I think after the Foy Mass, the Office of the Archdiocese of Toronto, particularly under ++Collins, is going to start holding these Masses on special occasions. One occasion, I can forsee this being possible, would be on the Feast of St. Michael. ++Collins could organize and hold a Solemn Pontifical Mass every year to mark the cathedral and Archdiocesan feast day. Another occasion would be, the completion of the renovations to the Cathedral when it is complete. Thatwould be the perfect time to "Christen" the "New" building as it were, so why not with a special Mass? Even if it is not annual, I do think strongly that ++Collins will be the Prince of the Church to do it, and after the success of the Foy Mass, clearly it can be done again. Somebody should buy him a Cappa Magna though if there isn't one hanging around the archives though. Really.
My Final Thoughts.
Overall, not just in my diocese, but also generally speaking, yes, we might still have large hurdles to overcome in terms of spreading the TLM, but I do have hope and feel, even in the Pope Francis pontificate, the Church IS going to see a growth of the TLM. Hopefully, Francis will discover it ISN'T a fad among the youth, but a place where they are getting fed. As both the disgruntled elders who witnessed the liturgical carnage and became sowed with hate, and the free-spirit hippie generation that all but banned the TLM are dying, the TLM is more and more becoming the grounds for a new youthful generation without those hatreds and screeds to take over. The haters and hopefully, the bloggers, too, will become a less sizable minority, and the majority will become positive leaders, whether they are online, servers, choir members, etc. Also the newer members taking positions of power in the politics of the Church, are becoming more and more like ++Collins-es, and less and less like Buginis. These newer members are more neutral to positively conservative and orthodox in their Catholic faith, and aren't putting up the same fight against the TLM as their political forefathers.
In addition, there a special X factor we haven't taken account of .... the 4th/MIllenial generation. What I've been seeing is that the Church is starting to invest in youth ministry and deeper worship for young people. Most Trads of course balk and spit on things like the Stubenville Conferences and praise and worship, but as a Glad Trad, what I see, is that first step towards making them open to the TLM. These young people are getting what many of us, even my generation, never got: investment in their Faith with a specific center to Eucharistic devotion, and encouragement with mercy and Love. These groups and experiences are the baby steps or first building blocks where they will then want more, and be ready to want that experience the TLM will give them. I think that what we will see is in the next several years, this "1st/2nd wave" of youth ministry kids will gradually, though maybe not in huge numbers, start wanting to explore their Faith deeper as adults, and they will be the next, newest crop of youth to come to the TLM.... if we do not go all TBB on em that is.
Final thoughts: Yes there is still that darkness overhead, but it is dissipating, Virginia. Keep fervent in your prayers to the Lord, and continue to be evangelical and spread the Gospel, all the while supporting (both financially and personally) the Latin Mass. The light is gonna shine baby!
HAPPY 7 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM!!! THANK YOU POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI!!!
Pax, Julian Barkin.
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