Thursday, February 19, 2015

DEALING WITH A MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDERED CHURCH

Modern Catholics (at least the ones who still attend Mass, 12% in some places as high as 25% in other places) don't like to compare the Church prior to Vatican II with the Church of today. They say it is a straw man or like comparing apples to oranges. I disagree.

We do know that in the USA, about 90% or more of Catholics on Sunday went to Mass up until the early 1960's prior to the Second Vatican Council. We do know that seminaries were full, there were large Catholic families and religious life was thriving. We do know all this occurred under a very strict Catholic ethic which was severe.

On any given Sunday, the vast majority of Catholics who attended Mass, poor or rich (there were many more poor Catholics in the USA prior to the Council than today) wore Sunday best and were quite pious at Mass. The majority of Catholics attending Mass each Sunday would never go to receive Holy Communion if there was any doubt about an unrepentant mortal sin. Confession would come first.

I got an email recently about a confused Catholic trying to deal with both forms of the Catholic Mass in her parish. She is a new convert to Catholicism and attends the EF Low Mass once a week during the week and the High Mass once offered once a month on Sunday in her parish. This is what she says:

All these Low Masses aren't helping me to accept the OF. There's such a difference in the Mass itself and in the crowd that attends each one. The OF involves the people so much that they seem to forget that God is present. The attire is distracting and their actions are as well. There's so much talking when I'm trying to pray before or after Mass. I am physically exhausted after an OF Mass from trying to put on my blinders, stay focused, and pray for myself to stay humble and pure of thought. I know I'm a new convert, but Traditional Catholicism is something that I understand and am drawn to with every fiber of my being. I want so much to be a good Christian. I know I'm not crazy, because there are others who think the same way about the Masses. Others who struggle and are tired. It's not out of negativity, but out of love for Christ and the Church that people want only the Latin Mass. 

As a priest who loves both forms of the Mass (although I would love to see the changing parts of the EF Mass allowed in the vernacular at least for the low Mass) I can understand the sentiments expressed above by this frustrated convert. It is as though the Church is schizophrenic when it comes to the Mass and the spirituality and demeanor of both Masses and how Catholics approach each one.
What would you say to the person above who will not go to an OF Mass any longer thus misses Sunday Mass altogether since no EF Mass is offered every Sunday? Of course this is a mortal sin at least on the surface (serious matter, one knows that it is a sin and with full consent of the will commits the sin).

24 comments:

Gene said...

Speaking of disordered, the Pope just granted VIP treatment and an audience to an American Gay rights group and the European media are hailing it as a huge step forward toward openness to gay rights.
So, we gonna' blame the media again or open our eyes to who this "pope" really is. You haven't seen the end of Catholics not attending Mass but, now, it isn't because of apathy.
There are many devout Catholics out there who are genuinely struggling with Mass attendance and with just what in the Hell (I use the term advisedly) is going on in the Church.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gene, you read too many biased blogs and no it was not VIP treatment, no more than what choirs are granted at an outdoor audience and no mention of them was made during the outdoor audience but all the various choirs are with name of parish and city. Gene I am afraid you have begun a hack of silly reporting and take it all as though it were actual news or gossip.

Cletus Ordo said...

Part of our call to be like Jesus is to be like him in ALL things, and that--unpopular as it is to Novus Ordo Catholics--means suffering. Those of us who prefer the EF must sometimes accept the suffering of attending the Novus Ordo Mass. Whether we like the form of the Mass or not, we are required to attend. Sometimes THAT is the cross we must take up.

Gene said...

I did't read it on a "biased blog." It was in Reuters and several other major news venues. Stop defending this travesty of a Papacy…oops…I guess you have no choice…maybe just don't say anything about it and you won't embarrass yourself...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Dear, dear Gene, Reuters and secular news agencies have no bias in favor of twisting what happens at the Vatican. Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

qwikness said...

I'd say to her to sit in the front row(s). It is very distracting in the back. Also maybe find a parish more to her liking and less folky.

rcg said...

The lady who wrote the message nailed it. The question then becomes, "What responsibility does the priest have to provide, as much as possible, a place for worship that helps the persons in the pews?" Would she have committed mortal sin to miss a Mass where the nave was 110 degrees; or four below? If she cannot focus on the Mass because her body is distracted by the environment, what if her mind is too distracted? This seems even more important for the 'young' convert who is already struggling with the vast amount of information. We would not teach her even simple math in a bedlam, why would we expect her to gain anything from Mass in Babel?

JBS said...

Someone should start a movement, with t-shirts and everything, called, "Please Let Us Pray!"

Henry said...

rcg, I think you yourself have nailed it. The most pressing question for Catholic liturgy today is surely the responsibility of priests to provide Mass in a way that not only accommodates but encourages holy and reverent worship.

I'm not sure what circumstances, if any, can relieve one of the obligation to attend Sunday Mass under pain of sin. But I do feel sure that a priest has an even more serious obligation under pain of sin to provide holy and reverent liturgy.

Given that so many current priests suffered a lack of lack of priestly formation in the seminaries, and have bishops from the same troubled generations who fail to do anything about it, it may seem that all we can do is to pray for the souls of those many priests who fail to meet this obligation, and for those who are the victims of liturgical abuse.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

At Saint Joseph Church and every parish I have been I have tried to celebrate the OF Mass with dignity and grace.

What frustrates me with the more traditional in our midst is that this isn't good enough. They expect the OF Mass which is a dragnet for all kinds of people from the most committed of Catholics to the least to be exactly how an EF Mass is with an intentional number of highly committed Catholics who love a very formal liturgy.

There is a great deal of judgment about those in the pews even at an OF Mass that nearly resembles an EF Mass in terms of reverence.

I think it is this mentality that turns many priests away from traditional communities or even intentional communities such as charismatic communities. There is an elitism that is simply not Catholic. It is congregational; it is elitist. That is a problem in the Catholic Church and it was prior to the Council too.

rcg said...

FrAJM, you are correct about the elitism. That is, however, the sin of the person not related to the form of the Mass. Your complaints can be said of people who prefer the NO with differences only in specifics.

JBS said...

Father MacDonald,

While I share your frustration, I think it must be admitted that the very statement "I have tried to celebrate the OF Mass with..." reveals the manner of celebration to be dependent upon the personal inclinations of the celebrating priest. It is precisely this dependence upon arbitrary inclination that tires out the more liturgically alert faithful.

Henry said...

JBS, you got it exactly right, I recall in the old days a saying to the effect that if, by the time you got home you could remember which of the parish priests had celebrated the Mass, then there must have been something wrong with either you or him.

Anonymous said...

People should report abuses of the Mass to the appropriate Diocese Bishop.

All Ordinary Forms of the Mass must adhere to GIRM (General Instruction of the Mass, which was passed in Nov. 2011)
GIRM is on the Vatican and USCCB web site.

When the Laity abuse the Mass with inappropriate behavior, the Priest is to correct them.
If he does not, again contact the Diocese Priest.

Vatican II Doc, "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM",
General Norms "22 -3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority."

Anonymous said...

This is a link to the best requirements/instruction from a Diocese Bishop in the form of an official Decree - that addresses frequent abuses by the Laity to the people of his Diocese.
It includes but is not limited to: talking in Church before Mass, extending or holding hands by any deacon or Laity during the Lord's prayer, etc.

http://www.praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2011-Pastoral-Letter-with-Decree-Bulletin-Insert.pdf

John Nolan said...

The 'dependence on arbitrary inclination' is the Achilles heel of the Novus Ordo. From Advent Sunday 2011 the Birmingham Oratory changed its Sunday Solemn Mass from OF to EF. Outwardly there was little change as the OF had been in Latin, ad orientem, and with the full Gregorian Propers.

In reality it represented a sea-change. The OF had been a classic example of 'arbitrary inclination' albeit in the right direction. It wasn't quite the same as at the London Oratory (which uses the option of doing the concluding rites at the altar rather than at the sedilia). But the way that the EF is celebrated leaves nothing to choice - it's simply a question of adhering to the rubrics. It's the same in Birmingham, London, Chicago or Tokyo.

That there is eclecticism and elitism is entirely down to the Novus Ordo. Before the Council you had two choices on a Sunday - Low Mass or Sung Mass, and no choices on a weekday.

Gene said...

Fr, the point is that the Pope has to know how the major news agencies around the world are interpreting his words. The fact that he does nothing to correct this indicates that he wants to sow confusion and doubt.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Pope Francis is going to be himself, regardless of how the media construes or misconstrues what he says. This is integrity.

He exhibits humility and magnanimity, as called for in the Jesuit Constitutions for a Jesuit superior.

He understands Vatican II and is the first pope ordained after the Council. He is not fighting the battles of the Council, but doing what he believes is proper in light of the Council.

His emphases are 1) collegiality, 2) the local church, 3) dialogue, 4) servant leadership, and 5) the mission of the Church.

He shows the Church to be a "kind mother," he is willing to listen to those with whom he may disagree, and he reaches out to the un-churched and to fallen away Catholics, seeking to find a way to open the door for their return to the faith.

As with Jesus, Pope Francis' message is popular with "prostitutes and sinners," but is often rejected by those who consider themselves righteous.

Anonymous said...

What did you say to this convert, Father?

Cletus Ordo said...

Anonymous, I don't wish to be cynical, but for most dioceses, reporting liturgical abuses to the local bishop is not only a waste of time, but in some cases, an invitation to get yourself labeled as a troublemaker and marginalized. If anyone can name a diocese that truly cares about this kind of thing, please let us know. As it stands now, we wouldn't have the abuses we suffer at most Masses unless the bishops let their priests get away with it. And they do. And they don't care what we think because we're all a bunch of "fanatical, agenda-driven, wing nuts".

Gene said...

We don't really know how "popular" Jesus' message was with prostitutes and sinners. Certainly, they liked His forgiveness and His kindness…but, did they find His challenge to "go and sin no more" popular? Did the woman at the well give up any of her husbands? Did the prostitutes give up their livelihood and become chaste? Given human nature, I imagine these people were much like today's sinners…wanting forgiveness but reluctant to change their ways. "Popular" may not be the right word…

Marc said...

"Did the woman at the well give up her husbands?"

This woman is St. Photini, and you can read about her here: http://www.antiochian.org/node/17560

Lynn Rossetto Kasper said...

Some people like it with clam sauce, but Photini bolognese is the best!

Catholic Mission said...

February 21, 2015

For the SSPX magisterial teachings are accepted on the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 but rejected with respect to Vatican Council II (with the premise)

http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2015/02/for-sspx-magisterial-teachings-are.html