Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mass Chat...

SSPX Superior General Bishop Fellay.
Doesn't he look papal here?  What if?

Always Low Mass.

I do my best, I think.  I go to my local parish church for Mass and the sacraments.  I go to adoration there, I pray there.  I'm always so grateful there are so many Catholic churches in my immediate area, three within walking distance - so I'm not really complaining.  I'm likewise just as grateful that Mass is available at all, and the Blessed Sacrament reposes in the churches.  It's just always Low Mass however.  Crappy music, untrained servers, chaos on the altar, the priest has trouble with his lines, there are announcements and speeches and applause during the communion thanksgiving, not to mention greet and meet at the beginning of Mass - and the shouts and screams and laughs and loud crowd-talk after Mass.  I do okay.  I pretend I'm deaf and dumb and pray - by the grace of God I can do that.  Unless there are just too many calls for my attention.

Like last night.  Father did the anointing of the sick - right after the announcements after communion.  People who weren't participating were leaving while all the old people went forward for the anointing - I did too - because I'm going blind and have so many health problems.  After the anointing - people just walked out of church - no concluding prayer - no nothing.  It was a free for all.  Bless, dab, thank you man, and out the door.

It's a free for all, I tell you.

Photo:  Bishop Fellay.  He says if the SSPX is reunited there will be an "explosion" in the Church.  God! I hope so!  I really hope so.

I'm sorry.  I'm human and a sinful man - sometimes I just have to vent.  This post may self-destruct...


  1. Boom! Sometimes, it is better to remain silent like the Lamb. Now that you have (understandably) vented, perhaps it may be better to quietly remove your post rather than allow it to evoke, in your readers, anger - or even bitterness - at pastors/parishes/Catholic schools in a way that is not constructive. As you yourself have said, there is often a dearth of charity in comboxes these days.

    Terry, you seem unhappy today so know that I will keep you in my very feeble prayers. Joyce and peace be unto you :)

    1. Thanks for your prayers - I need them. Prayer for others is never feeble.

  2. Anonymous12:56 PM

    Re: Msgr Fellay....

    Serious look there. I have to say the way he has handled this so-called 'negotiation with Rome', whatever that means, has been really interesting to watch. He seems really....humble. I don't really know any sspx folks, but this man seems like he wants their deal to happen.

    Re: always low Mass...

    In the bad ole pre Council days, didn't that play a part in the litugical changes? Before my time. But wasn't what's disrcibed happening then in low Masses?

    1. I served low Masses - seemed okay to me - sometimes there were priests who could do it in about 10 minutes - maybe more. LOL! You see I'm in a better mood now.

  3. Leave the post up, it's not a rant, or uncharitable, but a wish for better than what is typically available.

  4. James Murphy1:41 PM

    A typical parish Mass can often be a disappointment, to say the least, for a properly-formed Catholic whose sense of Divinity naturally anticipates and expects to encounter a corresponding beauty, dignity, reverence, and awe during the public worship offered by the Church.

    I am informed by Catholics who lived before the Council, however, that the same disappointments were commonplace before the liturgical reforms, despite the magnificent "Tridentine" Masses one encounters today, all over Youtube and the Catholic blogosphere.

    "Mass was not like that back then," insist my elder Catholic friends. "It was just as rushed and imprecise and the music was just as bad, only everything was in Latin." I got a taste of the way things might have been "back in the day" last weekend when I attended a pontifical Mass celebrated in the pre-conciliar rite. It was chaotic. Nobody seemed to know what they were doing, the music was saccharin, and the atmosphere was more circus-like than solemn. To be honest, it was like watching a satire of Roman Catholicism. It didn't make me proud to be a Cathlolic.

    On the other hand, in April I visited EWTN and Mother Angelica's nearby monastery and shrine, where the current Mass is celebrated. There, every single Mass I attended, every day of the week, at both sites, was celebrated with a dignity and solemnity I had never encountered anywhere else. I was deeply touched and very impressed. There was no question that one had encountered the Divine in those liturgies.

    So, yes, I too hope to see an explosion of magnificence all over the present day liturgical experience of the Roman Catholic Church, especially here in the USA where the experience is, for the most part, in dire need of improvement.

    But it doesn't seem to me that a return to the type of Mass that the Society of St. Pius X insists is the only way to go is the answer. That form of Mass can be celebrated just as badly as the current form of Mass, and the current form of Mass can be celebrated just as beautifully as some people imagine the old Mass always was.

    In the meantime, while the liturgical Sun may have set in the West, I have had the comfort of seeing it rise in the East. Lately I have abandoned my own Roman Catholic parish and have been attending Divine services at various Eastern Rite Catholic churches.

    Let me tell you, our Byzantine brothers know how to do liturgy. As a matter of fact, having bathed in the beauty and liturgical splendor of Byzantium these past three or four Sundays, it may be a long time before I find myself in Latin Rite pews again.

    Tu autemn Domine, miserere nobis.

    1. Hi James - I'm normally just fine with the way Mass is offered - I like the English - I think I just gave way to impatience.

  5. Anonymous4:01 PM

    James, Byzantine liturgies can be done poorly, too. To get some respite from the local N.O., poorly celebrated Masses in my area, I have sometimes attended the local Byz church. While it is better than the typical bad N.O. Mass, it's nothing to write home about. I certainly have never felt "bathed in the beauty of liturgical splendor" after attending one of these Byz Masses. The best I can say for it is that they don't engage in any liturgical innovations/abuses there. The chanting is lousy, completely uninspiring (not beautiful like Gregorian chant), and the priest seems like he's phoning it in. I know that not all Byz liturgies are like this one I've experienced. On the other hand, when I've gone to TLM, both high and low, it has always been most reverent and beautifully celebrated.

    And Terry, vent away. Sometimes you just have to. I've actually attended Masses that were so awful that I was nearly in tears when I left because of all the liturgical abuses. I couldn't believe I was actually in a Catholic church with some of the things that have gone on. That shouldn't happen, it just shouldn't. It's not good for anyone's soul.

    I, for one, would be happy beyond words if SSPX were fully reunified with Rome. And I think Bishop Fellay is truly a man of God and a humble servant.


    1. I've left Mass in the same state - last evening was a good reminder for me - everything is a grace.

      I think Bishop Fellay is pretty extraordinary.

  6. You're a way better person than I am, Terry. I can't tolerate that stuff anymore.

    We are so lucky to have a thriving FSSP parish in Coeur d' Alene about a 10 minute drive from our house.

  7. You know for the most part I have only known what they might call in the south "snake belly low" liturgies. One of my biggest gripes the past 40 or so odd years is the lack of continuity/disconnect between the Vetus Ordo and Novus Ordo. Now to be sure there are those atolls and islands in the far scattered archipelago of liturgical consistency & sanity (St Agnes in St Paul, St John Cantius in Chicago, St Joseph or the Grotto in Detroit, Old St Mary's in Cincinnati or the Oratory parishes in England come to mind) but for the most part the liturgical landscape is pretty dismal. I can't even look forward when the faithful file up to receive holy communion anymore because it disturbs my peace and I have temptations against charity. I have less and less patience for foolishness. I'm sure people are offended because I don't want to hold their hand during the Pater Noster....too bad I say. I refuse to sing, "Gather us in" or "peace is flowing like a river". Frankly, I believe until the Versus Deum/Ad Orientem orientation for priest and faithful is restored along with a Latin Ordinary and a restoration of communion kneeling people will continue to be for the most part not recollected, unconsciously irreverent and nonchalant about the Mass. It's really that simple I think. The faithful follow the example of the celebration and the "presider". I really pray for this every morning. We can't go on forever with 2 forms of ONE Roman Rite. It will probably be a long time until the two become one but there is plenty that can be done in the mean time to bring them closer together. Let's face it folks the Novus Ordo as it is celebrated in the majority of parishes is by and large celebrated with a hermeneutic of discontinuity and that needs to be remedied before the piety, decorum, reverence and recollection improve. We live in a narcissistic culture already and Father doesn't need that promoted with the Versus Populum celebration.

  8. Terry, It's a good post, not a rant. And the sspx would indeed bring MUCH good with them...I pray very hard for the reunification...Fellay would make an AWESOME Pope (right after Pope Raymond Burke :):):)

    I am so sorry to hear of the impending blindness and health issues. For an artist, that's a tough diagnosis...all faith in the wisdom and love of Divine Providence, eh? de la Colombiere is a magnificent Saint to keep on your nightstand in this regard. I will have you in prayer today along with another sick friend. God bless you.

  9. Terry, I couldn't agree with you more. One of the frustrations we've encountered since moving to North Carolina is the difference in how Mass is celebrated. The good news is that the Church is booming down here, with overflow congregations in churches that are too small to accommodate the growing population. The priest is very orthodox and reverent in his celebration of the Mass, the altar servers (mostly, but not completely, male) are pertty good at knowing what to do, and the altar is done in the Benedicting arrangement. In other words, that part of the Mass is no comedy of errors. I'm sure that these people are good and devout Catholics...

    BUT - the music, especially during Communion, is banal (and endless; it gives your brain no room to think) and is often poorly done by cantors that seem to be leftover from opening acts in the lounge; the electric organ does quite well but is often replaced by piano and guitar; the closing announcements at yesterday's Mass were interrupted three times by applause; half the congretation leaves after the priest and servers have processed out (because the closing hymn runs four or five stanzas); and those who don't leave decide to take this time to catch up with their friends on everything that's gone on over the last week.

    This is particularly frustrating to me for, as I said, I get the impression these are good, decent and believing people. They simply have never had a tradition as to how Mass is supposed to be celebrated. My understanding is that this priest has done much to improve things, and when the new church is completed in a couple of years (complete with altar rail) I have no doubt that the quality of the Mass will improve. I realize you can't have St. Agnes everywhere, but I'd hoped at least to find Holy Childhood, or St. Louis, or even St. Olaf. Ah well,...


    1. Mitchell,

      I hear your frustration. I too used to go to St Agnes years ago and it's really where I felt I had "come home" to an authentically Catholic liturgy. I shall be eternally grateful for that opportunity and grace.

      When I worked downtown Minneapolis I used to go to the 5 pm Mass at St Olaf and I'll never forget a statement made there at Mass a priest said that the "archdiocese was a big enough tent to include St Joan of Arc and St Agnes and everything in between"
      I didn't know what to think of that.

      No, You can't have St Agnes everywhere (unfortunately) but Catholics do have a right to an authentically Catholic liturgy wherever they are. Another gripe of mine is that fact that at one time in any village or hamlet with a Church a Catholic could expect just that hasn't been the case for decades...

  10. I do not have the virtue to sit it out in a "bad" parish. I've accepted the fact my family will just move every time the priest doesn't sneeze with the proper formula.

  11. Well, I live in the spiritual desert of South Jersey. But God sent me the gift of a wonderful theologian priest who He planted in, of all places, Atlantic City! And I work in Atlantic City. Just participating in daily Mass since his arrival 2+ years ago at St Mike's has afforded me a better education in my faith than I learned in all my 16 years of Catholic school - no exaggeration. I highly recommend going on a hunt for the best priest in your area. The pay-off for the extra effort, gas and mileage is well worth the effect on one's journey toward holiness.

  12. Jaime7:50 AM

    Cathy, if you live in NOLA, try St. Patricks on Camp Street. Tridentine mass at 9:30 and novus ordo at 11, both done with great solemnity and dignity. The choir is well trained in chant and motets (although the organist seems to be competing with the choir and congretation at times -- in terms of volume -- rather than accompanying them).


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