Worshiping the TLM vs. Worshiping God Through It

Worshiping the TLM vs. Worshiping God Through It December 16, 2015


Not all idols are made of stone. Ancient idols in Azerbaijan. Photo by Urek Meniashvili (9-15-13) [Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license]

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God help those who worship [the] TLM and God bless those who worship God through it.

— Dan Burke, Executive Director at EWTN

[on Dr. Taylor Marshall’s FB page]

The first is rank idolatry and the second is being a good Catholic with a perfectly permissible and laudatory liturgical preference. To rework a bit a saying of our Lord Jesus (in illustration of the same principle, by analogy): “The TLM was made for man, not man for the TLM” (see Mark 2:27).

The contrast of the statement is clearly between those who put anything above God, and those who place God highest.

“TLM” = Traditional Latin Mass or Tridentine Mass or the extraordinary form.

It works the same the other way, too: “God help those who worship the Novus Ordo (and/or bash the TLM) and God bless those who worship God through it.”

It’s like bibliolatry, too. Folks put the Bible above God at times; forget the very reason for it.

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Note: For those unfamiliar with my own worship practices, I have attended a Novus Ordo Latin Mass in my parish for almost 25 years (receiving on the tongue, kneeling). My larger parish cluster offers the Tridentine Mass weekly, and I will be attending it in my home church at Midnight Mass on Christmas day. I was in favor of widespread availability of the TLM from the beginning of my conversion in 1990: 17 years before Pope Benedict XVI made it universally available, or permissible.

I have nothing against the Tridentine Mass whatsoever, but I know from experience that I have to make this sort of disclaimer if I utter the slightest criticism of excesses among legitimate mainstream traditionalists and radical Catholic reactionaries. Note that I also included Novus Ordo worshipers in my criticism. Any Catholic is capable of committing idolatry.

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