The TLM in a Novus Ordo parish

The north state’s traditional Latin Mass has been celebrated at a tiny mission church in Durham for the last several months. Next Sunday, it is going to be returned to St. John the Baptist in downtown Chico. In the light of the Motu Proprio, the idea this time around is for the TLM community to be “fully integrated” into the life of the parish. We will essentially be St. John’s parishoners along with those who attend the English, Spanish, and Life-Teen liturgies. Hopefully we’ll have the right to use the parish hall after Mass, to sell books and sacramentals, and to have some of our extra-liturgical activities promoted among the other parishoners.

This is breaking some new ground. In previous models we were either: 1) despised and marginalized “trad invaders” of a Novus Ordo sanctuary, or; 2) inhabitants of the “trad ghetto” of a personal parish. I really prefer the latter model, since with a personal parish the atmosphere can be entirely traditional. But the “fully integrated” presence of the TLM in a Novus Ordo parish could also be a very good thing. I don’t expect that we’ll win huge numbers of Novus Ordoians to the TLM – not at first, anyway – but it is the Holy Father’s desire that the traditional form of the liturgy, and those practices associated with it, influence the greater part of the Church. That would seem to require close proximity and frequent exposure.


In other news …

The north state’s TLM community grew by eight souls last weekend, as some very good friends have moved to Chico from Maple Hill, Kansas, with their six beautiful children. Deo gratias!


Jim Curley has a good essay up on Catholic community. He also reports that John Senior’s classic Restoration of Christian Culture is soon to be back in print.


Here is one Chicoan’s appreciation for Glenn County.


Our garden is just about finished, except for the tomatoes. Don’t think I’m up to a fall planting this year. Also – for some reason our goat milk hasn’t been top-notch these days. I’m not entirely sure what the problem is. We may have too much and are therefore waiting too long to drink it. I just replaced the mineral block, which should help some. Tomorrow we’ll clean out the goat barn.


Last week I made a business trip to a small organic nursery on the Klamath River, about a four-hour drive from here in the far northern mountains of the state. I was permitted to stay overnight in a guest cabin on the property. The longer I’m alive, the more deeply I find myself in love with California. This region is characterized by miles and miles of pristine beauty, like something out of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, populated very sparsely by Indians, mountaineers, miners, hermits, hippies, and according to local Indian legends, the mysterious tribe of Bigfoot. Indeed, Bigfoot sightings continue to this very day. I don’t know whether Bigfoot exists, but if he does, there’s a vast amount of wilderness here in which to hide. And it is all virtually unknown to the rest of the world.

My gracious host, a self-taught nurseryman and horticulturalist, prepared a marvelous dinner that evening consisting of the best goat cheese and tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. The next day he gave me the equivalent of a seminar in budding for which many people pay good money. A lapsed Catholic from a large family, he proved to be an engaging and intelligent conversationalist. Should he return one day to the Faith of his youth he’d make an exemplary Catholic agrarian.


9 thoughts on “The TLM in a Novus Ordo parish

  1. Do you think the NO has anything to contribute to the TLM?

    My impression is that Benedict’s hope is to allow a cross-pollination between the two forms, not a one-way affect of the TLM influencing the NO as you seem to imply with the line “Holy Father’s desire that the traditional form of the liturgy, and those practices associated with it, influence the greater part of the Church”.


  2. Good question, Marc. You’re right that the pope has said that he expects something like “cross pollination” between the two forms of the Roman Rite. I’m not at all sure what is meant by this either way. However, he also expects the NO to remain the predominant form, in which case the influence of the TLM on the NO would be much more important for the Church. The liturgical crisis facing the Church is indisputably a Novus Ordo problem.

    Personally, I don’t think the NO has much to offer the TLM. A “dialogue Mass” can be beautiful, but that is already a part of the tradition quite apart from the NO. Perhaps the Credo, the Pater Noster, etc, could be recited by the congregation in the vernacular – I don’t know. Even thinking out loud about it makes me uncomfortable.

    The whole culture of the TLM is dead set against this picking and choosing mentality. That’s part of the TLM’s attraction: Catholics can simply go to mass without pretending to be liturgists and dreaming of what kinds of changes they would like to make. I don’t want to see the Novus Ordo attitude of constantly fidgeting with the liturgy afflict the TLM in any way. Once the question of “Gee, what can the TLM borrow from the NO this week?” enters into the minds of priests, the whole purpose of the pope’s initiative is defeated.

    In any case, I am sure the Ecclesia Dei Commission will soon be addressing such questions.


  3. Despite the many problems with this state of ours, there is no denying the created beauty of it, from shore to valley to mountain to desert.

    For some reason, Isaiah comes to mind:

    “And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

    So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it.

    For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall sing praise before you, and all the trees of the country shall clap their hands.

    Instead of the shrub, shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the nettle, shall come up the myrtle tree: and the Lord shall be named for an everlasting sign, that shall not be taken away.”


  4. California is a place of great beauty- can you imagine what the Franciscans first thought of it when they arrived here? The land offers so much- we are very blessed.
    Yes- problems do abound here!
    But as part of God’s creation, what an example of his generosity and beauty.
    Love that passage from Isaiah.


  5. “Novus Ordoians”?

    C’mon, Jeff! I am not a Lilliputian, and neither am I a Brobdingnagian! I am a Roman Catholic…

    My pastor at our parish of St. Theresa’s here in Sugar Land, TX has been preparing to offer the TLM, which he will do for the first time publically on Sept. 14th at our beautiful new altar. He’s very new to the TLM himself. Our Men’s Schola has been preparing for it as well. My pastor is hoping to offer it regularly, but it remains to be seen how the rest of the parish will take to it. Please pray for us! Though I prefer a reverent liturgy celebrated according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, I do have a fondness for the TLM, and I hope that this union will bring forth abundant and delicious fruit…


  6. Benedicamus, you have a lovely blog! I’ve bookmarked it.

    Jeff, how often silent creation does a better job of blessing the Lord then we humans do!


  7. Hello Alan! You are a Roman Catholic Novus Ordoian. The term is descriptive, not pejorative. Besides, typing “Novus Ordoians” is so much easier than typing “adherents of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite” or “those who prefer the 1970 Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI”.

    Wow, that altar is gorgeous. You, sir, are truly fortunate. How I wish we had something like that out here. And yes, I’ll pray for your church if you’ll pray for mine! Thanks for the comment.


  8. Hmm. Won’t work. Somewhere a US bishop said, and I paraphrase, “It’s not the old Mass itself that’s the problem, but it’s the spirituality that goes with it.” EXACTLY, your excellency! EXACTLY.


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