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Traditional Latin Mass at the seminary of the Institute of Christ the King, Italy.ICKSP/ YouTube screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this week, none other than the New York Times published a piece profiling traditional Catholics and our love for the Tridentine liturgy. Its headline was “Old Latin Mass Finds New American Audience, Despite Pope’s Disapproval.”

Believe it or not, I didn’t think it was half bad.

The author of the piece, Ruth Graham, covers “religion, faith and values” for the Times. (No relation to the late evangelical titan Billy.) Even if one could quibble with the presentation here or there, her article manages to shine a humanizing light on us traditional Catholics and our perspective.

Not only that, Graham appears to grasp the key to the current conflict between traditionalists and progressives in the Church: It’s not fundamentally about the liturgical trappings of the Mass per se, but about competing visions of what the Church is and should be.

Here’s how Graham puts it:

The Mass has sparked a sprawling proxy battle in the American church over not just songs and prayers but also the future of Catholicism and its role in culture and politics.


On one level, the split over the old Mass represents a clash of priorities and power struggles in church leadership. In pews and parishes, it is more complicated. Many Catholics say they are attracted to the Mass for spiritual reasons, bolstered by aesthetic and liturgical preferences rather than by partisanship.


“It’s a whole vision of the church and what it means to be a Christian and a Catholic that’s at stake here,” said John Baldovin, a priest and a professor at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry who has written often about liturgical issues. “You can’t say it’s just about a beautiful Mass.”

It’s undoubtedly true that most any Catholic who switches from the Novus Ordo to the Latin Mass is attracted to the latter’s heightened sense of reverence, beauty, formality, and mystery; but in light of the dictum lex orandi, lex credendi — the law of prayer is the law of belief — one can see how this attraction flows from a theology and ecclesiology, even if implicit and rudimentary, that are of a more “traditional” flavor.

In other words, our desire for greater reverence, beauty, formality, and mystery in the liturgy is rooted in our conviction that the prevailing progressive vision increasingly excludes these qualities, and thereby debilitates the Church’s interaction with the world and its mission to save souls.

Graham again:

Since Francis became pope in 2013, he has emphasized inclusivity, and attempted to soften the church’s approach to flashpoints like abortion and homosexuality. He has also issued a major encyclical on environmental stewardship, prayed for immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, and appointed women to historically significant roles in church operations.

Because this piece was published in the New York Times, one could safely assume Graham sides with Francis on these issues, and may not even be aware of the full extent to which he routinely scandalizes traditionally-minded faithful.

RELATED: Latin Mass will be suppressed at New Jersey church a year after Pope Francis’ crackdown

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***MAJOR UPDATE, November 10, 2022*** LifeSiteNews reported the bombshell statement issued by Archbishop Viganò, declaring that members of the “Bergoglian church” are no longer in union with the Church of Christ.

According to Archbishop Viganò:

the visible church, to which the world gives the name of Catholic Church and of which it considers Bergoglio as Pope, is no longer Church...

This statement was long overdue, and Archbishop Viganò is finally sounding the alarm — Pope Francis is leading the Church into something radically different than the Church established by Christ. Pope Francis cannot continue betraying the faithful by abdicating his duty as Universal Shepherd

The time to redouble our efforts and fervently request that Pope Francis repent and be reconciled with the Church is NOW

SIGN and SHARE. Defend the Church and demand that Pope Francis faithfully uphold the authentic Catholic faith! 

Bishops from across the world have raised concern over Pope Francis' unfaithfulness to the 2,000+ years of Catholic teaching, and the recent statement by  Archbishop Viganò is truly the breaking point into a new era for faithful Catholics.



Bishop Joseph Strickland, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Fr. James Altman, and two dozen more faithful Catholic priests & scholars are publicly calling out Pope Francis for his outrageous, dangerous, and heretical teaching concerning reception of Holy Communion.

Pope Francis stated that "faith" is the only requirement for those who wish to receive Holy Communion in his June 29 Apostolic Letter on the liturgy, Desiderio desideravi. 

This statement is dangerous because:

  • The Council of Trent explicitly anathematized those who make this claim calling it 'heresy'
  • Pope Francis omitted the essential step of repentance for sin to worthily receive the Eucharist.
  • Pope Francis is thereby allowing the faithful to eat and drink condemnation on themselves, should they receive Holy Communion unworthily
  • Pope Francis is supporting moral relativism, eradicating the clear distinction between good and evil
  • Pope Francis is eradicating the need for the Sacrament of Confession
  • Pope Francis is damaging the teaching office of the Church by sowing doubt and division among faithful Catholics

But there is a way to stop Pope Francis' modernist attack and defend the true Catholic teaching on Holy Communion. 

Catholics everywhere must renounce Pope Francis' heresy and uphold the truth: only Baptized Catholics in the state of grace, and therefore free of mortal sin, can receive Holy Communion*.

For those in mortal sin, repentance and absolution must first be sought in the Sacrament of Confession before receiving the Eucharist*.

Pope Francis' statement would mislead many souls, which is why we need your help today to stand with Bishop Strickland, Fr. Altman, Bishop Schneider, and more.


The growing list of faithful Catholics who are standing for the truth and bravely resisting Pope Francis' attempt to dilute the Church's moral authority is only growing. This is great news, but the news can't simply stop with you. 

You must join the growing list of supporters to but a STOP to Pope Francis' heresy.

WATCH: LifeSiteNews' co-CEO and Editor-in-Chief, John-Henry Westen, fully breaks down the growing list of faithful Catholics choosing to resist Pope Francis' attack on the faith.

Stand with these faithful Catholics: Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop André Gracida, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Bishop Robert Mutsaerts, Father Gerald E. Murray, Father James Altman, Father John Lovell, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Dr. John Lamont, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, Professor Anna Silvas, Dr. Anthony Esolen, Professor John Rist, Professor Paolo Pasqualucci, Julia Meloni, George Neumayr, and LifeSite’s John-Henry Westen.

*However, if a Catholic is unable to attend Confession but has a grave reason for receiving the Eucharist (such as a priest who may be required to celebrate Mass at a given time but who is unable to go to Confession), such a person must be confident to the best of his ability that he have perfect contrition for any mortal sins that he may have committed before receiving Holy Communion in an exceptional situation.


Full statement by Catholic bishops and scholars correcting Pope Francis' heresy - LifeSiteNews

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But nevertheless Graham is spot-on that “political and theological conservatives see … a troubling disregard for orthodoxy more broadly” in many of Francis’ actions and remarks. If you’re a regular LifeSite reader, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s true: We are disgusted with the progressive orientation of the Francis pontificate. We do fully embrace Church teaching on abortion, same-sex “marriage,” Holy Communion, and their implications. We are informed about what’s happening at the Vatican and in the Church writ large. Progressivism is failing us.

Cheers to Ruth Graham and the New York Times for making a good faith attempt at understanding the concerns of traditional Catholics and giving us a voice. We wish more of our Church leaders did the same.

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Evan Stambaugh is a LifeSite journalist. He has a BA in Theology and an MA in Philosophy. He previously served as a volunteer, intern, and field assistant for Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016.