Fr. Z’s Excellent Take on the Place of the Novus Ordo in Our Times

Fr. Z’s Excellent Take on the Place of the Novus Ordo in Our Times


Excellent, excellent excellent take on our current climate, in regards to the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass (of course it is, because it comes from Fr. Z 😉 ).

At his blog, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf answers a question from a young man seeking entrance into seminary, who only wants to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. While Fr. Z writes in response to this young man, I believe he is writing to all of us who debate the role of the OF and EF in our times. I could not agree more with Fr. Z. (I am blessed to minister with Fr. Z at St. Mary of Pine Bluff).

Here is Fr. Z’s excellent article (highlights are mine) …

From a reader…


I have been reading it for 4 years and it has greatly helped me as a Catholic and in discerning my vocation.


I am 18 and strongly feel called to the priesthood.


My question is, are there any ways by which one can become a priest and say the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively, or at least mostly, without joining a PCED order such as the FSSP?


Will any bishop accept that?


I really can’t see it happening in my home diocese. [I’m not surprised.]


I have considered trying to work something out with the Archdiocese of Rome, because I’ve heard the climate there is far more friendly in this regard, but I’m not really sure if it is a realistic idea or not.

First, I am pleased that you are giving proper consideration to the priesthood. Good for you.

You want to serve the Church by saying the older, traditional form of Holy Mass. That’s good. I applaud you.

Were it up to me, I, too, would say only the Extraordinary Form. That is to say, were the circumstances other than they are, I would say only the Extraordinary Form. However, I am a priest for the whole Church. Therefore, I do what I need to do in the circumstances I encounter. For example, I also say the Novus Ordo when called upon to do so.

There are a lot of people out there who, for various reasons, are not ready for the traditional forms either again (if they are older) or for the first time. Happily, where I am I can bring what I have learned from the traditional Rite about the priesthood and about Mass to how I say the Novus Ordo. Also, the contact between the two forms in that parish is making a big difference. There is indeed a “mutual enrichment”. We see people who have been going to the Novus Ordo now, on their own, trying out the older form of Mass and, after an experience with it, sticking with it.

We have to look at the Novus Ordo, for these good people, as a doorway into a larger world. What popped into my head right now is the experience that the fictional characters in Doctor Who have when they go into the TARDIS for the first time: “It’s bigger on the inside!”, they say. Also, yes, the TARDIS takes them into “the past”, but it mostly takes them into the future. It’s a connection, continuity.

To use another analogy, for my supper I prefer steak and a tanin-rich cabernet. That won’t work for infants. They need the food that they need. Your parents were in no way diminished when (not that long ago) they fed you mashed carrots with “choo-choo” noises to keep your attention. As a matter of fact, they were ennobled, because they put you and your needs before their own. That’s the essence of charity: sacrificial love, seeking the good of the other even at your own – especially at your own – expense.

Some will object that I am comparing the Novus Ordo to baby food and the Traditional Rite to grown up food. Okay. Object! That’s what I am doing! I will add, however, that grown ups can indeed survive on baby food. I don’t think that they can thrive, but they can survive. My analogy is not meant to demean people who go to the Novus Ordo any more than children are demeaned by being given age appropriate food. It isn’t a surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I think that the older, traditional form is richer and superior to the Novus Ordo in many respects. But people come to that realization in their own time. On a personal note, the Mass that first caught my attention and was the vehicle for my coming into the Catholic Church was the Novus Ordo. But it was the Novus fully informed already by the “mutual enrichment” that Benedict wanted for the Novus Ordo everywhere. I was simply fortunate enough, thank you Jesus, to have encountered it when and where I did. The gift that God gave me in lining up all those stars and planets now compels me in what I do today, especially through this medium.

(You can read the rest over at Fr. Z’s blog at


Fr. Z and the Knights of Divine Mercy Schola Cantorum at St. Mary of Pine Bluff. These monthly “Night of Knights” gatherings for all men, which includes: Adoration, Solemn Vespers, Confession, Inspiring Talk, Benediction … followed by a “manly” social. This is our 10th year, and this is the inspiration for the Holy League. Find information at

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