The Catholic Church in the USA has divided itself into 3 social classes.

The Catholic Church in the USA has divided itself into 3 social classes.

From my single parish perspective, the Catholic Church in the USA appears to have divided itself into three social classes, all of which are opposed to each other:  1) The Traditional Latin Rite Mass party (ultra-conservative and outwardly pious); 2) The Mainstream Novus Ordo Mass party (moderate, obedient and humble); 3) The Folk Novus Ordo Mass party (casual, believe what you want, it’s about me).

Specifically, I have noticed, in a single United States parish, that there are at least these three different cultures which are identified by the clothing people wear and the music they use.  I have also noticed, between the Extraordinary form and Novus Ordo form of the Mass,  a break in the integrity of the roles of the ministerial priesthood (of the ordained Priest alone) and common priesthood of the baptized Faithful in worship:

1) Traditional Latin Mass goers: Standard for men is coat and tie; ladies wear long dresses and white or black veils; children are similarly dressed. The well-dressed, by their attire and implied stance, bring judgment on everyone else who do not comply with this standard. Also, there is a break in the integrity of the Vatican II “participatio actuosa” mandate in that the people are not allowed to vocally pray, for example, the Our Father. If a person does, the person is violating the sacred right of the priest alone. Also, if you do not kneel at the altar rail and receive Holy Communion on the tongue, you don’t (at least, it will greatly offend if you don’t follow the TLM rule). The faithful are barred, by the communion rail, from entering the Sanctuary.

2) Mainstream Novus Ordo Mass: Clothing standard is modest, business casual attire; only lectors and EMs are required to wear semi-formal attire; music is based on the organ. Again, those wearing semi-formal attire in the pews bring judgment on those who do not, or they set themselves apart. Here, the Faithful are expected to actively engage in some of the prayers or chants which, in the Traditional Latin Rite, they must not. If one does not pray the Our Father vocally, for example, the person is not participating as a member of the “common priesthood of the Faithful.” The faithful are instructed NOT to kneel at the altar (as the norm) and they should receive Holy Communion on the tongue, while standing, but are instructed that they may receive on the hand as well. The Faithful are invited into the Sanctuary. “All are welcome”

3) Contemporary Novus Ordo Mass: Most wear casual attire (or even a lower standard like shorts and flip flops or tee shirts); the music is usually folk guitar and fairly bland (in my opinion). This Mass, while following the Novus Ordo, looks and feels like an Evangelical gathering. There is no judgment going on here. “Everyone is equal” is sort of the mindset.

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?  WHO ARE WE?  WHAT ARE WE DOING?  WHAT ARE OUR VALUES?  WHAT IS OUR RELIGIOUS CULTURE?!  I am saddened by the class system which we seem to have allowed to grow unchecked and also by what seems to be a loss of integrity and movement away from the direction which the Holy Spirit set for us during Vatican II ecumenical council.  What are we doing?


  1. I thought I’d respond, because I know that others won’t. What’s going on is what Traditionalism drove us TO, hence, the synod that ultimately led to the Church actually engaging with the modern world. One parish does not define The Church, as doesn’t even one state’s parishes. Check the stats for the number of converts that come to Catholicism every year. It’s because the Holy Spirit knows what He is doing!

  2. I see remedial actions occurring.

  3. Dear Theo-Logis,
    Perhaps you could look at this situation as a positive. There is room for everybody. Our Church is flexible enough to allow for a variety of options. Look, I know this goes against your sensibility but a positive attitude will make your life better.

    God bless,

    • Gee. Thanks? 🙂 I don’t think you understand me the way your words express/imply that you do dear NeoDeCaussade.

    • The reality which is being brought to light here by bringing in the old and positioning it against the new is that somewhere someone is admitting that something is wrong and needs to change. In fact, recent prophecy regarding ecumenism is being realized I believe. It is being realized in that several faith traditions are being brought into a common worship domain, coexisting such that all can see and consider and choose. But, in the end, who will listen to God and choose His will?

    • Finally, Dear NeoDeCaussade,

      The NO and EF clash in that the EF explicitly disallows that active participation of the laity as envisioned by Pius XII and St. Pius X (but not enacted or accepted by traditionalists) and put into play by St. John XXIII and Paul VI. So, I raise the issue, not as one with a bad attitude, but as one who sees a serious problem with the integrity and obedience of the Church toward the movement and will of the Holy Spirit as expressed very clearly in the Vatican II council.

      So, not okay to complain about an obvious reversal and break with integrity? Really?

      • Dear Francis Philip,
        This disobedience is what we might call a victimless crime. Since SP in 2007 made the extraordinary form available if the laity were serving as EME’s they did not attend the EF services. I have heard no hue and cry from parishes who participate in TLM.

        • The “hue and cry” is coming from the Holy Spirit. We may not hear cries from the Faithful presently, but if and when the Faithful are being required to attend EF when they had no intentions of disengaging from the NO, then I think the cry will erupt.

  4. Dear Spook Christian,

    (I chose not to admit your comment). I think that if you will take time to actually study the history of Christ’s Universal (“catholic” is the latin word for “universal”) Church on earth, you will see that your statement is very much off track with reality. Also, there may be healing which you need but are, at this time, unable to accept (as witnessed by the words you choose and the judgments you make). I pray that you receive the help that you need to be strong and happy. Amen.

  5. Dear Francis Philip,
    I think I understand the concern. I will point you to he Apostolic Letter Quattuor Abhinc Annos. I too had concerns when SP came out, but I did a little research and discovered that in this letter the rules are spelled out clearly. A priest may not say the Mass using the 1962 Missal unless he asserts the legitimacy of the NO.

    The EF and the NO are not the only rites allowed under the Latin rite, so it has always been normal to have more than one. There is a Dominican rite and an Anglican rite, also.

    All priests have to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo or they cannot say TLM. Fears of elimination of the NO are unfounded. Should there come a point in time when priests are not required to acknowledge the legitimacy of the NO, then sound the alarm.

    God bless,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s