Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What's So Extraordinary About the Traditional Latin Mass?

Here are a few very simple reasons.

The Mystery

When I was still toying with the decision of whether or not to come home, I went to my first Mass at the Carmelite Monastery.  I was late and walked in during the Gloria from the Missa de Angelis.  It was like being dropped into another universe.  Although this was a Novus Ordo Mass, it was celebrated ad orientem, as are all the public Masses at the Monastery.  I had never experienced a Mass with such mystique.  Try as we might, none of us can comprehend how simple bread and wine become the Flesh and Blood of the Divine Savior.  Why shouldn't the way in which the Mass is celebrated be redolent of mystery?

The Reverence

Every time the newly-ordained deacon at our Novus Ordo low Mass crosses the tabernacle, I want to yell: "For the love of God, man, GENUFLECT!".  This is never a problem at the TLM.  No one ever crosses the tabernacle without reverencing the Divine Presence.  When you allow people to receive Holy Communion in the hand, with as much reverence as you'd dispense a potato chip, isn't it any wonder there is so little respect for the Blessed Sacrament?  When you treat the Eucharist as though it's an every day object to be taken for granted, people soon react that way.  This doesn't happen at the TLM.

The Music

The music we hear at Mass should lift us to the Lord, not attempt to drag Him down to earth.  There is zero chance you will hear "On Eagles Wings" at the TLM.

The Modesty

The ladies who regularly attend our TLM are as well-dressed and beautiful as any I've seen anywhere and they manage to do this without unnecessarily exposing themselves or causing a distraction in any way.  Same for the gentlemen.  Priests have enough trouble with the devil knocking at their door constantly.  Why would any woman dress for Mass in a way that is provocative and could lead others, including the priest, into sin?  The men leave their false idols at home on Sundays. No baseball caps or t-shirts sporting their favorite team.    No sir.  The focus is rightly on the Lord.

The Children

Maybe I'm imagining things, but it's seldom that a parent has to take a screaming or disruptive child outside at the TLM.  I marvel at how quiet the two young children who sit in front of us each week are.  If I didn't see them in front of me, I'd never know they were there.  And their mother never has to pull out Cheerios or a sippy cup or any other amusements for them.

The Silence

Our pastor has taken to celebrating the usual 7pm Mass on the evening of Feast Days in the Extraordinary Form, rather then the Ordinary Form.  Every once in awhile,  Novus Ordo regulars will attend and behave as they do normally, meaning they yak it up before Mass.  But the dead quiet surrounding them soon lets them know they're out of place and doing something wrong and before long, the chatter subsides.  If only they would carry this into the Novus Ordo with them.  People behave as though they're leaving a bingo hall.  This simply doesn't happen at the TLM.  People greet each other outside the church, but they leave in silence so those who wish to make their thanksgiving after Holy Communion and Mass may do so in the sacred silence.

"The Lord is in His Holy Temple.  Let all the earth keep silence before Him".


  1. Great post, Joyce, thank you so much.

  2. Joyce...I so look forward to reading your posts in the evening. Everytime I read your reflections on the TLM, I am drawn...I guess all in God's time.~Theresa

  3. Thanks Richard :)

    Thanks Theresa, one of these days we'll get you to St. Paul's. You will love it. Don't forget there is a TLM Sunday evening, July 10, at the Monastery.

  4. Joyce: I wrote to Monsignor Rossi at the DC National Shrine to voice my outrage at the cacaphony of noise at the Shrine. I spent a great deal of time on it. I included possible solutions. You know what his response was? "Thank your for your note". Sigh.

    All of the doctrinal errors undergird the blasphemy we witness in the Church. When priest no longer believe that Christ insituted the priesthood, when they no longer believe in the real prescence, what do you expect?

    I came across this artilce, and sent it to the Monsignor, by the way. I thought you and your readers would appreciate it. It is called : "For The Love of God Shut Up"


    I would recommned reading the commnents. Here is a sample:

    "I’m not making this up. Our associate pastor left his seat on the altar after Communion, walked back over to the podium & said to some older women who always sit in front: “When i make my meditation after Communion, I don’t expect to hear your voices!” That’s how bad it is. Don’t tell me to write our bishop. He’s not going to be bothered".

    I think I have to join a convent, for silence.


  5. Thanks Joyce...I think even getting in the practice of going to the Monastery on Sunday mornings would make a difference. There is a TLM like 15-20 mins. from my house on Sunday afternoons. It will happen...I will be on vacation the whole novena~arrrggh! I hope to make the first night at least or even Vespers.~Theresa

  6. I go to an Anglican Use parish, and pretty much everything you said in the post applies there, too. There's no cry room, kids behave themselves, everyone genuflects and dresses appropriately, there's no chit chatting in the church. I love it.

  7. Maria, I will read it and link to it. Thanks. Kudos to that priest. Our pastor once stopped purifying the vessels during a particularly raucous First Holy Communion and said "Be quiet! The Mass is not over. If you want to talk, leave!" They continued to talk, albeit in more hushed tones. After that I think he laid down the law with the parents of every First Communion class since that because there's never been a repeat. It was so atrocious.

    Amber, welcome!

  8. I continually confront parents. Today, children were, again, running and SCREAMING in church. When I confronted the woman and explained to her that this was a church, the house of God, she smirked at me smugly and told me that "children were a gift of God". I was literally shaking after the indident. Satan has entered our churches. I do not say this w/ any exaggeration.
    I mean it. Mass has become an endurance test.


  9. "When you allow people to receive Holy Communion in the hand, with as much reverence as you'd dispense a potato chip, isn't it any wonder there is so little respect for the Blessed Sacrament? When you treat the Eucharist as though it's an every day object to be taken for granted, people soon react that way. This doesn't happen at the TLM."


    We've been going for 5 years with our children. TO celebrate today's anniversary of Summorum Pontificum I posted a reflection video of scenes from our Latin Mass.


  10. Thanks Allison, I will be sure to take a look!


Comments which reflect true Christian charity are always welcome. Comments which attack the Pope, the Church, priests or other bloggers will go in the dustbin, especially if they are anonymous. Thank you and God Bless you!