I only ski every three years, and this week was one of those years. I did two days in a row up in Summit Co., CO. My brother in law’s parents were kind enough to let me use their home. The above is a picture of my travel Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) kit set up in their home. I was alone in that home most of the time there. (One buddy who joined me one day for skiing attended one Mass in there, and did well in attending it even though he goes normally to both Masses.)
I mention he “did well” because that is not something that just goes without saying. Many times people ask me to come offer Mass for their movie set or family reunion or in their home. They often invite relatively-pious non-traditionalists who make the mistake of believing that because they go to Mass every Sunday, they are truly ready to attend the TLM. I suppose these conservative non-traditionalists erroneously believe they are approaching a reverent Novus Ordo Mass (NOM)—but just in the Latin language.
They could not be farther from the truth. The reason I call this blog post “The TLM Is Not the Place to Teach the TLM” is because I keep hurting the feelings of non-trads who try to attend my low Mass. They are somehow unaware that I’m not going to get into canonical debates on supplied jurisdiction just before Mass starts, or explain to them that shorts and yoga-leggings are not okay at Mass, or tell them I’m not going to correct them on phones going off during Mass, or that they can’t be chewing gum right before Mass, or even that they must sit/stand/kneel at very different times in the TLM than even the reverent NOM.
Not only do I believe the NOM is valid, but I readily admit that there are thousands of people across the globe attending the NOM who are much holier than me. But the catechesis needed for even them to move from the NOM to the TLM takes a lot longer than 15 minutes before Mass starts. And it’s hurting way too many egos of non-traditional conservatives approaching my low Mass for me to explain this is not the English Mass in Latin or the Spanish Mass in Latin. It’s an entirely different ballgame, and it takes an entirely different understanding of the Faith Jesus Christ established to attend the old Mass. (If you think this sounds like the heresy of Donatism, please read the first sentence of this paragraph again.)
I’m also not going to be on movie sets anymore to bring the TLM that don’t have me first read the script first. Or, put in the positive, I will be a chaplain on a movie set if I’m first allowed to edit the script because there’s been some recent disasters in theology in that medium. What even some traditional Catholics don’t realize is that the priesthood is a package deal of the triple-munera of teaching, sanctifying and governing. For me to help out in the sanctifying gift of the priesthood (namely, the sacraments) then this must be commensurate to me as a priest being allowed to teach the faith to the script writers and governing (in some small way) the set. I know this is very foreign to most modern Catholics who just see us priests as sacramental organ-grinding monkeys who are wheeled out when people want the Holy Mass. But this is how it has to be.
I explain on my Donate Page: “I do not travel for low Masses. I can occasionally travel for High Masses like weddings. For emergencies, I can almost always travel within 100 miles of my current location for baptism or confession or extreme unction. I never take money for any sacraments. If you want to donate, please do it here online.”
Thus, this is not a lack of generosity on my behalf in re-iterating in this Life Update section of my site that I’m going to clamp down on not traveling again for the low Mass. I’m happy to help with sacraments, but even the Council of Trent explains that people need supernatural faith before the sacraments can take effect. Thus, I’m forced to come to a new resolution that I’m going to teach the ancient Catholic Faith for hours to non-trads who want to attend my TLM before Mass even starts. This is not because I’m better than them, but because I’m done hurting feelings in telling people they can’t leave my Mass in order to answer the phone for a business call or chew gum before Mass. These things need to get fixed before we even think about having low Masses in homes anymore. Thanks for understanding.