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One final thought on the Latin Mass at St. Mark September 24, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, North Deanery, persecution, sadness, secularism, Tradition, Virtue.

I will be glad to put this subject to bed, as it has, over the past 2+ years, been the focus of far too much sturm and drang than I had ever considered possible. But I have had a thought lingering in my head for a while that I think worthy of some consideration.  I have said, and I still fully believe, that this NO Latin Mass at St. Mark and its failure to attract sufficient attendance (of course, we were never told what sufficient wasTuy_Vision – 100 a Mass?  200?  500?  This was always a ready-made excuse to cancel the Mass no matter how many attended) is NOT an indication of the overall interest in Latin Mass in the northern part of the Diocese. I think that is pretty well proved by the many people who travel long distances for NO Latin Mass at Greenville, and of course Mater Dei’s continued, explosive growth.  But I do think, as a sort of contrary sign, the failure of this Mass does indicate how far we have to go in terms of getting people to understand the great value of reverent Liturgy and its importance not only for their own sanctification but also in the life of the entire Church and even the world.

The contrary indicator is this: St. Mark has somewhere between 9 and 14 or even 15-16 thousand families listed as being members of the parish.  Now, probably at least half of those, if not more, are either double listings (people registered at more than one parish), people who have left the area, and people who have little or no practice of the Faith.  It may be a lot higher than that.  But based on Mass attendance at St. Mark, it is probable that at least 3000 families are at least somewhat active in attending Mass and other parts of the Faith.  3000 families might be 9000 people.  Now, we also know this Mass was never advertised very well, that while it was in the bulletin it was almost listed as a private Mass, and that probably the majority of St. Mark parishioners never knew of it’s existence, and of those that did, fr magdala first mass (9)probably most of those thought the Mass went away during the period of many cancellations.  And then you have to also pare down the number of people who would even attend a daily Mass in the first place.  The numbers are getting pretty speculative here, but were there 200 or 300 famillies that sometimes attend daily Mass, knew of this Mass, and didn’t bother to attend?  I really don’t know.

But the simple fact of the matter is that, first week aside, when I guess there was some promotion that there would be this new, “experimental” Mass beforehand, I don’t think we ever got more than 10 or 20 regular St. Mark, non-Latin Mass type people at any individual Mass.  On an average night, knowing most of the people in attendance, I would say that the number of Sunday Mass St. Mark people there was generally less than 10. I guess at some of the Requiem Masses that number went up a bit, which is odd.  I know a fair number of folks at St. Mark who profess an interest in a more reverent/traditional liturgy, but they rarely came. I even took to sending our reminders to different groups on Mondays, but rarely did any come.

I think we that love a traditional, reverent, Christocentric Liturgy have to face facts: we are a tiny minority.  A minority that I think has been growing of late, but still a tiny minority.  There just aren’t many fellow Catholics, even among daily Mass attendees (or, perhaps I should say Gold_Spaingiven the geriatric nature of most daily Mass attendees, ESPECIALLY among them) who are willing to step outside their comfort zone or put out some extra effort to help support liturgical renewal.  What ones there are have for the most part already moved onto the TLM, and they look on the NO Latin as “why bother?”

That is why in this country and around the world, there are many times more TLMs than there are NO Latin Masses – the interest is just not great for that form of the Mass, and most people who do wind up assisting at NO Latin Masses do so only as a sort of transition from the vernacular happy clappy liturgy they are running from to the TLM.  Once they taste the exalted sweetness of the Mass of All Ages, few want to mess around with the Novus Ordo in any form.  I know there are exceptions, and I’m not criticizing those who love a very good, traditional, Latin Novus Ordo at all – I’ve been there, and it helped me and my family tremendously (to say a bit more – if all parishes had Masses like this, we in all likelihood would have never gone looking and eventually found the TLM).  I also know some folks have had bad personal experiences at TLM parishes, which is a great shame.  But overall, most people I know who went into NO Latin Mass came out to move onto the TLM.

prob7You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.  You can bring a NO Latin Mass to a conservative-ish NO parish, but you can’t make the people come.  And it is difficult to argue that a special Mass that only drew 30 or 40 a night is worth continuing.

So, after two years of hopes and disappointments and sometimes serious, mostly half-hearted efforts at promotion (and I speak for myself, too), I think the conclusion I’ve drawn is that the Novus Ordo Latin Mass, and the whole “mutual enrichment” meme, is a dead end.  Most people, even the most “devout” daily Mass attendees, like their vernacular Novus Ordo just the way it is. They enjoy the “symbol” of the Eucharist, the guitar music, the sappy protestant hymns, and the 3 minute, completely non-threatening homily.  Some like it a shade more traditional with some incense and traditional hymns, and others like it full-on evangelical with guitars, video boards, and shorts and flip-flops. It is a very small minority that will learn a bit more, look around and say “How can this be?” and try to find something better.

The past two years have really said to me, the future of the Liturgy in the Church will not be a NO-TLM hybrid, or gradual movement of the NO towards the TLM, but a stark choice: either full-on protestant hootenany “mass,” or the TLM.  This may take 200 years to play out, but one or the other will emerge victorious and be re-instilled as the sole, universal Mass of the Roman Rite.

And I know which one it will be.



1. Michael - September 24, 2013

You are 100% correct.

I sometimes think it will take nothing less than an act of God (like a lightning bolt from the sky) to change the direction of the Church.

What is God’s ultimate plan? How long will the confusion last? When will Catholic Bishops actually have the courage to speak the Truth?

2. JLG - September 24, 2013

I find it interesting that the worlds Bishops do not use the Latin Novus Ordo mass as a way to unify the two camps. As a way to convince the far out extreme rad trads that the NO is a valid mass. Instead of shepherding their flock and allowing the faithful to grow stronger and more unified (and even using the TLM types to rub off on the liberal aborting-communion merely a symbol crowd), the Bishops have chosen to lead from behind and only ruling with an iron fist when it comes to the TLM and hiding the faithful Catholics in the far corners of the diocese (Greenville or Irving) like Quasimodo. “I’m not an animal! I am a trady!

3. L - September 24, 2013

I think some of the main reasons people did not go is because it was not advertised and it was also a hardship for many to have a Mass at 7:00 p.m. There are many who work fairly late and yes, until 7:00 p.m. While the Holy Days of obligation have become fewer because if this, this has not been a consideration for the Latin N.O. Mass at St. Mark. I am very grateful that it had been offered yet very saddened and disappointed by the decision to cease it. This Mass really helped the laity who participated to appreciate the priests more and become more attentive at other Masses. Thank you Fr. Cliff and Fr. Hopka, we appreciate you very much. God bless you.

4. Barbara Kralis - September 25, 2013

I agree; well done commentary.

5. Steve - September 25, 2013

We simply must pray that God inspires a Pope to offer the Traditional Roman Mass at least from time to time…actually, inspires a Roman Pontiff to return permanently to the ancient Roman Mass.

We must pray also that the Dallas Diocese is blessed someday with a bishop (along the line of Bishop Slattery) who is a friend to the Traditional Roman Mass.

Perhaps God will bless us with a bishop who is determined to at least adhere to Holy Mother Church’s teachings in regard to Latin and Gregorian Chant.

If the Novus Ordo Mass will remain in place for a great many years…and it will…then we at least need a bishop who brings Latin, Gregorian Chant, ad orientem worship (you know, Traditional practices) to the Novus Ordo Mass.

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