Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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“And He Found It to be Very Good”

September 28th, 2009, Promulgated by Gen

The fact that God created the world and everything within it and upon it reinforces the sanctity and validity of much, if not all that Christians hold dear. However, when one compounds the majesty and mystery of Creation with the fullness of the Paschal Mysteries, how can one deny that the highest form of Christian worship in all of Creation is the Traditional Latin Mass? Naturally, we hold that all Masses bring about the same sanctifying grace. The Latin Mass does this and then supplements it with humility, true sacrifice and an unrivaled spiritual experience. Where else can one “see the Lord descend meekly, lowly at the word of the priest?” Yes, Novus Ordo Masses are noble and valid. There is no question that a Novus Ordo Mass done correctly and with reverence can bestow the same feelings of heavenly fulfillment. However, the New Mass is easily corrupted by politics, bickering, personal liberties and inaccuracies. There is no room for error in the Traditional Latin Mass, no possibility of stating an agenda, no chance for corruption.

I write this after having attended the most magnificently prepared Latin Mass in Rochester in several years. Schola and choir intertwined to create strains of song which rival even those of the angels above. The Mass was an absolute pleasure to every sense, tangible and intangible. How can priests, bishops and the like demonize the Traditions we saw (and will continue to see) when God Himself gave the liturgy to us? And the same holds true for those who pass judgment upon the Novus Ordo Mass as an entity. The Mass itself is an honourable thing, no matter what rite. Abuse within the Mass is what causes one to lose heart and spiritual vigor. This presents a question that must be answered: Should we embrace a Mass in which there is no room for abuse, or should we embrace a Mass “fresh in its possibilities,” but riddled with problems and weaknesses when given to the wrong shepherds?

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27 Responses to ““And He Found It to be Very Good””

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    "How to Make Friends and Influence People"

    First off, let me say that I do appreciate the beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass. I love the sound of most Gregorian modes. I've taken classes Latin classes outside of school and of my own volition.

    But I don't understand what seems to be, among many othodox Catholics, a near idolization of the Latin Mass.

    >> There is no room for error in the Traditional Latin Mass, no possibility of stating an agenda, no chance for corruption.

    Yes, yes, there is. First of all, most of the "errors" in the Novus Ordo are intentional. There is just as much room to disobey the rubrics of the Latin Mass as there is the Novus Ordo. The homily is still present, which gives the priest all the room he needs to state an agenda. As for corruption, you can still have the Body of Christ consecrated irreverently by terrible priests and received by people in grave sin. And that is does more dishonor to God than anything else, including guitars, tambourines, and bongos.

    >> How can priests, bishops and the like demonize the Traditions we saw (and will continue to see) when God Himself gave the liturgy to us?

    I'm confused here. Are you saying that the eternal banquet of the Lamb is the Traditional Latin Mass? Or just the Mass in general?

    >> This presents a question that must be answered: Should we embrace a Mass in which there is no room for abuse, or should we embrace a Mass "fresh in its possibilities," but riddled with problems and weaknesses when given to the wrong shepherds?

    The Traditional Latin Mass would be riddled with problems and weakness when given to the wrong shepherds, too. Good priests are not corrupting the Novus Ordo; bad priests are. And even if they did follow the rubrics perfectly, God is not pleased by mere adherence to rite, else Christ would not have railed against the Jewish establishment of his time.

    That being said, I do hope that we see a wider availability of the Traditional Latin Mass in this diocese for those who prefer that style of worship. And I fervently pray for a more reverent disposition for every Mass and ever rite in Rochester.

    God bless,
    ~TD

  2. avatar Persis says:

    "But I don't understand what seems to be, among many othodox Catholics, a near idolization of the Latin Mass."

    I have long asked myself the same question!

    Great post, and hopefully it will facilitate more discusson.

    I am a post VII baby and have never experienced the Latin Mass, and all I have ever heard from my older relatives is that they were so happy when things changed to the Novus Ordo. Many of them said that it made church more "accessable" for them, and that they felt like they were a part of something special, not just spectators.

    Peace to all!

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    >> I am a post VII baby and have never experienced the Latin Mass.

    I'd definitely encourage you to attend a Traditional Latin Mass when you can. The rite itself is beautiful, especially if you have a familiarity with it ahead of time.

    ~TD

  4. avatar Gen says:

    The post wasn't meant to say one was better than the other. It just meant that 1. the Tridentine is less "alterable" than the Novus Ordo, and that 2. both Masses have truly great points when done correctly.

    Great insights, by the way.

  5. avatar Nerina says:

    Persis,

    I, too, am a post VII baby. I was born in 1967 and the only form of worship I have ever experienced is the Novus Ordo Mass. I have been present at very, very reverent NO Masses and I've been present at silly celebrations (usually involving a children's choir – but I digress).

    On Sunday I went to St. Stan's to experience the Traditional Latin Mass. And I was not disappointed. I WAS challenged in a very good way. I had to think about the Mass (something I haven't had to do in a long time) and if I'm being honest, I can see why some people recoil at the TLM. It requires a very different attitude and participation than what passes in most churches. It requires an incredible amount of humility on part of the congregation to stand, sit and kneel while the priest, truly in the place of Christ, offers himself and us as sacrifice to God. I had to silence myself physically and mentally and remain focused on what was taking place at the altar – the representation of the Sacrifice at Calvary.

    It is a paradigm shift – especially for those not raised in the Rite. When I told my mother-in-law that I was going to a TLM, she said, "oh, how boring. I hated it." So I agree that there are those raised in the Rite who may never have fully understood or appreciated what was taking place. And let's face it, we can say the same thing about the Novus Ordo Mass today. It would be extremely dishonest to say that all is well in liturgy land without the TLM.

    I don't think people "idolize" the TLM as much as they are searching for a return to reverence and holiness within the Liturgy. Again, if we are being honest, much was lost when the TLM was dropped like a hot potato. For one, a part of our long-standing heritage. That is a big reason I support the liberal use of the TLM. It is our Catholic inheritance. And after reading the documents of Vatican II, I don't think the Council Fathers ever intended what we have today – palpable derision of the TLM (you should hear the comments out of the mouths of people in leadership positions at my church).

    I certainly don't think everyone must LOVE the TLM, but I don't think it is too much to RESPECT it.

    I am thankful to have access to it.

  6. avatar Gen says:

    Well said. Very well said.

  7. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Whenever this topic comes up, there's always an air of superiority by those who prefer the EF. I say EF because what I've attended is not the TLM of my childhood.

    After years of combox discussions, it's toned down a lot, but there's still an everpresent "we get it and they don't."

    Perhaps it's in response to the out-of-line derision heard in the DoR about nearly anything and everything orthodox.

    I can see why some people recoil at the TLM. It requires a very different attitude and participation than what passes in most churches. It requires an incredible amount of humility on part of the congregation

    Nerina, this sounds very much like what you're saying is that people "recoil" from what you call the TLM because they don't have the requisite humility. I'd suggest that's not the reason people "recoil" from the EF.

    My personal, non-scientific polling of those (including orthodox Catholics) prior to Vatican II has about 96 to 98 percent who strongly do not want to return to the Mass of the childhood. How condescending to say they didn't fully understand the Mass.

    If one wants to speak of needing humility, then what shall we say of those with excessive pride in the EF/TLM?

  8. avatar Persis says:

    Please understand, I am not "dissing" the TLM. I cannot as I do not know anything about it. I have wanted to attend, but have often felt that I may not be welcome because I do not know the rite, and my experiences with "more traditional" Catholics have not always been very positive, especially when I ask questions!

    I, too, have heard many people in "leadership" positions in my church talk very negatively about the TLM, and I have a problem with that also. It is a long standing tradition of our faith, and I do feel that it needs to be treated with respect. What I have a problem with is the attitude (and I am not saying that I am getting this here, just something I have encountered in the past) that if I don't accept the TLM, that I am not a "good Catholic".

    It seems to me that it is always "either/or" and the mentality on both sides (traditional vs. progressive) is if it is not the way "we" believe it is wrong.

  9. avatar Persis says:

    Nerina,
    Please e-mail me at oneofthewomen@gmail.com, I have some things I would like to share with you, but I do not want to hijack the comments!

    Peace,
    Persis

  10. Persis, Mary Kay and Nerina – I grew up with the TLM/EF. I love it. In the late 60s, I use to travel to Westbury, LI to attend Mass (obviously not every week). There are major reasons I did this. I don't have any problem with the Novus Ordo/OF of Mass as long as it is celebrated reverently and with dignity. But I will always prefer the TLM.

    At our local TLM, we have a very wide range of personalities and temperaments and, depending to whom you might speak with, that may make you "recoil". As a personal note, for the past 45 years or so I have been kicked in the "backside" for wanting the TLM and for attending it.

    The TLM has never been abrogated and always was a valid form of Mass. This (the none abrogation) has only become more widely known in the past 4 or so years.

    I have tried and will continue to try to explain the TLM to absolutely anybody that wants to listen. I also am very interested in why people do or do not want to attend the TLM. I enjoy immensely listening to peoples' faith stories.

    I simply want to worship as my ancestors did. My English ancestors had a saying during the Reformation 'It's the Mass that matters". The splendor, quiet, dignity, awesomeness of going to Mass is what I need.

    Often Catholics were not very well instructed about the TLM, plus it is very somewhat politically correct to put down anything before Vatican II….it seems like every kid who went to school in the pre-Vatican II days will tell you the nuns were mean and they hit. Sure, some nuns probably should not have enter religious life. I am sorry that people may have gotten hit. Sometimes people never think they do anything wrong. Am I advocating violence, absolutely not. I had the best teachers in grade school, all nuns (actually Sisters), but because there seems to be a general dislike about religion and specially Catholciism and the pre-Vatican II church, people seem to generalize that it was pretty much all bad. "Wasn't that horrible that the priest didn't face us and in that stupid Latin. We are so much better off today. Are we really?" Think about it. We are further away from God than ever.

    I think traditionalist get impassioned and want to simply convey how much they love the traditional Mass and that comes across as "we are better and have a better Mass than you". Believe me, I have dealt with that mentality around traditionalist for many, many years. It isn't easy, but I can understand where they are coming from.

    You would be a little trigger-happy if your canonical rights have been denied for over 40 years, plus you have been kicked in the backside or lower-extremities of the front side too.

    If anyone would like to get together and talk about this, let me know. Even just getting together would be fine and not talking religion would be good too (like we could go any not talk religion).

    Everybody has just great insights that I, perhaps, need to listen more and talk less. God did give me 2 ears and 1 mouth, so I should act accordingly, huh. I'm all ears.

  11. avatar Nerina says:

    Mary Kay,

    I apologize if I offended you with my comments. I did not mean to imply that people who don't appreciate the EF are lacking in humility. I can only speak about what I have experienced in my own church based on comments I have heard. Plus, I made a suggestion that "some people," SOME might recoil. Of course, I have no way of knowing. I'm really just thinking out loud here. By saying that the EF requires humility, I mean that we have to accept that we are not the principal actors.

    Let me give you an example: A man who sings in the choir at my local church, who clearly enjoys what he does, once said that the "people are what matter most at Mass. We, the people, are church." I find that statement to be arrogant. And he may not have meant it to be arrogant, but I think he misunderstands the Mass. Further, I include myself in needing to be more humble. Believe me, I can become quite conceited thinking I'm the only one who "gets" what is happening at Mass and the only one who is praying the "right way." Humility is something of which I am always in need.

    As far as thinking the EF is superior, I have no such belief. I've only gone to one, for goodness sake. I certainly don't have a preference for it and I never said that it was superior to the NO. My experience was a positive one and a welcome one since I was quite nervous about going. It was also a welcome change from the banal liturgies I've endured recently.

    Clearly I hit a nerve with you, Mary Kay, and you might want to reread what you wrote and consider the tone it conveys. I was making observations and offering my very limited conclusions. I am certainly no expert. You have overinterpreted my comments to say what you would like them to say so you can beat me over the head.

    Again, I'll say this one more time. If a person doesn't like the TLM – fine. Don't go. But don't punish others who prefer it.

  12. avatar Nerina says:

    And I'd be curious to know the reasons you, Mary Kay, feel that people don't like the TLM. I think it would be a fruitful discussion.

  13. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Nerina, I sent a second post which apparently got lost in cyberspace. It said that although I used your comment as a springboard, my overall comment was from an accumulation of discussions on this topic. My apologies if that spilled over to my post here.

    I'm glad you liked the EF. What I think what launches me into "history of combox" mode is the analysis of others' reactions to the EF, not specifically you. Both sides drive me crazy with that. So again, my apologies for being reactive.

    The "we the people are church" is a distortion of a line in Lumen Gentium upon which (the distortion) the dissidents have built their "progressive" views. So it's not just the Mass that man misunderstands, but some very basic underpinnings of Catholic teaching. If I can undo the snag in my own blog, I might write about it.

    Choir Loft, you're not at all who I meant. You're an exception to both of my points. Someone who grew up with the TLM and loves it is totally understandable. Then again, you were probably an altar boy, yes? An opportunity to chat would be good. Nerina, ditto. (just not at the moment)

    As for getting kicked in the backside, it always astounds me that the peace and love crowd think it's okay to kick someone else.

    This is long enough, time to bring it to a close.

  14. avatar Nerina says:

    Thanks, Mary Kay.

  15. avatar Scott/Mary says:

    All good discussions going on here, so I?ll add my thoughts too. I?m a post Vatican II child raised in the new order. My husband and I met at the 80?s teen retreats at Notre Dame in Canandaigua. So how is it that I?ve been drawn to the Latin Mass for over two years this past Pentecost? It?s all a grace from God. I can tell you honestly that I understand far more about the Mass now then I ever have before. Now no jokes about with age comes wisdom. However, the most wonderful feeling I?ve experienced with the Latin Mass is that ?I?m home.?
    I was there on Sunday, and I thought the choir was heavenly. The singing was helping us lift our minds and hearts in perfect prayer, for a wonderful, Holy Priest, who is God?s servant first in everything.
    For the following post,

    -Many of them said that it made church more "accessable" for them, and that they felt like they were a part of something special, not just spectators.

    When I first came to the Latin Mass, this was sort of my reaction as well. I didn?t think the priest needed a congregation. But a good friend, Mike Brennan, had me read the prayers of the Mass. (The English translation is in the red books at St. Stans) How wrong I was! The priest includes all of us in all the prayers. We are not just spectators, but witnesses to The Holy Sacrifice of Love.
    Now, I?d like to thank ?In the choir loft? for all his wisdom and spreading his love for the Latin Mass. He was singing his heart out in the choir loft on Sunday.

    As for which Mass, Holy Mother Church says both are valid. I?m not above the Church, but I prefer the Latin Mass over the Novus, and I thank God we are able to have one in our diocese.

  16. Scott/Mary – I'm glad that you and the family could make it. I hope the boys got those server response cards. We can talk about it when I see either or both of you.

    I also agree both Masses are valid, I just prefer the TLM too.

    Anybody is more than welcomed to attend the Latin Mass at St. Stan's. If you need help figuring it out, I'll be glad to help. Notta problem.

  17. avatar Sister Emily says:

    SCOTT/MARY
    Thanks for your post. I have so many non catholic friends who have wondered why in the world I became a convert, go to mass 2x on Sundays ,and "attend a church where the service is not in english." I feel so inadaquate when I try to explain. You said it in 2 words "I'm home"

  18. avatar Sister Emily says:

    ATTENTION CLEANSING FIRE ADMINISTRATORS…

    Could we please have word spell? I never see my mistakes till after I hit publish.

  19. avatar Dr. K says:

    Sr. Emily,

    I don't think spell check is available on Blogger. The Firefox browser, at least the newer versions, will underline misspelled words for you. I highly recommend using Firefox over Internet Explorer or any other option.

    ~Dr. K

  20. avatar Mary Kay says:

    And so it goes.

    For all of you who expressed a preference for the EF, my preference for the OF is just as strong. The next time you think you're all alone, think of what it's like to be in a diocese where the only option is a dissident version of the OF or getting harangued at the EF. (the one I attended called Vatican II an aberration) At least you folks have each other to rhapsodize about how wonderful the EF is.

    Scott/Mary, you mentioned one of the reasons why I prefer the OF –
    "I understand far more about the Mass now then I ever have before."

    The rest of your post is what comes across to me as what I described above. But it would take more time than I have at the moment to explain.

    The bottom line is that there is still an "EF versus OF" dynamic, and although certainly present all over, is particularly pronounced in this diocese.

  21. avatar Dr. K says:

    I think the moral of the story for all this is that each person has their own personal preference for the style of worship that fulfills their needs best. Neither Mass is wrong or bad, provided that it is celebrated according to the rubrics. That works for both forms of the Latin rite.

    ~Dr. K

  22. avatar Persis says:

    OK- now I am even more confused!!
    🙁

    EF, OF,what the "F" are we talking about (hope that doesn't cross the line, I couldn't resist!)?

    Can we get a glossary like the one Greg, the Southerntier Seminarian" started, please?

  23. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Persis,

    OF is the Ordinary Form, the 1969 Missal, also called the Novus Ordo. It has the 3 year cycle lectionary and most of the Masses in the diocese are OF.

    EF is the Extraordinary Form, the 1962 Missal, also called the Tridentine Latin Mass. It has a one year lectionary cylce and is celebrated at St. Stanislaus.

    Both names are from the pope's Summorum Pontificum, July 2007 (I think), which allowed for a wider use of the 1962 Missa.

  24. avatar Mary Kay says:

    That should read 1969 and later, although I've lost track.

  25. avatar Persis says:

    Thanks, Mary Kay!

  26. Persis and MaryKay…By way of information, we have in Monroe County 2 sede-vacantist churches. Sedevacantist means the Chair of Peter is vacant. No validly elected Pope.

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