attendling the Traditional Latin Mass (also known as the Tridentine Mass
or TLM) about 2½ years ago. In my experience attending it amazing things
have happened, pain has surfaced and even healed, I “feel” fathered
(this is very important to me because my father was absent and apathetic
in protecting me from my mother’s emotional and sometimes physical abuse).
I feel that at the TLM that I come into contact with God and am totally captured
by its beauty. . . . [T]he image of God presented in
the TLM really inspires me to love God for his own sake, despite the fact
that I fail in this miserably. It also provides a refuge against the liturgical
chaos in our [Novus Ordo] church.
. I have tried to talk to [the priest at my parish] about Liturgy
and offered to start a Latin Mass Society and I have offered to get financial
assistance for him to learn the TLM and offered to go leaps and bounds (including
getting the local FSSP Priests to come and offer the TLM and even train him
for free, I offered to train alter servers and recruit people to start a
choir that could do Gregorian Chant) and the response that I get is, “That
sounds great, but I don’t have the time” or “I understand
these things have value, but the liberals will rebel so I have to go at a
baby steps approach.’”
is that this has evoked serious anger from me because I feel that while people
at the Novus Ordo say they take liturgy seriously, I don’t believe that
they really do. I feel ignored and mistreated pastorally because while the
school has to be reformed and they are going leaps and bounds for that, it
appears that it is OK that Our Lord in the Eucharist is mistreated and I
am the crazy one for getting upset about it.
evokes terrible anger in me because my wife who does not entirely understand
my appreciation for the TLM wants to continue to go to [our]
parish. . . . I find myself so angry about this whole issue
and even when I attend [the] Novus Ordo (priest facing the people,
way too many extraordinary ministers of Communion, terrible choir, bad lay
readers, etc.) I can’t help but get angry and wonder why doesn’t
anyone do something about this?? . . . [I]t is hard
to take my mind off it.
wonder if there is something deeper to this anger something more, I feel
like I am becoming an “Angry Trad” and I know this is not what
God wants. I wonder why does this issue make me so mad. Life is about the
salvation of souls right? Not about arguing endlessly over externals in the
Liturgy. Why do I feel the need to constantly learn every argument to protect
myself in case I am questioned about it? Why do I feel I must fight for this
and why do I get so angry about it? I feel that the issue while being about
the liturgy is important my overwhelming anger about it points to something
much deeper and I am wondering if you have any insight as to what that might
. . . Should
I avoid the Novus Ordo to help cope with my anger? I recognize I probably
am mad at my father but when I think about my father my rage never flares
up even though I know intellectually he really has failed me I never get
angry with him beyond just irritation because he is a nice guy so I find
it hard to be mad at him but I suspect this is the root of my anger because
he was never around and failed to protect me from my mother. How do I undercover
this anger toward my Dad so I can feel the pain, give it to God and take
responsibility for it?
he fundamental purpose of prayer,
whether private or liturgical, is to grow in love.
True love will be manifested as love of self, love of neighbor, and love
of God, all embraced in a dynamic unity. Thus, if you say you love God but
hate your neighbor, you’re a liar;
if you say you love your neighbor but hate yourself, you’re a liar;
if you say you love God but hate yourself, you’re a liar; and if you
say you love your neighbor but hate God, you’re a liar.
Any anger and hatred, therefore,
puts you in a bad place, regardless of whether the anger is about liturgical
abuses or not.
Now, in regard to liturgy, the
Traditional Mass preserves a reverent environment
well suited to nurturing love. The language, the music, and the liturgical
actions of the priest(s), server(s) and the congregation all combine to focus
human action into an act of love.
The Novus Ordo has this potential
as well. For example, I know of a chapel where the Novus Ordo is celebrated
mainly in English (once a week in Latin), while still using the original
altar; the priest faces the tabernacle rather than the people; the Kyrie,
when sung, is sung in Greek; the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, when sung,
are chanted in Latin; Extraordinary Ministers of Communion are not used;
and many in the congregation receive Communion on the tongue while kneeling
at the altar rail.
Nevertheless, many in the chapel
receive Communion in the hand while standing and without showing any more
reverence than children eating candy. This illustrates that the Novus Ordo,
especially in English, has as much potential for
abuse as it has potential for holiness.
Consequently, in many parishes today, the “love” in the Mass is
no more love than the “love” experienced by someone having
sex with a girlfriend or a boyfriend.
Everyone calls it love but it’s really a hatred for authority
that itself is a veiled hatred for God.
Notice the word. Hatred. Most
people will cringe when hearing it; they will say, “That’s ridiculous!
We don’t hate God!” Yet they do hate God.
Hatred is an expression of
anger, anger derives from emotional hurt, and people
who want to liberalize the Church were once children who were emotionally
hurt by their parents’ hypocrisy. It’s
a long chain of events, but when you follow it out psychologically it takes
you to one inevitable conclusion: emotional hurt always provokes an impulse
to hatred, and because of that dynamic unity I spoke about earlier, all hatred
ends up as hatred of God.
This, now, brings us to your
You ask how anger at your
father manifests in your behavior. Well, even though
you do not say very much about it in actuality, you say very much
psychologically. “My father was never around and failed to protect me
from my mother.” In your eyes, therefore, your mother was a danger;
she must have been very angry, and you must have suffered from her yelling
and screaming and her hostile, irrational behavior. Moreover, by shirking
his responsibility to the family, your father
cheated you of a confident image of fatherly guidance and protection that
could stand up to—and take command over—irrational
So, then, what was the result
of all of this? In learning to fear your mother’s hatred and to hate
your father’s cowardice, you learned to fear
You learned to fear love through
a series of psychological steps. You would have felt hurt by your mother
and you would have experienced impulses of anger
at her—but, because your father failed to teach you anything about emotional
responsibility and how to limit and direct impulses of anger, you learned
to fear your own anger. You feared it as if it were an uncontrollable wild
beast that could overpower you and devour everything around it.
So, not knowing how to manage
anger in a spiritually healthy manner, you stifled your awareness of your
anger by stifling your emotional life. You
didn’t eliminate emotions entirely (because no one can), yet you stifled
your feelings sufficiently to convince yourself that what you were feeling
was somehow wrong, or in error, or unnecessary, or of no real purpose. You
learned to function in the intellectual realm, seeking out reasons and
explanations—learning every polemic in the book—to allow you to
ward off your emotional hurt. You did what many children do. You hardened
your heart sufficiently to the emotional pain of yourself and others to protect
yourself from your anger while still allowing you a sense of duty to carry
out your responsibilities.
You did this all, not realizing
that, in denying your own feelings, you were essentially cheating yourself
of the very love your father denied you.
Again, notice the words:
cheating yourself of love. What does this mean?
Well, reflect on why God gave
us free will. If we couldn’t say
“No” to God, our saying “Yes” to God would be meaningless.
In a similar way, if we cannot acknowledge our capacity to hurt
others—indeed, our desire to hurt
others—when they hurt us, then we cannot express our love for them through
a refusal to hurt them. Without an honesty about our hatred for others, any
good we do for them is just an act of duty; it’s not really an
act of love. To love others is to wish them good, especially by refusing
to do them the harm that, somewhere in the recesses of our minds, we would
like to do to them.
Consequently, to love others
you must first know that you want to hurt them; then, as an act of
love, you can refuse to carry out that hurtful
Thus, maybe now you can understand
that, because your mother allowed herself to carry out her anger in actuality,
she did not love you. Moreover, your father did not love you because, in
fearing his own anger at your mother, he implicitly gave your mother
permission to carry out her anger in the family. Your father, therefore,
is as guilty of your mother’s abuse as she is—and you have been
angry all your life at your father because he failed to protect you as he
should have done.
So where does that leave you?
Well, it leaves you at Mass, doesn’t it? It leaves you in a place where
you get angry at others because they don’t do what you think they
should do. It leaves you hating others because, in shirking their
responsibilities, they demonstrate that they don’t love God—but
your hatred for them leaves you hating God too. Your dilemma is that you
are surrounded by people who don’t know how to love God and that
you’re one of them, too.
The problem isn’t with the
The problem is that, because
of the way your parents treated you, you fear
love—and, because you fear love, you have been suppressing your
anger just enough to keep it out of sight but not enough to prevent it from
leaking out when you are most vulnerable. In your case, you are most vulnerable
when others’ lack of respect for your sense of duty causes you to catch
a momentary glimpse of the truth that duty is not love. Your anger
is just a puff of smoke—a magician’s trick—that allows you
to quickly remove from sight your lack of love for God and replace it with
your indignation that others lack love for God.
Obstacles to Love
What can you do, then? You cannot
force yourself to love, but you can do whatever it takes to remove the
obstacles to real love. Endeavor, through
prayer and scrutiny,
to look back into your past with honesty to feel the
pain you have been denying, to identify the family behaviors that caused
you to fear love, and to embrace and
This is hard work. It means that
once you open up the door to your suppressed emotions you run the risk of
letting your anger out as well. This, however, is really not as bad as it
may seem. If you can learn to acknowledge and understand your
angry impulses, rather than shut down any process
that would reveal them to you, you can then learn to make a conscious effort
to refuse to carry out those impulses. Instead of allowing your impulses
to push you right into sin, you can let those angry
impulses be warning signs that you have been emotionally hurt somehow, you
can then turn back to examine that hurt honestly, and you can then turn to
prayer for assistance. Pray for God to protect
you, pray for the repentance of those who have hurt
you, and pray for your ability to grow in love because of your
trials—and pray especially that you
can remain in a place of love regardless of what others do around
Still, the difficulty of the
work explains why a priest will balk at opening up his church to liturgical
reverence: if he does, the liberals’ lack of love will be exposed, and
their anger will come gushing forth—and many priests right there back
away in fear, just like your father, because they lack the courage to face
the anger of others, to restrain it, and then to teach others how to love,
rather than hate.
In the end, no matter what prayer
and liturgical practices you follow, if they are not leading you to love
God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength;
if they are not leading you to forsake the world and
its enticements; if they are not leading you to
live a chaste and modest
lifestyle; and if they are not leading you to treat others with
compassion, then, to borrow an expression from
Saint James, you are self-deceived.
A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information
gathered from my websites (including this webpage) is now available at your fingertips
in book form.
Falling Families, Fallen Children by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Do
our children see a mother and a father both living in contemplative love for
God with a constant awareness of His presence and engaged in an all-out battle
with the evil of the world? More often than not our children don’t see living
faith. They don’t see protection from evil. They don’t see genuine, fruitful
devotion. They don’t see genuine love for God. Instead, they see our external
acts of devotion as meaningless because they see all the other things we do that
contradict the true faith. Thus we lose credibility—and when parents lose credibility,
children become cynical and angry and turn to the social world around them for
identity and acceptance. They are children who have more concern for social approval
than for loving God. They are fallen children. Let’s bring them back.