Saturday, February 11, 2023

What's so great about the traditional Mass?

Suscipe, Sancte Pater...

Fr. Stravinskas clearly didn't really want the traditonal Latin Mass but high-church Novus Ordo, which Interwebs Catholics have dubbed reverent Novus Ordo. Catholic Anglicanism made me so "high-church" it is. Beware official churchmen who talk about "enriching" or "accompanying" you. Meaning "we're going to enrich the f*ck out of you." Anyway:

Why besides preference and nostalgia does the TLM matter? There are sincere Catholics who think: we have the teachings and the sacraments so what's your problem? Why is this old Roman/Gallican mashup missal better?
  • The Mass is both a gathering of the faithful to pray together and learn the Bible and the continuation and fulfillment of the Jewish temple, Christ's one sacrifice being pleaded on our altars. The TLM's generations of evolved ceremonial — a form of Christian community too — drive that point home, that this is a solemn place where sacrifice is offered.
  • 2- and 3-year reading cycles don't work. People retain what they hear and read in the course of one year. They forget things they read and hear only every two or three years.
  • Often it's not so much what the Novus Ordo says but what it doesn't say. So much was edited out, including from the readings. Because like Cranmer, Bugnini didn't believe in much Catholic teaching anymore.
  • It's strong Christian community; people have prayed this way for literally many generations. Similarly, the rosary.
The new service is a Mass, because the church's teachings can't change so that authority is implicitly behind it. But the old is better. Latin is nice — international, precise, unchanging in meaning, a gateway to the classical world, and pretty — but this is not about Latin.

Can the TLM be enriched? Yes, without a rewrite. The goal of the old liturgical movement, which many young trads have reached, yes, thanks to the example of the Novus Ordo: active participation. Congregations Gregorian-chanting: goals. Just as I like to say, there was room for Catholic reform but the 1960s weren't it.

It's also what Western Rite Orthodoxy usually resembles and would be more like if it were honest, living up to the words of John of Shanghai and San Francisco: Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must be Eastern. The West was fully Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable liturgy is far older than any of her heresies.

In Lucca, Italy: Et introibo ad altare Dei.

1 comment:

  1. In addition to noting that this post's picture was taken from my website (, I would like to offer a quick rebuttal to this piece. The Novus Ordo Missae has nothing to offer (enrich) the traditional Mass concerning active participation, as this principle and practice already existed and in its authentic form.

    In fact, the New Mass introduced modernist novelties and the erroneous concept that the laity were equal to the priest (see the Ottaviani Intervention).

    For more about the traditional practices, see at my website, Romanitas Press these resources:

    Sacred Music and Liturgy (1958 SRC Instruction):

    Mass Assistance Cards:

    Catholic Liturgy: Its Fundamental Principles:

    Preparing for Easter:

    Tra le Sollecitudini (St. Pius X's motu proprio):

    Divini Cultus (Pius XI's apostolic constitution):

    Mediator Dei (Pius XII's encyclical):

    Musicae Sacrae (Pius XII's encyclical):

    On the Dialogue Mass (my articles):


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