Interview with Tony of Reverent Catholic Mass
In the wake of Traditionis Custodes, the recent papal decree that severely curtails the availability of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), many Catholics have been scrambling to find reverent Catholic liturgy. Some bishops have already banned the TLM in their dioceses, others have cut back on its availability. On the flip side, however, a few bishops have decided to protect the availability of the TLM in their dioceses. Meanwhile, some regular Catholic parishes, that offer the regular mass (often called the Novus Ordo or “New Order”) are attempting to offer more traditional expressions of the liturgy that mirror the reverence often sought by TLM devotees. A few Novus Ordo masses are even offered in Latin and are quite beautiful. At the same time, some traditional Catholics are finding safety in Eastern Catholic churches of Oriental Rite, while others are finding refuge in the Ordinariates of English Patrimony. The question then arises, in the midst of such chaos, how might Catholics easily find some kind of liturgy that is both solemn and reverent, fitting for Catholic worship.
I recently contacted Tony, founder and creator of Reverent Catholic Mass, a website that maps the locations of reverent Catholic liturgy and devotion in the United States. The following is a transcript of our short, but very enlightening discussion…
Q: What kind of work do you do at ReverentCatholicMass.Com?
TONY: We create and provide practical resources for Catholics seeking to grow closer to Christ so they can initiate the change they want in their spiritual, liturgical and parish life.
We try to encourage others to follow the example of St. Teresa of Avila who reformed the Carmelite Order and realized that you cannot create positive change in the Church or the culture unless you first change yourself and unite yourself to Christ as best as you can and follow his Holy will.
Our most popular resource is our Reverent Catholic Mass Map which helps Catholics quickly find parishes that offer Mass with reverence, so you can build a solid foundation, as the Mass is the “Source and summit of the Christian life”.
We also have resources on finding a spiritual direction, Catholic Classical Education, the Rosary, a step-by-step guide to the Latin Mass, etc.
Q. What made you decide to get into this?
TONY: Traveling around the U.S. we always look forward to attending Mass in a beautiful reverent parish. But we became frustrated because so many parishes offer Holy Mass casually and carelessly. For example, we have witnessed the priest allowing people to shout out prayer intentions, referencing Hinduism during the Prayers of the Faithful, the choir singing anti-war protest songs, even homilies that called into the question the validity of the Bible!
Many priests seem to have forgotten that the Mass is the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
After several bad experiences, we researched parishes we would intend on visiting for Mass and came up with a criteria for ourselves, so we could simply worship God distraction free at Holy Mass.
We felt called to make this criteria method available to others and map out parishes that made Christ and His ultimate sacrifice the center of the Mass.
Q. What type of liturgies (rites and forms) do you map?
TONY: We include all Eastern, Latin, Ordinariate, Dominican, etc., and both forms (Novus Ordo, TLM) on the map.
Q. Why don’t you map the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX)?
TONY: Because of the irregular status of the SSPX we don’t include them at this time. We appreciate what they are doing, we know they offer Mass with the utmost reverence, and hope one day we will be able to include them.
Q. What are the basic criteria to be included on the Reverent Catholic Mass Map, and where can one find more information about this?
TONY: The hardest part about our map is pinning down the Novus Ordo parishes. It’s impossible to know exactly how the Mass is offered without actually going. Some of the criteria are; Confession offered more than one-time per week, regular adoration, a respect life committee, etc. We encourage people to use our map as a starting point and then do their own research before attending Mass at a parish on our Map because it is not an exact science. (You can find more information here.)
Q. How has Traditionis Custodes affected your work at ReverentCatholicMass.Com so far?
TONY: Traditionis Custodes has brought swarms of new people to our website searching for Latin Mass times and Latin Mass resources. It appears to have created a catalyst for those who had been wanting to attend the TLM to hurry and go before it’s too late. So far, because most of the bishops are leaving in place the current parishes that offer the TLM, we have not had to remove many parishes.
Additionally, most of the parishes that offer the TLM understand the importance of offering Mass with reverence. Therefore, if the bishops restrict the TLM, I anticipate many of the parishes on our map will remain, as they will just try to offer the Novus Ordo more closely in line with the TLM. At least that is what I hope will happen.
One of our goals at the onset of this project was to become a unifying force and a bridge between Catholics who love the Novus Ordo and believe it can be offered reverently and those who love the TLM. It is disappointing that Traditionis Custodes does the opposite and instead of encouraging devotion and unity, seems to accuse and divide. But as St. Teresa of Avila says…
Q. How do you plan to tackle this challenge in the future?
TONY: We already conduct and annual audit of our Map to ensure accuracy, links work, etc. We plan to continue to look into leads and remove parishes that have abandoned reverently offering Mass either because of a pastor change or bishop interference.