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Richard Malcolm said in November 28th, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Hello Stuart,

But clearly, given the average age of the current EF congregations, how can there be nowadays any question of “nostalgia?”

“Nostalgia” is perhaps a poor choice of word here. It might have been true in some way in the early indult days, when much of the impetus for TLM’s came from older traditionalists for whom the pre-1964 days were still a living memory. Obviously, the typical age demographic in most traditional communities TODAY is such that such attendees are going to constitute a small minority.

If we want to try to dig into what Fr. Rutler might be at here, for argument’s sake, the real danger now might not be “nostalgia” but “romanticization” – that is, romanticizing a distant past, in this case, the final decades of Tridentine Catholicism.

Is that a real danger? To some degree, perhaps. The healthiest communities, however, are really being forced to build a new tradition of sorts.

Furthermore, it does seem a little peculiar for Fr. Rutler to talk about a lack of “outreach for bringing others in” when a Traditionalist community under his administration (Holy Innocents) just concluded a highly successful world-wide “outreach” campaign.

I agree that Holy Innocents would be a poor exemplar of whatever Fr. Rutler has in mind; they do seem to make some effort to be welcoming, to reach out. I can think of other examples: Our Lady of Lourdes in Philadelphia, whose warm welcome I can hardly praise enough; the new Oratory at Old St Mary’s in Cincinnati; or the ICK Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis, which is even putting up billboards now. Some traditional communities DO get it.

Yet it’s also true that some TLM communities *are* more closed off, less welcoming, less interested in evangelizing, and I say this as someone who has been to a fair number of traditional communities around the country. Those who are merely “borrowing space” from some parish to some degree can be excused, because it’s far harder to build a genuine sense of community when you really don’t have a parish to call your own. Likewise, it is also true that some dioceses do everything possible to make such outreach difficult. But I can think of a few communities, too, that seem largely stagnant, and older, with something between an indifference and suspicion of newcomers, and nasty looks at any attempt to vocalize the responses (or some tolerable clothing choices). I won’t name names, but there’s one like that near me here on the Eastern Seaboard that attend somewhat regularly. I like the people there, and they like me, but it is not a surprise to me that they’re one of the exceptions where the age skews older, and fewer young people are in evidence.

But if we do want tradition to grow, to restore the Church, we have to make the effort to welcome, to evangelize, to do those corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Many TLM communities do just that. But there are some that could stand to do more.

FXM said in November 29th, 2014 at 10:07 am

I agree with Richard on many points. I have attended many, many TLM up and down the West Coast in all churches: diocesan, SSPX, independent et al and many do seem closed off. I understand their suspicions and am not deaf to the brutal manner in the way they were treated for decades. The internet has succeeded in bringing more and more back to tradition and the attraction of others to what they have never known. It was just the recent past, where all trads had was word of mouth of a furtive underground Mass, a battered copy of the Remnant to pass on and the constant looking over the shoulder for the TLM to be cancelled. Many good priests were chased, penalized, ostracized and moved on. We are getting there but much more needs to be done. So much more. If one trad brought one person to a TLM, we would grow at a much faster rate.

Richard Malcolm said in December 2nd, 2014 at 8:03 am


“I understand their suspicions and am not deaf to the brutal manner in the way they were treated for decades.”

Believe me, neither am I. I’ve seen it first hand. There are a lot of terrible stories to be told out there.

But if you want your TLM community to survive, it’s gotta grow.

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