Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten: Reasons People Don't Like the Latin Mass

In the years' since I've grown attached to the form of the Traditional Mass I've also encountered a variety of its critics. Most of these people have intellectual arguments about why they think TLM is bad for the church or Catholics as a whole, but I think their unspoken criticisms are more revealing.

I mention these not to point fingers but rather so proponents and lovers of TLM may find some measure of insight into people who at first might seem simply obstinate or even ill-intentioned. The grievances below vary quite a bit and few if any can be addressed by simple remedies. As Aristotle said, the orator must use all available means of persuasion to persuade the judge, and anyone you hope to persuade is your judge. Understanding and empathizing with their feelings will go further toward amity and reconciliation than any amount of citation or logic.

The Philosopher also added, as far as is possible, because some arguments cannot be won. For my part I have a long list of types of people with whom I won't even bother to disagree since I have no means of persuading them unless I learn to channel Demosthenes himself.

10. "It's so dense."

Some people need a lot of things going on. They are unaccustomed to the inwardness and intimacy which accompanies sustained contemplation of one finite, external object. People often express this as boredom, but it's an emotionally arrested state.

In my experience, these people are willfully surrounded by the din of radio or television and when without such, they fill the void with any available means of clamor. To paraphrase Guardini, words are consciously debased into talk for crowding out the intimidating inwardness of silence, and thus the silence of the Latin mass brings discomforts rather than conveys truth.

9. Bo-ring

come on, click it
Similarly, some folks just need physically to be busy. This is a way of creating the sense of importance when it is lacked and missed. Thus the hand-holding, hand-shaking, greeting, nodding, laughing, reading, and so forth, all to compensate for the fact they don't actually feel that something important is happening. These people often don't realize that they either dislike the Novus Ordo as they experience it, or simply aren't getting what they need from it.

8. Are you not entertained? 

On the other hand, some people just want entertainment plain and simple. They need to be awash in easily-comprehensible gestures which they can quickly consume and digest. Thus such people aren't bothered by priestly additions to the mass: little jokes, explanations, asides, and so forth. Anything which can jazz up what could otherwise be predicted is a real boon to the experience. Just a little more cowbell.

7. Why so serious?

This is simply a confusion of serious and solemn, the former of which is merely grave while the latter encapsulates a sense of reverence. Taste in movies is instructive: such a mind describes movies as "heavy" or "deep." It finds seriousness only in the grievous, joy only in the jovial.

6. Status Quo

Plenty of wonderful people have spent years and decades in service to a parish which has changed little. They're financially and, more importantly, emotionally invested in the status quo which they helped maintain for the lion's share of their life. They deserve a little understanding even if they've perpetuated decades of Haugenesque cultural squalor.

5. So you go to the Latin Mass?

We really do get holier-than-thou and it's really annoying. All because our knowledge of Classical languages has opened wide the doors to Western Civilization, a love of philosophy has let us peer into the cosmos, and an aesthetic awakening has brought us to the precipice of transcendence–

We should have faith and do good works.

4. Irrational

We'll never find out most of these reasons, but people are people, i.e. illogical. Maybe they failed Latin in school, a conservative priest was once mean to them, or a freak incensing accident left them disfigured, but they have a negative and probably unchangeable, unknowable dislike of TLM.

This is especially important for young traditionalists to bear in mind. Cave ignorantes!

3. Intellectually Intimidated

People like to learn, but they don't like to be lectured. They especially don't like to be educated about things they think they mastered decades ago.

Quote and correct with caution.

2. Because I do not hope to turn again. . . 

Everyone has a different moment of awakening and whatever aspect or corner of the faith one finds at that time will likely be his touchstone. For both converts and lifelong Catholics, some people will count it a betrayal to consider anything different from exactly what they found when they first started caring about the faith.

1. Hard-Headed

These people would go to the lions before ceding an iota of dogma, but they're indifferent to practically everything else.

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