June 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked young Catholics who haven’t left the faith what made them stay. While their answer may be surprising to many, it will not be to anyone familiar with the state of the Church today.
First of all, the USCCB is to be commended for asking young people why they’ve stayed in the Church rather than left; too often Church leadership takes its cues on catechesis and evangelization from those who object to various Catholic doctrines. The USCCB is also to be commended for acknowledging young adults are a better authority on “youth” than the aging, liberal Vatican II baby boomers whose grip on Church life has produced memes like “Susan from the Parish Council.”
Many of the most “liked” comments on this question posed to USCCB Facebook followers were about the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), the beautiful ancient rite of the Mass that was codified at the Council of Trent. It’s experienced a resurgence in the last decade or so since Pope Benedict XVI clarified that Vatican II never abrogated this form of the Mass, and that priests don’t need permission from their bishops to offer it.
Much of this resurgence has been from my generation. The beauty, goodness, and truth of the Old Mass appeal to us. It’s otherworldly. It directs our thoughts to heaven and God. It isn’t a show the priest puts on for the congregation. The Old Mass helps souls get to heaven. It makes people Catholic because it is Catholic – far more Catholic than much of what goes on in parishes in most of the West.
“I'm 23,” one young woman commented. “Staying because of the truth rooted in tradition found in the Church (especially the TLM).”
“Discovering the Traditional Latin Mass, and learning about all the beautiful Traditional teachings of our Church is what has kept me a Catholic,” said another.
“24 year old millennial: Seeing the beauty in church tradition and the reverence in the traditional Mass. This type of mass led to an encounter with Christ in the Eucharist,” wrote a young man. “The traditional music, incense, and beautiful traditional church architecture. Through parents who were great models of the faith and were much involved in teaching us the faith and the ‘Why’ to the church teachings and Mary. I was taught of God's love and how when we strive to love God in all our actions this allows us to [become] fully the person God made us to be and leads to happiness.”
Other comments on the USCCB Facebook post reflected the same sentiment:
- “Discovering the Latin Mass strengthened my faith. I found it at a time in college when i became disengaged. My husband did not grow up going to church and became catholic and also loved the Latin mass.”
- “The Traditional Latin Mass which includes the reverence, true adoration, petition, and Thanksgiving of the Eucharist. Solid Catholic teaching without error or emotional overtures. Grateful for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest! The Catholic Church is the true faith in which salvation is found.”
- “After being introduced to the Extrodinary [sic] Form of the Mass by my boyfriend (now husband), I have changed careers from elementary music teacher to pursuing a Masters in Sacred Music. My heart burns with a desire to share the gift of our 1000+ year, distinctly Catholic musical heritage and reclaim such pieces for the context of the liturgy rather than a concert stage (where I have performed them in the past). Also, my husband and I drive 30 min to our parish that has EF…as well as a beautiful and fittingly executed OF (Ordianry [sic] Form). We recently discovered there is a group of about 20 other young families from our area that do the same after having discovered the EF in the past few years. Our parish is growing, increasing primarily with young adults and young families. Seeing such care for the liturgy and learning more about the liturgy and our church's treasures has made me an even more enthusiastic Catholic than ever before in my life.”
- “The availability of the Traditional Mass (extraordinary form, as it is currently called), made me stay. There I found reverence, and a call to live every more deeply a life of sacrificial love, and to strive for Heaven daily.”