Sunday, December 04, 2011

Mass Chat: Touching... the honesty is too much.


I just checked Fr. Z's blog and he has another poll up - I know! - asking about holding hands at Mass.  He has almost 3000 responses already.  I love his polls, BTW.  I responded.  My response is the 2nd highest category.  The poll: Holding hands with anyone/everyone during the Our Father.  I responded : No, I'd rather not and I avoid it if possible. (I am male) (29%, 695 Votes)

When I was younger I would have responded:  No, I hate it and simply will not do it no matter what. (I am male) (38%, 917 Votes)   However, I've mellowed out a lot since I just turned 30.  So I'll put up with it if I have to.  I never want to offend a little kid by appearing grumpy.  One reason I hate it is because I focus too much on the touch aspect - I get uncomfortable - and if they squeeze my hand right before letting it go... well, I kind of want to follow them home - you know, "You like me!  You really, really like me!  Let's hug now!"  So the best way I have found to avoid holding hands is to fold my own in prayer - no closed eyes though - far too 'affected'.

Folded hands.

Yes.  Orans position - no.  I never went in for that - even at Charismatic prayer meetings.  And I never did the outstretched hands in the giving gesture towards the priest when we respond, 'and also with you' (now being 'with your spirit') either.  Which reminds me of all the touching that goes on at the sign of peace - that can get rather annoying as well.  I do the handshake - but the 'ritual' could be toned down quite a bit - as far as I'm concerned.  After all - we greet each other before Mass actually begins.  Although, I have to admit those people who travel pew to pew to greet everyone sort of crack me up.  There is one older woman who walks up and down the aisle greeting people at the end of the pews.  I always wonder if she takes the 'priesthood of the laity' far too seriously.  (Yes I try to shake her hand graciously when she gets to me.)

Speaking of lay priesthood, one of the CSJ's at my parish spoke before Mass last evening for the Retired Religious Fund Drive.  Before I tell you about it, please be mindful I am not judging her in any way - I'm simply writing here of  how she impresses me.  She's a very nice, pleasant lady.

Anyway, her talk was really long - homily length, in fact it sounded like a homily - she covered a lot of the social activist bases before she launched into the retired religious deal.  She read the entire speech - and to be honest - she made so many mistakes - I'm not sure she authored it.  There were a couple of jokes she just monotoned right over.  I got the feeling however - she wanted to be giving the homily.  I got the impression she wasn't happy that religious were never highly paid years ago when they lived in community.  I got the other distinct impression, that she wanted us to know that religious are people too - just like lay people - that we are all equal, and it seemed to me, that is why they no longer wear the habit.  Whenever I see her, as well as last night, she strikes me as rather joyless and barren - monotoned, as it were.  Fortunately for her she had a church filled with people who remember the 'good old days' when school sisters didn't have to worry about a living.

The new translation.

Yep - just a couple parts seem slightly awkward - perhaps it is just a matter of time needed to become accustomed to it.   For instance, in Eucharistic Prayer II:  "Make holy therefore these gifts we pray, by sending down your Holy Spirit like the dewfall..."  Nevertheless, I'm happy and grateful for what we have. 

In fact my pastor is making great use of the new translation for his homilies - not only explaining things that have changed, but by sharing his meditations on the elevated language.  It's all good. 


  1. Interesting that almost 2000 men responded and only about 800 women. I never realized that men were so concerned with postures at Mass or that Father Zhe had such a huge male following.

    We still used at the old translation at Mass today, the one from 1549. :-)

    Happy Advent Terry! Ace

  2. RealityCheck2:47 PM

    It's a shame and a sign of its own increaasing irrelevance that the RCC didn't take the oppourtunity to introduce gender-neutral language instead of sticking to patriarchal masculine imagery ("ex. For us MEN and our salvation...") How does this make female RCs feel?

  3. Hi Ace! Happy Advent to you too!

    RealityCheck - maybe some RC women will comment.

  4. "...sticking to patriarchal masculine imagery ("ex. For us MEN and our salvation...")..."

    We are souls with a body.

    Many seem to think the reverse is true.

    Having been created in God's image (not necessarily human male, but His image, which we can only fathom is spiritual in nature) man required a companion.

    Females were created that man have a companion, least he become lonely.

    When we die, male or female, our souls remain, which are neither male nor female.

    Each of us has a vocation.

    In the case of women, the prime example of woman’s vocation is Mary; Mary, our Mother and our Queen.

    As Solange Hertz has so eloquently written:

    To be with Her is to be with Christ. ... to Her the second Resurrection, that of the Church, has been entrusted.

    Standing ever faithfully at the foot of the cross She shares Christ's ostracism in death as She shared His exclusion from the inn at His birth. ...

    Mary is already what the Church has yet to be in the fullness of Her being. ... She is the personal symbol of the Church…

    Mary alone is eternally and completely faithful to God. ...

    She alone can show us how to obey God perfectly despite the most flagrant abuses of authority.

    As she guided Her children through the Passion of Her Son, so now she will guide them through the Passion of His Church.


    "To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.

    When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her.

    The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her.

    The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

    -- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

    Women are not the lowly creatures some men pretend they are, because of Pride.

    One of the hardest things for God to do is to change the heart of a man.

    Women have changed the hearts of men of great evil, and turned them into Saints.

    Not bad for somebody that wears a skirt.


  5. Anyone that wants to get touchy feely with me would have to be one sick individual.

    Creeps me out just to think of it.

  6. Female RCs feel just fine about the traditionally inclusive meaning of "men" in English and all of the Latin languages. We find it amusing and/or annoying when people who exclude themselves by refusing to recognize that meaning then feel left out and complain about it. We find it distracting and/or annoying when during liturgical rites some people feel it is more important that we notice how they are making a political statement than to join the rest of us in paying attention to God. That how.

    I have no problem using "inclusive" language in modern situations. Changing traditional language ticks me off because it has unintentional side effects and ends up be watered down.

    "Men" includes me, if it is referencing a mixed group.

    Just so you know, that's how a real, living, breathing RC woman feels.

  7. Off topic..
    But if you (or your kidlets)liked the movie "Up" we have a house modeled after the house in the movie in Herriman..

    Folks in the neighborhood are getting pissy and want it repainted..

    I think it’s rather cute and wouldn’t mind it being next to me…sure beats Brownnbeigeville..


  8. RC - As a feMALE (God forbid you use the term woMAN), I have absolutely no problem with "patriarchal masculine imagery." I don't believe that woman and men are the same, nor do they have the same roles in the Church or society. Sorry to burst your highly evolved little progressive bubble.

    Terry - the hand squeeze thing... it's kind of weird. I remember, a few years ago when I first came into the Church, I noticed it at the end of the Our Father, and I thought, "hmm, what was that?" And now I'd have to say that more often than not people do that at my parish. I just take it as a kind of nonverbal "God bless ya!"

  9. Diane8:06 AM

    Did it ever occur to anyone that the only people who use "dog" to refer to both male and female canines are breeders. Just sayin'

  10. Kim - I was just being silly - I agree it is just a gesture like God bless. I'll hold hands if someone grabs mine. When I say I fold my hands in prayer, I do it casually - my hands are down resting on the pew. I don't want anyone around me to be offended and think I'm snubbing them. I can't imagine offending anyone at Mass.

  11. "Did it ever occur to anyone that the only people who use "dog" to refer to both male and female canines are breeders."

    Actually, the (admittedly few) breeders I know are the only people I ever hear using 'bitch' to refer to a female dog. I can't imagine one of my friends casually referring to his dog in that way... people I know who have dogs simply call them 'my dog,' or 'my dumb dog,' or some such. Perhaps I am misreading your meaning? What do you mean by the comment?

    I am absolutely fine with the traditional language, indeed I prefer it, but this might be because my mother is a linguist, and has an almost apoplectic fit when someone objects to 'man' and 'men' being used as collective terms.

    This reminds me of a time when the church choir I was in changed a line from a hymn to read: "He has shown you, O mortal,' instead of 'He has shown you, O man.' It was clumsy, messed up the rhythm of the poetry, and made the choir sound like space aliens addressing the congregation.

  12. Diane, actually, breeders are the only ones who use "bitch" for female dogs. Most people use "dog" for both.

    And anyway, "man" is historically a word meaning "human being". It was only later that it came to be used for the male gender as well as for any human.

    Most people find that the use of "person" or the extremely awkward "he or she" sounds really stupid in elevated, poetic language. It sounds like a legal document.

  13. Diane1:06 PM

    Alex - I meant this simply in the way of analogy. Inclusive language used by breeders is generally oriented to the commercial use of the animals.

  14. Diane - Ah! I thought I must have something wrong there. Thanks for clarifying!


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