Thursday, July 24, 2014


I have been on vacation. I will be until August 1st. When I am away on vacation I attend Mass as a lay person. I know, I know, I am not a lay person, but give me a break when I'm on the road.

I won't say where I was for the Sunday Mass that I describe below. I don't want to offend anyone.

Let me point out first that the problem with the Sunday Mass I attended was not the Mass itself, but the manner in which it was celebrated, a manner that has been endorsed by way too many liturgists, bishops and priests since the 1970 missal became the normative Mass of the Church.

Let me list the problems that became distractions for me!

1. The opening hymn was well sung by all, led by a cantor.  However, the official Entrance Chant was      omitted. Nevertheless, the momentum of the Mass had begun, in fact the Mass began  with the Entrance Hymn, although it substituted for the official Entrance Chant.

2. Despite the fact that the Mass had  begun and our prayer and worship had begun with it, after the "Sign of the Cross" and the official Greeting, the priest felt compelled to use a secular greeting and welcome afterward. Then he introduced the visiting priest who would preach the homily, giving a bit of a biography of him and then he made an announcement that the second collection would be for the Church in Africa and that we should be generous. The preacher was an African priest. Then after this lengthy introduction, the celebrant then returned to the text of the Mass but first said, "Now let us begin the Mass with the "penitential act...."

Newsflash for this priest: the Mass began with the  Entrance Hymn. He is the one  who introduced an "intermission" to the Mass by stepping out of the Mass with his banal secular greeting and welcome and the introduction of the visiting African priest and the purpose of the homily to get people to contribute to the second collection. This intermission was an announcement for the second collection!

3. The priest made up his own rubrics that were extremely distracting to me. At the offertory, he prepared the chalice with the wine and water prior to offering the bread for consecration. This is illicit.

4. Then the priest, presumably because he could not genuflect made profound bows at the appropriate places where bows or genuflections are prescribed. But this is how he did it: he bowed with hands dropped and as though he was touching his toes with his hands. He looked like a table in doing so! It was horrible and I have never seen this kind of profound bow and he extended it in time!

5. I simply cannot stand it when any priest, including this one, prays facing the congregation as though he is proclaiming the prayer to the congregation even looking at us and establishing eye contact with as many of us as possible. His voice did not sound prayerful. It sounded like a priest reading the Gospel to the congregation.

6. He gestured to the congregation at the words of consecration. I had to close my eyes and pretend the priest was facing ad orientem. Why do I have to look at a priest who is playacting? He saw himself as the star of the show. He wanted to be a good actor. He failed because the priestly function at Mass isn't acting or putting on a show for the congregation. If he simply faced the same direction as the rest of us, this would have gone a long way in making this Mass a truly prayerful experience.

So the problem with the 1970 missal and this could be the case with the 1962 Missal as well is that the priest faces the people, thus making him an actor, not a priest, and thus tempts him to play to the congregation. Abusing the rubrics of the Mass, which technically could happen in the 1962 missal too, is the other problem.

The one thing that can't happen in the 1962 Missal but unfortunately happens way, way, way too frequently in the 1970 Missal is the ad libs after the official greeting of the Mass. I see it constantly from priests to bishops. This needs to stop. The Mass begins with the Entrance Chant, not the Penitential Act!

The other problem with the 1970 Missal not present in the 1962 Missal is the omission of the official Entrance Chant (Introit) as well as Offertory and Communion Antiphons. This is simply inexcusable and has led to so much banality in the Mass and clericalism concerning who chooses the substitutions and the reasons for it.

I love the 1970 Missal when it is celebrated properly. It was with every papal Mass I attended with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The propers were always chanted and the laity's parts were chanted in Latin. The Pope did not ad lib anywhere, and celebrated the Mass in an "ad orientem" sort of way even when facing the congregation. His voice was quiet, even subdued, not a proclamation voice, which he did use during the homily. Of course he can't genuflect but his bows were appropriate profound bows and very reverent and not overdone or theatrical.


Anonymous said...

What an edifying post. I'm shocked that people have no respect for priests anymore. I can't understand why.Oh you neo cons. I bet when Padre Pio went on vacation he didn't say Mass either. I'm sure he got rid of his habit put on some clam diggers, and enjoyed some cocktails. I bet he laid down that cross while on vacation also.

So you don't say Mass while on vacation. I guess when you consider offering Mass a chore instead of the greatest act of worship to Almighty God you give it up while on vacation. Do you give up the breviary or any other things that priests usually don't do? Well at least things they didn't do before Vatican II came around to revitalize the. Faith.

And things have gotten so bad in the clergy that you don't even know that you should be ashamed of yourself for what you have written. The arrogance is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you're out of line. There's no indication here that Father doesn't say his daily office, nor that he doesn't say mass while on vacation. He simply points out that he attends Sunday Mass in the congregation. And suffers, like so many of us, from the sloppy ars celebrandi exhibited by so many priests.

JBS said...

Fr. McDonald,

Thank you for sharing your experience, and for continuing to run your excellent blog even while on vacation.

I think priests become detached from the liturgical troubles of our day because we rarely experience another priest saying Mass. But your willingness to participate from the nave clearly helps you understand the laments of laymen who mourn the loss of reverence. When some of your regulars here speak harshly against the reformed missal, it's good for us to remember that they experience weekly what we only experience rarely.

JBS said...


I wonder if you could make your point more convincingly by just proposing good reasons for offering Mass during travels. Pope Paul VI said in Ecclesiam Suam that dialogue is to be the hallmark of this reformed age of the Church. However, dialogue requires a mutual respect and a willingness to share our thoughts with charitable honesty.

Marc said...

Good post, Father. What you experienced is exactly the sort of thing that has caused some of us to be the "hard liners" that we are (or are perceived to be).

Anonymous said...

"Pope Paul VI said in Ecclesiam Suam that dialogue is to be the hallmark of this reformed age"

Paul VI, really. The pope who destroyed the Roman Rite. The pope who turned a blind eye to worldwide heresy, liturgical abuse, immorality etc. that's the pope you quote.

While bishops around the world were openly teaching heresy and purposefully destroying the faith of millions, the only bishop he criticized by name was Marcel Lefebvre.

Anonymous said...

This post ties in with the preceding one on ecumenism. Whatever one may say about the Orthodox, they certainly are serious about proper liturgical worship. While Roman Catholic liturgy is still in disarray, any talk of Christian reunion seems fatuous. To the extent that Church and diocesan ecumenical efforts represent wasted effort that could better be devoted to restoration of the sacred liturgy that is "the source and summit" of our faith. Indeed, because of the disintegration of our liturgy, all too many Catholic laymen, clergy, and bishops appear not even to share enough faith with the Orthodox to provide a realistic basis for talk of reunion.

Gene said...

Henry, Once again...fix the Liturgy, fix the Church.

Anonymous said...

I'm the anon who just had a chat about the return of the veil, the one who Gene calls a Punk. I am not this anon. In the future I shall identify myself like this...

Max said...

Thank you, Father, excellent post. I also commiserate with you and fellow readers on such sad errors in the saying of Mass by certain of our dear, holy priests. May I also say in defense of Venerable Pope Paul VI, soon to be Blessed, he was a good Pope who was besieged by possibly the greatest attack of satan the Church has ever seen since the Crucifixion. Pray for his intercession in fixing the Liturgy, it is very powerful. Ven. Pope Paul VI, pray for us.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree with seeking Ven. Paul VI's intersession for the proper implementation of his 1970 Missal. He lamented over and over again the smoke of Satan that had entered the Church in the post-Conciliar period. Satan did not want the proper implementation of Vatican II and did all he could to disrupt it especially with the liturgy. Pope Paul VI demanded that no priest or bishop change the Mass, such as words and rubrics on his own authority--this was a huge problem in the early 1970's and continues to be a problem today.

If the Missal of 1970 would only be celebrated as it is with its proper rubrics and using the first option in the GIRM for the chanting of the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons, we would not have all the dissent concerning the normative Mass that we have.

rcg said...

Told ya....

JBS said...


Pope Paul VI did make some decisions that I think were questionable, but I suspect you have made questionable decisions in your life, as have I.

At any rate, Paul VI did issue rubrics for the Mass, and he distributed a pamphlet containing the parts of the Mass Western Catholics should sing in Latin.

He issued encyclicals defending the nature of the Holy Mass, priestly celibacy, fruitful sexuality, world peace and the working poor.

With his Credo of the People of God, he insisted firmly upon Catholic truth, and with his letter on penance he defended penitential discipline on Fridays and during Lent.

He was a good man and a good pope, but was disobeyed by nearly every Catholic cleric and layman in the West. Hardly anyone is without blame in the massive failure to follow his able pastoral leadership.

Templar said...

Not for nothing good Father, but we have witnessed a little bit of what you allude to here at St Joe's in your absence. Please hurry home.

Richard M. Sawicki said...

Could I perhaps, with the utmost of respect, point out everyone that the Ordinary Form of the Mass is NO LONGER celebrated using the 1970 Missal, but the 2002 Missal?

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

Anonymous said...

“He was a good man and a good pope, but was disobeyed by nearly every Catholic cleric and layman in the West. Hardly anyone is without blame in the massive failure to follow his able pastoral leadership.”

This is not the picture I observed in living through the Paul VI years. Practically no Catholic layman that I knew knowingly disobeyed Paul VI. We now know that he said and wrote some fine things, but none of these reached us at parish level. Perhaps because of his appointment of Vatican officials and bishops whose actions were at variance with these fine words.

For instance, we know now that he unequivocally condemned birth control. But priests generally told folks not to worry about it, that everything had changed. Precisely because they saw with their own eyes every Sunday that the liturgy, previously the very rock of Catholic faith, had changed, casual Catholics could well believe (however sadly) that everything else had changed also.

In any event, Catholics in the pews were not to blame for what happened. Most serious lay Catholics whom I knew or knew about—those for whom faith and liturgy were at the core of their lives—had and expressed deep misgivings about what priests and religious were telling them. But they were squashed and steamrollered. As Dom Mark Kirby put it in a recent Vultus Christi post,

Those of us who are old enough to remember the imposition of the Novus Ordo Missae at the local level on that fateful First Sunday of Advent in 1969, will recall the stern appeals to “obedience”; the brutal sweeping aside of the most reasonable, respectful, and worthy objections and questions; and the impression of febrile haste that attended the whole process. There was, in most countries, little in the way of pastoral sensitivity for the “existential peripheries”. On the contrary, all were expected to march in lockstep conformity to the newly devised liturgical code, with little concern for its lack of organic continuity with the past. Those who objected, questioned, or expressed reservations about what was being imposed, were taxed with being disobedient, hostile to “the spirit of the Council”, and out of step with “the Church”.

Anonymous said...

"Paul VI . . . distributed a pamphlet containing the parts of the Mass Western Catholics should sing in Latin."

A good case in point, in which Paul VI's words were effectively countermanded by his actions.

Apparently it's true that he directed that a copy of the pamphlet Jubilate Deo be sent to every chancery, encouraging that all parish congregations be taught to chant the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin.

However, the liturgical bureaucracy appointed by Paul VI--and which by some accounts he micromanaged in its actions directing the liturgical reform--had a quite different agenda, and Jubilate Deo was filed and forgotten everywhere it was received. (Did a single copy ever reach an individual parish through regular channels?)

rcg said...

Henry is exactly right.

JBS said...


If what you say is true--and I should point out that your description contradicts contemporary evaluations made and received by the Holy See--then this would call into question the moral force of the post-conciliar reform, especially if implementation of the reform was based on deception and lack of pastoral charity. This, in turn, would call into question the extent to which the reform is binding on the faithful.

John said...

Henry is right.

Now what? We have a de facto schism of the Magisterium? I think the last group who taught this point of view was labeled schismatic or nearly so.

"Dora the Explorer" advises her toddler audience: when you are lost GO back. Perhaps, w should take her advice with the liturgical reform and go back and try again.

Anonymous in the Archdiocese of Detroit said...

Father, are you vacationing in Michigan? What you described is the norm for the Archdiocese of Detroit!!

Anonymous said...

"if implementation of the reform was based on deception and lack of pastoral charity."

I'd have to question the veracity or sincerity or knowledge, and in either case the credibility--of anyone--in or out of the Holy See--who would seriously arg8e that the reform was not based in substantial part on deception and/or lack of pastoral charity.

"This, in turn, would call into question the extent to which the reform is binding on the faithful."

Serious food for thought here!

Anonymous said...

"Pope Paul VI did make some decisions that I think were questionable, but I suspect you have made questionable decisions in your life, as have I. "

I am sorry to be blunt because I do understand neo cons can't handle being treated without kid gloves. But that statement is stupid. To compare the personal sinfulness of an ordinary Catholic to the complete willful destruction of the Church by a pope is just stupid. Did Paul VI stop making changes in 1966 when he saw what was happening? No. He continued until his death in 1978. He didn't have to approve communion in the hand. But he did. Even though the majority of the world's bishops said no, he permitted it. He was arrogant, willful and destructive. And lets not even talk about his questionable moral character. Let's be grown ups here. There is story after story after story of him being picked up b the police, even as cardinal, in questionable circumstances with young men. Pius XII is vilified and someone like Paul VI is being raised to the altars. God has nothing to do with that.

Anonymous said...

What everyone refuses to acknowledge is that nobody called for the Mass to be changed. The laity as a whole never, never, never, never ever thought in their wildest dreams that the Mass would be changed. As usual it was liberal, elitists, priests and bishops who caused all the trouble.

Anonymous said...

May I just say briefly that Henry is one of the most consistently logical and level-headed commenters here? His comments are really quite edifying.

Joseph Johnson said...

Father is better positioned to make meaningful and intelligent comparisons of the 1962 Missal and the 1970 Missal because he regularly celebrates Mass according to both Missals.

If more priests want to be better at celebrating the Ordinary Form of the Mass then more of them should learn and regularly celebrate the 1962 Missal as well. Until this becomes more commonplace, the current (1970's era) liturgical culture will be prolonged and the things Father has observed and complained of will continue. They need to celebrate the EF Mass (and, apparently, sit through some OF Masses in other parishes) to be "clued in," "get it" and "heighten their sensibilities" as Fr. McDonald has done.

Summorum Pontificum: There is more to it than simply making the "pre-conciliar" Latin Mass available to a fortunate minority of parishioners in metropolitan parishes with more than one priest . . .

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:42
Annonymous 5:42...The Priests and Bishops AND the Pope don't wait for you...or me to call for the Mass to be changed. Perhaps unfortunately, we don't get to vote. They make the rules.

Perhaps if they were not "liberal" and "elitist", you would not be so distressed.

Are you the same anon as 7:52 AM?
You're REALLY pi**ed, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Here, watch this heretic priest spread his heresy for the world to witness. The 1970 Missal might not be the problem, but this sort of priest is certainly the problem.

JBS said...

I think an important question now is the role of the sensus fidelium in evaluating the 20th century reforms. A recent International Theological Commission statement says, "in the face of new circumstances...patience and respect are needed...if the sensus fidei is to be clarified." Therefore, by carefully evaluating the effects of the reforms upon the laity, I believe time will tell us which applications of the reform were prompted by the Holy Ghost, and which were the workings of the Devil.

Anonymous said...

I went to a mass in Indianapolis and witnessed a new position for Extra Ordinary minsters: Hand sanitizer distributor.
It was remarkable! We had three signed up for "the bread", three for "the wine" and one assigned to distribute the hand sanitizer with instruction for one pump each!
As the ministers lined up behind the altar the HS minister walked up to each one and pumped one shot into each person's hand. They then proceeded to wring their hands to evenly spread the sanitizer.
The HS minister then returned the pump bottle and was the first in line to receive communion.
The priest did not distribute communion which is another issue all together!!!


Anonymous said...

I guess my Sgt. identification plan isn't going to work. I have been hacked. The posting about hand sanitizer was not from me.

It is, of course, not surprising that others would want to pretend to be me.

The REAL Sgt.