Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Teenager's TLM Testimony (Part 1)

I recently asked some young people to tell me about their experiences with the Traditional Latin Mass and what it means in their lives. I was pretty astonished by some of the responses I received; several kids wrote lengthy testimonies about the TLM and the impact it has made on them. With their permission, I am going to be sharing a few of their stories here over the coming weeks. Every testimony you will read is from a young person of high school age.

The first story comes from a young woman whose family were converts from Protestantism. Through discovering the Traditional Latin Mass, she is now discerning a religious vocation. But I will let her tell you about it in her own words.

The Traditional Latin Mass has changed my life. I don’t know where I would be without it in my life. But I do know one thing: I surely wouldn’t be where I am today.

I’ll begin from the beginning, but before I do that, I’ll release a little disclaimer. I do not think the New Mass is inferior to the Traditional Latin Mass, I do not think the New Mass is invalid, I do not believe that anyone who attends the New Mass should be ashamed. I believe that someone can have a wonderful relationship with God and love their faith if they attend the New Mass. I am just sharing my testimony and not vouching for anyone else’s.

My story begins, naturally, with my first Traditional Latin Mass experience. My family had just converted from Protestantism a year later, and were now living in Las Vegas, Nevada (aka, Sin City). We were church hunting, which we were used to, having moved multiple times. On May 1, we attended a parish for the annual May crowning for Our Lady and met some wonderful people who regularly went to a Latin Mass locally. They were warm, and welcoming, immediately invited us to their parish. Having no prior knowledge of the Latin Mass nor tie to any parish, we accepted and attended our first Traditional Latin Mass. Long story short, we never left. I don’t remember the specifics of the first time we went (I was only 8), but I caught on quickly. We very much changed our lifestyle in our homeschool and faith. I adopted many Traditional practices—such as veiling and modest dress according to the pre-VII guidelines—because my friends all did such things and I wanted to be exactly like them.

After two and a half years, we moved north and had a parish that was pretty much the opposite of a Latin Mass parish. It was very much a country church. We moved again 18 months later where we again had a New Mass parish, but it was much more reverent: We had a schola that did Gregorian chant, about half the Mass was in Latin, and our priest pushed the front pew up to function as our communion rail. But my longing for the Traditional Latin Mass gnawed at me, and I began to have a thirst for the tradition that so long had been in the church. When a local priest began celebrating the Latin Mass last year (In late 2020), I was overjoyed, but my family was not ready to leave our parish; after all, we knew many people, had dear friends, and loved our priest.

We began to go once a month and I began to see the fruits in my spiritual life immediately. Love for Jesus in the Eucharist, revival in my prayer life, and a thirst for tradition—for things as they used to be. Then, in July of 2021, Pope Francis released his Traditionis Custodes, sending the permission of the Latin Mass back to the bishops. Our Archbishop did not tend to be traditional (he had even danced down the aisle at a Youth New Mass) and we knew that the outcome wouldn’t be desirable. Our Latin Mass priest urged us to write letters to the bishop, stating why we loved the Latin Mass and why it should stay. I sent a letter on my own, and my parents sent a separate one. We both got the exact same responses. Basically, the bishop felt it was his duty to implement Motu Proprio in the diocese.

When he finally announced his decision, we rejoiced because it wasn’t nearly as bad as we feared. While he said no new Mass times or locations could be said, the existing one could stay and say Mass twice a month. Still, twice a month was much better than we’d expected. My family made the jump fully, going to the Latin Mass whenever it was offered, and my love just grew. I never thought my faith could grow that deep, that I could feel the fire that I felt in such a way that I carried it with me all the week.

Soon after that, in late 2021, we were faced with the necessity of having to move suddenly. The Latin Mass was one of our top priorities when choosing between two living locations. We ended up moving to Ohio (where we currently are) and my parents promised that we would attend a Traditional Latin Mass no matter what. However, we were not able to buy a house that was within our preferable distance from a Traditional Latin Mass parish. We had three Latin Mass parishes around us, all one hour away. We settled on an FSSP parish in Indiana (so we get to cross the border every Sunday!), but still wanted to try the New Mass parishes in our city we could get to for daily Mass or Holy Days.

We tried the first, a mere seven minutes from our home and were not pleased with what we were confronted with. The parishioners thought they were in a social hall, the priest swore horribly during his homily as well as made a joke out of the whole thing, there were Eucharistic ministers (and guess what? All women!), and what was worse, they didn’t purify their hands! They also did not use a paten when distributing communion, which is a great tragedy, because particles of Our Lord, or even a whole host can fall to the ground. Wherever communion is distributed on the hand, or a paten is not used, we trample Our Lord in the church and no one shouts. It is a great sadness for me.

We rarely go to this parish, unless necessary for some reason. The next parish was, unbelievably, worse! The priest skipped whole parts of the Mass, ad-libbed the prayers, and just said whatever he wanted to say. It is doubtful whether or not the Consecration was even valid. What a great sadness for Our Lord! We have never returned to that parish.

Despite these experiences, my faith has grown so unspeakably that I am certain we moved to Ohio for a reason. Now I have known for quite some years that I have a religious vocation, but it was here in Ohio that I really started embracing that. I have grown close with a local women’s congregation (Children of Mary) whose charism is to spread love for Jesus in the Eucharist, love the tradition, and make reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences done to Him.

Their charism is extremely attractive to me and the Holy Spirit has made it quite clear that I am to be with them. I took the first step on October 31 a couple of weeks ago by becoming a consecrated virgin and a Littlest Soul. By this consecration, I have given my life to restoring tradition in the church, begging God for holy Priests and Bishops, and making reparation for all the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences done to Jesus in the Eucharist. I am married to Christ. He is the Eternal Spouse of my Soul and the King of my Heart. My wedding band everyday reminds me of my promise and my vows to Him. I know I wouldn’t be here without the Traditional Latin Mass.

This is the Mass St. Padre Pio said devoutly, this is the Mass St. Jose Maria Escriva fought for, this is the Mass St. Teresa of Calcutta cherished.

This is the Mass that is here to stay. This is the Mass that grows year by year. This is the Mass that will never fail and never diminish. This is the Mass of the Ages.

Thank you, Lord!! Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!


Sunday, November 06, 2022

Fall 2022 Articles on Unam Sanctam Catholicam

Have you been over to the newly revamped Unam Sanctam Catholicam sister site lately? The site went live in July (see here if you missed the announcement) and since then I've been adding a ton of great articles. Here's some of the new essays I've published over the past couple weeks—on subjects as diverse as Filipino Catholicism, the Ark of the Covenant, and beards:

  • The History of Beards in Western Christendom: Easily my most popular new article, this traces the Church's changing understanding of the beard over the first 1500 years of Christendom. 

  • The Leopard: Medieval Christians attributed typological meanings to the animals they encountered in nature. This article explores the medieval symbolism attached to the leopard. 

  • Aspebet Peter, Bishop of the Camp of Tents: This essay tells the story of the conversion and ministry of Aspebet-Peter, the Bedouin bishop who became one of the fathers of Arab Christianity in 5th century Judea.

  • Ark of the Covenant in the Lateran Basilica: Did you know there was a strong tradition in medieval Rome that the Ark of the Covenant was enshrined within the high altar at the Lateran? 

  • The Saga of the Patarenes: The bizarre story of how the Gregorian Reform went off the rail in 11th century Milan, spawning the Patarene movement, a kind of quasi-Donatism.

  • The Jews and the Sassanid Capture of Jerusalem: In 614 the Sassanid Persians captured Christian Jerusalem and carried off the True Cross as a trophy of conquest. How did the Jews of Palestine react to these events?

  • Archbishop Poblete's Missionary Journey to Cavite:  Concerning the missionary journey of a 17th century Spanish archbishop in the Philippines who was determined to stamp out Filipino slavery within the Archdiocese of Manila.

I've also transferred over almost all of my older articles. I'd say at this point 90% of the articles of the old site have been migrated. I'm planning on finishing the rest up this month. Some older articles you might find of interest that I moved over in the past few weeks:

Finally, I have also been writing at
Catholic Exchange over the past few months. Here is a list of what I've been doing over there:

As always, you can also follow us on Facebook, where I post new articles from this blog and the website. And if there's any subject you'd like to see me write on, please let me know in the comments. Thank you for your support! Pray for me, and I will pray for you! 

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Guest Post: Retreat to the Ivory Tower

[Nov 1 2022] Today I am happy to present a guest post from Kevin Tierney, who has often graced this blog with his insights over the years. Today the topic of his reflection is the article "Papal Responses to the Emergence of the TLM Movement," another stinker published in Church Life Journal by usual suspects John Cavidini, Mary Healy, and Thomas Weinandy.

* * * * * 

Today in Church Life Journal, a theology journal at the University of Notre Dame, several eminent professors (including one who is otherwise a staunch critic of Pope Francis) made the claim that the continued existence of the Latin Mass is a betrayal of the Second Vatican Council and the Council Fathers, who only willed one form of worship for Catholics in the documents of Vatican II.

Ignoring for a moment the existence of Eastern Liturgies (which complicate both the argument of only one form of worship and contain a lot of the things they hate about the TLM), I think it should be noted that even if this were true (it isn't), its also irrelevant. The so called abandonment of Vatican II didn't begin with Benedict XVI; it began with Paul VI. Let's do a historical lesson.

When Paul VI promulgated Missale Romanum in 1969, giving us what is now known as the "Novus Ordo," he sincerely believed that of course everybody was going to sign on enthusiastically to celebrate the New Mass. While almost everyone did, a lot of elderly priests not only didn't, they refused to do so, on the premise that to force them, in their advanced age, to suddenly relearn everything was impractical and cruel. Accepting reality, Paul VI made an allowance for them, creating a carve out that was, in his mind, for the good of the Church.

In 1971, Bishops in England and Wales came to him, armed with a letter from numerous scientists, artists and intellectuals, many not even Catholic, telling Paul VI that his desire to destroy the Latin Mass was an act of destruction not just of Catholic civilization, but of Western Civilization. Even though they were firmly committed to celebrating the Novus Ordo, the bishops were sympathetic to this argument, and asked Paul VI, for the good of the Church, to consider a change. Paul VI issued what is known as the "Agatha Christie Indult" (because the non-Catholic author Christie was one of the prominent signatories of the letter), allowing a bishop to give permission to celebrate the TLM when it was judged for the good of the Church.

It was at this very moment, not even 10 years after Vatican II's conclusion, that the Church realized the attempt to suppress the TLM had failed. Now it was a discussion of what terms the Church could live with. The architect of the New Mass, Annibal Bugnini, surprisingly told Paul VI to let the SSPX celebrate the old mass, as enacting further restrictions risked schism, and the juice absolutely wasn't worth the squeeze. Paul VI ignored that plea.

Upon his accession to the throne as John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla decided to have the Congregation for Divine Worship study the issue of what terms he could live with, as he wanted to bring the Conciliar fighting to an end. The study concluded that while most had adopted the new liturgy, some had not, and that this "problem" was one they could not solve by brute force. It was also pointed out that the UK had conditions for the celebration of the TLM nobody else had, and that this was unfair. As a result, John Paul II universalized the Agatha Christie Indult in 1984. He also requested a commission of Cardinals study the status of the TLM. Was it suppressed? Was it abrogated? Did a priest need permission to say the TLM?

The Commission found that the TLM was never abrogated by Paul VI. They further found that a priest did not require permission from the bishop to celebrate a lawful and valid rite of the Church. The tension came between what was permissible in private, and how to balance that permission with the authority of the local bishop to regulate the liturgy in his diocese. Completely ignored were the desires and practical issues facing lay Catholics, as the Church did not give a crap what lay Catholics thought at this point. The Commission presented their findings to John Paul II, who basically ignored them. He sympathized with them, but felt that taking this kind of definitive action would cause a wound in the Church, and could leave the impression that the Church had abandoned its commitment to the liturgical reform.

As that internal debate was happening, relations with the SSPX had deteriorated even further, especially after Assisi; the SSPX and Rome entered the darkness of winter. After the illicit consecrations of the four bishops, John Paul II increasingly came to the realization that the Church's treatment of the TLM was at least partially responsible for the SSPX schism. After announcing canonical penalties, he not only told bishops to be more generous with the 1984 Indult, he erected numerous pieces of ecclesiastical infrastructure to see to it. The Pontifical Commission of Ecclesia Dei was founded. Religious orders were given authority to celebrate the TLM exclusively. The Fraternal Society of St. Peter was founded. From 1988 to 2005, the story was one of gradual acceptance of the TLM within the life of the Church.

This was the situation when Joseph Ratzinger ascended the throne as Benedict XVI. Far from the revisionist history of liberation of the TLM being something that was wholly of his own vision, he was simply taking the suggestion of those cardinals from the mid 1980s, finally deciding to change the Church's approach. No longer would the Church merely make peace with the TLM's continued existence. Instead she would welcome its continued existence as a great benefit to the Church.

Whatever you think Vatican II did or didn't will, Summorum Pontificum was the logical end not of 2005, 1988, or even 1984. It was the inevitable result of 1971. It was the final admission that the attempt to impose the Novus Ordo on the entire Church was a failure, something that Paul VI and John Paul II had recognized, even reluctantly. It is the height of folly, hubris, and stupidity to attempt to yank the Church, by force, back to 1970, a move Paul VI and even Bugnini himself admitted was a failure and not worth it.

As for the Church Life Journal article, imagine arguing about the relevance of CDW decision from 1974 that couldn't conceive of the TLM having any bearing on the world in 2022, let alone existing independently of the Novus Ordo with four decades of growth! Having lost the argument on the ground, they have retreated to their ivory towers arguing academic theories.