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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

"A Liturgy from Hell"? Traditionis Custodes Cannot Suppress the Traditional Latin Mass

As regular readers know, I'm a big fan of Chronicles Magazine. The February issue included an article by George Kendall an octagenerian who grew up with the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), but "for much of his life...has been a conservative Novus Ordo (NO) Catholic." Kendall's article, A Liturgy from Hell, illustrates his return to tradition and the realization that the liturgical chaos after Vatican II decimated Holy Mother Church. He laments the fact that "...our hierarchy was foolish enough, all those years ago, to twist a great parable, selling the pearl of great price in order to buy a truckload of trash chosen by committee."

Whoa! Let me pause here to emphasize that the NO, although seriously deficient and more Protestant than Catholic, is a valid Mass. I hesitate to call it a "truckload of trash."

Most people in the world have no realistic access to the TLM and God would not leave us orphans, hence the NO is valid and a source of grace. Also, God often permits evil so that good may come from it. Isn't the awakening of many faithful to what's been lost (or stolen) that's occurring in so many places a good sign?  

Many, like my husband and myself who were raised with the TLM, only recently, like George Kendall, have returned and embraced it once again with enthusiasm and gratitude. At the same time, the NO nurtured us for many years although we saw many walk away, often to Protestant churches that had more "fellowship." Isn't that what Protestants often do? Walk away from their long-term church home to find a preacher man they like better? Is that a sign that the NO often created a Protestant mindset? Just a random thought, but I saw it happen with dear friends.

Despite writing such a denunciation of the Novus Ordo, Kendall concludes his article with a recognition that, perhaps the solution lies in another way than simply mandating a return to the TLM by a future pope. In any case, that's an unlikely eventuality short of a miracle considering the future electors most of whom were named by Francis. Kendall uses the analogy of an oak tree to make his point:

Going back to the analogy between a tradition and a tree: if you have, for example, a big old oak tree in your yard, and someone comes along with an axe (probably in the night, while you are asleep) and chops a big chunk out of the trunk, how will you deal with this? Conceivably, if you could find the missing chunk of wood, you might put it back and graft it back into place. But certainly, if you waited 50 years, that would never work. Or, you could try to graft in a new chunk of wood from a very different kind of tree. Or, you could tell yourself that it is a natural part of an oak tree’s life cycle to have a chunk taken out of its trunk, unlikely though it is that any botanist would agree.

There is one more possibility: allow and encourage new growth from the wound site, new growth which will, over time, replace the lost tissue, and will have the same DNA and be the same kind of living tissue.

Now the Catholic tradition, which I have been comparing to a tree, is, like the tree, a product of slow growth, and it is only natural that its wounds should be healed by the same process—not by a new pope decreeing its prompt return, but by organic growth leading to the proliferation of Latin Mass communities. There is no doubt in my mind that the fear of such an eventuality is what prompted Pope Francis to issue Traditionis Custodes and launch his unholy war on the old Mass.

With that in mind, let us make it our serious business to make his worst fears come true.

A number of tradition-minded prelates recommend that very thing. Cardinal Sarah and Bishop Schneider both recommend returning to the ad orientem position where the priest and the people turn together toward liturgical East, toward God, with the shepherd leading the flock instead of facing them like an entertainer. Both advocate abandoning the practice of Communion in the hand. In many places we are seeing the restoration of the altar rail and kneeling for Communion. All of these positive events are due, in my opinion, to the yeast of the TLM saved from extinction by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a faithful son of the Church.

Padre Pio receiving Communion on the tongue

But more is needed.

Correcting, restoring, and emphasizing the sacrificial nature of the Mass is an absolute necessity. Replacing the seriously deficient Jewish meal prayer Offertory with the ancient Offertory of sacrifice and atonement is a priority. The Offertory has always been recognized as essential. A worshiper who arrives late and misses the Offertory on Sunday misses Mass and must attend another to avoid committing a mortal sin! It's that important. And yet the wreckovators after Vatican II gutted the Offertory making it the equivalent of grace before meals.

The Offertory of the TLM dates back to the Middle Ages and belongs to the codified service mandated by Pope St. Pius V in 1570. The pope didn't change the Mass, but affirmed a standard liturgy, one that had been in place for decades. Why did he mandate a specific missal? To prevent novelties being introduced arising from the Protestant revolt. 

Ironic, isn't it, that the revolt by today's modernists continue to introduce bizarre novelties to the Mass as they walk in the footsteps of the Protestant rebels? Have we learned nothing from history? And what a tragedy that the destruction has been enabled by so many recent popes including Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict. 

I have no doubt that the Church will re-embrace Sacred Tradition. I am less certain that it will come via the next pope since most of the electors were named by Pope Francis. But, as the priest who witnessed our marriage 54 years ago said, "The laity always return the Church to orthodoxy." 

"...the faithful have an instinct for the truth of the Gospel, which enables them to recognise and endorse authentic Christian doctrine and practice, and to reject what is false." (source)

Is that possible? Can a shrinking body of faithful which underlines Christ's lament ("But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?" Luke 18:8) 

Of course! Where are the most vibrant churches? They thrive where  laity cling to the faith of the fathers, reject the family-killing sin of contraception, and teach their children to love the true, the good, and the beautiful. We see that church every week at our little chapel. Large Catholic families, babies and children filling the pews with their parents, many homeschoolers, long lines for confession, etc. It is our weekly dose of vibrant hope for the future. Gloom and doom take flight!

One last point. Catholics need to know and understand the history of the Church. So many have fallen away out of ignorance. It's time for us to challenge our fellow Catholics to study the faith and embrace what was handed down to us from the apostles. Bishop Athanasius Schneider has given us a great resource in CREDO which uses the time-honored form of question and answer to teach the truths of the faith. It's easier to understand and avoids the mistakes in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. May we all commit ourselves to studying Scripture, the catechism, and the lives of the saints. One can hardly go wrong by living the sacraments, praying the rosary, and studying the faith. 

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us.

St. Joseph, Guardian of the Universal Church, pray for us.

St. Pius V, protector of the Sacred Liturgy, pray for us.


  1. What I find inexplicable is that Paul VI did even worse to the Traditional Mass than Francis has done so far, and he has been "canonized."

  2. If it weren't for the doctrine that only a priest in communion with the Pope can say the mass, you could have any mass you want. But the weird mutation of apostolic succession flowing through the Pope only rather than through any bishop ruined you.

  3. "In many places we are seeing the restoration of the altar rail and kneeling for Communion. All of these positive events are due, in my opinion, to the yeast of the TLM saved from extinction by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a faithful son of the Church."

    Doubtful. Probably more due to refugees from Anglicanism who left due to the gay infecting their church only to become Roman Catholic in time for Francis to roll out gay blessings in their new home.

    1. We have no Anglican Catholic parishes in our diocese and many of our parishes (that don't have them already) are restoring the Communion rails or offer kneelers for Catholics approaching to be able to kneel. Arlington, of course, has always been more orthodox than most dioceses.

  4. I get the feeling that “Ecclesia Dei” which was formed to pull the faithful out of the SSPX and sede churches…was helpful if only to give some exposure to TLM. In the near future, it looks as though these NO-related groups under the local ordinary will be forced to assimilate with NO…as has long been expected. Perhaps part of the deal will be what takes primacy in life. It should be God, of course…and to build your life around him after moving near a TLM church.

  5. I’m so glad you brought this up! There’s something in the air…dreams of true unity in the Roman rite. It seems to me the N.O. needs the reforms you mentioned, at minimum, and all parishes should have the option of the TLM, maybe even in English as a bridge.

  6. I agree. With the Consecration remaining exclusively with the Priest and retaining the Latin, using English as a bridge for the purpose of understanding the sacred essence. of the Holy Sacrifice for everyone else.

  7. I couldn't agree more Mrs. Kreitzer! The NO isn't just some "truckload of trash chosen by committee." In fact, it's a stroke of genius by Satan. The concept of a Memorial of the Lord's Supper logically destroys the intention of offering a sacrifice to God and continues to this day to fool people into thinking they are going to Mass. This substitute rite doesn't increase faith, it helps so many to lose it. Jesus Christ is not in the Eucharist of the Modernist Liturgical Movement rite of the Conciliar Church. He is not in the Tabernacles they always place anywhere but front and center on the altar. The new doctrines of the Conciliar Church (Ecumenism, Collegiality, Right to Religious Liberty, Sodomite "Love" etc.) being taught there are not His, and there you will NOT find the Mass or sacraments Our Lord established. This is the TRUTH that must first be accepted, and then, and only then, will Our Lord provide us with a truly Apostolic Roman Pontiff.

    1. Wow! Then how do you explain the Eucharistic miracles associated with the NO?

    2. "In “Theology 101,” however, we learn that it is absolutely impossible that God could
      perform a miracle in confirmation of falsehood. Indeed, that the miracle confirm the truth is the first criterion of its authenticity, no matter what other “evidence” there may
      be. It should be pointed out that the devil can perform an appearance of a miracle quite easily. For example, in Exodus, Moses changes his staff into a snake before the
      Pharaoh and his court. Then the Pharaoh tells his priests to do the same. In the sight
      of all, the staff is changed into a snake by the pagan priest. How did this happen? It must be remembered that an angel can move at very high speed, faster than light itself, and so he can substitute, more quickly than our eyes can discern, one thing for
      something else. Consequently there was an appearance of a miracle done by the pagan priests, but not a true one. This sort of thing would be especially easy for the devil in the case of eucharistic miracles." I do not understand how a bishop who regards the New Mass as something evil and to be avoided, to the extent that he is
      ready to disobey the person whom he says is the pope, could possibly conclude that
      these “miracles,” if indeed anything happened, could be from God. In other words, if the New Mass is good, then why do we adhere to the traditional? If the New Mass is bad, then how could God approve it with a miracle? Either the New Mass is good or bad. The New Mass is either pleasing to God, or is displeasing to God. There is no gray area. Catholics, therefore, relying not on extraordinary events, but the Church’s magisterium as well as her traditional disciplines and liturgy, should shun the New Mass and adhere exclusively to the traditional Mass. They should discount as false any alleged supernatural event which does not confirm the truth of the Faith. This excessive interest in apparitions and miracles is an attempt to have a “direct phone line to heaven” in the absence of the functioning of the Church’s magisterium. Such an attitude is very dangerous." The Most Rev. Donald J. Sanborn, Rector, Most Holy trinity Seminary Newsletter, November 2023.

    3. I don’t think a sedevacantist bishop is a reliable source.

  8. The Lord warns us of our presumption in this age by asking if He will find faith on earth when He returns.Why do so many imagine that billions of Catholics make it through? In the days of Noah only eight souls of all that then walked the earth made it through the flood. Of all entire generation of Israelites that departed Egypt with Moses in the Exodus, only Joshua and Caleb entered the Promised Land. At one point, Satan had managed to eliminate all but one little boy of the royal line of David in his diabolical effort to overflow the Davidic Covenant and prevent the advent of the Messiah.
    The Lord can make all things new with few or — if in His plan — only one.
    Catholic prophecy gives us hope of a worldwide restoration of the faith. Still, reading the version of the Fatima Secret released by JPII and Ratzinger in 2000, the re-blossoming must occur amidst much ruin and many lifeless bodies.
    Praying for Divine Mercy isn’t busy work for faithful souls. We modern day Ninevites can repent as called for in the prophetic warnings, and so escape destruction. But Days of Darkness are ahead. A purge of the old leaven appears necessary for us to be a new lump.

  9. I am organist and choir director for a small group of orthodox Franciscans. They celebrate ad orientem. We kneel for communion. They encourage the use of Latin in the ordinary of the Mass. They celebrate with slow deliberate dignity and with evident piety and the meager embellishments still permitted in the No, incense etc.... This unfortunately cannot be said for some of the other parishes in the diocese. I was also organist in a United Methodist church for 17 years. I once did a funeral for a mixed marriage where the deceased was Methodist but the wife Catholic. Half the church was filled with the Catholic side of the family. Because of the wife, the funeral was a communion celebration, very unusual for Methodists, presided over by our female pastor. in deference to the "Catholics" she actually used one of the Eucharist prayers from the NO. Does this ring alarm bells???? The many of the Catholics received, ironically kneeling at the rail, because Methodists at least then knelt at the rail. At the funeral collation, or mercy meal, the Catholics were aghast and delighted to find out that Protestants actually celebrate the Mass. It was then, before my eyes that my suspicions of the weakness and danger of the NO were given flesh and bones. The"Catholics" found this celebration so close to what they experienced in their own parishes that they could not tell the difference between a communion service and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. My Irish and Italian grandparents for all their lack of liturgical theology would have never made this mistake. The tree is judged by the fruit it it bears. The problem with the NO is that it is a shape shifter. it can legitimately be offered to look line a Protestant remembrance eucharist or like the Catholic sacrificial Mass as do the friars. The Zwingilan offertory prayers need to go and the rubrics re-established to re-emphasize what the Mass actually is in continuity with the theology of Trent. The TLM needs to be established as another rite of the Church with the same privileges given to the Eastern rites so the two Latin rites can benefit each other by a healthy recognition of the unique advantage each rite possesses.

    1. Thank you for this interesting comment. A priest friend said the same thing about a wedding "mass" in a very conservative Lutheran church (even more conservative than the Missouri Synod). The service was almost identical to the NO. I rarely attend a NO service unless I have no choice on a Sunday for exactly that reason.

  10. If I may presume, I doubt the NO preserved your traditional catholicism but your well established sensus fidei persisted despite the NO. The lex orandi in the NO is inherently different than the TLM, as affirmed by Pope Francis, and can not be attenuated by reverential outward signs such as kneeling or altar rails (which could be added any Protestant service as well). This without even mentioning the changes in the lectionary that present a deficient teaching of the faith regarding sin, hell, judgment, etc.
    The purpose behind the NO was to present an altered faith in line with Vatican II. As long as Vatican II and the NO remain, no matter how tweaked to appear more traditional, the Church will retain the ambiguity Modernism introduced. And my experience and my fear is that by attending a NO of any variety, even granting validity of the consecration (also not denied by Abp. Lefebvre), one provides overt affirmation of that alteration in the faith.
    As an aside, the article I could find on the eucharistic miracle in Poland mentioned "cross-striated muscle consistent with cardiac tissue". If that article is true, it is not medically correct, for skeletal muscle is cross striated, not cardiac. Haven't most similar eucharistic miracles always contained cardiac tissue?

  11. This article describes four Eucharistic miracles. I have no idea whether they took place at a TLM or NO Mass since the article doesn't specify. Two of the events were in Poland.

    Another article includes the Eucharistic miracle in Buenos Aires which was clearly at a NO Mass since a Eucharistic minister was involved.

  12. Sacred Tradition means teachings handed on from apostolic times. This cannot change. The other traditions can and do change. The traditional Latin mass is not a part of Sacred Tradition, because the apostles celebrated agape meals. The liturgy can change, as long as the consecration of bread and wine remain.

    Other candidates for not part of sacred tradition is the idea of a Catholic confessional state.