Thursday, August 29, 2013

JUST HOW WIDESPREAD IS LITURGICAL NARCISSISM?

This happened in Italy just last year lest anyone think clown Masses were dead. When is the last time you saw a clown Mass? No, no one might have been dressed as one, but the Mass was a clown Mass?

This is the dialogue, dialogue, dialogue that mysterious Marc and I had on another post yesterday concerning the Mass in Biloxi!

Marc said...

Go to the Diocese of Biloxi Mississippi. The silliness from the left definitely took over there... I am dreading this Sunday's visit to that cesspool of error and abuse.

August 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Blogger Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, don't mince your words, say what you really think!

August 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM


Anonymous Marc said...

It's really terrible there, Father.

As an example, during what purported to be the Offertory, the priest had all the children return from "Children's Church", come to his presider's chair, and hug him.

Then, the teenagers held hands with him around what purported to be the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer.

This is in addition to the usual suspects: stole outside the chasuble, shaking hands during the precession, Father's stand-up comedy bit as an introduction...

I did like how he had some woman get up at a microphone to introduce him like a rock star just before his entrance: "Ladies and Gentlemen! Today's celebrant is...!"

The second parish to which I went was only marginally better. The priest did a pretty long improvisational Eucharistic Prayer, left out some words...

A few years back, in a completely different part of that diocese near a university, we prayed for the Gay-Straight Alliance.

August 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM


Blogger Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Well, at least he's not celebrating the EF Mass!

August 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM


Anonymous Marc said...

Yes, that terrible Mass that we all must fight against or else we are Pelagians!

It seriously puts my faith in jeopardy to have to go to these sites masquerading as Masses. Someone should maybe look into fixing this situation. I think my parents would probably convert based on their experiences with us at St. Joseph, but this sort of thing keeps people away. There are real consequences to these shenanigans...

Side note - There was a brave priest saying the Traditional Mass in a very rural part of the diocese, but not anymore. I don't think that lasted very long unfortunately.

August 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM


MY COMMENTS: When I travel and visit a Church for Mass on Sunday, I have to prepare myself psychologically for what I will encounter. In south Florida there was one pastor-celebrity who had choir/cantors celebrities staring at us in the face and waving and smiling and acting, well, like celebrities. At the end of the Mass as the priest departed, he was like a celebrity, smiling and waving and shaking hands with his parishioners, some I suspect congratulating him on his performance.

More than 15 years ago I attended Mass at the Cathedral in Palm Beach. Their cathedral is a duplicate copy of the Church of the Holy Family in Hilton Head, South Carolina. But apart from that, the choir, musicians and cantor acted like celebrities there too. The music had a studio sound and was overpowering (although technically good) and before Mass all the actors of the Mass were introduced by name, to include the priest, deacon, altar servers, lectors communion ministers and principles of the music ministry. The music ministry was in front and elaborate equipment for sound board and other things hooked by computers were quite visible. The music was so staged and so theatrical, that I left before Mass was over as I became so angry at what I was experiencing that it would be compound the sins I saw and I was committing for me to remain.

No matter where I go on Sunday and it is seldom that I'm not in my own parish, I experience Mass that irritates me and it is usually because the Mass is sloppy, entertainment oriented and people appear irreverent and casual about things that are holy and sacred.

Now with that said, I don't think that one should get all bent out of shaped when the Mass is well said, reverently and with a wide variety of actual engagement in the Mass. Women in the sanctuary are allowed. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are allowed. The common chalice is allowed. A variety of styles of music are allowed.

But when it becomes sloppy, irreverent, casual and entertainment, yes, I get mad and I get even madder that the clergy and laity who still attend these kinds of Masses (20% of the Catholic population only) actually like this trite, casual pseudo entertainment called worship. I get even more angry that the bishop who is in union with the pope allows this and doesn't correct this liturgical abuse which Vatican II nor its spirit ever desired for the Mass.



29 comments:

John Nolan said...

I cannot for the life of me understand why any Catholic should consider himself obliged to attend such spectacles. They are in essence sacrilegious, and the fact that the perpetrators are too ignorant to realize this, and the bishops too spineless to root it out, is no excuse.

If to attend a reverently celebrated Mass would require too arduous a journey, then stay at home, get out your missal and read through the Mass of the day, and listen to some appropriate music. If you can, sing the chant. You can be sure that God is listening, and you will have avoided an occasion of sin.

No doubt Pater Ignotus will accuse me of looking for an excuse to "skip Mass". On Sunday I shall in all probability be driving a hundred miles to attend an OF Sung Mass in the morning, and then singing in the schola for an EF Mass in the afternoon, and then driving the hundred miles back.
And without the advantage of cheap gasoline - unleaded petrol in England is £1.35 a litre (around $10 a gallon).

rcg said...

When I travel and attending an unknown parish I can almost always safely attend the earliest Mass, usually 0730 or these days more like 0800, and almost always ways avoid the extravagant abuses as in these examples.

A hundred miles, John! You must be the last person in UK with no train access. Bless you for your dedication. You should have bought that Aston, though. Would make the trip short.

Marc said...

I make every effort when traveling to go to the Traditional Mass. This effort has taken me to some interesting places to meet interesting people who have overcome and persevered through much for the Old Mass.

There is no TLM in the state of Mississippi (which is composed of 2 dioceses). The closest to where I'll be is New Orleans, which is a terrible city no one should ever have to go to. And it also isn't very close at all to where I'll be.

While I respect and agree with you in theory, John, I cannot bring myself to make the decision to skip Mass altogether. I feel like before I resort to that I will have to try every parish in this area (I visit there regularly because my parents are there a lot with my grandmother).

So I have a handful more parishes to try out. Am I dreading it? Yes, I am. But, I think this is my obligation. If I can't find a reverent one, then I'll just have to plan future trips to accommodate that.

John Nolan said...

Rcg

When attending the London Oratory I drive to Bletchley, leave the car at the station and commute to South Ken by train to Euston and Underground, changing at Victoria. It's quite cheap and parking in London, even on a Sunday, is not easy. Birmingham Oratory is 80 miles up the motorway, has a Solemn EF Mass, and its own car park. I can drive it in just over the hour, although I do cruise at 90+ mph, and don't think I could do it any quicker in an Aston! There is a TLM 40 minutes' drive away but it is in the sticks and a car is necessary - also it has been retimed at 8 o'clock rather than 10. The Oxford Oratory is easy to get to by car and bus (parking in Oxford is a nightmare!) If I'm prepared to put up with an English OF Mass, quite decently done ad orientem, a parish 7 miles away provides it.

From my earliest childhood in the 1950s I have loved the Mass, and to see it abused in the way it so often is, and has been for my entire adult lifetime, makes me not only incandescent with rage, but also physically sick.

Gene said...

You know, Bishops could put a stop to this nonsense. The fact that they do not is far more disturbing than these Mass abominations themselves.
My impression of Catholic Bishops is the same as my impression of Protestant ones...they are largely political animals and will take the route of least resistance whenever possible. If a change or a decisive action might cause complaints or whining, they will avoid it.
Also, many are apostate themselves, being the products of liberal seminaries and divinity schools. If you do not believe the articles of the Creed, then what do you care about liturgical theology?
Once in a while they will chide a Priest for doing something unusual, like distributing by intinction or celebrating the EF, to make themselves feel relevant or to flex their administrative muscles, but when it comes to things that really matter they will do nothing because that might entail some hard work and catechesis...or, some matron or scion of a monied parishioner somewhere might have a hissy fit. Not very hopeful at this point...

Marc said...

I have no faith in the bishops. The fact that there are exceptions like +Burke and +Sample only serve to highlight precisely what Gene is pointing out about the overwhelming vast majority of them.

In a sense, to reference yesterday's discussion, I blame the consolidation of papal power for this. Since one person who resides faraway has assigned himself singular responsibility for appointing and deposing bishops the world over, he can't react to these things even if he was somehow interested in correcting them (or recognized them as something in need of correction).

Henry said...

Marc, I think you're (unusually) quite wrong about papal power being the problem. In the "old days" every bishop was directly and personally responsible to the pope for maintaining fidelity in his diocese, and so the vast majority did so.

Now, however, bishops feel no sense of responsibility to the pope, even though if this were their present obligation, it could be readily discharged and enforced rapidly because of modern instant communication.

Instead, bishops today feel responsible only to their Oh, so collegial national bishops conference for any procedures and policies they must follow, which effectively serves to shield them from any responsibility to the Vatican. Consequently they are free to circular file anything that comes to from Rome.

Thus, actual responsibility is completely diffused in do-nothing-good bishops conferences, and therefore rendered nonexistent.

Henry said...

Early this morning I knelt behind six nuns with full habits and long black veils at an OF Mass celebrated by a priest with the same reverence and care he exhibits at a Sunday TLM. All proper antiphons, variable prayers, ordinary, and dialogue-responses sung well, the Roman Canon with not a single one of the half dozen parenthetical "Through Christ Our Lord. Amen" omitted.

Of course, I had to drive into the city about 5 times as far as the suburban church in the round nearest my home, but what of it? Isn't it one's obligation (as well as a privilege) to offer God the very best worship he can?

Marc said...

Good point, Henry. Perhaps I was going too far up the chain to place the blame based on an abdication of responsibility. You are quite right in pointing out the intermediate step of the national conferences for which I had failed to account.

On the other hand, if those national conference acted as true synods, they could depose errant bishops. But that responsibility currently lies only with the Pope.

At any rate, for current practical purposes, you are right and I appreciate your correction.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, are you using a different computer, your comments are going to the spam file of blogspot blogger which use to have with Joseph Johnson's comments but no more. We could never figure out why this happens.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Go to mass where you want, but as to why any Catholic should be obliged... CCC 2024 "The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days."

There's nothing there about skipping spectacles...

Marc said...

I'm using my phone for the most part and have been for some time.

I'll try to sign in to comment and see if that helps. Let me know, please.

(Some of my comments are pretty silly and might warrant the spam folder!)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

this last comment did not go to spam, so signing in must be the key!

Marc said...

Excellent! I'm glad that worked. Thank you for letting be know.

Since some are sharing good experiences, and I've shared enough of the bad, let me tell you about the parish I have just started attending. It is not the closest parish to me, but it is still only about 5 miles away.

The hymnal is the Vatican II hymnal and it is fantastic. The Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei are all chanted with gusto by the people in Latin. Many Latin hymns are interspersed with good vernacular hymns. For example, last week the choir chanted the Adoro te Devote as the Communion hymn. This was done in Latin so it was quite perfect.

While the Mass is still versus populum, the use of good hymns and chant really go a very long way in increasing the reverence of the Mass. The population of the parish is very diverse so everyone can share the common language with Latin (in fact the bulletin explains this as a reason to use it).

The weirdest thing about this deanery though -- no incense except on very rate occasions like Holy Week. Well, that's not the weirdest thing, but it's a little strange to have basically a policy on that it seems...

rcg said...

Henry summed it up for perfectly. The best we can offer. But I agree with PI that it is my obligation. I have to go where there is to go to. My question is, as many others have asked, when does the service become invalid or actually dangerous? Marc's example seems frighteningly close to miseducation. That seems to be the best example of Pelagianism you could find of thinking you are saved by mindless ceremony.

John said...

The CCC in 2503 says: "For this reason the bishops, personally or through delegates, should see to the promotion of sacred art, old and new, in all its forms and, with the same religious care, remove from the liturgy and from places of worship everything which is not in conformity with the truth of faith and the authentic beauty of sacred art."

We know what needs to be done and who is responsible. The Mass, EF or OF, if beautifully said and sung; if reverently assisted will communicate truth. If not prayed in such a manner, ...well?!

New Evangelization without reforming the Mass in continuity IMHO is dead in the water.

John Nolan said...

PI, I was not talking about spectacles as such (there can be noble and dignified spectacles) but the sort of sacrilegious parodies of the sacred Liturgy referred to in the original post. They are by no means universal; the average parish Mass in the UK is usually marred only by sloppy non-attention to detail, low-scale abuses and execrable music, which I can, and do, occasionally endure for the sake of fulfilling the obligation.



However, oxen and wainropes could not drag me to

George said...

I don't travel that much but I've been quite fortunate in not having to endure some of the "Spectacle-Masses" I've heard or read out about. If per chance I would encounter such, I would
just muck through it (spiritually speaking) and whatever the degree of trial it put me through I
would just present that to God in union with the sacrifice being offered on the altar. As long as the Mass is being celebrated by a validly ordained priest in good standing, it is still a valid consecration. Yes we would all like more solemnity, reverence and piety but perhaps your presence
there may inspire some change in those around you. There is always hope.

Joseph Johnson said...

Father,
Even though my comments may no longer go to the blogspot blogger spam file I do still get a little pushbutton icon on my comments which would tend to "give me away" should I ever decide to make a comment anonymously!

After hearing what John has to go through to get to a decently celebrated Mass my own situation of having to drive two hours each way at $3.47 a U.S. gallon may not be quite as bad as I originally thought. Still, the EF needs to be available on some regular basis in the Valdosta-Brunswick Deanery!

John Nolan,
Pursuant to your earlier suggestion some weeks ago, I have requested the EF in my parish (by letter to my pastor) because we do have a stable group of people there who would attend. We will see how that goes but my intention is to follow the process set out in Summorum Pontificum.

I have a childhood friend who attends at St. Ann's in Charlotte, N.C. and he said that when it was requested there the priest wouldn't do it and the bishop claimed he didn't have enough priests (who knew the EF) to fulfill the request. They sent the request to Rome and, in a couple of years, the bishop got a letter and he let it be known that he had no choice but to make it happen for those folks. They now have a Sunday EF, I am told. I'm sure we have a similar situation in the Diocese of Savannah so I'm just going to try the process.

Henry said...

An irony in all this that is that it's probably easier to get an EF Mass than to eliminate abuse in an OF Mass. For the former you need only find a priest who's faithful and orthodox. For the latter you need to change a priest who's not.

John Nolan said...

Thanks, Pater, for the quotation from CCC 2024 regarding Sunday and HD obligation. I note the post-V2 newspeak that feels the need to expand "attend Mass" to "participating in the Eucharistic celebration in which the Christian community is gathered". If I took this literally, then serving a priest's private Mass without a congregation would not fulfil the obligation, but going to my local Anglican church would, since they are undeniably a Christian community and they are certainly participating in a Eucharistic celebration!

My Penny Catechism has "hear Mass and rest from servile works". Well, servile works were strictly speaking the labour services due to the feudal lord during the Middle Ages, which made the Church popular with the serfs. I love the expression "to hear Mass" although it is rarely used nowadays as it offends the FCAP fanatics, and no doubt discriminates against deaf people.

Gene said...

"...Christian community is gathered..." is the giveaway here. More protestant oriented nonsense.

rcg said...

Divagation: "To hear Mass" survives into modern times in English ballads such as 'Matty Groves' from Fairport Convention. I love those old turns of phrase. They communicated quite a bit.

Marc said...

I find myself quite often these days wishing I couldn't hear the Mass...

Anonymous 5 said...

Pater raises an interesting point.

let us forget for a moment all of the disagreement over the liturgical practices of the past 50 years. let's pretend we're living in, say, 1530. The closest Mass--indeed, the only Mass we can realistically get to--is celebrated by a priest who regularly gives homilies explicitly and strongly denouncing various doctrines of the Church and/or endorsing protestant concepts. He may also make interjections at other times during the liturgy to this effect, although nothing he does actually invalidates the Mass. For whatever reason, his bishop lets him get away with this.

Question: does the obligation to attend Mass still hold?

Henry said...

Actually, Marc, I'm surprised if you can usually hear the (OF) Mass. The last time wife and I attended an ordinary run-of-the-mill parish Sunday or holy day OF Mass, she remarked afterwards that she hadn't been able to hear any of the [prayers of the] Mass, because of the constant noise and claptrap from beginning to end. I replied that I hadn't heard much of it because after a few minutes, I'd been deafened by the cacophony. I was reminded of the time years ago when visiting relatives in suburban Atlanta, we'd had to go to a Christmas Eve anticipated Mass in a large barn-like church over an hour early to get a seat. There were what seemed like a thousand children there with their parents, making a constant roar both before, during, and after Mass, and our ears were literally first ringing and then aching. That was the year that we truly missed Christ's Mass.

Flavius Hesychius said...

What does FCAP fanatics mean?

quicumquevult said...

Good Fr. McDonald,

You say, "Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are allowed...". I

would argue that it isn't that simple. They're allowed on occasion and when necessary, but not all the time. I don't quote the following to make it seem as though you're ignorant of the documents of the Holy See, but because it is worth reading and pondering:

"...the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason." (Redemptionis Sacramentum 158)

So what if Communion takes 10 minutes, or even 15? If time is not an issue in the Extraordinary Form, why should it be an issue in the Ordinary Form? And if someone were really to complain about it, could that not be viewed as an opportunity for catechesis?

Another thing of note is that the Holy See said that one thing to be avoided is "the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass, thus ARBITRARILY EXTENDING the concept of 'a great number of the faithful.'" (On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful, 1997).

Food for thought. God bless, Father.

John Nolan said...

Flavius

"Full, conscious and active participation". Taken by its more extreme devotees to mean that if you are not actually doing something, and preferably making a great deal of noise about it, you might as well not be there.

"Now, children, I want you all to ..."