Rorate Caeli

Wall Street Journal: "The Power of the Latin Mass"

The Wall Street Journal's Rome reporter, Francis X. Rocca, published a piece online today that will run in Saturday's paper, looking at what the traditional Latin Mass means to those who attend it.

It is an honest, opinion-free report of Catholics, young and old, who prefer the TLM.  Rocca has consistently written articles for the WSJ that feature a diversity of views and people -- the opposite of other mainstream media, such as the New York Times or Reuters, which rely on the same tired sources.  Seriously, look at most other mainstream news articles on Catholic issues and you will likely find John Carr, Thomas Reese, John Gehring, Massimo Faggioli or James Martin in just about every article.  Mainstream media are notorious for either an obvious slant or one-sided perspective from this small group of men who feed lazy reporters by completing their preconstructed narrative concerning traditional Catholics.

Those in Lincoln, Nebraska, know the Washington Post was on the ground there recently for an upcoming article.  Hopefully the Post matches the WSJ's fair treatment of Catholics who attend and love the traditional Latin Mass.

The Wall Street Journal has a pretty firm paywall, so we are not at liberty to copy and paste the entire piece by Rocca.  But here are a few excerpts from it, highlighting those who were interviewed:


Devotees of the old Mass say that they treasure the beauty of the ritual, its links to the church’s past, and what they say is an atmosphere of greater mystery, solemnity and reverence than they find in the new Mass. John and Amy O’Callaghan live five minutes from their local Catholic parish in Gaithersburg, Md., yet every Sunday they drive with their two children more than half an hour to another church, in McLean, Va, where they attend the traditional Latin Mass. “On a personal level, we felt that it helps us to enter in more fully and deeply into our worship of God,” said (Mrs.) O’Callaghan, 48.


Monica Haffey, 22, who graduated this year with a degree in history and music from Fairfield University, finds the permanent character of the traditional liturgy particularly appealing. “My generation growing up, everything is so temporary, always changing,” (Miss) Laffey said. “But the Mass doesn’t change and that sort of stability is really important for someone my age.”


Whether or not accompanied by Gregorian chant or polyphony performed by a choir, the priest’s silence is an element of the experience that devotees describe as essential to its power.

“This silence…carves out a space for people at the most mysterious and serious and solemn moment in the liturgical action for them to access it however they like, however they’re capable of doing,” said Richard Dobbins, 47, of Greenwich, Conn.