The Process of Becoming a Traditional Priest. The Agony and the Ecstasy.

When a priest is trained in the Novus Ordo Mass and Rites, it is an overwhelming task to try to start changing over to the Traditional Mass and Rites.

Sacred Heart 6The first challenge is to learn the complexes gestures that have to be learned when starting to say the Tridentine Mass. Then there is learning Latin and it’s pronunciation.  Besides this we need to memorize latin prayers that have to be said where there is no card or missal to read from (like the prayer you say when showing the host to the people before you give communion).  The Requiem Mass is quite difficult too.

Then there are all the details, rubrics or actions involved with the Latin Baptism.

There are still many parts of the traditional rites I still have not learned.  But I believe it is all worth it to please God.  For this reason alone I am willing to do all I have to to learn.

10Many people who are not priest know a great deal too or you can look it up in books on how to properly do all the rites.

To offer the Holy Latin Mass you also need a missal, vestments, chalice vails, bells and a berreta.  You can not do it half baked, you have to do it exactly as prescribed.

Divinum-Officium-Anglia-mediaevalisPraying the Divine Office or Breviary in Latin is again a great feat to accomplish.  When I wanted to start praying the Latin Breviary, priest who were already praying it suggested I begin with Laudes and Vespers from the Breviary.  But beginning with Lent, I decided to do it all.  But it is definitely overwhelming at the beginning.  The time it takes, the long prayers and the latin.  Many times I wanted to give up and go back to the Liturgy of the Hours in English.  But eventually you will begin to like it.  One thing I have noticed is that when praying in Latin you do realize you are keeping this language only for God.  Praying the Breviary takes me 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day, at least.

Every part of the Traditional Latin Rites is much much more work.  Prepare for that.  It takes so much more time and work.  Everything, literally everything, is so so much more complicated.  I am lazy.  It is only because I love God that I am willing to do all this work.

Maybe if a priest knew how difficult it all is, he may never want to embark on this path.  But when I began, I really just started with the Holy Mass and that was very difficult for me at my age, but was interesting and challenging for me.  There was something very intriguing about it’s order.  Every rubric has a logical reason behind it.  It is a very masculine prayer because it is all so logical and cerebral.  Then I went from there.

Once you begin to do the two masses together, you will be all the more convinced that the church had it right before and you are on the right path.

All the precaution given for the protection of God in the Sacred Host and Precious Blood in the Tridentine mass becomes very obvious.  Then comes the crisis in your priesthood.  You are living in two liturgical worlds and feel torn internally.  You will begin to know what it means to be a priest who offers sacrifice to God for all the people.  Your priestly identity will become clearer.

Traditional Latin MassThen comes the time when you want to only offer the Tridentine Mass.  At this point more than likely no one will understand you.  You have discovered a great treasure and deep spiritual experience in offering the Latin Mass.  But everyone else, except for a few traditional people in your parish, will not understand you and will probably dislike you and deeply criticize you.

Now you have so much experience and knowledge that they do not, but in their eyes you are the one that is wrong because the pope only says the Novus Ordo Mass and you are bad to criticize or not want to offer the mass that the church ordinarily does.  But you can not help it because you have been offering the two masses day after day and see the total difference.  You have been reading a great deal about the inorganic development of the Novus Ordo and that knowledge can not be suppressed.  The truth you have lived and studied can not be denied anymore.  You then come to what I call, traditional loneliness.   Your priests friends no longer agree with you, the parishioners think you are extreme, and many other will strongly criticize you.  This will be the most difficult time in your priestly life.  But it will also be the most meaningful time of your priestly life.

Rose_Ecce Agnus DeiThe important thing to do is to remember you are offering the Holy Latin Mass and other Latin Rites because you love God.  You will no longer be able to be a priest who pleases people.  People will hate you, will look down on you, say you are mentally unbalanced, and will in general dislike you.  But that is good, because now you have to do everything you do in your priesthood because you love Jesus and His Holy Church.  No more will you get adulation.  But this is spiritual maturation.

In order to not get totally overwhelmed you need to find some other traditional priest who understand what you are going through.  Probably there will not be any around the diocese you belong to, so you will have to find some elsewhere like in the FSSP.  When I was in the difficult traditional loneliness, I reached out to other traditional priests, but they didn’t help me that much.  God and good traditional lay people help a lot.

Phoenix SSPX First Holy CommunionWhatever level you are at in becoming a Traditional priest, just remember why you are suffering so much.  It is because you have discovered the treasure of the ancient liturgy.  You have discovered such a deep priestly spirituality and morality.  But all this goes against the world, modernism and progressivism.

One great danger is to become so disenchanted that you want to stop being part of the organized catholic church.  You are tempted to become part of the Society of St. Pius X.  You are tempted to become an independent priest with your own church.  It is especially tempting when your bishop and parishioners are persecuting you for what you have discovered.  But do not give into these temptations.  Stay in the church and restore the church.  You may have to end up only saying private masses isolated away from all the people you love and who use to support you.  Just saying the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass all by yourself is still doing an infinite amount of good.  Again it is not us who are saving the world, but it is Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that saves souls.  All we priests have to do is offer the Holy Mass.  The infinite value of one Holy Mass is never to be forgotten said in a parish or all alone.  We priests, with Jesus, are so so important in the economy of Graces.

images 18If you have read the lives of the saints you know what is to be expected, suffering and joys and meaning.

If you are in the stage of discouragement, prayer and pleasing God are the two most important things you can do.  But also, just looking on the internet, you really see that all over the world, the Holy Spirit is raising up priests like ourselves to offer the Holy Ancient Mass of all Ages.  You are isolated and persecuted, but God is with us and working mightily.  We are so fortunate to be in this era of rediscovering the great treasure that has been buried and recovered.

When ever you priests or lay people get discouraged, just look at the new church since Vatican II.  The lack of vocations to the religious life and priesthood.  The empty churches.  The Sex scandals.  The youth masses and the way that people come dressed to mass.  The closing of catholic schools.  All our relatives leaving the catholic church and going else where.  The starting up of thousands and thousands of new churches. The amount of catholics using birth control and aborting their babies.

Resurrection_detail_PASSIGNANONow you see why it is worth while what we are trying to help God do.  The restoring of the catholic church.  We traditional catholics believe in the 1980 years of the church’s teachings and what the Bible teaches.  We are not in the dark.  We have the light of tradition to guide us to Heaven.