Why I’m Not a Traditionalist (But We’re Going to Latin Mass Anyways…)

Hi, my name is Ryan. I’m 27-years-old, and I’m new to this diocese. And for the love of all that is holy, can someone please do something about all of the $@#!&* tambourine playing going on around here?!


I apologize in advance if this post comes off as too much of a rant. And I should say this from the start: I’m not a Traditionalist Catholic. I’ve never found the criticisms of Vatican II to be very convincing, I’m a big fan of some theologians that Trads usually aren’t fond of (e.g., von Balthasar), I think that Pope Francis’ simpler style is (for the most part) pretty awesome, etc. I guess you can say I’m a “JP2 conservative”…faithful to the Magisterium, adherent to the hermeneutic of continuity, etc. All that to say, I was never interested in picking on the Novus Ordo liturgy…

But we’ve made a decision as a family to start attending the Traditional Latin Mass regularly. And here’s why:

When we were received into the Catholic Church, we lived in Boston. There, it was never hard to find a beautiful, reverent, Novus Ordo Mass. Life was good, and when I was on the right side of town, I even enjoyed the occasional Anglican Use Mass or Maronite Divine Liturgy.

Last year, I read Pope Benedict’s “Spirit of the Liturgy” (a must-read, by the way), and began to re-think a lot of the views I held on the liturgy. I began to agree with the need for kneeling to receive Communion, having the priest celebrate ad orientem, etc. [Ed. note: many thanks to Fr. Z for catching the Latin typo in the original!] But, I have to admit, I didn’t see these things as really pressing issues, mostly because what I saw in and around the city of Boston was (for the most part) in keeping with the solemn nature of what we as Catholics believe to be taking place at the Mass.

Now, though, we’ve moved to the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida. And, if I may be blunt, the state of the liturgy around here is utterly atrocious.

Imagine seashell-shaped parishes filled with Baby Boomers dressed in Bermuda shirts and khaki shorts. Imagine complete strangers holding hands with each other during the Our Father. Imagine jamming out to contemporary Christian songs that were popular 15-20 years ago. Imagine all sorts of improvisations on the part of priests. Heck, imagine everyone getting called up to stand around the altar together during the Eucharistic prayers, rather than kneeling back in the pews–yeah, that happened! I was there!

It’s enough to make me want to scream: “People! We are attending the re-presentation of the once-for-all-sacrifice made for us on Calvary, and simultaneously realizing the eschatological Wedding Supper of the Lamb made present in the Eucharist! PUT DOWN THE TAMBOURINES!

And so we attended the Latin Mass this past Sunday. And it was breathtakingly beautiful. And you know, it wasn’t that hard to follow along in the missal. And, in what is no doubt a bitter irony to the kind of people that like contemporary Christian music, at a Latin Mass of about 100 people, there were probably triple the number of young people than at any other Mass I’ve been to since we moved here…

And maybe this will sound extreme to some of my readers, but I don’t really want my kids exposed to what’s going on in the Novus Ordo in this diocese. I think liturgy has a huge pedagogical component to it, and I don’t like what those liturgies teach my children. I think they take away from the utter seriousness of what the Mass is, I think it says “this is just a Sunday get-together” rather than “this is a Holy Sacrifice”, I think it teaches that liturgy is about your musical preferences rather than worshiping God…Besides which, my two-year-old was way better-behaved than he has been at the Novus Ordo, and I’m sure that’s because he picked up on the reverent and serious silence, rather than looking at a guy his grandfather’s age rocking out on a guitar and thinking “aw man, it’s party time up in here!”

If this is where we are at, if this is what the Novus Ordo has become in some dioceses, then maybe the best thing to do is to hit the reset button and start from the beginning. Maybe we need to all go home, re-learn the 1962 missal, then calmly re-read Sacrosanctum Concilium in about 5 years to learn what the Council actually said, and we can have this discussion again.

Until then, you can find me and mine down the street at the TLM on Sundays, reclaiming my heritage and birth-right as a Roman Catholic–i.e., good liturgy.


source: Wikipedia (with edits from a kind reader)

source: Wikipedia (with edits from a kind reader)

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115 responses to “Why I’m Not a Traditionalist (But We’re Going to Latin Mass Anyways…)

  1. I’m 100% agree with your response

    • I’ve asked this question before, but none of the commentators responded. I’m hoping someone will this time: “I’ll be visiting Florida for 12 days in December, though in the Diocese of Venice, so will be looking to attend there.”

      I will be staying in Fort Meyers. What about Ressurrection Church? Could anyone recommend that parish for Christmas Mass?

      • I know very, very little about the Diocese of Venice. All I know is that there is a FSSP parish there that everyone says is amazing. I believe it’s called Christ the King…

      • Thanks do much Ryan. Unfortunately, I will have to forgo TM for Christmas due to other family members’ preferences, so I’m hoping I can at least attend a very reverent NO Mass. I saw that Resurrection Church hosts a Sunday TM, so I thought that might be a good indication of their commitment to good liturgy.

        Blessed Christmas,


  2. Art. M.

    Where in St. Petersburg do you attend Mass? We have spent the last four winters in St. Petersburg and attend St. Paul.

    • Art, we’ve tried out several parishes…Haven’t been to St. Paul’s though. Is that downtown?

      • Cathy

        Saint Paul was going to be what I suggested also, it’s on Dale Mabry. Also, the Incarnation Catholic Church on Hillsboro is good and it has a Latin Mass which when I lived there last winter was on Sunday Afternoons. I also liked the Trinity Church in Brandon. I become a Catholic by going through catechism at Incarnation but when we moved to Temple Terrace I attended The Trinity in Brandon occasionally and the Saint Paul on Dale Mabry much.

      • Cathy, do you mean Nativity in Brandon? That’s the closest church to me, but I’ve only attended 2 masses there. Not a fan, but maybe it’s the Saturday Vigil Mass? Did you go on Sundays?

      • Cathy

        Yes, I did mean Nativity. It was ok, but I much preferred Incarnation on Hillsboro and Gateway, and St. Paul on Dale Mabry. I attended Incarnation for over a year and was received into the Church in November of 2012, then when we moved to Temple Terrace I started going to St. Paul usually and liked it greatly also but only went there a few months before I came back to Fort Worth, TX. St. Paul is beautiful and has lovely gardens. Incarnation is adorned with many Pine trees, both were my favorites and I had tried out numerous Catholic Churches in the Tampa area.

  3. There isn’t one here (except at the SSPX down the road). I still wish I could be near a church with the Byzantine Catholic liturgy as my first preference, but I see your point. If you can’t find a reverent Mass in the Ordinary Form, you are correct that it is an important lesson for your children as well as for your own faith formation.

    • deogratias

      St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
      Father Edwin Palka
      9:00 am Sunday- Tridentine
      7:30 am Monday- Tridentine

      Incarnation Catholic Church
      Sundays @ 4:30pm 5124 Gateway Dr. – Tampa – FL – 33615


      • Kenneth J. Wolfe

        Incarnation’s Mass is usually offered by the Jesuit chaplain of the high school. There are good things going on around there — and they need and deserve support.

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  5. deogratias

    I caught your post on Father Z’s website http://www.wdtprs.com
    I believe St. Paul’s is not quite all the way downtown, it is on the corner of Fletcher and Dale Mabry Ave. http://stpaulchurch.com/Directions_Map.htm
    My family and I have never attended Holy Mass there before, but I wanted to pass on the info.
    Welcome to the area!
    God Bless you and your family.

    • Ah, thank you… I thought maybe Art was referring to St. Paul’s over in Pinellas County, which I think may be in downtown St. Pete (maybe near the Museum of Fine Arts? I’m not sure. I grew up in the area, but I’ve been away for 5 years…)

      Thank you for the welcome! God bless!

      • Joy

        St. Paul’s is in Carrollwood. Their progressive pastor has just been reassigned. From what I understand, the new pastor is more conservative.
        Were you at the EF at Incarnation? I sing in the schola there. BTW, we need more men in the schola, hint hint….

      • Hi Joy, Nope, we were over at St. Jude’s :) We will come visit y’all sometime though, I’m sure! But, trust me, you wouldn’t want me singing in the schola ;)

  6. deogratias

    website for St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church


  7. It was a bit shocking to see what diocese you were talking about, considering that’s where my wife and I live and we’ve recently decided to move to the Traditional Latin Mass ourselves, though not for precisely the same reasons. It has a timelessness and reverence we love, and as you said it teaches so much. (I’d love to hear from you if you’re in the area. I can be found in the About section at http://www.traditium.com.)

    – T

  8. Absolutely LOVE it!! I know this exact feeling – tho perhaps not quite so bad and there a blessed lack of tambourines! And congrats on the Fr Z kudos too!! :D

  9. liz

    We have been told at Nativity in the Diocese of St. Petersburg that we are trying to be “holier than the Pope” for receiving Communion on the tongue and the priest calls people out who he doesn’t think are paying enough attention to him during the homily. I guess he thinks Mass is a show. We have also switched to the Latin Mass and don’t mind driving to get there. Christ the King is Sarasota is also beautiful.

  10. Athanasius

    I’ll make a prediction: keep going to the TLM and you’ll stop saying you’re not a traditional Catholic within 12 months!

    • Anything’s possible :D

    • Kenneth J. Wolfe

      Excellent advice! I would also add: if you are not able to join a men’s chant schola, or serve Mass, then offer your time to organize a social that follows each Mass. Get to know your fellow Catholics at the TLM. My guess is you will make some good friends.

  11. Mary

    Our extended family and myself are Traditionalist, and I thank Our dear Lord that my dad saw what was happening and took us to the Traditional Latin Mass, which is the Mass of all Times. I am not a fan of Val II, its not dogmatic its pastoral, its to ambiguous and this caused so many abuses to occur and continue to occur. I am very thankful for the Traditional Latin Masses that our near us here in Florida.

  12. Saw local friends who linked to Fr. Z’s link to you via FB, and I roared with laughter when I saw you were moaning about the same diocese I am suffering with. I’m in Hillsborough County, and just can’t face the 45-60 min drive to St. Anthony’s every Sunday, so we go to confession often as a coping mechanism. I decided early on that I was just going to offer it all up for soldiers like my husband who may not get any Mass, even a crappy one, if they are deployed or traveling. The light at the end of the tunnel is that eventually the Army will move us again. Pretty sure it can’t get any worse.

    • Joy

      You are welcome to come to Incarnation in Tampa. Our TLM is at 4:30pm every Sunday. First Sunday of the month is Low Mass, High Masses the rest of the month, Solemn High Mass on the 4th/last Sunday of the month.

    • Thanks for your note of solidarity :D God bless your husband as he serves our country!!!

  13. Thank you for raising such an important issue. God is making Himself present on the altar and many have the attitude that they are at yet another “entertainment event.”

  14. Dear Ryan,
    Our family regularly travels 90 miles each way to attend the TLM. Our teenage boys prefer the profound reverence, solid tradition, sacred music, and are eager to join the ranks of altar boys in cassocks. We have deep roots in our local N.O. ‘tambourine’ parish, and hope and pray that liturgical reform will continue. In an effort to help restore the sacred, our 15 year old son wrote and submitted a formal request/petition asking our local diocesan priest to celebrate the TLM. Although it doesn’t look very likely to happen any time soon, we know that with God all things are possible! Thank you for your post.

  15. Mike_in_Kenner

    I found your blog through Fr. Z’s blog. I deeply sympathize with your liturgical concerns, and just wanted to stop by to say “Amen” to your post. I’ll add another vote of support for the FSSP apostolate at Christ the King Church in Sarasota. Also, if you are toward the northern end of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and/or would benefit from an evening Mass on Sundays, there is a Latin Mass at Queen of Peace Church in Ocala (Diocese of Orlando) at 6:00 p.m. (I am not in Florida, but I know some of the FSSP priests from Sarasota who helped establish Latin Masses in other location in Florida. If you look around online, you should have several options for Latin Masses in your region.)

    • Gail In Ocala

      I live in Ocala and have attended the Latin Mass here for six years…yes, the priests from Christ the King drive up from Sarasota every Sunday for our 6:00 pm Mass…they also serve Mass in Naples and Fort Meyers as well.

  16. I saw your post reprinted (and commented upon) at Fr. Z’s. As I am in Clearwater I know exactly what you mean. I think our tambourine player moved as I’d not heard it in a few weeks.

    I try to make the 12:30 at the Cathedral (the side chapel of course – if they try it in the main Church when the construction is finished it will probably collapse). Failing that I often go to St. Cecelia’s 7PM in Spanish in Clearwater. It is closer to what Mass should be, even the N.O, that some of the Masses at my home parish in Clearwater.

  17. Theresa Galante

    Great article, Ryan! We look forward to meeting you at St. Jude’s. (We won’t be there next Sunday, though.) You were definitely blessed to have reverent masses in Boston – glad to hear it! As I told your mom, we have been traveling 50 minutes every Sunday for the past 14 years to go to the Tridentine Mass. It’s worth the 50 minute drive a thousand times over! The Mass has formed our five children’s hearts, minds and spirituality. People love their gentle, mature ways, but they don’t credit the Mass for it. We know, however, all the benefits the Mass has given to their souls since they were infants. Their souls have been steeped in sacredness, mystery, beauty, dignity and a deep prayer life – all from the Tridentine Mass. It has been the most influential factor in the training of our children, the second being the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in our home. And yes, we always noted an incredible difference in behavior when they were little during the new Mass and the latin Mass.

  18. Theresa Galante

    I thought it interesting that you found the mass “breathtakingly beautiful” when it was a low Mass. I’m sure those reading would assume you meant a high Mass, but that’s the beauty of the Tridentine Mass. It is essentially beautiful because it is centered in the language and action of the heavenly Liturgy. It is beautiful and complete in it’s simplest form.

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  20. Richard M

    Hello Ryan,

    I know whereof you speak – I lived for a few years near Fort Myers. And the entire west coast of Florida seemed to be an utter liturgical wasteland. And given the low standards I had experienced where I had lived before, that is saying something. I made it a point to try out various parishes in the Dioceses of Venice and St. Petersburg…and it seemed like every one was, more or less, typical of what you’ve described. I blame it on a long series of poor bishops in Florida, who managed to develop remarkable cadres of like-minded priests. And, it must be said, lots of laity of a certain generation who seem to desire this kind of loose therapeutic approach, or at least don’t seem to mind it. They say it keeps the collection plate full – at least until they die off.

    Indeed, I once had the privilege of driving a certain senior cardinal – not exactly a known traditionalist – around town the day after he had concelebrated in a local parish. He spent a third of the ride fuming about performist antics of the pastor celebrant.

    Venice has since gotten Dewayne, and there a small signs of life now; but St. Petersburg is still stuck with Lynch – one of the last old liberal warhorses. But you’ve surely figured that out already. It’s not likely to change for the foreseeable future, alas.

    Besides Incarnation, you might also consider Christ the King, run by the FSSP, down in Sarasota – about a 50 minute drive from downtown St. Pete. If you don’t mind a a drive, I think you’ll find it rewarding. Fr. Fryar broadcasts his Masses on his website, if you want a preview: http://www.livemass.net/LiveMass/daily.html

  21. Richard M

    P.S. Re: “I’m not a Traditionalist Catholic.”

    It’s a fair question today, six years after Summorum Pontificum, as to just what constitutes a “traditionalist.” As not only the availability but the perception of the TLM has broadened, a diversity – a spectrum – has been developing that was evident only in sketchy outline in days of yore. Today one finds people at TLM’s that would never have been there before…people like, well, like you.

    There is a long-standing perception, unfortunately fed by the balance of the aggregate presence online, of traditionalism as a very sharp and defined set of boxes to be checked off, particularly in regards to who one reads, and those whose books are sprinkled with holy water and kept at a safe distance and out of reach of impressionable minds.

    I think it’s possible, for example, for traditionalism to embrace a posture that accepts the Council as legitimate and even possessing good insights, while being read in continuity with the 19 centuries of Magisterial teachings that preceded it. I also think it’s possible to recognize that some passages here and there – usually of a prescriptive nature – in the conciliar texts could have been better worded or developed. Which would not be that distant from Pope Benedict himself, who at various points was critical of some passages in his private theological writings. No Council is perfect at every point (even if it may not err in proclaiming solemn dogmas).

    All of which is another way of saying that you needn’t feel afraid of recognizing yourself as a traditionalist – once you understand that it’s a much more broad and diverse family now than most people realize.

  22. Indeed. The V2 documents themselves are pretty traditionalist these days :).

  23. Art. M.

    St. Paul’s Church is at 1800 12th Street North, St. Petersburg. Several times a month I try to attend weekday Mass at St. Therese Byzantine Catholic Church, 4265 13th Street North, St. Petersburg

  24. Annonymouse

    It should be noted that the Holy Father is not a big fan of the Latin Mass and did not request it for his archdiocese. May I also point you in the direction of Psalm 149: “Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in its maker, the people of Zion rejoice in their king. Let them praise his name in dance, make music with tambourine and lyre.” The word of the Lord.

    • Rodrigo Guerra

      There probably is a time for “tambourines and dance” but definitely not at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As Catholics we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper in anticipation of his sacrifice on the Cross for our sins. If you read the account of the Last Supper in the Bible you will notice that it was a very solemn and sacred ocassion. Moreover, Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross is made present, its memory is celebrated and its saving power is applied at every Holy Mass. The Council of Trent infallibly teaches that Christ left a visible sacrifice to His Church “in which that bloody sacrifice which was once offered on the Cross should be made present, its memory preserved to the end of the world, and its salvation-bringing power applied to the forgiveness of the sins which are daily committed by us.” When we attend Mass, we are mystically transported to Calvary, where we can unite ourselves with the Lord’s Sacrifice to the Father! Does the Bible tell of people dancing and playing tambourines while our Lord was dying on the Cross for our sins ?

      • Rosemary

        Rodrigo, you said it well. As a convert with a protestant Charismatic background, I am quite familiar with tambourine playing, dancing, and other like practices during a church service. I still find them acceptable at Christian music concerts and the like, BUT NEVER DURING THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS. Thank you!

    • Phil Steinacker

      Your first point is untrue. As the Ordinary for Buenos Aires Pope Francis did institute the TLM in response to Summorium Pontificum but under conditions which troubled many of those who love the Latin Mass.

      A more subtle error is your suggestion that permission is needed – this is untrue – even from the bishop. Certainly then Cardinal Bergoglio did not need to request anything.

      As for your second claim…with all due respect, citing Scripture to justify disobedience remains disobedience. Such verses are is completely irrelevant when attempting to undermine or contradict the Church’s requirements in the Mass, and misappropriating our assent to Scripture readings in the Mass is wrongheaded and inappropriate.

      Personally, I don’t want to add arrogance to my list of transgressions when I face Jesus. I have enough problems of my own without borrowing from someone else’s blind spots.

    • Actually, if one takes the Old Testament outside the light of the new then one does not understand the scriptures (the word of the Lord). Your quote is the perfect picture of Jesus to whom we are called. What is Jesus’ song and praise? What makes the people of God (the Church) glad and rejoice in their king? How does the Church praise his name in dance, making music with tambourine and lyre? Do not dissipate your energies and gifts of grace in self indulgence, dissipate them in love of neighbour… there we find Christ!

  25. “Imagine” you say. I do not need to imagine. I am 57 and I was there wandering in the post-Vat II liturgical desert before you were a glint in your father’s eye. I walked out of more “Katholic Lite gatherings” I thank God for St. John Cantius parish in Chicago always but most especially when I travel and cannot locate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The improv artistes, the clown Mass for the masses are still out there.

  26. avantibev

    “Imagine” you say. I do not have to. I am a 57 year old Roman Catholic who wandered in the post Vat II liturgical desert for 20 years. Before you were born I had walked out on more Katholic Lite “worship gathering spaces” than I can count. There were clown Masses, cinnamon toast consecrations and lots of other inane behavior.
    I thank God for St. John Cantius in Chicago and our wonderful pastor who founded the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. We will have holy, faithful priests to send out to re-catechize the hinterlands and in Florida’s case, the WInter Lands. :-)

  27. I just recently converted to Catholicism (former Episcopal priest). One of the reasons was the Mass. While the Anglican liturgy, when done right, is very beautiful, I felt the Episcopal church has drifted too far into liberal Protestantism and the liturgy had suffered badly. (I had several other reasons for converting as well.

    One of the few criticisms I have as a new convert is the sometimes lackadaisical approach to the liturgy. Luckily, I have landed in a pretty conservative diocese. Unfortunately, the parish I attend is one of those 1960’s circular monstrosities that there is not really much you can do with short of burning it down and rebuilding it. It is not as bad as some, but I found the space particularly distracting at first. I still do not like it and think the liturgy is a bit lax at times, but reading posts like this one, I realize I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I am in the Diocese of Lincoln, which has the FSSP seminary down in Denton, Nebraska, of all places. I know they can’t add on to that seminary fast enough, and there is a waiting list for seminarians coming in.

    I am not particularly a flaming “Trad Catholic.” My personal experience with that crowd is that they can be very paranoid groups, kind of living in a shadowy world that likes to isolate themselves all as a little subgroup. I understand the attraction, don’t get me wrong. I like high liturgy and traditional stuff as much as the next guy, but I think you have to be careful. My advice to them is to always remember the Catholic church needs your influence. If you hide you light under a bushel basket, its really of no use to anyone.

    • Joy

      On the other hand, oftentimes the reason we might be “isolated…as a little subgroup” is because the diocese won’t allow us to be any other way. So, for the time being, we rejoice in our briar patch until “allowed” otherwise. :)
      Ad majorem Dei gloriam!

  28. This reminds me of the group in FL that had a newsletter reporting all the bad stuff happening in the Novus Ordo and that one should look for a more reverent N.O. When I and others tried to tell them about the crisis, infiltration (ex-communist Bella Dodd testimony of helping put in over 1,000 marxist radicals into catholic seminaries, Freemasons, and more), modernism, the Latin Tridentine Mass replaced by the New Mass, etc. they didn’t want to hear it. I wanted to understand why it all was happening and it was only in learning about the life of Archbishop Lefebvre and further information from Fr. Paul Kramer and Fr. Gruner that I got all the answers to fully understand the crisis in the Catholic Church.


  29. Deanna

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and really enjoy it. I also love good liturgy and abuses of it bug me. At one point I had to quit the choir because it was an occassion of sin for me – I would get too angry and upset and judgmental – and end up completely unfit to minister. And yet…part of being a Christian is that nobody is in this alone – we are all part of the body of Christ. We don’t get to heaven by ourselves or even apart from our brothers and sisters. The line that stood out to me in your post was “Imagine complete strangers holding hands with each other during the Our Father.” Not that people were holding hands but they were complete strangers. If so, that’s sad. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have need of them and they of us. If nothing else, maybe holding hands helps everyone realize that the other even exists. Worship is not a solitary activity.
    One of the joys of the Catholic Church is that there is room for everyone, it is universal but not homogenous. From my own experience, when something pushes my buttons or ticks me off it usually tells me more about myself than the other person. If “other people” prevent me from worshipping the way that I want to, well maybe God is trying to tell me something. It doesn’t mean that abuses are okay, but if my peace and joy are lost over something so trivial as a tambourine (and my mine has been lost over the use of claves!), how am I going to love in the face of a real trial, insults, rejection, persecution?
    Just some thoughts… and I’m in Canada btw and I remain a bit mystified about the “American” catholic church. There’s something cultural there that I don’t exactly get so that might be part of it too.
    Keep writing – you do it well.

  30. “Imagine seashell-shaped parishes filled with Baby Boomers dressed in Bermuda shirts and khaki shorts. Imagine complete strangers holding hands with each other during the Our Father. Imagine jamming out to contemporary Christian songs that were popular 15-20 years ago. Imagine all sorts of improvisations on the part of priests.”
    —you just described many, if not most, of the liturgies on Maui. After a similar fatigue resulting from said abuses and distractions, I found an EF Mass that alternates between a parish in Lahaina and one in Paia. What a blessed relief!

  31. Theresa Galante

    For all those who are looking for the Tridentine Mass in the diocese of St. Petersburg, I would like to explain a little known, but wonderful fact. There are Tridentine Masses offered in several parishes now, as mentioned in the replies. However, the Cathedral Parish of St. Jude has established Our Lady’s Tridentine Mass Society in their Parish. This means that the Tridentine Masses at St. Jude’s are run by Our Lady’s Tridentine Mass Society, not the parish priest! This is a huge difference. We have an actual canonical Society which ensures us of having the Tridentine Mass and the sacraments (except Confirmation) forever. If our priest, God forbid, were to get sick or die, Bishop Lynch is required to give us another priest to say the Tridentine Mass and give us the other sacraments. This is NOT the case in any of the other parishes. The continuation of the Mass depends on the availability of that one particular priest, who could be transferred at a moment’s notice. And then what?
    To further explain the benefits of having a Society: “Our Lady’s Tridentine Mass Society is a public association of the Christian faithful according to Canon 301 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. It’s purposes are to foster the holiness of its members, to promote public worship according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite provided by Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, and to exercise other works of the apostolate such as initiatives of evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with a Christian spirit. The society is directed by a priest, made up of lay Catholics and governed by Trustees, elected by the members of the Society.”
    I would like to emphasize, having a Society allows us to have weddings, funerals, baptisms and First Communions. We are not simply a bunch of misplaced Catholics coming sporadically to the Tridentine Mass on whim each Sunday. We are an actual Society, with by laws, members, staff, property, a mission in Gabon to support, a bulletin, continual gatherings, and hopefully classes and other forms of instruction which will be forthcoming. We are a vibrant society, blessed with many large families, intelligent young people and many older couples who bless our group with their generous hearts. We have become a large family, knowing everyone, celebrating Baptisms, First Communions and Weddings together. We mourn together when there is a tragedy or death. We celebrate Feasts together, have picnics, parties, plays and dances.
    So, when you sign up to become a member of Our Lady’s Tridentine Mass Society, you are becoming a member of an actual “association of the Christian faithful”, not to mention becoming part of a wonderful and joyous group of friends, who you will soon love as family. There is always a sign up sheet in the back of the church.
    We have always felt so blessed to be part of this group because we have lived “parish” in the way it should be lived. We know everyone, pray for everyone and encourage one another as a true family in Christ.

  32. Great post Ryan! I attend the Traditional Roman Rite Mass in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ll be visiting Florida for 12 days in December, though in the Diocese of Venice, so will be looking to attend there.

    As I approach more closely the end of my life, I am becoming less tolerant of mediocre Masses, less willing to subject myself to the goings on within them and depriving myself of the “Heaven on Earth” experience of an excellently celebrated “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass”.

    I wonder if any of your readers participated in what I call “Calvary in Pinellas Park”. A tragic event that your bishop might have been able to prevent had he been concerned. I wrote about it here: http://fjdalessio.wordpress.com/2005/04/05/calvary-in-pinellas-park.

    God bless you and your family (and your blog),


    • I guess your readers are too young to have participated in the vigil to save Terri’s life, although a courageous young boy was arrested as you can see in one of the photos.

      I thought I should add that the Novus Ordo Mass (NO) can also (and should in large part) be celebrated in Latin, so I don’t believe Latin should be what distinguishes the two forms. That’s why I use “TM” rather than “TLM”. I love the TM in Latin, but would still prefer it over the modern Mass (NO) even if it were in celebrated in English and the modern Mass were celebrated in Latin.

  33. John King

    Technically speaking all Catholics should be traditionalists. Your are either a modernist or a traditionalist. The word is misused. I had no idea of these concepts a few years ago but was keenly aware that there was something wrong at the average parish. You don’t fix something that isn’t broke especially after almost two thousand years. This reminds me of the Matrix movie where Neo felt something was wrong with the world but could not put his finger on it. The more you explore the bigger the problem gets. Bad liturgy is just a symptom of bishops gone bad. I believe that it will take a major chastisement to effect major corrections.

  34. And with all of this we humbly welcome you to the Diocese of St. Petersburg :).

  35. Elisa Kolk

    I’m totally with you. Right now, my husband and I live in an area where truly beautiful, reverent NO masses are readily available. But I have also been to truly awful NO masses and if they were my only option I’d probably be more likely to tend toward the Latin Mass. (and I also think The Spirit of the Liturgy should be required reading). That being said, I feel like if all of us leave for the TLM there are no right-thinking people left to correct the bad NO masses and nothing will change. I feel that the only way for the TLM to enrich the NO is for there to actually be some overlap of people between the two. I count myself blessed to have seen wonderful, reverent NO masses so I *know* they are possible. I pray that one day every one in the English-speaking world will experience them on a weekly (and even daily) basis.

  36. While not from the Florida area, I really liked this. As a Traditionalist, I’ve long said that we need to be a bit more populist. Most of us at a Latin Mass tend to be hyperactive liturgical wonks who know our stuff. What about those who aren’t liturgical wonks, and focus on those things in the faith which they feel called to? The liturgy needs to work in forming their faith as well, and the current Ordinary Form liturgy in many places doesn’t do that. So while we love having people at the Latin Mass, hopefully one day everyone in every parish can follow lex orandi, lex credendi.

    And there’s more to traditionalism than “lol Vatican II sucks” Feel free to contact me if you ever wish to discuss those things we can all like.

  37. Most of the clergy in Florida are more concerned with their golf game than they are the liturgy or their flock. They care more about our tithes than they do our souls. You have to church shop and find a true shepherd. There is very little reverence for Christ in the Eucharist, just like our Blessed Mother at Fatima said would happen. Catholics sit before the Throne of God and socialize and ignore our Blessed Lord. It breaks my heart.

  38. This definitely resonated with me, Ryan. We’re in North Florida in a wonderful diocese, but our particular parish (full of wonderful people and holy priests) must have the worst music in the universe. The parishioners dress appropriately and Mass is reverent, but the church is one of the ugliest churches I have ever seen (oh, and I’ve seen some). There’s a lot to love in the parish (including a chapel of perpetual adoration) and I know that it’s still Mass, there’s still grace, it’s still Jesus, but….especially after experiencing some really beautiful liturgy when we were out of town recently, it’s hard to bear the, well…ugliness. We really enjoyed attending Latin Mass when we lived in Texas, but they don’t have it in our town (just once a month almost an hour away.)

  39. Dan

    Couldn’t agree more with everything you wrote here. Just bookmarked your site. Sadly much of the Church in the South needs help – and the Church needs to pay attention to this because it’s also one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Before long, this type of liturgy will become institutionalized in the region, and any effort to make people stop going all over the church during the sign of peace and flashing the “V” peace sign with their fingers to the other side of the church will fail. I’ve been to churches there that have put up giant screens with corny pictures to run all the prayers and lyrics across like some megachurch, churches that have the congregation come to the altar to add to the offertory, etc. It’s a crime.

  40. I am so glad you found a place that expressed so profoundly the worship in your heart. And I am equally glad that our church is big enough to also include reverent worship in English as well, with all sorts of music. There is more than one way to praise God, and the reverence and piety is in the heart and the giving of one’s self to the Lord.

  41. It’s wonderful that you have found a liturgy that will help you grow closer to Jesus! It’s very painful to watch liturgical abuses, especially given that the source and summit of our faith is Jesus, the Eucharist, whose sacrifice is re- presented to the Father during Holy Mass. That should never be down played or distracted from.
    That being said Ryan, I would gently suggest that as you become more a part of the traditional Catholic community, you should make every effort to maintain the Spirit of Saint John Bosco in reverencing the Holy Father and never departing from that. If you find yourself becoming extremely critical of Novus Ordo mass goers, that’s a warning. If you start to hear some, not all parishioners, critical of the Jewish people, that’s a louder warning. If you hear talk of Vat 2 being a “flawed council ” , even louder!. Finally, if you hear folks attempting to minimize the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust, walk away and don’t look back.

  42. Pingback: Blog recommendation–A non-traditionalists flees the modern liturgical junkyard | romish internet graffiti

  43. becky

    I started going to TLM for similar reasons, but now I am a traditionalist. Don’t read or think to much or you might become one too.

  44. Thank you for your thoughtful post. As a family, we have had the blessing of occasionally attending TLM, which is unfortunately several hours away. We are also very blessed with a truly reverent Novus Ordo Mass celebrated by our very Holy Parish Priest.

  45. Were not the first Masses in the vernacular? Did they not raise their voices in praise according to their understanding of music?

  46. Paula Warnes

    I attend the Latin Mass for many of the same reasons. Also, going to Mass, seething with anger through the whole thing, and having to choose between proper, reverent postures or “blending in”, made my attendance at diocesan Masses an occasion of sin for me! The Latin Mass makes all that trauma and drama just go away. SO grateful to have it! (Oh, yes. The way people dress at the Latin Mass frees me from the distraction that looking at people’s backsides in jeans creates.)

  47. Mary

    There’s a Latin Mass in Melbourne Florida. I’ve been to one in Saint Petersburg while on vacation. I think the Latin Mass is very possibly the most beautiful way to honor and adore God this side of Heaven.

  48. LarryMelman

    “I guess you can say I’m a “JP2 conservative”…faithful to the Magisterium, adherent to the hermeneutic of continuity, etc. All that to say, I was never interested in picking on the Novus Ordo liturgy…”

    But then you fall into the same faulty reasoning that I see over and over and over again. One questionable or silly NO Mass drove you to the TLM. Where of course you are welcomed to the “true church” as is evidenced by the comments here.

    For every questionable priest or parish you may encounter, you can easily find a dozen more that are faithful to the Magisterium and etc. This is not debatable any more. It is not necessary to retreat into the cocoon of the TLM, it’s almost trivially easy to find a respectful and dignified NO mass.

    • You obviously didn’t bother to read the post very closely. “Almost trivially easy”? Come visit this diocese sometime, pal. You have no idea what it’s like. And no, it was not one Mass, it was every N.O. parish I’ve been to down here… but nice try.

      • I completely agree. You have to live it to truly understand how bad it is. If one lived in a rural, heavily Protestant area, that would be one thing. But to have dozens of churches within 25 miles and to have each of them and every single Mass be so awful is outrageous.

    • Joy

      Fortunately, Pope Benedict made it clear that the Extraordinary Form Mass (TLM) was a perfectly valid option. Isn’t it interesting that all the other options (healing Mass, ethnic Mass, charismatic Mass, youth Mass, etc.) are not disparaged and their attendees belittled. Just as Pope Benedict expanded the idea of collegiality, uniting the present Magisterium with those who had gone before in the history of the Church, just so does the “the ancient liturgy of the saints” unite us, the Church Militant, with the members of the Church Triumphant who came before us. I do like your cocoon analogy, though. Hopefully, after enough time there, we will emerge transformed into ‘holy butterflies’ for the good of the whole Church! Or, as St. Benedict said, “Pruned, it grows again!”

  49. I do understand the emotion on the many sides of this issue (and I would say, being in this same diocese, that I disagree with the idea that most Novus Ordo Masses are out of line). What I don’t understand is the hostile reaction that some have to the mere existence of the choice to go to the Traditional Latin Mass within the Church. I don’t apply this generally, most people who choose to attend the Novus Ordo do not speak this way. But apparently some folks are angered that people have the option of the TLM and choose it. They (this smaller group) seem to project all manner of negativity to those who choose to worship in the traditional, extraordinary form, or those who allow for it.

    This is a mystery. It can’t be because they want unity. The Traditional Latin Mass is clearly a more direct path to uniting the church than worshiping in dozens of languages. It can’t be because of history–at least 1500 years of Church history had a Mass similar to the TLM. It can’t be out of obedience since the Extraordinary Form is permissible. Where does this (occasionally seen) hostility arise from?

    I can only conclude it is from people who want more change than Vatican II provided. Who want more alterations, more alignment with the culture than the “spirit” of VII accomplished. That is, that the emotion they display is borne of a deep fear that the church might not become more like the world.

    I would be thrilled to be wrong. Someone please provide another explanation for the vitriol if you would?

    – T

    • The hostility is interesting, isn’t it? As an aside, as far as I can tell the hostility towards this post has uniformly come from Baby Boomers (or older…). Larry M., you’ve not got a profile pic, so I can’t tell your age; care to correct me on that?

      • LarryMelman

        I’m slightly older than you, but honestly age has nothing to do with it.
        I am not hostile toward the TLM. Really, I’m not. If the Church says it’s valid, then it’s valid. Done and done. I’ve attended one myself.
        However, as Russ mentioned above, one must be extremely careful not to let one’s attitudes get totally warped. It’s not the TLM itself, it’s all the baggage that comes along with it.
        Your post shows that you are falling into that trap. You can’t say “I was never interested in picking on the Novus Ordo liturgy:, and then immediately start reciting the “TLM is my birth-right, the NO should be blown up” mantra. That’s a toxic attitude, and it’s only exaggerated by everything that you find online like “Fr. Z.” and his ilk.
        You say you want what’s best for your children. I just don’t see how withdrawing into a corner of the Church… a corner that is so defensive and bitter… can be good for them.

      • But again, you aren’t responding to what I actually wrote. Again, I have had no problems with N.O. liturgies I’ve attended in the past (i.e., Cardinal O’Malley’s Boston). I love what Vatican II actually said… what’s taking place in the parishes here in my part of the country in no way resembles what Vatican II actually said. I never said that the TLM was my birthright… again, if you read what was actually said, I said that good liturgy is my birthright. And by good liturgy, I mean liturgy that both honors God in a reverent way, and communicates the reality and solemnity of what we are participating in: the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary.

        And really, the “bitter and defensive” line applies more to you than it does to the traddies, don’t you think? The traddies I’ve encountered, both in real life and online, have been incredibly kind and welcoming, and completely “normal” (other than, you know, driving cargo vans to be able to fit their 27 children for the ride to Mass :) ). Not one of them has yelled at me yet for reading “liberal” Nouvelle theologians like von Balthasar, or liking Pope Francis’ simpler style. But you, on the other hand, have come in here guns blazing, without even making a careful consideration of what I actually argue for… You really care deeply about keeping the tambourines in place, huh Larry?

      • Oh, and age has everything to do with it… the goofball tambourine liturgies around here are chock full of Baby Boomers, whilst the young families are all down the road at the TLM. Coincidence? Nope. Reality that needs to be observed and carefully considered for the sake of the New Evangelization? You better believe it.

      • LarryMelman

        Ummm… I think you’re looking to score points by applying some easy stereotypes.

      • Nope. That comment is based purely on observations I’ve personally made at multiple parishes in this diocese since I moved here. No stereotyping whatsoever. Nice try on your part though…

  50. Heh. This reminds me that the only person who objected (in writing anyhow) to my Language of Tradition column over at Catholic Stand (here for what it’s worth: http://catholicstand.com/the-language-of-tradition/) was someone who didn’t like my identifying his generation :).


    • On the plus side, it’s kinda fun to rebel against your elders’ rebellion :) “you can’t make me be hip and cool, dad! It’s a free country, I can be more traditional and conservative if I want to!!!”

      • LarryMelman

        And that was the other point I also made in an earlier comment. How much of this is just one generation wanting to thumb its nose at its parents? Much as the parents’ generation did.
        There is no reason to yo-yo to such extremes. The NO has been around for two generations now. In most parishes, it is celebrated in a solemn and appropriate manner. It is my hope that things continue to settle down and that the extremes on both sides (yes, BOTH sides) die off.

      • “How much of this is just one generation wanting to thumb its nose at its parents?” None of it, Larry. You’ve mistaken light-hearted humor for a serious statement. Again, you aren’t reading very carefully here…I think you’re looking to score points by applying some easy stereotypes.

  51. Pingback: A Few Words About Pedagogy and Liturgy… | The Back of the World

  52. John Radice

    It’s fascinating for me to read both the post and all the comments. I’m just 2 months a Catholic, coming from a Pentecostal / charismatic tradition, through friends who are very much involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. But I was instructed and then received in a very traditional Parish, where the Mass is done with great care and beauty: incense, plain chant, ad orientem, in a small but surpassingly beautifully decorated church (St Birinus, Dorchester, UK if you’re passing this way.) There’s a Tridentine Mass once a month, and we do quite a bit of the New Rite Sunday Mass in Latin. I love it, for all the reasons you and the others say – it’s what is so different and so wonderful about Catholicism. BUT I haven’t lost what God shaped me with spiritually before: to worship Him expressively and passionately and spontaneously, often singing in tongues and generally sounding like Psalm 150! Including tambourines (if someone knows how to play one – it’s a real musical instrument.)

    However, I don’t expect that to be appropriate for the Mass: we meet on other occasions for worship and dance and the exercise of prophetic and other such gifts. That’s the answer. I do think it’s a shame most Catholic parishes as far as I can see lack any occasion for worshipping God in these ways – which are found everywhere in scripture.

  53. Do not discount things like ad orientem so easily. There is a great theological significance to the action. The biggest is that it helps to communicate that the Mass is an actual Sacrifice – this is why the protestant revolters did away with the orientation. Further, it is also more prone to distraction by focusing in on the priest’s face and/or not having the proper focus as one gets when all are facing in one direction towards God; meaning the priest looks at you and talks to you, you look at him and talk back (dialogue) instead of all facing one direction towards God (symbolically) and talking to him in one action, one direction. This is also not to mention the symbolism of Christ coming in the East.

    Now in this present age of misconception of Catholic doctrine and liturgical abuse, would not things like ad orientem (not ad orientem alone) be extremely helpful in fighting it? Yes!

    Additionally, any traditional action at Holy Mass such as ad orientem have deep connection to the earliest times when the liturgy developed organically has come down through the centuries, thus we have centuries of their usage to the point of excluding other options all for good reason.

  54. “…I think they take away from the utter seriousness of what the Mass is…”

    Not really “seriousness” but “SACREDNESS”.

  55. Matthew

    I find it sad that fans of the EF Mass feel the need to promote it by comparing it to poorly celebrated OF Masses. Why not be honest and compare your beloved EF Mass to well-celebrated OF Masses? Are you afraid that there is little to recommend the EF Mass when compared to a well-celebrated OF Mass?

    In my diocese there are well celebrated OF Masses and not-so-well celebrated OF Masses. The truly abusive Masses (both Pauline and Tridentine) are a thing of the past, thanks be to God. I personally choose to attend a well celebrated OF Mass.

    The local EF Mass is not well celebrated. It’s a low Mass filled (not really filled — attendance is not that great) largely with very severe-acting, grim looking individuals who seem more fixated on head veils and anti-OF Mass gossip than worshiping Jesus Christ. Not my kind of crowd.

    • Wow, I’ve had some people totally miss the point of my posts before, but Matthew, you take the cake… your first paragraph especially is so far from addressing anything that’s actually been said here, it would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. Thanks for dropping by the blog, I guess, but dang, help a brother out and read the post before commenting next time…

  56. Margaret Papia

    St.Jude Cathedral in St. Petersburg has a Tridentium (Latin) Mass at 12:30 p.m. in their Chapel. My only criticism is there is no communion rail so if you aren’t young it is not the easiest thing to kneel and get up without having something to lean on but I did manage. The Cathedral itself was closed for renovations until this past September and I only found the Latin Mass by accident when I went to their Religious Shop and tour of the Cathedral 3 weeks ago.

    Marge P.

  57. EHB

    I’m a little late to the party but I wanted to thank you for this post. I have recently decided to return to the Church after a 15+ year absence. Man, it sure is different and bewildering, and the singing is just too much. My husband and I made a decision yesterday, after yet another disappointing Mass, to try our local Parish’s Latin Mass before we throw in the towel. This post explained some things that a lapsed Catholic like me had missed by being away. Thank you from Salem Oregon!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I am happy to say that, since writing this post several months ago, we are still loving the Latin Mass. And happily, we have begun to build some really great friendships with others in the community. You’ll have to let us know how it goes at Mass… and let me encourage you to give it a few weeks; the Tridentine Mass can be tough to follow at first if you’ve never had any experience with it before!

  58. Pingback: “Summorum” After Seven Years | The Back of the World

  59. David

    “reclaiming my heritage and birth-right as a Roman Catholic–i.e., good liturgy.”

    That is a brilliant line! This post is excellent! Dr. Brendan McGuire at Christendom always says that we are all heirs of Western Civilization and Culture. You and I have a right to the truths of the faith passed down to us in a clear non-watered down way. We have the right to the liturgy of our forefathers, and it is our duty to pass the Catholic faith down to the next generation.

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