If there's one thing that can set me off, it's the whole "Novus Ordo vs. Tridentine Mass" thing that has people on both sides of the aisle crying out with indignation.
I had originally titled this entry Novus Ordo vs. Tridentine Masses, but then I realized I was fueling the fire even more. Why must there be a "versus" in there all the time?
I've never attended a Tridentine Mass. Ever since coming back to the Church, I've wanted to. I follow blogs that support the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass) in the hopes that should I ever build up enough courage, I won't make a complete fool of myself the first time I attend.
From all I understand about a Tridentine Mass, I know I'll love it. I see its value and know it's a necessary balm for our aching Church.
That being said, I don't see why I have to trounce the Novus Ordo in order to appreciate the beauty of the TLM.
Why can't we accept that both forms of the Mass accomplish this:
It doesn't mean that a NO Mass is invalid and those who worship at NO Masses aren't really Catholic.
Those sorts of statements are vicious, uncharitable, an incredibly arrogant.
And I shot back stating as much.
I mean, I didn't even know that a TLM existed in the present day until I had my reversion. I didn't know that there were still priests (and laity) who prayed in Latin and celebrated Mass ad orientem (priest facing the tabernacle) vs. ad populum (priest facing the people with his back to the tabernacle, and thus, Christ). That was all super new to me!
Should I be labelled non-Catholic because I was ignorant that "the old Mass" still existed?
I'm all for having the TLM alive and well in every parish in the world. I really am. However, I'm not okay with constantly being made to feel inferior because I accept the NO Mass as a valid form of worship. And this inferiority complex is being forced on me by my fellow Catholics!
I just don't understand this vitriol. I really don't. I love that there are folks out there who are passionate about bringing back the TLM. I'm happy that there is a drive to educate Catholics of their roots and the beauty of our original liturgy. I am grateful that blogs like Fr. Z's What Does the Prayer Really Say go out of their way to highlight the original prayers and expound on the prayerful insights and spiritual education that can be found within them.
I really do.
However, within this same group of passionate, driven people are those who take their zeal to the point of arrogance. They wish to trample charity in the name of propping up the TLM. They are precisely the reason I feel ill-equipped to attend a TLM. I'm afraid of riling anger from kneeling at the wrong spot, misspeaking Latin, or even wearing the wrong color veil.
I am absolutely certain that most folks who attend the TLM wouldn't treat me poorly for learning to crawl my way through a TLM. I'm sure many of them would jump at the chance to help me learn to walk until eventually I was confident in my celebration of a TLM in union with them. However, I've come across enough "bad apples" that I simply don't want to deal with the arrogant chastisement for the litany of mistakes I'm sure I'd make.
Maybe that's my own insecurity talking. Maybe I'm even trying to make excuses for not attending the TLM. The truth is, though, that there really are enough folks out there who have trounced me and my defense of NO Masses that I have been scared off TLMs for the time being. I'm not part of their "holier than thou" club. I'm not spiritually enlightened. I'm not theologically justified in my abhorrence of all things Vatican II.
That makes me sad, because like I said before, I KNOW there are plenty of loving proponents of the TLM who would happily endure my mistakes and patiently teach me the ways of our beautiful liturgy. Until I find one close enough to me who I feel comfortable enough to rely on, though, I'm steering clear.
In the meantime, however, I'll continue to defend the NO Mass as a valid way of celebrating the Paschal Mystery. No amount of human error is going to detract from the efficacy of Christ's Passion, Death and Resurrection.