The Ancient Mass in Modern Madrid

By Teresa Limjoco

There is perhaps no country in the world where an inherited religion is repudiated as vehemently as in Spain. For decades, Spanish universities and media elites have kept up a constant drumbeat of ridicule and condemnation of the Church, her traditions and ideas. It is fascinating, then, to find that Madrid, Spain’s media epicenter, is also home to two well-attended Traditional Latin Masses at the Parroquia de la Santa Cruz and the Iglesia del Tercer Monasterio de la Visitación. Recently, REGINA Magazine’s Teresa Limjoco attended Mass at both churches, and then interviewed a young Madrid couple about their experiences.

Mrs. María Cano and two of her children, Marcos and Belén, outside Madrid’s Iglesia del Tercer Monasterio de la Visitación.

They are undoubtedly the future of Spain. Belén, 23, is a medical student in her fifth year of studies. Belén is the second of three children; her older sister is married, with a daughter. Her younger brother, Marcos (left), is a student in his final year at college. The family lives outside of Madrid.

Julio, Belén’s father, says he encountered the Latin Mass with ‘un gran emocion’ and that ‘it has allowed me to come close to the mystery of the Cross with great reverence and profundity.’ Hence, he made the decision over ten years ago to raise his children with this Mass.

Ignacio, who currently works in Switzerland, is Belén’s boyfriend. He also attends a Latin Mass every Sunday with his family. Here, they discuss their Faith and their view of the future.

REGINA: How did you learn about the TLM?

BELÉN: I found out about it through a friend of my parents who recommended the Traditional Latin Mass that was celebrated by the ICKSP (Institute Christ the King Sovereign Priest). Since then my parents started taking us to the TLM. At first we did not go every Sunday because the church was far from the house, but my parents liked it more and more so today we go every Sunday.

IGNACIO: My father has known about the Latin Mass his entire life.

REGINA: What piqued your curiosity?

BELÉN: I was about 12 years old when I began attending the TLM even if at the time I did not realize the value of this Mass. In reality, the ones whose curiosity was piqued were my parents, and they liked it more each time, and today we are very involved in it.

REGINA: What was your first experience of the Latin Mass like?

BELÉN: It was many years ago when I first went and I was small and don’t recall it too well. It felt strange and different because it was not the Mass I knew and it was also in Latin, which I did not understand. It was in a church in Madrid in the neighborhood of Salamanca that was given to the ICKSP to celebrate the Mass.

IGNACIO: The first time I went to the TLM was in Madrid. At first you have many questions: Why does the priest have his back to us? Why does he kneel so much? Afterwards, you understand why, and everything then makes sense.

REGINA: Would you say the TLM has deepened your faith?

BELÉN: Ten years have passed since I began attending the TLM, and during this time I grew from a girl into a woman. While maturing as a person, I also grew spiritually.

I think it takes a certain maturity to value and understand the real meaning of the TLM. Even with the little that I have understood, I think the TLM is the best way of approaching God and living through the faith to the fullest. Not only has this form of the Mass helped me, but it also helps the formation by the priests of the ICKSP who, through their activities, spiritual direction, etc. let my relationship with God become deeper. And the people at the Mass are like family — they make you feel comfortable.

IGNACIO: There was a time I was going to both the TLM and the Novus Ordo. However, my authentic conversion and autonomy in the faith was thanks to the TLM. In the TLM, one lives the faith in a form with little sentimentality. It is very masculine, and makes one proud to belong to the Catholic Church. It offers a lot of security.

REGINA: Do you bring others to the TLM?

BELÉN: When I have invited some people (not many, I admit) to the TLM, they’re always very glad to have done so and want to go again because they say it is fulfilling.

IGNACIO: Yes, of course! Everyone is impressed, this Mass brings you closer to God.

REGINA: Have you encountered any resistance?

BELÉN: The difficulty I have encountered in going to the TLM is that the priests are not given many facilities for celebrating the Mass so the hours are very limited and so, too, are the churches where they celebrate. But never have I been ridiculed for attending the TLM. In fact, people become curious and ask me about it all the time.

IGNACIO: Not from my family. Many Catholics do not understand the importance of the TLM and they smile, they believe that we are old-fashioned. What they do not know is that the traditionalist seminaries are getting filled while the dioceses are increasingly empty.

“Many Catholics do not understand the importance of the TLM and they smile, they believe that we are old-fashioned. What they do not know is that the traditionalist seminaries are getting filled while the dioceses are increasingly empty.”

Sign up for REGINA's weekly newsletter

  1. You will usually hear from us about once a week, usually on Sunday. 
  2. At other times, we may send a special email. 

To subscribe, go here!