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Tantumergo’s program for liturgical and spiritual restoration January 22, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Sacraments, Tradition, Virtue.

Commenter Steve made the following request, and I thought it worth turning his request and my response into a post:

Suppose that you could enact a liturgical/spiritual renewal program for the Dallas Diocese. Please outline at least a few ways in which you would act to renew liturgy/spirituality within our diocese.

Have at least one TLM in every deanery every day, and one TLM in every parish every Sunday. 2 hours of Confession in every parish virtually every day. I have prayed for that for years. The TLM will instill a vastly improved understanding and appreciation of the Liturgy in all those who participate, and the priests who offer it will grow tremendously in faith and reverence for the Mass. Many priests have started offering the TLM, and they find it makes their offering of the NO much more reverent and edifying. But the TLM itself is really the key, whatever the spillover effects may be in the NO, as more and more souls get exposed to the TLM more and more will come to appreciate and value all the traditional aspects of piety and belief that have been lost over the past several decades. It’s not a magic cure, there could still be abuse and many people will refuse the Grace that is offered them in the TLM, but overall it would be a huge step in the right direction.

That is what is so frustrating about the “ghettoization” of the TLM in this and m any other dioceses, yes it is wonderful that we have a TLM parish but it is in an awkward location and many many people like yourself are too far away to avail themselves of it. As such, even with its phenomenal growth, its impact is limited. I fear liturgical and even spiritual renewal in the Church will be limited until the TLM is truly widespread. It may take the TLM becoming dominant form of the Mass. That may sound strange, even elitist, I don’t mean it to be so, but I think the TLM is really what the Mass should be.

I have long thought the absence of Confession, and the way that this great Sacrament has been de-emphasized almost to the point of irrelevance in the lives of most Catholics, is perhaps the key source of the weak spiritual lives of so many Catholics and even their tendency to abandon many Doctrines of the Faith.  Where Confession is emphasized, it tends to grow.  There have been several parishes in the area that have expanded their Confession times and there are long lines as a result, whereas previously when they had only 1 hour a week or so there would be only a handful of people receiving Confession.  The TLM, with its emphasis on our fallen, sinful natures and paramount need for sanctifying Grace to lead a virtuous life pleasing to God, strongly emphasizes the vital role confession plays in the lives of Catholics.  There seems to be a synergistic effect, where the TLM and generous Confession times reinforce each other to vastly aid souls in the practice of virtue and the acceptance of all the Church believes.  But having a good, faithful confessor is paramount, as is a willingness to preach the hard truths from the pulpit.  Generous Confession in a parish with a weak priest who abuses the Mass and fails to teach all the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church will likely not be terribly effective.  But when coupled with strong, orthodox priests who are willing to delve deeply (or at least somewhat) into those “forbidden” topics like contraception, divorce, fornication, self-abuse, pornography, gluttony, lust for power and wealth, and all the rest, it can have a startling effect on converting the souls of the parishioners.

In this day and age, there will likely almost always remain some hardcore disaffected Katholycs in the pews, but it is amazing what an orthodox priest can do to a parish – if he offers the TLM (or a very reverent NO), emphasizes Confession, and preaches those hard truths.  The pastor of St. William in Greenville has done that successfully for years, even though he is barred from offering the TLM as he would like.  He has changed the thinking of many souls.  But even he has some “recusants,” if you will, who sit there frumpily, unhappy with their faithful pastor and closed to the Grace that could flood their souls if they cooperated a bit more.

You can argue for all kinds of plans and programs, as the USCCB has tried to introduce repeatedly over the past 40 years, but the Sacraments are the key to Grace and the Mass is the Source and Summit of our Faith. Get those right, and the rest will follow.

I guess one final “fix” would be to encourage use of all the old Sacrament Rites that were associated with the TLM but have been replaced by newer, often very bad Rites in recent years. The new Exorcism Rite – not a Sacrament, but very serious – is a joke.  Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage…….encourage use of the beautiful and so efficacious “old Rites” and that will also help.


1. TG - January 22, 2015

Good ideas. I don’t know about Diocese of Dallas but never will happen in Diocese of Austin – only one TLM on Sundays in Austin. Probably most of the priests don’t even know Latin.

2. glmcreations - January 22, 2015

Minimalist approach: turn priest around; priest can say only whats in missal; other than missal responses, no talking in church. Dress modestly. Guy McClung, San Antonio

3. Frank - January 22, 2015

First, I would not use the word, renewal, the catchword for innovation. Let’s use the word, reform or restore instead. One thing I would do to reform the New Mass is simply have it resemble the Latin Mass in everything but spoken in the vernacular. In other words, everything would be the same except spoken in English for the laity to understand. The laity can respond where appropriate as they did in what were once called Dialogue Latin Masses. Bring back Gregorian Chant and truly sacred music as opposed to “religious” music. Finally, require proper dress and quiet in the House of the Lord.

Tantumblogo - January 22, 2015

I’m good with that. The first new Mass in ’65 was very much a vernacular TLM.

TG - January 22, 2015

I like your suggestions.

4. steve - January 22, 2015

Thank you for your response, I have several questions for you. Unfortunately, I know that you don’t post on Saturdays and Sundays.

Therefore, Deo volente, perhaps this thread will continue into next week.

First two questions…

Speaking humanly, how hopeful are you that Bishop Farrell may end the “ghettoization” of the TLM within our diocese?

If Dallas were blessed today with a bishop who wished truly to implement Summorum Pontificum, are there priests within the diocese who would establish regular TLMs at their parishes?

Thank you.


5. MFG - January 23, 2015

Having lived in a place where diocesan TLMs exist (with no EF only parish) I can offer the following observations:

A TLM at a Novus Ordo parish certainly helps but I’m not sure it fully affects the culture of the non TLM parishioners yet. In part, the TLM is stacked up against 4-5 weekend Novus Ordo Masses which have their own culture and spirituality which dominates the parish. The TLM can be seen as a novelty. Perhaps if there were 2-3 weekend TLMs it might be different.

More than Ad Orientum, Communion at the rails (N.O.), Chant , I think Tantum is right with ample confession times. That alone may be the single most important change to implement. A clean soul illuminates the mind which may dispose someone more to the TLM.

Are there suburban parishes out there besides St Williams (beyond Dallas) that offer ample confession times? If so what is their liturgical setting like?

6. steve - January 23, 2015

MFG…”Are there suburban parishes out there besides St Williams (beyond Dallas) that offer ample confession times? If so what is their liturgical setting like?”

Here is the “Reconcilation” schedule at Saint Jude in Allen, Texas.

Reconciliation (In the Chapel)

Monday: 6:00 – 6:15pm
Tuesday and Thursday: 6:00 – 6:15pm
Wednesday and Friday: 11:15 – 11:45am
Saturday: 4:00 – 4:30pm
Sunday: 7:30 – 7:45am
Sunday: 4:30 – 4:45pm

I am not familiar with Saint Jude’s liturgical setting.

Among the parishes with which I am familiar, Saint Mark The Evangelist (Plano, Texas) offers the Holy Sacrament of Penance most often…

Wednesdays…6:30 P.M. – 8:30 P.M.
Fridays…4:30 P.M. – 5:15 P.M.
Saturdays…3:30 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Liturgically…Fathers Smith and Hopka have always (to my knowledge) offered Mass reverently.


Tantumblogo - January 23, 2015

St. Jude and St. Mark are the two leaders in the north deanery for Confession. I think St. Joseph has expanded their times as well, but not to that degree.

Yes, offering Communion only ever kneeling and on the tongue at the altar rail, Mass offered only Ad Orientem, mixing Latin back in, and using only male altar servers (and well trained ones at that) would all help improve the NO immeasurably. As would mixing in much more Gregorian Chant, as VII intended. I was very short of time when I wrote that post, so I didn’t include every avenue.

Tantumblogo - January 23, 2015

I should add, the last time I went through the websites of all the parishes in the Diocese looking for their Confession times – maybe 1 1/2 years ago – the vast majority were still only offering 1-2 hours per week. It seemed a fair number had increased from 1 to 2 in the past year – Bishop Farrell has tried to emphasize the importance of Confession, to his credit. There were still a handful who had no Confession ever. I’d say about 1/3 had only 1 hour per week, about half had two, and the rest either had more or a lot less.

7. steve - January 23, 2015

Tantumblogo…”I think St. Joseph has expanded their times as well, but not to that degree.”

Confession at Saint Joseph parish (Richardson, Texas):

Saturdays…9:30 A.M. to 10:30 A.M.

Mondays…5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. (Evening Mass Monday through Friday each at 6:00 P.M.)


Tantumblogo…”Yes, offering Communion only ever kneeling and on the tongue at the altar rail, Mass offered only Ad Orientem, mixing Latin back in, and using only male altar servers (and well trained ones at that) would all help improve the NO immeasurably. As would mixing in much more Gregorian Chant, as VII intended.”

You are in the loop in regard to the Dallas Diocese.

Conversely, I am not in the loop. I am an unconnected nobody.

Perhaps Bishop Farrell plans to restore some semblance of the Latin Church’s liturgical tradition to our diocese.

I am not certain.

But without being pessimistic for the same of being pessimistic, simply based upon my reading of Bishop Farrell, I don’t have any reason to believe (speaking humanly) that Bishop Farrell plans to enact any of your above suggestions.

Any thoughts on that?

Thank you.


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