Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A response to Chris Stefanick on the Latin Mass

I'm only posting this here because Twitter doesn't allow for nuance, and I want to use nuance.

Here was Chris's tweet yesterday



As a priest who says the TLM occasionally (as Chris goes occasionally) a few things:

1) I agree wholeheartedly that, in one sense of the phrase, "the Latin Mass isn't the answer to the crisis".  I've spoken elsewhere about the book that I read on my retreat called Sacrilege, and how the author I think expertly points to and unpacks about THIRTY FIVE problems that lead to 2002 and 2018.  And even moving beyond the abuse crisis to what I think is the larger crisis of Faith that Chris is referencing, I agree that in both cases NO ONE THING is THE answer.

2) I also would add here that I don't know many Latin Mass people that think that if we just went back to the Latin Mass, we wouldn't be in a crisis of Faith.  There are certainly some, but most TLM'ers that I know recognize there are TONS of things that we need to keep emphasizing in order to restore the Church (insert a more theologically correct word for "restore" if that word doesn't work for you...most people know what we mean by that).

3)  My only "critique" of the tweet would be that I think we can say that the Mass IS PART OF the Kerygma - the Mass does PREACH Christ, and I think we can also say, fairly comfortably, that the preaching that the Mass does can be more or less effective, depending on how it is celebrated, and I know Chris would agree with that. 


So in one sense of the tweet, I'm on board.  There are 50-100 categories (or more) of things that need tweeked/addressed/worked on in the Church.  One of those is the way Mass is celebrated.  And most TLM people that I know of prefer the TLM because they know there is almost a zero percent chance of being forced to encounter banal (and worse) celebrations of the Mass in our current day if they attend a Traditional Latin Mass.  And those same people see lots of other things that need addressed in the Church.


"Lex orandi, legem credendi" - the law of how we worship governs what we believe

10 comments:

  1. I would add that currently, most (not all!) people attracted to celebrating or attending the EF Mass are people specifically looking for reverence, for an opportunity to worship, and who desire to grow in holiness. Depending on where they live, they may find the EF Mass the only place that allows them this, or the best of their options. The EF Mass thus can seem to be, per se, what produces these things, instead of a form of the Mass that CAN produce these things. Maybe it is even the best guarantee of these things -- but until it is generally offered and people tend to go "because it's closest" rather than "because I crave beauty and reverence," we can only guess. I think that Pope Benedict was right to issue that moto proprio and the option of the EF MAss should be encouraged everywhere, so that the beauty and reverence (at least currently) to be found there can influence the rest of our parishes, priests, and people. But I also think we should be looking at its popularity (so far as it is popular) as a sign that many people are starved for reverence and holiness, and that every parish, everywhere, should be trying for these things. So often we fight about what is the absolute best instead of doing the best we can currently do NOW.

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    1. It is my understanding that it was Pope Benedict's intention that the EF would inform and enrich the Novus Ordo.

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  2. Most Catholics have no idea what " Kerygma " means.
    So maybe we can start there?

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  3. I agree. I crave reverence and holiness.

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  4. I agree with every word.
    I would add that the root problem is faith. Many Catholics don't really believe that doing things in God's way will make them happy. They trust their own judgment more than God's one,
    think they'll be happy in this life by following their instincts and don't give much of a thought to what is going to happen to them at the end of life.
    And yes, the way we pray and celebrate has a deep influence on the way we think and live.

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  5. While there may have been "plenty of abuse before V2," I doubt this compares to today's Catholic world where only 31% of Catholics believe in transubstantiation and half think it's acceptable to kill an unborn baby (Pew Research Center). And we seem to be on a downward spiral. Most recently, we have Catholics (and priests!) worshipping "Mother Earth" and the promotion of this behavior sanctioned even by bishops. I do not have the opportunity to attend a TLM but surely, just as Fr. Hollowell suggests, the reverence in the mass does have a lot to do with laying the groundwork of faith.

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  6. While there may have been "plenty of abuse before V2," I doubt this compares to today's Catholic world where only 31% of Catholics believe in transubstantiation and half think it's acceptable to kill an unborn baby (Pew Research Center). And we seem to be on a downward spiral. Most recently, we have Catholics (and priests!) worshipping "Mother Earth" and the promotion of this behavior sanctioned even by bishops. I do not have the opportunity to attend a TLM but surely, just as Fr. Hollowell suggests, the reverence in the mass does have a lot to do with laying the groundwork of faith.

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  7. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Kerygma&t=ffcm&ia=definition

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  8. I humbly recommend this article by Mike Tenney. The title is “Latin Won’s Save Us”, though I think he should have subtitled it - ‘And neither Will Praise Bands’. It’s a very good article and worth the read. http://www.theholyruckus.com/spirituallife/2019/9/30/latin-wont-save-us

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