I don't know Latin.
I don't know Latin either! I have this book called a Missal that contains Latin on the left page and English on the right. I have yet to meet a member of our parish who knows Latin either. I can say that after years of praying the Latin Mass I am very familiar with the prayers and responses in Latin. If I forget my Missal I still grab the red Latin/English booklets provided at the back of church, I still prefer a guide.
I don't know what to do!
Now you know how Protestants feel! Just kidding, kind of. For being basically the same Mass it's a remarkably different experience. A Catholic who has faithfully attended Mass for the past 20 years might still struggle during Latin Mass, with the priest facing the altar and the long periods of silent prayer. When do you sit/stand/kneel/respond? Hint: It's all in the Missal. Don't worry, nobody is critiquing your reaction time, the focus remains on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It's always great to see new faces, why wouldn't it be?
Everyone else looks like they've been going for a long time.
You got that right! People who participate in the Latin Mass are likely to be regulars, committed to their Catholic faith. Most women will be wearing modest dresses and a noticeable number will be covering their heads with some form of veil. Men will be wearing dress pants and shirts. In the summer most will still be wearing pants. Do some wear more casual clothing? Yep. Does anyone really care? Nope, as long as it's modest. Believe it or not, but the regulars don't notice you unless you sit in the front 2 rows because your likely taking up preferred spots! ;)
I don't feel welcome.
A complaint I hear often from people who have never actually attended a Latin Mass. Usually they heard a story from someone else online or they have had indirect contact with a family that they know attends the Latin Mass yet feel that family was not friendly enough. I try to be friendly and smile, but I'm there for an intimate hour with God almighty and He is the focus. Just keeping track of my kids takes my full attention. I find the silence and reverence very welcoming, I'm able to focus on prayer with God, which is why I'm there. Eventually you will find time for socializing and forming friendships, it's just going to be outside of Mass.
Everyone is "stuck up" w/ "holier than thou" attitudes.
I don't really understand this thinking but I hear it the most. I think it has to do w/ wearing nice clothes? I dress nicely for Mass because I am before God and He deserves the outward respect that I would give any high priority event in the world. I presume the "holier than thou" reference has to do w/ the commitment to Catholic doctrine. I think the reason I hear this complaint the most has a lot to do w/ individuals fear of facing reality - the truth of their spiritual situation. To see others at least outwardly living the faith should be moral support, something to be admired! Instead piety is scorned and the people presumed rigid and judgmental. Just because someone appears to be glaring at you or giving you a dirty look, doesn't mean they are assuming the worst - it might be your own insecurities. Even my wife has thought this about people at our parish, where I perceived nothing. Even if it were true, it's no different than anywhere else in life so get over it.
It takes so long. Boring!
Does it? Yes Latin Mass tends to take 1.5 hours rather than the 1 hour maximum of most Novus Ordo Masses. This is one argument that I don't understand because I never felt this way. Time flies when your having fun! I think time would pass slower if I wasn't assisting with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by following the prayers diligently in the 1962 Missal. To offer one's self w/ Christ up on the altar requires a lot of focus. Besides, what else is Sunday for? But that's for another post.
The Latin Mass is for foreigners & old women.
Where do these assumptions come from? Brief observation from years ago most likely. I know this was the propaganda line presented to me, this was the lens that I viewed the TLM through. Sure there are foreigners who attend the Latin Mass - go anywhere in the world and you can step into a Latin Mass and know you will recognize this Mass. Are there old hat ladies in the front row? I'm sure, but I looked around today and most were younger than me (34). Small children and babies were everywhere. Remarkably quiet in the church all things considered.
My children would never sit through it quietly.
Yes this was a big hurdle for my kids, though they never sat through the Novus Ordo quietly. One fear was just how quiet the sanctuary gets during the TLM, and how noisy my kids get. Many Sundays were nonstop battles to keep the little ones contained and quiet. Somehow we still left each Sunday looking forward to the next. Kids need to learn to behave in church and the earlier the better from my experience. My 4 year old and 5 year old give me the most trouble during Mass each week, but that's normal for their age. If they act up too much a trip to the back is made for some stern words and a time out. It's not as bad as it seems, I never notice other kids misbehaving but I hear about it from other parents. It's a tunnel vision thing I think.
They don't accept Vatican II - Basically SSPX - Novus Ordo viewed as invalid.
Having grown up in the Vatican II era, never knowing anything other than the "New Mass", I was thoroughly propagandized into believing that V2 came about because of the problems with the "Old Mass", that if not for the changes 50 years ago the Church would be even worse off than it is today. You might even call it the establishment response it's repeated so often. I would say almost all accept V2 as valid - but erroneously implemented and corrupted by modernism. I share these beliefs. SSPX? Well I definitely see them in a different light, especially after getting to know a few personally. They are good Catholics in communion with the Catholic Church. But that's a different topic. Is the Novus Ordo invalid? Nobody thinks that. It's a myth, never met anyone who admits it at least. I will attend a Novus Ordo when I must, but I prefer the TLM whenever possible. I feel the liturgy is more Christ-centered and the risk of exposing my children to scandal is far less. Sorry if sharing that with you ruffles your feathers.
I sincerely hope this helps dispel some of the misconceptions regarding the Traditional Latin Mass. My love for the Latin Mass developed over time and against all odds. If you find yourself reading this post and doubting my words, just remember I was you. I am probably viewed as the most arrogant, most rigid, most judgmental Latin Masser in the pew!! It's just not the case I promise. I struggle as all people do to be more Christ-like. You probably are a better Christian than me.
I had originally included a line in this post suggesting that the TLM was not kindergarten. I removed this portion as it was easily misinterpreted as labeling those who do not attend the TLM as somehow spiritually immature. I did not intend this so it was removed.