Wednesday, September 20, 2017


I was able to listen to but a tidbit of "Seize the Day" an XM radio call-in show in the morning on the Catholic Channel.

The question was about Mass being boring and how the Mass is perceived by so many uniformed Catholic today as well as visitors to Mass who aren't Catholic.

One caller who identified himself as a convert to Catholicism shared what his impressions of the Mass was prior to his conversion.

He said it was boring, ritualistic and mechanical. The people at Mass looked bored, disengaged and robotic in their responses and so many didn't even try to sing the singable hymns.

It felt so distant and impersonal lacking in emotion and enthusiasm.

But then he went through the RCIA process and began to understand the Sacramental nature of the Mass and how the Catholic Church had prevented Christian worship from veering off into a bogus form of worship based upon emotions, feelings and fads.

I can remember as a child when the Mass was the ancient Latin Mass, how bored I was and I often fell asleep. But I knew that something powerful was happening and that God was up there at the altar.

The Mass captured my imagination, the ritualistic, unreformed pre-Vatican II Mass.  And at the basis of this captured imagination was the real presence of Christ.

We had a Redemptorist Priest do a mission for us in the early 1960's. He was a dynamic speaker and the mission was not in the context of the Mass, simply an hour long teaching with a hymn or two, and a Scripture Reading.

The whole week long he told us that we would see Jesus on Friday. And Finally Friday came and I wondered and wondered what he meant that we would see Jesus. And then He came out vested in alb and cope and Solemnly exposed the Blessed Sacrament. We prayed quietly and then his entire 30 minute talk was on the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. It concluded with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

I saw Jesus! My eyes were opened!

How many Catholics want bogus forms of worship because they can't see the sacramental sign and don't understand it?


TJM said...

Before Vatican Disaster II, I had the privilege of attending Mass at a gorgeous basilica. The choir was top notch, singing great polyphony and the congregation signing Gregorian Chant. It was anything BUT boring. It was a feast for the eyes and ears. Today's typical Novus Ordo Mass is a snorer, I agree, and depending on the celebrant and the music, it can be HIGHLY offensive.

ByzRC said...

Interestingly, I attended a Novus Ordo funeral last weekend. It had nice music, a nice cantor, a nice priest who gave a very light and nice homily, a nice smiling photo-op encounter during the offertory, a very nice and lengthy sign of peace and a little bit of incense during the committal rite - not anywhere near enough to cause coughing and wheezing. It was, well, nice. The non-Catholics, despite the incessant "Please stand/sit/kneel" instructions provided by the priest and cantor, weren't familiar with the mass. Understandable - not their fault. The Catholics, kind of knew when to do things with some even murmuring responses. Given the solemnity and sadness appropriate for such an occasion I wouldn't say people were bored (fidgety, yes) however, I can confidently say no one's imagination was captured, the ritual was bland - almost low church and a non-Catholic wouldn't have been sufficiently moved by the experience to inquire about conversion. Based on my experience, what I described is the norm, not the exception.

Then, I attend Divine Liturgy. It featured chant, Slavonic, clouds of incense, Ad Orientem posture, dramatic ritual, graceful gestures by the priest, bowing, crossing, Mirovanje or, the festal anointing and distribution of blessed bread after a feast day.....a different world of total engagement as opposed to just sitting there with my hands resting on my knees waiting for the next instruction to move. I felt happy to be 'home'.

Bernard Fischer said...

You might enjoy Archbishop Chaput's column in First Things.

It illustrates by comparison how far we've fallen as a church. It contains no insults, no innuendo, no psychoanalyzing of opponents as "neurotic", "scary" or "rigid". It's notably devoid of scatalogical references. It simply contains an explanation of the place of Catholic teaching in society in a way that people can understand. Finally, and most notably, it's a linear document with a clear beginning, middle and end and each paragraph agrees with the rest.

Our Lady, seat of wisdom, pray for us.

Henry said...

When Mass appears to consist almost entirely of words rather than actions, it naturally is boring. It's hardly surprising that youth exposed only to the Novus Ordo drop out as soon as they can get away with it.

When as a young pre-Vatican II Methodist student I attended my first Catholic Mass, I found it riveting though I understood not a Latin word, because it was unmistakable that something has actually happening up there at the altar.

ByzRC said...

"It felt so distant and impersonal lacking in emotion and enthusiasm."

1.the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. "the worship of God

Though the author came to understand the meaning and purpose of our worship, many do not as I hear this so often.

"But then he went through the RCIA process and began to understand the Sacramental nature of the Mass and how the Catholic Church had prevented Christian worship from veering off into a bogus form of worship based upon emotions, feelings and fads."

But, isn't this what ultimately happened when Paul VI's missal was implemented?