Saturday, October 25, 2014


As I meditate on this photo above, it creates a "sense" of mystery (in the sacramental meaning of the word) and wonder for me. What about you? As I look at it as a properly formed Catholic, I know the most important element in the photo is the image of the Sacred Host. Our Lord is clearly the focus juxtaposed before the image of the crucifix as our Lord present for our worship and adoration is offered in a few moments by Christ Himself to His heavenly Father in the Sacrifice of Love of the Holy Cross. The heavenly Father accepts this love and is pleased with the loving sacrifice of His most Beloved Son more so than He is displeased by our sins.

In effect the wedding image above creates a sense of mystery and acknowledgement of what is made visible in the two images below:

I could be wrong in my diagnosis, but I don't think modern Catholics or those reared in the Church without the Extraordinary Form Mass would get the same sense of mysterion/sacramentum as is portrayed in all the images that I have thus far highlighted. For example what sense of mysterion/sacramentum and wonder do the following photos of Holy Mass elicit in you? The exact same ones that the photos above do? I don't think so! But I could be wrong. What do you think?

In my most humble opinion, the sense of the sacred, the sense of wonder and the sense of reverence are lost in the modern photos of the Mass. Can this be but one and a major one, reason for the decline in Mass attendance over the past 50 years. There's nothing inspiring about these photos and these photos don't cause us to meditate on them. In fact, we want to turn away from them because of their ugliness and sterility, just as people have turned away from Mass when the priest turned toward them!
What do you think?


JBS said...

Looking at these clearly contrasting pictures, it's hard to argue that we haven't deliberately chosen to turn away from Heaven the last few decades. Today, thanks especially to Pope Benedict, we all know better, and yet we take no steps to convert.

Anonymous said...

I know several people in the UK and Canada who never went to church again after the changes. One of those people in the UK told me that he went to mass recently thinking of going back and was shocked at what happened during the sign of peace.

Robert Kumpel said...

When the changes of the Novus Ordo first came through, I was only 10 years old. I couldn't tell you why it bothered me then, but I think I can tell you now what I see when those photos are juxtaposed against each other: In the first photo, I get a sense of something that is transcendent and unchanged, a ritual of organic growth and development focused on something bigger than those performing it or those in attendance. In the second photo, I get a sense of one thing: Pandering.

I didn't have the lexicon at age 10 to explain why the Novus Ordo bothered me, I just knew that I didn't like it. Kids can smell something wrong a lot more quickly than adults can and they hate being pandered to and the new Mass, ESPECIALLY the guitar-music version of it had a strong odor of pandering. I still remember telling one of the nuns at my school that I didn't really like the changes to the Mass. She ignored my complaint and replied, "But isn't it wonderful that now young people can participate in the Mass?" That question alienated me even further. What did she mean? That all the young people attending Mass for all the previous centuries were not participating? That my generation of young people were too stupid to "get" the Mass? That somehow we were now smarter than all the Catholics who came before us?

For me, the ongoing Novus Ordo culture reflects the desperation of a generation of Catholic leaders who tried to "get hip", failed miserably and are keeping their failed vision in place because to do otherwise would be to admit to failure. And the refusal to admit failure is terribly dishonest--certainly not a reflection of an Eternal God is complete in truth.

Gene said...

The sign of peace is the biggest bit of nonsense to ever be foisted upon the faithful. It generally looks like a Kiwanis meeting in a high school parking lot before a game…complete with making out and grab-a**.

Tom Makin said...

We have a new Pastor, a 60 something Monsignor who insists he is "Fr Joe" who invites the children to join him around the altar for the consecration and the Our Father. It is a zoo and I cannot believe that this is happening. In 5 months we've gone from a modified Benedictine Altar set up and a balanced music selection to "Fr Joe" and his music by (Fr) Carey Landry. It is such a left turn. These guys refuse to get it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yikes Tom, I'm sorry this is happening. This is the problem with the revised Mass, there are just too many ways of celebrating it and too many ways for Fr. Joe's to impose their personality upon the Mass. Apart from this, I hope you and your family are well! God bless.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the innovative Liturgist also is turned towards the West during the Liturgy..., and not towards Christ. Christ, Who is the Sun of Justice, Who has come to bring light and warmth, is "placed" towards the East by the Church and this is an apostolic tradition, as we see in Basil the Great's "On the Holy Spirit", where he says: "Thus we all look to the East at our prayers, but few of us know that we are seeking our own old country, Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East." Of course, when we trample on centuries old traditions in order to "establish ourselves" in the eyes of the world, when all that concerns us is ourselves, then certainly we will face towards the West, because only the ruler whom the Church has placed in the West can meet these needs. Christ has made it clear: "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you" (Jn.15:18,19).

- modified from an article on "liturgical renewal" by Fr. Vasilios Spiliopoulos

Unknown said...

Thank you for this post, Father. The second group of pictures are so familiar, as I am an organist in a parish like this, in fact, it is probably worse, because the pictures can't convey the casual and flippant attitude of many in attendance, and their seeming ignorance and neglect of Our Lord in the tabernacle. I have very much wanted to quit and leave this parish, but a wonderful holy woman recently told me not to abandon Our Lord as there are few that console Him there. This somehow spoke to me, and I am remaining for the time being, and am praying for this parish. I know prayer can change the direction of things, because I have seen it happen for the better at other parishes.

Anonymous said...

Robert Kumpel: I was 9 when the Novus Ordo came in, and I have often told people almost the exact same thing: that I didn't like it, that it seemed wrong somehow.
When I grew up, I thought what was missing was the mysticism. In the EF the mysticism is acknowledged and retained. In the Novus Ordo mysticism is strained out; the prayers are modernized, sterilized of any mystical meaning. It is mundane. The NO Mass lacks the soaring mystery of the presence of God. In the EF all in attendance are witnesses of this mysticism, even the priest who confects the sacrament. In the Novus Order it's just saying words in a mundane way.

John Nolan said...

My take on the bottom four photographs (in order):

1. Clergy drawing attention to themselves. Exaggerated gestures on the part of the celebrant. Concelebrants don't know what an amice is for. And I'll wager a pound to a penny that whatever it is they're singing, it's not Gregorian Chant.

2. An unholy mess. None of the vestments match. Music combo belongs in a seedy lounge bar, not in the sanctuary of a Catholic church.

3. What's going on here? I mean those in Dickensian costume standing behind the priest, who looks as if he's about to consecrate the Host, and yet there's no missal on the altar.

4. Plain little chapel, but nice crucifix and statue. Priest properly vested, and neither he nor the deacon are indulging in histrionics. Note the pall on the chalice. Looks like a reverent Novus Ordo which I, for one, would not object to.