Sunday, July 30, 2017

FROM THE ALIVE SOUTH TO THE NORTH ON LIFE SUPPORT


Last week I was able to celebrate Mass while on vacation at a beachside parish packed with about 1,500 people. Wonderful!

Last night I attended a cathedral Mass in a large northeast diocese. Spectacular cathedral about 100 people in attendance. This is one of those areas where about 12% of Catholics attend Mass. sad!

The main priestly problem with the Ordinary Form is that it becomes perfunctory and the priest rushes the words of prayer turning these prayers simply into a "read" Mass where one wonders if there is actual prayer or not. The style of each priest in the Ordinary Form either makes or breaks the Mass.

Ad Orientem and more spiritual silence, sacred silence, is needed, such as a low voice Roman Canon, would go a long way in making a Mass that is rushed in the manner of "reading" it into a Mass that is actual prayer.

The Mass began promptly at 5:00 pm and the recessional hymn was finished promptly at 5:30pm.
Some like it that way!

20 comments:

Dialogue said...

Northerners are a sad people. Bless their hearts.

Tom Makin said...

I have said many times in the past, having lived all over the USA (NE, SW, South, Mid-West), I honestly believe that in broad terms, the NE is a spiritual wasteland. It is dominated by secular relativism, including within the church itself. There are exceptions of course but as a rule, what you experienced in the beautiful cathedral is par for the course up here. It's easy to be faithful and faith filled everywhere I have lived except up here where I was born and raised. We persevere though in our faith and pray for vocations because the "new breed" as a dear clergy friend of mine calls it, is so very different than the tired old, "70's crowd" (present company excluded Father :)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The speed of the mass . . . I had a similar experience in Omaha at a downtown parish. There were about 500 or 600 attending the Saturday evening vigil. At NO point during the mass did the celebrant stop. The ushers began taking up the collections (two that day) at the usual time, but, with the speed of the celebrant, their work extended well into the Eucharistic Prayer. They had been trained.... At the elevations, the ushers stopped, took a knee, and then continued. I think we were done in 27 minutes.

John Nolan said...

A weekday Mass in the Novus Ordo, no Gloria or Creed, no homily or bidding prayers, EP III - the only way to make it last 27 minutes (about the time it takes to celebrate an EF Low Mass) would be to chant everything, propers and readings included. ICEL has provided most of the chants, and there are simple English versions of the propers.

Come to think of it, this would be a good advertisement for the Novus Ordo, and there are reasons for believing that its creators were thinking along these lines.

Better than the usual 'padding out' (which includes stopping the action for the inevitable hymns) which tends to turn the Holy Sacrifice into a lecture.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should try what they did in Sister Act, take R&B songs and make them Christian gospel. That would get people in there.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John, Inasmuch as the homily is an integral part of the mass... 27 minutes is just about right. Only on rare occasions have I celebrated a daily mass that did not include the Universal Prayers/Prayers of the Faithful.

Anonymous said...

Well, you will never be rushed at a Divine Liturgy in the Orthodox Church---they can go and on. I think a few years ago, when the Archbishop for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America died, his funeral was over four hours! But that doesn't compare with Coretta Scott King's funeral (canonization) in 2006---over 6 hours of "tributes!"

ByzRC said...

When considering the northeast (where I live), several factors should be considered as possibly effecting the church, attendance etc. that may be unfamiliar to those in other parts of the country.

Demographics. Churchgoers in cities tend to be older. In trendy downtown areas where Northeast cathedrals are typically located, younger people aren't as observant. In cities, the exception to the aforementioned is where newcomers from Ukraine or, Poland, for example have repopulated formerly dying enclaves.

Scandals. They hit harder in the Northeast given how established the church was during the late 1950s through the 80s when incidents were at their highest. The effects of this are still felt here.

Liturgy. The changes to the liturgy swept through the Northeast with swiftness in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The attitudes that accompanied that change as well as the disagreeable architecture and interior 'wreckovations' are still prevalent.

All this said, weekday masses aren't generally as long as people are squeezing them into busy schedules. At my parish, weekday morning mass is purposely kept to 1/2 hour or less understanding that many who attend will be leaving for work immediately afterward (and year round attendance is consistently strong perhaps in part because of this accomodation). Father K's thoughts are on point here.

Weekdays is where the choppiness of the NO is, at least to me, apparent. Low mass in the EF has a more sensible flow, is solemn and prayerful enabling those in attendance to 'get to business' then, catch a train if that's what's next for your day.

John Nolan said...

ByzRC

The EF Low Mass is also better balanced. In the OF, the 'padding out' (mini-homily at the start, homily after the Gospel, intercessionary prayers) occurs during the Liturgy of the Word; if the celebrant chooses EP II (because of its brevity) the Liturgy of the Eucharist takes on a more or less perfunctory character.

Back in the 1970s I would sometimes attend Mass during my lunch break. The priest was traditionally-minded and refused to turn his altar round; he did the readings himself; he would only use the Roman Canon and said the central part in Latin. The Mass lasted 20-25 minutes. No padding at all.

Were he around today he would no doubt have taken advantage of SP and used the older form (he celebrated Indult Masses around three times a year) but in those days it was the nearest to the quiet, reverential Low Mass that one could get.

His principal Sunday Mass was a sung Latin Novus Ordo; more common then than it is now, and actually encouraged by the bishops.

The Egyptian said...

heard an interview with card Dolan, he jokingly referred to being called 20 minute Dolan,

" at weekday early masses most people came on their way to work, they have made the effort to attend, many in a hurry to get to work, the least I can do is make it possible and convenient for them to be here and still get to work on time, the important thing is they want to be here for at least a few minutes with God, not to hear me preach and put on a show"

At the country parish were I grew up the collection baskets were at the entrance to church, every one dropped in the money on their way to the pew, one less interruption, got new pastor who demanded a collection at offertory said that the idea was to embarrass us to give more, he got less

rcg said...

Our previous priest was from Chicago and had the quick but super clear diction of the educated class of that city. His weekday Mass was often close to 30 minutes and I could understand every word.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The noon mass in the Pangborn dorm at Mt St. Mary's University in MD was known as "The Pangborn Express."

Henry said...

"stopping the action for the inevitable hymns"

And interrupting the focused prayer of the Mass for a typical liturgically counterproductive sermon. Oh, for the old daily low Mass sans sermon, 27 minutes of interrupted and undistracted adoration, contrition, supplication, and thanksgiving.

rcg said...

Y'know, Henry, I pray harder and more ernestly at a daily Low Mass. I am really participating and following along. My intentions are laminated to the core prayers and when it is done I am ready for the mission of the day.

ByzRc said...

John -

I wish what you described had been my experience during the 1970s - what little of it I remember (mainly guitars, bongo drums, tambourines and maracas).

Cletus Ordo said...

ByzRC is pretty much spot on about the Northeast. It is the oldest part of our country and the rot has had more time to set in and take hold there than just about anyplace else. Secularism is rampant and it seemed to be the epicenter of the sex scandals that began to unravel in 2002. In fact, I was beginning to think that every bishop in the Northeast was indifferent or anti-orthodox (small "o") and that the majority of the priests were men with serious gender identity and orientation problems.

I think it is very condescending and uncharitable to simply write off the people of the Northeast as "sad". It is the state of the Catholic Church that is sad in the northeast and that makes everything else sad. This is missionary territory that needs to be re-evangelized for the Church and the hapless programs of the "New Evangelization" aren't the answer.

I hate to sound so dystopian, but the current state of things is so entrenched in dissent and division and the solid bishops so few and far between, that it seems that our only hope is going to be a major correction that will probably come by way of some catastrophic event. If that sounds far-fetched, I suggest reading the approved messages of La Salette, Fatima and Akita. Better yet, read Blessed Bartholomew Holzhauser's visions of the 7 ages of the Church. If that was accurate, we appear to be right at the end point of the 5th age--and the end of the age doesn't look to end pleasantly. Then again, we're the ones asking for it.

Cletus Ordo said...

ByzRC is pretty much spot on about the Northeast. It is the oldest part of our country and the rot has had more time to set in and take hold there than just about anyplace else. Secularism is rampant and it seemed to be the epicenter of the sex scandals that began to unravel in 2002. In fact, I was beginning to think that every bishop in the Northeast was indifferent or anti-orthodox (small "o") and that the majority of the priests were men with serious gender identity and orientation problems.

I think it is very condescending and uncharitable to simply write off the people of the Northeast as "sad". It is the state of the Catholic Church that is sad in the northeast and that makes everything else sad. This is missionary territory that needs to be re-evangelized for the Church and the hapless programs of the "New Evangelization" aren't the answer.

I hate to sound so dystopian, but the current state of things is so entrenched in dissent and division and the solid bishops so few and far between, that it seems that our only hope is going to be a major correction that will probably come by way of some catastrophic event. If that sounds far-fetched, I suggest reading the approved messages of La Salette, Fatima and Akita. Better yet, read Blessed Bartholomew Holzhauser's visions of the 7 ages of the Church. If that was accurate, we appear to be right at the end point of the 5th age--and the end of the age doesn't look to end pleasantly. Then again, we're the ones asking for it.

Anonymous said...

Well, just a look at the 2016 presidential results can tell you all you need to know about the state of the Church in the Northeast. If you define the Northeast as the 11 states from Maryland to Maine, Hillary won all but Pennsylvania, and even there she lost by less than a percentage point. (Pennsylvania has a sharp cultural divide; the one-third of the state living in the Philadelphia area is very secular and liberal but the remaining two-thirds tend more toward the socially conservative side.) In 5 of the last 7 presidential elections (1992-2016), the Democratic presidential candidate (always pro-abortion, of course) won all 11 states in the region (in addition to 2016, the other exception being in 2000, when Bush narrowly led Gore in New Hampshire). Trump came close to winning New Hampshire this time, though it too is a very secular state (Republicans sometimes win there on fiscal issues in that traditionally anti-tax state). There is also the matter that many churches up there were constructed in the streetcar era; with the advent of the auto, people could and did move to the suburbs, leaving too many churches in some areas. You saw that in Richmond County (Augusta) years ago when 3 downtown churches were merged into one---simply wasn't enough population in downtown Augusta to support 3 churches, especially with the growth for many years of St. Marys on the Hill---and now the growth is faster in Columbia County at St. Teresa of Avila.

Anonymous said...

"Venerable Father Bartholomew Holzhauser was born in Laugna, Germany in 1613. He experienced ten visions and explained the Seven Church ages, particularly about the fifth Church age of that we now live in. He also had visions of the sixth Church age of Peace that few Catholics have heard about, but Mary, Mother of Jesus who appeared at Fatima and Medjugorje asserts a future time of Peace. He states that the seven Church ages reflect the seven churches related in Revelation and have time fames or periods of time decreed to them."

I suspect the Church in just about any age could have rightly claimed to be in an age of "affliction, desolation, humiliation, and poverty." As "approved" as any apparitional message may be, they do not constitute Divine Revealtion
Keep in mind: "Human actions are of two kinds, one of which relates to public duties, and especially to ecclesiastical affairs, such as preaching, celebrating Mass, pronouncing judicial decisions, and the like; with respect to these the question is settled in the canon law, where it is said that no credence is to be publicly given to him who says he has privately received a mission from God, unless he confirms it by a miracle or a special testimony of Holy Scripture. The other class of human actions consists of those of private persons, and speaking of these, he distinguishes between a prophet who enjoins or advises them, according to the universal laws of the Church, and a prophet who does the same without reference to those laws. In the first case every man may abound in his own sense whether or not to direct his actions according to the will of the prophet; in the second case a prophet is not to be listened to" (Heroic Virtue, III, 192).

Cletus Ordo said...

I brought up Holzhauser's (thanks for the correction, he is "venerable", not "blessed") because I read a more detailed description of the 7 ages of his visions and the 5th age certainly seems to fit the template of our current situation. However, I agree, we are not bound to believe private revelations and I was simply throwing it out there because it seems to so uncannily describe our current situation. Really, since the Arian problem, I can't think of a time when the Church seemed to be so full of people unable to accept the Church's teachings in their fullness, including members of our hierarchy.

Fatima, a private revelation, certainly became something else altogether because of the miracle of the sun. I have a much harder time with Medjugorje for reasons I won't go into here. We're not obliged to accept all of these visions, but it seems to me that when messages like Akita, Fatima and La Salette align as they do and when the Church finds no error in those messages, they are certainly worth, at very least considering.