Tag Archives: Latin Mass

Catholics: Hold Fast!

Two fists held close together. On each knuckle a letter is tattooed. The words "Hold Fast" are spelled out across them.

After years of scandal and controversy, it’s easy to forget how heroic so many of our priests are.  We must support them and pray for them.

And we, Catholic brothers and sisters, must remain brave ourselves, and firm in our Faith!  Tribulations are coming.  One could easily argue (Wuhan Virus, anyone?) that they are here already.

#CatholicsHoldFast

Why I’m no longer attending my Latin Mass Parish weekly

“Take it, lad. You need it more than I do.” – Chaplain George Rentz, giving his life jacket to a seaman following the sinking of USS Houston during the Battle of Sunda Strait, 1942.

Commander George Rentz was a Chaplain aboard USS Houston, a cruiser sunk during a fierce naval battle with superior Japanese forces in the dark days of 1942. Clinging desperately to a hopelessly overloaded piece of wreckage with several other sailors, he relinquished his spot of safety.  Giving his lifejacket to a young seaman with those words, he pushed away, treading water for a while before his strength gave out and he sank below the waves, joining 800 other men from Houston who perished that day. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his action, the only chaplain so honored during the Second World War.

George_S._Rentz-colorrentz

Commander George Rentz was a Navy Chaplain who laid down his life for a fellow Sailor following the sinking of their cruiser in 1942.

Please God that he has received a far greater reward.

Rentz’s words became one of a handful of famous naval sayings which (along with better known phrases like “Don’t give up the ship” or “I have not yet begun to fight”) my Naval Academy classmates and I were ordered to commit to memory over 45 years ago.

It’s funny how those words stick with you. Thinking about it now, those three phrases (which I shouted with gusto as a sweating frightened Midshipman 4th Class whenever prompted by an upperclassman) can apply to us Catholics of a traditional/orthodox bent during these troubling and apocalyptic times for our Church. And surely 2020 will be a year as dark for our beloved Catholic Church as was 1942 for the U.S. Navy, the year Rentz laid down his life.

Hopefully, nobody reading this will be scratching their heads wondering why I lament the state of things in our Church. If you don’t know the situation, you simply haven’t been paying attention. For the rest of us, perhaps those three phrases will seem like good advice.

“Don’t give up the ship!” – I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’m abandoning the Barque of Peter, no matter how hot the battle.

Don't Give Up The Ship

The original battle flag flown during the Battle of Lake Erie now hangs proudly in the rotunda at the U.S. Naval Academy. Those fighting words from the War of 1812 ring true for us Catholics today!

“I’ve not yet begun to fight!” – The enemy is demanding our surrender. Far from complying, we’re about to renew the battle with fierce determination.

“Take it, lad. You need it more than I do.” – Well, maybe this one isn’t as clear. Let me explain.

My response to the desperate battle facing us is nowhere near as noble or heroic as what that chaplain (only a month away from full retirement) did amidst one of the fiercest naval battles of World War II. It’s really pretty trivial and cheezy in comparison.

Instead of giving up my lifejacket, I’m giving up my seat at my FSSP parish.

Huh?

My FSSP parish is small. When FSSP was granted permission to have a parish in my city, the small run-down church had been closed and abandoned, stark evidence of Catholicism’s post-Vatican II continual collapse. After three years of effort (including some pretty serious engineering), the building had been restored to its former beauty. The high altar was in place, and all vestiges of the Novus Ordo experiment were gone.

And our little parish began steadily growing. It wasn’t just cranky old timers incapable of “getting with the times,” as the Traditional Mass’ detractors like to paint us. Nope. More and more young families came through our doors. In ten years our little outfit produced five vocations.

The growth was steady but manageable. Then came the Summer of Shame.

When it became evident how rampant the scandals, how deep the rot, how Modernist the hierarchy, and how big the mess confronting our Catholic faith, attendance at my little parish exploded. We ushers saw more and more new faces every week. There were more and more new families showing up. They were curious first-timers, and they had questions which we tried to answer, always encouraging them to come back.

Overflow TLM

Taking it to the streets: Undaunted, Catholics unable to find a seat at the Latin High Mass carry on.

And, boy, did they come back! Our job as ushers, of course, included finding seats for our parishioners and visitors. These days we look less like ushers and more like those famous Japanese train conductors who have to pack passengers like sardines! Our three FSSP priests laid on additional Sunday Masses to alleviate the strain, but the crowds kept growing. We’re now at the point where if you don’t show up for Mass at least a half hour early, you’re not going to get a seat…at least not in a pew inside the church.

During good weather (which is abundant in our state), we leave the double doors open and set up two rows of folding chairs under a portable canopy. People sit outside, peering in and listening to the homily broadcast on exterior speakers. During the parts of the Mass where you’re supposed to kneel, they kneel uncomplainingly on the concrete sidewalk. We’ve taken two of our classrooms and made them overflow rooms where the Mass is relayed via WiFi onto large screen displays.

Station workers push a passenger into a crowded subway train at the Ikebukuro station on the Marunouchi line during rush hour in Tokyo

These Japanese train conductors have the makings of excellent ushers at my parish’s wonderfully overcrowded Latin Mass!

A first-time visitor to our parish shouldn’t be forced to watch from such disadvantaged locations, so it isn’t uncommon for parish “regulars” to give up their pew for a visitor.

Such is the state of our little Latin Mass parish.

The good news is that we’re not the only place in our city where the Mass is offered in the Extraordinary Form. Two much larger parishes have brave priests who offer the Latin Mass at least once a week, offering their parishioners the opportunity to attend the Extraordinary Form in addition to their regular Novus Ordo Masses. I say these priests are brave for two reasons: first of all, they haven’t had the extensive training which Latin-only outfits like FSSP, ICKSP, and SSPX seminarians go through. The Latin Mass is beautiful, but certainly difficult for a man not trained from the ground up in saying it. Secondly, our city is home to one of the more liberal bishops in America. So far, he has been tolerant of these pre-1969 Masses being said by his diocesan priests. That, of course, could change at any moment.

I’ve attended these Latin Masses, and they are growing as well. They’re both said in very large churches, so there’s still plenty of room. I’d put the attendees at a Novus Ordo parish Latin Mass at about (this is a very unscientific wag) 40% Traddie and 60% Novie. Many, many families are being exposed to the old rite. It’s good to have a significant number of Traddies in the pews there. We act as guides of a sort, I guess. If you’re a Novie Newbie and are struggling to keep up, it’s helpful to keep an eye on the people wearing mantillas and sporting those massive black missals. When they kneel, you kneel. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

I’ve also struck up a friendship with the pastor of one of these Novus Ordo parishes. He’s a wonderful guy, orthodox in his theology and eager to bring authentic Church teachings to his people. I love encouraging and supporting him. Due to logistical imperatives (dealing with chronically ill family members), my wife and I have been attending separate Masses on Sunday in order to always have somebody at home. She’s been going to this Latin Mass at the big Novus Ordo church for a couple of years now.

Now, I’m doing likewise.

I’m still a member of my FSSP parish, and continue to support them financially. I still plan to get there at least once a month. But I think it’s time to give up my pew there to make room for that next confused and battered Catholic who stumbles through the door in search of the genuine Faith which seems to be evaporating before our eyes in far too many places.

To that Novie looking for a pew where they can experience the full beauty of the Traditional Latin Mass, I gladly say, “Take it, lad (or lass). You need it more than I do.”

Traditional Religious Orders on the Rebound

With the loss of so many vocations over the past fifty years, we’ve seen a general (and often severe) contraction of religious orders across the board. Every once in a while, however, you come across an account of a religious order that is actually growing, sometimes explosively so.

The Discalced Carmelites, however, are on the rebound.

Since 2000, the Carmelites have been faced with the sort of challenge many religious orders pine for: a boom in vocations. In that year, the nuns moved into the monastery at Elysburg, Pennsylvania from their original home in Nebraska, which they soon outgrew. They were thus granted permission to take over another declining Carmelite monastery, the Carmel of St. Joseph and St. Anne, in Philadelphia — and filled that one with vocations as well. So finally, with the community having overflowed its lodgings twice, the Carmelites received permission last summer from His Excellency Ronald Gainer, bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, to expand operations again, this time constructing a new monastery from the ground up.

According to their superior, Mother Stella, “I think the young women are drawn to beauty in the liturgy. They know that if God exists, if God is on our altars, if God is within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then He needs to be worshiped as He deserves: with beauty and reverence,” she said of what she thinks draws young women to the Carmelites in particular. “They see that we have that here in our monastery, and they want to be a part of that. They also want something that is authentic, that goes back to the time of our holy mother, St. Teresa.”

Read the entire article here:
https://www.lifesitenews.co…

Toxic Traddies, Take Note!

The traditional Latin Mass is really something special!

We “Traddies” know that.  We love our Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and we are pretty sure that–aside perhaps from Susan from the Parish Council or other folk of a hopelessly Modernist mindset–any Catholic would see the special value the Latin Mass has…if they only would experience it first-hand a few times.

And many “regular” Catholics are investigating the Latin Mass first-hand!  That’s great news.  At my parish, we have first-time visitors joining us each and every week.  This trend has picked up speed after the ignominious “Summer of Shame” broke last year, and as we slouch towards the imminent train wreck -called the “Amazon Synod” more and more Catholics will come to see the Traditional Latin Mass as an island of beauty and sanity in a world growing more dysfunctional by the minute.

When first-time visitors come to your traditional parish, how do you greet them?  Most of the time, visitors are made to feel welcome.  But there are other times…

Hank Igitur takes these “toxic Traddies” lurking in our midst to task in his latest video:

A Prayer for Pope Francis

The controversies surrounding Pope Francis show no signs of abating. Agree or disagree on his policies, pronouncements, and actions, we must remember that he is nonetheless the man who is Peter’s successor. That’s no guarantee, however, that he will remain free from error in his each and every act. It doesn’t even mean that he’s automatically in a state of sanctified grace. What it does mean, however, is that he will be Number One of the devil’s target list, and that the prince of this world will be subjecting the Pope to powerful and never-ending spiritual attack. That last point is pretty much not debatable, I would guess (but net has proved me wrong time & again, so you never know…)

Regardless where we might fall on the spectrum of opinions regarding Francis and his pontificate, I hope we can all agree upon the urgent necessity to remember him in our prayers! This crisis won’t solve itself, no matter how many tweets, blogs entries, and DISQUS posts are made for or against this or that proposition. Only through prayer, the intercession of Our Lady, and by the intervention of Almighty God will the crisis be ended.

And with that in mind, I’d like to offer this short prayer for our Holy Father, taken from the 1962 Missal (Collect for the Pope):

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all the faithful, graciously look upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast been pleased to appoint pastor over Thy Church: grant, we beseech Thee, that by both word and example he may edify those over whom he is set, and together with the flock committed to his care, may attain to eternal life.
Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Did Pope Francis Wreck the Mass? No!

Three priests at altar performing New Mass. One has clown makeup.

The problems which plague the Catholic Church predate the rise of Bergoglio to the Chair of Peter by a generation at least.  Is the Latin Mass under threat?  Yes.  Is the Novus Ordo Mass beset with flaws and subject to all manner of abuse?  Yes.

Is it the fault of Pope Francis?  Nope.

Check out this very informative video by Michael J. Matt.  He lays out the problem very well…

It may not look like it, but we’re winning!

Recreational Vehicle with the words "The Traditional Roamin' Catholic"

From a vehicle storage lot in an unknown location, Henry (you can call him Hank) Igitur kicks off a new video series for CatholicCyber-Militia.com.

In his inaugural video, Hank gives a shout-out to the “scores” of subscribers (he’s an optimist, that Hank) and shares an article from Michael Matt.  What he doesn’t share is what may (or may not) be lurking in the contents of his coffee cup!

Like it?  Hate it?  Confused and/or bored by it?  Let us know what you think of this new feature!