Catholic circles are a buzz with Bishop Robert Barron's hour and twenty-minute interview with actor and freshly converted Catholic Shia LeBeouf. It is pretty remarkable how much playing St. Padre Pio has awakened the Spirit in Mr. LeBeouf, and this conversion should be, in my opinion, one of St. Pio's miracles. For all the good this testimony provides, it does trigger me in a few ways.
One of the many issues I take with this conversation is related to the work I do for the Catholic Church:
LeBeouf vindicated the use of the Traditional Latin Mass. He threw mud on the doctrines of Sacrosanctum Concilium by comparing the ordinary form of the sacred liturgy to selling a car. The TLM crowd BLEW UP! Those who find their spiritual life rooted in focusing on the real presence of Christ through the Priest's action in transubstantiation in the TLM are not wrong. It's just not what the Holy Spirit called the world to see. TLM is also not what has been catechizing the world for the majority of Catholicism's existence.
Here's some context for why I assert without question that the Novus Ordo ordinary form is the primary vehicle of catechesis, the source and summit of Catholic life.
First, The Traditional Latin Mass is only predominant in the United States. of the 17,007 parishes in the United States, 616 Parishes offer the Traditional Latin Mass. That is a mere 3.6% or 2.4 million people out of 69 million believers.
Worldwide, the second highest practitioners of the TLM is France, with 202 Parishes utilizing the pre-conciliar form of the Mass for the total 39 Million Catholics in the country.
It is safe to assume the Holy Spirit is moving all people who profess their Catholic Faith. Still, the Spirit activates hundreds of millions more souls through the Novus Ordo than the pre-conciliar (TLM) Mass.
Second, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the constitution of the liturgy promulgated by the Second Vatican Council, was discerned by 2500 bishops from around the globe, making it the Largest assembly of the successors of Peter in the history of the Church. The Consitution adopted with a vote of 2,496 Yeas and 4 Nays. 0.26% of the Bishops disagreed with the liturgical reforms rendering their position insignificant! When was the last time we had 2,496 Bishops agree on ANYTHING EVER? That, my friends, is the Holy Spirit at work.
The third contextual point I would like to make is how the Second Vatican Council arrived at these practices and doctrines.
The Great Council underwent a process of deep reflection. According to Council Father Bishop Remi De Roo, they asked the primary question, "Church, who are we? " St. Pope John XXIII encouraged the council to undergo a process called ressourcement, or a process of going back to the source, of the Early Church. The question of what drew people to the Church of the first century? What made them so devoted to Christ that they would hang on crosses themselves? What caused them to be evangelists so effectively that within the first 200 years, Catholicism became theocratic leadership of the Roman Empire. The council asserts with its most significant authority that its ends are not to take over the political landscape but to evangelize the world in a way that allows anyone and everyone to experience the joy of the Gospel through a relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.
Through the second process of aggiornamento, they read the signs of the times occurring in the world. Perpetual threat of nuclear annihilation, growing inequality between all who are made in the image and likeness of God, and a desire to show how this Church is the most magnificent medicine for what ails this world. How? (a) the Chuch is a mission, a worldwide mission. (b) The Church's teaching touches everything, EVERYTHING. (c) The Church Welcomes everyone and ANYONE, and we need to get back to that principal ASAP. (d) The Church heals ALL SIN. (e) The Church contains and expresses ALL VIRTUE.
This process outlined a renewed way to reach the world rooted in ancient traditions. It didn't just allow the world to see what the Church truly is as the Body of Christ, His actual presence in the world; it allowed all baptized to realize their baptism as the real presence of Christ!
Through baptism, we are all anointed priests, prophets, and kings; by those virtues, we are equally responsible for the Mass and activating the Holy Spirit.
So for those who wish to return to the TLM, it is not our authentic tradition. The actual practice is in the Local Churches in Corinth, Colossae, and Thessalonica, where languages were colloquial. Where customs were cultural, and the belief was universal, the Faith was Catholic. We must return to those roots. Ever ancient, ever new. TLM only operated for 500 years; think about that. Christ has called more holy men and women outside the TLM than within that rite.
Given that Vatican II enshrined religious liberty as part of its reform, our TLM-loving brothers and sisters are allowed to practice this Faith, but we must not bash the other side. That is a result of egoism. And to tear down the tenants of the Second Vatican Council is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Yes, that is a strong statement because only this is the Sin Jesus says He will not forgive. I trust Jesus to be merciful, but He's also a God of His Word.
Lastly, I sincerely hope that Mr. LeBeouf seeks reconciliation with those he has abused. While he brings up his abusive past several times in his interview with my Bishop, he doesn't identify why his behavior was so toxic. LeBeouf brings up his conversion, and it sheds light on his darkness. With his conversion, it only makes sense that he fully admits his destruction of human dignity and works tirelessly to restore the victims. He cannot do this independently, and we cannot demand that his assault victims forgive him. No, we must let each soul come to their realization and understand some may only find healing when they encounter Jesus on the other side of this existence. Our endless hope is that justice and peace establish themselves through Christ; I'll let Jesus do that healing, being He is God.
For a broader perspective on this issue, please see this article in American Magazine
Hot take on that: The article points to a systemic problem we still have, even among our good clergy. I hope everyone considers this as they listen to Mr. LeBeouf's conversation. Also, I'm not throwing shade at my Bishop. I think his perspectives about our present moment are very on point. Additionally, he doesn't diminish TLM; he understands how the reforms are to elevate our encounters at Mass. I believe Bishop Barron is an excellent Bishop, and he will lead our Diocese to a ressourcement rooted in the Doctrines of Vatican II. You can see that here.
Personal interviews with Bishop Remi De Roo, For info on him-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remi_De_Roo