Monday, March 17, 2014

THERE AREN'T THAT MANY CLOWN MASSES IN REALITY OR ARE THERE?

I've never been to a clown Mass and there are only a few that are photographed that traditionalist bloggers like to trot out to show how poorly the reform of the Mass after Vatican II has gone.

But the biggest problem with the reform, which could have happened to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass if it had remained the Ordinary Form is the added stuff that is placed on the Mass in a manipulative way.

And what is this extra junk that could compromise the EF Mass as it has the Ordinary Form?

1. Music sung in an entertainment fashion that is better for "America's Got Talent" than for the Holy Sacrifice, especially during the penitential season of Lent. This procession in the video below filmed on Friday could easily be added to an EF Mass with all the antics of entertainment and instrumentation!

2. Liturgical movement and dance better left to the cultures where it has some religious significance and isn't entertainment and thus an add on. Where is the noble simplicity in this and a penitential attitude during Lent?

3. The Procession and its song, no matter how corrupt for the Mass, is nonetheless the beginning of Mass and is meant to set the mood of prayer, adoration and praise that should not be interrupted by what the Archbishop does immediately after the Sign of the Cross and greeting. He completely breaks the prayer of the Mass by his introduction and the silly applause of the cheerleader congregation and the various greeting to the celebrities at Mass. This is the greatest corruption of the Ordinary Form of the Mass that really can't happen in the EF Mass--this breaking of the spirit of prayer for secular banter and introductions accompanied by hoots, howls and applause!

4. There is arrogance in this Mass on the part of the ministers and their style of leading the Mass and the entertainment of them by their entertaining quality of singing. This arrogance is the antithesis of the true spirituality of the Mass  one of humble acknowledgement of the divine, with head and body bowed rather than pagan cultic rites of exuberance.

5. In this multi-cultural environment there is no Latin that could bridge the nationalities and languages.

This is entertainment that Hollywood has led,  masked as prayer and is the number one enemy of the Liturgy in the modern day, not clown Masses! There is a element of being stuck in the 1970's with the liturgical movement, the dressing of the altar and the exaltation of the placement of the bishop's chair at the highest apex of this space with the altar hidden much lower than the bishop. This Mass highlights the problem of the liturgy today. Will there ever be an exodus from this or is it simply a remnant that won't go away until it dies its last old age breath?

56 comments:

Gene said...

You don't need clown Masses when the majority of the OF's are a joke anyway. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "The OF is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get."

Anonymous said...

As long as people are willing to fund this style of cheap entertainment it will exist. It's hard to gauge how many people participate because of their indifference vs. really having a preference for this stuff. Leadership in our faith is central and if a quality product ie. reverent liturgy is promoted by leadership it will be understood by the sheep. I've seen evidence of this around Chicago. However if we begin to regress because of bad bishops appointments then the pocket book is the best place for people to send a strong message.

Gene said...

PS At the OF I attended Sunday in the Atlanta Diocese, the Deacon did the homily dressed in a coat and tie with a big wooden cross around his neck. He told two jokes before he began preaching. Everybody laughed out loud and hooted and several clapped. Great…just great. It really is just like the Methodist church, and Methodists are nothing but Baptists who can read and write.

John Nolan said...

Unfortunately this is the logical outcome of the liturgical reform which began fifty years ago this year. Had there been an earthquake and the hall collapsed, burying all inside, I would have participated in a Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of their souls, followed by a Te Deum to celebrate the destruction of everything they stand for, or at the very least tolerate.

Pater Ignotus said...

Latin does not "bridge the nationalities and languages." Rather, it separates.

Bridges connect. Latin, because it is not understood by 99.9% of the people, separates them from the mass, the mysteries presented in the prayers, the Truth that is found in the words of the mass.

Latin possesses own beauty, as do all languages, but it does not serve to unite people.

Bill Meyer said...

The few minutes of the RECongress opening I watched was an appalling spectacle.

The opening dance in this closing ceremony at least can be excused by the fact that it precedes the start of the Mass. Unfortunately, as Fr. MacDonald noted, what comes fro the Archbishop immediately after the sign of the cross has no place in the liturgy. And certainly, Pope Benedict got it right when he said that whenever applause breaks out, we may be sure that worship has ended, and entertainment has begun.

But what is more disturbing even than the abuse of the Mass is that these people gathered here are those to whom we entrust the religious education of our parishes, both adults and children. How, then, can we be surprised that so few in the pews understand the faith they profess?

Henry said...

"It really is just like the Methodist church, and Methodists are nothing but Baptists who can read and write."

But as a former Methodist, let me add that they tell better pulpit jokes that the lame ones Catholic homilists typically try.

More seriously, as a Methodist boy I knelt at an altar rail for holy communion, something that few Catholics do now. And, really, many Methodists then had more respect for the species of holy communion then than many Catholics have for the Real Presence now.

rcg said...

The bad part about clown Mass is that even Emmet Kelly thinks the clown is poorly executed. Pagliacci is better music and is vernacular, if you are Italian.

I have been entertained by YouTube during Mass. It was a technical disaster, which redeemed it in my mind: another miracle of St. Isidore.

Perhaps we misunderstand that vernacular is not the mode, yet that the medium is the message.

Novus Ordo Prisoner said...

"Latin does not 'bridge the nationalities and languages."'Rather, it separates.

"Bridges connect. Latin, because it is not understood by 99.9% of the people, separates them from the mass, the mysteries presented in the prayers, the Truth that is found in the words of the mass.

"Latin possesses own beauty, as do all languages, but it does not serve to unite people."

A perfect example of the stuck-in-the-70's mentality. Condescending, elitist and indifferent to the cries of the "other" faithful.

Using such a mentality, one can only assume that the Mass that formed the vast majority of our saints and served the Church Militant for nearly 2000 years was simply a mistake. Or perhaps we are just more "enlightened" now. And, of course, it completely contradicts the experience of many inner-city parishes that have been on the verge of extinction only to experience their own renaissances by becoming TLM parishes.

There's no point in arguing with Pater Ignotus. He and the others of his ilk simply do not care. It is more important for them to feel right than to feed their sheep--even the sheep they do not like. We have the privilege of suffering under their indifference.

rcg said...

PI, i apologise for contradicting you directly. Latin is indeed unifying because it addresses the need for common understanding. I recall your same argument from many years ago by a fellow frustrated with his chemistry, biology and attempts at medicine. It made things much made easier for because I used it to ensure the understanding was in context of what I was studying. It helps physics, engineering, etc. This is at least as important.

John Nolan said...

Most reasonable people would argue that both Latin and the vernacular have a place in the rites of the western Church. Not so ideologues like Pater Ignotus. According to him only one person in a thousand can understand or follow a Mass in Latin, or that someone who can recite 'Glory to God in the highest' by heart would be completely flummoxed if called upon to sing 'Gloria in excelsis Deo' despite the fact that virtually every word of that hymn has an English cognate.

To suggest that the universal and sacred language of western Christendom cannot be unitive is not just perverse and ignorant, it's bonkers.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As usual PI's narrow inverted vision causes him to miss the neutrality of Latin in a multi-cultural congregation.
The Vatican Masses that are international, and all of them are and more so than any other Masses in the world, always has the Propers, Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei are in Latin as is the "The Word of the Lord" after vernacular readings and the conclusion of the various vernacular Universal Prayers.
It is a wonderful, unifying common nonsensical method of liturgical universalism celebrated by the Church for at least 1600 years!

PI get with the program!

Pater Ignotus said...

NOPrisoner - No, I do not believe that the "Mass that formed the vast majority of our saints and served the Church Militant for nearly 2000 years was simply a mistake." Those are your words and thoughts, not mine.

I don't believe that anymore than I believe that having had a king rule over the 13 Original Colonies was a "mistake" in 1770, or that driving a 1940 Plymouth Stepside Truck was a "mistake" in 1940, or that wearing clothes of the 1920's was a "mistake" in 1920.

And I do care very much about the Church that I serve. What I don't care for is reasoning that is based on nostalgia or sappy sentimentalism, and traditionalism.

rcg - I'd be happy to hear your explanation of how a language that 99.% of the people at mass do not understand "addresses the need for common understanding."

John - Latin was never the "universal" language of Western Christendom. It was, maybe, the universal language of the clerics and the highly educated folk of Western Christendom, but not that of the vast majority of Christians.

Good Father - I am glad that, at the Vatican, where there may be individuals from dozens of languages/cultures present, that Latin is used. That's not the case in, again, 99.9% of the masses celebrated in the world and adopting a practice that doesn't serve the people is a program no right thinking person wants to "get with."

Pater Ignotus said...

And Prisoner - I'd prefer to discuss rather than argue any day. But, like many, you see every disagreement as an "argument" which pretty much shuts down any discussion.

That, again, is your thinking, not mine.

Gene said...

Ignotus, you are the one that shuts down EVERY discussion with you arrogance, your dishonesty, and your continuing to perseverate about a subject when you have been shown to be wrong. You are a stereotypical, condescending lib…hypocritical to the core.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Now, now. Get your shorts unknotted and go re-read some of your choice comments which are always directed against people who disagree with you.

When someone points out your error, that is not condescension. Nor is it condescension when someone, like me, disagrees with Good Father McDonald or others who agree with you.

You find I instructing the ignorant offensive. I believe that it a spiritual work of mercy. Once again, I am with the Church.

JBS said...

"As long as people are willing to fund this style of cheap entertainment..." I think I'd ask for a refund!

John Nolan said...

PI, an argument is but one side of a discussion. I might argue that on the evidence of what you have written your concept of liturgy is reductionist and utilitarian; it exists primarily to 'serve the people' (your own words) and anything that does not immediately resonate with the here and now is otiose. I can, drawing from experience of these things, envisage one of your Masses (sorry, masses) - wordy and didactic, with a 'music group' churning out 1970s ditties and hordes of lay people invading the sanctuary because this is the only form of 'participation' they understand.

I may be completely wrong, of course.

Gene said...

Ignotus, Thank you for making my point…LOL!

Anonymous said...

How can anyone take the REC seriously? It is a bubbling cauldron of heresy. Liturgical dance is only the eye of newt added to the brew of psychobabble and confusion. Catholics beware.

Henry said...

Most of the arguments on both sides of the question of Latin in the liturgy fall prey that the mistaken belief that the purpose of the language of the liturgy is to communicate with man.

Whereas its actual purpose is to offer worship to God, with most communication with the congregation being non-verbal (ceremonial, symbols, gestures, via sights and sounds, even smells) and to be understood didactically.

In my lifetime I have grown from a pre-convert over a half-century ago when I understand neither a single Latin word of the Mass nor much of anything about it, to someone who understands every Latin word of the liturgy, but knows now that the action of the Mass is not really to be understood in rational human terms or language. However, the Mass had (even if in a still immature way) just as powerful effect on me then as it does now (if in a more conscious and hopefully in a more spiritual mature way).

So I find these arguments about whether Latin or vernacular is better for communication--and, for instance about how many understood Latin in the age of faith versus now in this age of ignorance of faith--as irrelevant as they are boring and tendentious.

JBS said...

Having grown up in a Congregationalist world that rejected ancient Christian rituals, I was thankful for the opportunity to enter into the Catholic and Apostolic Faith during my adolescent years. However, it just baffles me that so many Western Catholics and leaders of the Latin Church prefer the fleeting sentiments conjured up in this video (and in similar displays) to the solid way of the Roman liturgical tradition. Where is the gratitude of cradle Catholics for the rites handed down so carefully by their ancestors?

Joe Potillor said...

It's sad to see that this Liturgy hasn't been cleaned up by the archbishop. On the parish level. many parishes in the archdiocese have stopped the cool-aid pitcher practice (probably from the Archbishop himself)...

It seems that the Archbishop himself is not very involved with the Liturgy for these events. On a more low key stage, he's very reverent and most of the time follows the book as prescribed. (As you'll notice in spite of the Ab libs, he did use the Missal words)

I really thought the cool-aid pitchers would end with the archbishop, so I was wrong. Kyrie eleison.

Henry said...

"churning out 1970s ditties and hordes of lay people invading the sanctuary because this is the only form of 'participation' they understand."

That they really don't understand any more than this is the great tragedy of the degradation of Catholic liturgy in recent decades. Precisely because so many of them are sincere and well-intentioned worshipers who deserve to know that the fullness of truly Catholic--the heritage of faith that they have been deprived of--is so much inspiring and rewarding than what they have been given.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous

Pater Ignotus, I come from Asia where Christians are less than 10% of the population and I see the argument for and against Latin differently than others in the western world where most speak the same language. The change from Latin to the vernacular brought in the racial tensions in society in to the church. Before Vatican II Christians were the most united in my country. At the Latin mass people of different races would sit in the same pew and pray at the same mass.

My wife was born a Buddhist and she could go to any temple in Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Burma, Laos or Cambodia and pray because the chants and prayers are in the Pali Language (another dead language like Latin). In Canada my family and I drive 30 miles every Sunday to a church where the mass is reverent (we go to the Latin mass most of the time)just because my wife and children say that the church just 1 mile from my house is like a music hall, there is no reverence, communion is in Pyrex dishes etc. They do not see it as a house of prayer. They have experienced the reverence and the atmosphere (sounds, smell, silence etc) of the Buddhist temple and expect the same in the catholic church and find it at the Latin mass. My son who is 20 says that if he wants entertainment he will go to a club and does have to find it in church.

Also a Muslim could go to any Mosque and they pray in one common language Arabic. They could be from any country in the world. Every major religion in the world has a common language that they pray in and study in.

We Catholics have lost a great treasure.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - You are wrong. I have repeatedly said that liturgy has TWO purposes: 1) The worship of God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and 2) the communication of the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the People of God.

Those purposes are neither reductionist nor utilitarian.

Masses at my parish are as "wordy" as masses at Good Father McDonald's parish. We use the same Roman Missal, we preach for about the same length of time.

And fewer people "invade" the sanctuary here at Holy Spirit than do so at Good Father McDonald's parish. The number depends on the size of the parish.

So your "imaginings" are rather off the mark.

Henry - The second, though not secondary, purpose of the mass is the communication of the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the People of God. That is accomplished in many ways, primarily word and action. There is a natural interplay of the spoken word and the movements, and gestures employed by the priest, deacon, ministers of the mass, and the people in the pews. This natural interplay is transformed by grace into that which offers us the opportunity to be drawn into the saving action of Christ.

Anonymous 4:48 - I come from Georgia where Catholics are less than 3% of the population. Using English, the vernacular of this region, draws all worshippers together. Anywhere I travel in this country I attend mass in the same language I speak here in Georgia, so I feel very much united with other worshippers.

Few of the mosques I have been to in this country use Arabic to the exclusion of English. In most, the Arabic is used and, then, translated into English so that the people can understand what is being said.

rcg said...

PI, The unification comes over time. In each Mass our priest will read the lesson and the Gospel again in English. He may explain the meaning and history of the prayers and why they are important on that day. There is such a solemn mass of knowledge that even the most skilled intellectual would have trouble absorbing all of it and the variations even in the vernacular. The vernacular also usually ends up resting in one place of a translation and can actually stifle, if not mislead, someone who is contemplating the prayer in that vernacular.

There is, of course, the missal and the very good translation of my Baronius press volume. One can contemplate the way they structured the prayers, conjugations and such, to understand what those authors had in mind. An English translation can be wordy and not really clear in the cognitive object I need to contemplate although it can be helpful as I work my rusty Latin.

Anonymous said...

Oops...I was unkind to the REAL king of the blog...Pastor Gene. I deserved to be censored. Please forgive me.

Anonymous said...

And all the neo-con Catholics thought that the Opus Dei Archbishop would change things up, wake up neo-cons.

Anonymous 2 said...

I have been a member of St. Josephs for over three decades. I also sometimes attend Holy Spirit, Pater Ignotus’s church. I like both and am inspired at both. To some such liturgically pluralist sensibilities may appear as a vice. To others they may appear as a virtue. Vice or virtue? I am sure some are ready to judge.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2....surely you were waiting for this: "Who am I to judge?"

Nathanael said...

This is uncharitable, but after a long and not-so-wonderful day at work, this video is just the remedy (I only watched the beginning – the rest might annoy my fragile sensibilities, lol).

The Urban Fusion Mass from the link in the video – really! Urban Fusion – this is, for me, like watching Daystar or TBN to get a laugh; it does deliver on the laughter.

Kooky stuff – I’m off to “build a new tomorrow.”

John Nolan said...

PI, a question. If, as you say, it is right and proper that pilgrims from all over the world sing and pray in Latin at papal ceremonies, how are they expected to do so if in their home parishes they never hear a word of Latin or sing a note of chant?

It has been remarked on for years that at pilgrimage centres like Lourdes when the multi-lingual gathering joins in singing Credo III or the Pater Noster the English-speaking pilgrims are struck dumb.

Last Sunday I attended a vernacular Mass for the first time in months. It was decently done, but the settings used for the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, though familiar to at least some of the regular congregation (about a quarter joined in with the choir), were new to me. Had Mass XVII (Sundays in Advent and Lent) been used, I would have been on familiar territory. Congregations in the past had no difficulty in learning this setting - the melodies are simple, but attractive, and for those not used to chant have the advantage of being in the major mode.

One of the problems with the post-V2 Church is that it has become excessively parochial and inward-looking. As congregations have dwindled, going to Mass is rather like attending a club for the committed. Of course no-one is excluded - indeed the ethos is "come on in, welcome to the party!" - which I find rather unsettling. One still feels a bit like a gatecrasher.

When Paul VI, in 1975, had 'Iubilate Deo' published and circulated world-wide, he quite correctly stressed the unitive effect (in both space and time) of Latin and Chant even with a predominantly vernacular liturgy. The 'no-Latin-at-any-price' school are fanatical ideologues and deeply unCatholic in spirit. For a number of reasons, I prefer a Latin liturgy. But no-one I have met in the Latin Mass Society or the Association for Latin Liturgy would wish to deny people the opportunity to hear Mass in their own language.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Maybe Latin should be a required course in all schools?

I would think it a considerable waste of time and energy to introduce a program of teaching prayers in Latin to a congregation on the off chance that 0.001% of them might one day attend mass at the Vatican or at Lourdes.

For the dumb-struck English speakers, they could just listen in silence, since that is judged by some here as the most highly esteemed manner of "full, conscious, and active" participation in the mass.

Henry said...


I suspect a number of people I know would prefer to attend a vernacular Sunday Mass celebrated with due reverence and solemnity, if they could find one. But they cannot, so they have no recourse but to attend only Latin Mass on Sundays. Many of these people attend vernacular Masses on weekdays, when they generally are less offensive.

Henry said...

Pater Ignotus, at the few international Masses I have attended, it was admittedly a moving experience to recite or sing the Ordinary of the Mass (Gloria, Credo, etc) in Latin as a bond of unity with Catholics from other countries and different native languages. However, I would certainly agree that for this purpose (alone) there is no need to require Latin in all schools. Many or most of the Catholics I attend Mass with probably know little or no Latin grammar at all, but are fully at home with the Ordinary in Latin, familiarity in context with its simple vocabulary (so full of English cognates) ingrained by repetition.

Indeed, among the large number of Latin Mass attendees I know and have known, I sense no general difference in their spiritual involvement and benefits, as to whether they know any Latin or not. Surely most in both categories unite themselves with the priest--aside from the Ordinary and the people's dialogue responses in Latin--by praying Mass from the English side of the page. Although other means of participation can be spiritually fruitful and may necessary for some people, I myself doubt that any other form of participation can be as deeply conscious and active as uniting oneself with the prayers of the priest and taking personal possession of them by praying the Mass interiorly in whatever language is personally most comfortable.

I wonder whether there are others than me who, rather than simply listening passively in TV couch mode to the priest praying--as we all most do at OF Mass--instead follow consciously the prayers in Latin at a vernacular Mass, and in the vernacular at a Latin Mass. At any rate, praying the Mass in (literally) my own choice of language affords me the fullest active form of participation I have been able to experience.

Anonymous said...

Once again, this is all about the people and has nothing to do with Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior. This is NOT a Roman Catholic Mass it is plain and simple paganism, and you wonder why the S.S.P.X. is so skiddish about coming home to Rome?? Maybe pagan Rome surely not Christian Rome. Is there not one bishop that is MAN enough to say stop this crap already and end it once and for all??? Archbishop Gomez ain't that man, just another fake man in bishops attire. This women dancing in leotards and holding incense bowls look totally idiotic and childish. And that's what you call music? If only Cardinal Burke or Ranjith were elected Pope they might have ended this post Vatican II nitemare and returned us to The Mass of All Times.

Anonymous said...

I sat there in front of my computer and asked myself while watching this vestal virgin "show" by the way it is not a Mass, do these people really believe they are worshipping Jesus Christ or Zeus???? The one saving grace is that most of the attendees are all silver haired and will fade out shortly, please pray for the F.S.S.P. Institute of Christ the King and of course the Franciscans of The Immaculate who are the new MARTYRS for the Faith.

Gene said...

Ignotus, why don't you try silence as a means of "full, conscious, and active participation" in the blog?

John Nolan said...

PI, specious as always, but entirely and deliberately ignoring the question. If only one in ten thousand (to take your latest figure) actually ventures abroad, that is all the more reason for them to realize that the Catholic Church exists outside their parish, and Catholic music did not begin with the St Louis Jesuits.

And I'm sorry to say that it is pastors like you who ensure that their parishioners stay in their self-regarding comfort zone, with touchy-feely feminized 'liturgies' and watered-down doctrine.

Teach Latin in schools? Ideally, yes. But I can tell you from experience that primary school children can learn chant, actually like singing in Latin (it's cool) and are delighted when they can relate Latin words to English equivalents. 'Ex ore infantium, Deus, et lactentium perfecisti laudem propter inimicos tuos.'

Which is why the anti-Latinists like yourself are so fanatical about it, and make the vernacular a shibboleth. And another thing - stop parading ignorance as a virtue. To listen is indeed to participate, but to suggest that more traditionally-minded Catholics would not join in the singing of the Creed is risible.

I bet you a pound to a penny that the Creed is never sung in your parish, and that the chances of hearing any music written before 1965 is pretty remote. No doubt others who are more local will enlighten me.

Bill Meyer said...

PI, I am in Georgia, and what I see of the use of English in the Mass is that it facilitates the perpetuation of differences--often stark differences--in the celebration, even in adjacent parishes. It also contributes to the widespread lack of reverence before the Mass, the time when I and some others in the pews are composing themselves for worship.

As anonymous said, we Catholics have lost a great treasure.

JBS said...

I think I understand Pater Ignotus' basic point about Latin, and I have general sympathy for his position, but I do think the good pater would do better to make some allowance in his thinking for the official position of the Church on the value of liturgical Latin.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - Because you need to be reminded regularly that there are people in this world who do not agree with you, and for good reasons. You need to be reminded that Good Father McDonald is not the be-all and end-all of pastors and that St. Joseph is not the be-all and end-all of parishes.

I am happy to provide that service.

John - The one in ten thousand already knows that the Church exists beyond the boundaries of this parish. Learning Latin will not change that.

And since you already think us philistines, unable to appreciate "good" art and music, all the while holding your nose when you must have dealing with such a wretched underclass as I represent to you - well, you get my drift.....

As a pastor I am not the least interested in taking people out of their linguistic comfort zone. We have far more important things - like sin, the breakup of families, drug addiction, theft, cohabitation, etc - to spend our time on.

No, silent listening is not the "full, conscious, and active participation" called for. To suggest that is Huxleyian doublespeak.

No, we do not sing the Creed and yes, music written before 1965 is part of the repertoire of our parish.

Bill - How does the use of English contribute to "the widespread lack of reverence before the Mass, the time when I and some others in the pews are composing themselves for worship." And is your suggestion that, by switching to Latin, the people would be quiet before mass?

Anonymous said...

As an adult man, do these weirdo's know how idiotic they look? Honestly just sit back and watch this stuff, and these men who call themselves Roman Catholic bishops just sit there and not one has the you know whats to just stand up and say STOP this now!!!!!!

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

The question of what is meant by participation was addressed by Evelyn Waugh - a far greater man than you or I - half a century ago when it was one of the buzz-words of the reformers. You see it, as they did, in purely functional terms. He said that if the Germans thought that participation meant making a row, then let them get on with it.

Musicam Sacram (1967) made it clear that 'participatio' was first and foremost an interior participation. Waugh, who was not particularly musical, likened it to contemplating a work of art. I would like to think that some of your parishioners at least might have visited an art gallery or gone to see 'Rigoletto' in Italian with English surtitles and understood that 'participation' isn't simply a matter of jumping up and down and waving your arms in the air.

What goes on in your lower-case masses is only speculation on my part, although I think I have a good idea. I would be interested to know what you are intending to sing on Easter Sunday this year, and how much of it reflects the musical tradition of the last millennium and a half (O the ressourcement!). Very little, if any, I suspect.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - "First and foremost" does not mean "only." And Waugh's description can hardly be thought of as normative, let alone definitive.

Enjoying a fine painting - there are two copies of El Greco works hanging prominently in our narthex as we who do not speak worship in Latin are not the philistines you think we are - is qualitatively different from participating fully, consciously, and actively in mass. The same is true of sitting in an audience at an opera, or, for us philistines, an operetta.

You are welcome to join with us on Easter so that, rather than participating in a sterile, distant way via this blog, you can experience for yourself the Liturgy of the Eucharist at Holy Spirit Parish.

George said...


I can't see any problem or difficulty with including the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in a vernacular Mass. Might not "full, conscious, and active participation" also extend outside the Mass itself? As I know many are already doing in seeking to learn more about their faith in scripture studies etc. Latin was the liturgical lingua franca in the Church for the longest of time. Would it hurt anyone to learn a modicum of it? There are those who would not learn it even if the Church required them to, but if they had to know it to play the lottery you can bet there would be no lack of Latin scholars.

JBS said...

John Nolan,

I just want to express my sympathy for the upper-case "Mass", and my preference for "Holy Mass".

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

Thank you for your kind invitation, and who knows, I might take you up on it one day. I'm sure you don't try to replicate the LA shenanigans. This Easter Sunday I am singing in a small schola at an EF Missa Cantata which will include all the GR Propers, Mass I and Credo III, plus a couple of extra items at Offertory and Communion. The first part of the Mass, from the start of the Vidi Aquam to the end of the Sequence, is quite taxing (the only break being for the Collect and Epistle) and although things get a bit easier from then on, you still need to be on your toes - with only four singers there's nowhere to hide. This is full, conscious and active participation with a vengeance.

A quick cup of coffee and then on to London in time for the Solemn Latin OF Mass at the Oratory (and to get a seat you have to arrive early). With a professional choir taking care of the polyphony and the more complex chant there is a balance between interior and exterior participation (the congregation is expected to join in the Latin responses and the Pater Noster, and to sing the Credo alternatim with the choir). But I can also concentrate on the sacred drama, meditate on the texts, be uplifted by the music and give my full attention to the homily. As it's a major feast, the Gospel will be sung in Latin (for extra solemnity) but repeated in English.

Participation should not be interpreted too narrowly, nor imposed too dogmatically. Waugh had a point about the Germans - they do tend to stress the communal over the individual, and I'm not just thinking of the Nuremberg rallies.

Henry said...

It's difficult to imagine, John Nolan, than anyone in the English-speaking world this Sunday will more actively and consciously participate in Holy Mass, than you and those who attend both those two Masses you describe.

But if I were in London this Sunday, no doubt I'd pass up the EF Mass and attend just the Solemn OF Mass in Latin at the Oratory, it providing a truly wonderful opportunity for active and conscious participation richer than that available to 99.99% of U.S. Catholics.

Philemon Lloyd, Esq. said...

Why stop at "Holy Mass?"

Why not "Most Holy Mass?" Surely there is nothing holier on this side of the tombstone?

Ought we not echo the "t"radtion of the angels, though, and call it the "Holy, Holy, Holy Mass?" Surely that would be more pleasing to God.

Maybe we should say it three times: "Most Holy Mass, Most Holy Mass, Most Holy Mass" since the way "they" do it in Eastern liturgies is so "t"raditional and uncorrupted by the thinking of the 1) philistines, 2) apostates, 3) Masons, 4) Six Protestant Ministers, 5) Bugniniites, etc etc etc.

Oh my, oh my, oh my - such worries.

John Nolan said...

Henry, you're spot on. The EF Mass is at a small country church at an early hour, 8 o'clock, and once a month it is sung; in this instance on Laetare Sunday and Easter Sunday. The London Oratory, as you know, is a great and iconic church; in the dark days of the 1970s its Solemn Latin Masses (Novus Ordo) kept me practising. In those days the Tridentine Mass was very rarely done, but the younger priests are now consciously bi-ritual and both forms exist side-by-side.

It must be the only church in the world where every day one can hear Mass in the EF and also English OF and Latin OF. On Sundays the 1962 Low Mass is at 9 o'clock but I would plump for the Solemn Latin OF Mass at 11 o'clock. The sung Mass is the norm, after all, and I have never objected to the NO per se, indeed I would agree with Benedict XVI that it contains many spiritual riches.

But I don't go to Mass to bop around with pop music and see mini-skirted girls in the sanctuary, which in itself would mean that I would not be in a fit state to receive Communion.

JBS said...

I thought it was "Philemon Lloyd, margrave".

Henry said...

Granted, Sir Philemon, obsession with details can trivialize them. But simply knowing whether a person writes Holy Mass or "mass" can simplify matters--suggesting as it does what he thinks about a range of substantive issues, so less need to spend further time finding out.

Gene said...

Philemon = Ignotus, most likely.

rcg said...

Phil, brings up a good point. There is a difference between Gnosticism and epistemology. The traditionalist should beware of worshiping his ritual and it's effects. Modernists avoid that temptation but find little else in the sanctuary to see but themselves. Both extremes would forget the presence of God. The traditionalists focus on that Presence and then build up the ritual to ensure they are prepared to enter into that presence. The penultimate liturgy, the detailed cleansing, the prayer and reflection, the language and music where every syllable is polished to aid in that effort for the congregation. If we can only participate by heartfelt contrition for our sins and gratitude for the priests that assemble this gift then we have participated fully.