July 23, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has said that Summorum Pontificum has been “exploited to widen the gaps, reinforce the divergences, and encourage disagreements that injure the Church, block her path, and expose her to the peril of division.”
He used this as one justification for severely restricting the freedom of priests to offer the Latin Mass, and by extension, reducing access to it now and in the future by the laity.
I have attended the Traditional Latin Mass almost exclusively for two years now. My first TLM was celebrated by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at the shrine of St. Alphonsus Liguori in Baltimore on August 1, 2019, St. Alphonsus’ feast day. My experience with hundreds of priestly homilies and conversations with my fellow Catholics makes me skeptical of concerns that Traditional Latin Mass-attending Catholics have divisive or fringe views somehow.
Instead, I believe most of the concerns and topics expressed by priests and the lay faithful are shared or should be shared by all Catholics.
Most of the sermons I have heard revolve around the Sacraments, types of sins and how to avoid them, and how to combat secular culture. It should be no surprise that an Institute of Christ the King canon or an FSSP priest would explain the destruction wrought by Roe v. Wade, the need for fathers to lead their families away from sin, or how to integrate the words of St. Francis de Sales or St. Augustine into a modern context.
Nor would the discussions at church picnics or over coffee and donuts sound divisive or out of left field. It’s this kind of conversation that I fear missing out on should we be cut off from regular access to the TLM, and it’s these types of discussions I do not remember hearing very often when I attended New Rite churches and Masses.
Typical conversations at our current church might include where to find Confession during the week (as a mission church, we offer a Latin Mass in an otherwise New Rite diocesan parish), potential high schools for kids to attend, and recommendations for theology books or podcasts.
Traditional Latin Mass churches are more likely to provide a community of families
As someone who is married and expecting my first child in November, it’s also been beneficial to be surrounded by many other young families and married couples with five or six or more kids.
At our church I can find parenting and husband advice from the men, and my wife can get insights on pregnancy, parenting, and how to find good doctors in our community who won’t try to push birth control on us.
These would all seem to be topics that Catholics should talk about, and they may certainly occur at Novus Ordo parishes.
But there is a reason many of my fellow Catholics do attend the Latin Mass, some driving 45 minutes or an hour to attend it while likely passing dozens of other parishes.
It may be because they want their sons to experience the spiritual growth and sense of community that comes with serving Mass with other boys.
Or they enjoy the quality of a homily more likely to focus on how to arm ourselves against spiritual attacks on the family than to feature a joke about how God and a priest were golfing.
Finally, they might like being around other families. While some Novus Ordo parishes may have full pews and crying babies, many do not. That’s not a criticism of the people attending the Mass — but it is a defect that tends to happen more at Novus Ordo churches than at Latin Mass communities.
And as a young father and husband, it’s spiritually nourishing to be around priests and other Catholics who share my concerns about family, the Sacraments, sin and secular culture.