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Would You Care to Help a Good Priest on Facebook? July 19, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, priests, Revolution, the struggle for the Church, true leadership, Virtue.

I’m a bit of two minds about this post.  A really good,  young local priest – he’s not traditional at present, but, I believe, has aspirations or inclinations in that direction – wrote a post on Facebook about offering Mass Ad Orientem.  He didn’t say he’s planning on doing so, he just asked for people’s experiences, and whether they found the Novus Ordo offered Ad Orientem meaningful.  My wife brought this post to my attention.  Since I refuse to have anything to do with Facebook, and won’t get sucked into having my account reactivated (and all my personal data available, again), I thought I might ask readers still on Facebook if they might charitably share their experiences.

The problem, to the extent one exists, is this: there are about 15 replies at present, and they break down about 2:1 or more against Ad Orientem rather than in favor of it.  Even those who claim to have assisted at a Novus Ordo offered Ad Orientem seem to speak against it.  The usual reasons are proffered: it’s rude for the priest to have his back turned to the people, versus poplum doesn’t undermine the sacredness of the Mass or diminish belief in the Real Presence (both demonstrably false), versus poplum doesn’t result in the Mass devolving into a closed-circle of entertainment, etc.  The most frequently offered justification for opposing Ad Orientem is, to me, a very sad one; it comes from older people who lived through the liturgical revolution and eventually came to embrace it.  They ask why the Church would now “go back in time,” which is an appalling bit self-justification and a fundamentally illogical claim.

A bit of an aside: I’ve often related that I’ve never had anyone assist at the TLM who did not come away at least somewhat impressed.  That is, until a few months ago.  A member of my wife’s family who had not been to a TLM since the days of the Council assisted at our local Fraternity parish and literally hated EVERY. SINGLE. ASPECT. of the Mass.  I mean everything was wrong.  The priest didn’t fold his hands properly.  The priest didn’t cross himself enough or at the right times. She couldn’t hear the priest.  Etc., etc., ad infinitum.  How this woman could perfectly remember every slight detail of the Mass of Ages from 50+  years ago is beyond me.

But she said something really revealing later on.  She said it had been extraordinarily difficult, back then, to accept the changes to the Liturgy, but eventually she had.  She could not now countenance that those changes had been wrong, or destructive, or that she had gone along with something deficient and disordered all these years.  I have to wonder whether that sentiment does not underlie some of the non-response responses asking why the Church would “go back in time.” Or, they may just be liberals.

Anyway, do what you will, I don’t really think it would be helpful to critique other people’s responses, but I think it would be very helpful to provide some powerful positive arguments in favor of Ad Orientem, whether from a Novus Ordo or TLM perspective, in support of this priest.  I think if he could, he would be very interested in offering Mass facing the Lord in the tabernacle.  He is certainly worthy of support.  He’s recently been made pastor of a very large parish that has a very sad history behind it, and he could do much good work for souls in his new position.

Thank you for your consideration.  Dominus vobiscum!



1. Richard M - July 19, 2016

The age demographic of the commenters in question is…telling.

As a friend once said of a certain kind of Baby Boomer priest, they were “one change men.” One change was all they had in them. They won’t abide another, no matter how much sense it makes.

I think a lot of these commenters are One Change Catholics. Alas.

2. Richard M - July 19, 2016

Also: “She could not now countenance that those changes had been wrong, or destructive, or that she had gone along with something deficient and disordered all these years.”

This is a real problem. It’s quite natural for a Catholic to assume that the Church hierarchy cannot get something as basic as its worship wrong. The desire to give deference that is quite natural.

Those in the hierarchy who chose to inflict these things on the faithful, or who could not summon the courage to stop it, have much to answer for.

3. Guy McCling - July 19, 2016

Et cum spiritual tuo!

4. A Mom - July 19, 2016

I can’t help but notice the “I think,” “I feel,” “I prefer,” in the comments. Perhaps this is at the heart of the crisis in the Church and will not be corrected by having a democratic debate about whether or not the priest should face East, or whether or not we should outlaw Communion in the hand, and so on. Perhaps the correction will only come when we as God’s people humble ourselves by learning to sacrifice our own wills in order to do the Will of God, and to live and worship in the way that God has established and justly deserves, and in a manner that is fitting in the presence of His infinite Goodness and Majesty. Conversations and debates about all aspects of Catholic life are one thing, but we naturally tend to balk when we realize that some kind of change or sacrifice will be required of us. (I am certainly not implying that I’ve got this down myself. I’m pretty bad at it, actually.) “A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Deal favorably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.”

From the book on the Holy Mass by Fr. Michael Muller (which is excellent and can be read for free on archive dot org): “Our Lord said one day to St. Gertrude, when she was praying for one of her sisters in religion, who wished that God should grant her prayer for divine consolations: ‘It is she herself who puts obstacles to the consolations of My grace, by attachment to her own will and judgment. As one who closes his nostrils cannot enjoy the fragrance of fresh flowers, so the sweet consolations of My grace cannot be experienced by him who is attached to his own will and judgment.'” Our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena: “for I will fill you with My grace in proportion as you empty yourself of your will…Think, speak, and do nothing but what is pleasing to Me, and what you know to be in accordance with My will. Then the Holy Ghost will teach you everything you have to do.”

I am not on Facebook, but I’m wondering if maybe focusing first on catechizing the faithful in depth about what exactly the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is and why we are required, as a matter of justice, to assist at it with as much reverence and devotion as we are able would help this priest and others to lay the groundwork for the move toward a more reverent Liturgy. (He may have already done so, I don’t know.) I will remember him in my prayers.

Tantumblogo - July 19, 2016

Beautiful comment. I think that would be absolutely wonderful rejoinder on Facebook.

aquinas54 - July 20, 2016

I completely agree. I did leave a comment, which I am pasting below, which sort of starts down that path, focusing on the common misunderstanding that the mass is “for us” instead of for us to serve God. I attend that parish so I do hope this idea doesn’t get derailed.

Father Cargo: Thanks so much for this post and the chance for a discussion of this topic.
I believe it would be a marvelous enhancement to the Mass for the priest to celebrate ad orientem, and that once people have been given good solid information about the historical and theological significance of this posture, most would welcome it.
I have read much commentary on this issue and what most impressed me was something that I believe Pope Benedict XVI said. Too often we come to Mass expecting to get something out of it, as if its purpose is to benefit us. This is backwards. We come to Mass to offer God our thanksgiving and praise and to participate in the eternal sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. Yes, we receive awesome graces and blessings from receiving the Blessed Sacrament and from the Liturgy of the Word, but the primary reason we are there is to give to God, not to get something for ourselves.
With this in mind, the ad orientem posture makes much more sense in that the priest leads the people in prayer before the altar and the tabernacle.
I hope you will give us the opportunity to participate in Masses celebrated ad orientem at St. Joseph in the near future.


5. Daze Inde - July 20, 2016

Ad Orientem is blessed. Why would you opt to offer Mass (where priest, as mediator, in sacred, mystical union between priest and God, becomes alter Christus) facing the distracting people, as if a “performer” for an audience, rather than intimately communing with God, facing with deep contemplation His Creator in the Tabernacle?

6. MFG - July 20, 2016

7-8 years ago there was an article on New Liturgical Movement asking why aren’t more older people attending Mass. The article came to the same conclusion as your relative.

From my faulty memory: When the council changes occurred there were generally 2 groups: Those who flat out stopped attending Mass as their Catholic identity was destroyed when the TLM was replaced. The other were the ones that didn’t like the changes but accepted them and forced themselves to like it because it was the Church whom they were loyal to.

Fast forward to today and they hate the Latin Mass because it hits a guilty conscience. They are forced to consider that they were lied to by the Church; and betrayed their instincts.

Many can’t bear to consider that after 40 years. Now some of this might also be the guilt their pastors imposed upon them for the same reason.

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