There are three great fantasies rampant in the Church

Published May 25, 2021

The first is that the Extraordinary Form will ever be anything but the Extraordinary Form. Here’s reality: it’s called the Extraordinary, not the Ordinary, Form for a reason. Even a study by a source strongly biased toward it informs us that after 13 years of authorization, only a “tiny percentage” of Catholics attend it. The vast majority of Catholics, thanks be to God, attend either the Ordinary Form of the Latin rite or some other rite in the Church. Adherents of the EF love to play the statistical trick of claiming that they are among the “fastest growing” demographics in the Church. But, of course, every tiny demographic can make the same claim. If you have only two members and you get two more, you can boast a massive growth rate. You’ve doubled in size overnight! Can the Ordinary Form make such a claim with their old and busted lib Pope?

Well, no. But in 2021 the Church grew by 16 million Catholics — a 1.12% increase compared to 2018 while the world’s population grew by 1.08%. And the overwhelming proportion of these go to the old, busted, boring Vatican II/Francis Catholic Church and not the New Hotness of the EF. If you want to get a sense of those numbers, it means that about 26 Seattles entered the Church this year. For a failing apostate Infiltrated Church of Pagans (have you noticed how alike Taylor Marshall and Jack Chick sound now?) the old girl still seems pretty spry.

The second great fantasy is like unto the first: the utter delusion that the Second Vatican Council will be, ‘ow you say, “repealed and replaced”. The people who believe this are the same sort of paranoid conspiracy theorists who are convinced that Francis is the Antichrist, that COVID is a hoax that is prelude to the Great Reset, and that there is no god but Trump and Vigano is his prophet.

Trump, the Church, and Latin Mass: a discussion with LifeSite DC reporter  Claire Chretien - The John-Henry Westen Show | Acast

Reality: The Second Vatican Council is not going anywhere, though we may well see a Vatican III in my lifetime, and most likely to deal with the problem of right wing neo-fascist rejection of Vatican II. But I leave that to the Holy Spirit.

Finally, there is third great fantasy indulged by this demographic: the belief in their own persecution–even as they dole out real persecution and abuse of others, particularly the brown and weak–who are frequently Catholic.

Whether it is

  • the brown Catholic children at the border whose kidnapping by Trump henchmen they cheered
  • the Amazonian Basin Catholics seeking shepherds and sacraments and receiving only ugly slander and insults as “pagans” from Reactionary bullies,
  • sterling and saintly Catholics like Gloria Purvis being kicked out of their jobs by MAGA thugs for speaking out against racism and white supremacy
  • murder victims like George Floyd being mocked by Austin Ruse and Matt Walsh,
  • COVID victims being abandoned to their deaths by the likes of Abby Johnson
  • vulnerable Catholics being bullied with the lie that sane public health measures such as communion in the hand are a “sin” by abusive priests like James Altman and Mark Goring

…what you can always count on is that the sellers and buyers of all this abuse in this abusive sect will sob about their own imaginary victimhood and persecution by “the libs” even as they trample their victims.

And until that imaginary pity party ends, they will not even be able to begin to address the first two fantasies because they have the most massive learning disability there is: Pride. When your field of vision is filled with the swollen vision of your own blubbering face as you weep for yourself and steal admiring glances in narcissistic ecstasies, it’s hard to see much else–especially the neck of the guy you are kneeling on at the Communion rail, waiting to receive the Body of Christ on the tongue you use to say things like…

Chris Damian on Twitter: "The author of this horrific tweet has ties to  @opusdeius, @CatholicUniv, @firstthingsmag, Cr!s!s Magazine, the Dignitatis  Humanum Institute, @TACollege, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, the  Holy See delegation
Anti-LGBT Author Of "The Catholic Case For Trump" Mocks Stuttering After  Biden Helps Teen With Stutter

May God raise up saints for his Church through Christ our Lord to do penance and reparations for such selfishness, sadism, cruelty, and delight in evil.

48 Responses

  1. I have another conspiracy theory for you: Could it be that the Casey decision a few decades ago has in fact been deliberately engineered in order to give the Republicans a political advantage?

    1. To do him what justice he deserves, he *claims* that he is mocking Biden’s claim to be a stutterer. He just thought it would be awesome to mock all stutterers, including this kid, to get at Biden. KKKlassy.

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWhi_JXos60

      My kid showed this youtube to me. Totally edited, but executed masterfully to prove a point.

      Trump went after his victims one by one. My son told me that Bush was ahead in the polls at that point.

      The American public watched that debate and still voted for all that. They love bullies. Bullies are their frat-house heroes.

      –The reason we were talking about Jeb Bush is really funny, and has to do with The Bohemian Grove, but I can’t tell the story on the internet.

      1. @ taco

        What could possibly be funny about a bunch of old straight men camping out and running around in the woods naked while they discourse learnedly on Traditional American Values?

  2. I’ve never been under the spell that the Latin Mass will overtake the Ordinary Form anytime soon, though I do think it will grow in influence and become more and more a “normal” part of being Catholic, even if just sometimes. I know several churches that do them for special occasions, for instance, and find people my age and younger are more open to it. I’m forever grateful it is allowed, and pray it doesn’t continue to become the home for Angry Republican Catholics. When I first came upon it, it was more like the Island of Misfit Catholics with all types of people.

    Sometimes I fantasize about joining the Episcopal Church down the road from me. They’re open and friendly people, socially progressive, yet have beautiful traditional worship that rivals what Traditionalist Catholics have. They’re more “High Church” so most Catholic practices and devotions, like prayers to Mary and the Saints, prayer for the dead, the Rosary, or even Benediction are not foreign or taboo to them. Then I remember it isn’t where I’m meant to be and it would never really be “home.”

      1. Compared to what? I checked out the average parishes this past year and can’t say I would be able to get away with criticizing Donald Trump at any of them. I was shocked to find my Latin Mass group, as disregarding of Covid precautions as it was, was probably the second most cautious parish after the “reform of the reform” OF parish. Those were the only two that limited singing, enforced social distancing, and took away Holy Water per order of the bishop. In most other places the motto seemed to be “Pandemic? What pandemic?” The worst was the praise and worship Mass. Fonts overflowing, full band, no masks for ushers, collection baskets placed up front so the little children could continue some sort of tradition where they scurry up front in a crowd to cutely drop the money in, priest going out of his way to make sure he shook hands with everyone on the way out.

        The MAGA stuff and Covid denial aren’t confined to the Latin Mass at all. If it were, I doubt it would even register as much of a problem since, as you point out, us EF crazies are such a tiny minority.

      2. Perhaps I’m not as “in the know” as you, but it’s always struck me that the sort of politically conservative Catholicism coming to dominate traditionalism is largely an import from the more extreme conservative Ordinary Form Catholicism I sometimes encountered before the Latin Mass was even on my radar – a distinctly different sort of conservativism from what I found in the Latin Mass initially.

        You probably disagree, but I think the old Mass has a lot to offer the Church. While I don’t believe in the fantasy that it will once again dominate, I also don’t buy the fantasy that it’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.

      3. The OF has wack jobs, but they are diluted by Normals. The EF has very high concentrations of wack jobs. I have no doubt the EF has a lot to offer. The trouble is not the Mass. It is the crazy toxic subculture of kook, paranoids, conspiracy theorists, anti-semitics, malcontents, and enemies of the Church and the human race that cluster around it like flies and make an fruits it might bear poisonous to the rest of us.

  3. Mr Ruse writes over at Crisis magazine:

    “But I do not despair, and neither should you. On the contrary, as I write in my book—Under Siege: No Finer Time to be a Faithful Catholic—this is a time of rejoicing because God knows what He is about. He knew this degradation of society would be upon us. And what did He do? He sent the likes of us here, right now, to defend His creation. Things may seem very dark for us, but we must rest assured that future generations will look back with envy that they could not be here with us, when things look so very desperate, fighting against the new established Church.”

    As I meditated upon the sheer madness of a bully, with a pattern of bullying –writing such words. The saying , “know thyself” came to mind. Even if it occurred to Ruse that he might be a paid bully, he is locked into what he does because his readership demands it. The high six figure income that he earns to do it comes with a lifestyle and expectations from his family.

    The word prostitute came to mind, –but that really isn’t fair to the prostitutes. They are also faking love to put food on their tables, but I doubt that many of them think that they are God’s own warrior, or have his life style.

    Which begs the second question: Who are these people who demand to be told again and again that they are lions and warriors for Christ?

    Humans can’t help but compete with each other. Many people compete at the level of cars, looks, jobs, homes, vacations, and lifestyle…If you think about it, who on earth would have the audacity to take it to the next level in order to see themself as some kind of sword of God? To actually put themself in this light? –Certainly not the saints. The mark of the saints is humble service. Saints see God in the most wretched child of his. (St. Catherine *literally* thought she was seeing God, when a diseased old woman who had persecuted her died, and God allowed Catherine to see her soul.). A saint would have been too busy with what saints busy themselves with to put his family up to marching upon the capital.

    I’m reminded of Michael the archangel, so shocked that he can’t help but ask Lucifer, “WHO is like God??”

    Somewhere in his heart Ruse knows the truth about himself and the hunger of his readership. He knows he’s no Francis Xavier or Junipero Serra ot Mother Teresa. He knows exactly what he is and what he’s doing–but he can’t stop because his whole world would fall apart. People like Jorge Bergoglio, who effortlessly saw through all of their smoke and mirrors ( brusquely telling them to stop Peacocking in the name of Christ–as any good father would) absolutely infuriate them. What would they be left with if they stopped?

    1. “What would they be left with if they stopped?”

      They would be left with the Faith they signed up for, but that would mean they actually did believe that was all that mattered and would admit that their actions were in open mockery of that Faith. The Christian God better indeed be merciful towards them because I certainly wouldn’t if I was in His shoes.

  4. @ taco

    I have written many times on these very pages about religious megalomania— an godlike over identification with god. Ruse’s self appointment as an emissary of god is, shall we call it, a very clever ruse— to convince himself.

    Protestant preacher Robin Bullock has done the same thing- the Mouth of God— and if you don’t believe him, Something Bad Is Going to happen to you.

    Hank Kunneman, another protestant, is now claiming if you mock his (multiple failures of) prophesying, god is going to give you leprosy, or somesuch.

    fr. altman is also busy making promises about god’s wrath. It sounds like he promising a personal delivery.

    God is not mocked, so we’re told, a standard admonition to us atheists. Someone wise once said, “accusation is confession.”

    1. And you were/are right Ben. I thought of you when I wrote it.

      Back in the day, when I allowed people like Ruse to scramble my brain, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. It didn’t pass the strict smell test. What I saw was an awful lot of men leaving the heavy lifting to their wives/mothers when it came to paying the price of supposedly living out the teachings of the Church. There was a lot of pontificating going on at the table about what was wrong in the world, while women bore the heavy weight of what amounted to double duty–waiting upon the (many) children AND waiting upon the men at the table. It was emblematic of an entire way of life. Sometimes it felt impossible. I mostly didn’t get irked, I’d offer it up like I’d been taught to do, and thought that this is what a saint would do, but sometimes some of the men (like my brother and brother-in-law) would rub salt in our wounds by actually making fun of us for it. I realized how invested they were with enforcing their dominance, by word or expectation, even if they masked this with joking. They confidently referred to the roles of women and men, and decried how men were currently being being depicted as WIMPS now, by Hollywood (Jews). If you asked them if they really believed that cleaning and tending to the kids was strictly/mostly women’s work, they might say, “well of course not!” as if we were silly to even ask the question. I wasn’t familiar with the term “gaslighting” yet.

      And yet If you talk to these Ruse types they would vehemently protest the idea of their tax dollars going to preschools for women who can’t afford it. They throw out scare words like “social engineering” and “communism” to frighten off their tired wives. And so she will be resigned, tell herself she’s protecting her child from the boogeyman all while realizing she can’t afford $400 a month for preschool two mornings a week anyway. When my mother took pity upon me, and signed my son up for *Catholic* preschool. It was the Catholic *women* I’d met at mass who threatened me with being shunned. I was told that my son would infect their sons if I turned my back on homeschool. that’s one of the best things that could have happened. Mean and petty people out themselves with mean pettiness. Jesus wasn’t like that.

      If you examine the history of the world, there was no time or era in which Catholic women have been left SO isolated in the expectation of bearing the weight of having a large family without the help of extended family. A lady born and raised in the Philippines pointed it out to me.

      This metastasized oddity being paraded about as Catholicism is of course as we know now, a cult. If they want to parade it around dressed up with the bells and smells of the EF to try to lend some legitimacy to it, it doesn’t make it less evil, or less of a cult.

      Thankfully, as Mark pointed out, they are a splinter group and a sideshow that linked up with the Evangelicals. It seems to be mostly a North American phenomenon. I do have to wonder how Ruse pulled off being legit in the ranks of these people by spending so much time talking about what is pro-life and didn’t at least adopt some kids for window dressing.

      As I skimmed Ruse’s article in CRISIS! Magazine, my eyes briefly stopped upon the word “orgasm”. As Mark would say, it gives his audience a burst of scandalised (envious) frisson. You know what that was? A dog whistle to all of the other frustrated men like himself. And they think that their lack of attractiveness is the fault of their wife, making them an even bigger candidate for sainthood. (Hmmm, I wonder how they cope with that?)

      1. @ taco

        Metastasized is exactly the word. But it isn’t just North American. Brasil, Poland, Hungary, World Congress of Families (?) are all about hyperQonservative religionists hooking up with each other and the state.

        “My kingdom is not of this world…”

        Whatcha mean “YOUR” kingdom?

  5. I agree, Mark, that the Novus Ordo and Vatican II aren’t going anywhere and it’s silly to imagine otherwise. But if this is not getting too far afield, why is it “thanks be to God” that the Latin Mass remains extraordinary and tiny? And do you take a similar approach to the Anglican Ordinariate, which is basically the Latin Mass but in English? I’m not only curious for your thoughts but full disclosure: I ask because my family is moving to a new state and, of course, I want to find a good parish in which to raise my children and the options seem to be bland NO monstrosities or reverent but cultish Latin or AO that I don’t really want any part of.

    1. Because the EF subculture is a toxic sinkhole and shows only signs of getting worse, not better. I think the dull ordinariness of the OF, for all its flaws, is vastly better for the soul than the pharisaic crazy of the EF. I’ll take banners and guitars and the everyday saintliness of the ordinary parish over the freakish Inquisitors of the
      EF any day of the week.

      I have no views on the Anglican Ordinariate since I have never met anybody in it. I care about morals infinitely more than about the fussy aesthetics that drive the EF. The stench of the pride of Hell is everywhere in that subculture, not to mention the fact that it *crawls* with pathologies.

      1. With all due respect Mark, I think you generalize too broadly here.

        I think I understand where it comes from, because as your work has adopted an increasingly online focus over the years, you’ve had to face more than most the tendency of crazy people on the internet to seek out those they disagree with, frame the disagreement as grave and irreconcilable, and wage war. I’ve seen in some of the online coversations how they work to get under your skin. Meanwhile, among your peers, the people who get the most attention tend not to be the most articulate and well-reasoned, but those who provide the most convincing validation to their readers for their viewpoints. I think the environment in which you do a lot of your work has led away from a neutral perception of the traditionalist side of the Church.

        For my own part, of the many frequent or occasional attendees of the extraordinary form I have met in person over the years, I don’t see “the stench of the pride of hell” or a community that “crawls with pathologies.”

        To be sure, I do think there there is a temptation towards pharisaism that has to be guarded against among EF attendees, and that a misplaced understanding of the role of rituals in our liturgical rites can easily breed pride. I’ve also observed a tendency to conflate political matters with those of faith, and heard no shortage of political talking points parroted as if they have some relevance to practicing Catholicism.

        That’s the same old problem with the Church being filled with sinners as the rest of the Church faces, made manifest through a different set of vices.

        Yet I’ve also had many conversations with such people (as in, face to face with people, not just encountering them as faceless text-producing entities on the internet) where they demonstrate much more moderate and coherent overall views when counterpoints are patiently raised. I’ve seen them make sacrifices to perform acts of charity just like in the ordinary form parishes I’m more used to. And I have heard personal accounts of the humility they feel at their own sins and the desire to be more like other individuals they look up to (in these cases, they seldom identify as a model some poster child for rigid conformity, but one of those everyday saints whose holiness you don’t recognize until you get to know them).

  6. You forgot the fourth fantasy. They dream of all us “lesser” Catholics leaving the Church so they can be the noble, faithful remnant, bravely and forlornly facing their imagined persecutions and feeling safely superior to all those “fakes” and “sell-outs.”

    1. @ becca

      The great pruning. More of the religious megalomania that I’ve written so much about. Look again how special I am. I am gods best advocate. I am powerful. I have God’s back. God likes me More than he likes you.

      1. Right? They love to pretend Benedict XVI said “a smaller, purer” Church was coming without ever reading the whole quote (Which never says “purer.”) They also ignore that the same quote talked about a poorer Church with less temporal power, because they pursue temporal power to wield against all perceived enemies.

      2. @ becca

        I first heard that from a sola scriptorum baptist about 6 years ago. She was very intelligent, very educated woman. But she just KNEW that she would be among the very few, the very elite, shall we say the very elect who would get to go to heaven, because she was pure. You could positively hear the sneer in her voice. Of course, I’m an atheist, so I really wasn’t impressed by the claim, only by the very depths of despite she displayed when making it.

        That is what I think really underlies calvinism— despite. Calvinism and trumpism.

        Despite: 1.
        outrage; injury.
        “the despite done by him to the holy relics”
        2.
        contempt; disdain.
        “the theater only earns my despite”

  7. 1) Personally, I’m a fan of exactly the idea that Pope Benedict suggested when he released Summorum Pontificum: that awareness of the benefits of each form of the liturgy will mutually enrich the other.

    I haven’t found a personal attachment to the extraordinary form in its entirety, and I remain an ordinary form attendee. Elements of it do appeal to me, but the things I like about it not only can be used in the ordinary form, but were in fact supposed to be used in the ordinary form. The liturgy as a rite filled with deep symbolism and traditions that inform our faith and create an identity really helps my participation. I have very deeply appreciated the priests who have thrown off the casual approach to Mass and made an effort to learn the details and symbolism that give it depth, and the trend has definitely been growing.

    I first started to appreciate some of the traditions I was ignorant off for much of my life probably 25 years ago thanks to the Western Province Dominicans, but it seems like there is always more to discover, to learn about, and to reflect on to deepen my participation.

    Only about a month ago, as our relatively new pastor said the Eucharistic prayer, I noticed that unlike most priests he wasn’t looking around the church making eye contact. He was looking upward, and his attention matched the content of the prayers. Right there in the middle of Mass, a simple nuance of posture made suddenly ad orientem make perfect sense: even though the priest was not in this case facing east physically, he was spiritually.

    2.) As far as I can tell from reading some of the documents of Vatican II, we don’t need Vatican II to go away. We need it to get brought to our parishes in the first place! I’m sure “reform of the reform” is an idea you’re already familiar with. I hope we can make it a reality. As someone who’s entire memory of church began after folk music and meaningless abstractions of art and architecture became ubiquitous, I feel like I missed out for decades on the liturgy the council fathers actually intended for us to have.

    3) I don’t have much to add about the third point, although I will note that I never seem to meet people who fit this description in person. Online, yes, but I get the impression they’re merely a very vocal, but tiny minority.

    1. The movie “Lilies of the Field” includes the scene of a Catholic mass conducted outdoors. The altar is a truck bed, the back of a pickup truck.

      That mass is the same in holiness as one of today’s Vatican masses. I think that I should strive to attain a state where I can celebrate either without feeling a difference between them.

      Beauty is a pathway to God, a way to experience the transcendent, leading one to God. Beauty exists in all things, but we don’t experience it because we ignore the common. The simplest of life experiences – to be able to see, communicate, feel, to simply exist, is as incomparable a wonder as listening to Bach’s Passion. We are all jaded by the common and search for the novel and rare.

      Aesthetics are a crutch and an aid, not an end in itself. Any help to reach God is good. But one using help should be aware of ones own frailty, and hence have a position of humility. Then we won’t look down on those who find beauty in “kumbaya”. And there won’t be disputes of my crutch is better than yours.

      1. ” I think that I should strive to attain a state where I can celebrate either without feeling a difference between them. “

        While I agree with the goal, and remind myself of this often if I find myself distracted by something unexpected at Mass, I’m don’t think it is truly possible. We are humans. Our perceptions and dispositions are inherently influenced by the things we are surrounded with, and the actions we see, because we are physical beings with physical needs and imperfect knowledge and will. Hence why human beings have customs and artistic expressions for everything from how we eat our meals, to how we commit new public servants to office, to how we prepare to watch sporting events, to how we lay a loved one to rest.

        My desire for the liturgy and our churches to inform through senses and actions that reflect the principles and history of our faith is not based on wanting to believe my crutch is better than someone else’s. It’s based on the lived experience that it really does help me better understand and appreciate the transcendent nature of what takes places on the altar.

        While different individuals may have differing subjective views about the aesthetics of a painting of some passage in the Gospel or a key moment in the life of the saint compared to a banner covered in abstract shapes and colors, it is objectively true that they convey different information to the viewer. My input isn’t so much about the beauty of the common vs the rare, but the recognition of the earthly versus the heavenly.

      2. I feel like something often lost when bringing up examples like a truck-bed Mass (I’ve seen “Lilies of the Field” numerous times as my parents love that film) is that it isn’t about the aesthetics or grandness of the Mass, but whether it is the best we can do with whatever means we have in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. That outdoor Mass was beautiful, serious, and reverent – an expression of a community coming together to offer the best they had out of love for God. If in pre-Covid times it were a casual affair sloppily thrown together by a group of wealthy suburbanites in the parking lot outside their beautiful state-of-the art church building, it would have a completely different character.

        Latin Mass people do care a great deal about aesthetics, but even more about doing our best with what we have and being reverent. Not all Latin Masses are elaborate affairs – most in my experience are simpler Low Masses or High Masses (not Solemn) with amateur choirs. I’ve had many conversations with others who attend the Latin Mass and it is common for there to be a lot of respect for the Spanish OF Masses they have been too – even if they have “Mariachi” style music and a less formal atmosphere. What always strikes them is the visible reverence and piety of the people present. The top biggest criticism of the “average” OF Mass I have heard is that it often takes on a mind-numbingly dull, yet overly casual atmosphere. For me, while I have my strong preferences, I’ll attend any old Mass celebrated well.

      3. @iamlucky13
        “While different individuals may have differing subjective views”

        Exactly. It’s subjective.

        @Lucky Horseshoe
        “but even more about doing our best with what we have and being reverent…casual affair sloppily thrown together… it often takes on a mind-numbingly dull, yet overly casual atmosphere”. etc etc

        That’s a lot of subjective opinions and judgements. What is casual? What is reverence? Sloppy?

        Imagine this – to a lot of people, justifiably, the Latin mass is a show. Costumes, incense, hocus-pocus chants and so on. They think it’s a circus. Just the language itself is enough to make it a weird proceeding. That shoe can fit, can’t it ?

        In the end, “does not satisfy my senses” is not a universal claim. Once you understand, maybe you can think differently. I would very much venture that the mathematical distribution of particpants/celebrants as “reverent/irreverent” (or sloppy/serious etc) in any mass – whether it’s EF or the “kumbaya”, will be more or less the same, because it’s a bunch of people.

        I would not trust my idea of “visible reverence and piety of the people present” to be a valid yardstick. At least, I aspire to that, even though I grumble about some particular mass… but that’s more about me than that mass.

      4. I’m confused about what lesson you are trying to teach me since I think you take some of what I wrote out of context …but as I said, I’ll take any Mass celebrated well. My definition of a Mass “celebrated well” is pretty broad: the best you can do with what you have out of love. I think that definition covers quite a bit of ground and it includes things I personally don’t like. However, I do not feel celebrating Mass is so subjective a thing that one may never judge it. You would seem to agree since you say one can justifiably be of the opinion that a Latin Mass is a show. If that opinion is justifiable, then I think I can be justified in saying a casual pickup truck Mass celebrated by rich people as a choice is different from poor people in the open desert with no choice celebrating a pickup truck Mass.

  8. Huh, I was kinda expecting you would also list the fantasy MAGA Qatholics have about the medieval period. Y’know, where all the saints were chopping down demonic trees worshiped by pagans? The one were occultists could sacrifice children and babies to summon literal devils while flying on broomsticks? (Oh and something about the Earth being the center of the universe and only being about 6,000 years old.) I mean, all their obsession with fighting demonic forces is often accompanied by looking back to the glory days of the crusades, where knights would slay dragons, and win princesses, while ‘devilish lies’ like Descartes and the scientific method weren’t invented yet to destroy people’s faith magic etc.

    1. @ kale

      More of what I was talking about. More religious megalomania. Look how special I am. Look how powerful I am. I am the star of the show. God likes me more than he likes you

    2. Mark has written other posts about chronological snobbery and modern caricatures of the Church and humanity in general during past ages, although I think most of them would have to be found on his former Patheos site.

      1. Yeah I remember some of his historical Patheos posts on the subject. Still, I honestly think it’s more to do with a mutated form of escapism than anything to do with what the real Middle Ages were like. Throw in a lifetime’s worth of religious magical thinking and you get a group that even LARPers would find cringey.

    3. And as I said below…*it’s not even from the Middle Ages!!* It’s an Early Modern liturgy. It’s no older than any of the various Protestant ones.

  9. Not really my fight, but as somebody who believes that words matter, it drives me nuts when they call it the “Traditional Latin Mass”.

    Guys–it’s only five hundred years old. That liturgy was created at Trent. Now, a half millennium is a long time in human terms, but given that the Christian church is two thousand years old….I don’t think it quite makes the cut as “traditional”. It’s a thoroughly modern liturgy. Early modern, but still modern.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with something being modern–at least not by my lights. It’s not like the Lutheran Hymnal is from the First or Second or Third or even Fourteenth Century, either. Hardly. The version used in my synod dates from 2006! Liturgies change their outward forms over the centuries–what matters is the inward substance, that it keeps within the bounds of scripture first and then church tradition.

    But they OTOH *do* seem to believe modern=bad, and then hold up an early modern liturgy as “tradition”, sometimes even worse, they actually call it *ancient* tradition! Pius V wept.

  10. It was this same attitude towards the Divine Liturgy that drove St. Alexis Toth out of the Catholic Church and into Orthodoxy; will we learn nothing? If you are generous only to those whom you find agreeable, of what good is that? Even the heathen and the rad trad and the Gentile do the same?

  11. Thank you for this article and the important points you raise. I attended the EF for awhile, but found in those circles the blatant enthronement of political ideology over the whole of Catholic doctrine to be nothing short of idolatry – a.k.a. as “not Catholic”. It’s not for nothing that so many Trads abhor the term “seamless garment” to refer to the integral unity of Catholic teaching. That’s what you have to do when you’re trying to justify your own sin and create your own religion. It’s the ultimate cafeteria Catholicism.

    I’ve been reading you for awhile and other websites such as Where Peter Is, and I’m grateful God is raising up voices to challenge the increasingly dissident narrative being circulated by right wing devotees masquerading as more-Catholic-than-the-Pope. Prayers for you, for the Holy Father, the Church and the world.

  12. @Luckyhorseshoe

    I get what you are saying. One of the most moving masses I have ever been to was in the early 90s in Paris. We stumbled upon it looking for a Saturday evening mass so our Sunday obligation was taken care of.

    I could hardly understand anything. There were both men and women monks (on either side of the church), dressed in long robes and capes with hoods. They had little kneelers. They would prostrate themselves before the Eucharist.

    When the priest distributed communion, he would hold it up and briefly offer his worship to each host, before placing it on the tongue. It was so sacred. I felt so unworthy.

    Ah Europe.

    We are the Walmart Catholics. (sigh)

  13. I guess art and architechture impact different people in different ways.

    I myself have been more impacted by holy, yet approachable, accepting, and friendly people.

    I have been to masses outdoors, in outdoor chapels, and inside of people’s homes. I never once felt that God was missing in any of those locations.

    1. I remember with joy the time in mid-2020, when lockdown rules were easing and we were allowed 10 people together at a time. We had not had Mass for, I think, a couple of months. Our Rosary group comprised nine people. Our priest came and celebrated Mass in the house we meet in.

    2. Couldn’t agree more. I can’t say I’ve ever been to a Mass where God was missing.

      1. Yes. Sometimes we have to try harder to find God when we are not in our element –but even the struggle to focus on Jesus is a beautiful one! Mariachi masses aren’t my thing. But I love Mexican piety. Any mass where the priest is pretentious is off-putting. Holy priests make it easy to just be still and listen.

        We continue to go to outdoor mass here. It’s not because we have to, it’s just so beautiful outside. I will be sad when outdoor mass ceases to be an option. Maybe it won’t. (Please, please, please, God!)

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