Saturday, August 9, 2008

Interview with a Trad

I have recently interviewed a fellow Trad Catholic, who has just set up his own blog (Facing the Altar). Here, then, is the transcript, together with my subsequent reflexions:

1. "How did you come to, and what drew you to come to the Latin Mass; did it in any way repulse you at first, or mystify, and yet still drew you in, and in what ways over time?"

"I was drawn to the Latin Mass through an online Catholic mailing list in 1995. It was a combination of the intellectual depth, historical beauty, and conservative beliefs reminiscent of the faith of my youth. However, I was living in the sticks at the time and was unable to attend my first Latin Mass until the next year.

"When I found my first Latin Mass, it was a latin novus ordo but I was fortunate because it emphasized the beauty of Gregorian chant and had a highly qualified and effective choir director. That church led me to the traditional, or extraordinary, form because it was managed by the same choir director. No, I was not repulsed at first, just slightly bored at the longer high Masses. Over time it has been the community that has made the most difference, and I dare say the traditional community is what I find most compelling about the Latin Mass."

[I will second my friend's comment about coming to the Latin Mass through the influence of online Catholic mailing list, since when I was first at University, that was how I was influenced in that direction also. I cannot remember the name of the long-defunct mailing list, but I think it was run by a Mr Joseph Buehler, if I manage to spell his name right.

[Furthermore, his comment about the community of friends one finds cementing one to the Latin Mass is true: for all research shews that it is precisely in a community rightly oriented to worship of Almighty God that the members thereof truly come to support and befriend one another, whereas the converse is not true: only from the vertical dimension of worship comes the horizontal dimension of charity, since the crossbeam of the Cross is supported by the vertical beam, and not otherwise!]

2. "How would you say attending the Latin Mass has influenced you in your life of Faith and in your daily living as a Catholic?"

"While attending the Latin Mass has brought much more silence and prayerful contemplation at Mass, it has been the priests and other faithful who have shown me what it is to be a holy man, and I think that is what has had the most impact on my faith on a day-to-day basis. Right now it's very difficult to attend daily Mass, but that is always my goal."

[I too agree heartily: the spiritual fatherhood of so many good priests has been a very powerful influence for virtue in my life also, and I concur with what is said about the goal, not always achievable, of hearing daily Mass.]

3. "Please describe, in as much detail as you may wish, the Latin Mass community you belong to, service times, church, its 'feel'; and some of the other Latin Masses you know of in your area of California and beyond."

"There are too many Latin Masses in my area to document thoroughly, so I'll focus on the churches I've attended regularly. I usually attend Mass at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Oratory in Santa Clara, run by Fr. Weiner of the ICRSP, but I also attend Mass at Fr. Weiner's other parish, St. Margaret Mary Church, in Oakland. A bit further away is Fr. Berg's old parish, St. Stephen the First Martyr, in Sacramento. There is a first Friday Latin Mass in the San Francisco Archdiocese (the diocese where my job is located), but I seem to always be traveling on my Fridays and have missed it consistently as of late."

[I have added in the relevant links, and note that the parish of St Stephen the First Martyr (my own confirmation saint) is run by the FSSP.]

4. "How do you see the future for the Latin Mass apostolate in your area; do you see it attracting young people, and aiding in their sanctification?"

"There have been so many new Latin Masses since Summorum Pontificum that I'm still trying to visit them all. There are independent chapels and a traditional elementary school that want to be part of the diocese, and a new elementary school at St. Stephen's in Sacramento. That is where the sanctification of the young is really happening."

[Very happy news, and even more than the multiplication of Masses what moves me is the good news that people are being reconciled to the Church. Proper schooling certainly will help in sanctifying the next generation.]

Special thanks to my first interviewee. Oremus pro invicem!

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