Sunday, February 18, 2018


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It is my contention that pre-Vatican II parishes were much, much more inclusive of a wider variety of Catholics than rigid post-Vatican II parishes are. So what I am about to write is to preface what Fr. Anthony Ruff writes about why Catholics come late and leave early,  but my thoughts on pre-Vatican II inclusivity first:

In the old days, traditional Catholic practice allowed for people to arrive before the Gospel and to leave after Holy Communion or during its distribution of Holy Communion and still fulfill their Sunday obligation. This was touted as an exception but allowed nonetheless even though I was taught prior to Vatican II that good Catholics arrived at Mass about 15 minutes early for prayer and adoration and remained until the priest departed the sanctuary (usually by the side sacristy door).

Thus the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church allowed for "bad" Catholics to fulfill their Sunday obligation with a shorter Mass by coming late and leaving early; it was codified!

Because of the lengthy fast in order to receive Holy Communion, most Catholics did not go to Holy Communion on Sunday, not so much because they were in mortal sin, but chose, without sin, to break the fast and not receive Holy Communion. "Bad" Catholics could fulfill their Sunday obligation by coming late and leaving early, were not stimatized as mortal sinners since even the holy, good and pious Catholic seldom went to Holy Communion either and all that was required was the Easter duty, meaning a Catholic must go to Confession at least once a year and receive Holy Communion during the Lenten/Easter season.

Thus pre-Vatican II Roman Catholicism was way more tolerant of "bad" Catholics allowing for minimum requirements for them which encouraged Sunday Mass attendance in a very inclusive way for these less than disciplined Catholics.

Thus prior to Vatican II, bad and good Catholics went to Mass (if only partially for the bad) which meant that up until the silly liturgical theologians tried to purify the Church of these less than perfect Catholics and their allowed for bad practices were told they had to come at the start of Mass and remain until the end because Vatican II did away with fulfilling one's obligation by arriving right before the Gospel and leaving at Communion time.

In the pre-Vatican II days, nearly 95% of Catholics, good and bad, went to Mass, but once perfection was touted after Vatican II, the majority of  these bad and good Catholics gave up altogether and today we have only 12% to 25% more or less attending each Sunday of the good and bad Catholics since liturgical reformers ran off all the other good and bad Catholics with banal and irreverent  liturgies that all had to experience in its miserable totality!

Today, with fewer and fewer Catholics attending Mass in the 50 years following the reform of the Mass and the reform of Catholics, we have a priest quoting the pope who said that it takes 100 years to implement reforms of an ecumenical council. Fr. Anthony thinks and evidently Pope Francis thinks that all we need to do is 50 years more of what was tried for the last 50 and its dismal results and somehow by magic we will get good results!!

So, in 50 year, be prepared to see about 1% of Catholics attending Mass with about a third of those still leaving Mass early and coming late!

Mental illness involves doing the same thing over and over again and getting bad results  but thinking good results will eventually happen. (Think of liberal orders who reformed themselves out of business and continue with their same stale reforms  thinking that eventually people will join them.)  It is time to be more inclusive of lax Catholics and less rigid toward them or we will lose everyone!


Below is a money quote from him. What do you think? :

Be it noted: leaving after Communion is entirely compatible with a deeply “traditional” Catholic piety and understanding of priesthood, sacrifice, and real presence. Leaving Communion fits quite well with a “sacred” and “reverent” liturgy conducted in Latin. Centuries of history suggests that there is even a sort of inevitability about the liturgical culture and the resulting lay practice. There is a reason why the liturgical reform happened, and there is a reason why the magisterium (Pope Francis) considers it “irreversible.”
And a half century of liturgical renewal since Vatican II shows that thingism, quantityism, dispenserism, and obligationism have amazing and distressing staying power, even as the form of the liturgy is now more communal, scriptural, and imbued with the paschal mystery.


Henry said...

"Be it noted: leaving after Communion is entirely compatible with a deeply “traditional” Catholic piety"

Agreed. Though at our TLM today, everyone stayed through the closing Regina Coeli and recession of the priest and servers, after which everyone knelt for silent thanksgiving. Only after a few moments of silence did anyone leave.

But, seriously . . . Why, PrayTell, should one who's not going to receive, be obliged to stay for holy communion of the people? Just to watch others receive? What good will that do? When the Sacrifice of the Mass has already concluded with the priest's communion. (Before which, agreed that no one should leave.)

rcg said...

Why, then, does the Novus Ordo continue after communion?

Fr Anthony then throws out a mojo bag of names to protect him from the bogey man of replies. Do the Progressives all agree on his interpretation of Scripture? Were there any proper interpretations before his time? What a complete and utter embarrassment.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But Henry, they could remain foe a "spiritual communion."

John Nolan said...

I imagine that some might arrive late and leave early because the liturgy is so dire they want to be exposed to it as little as possible, and yet cling to the pre-Vatican II idea that Mass is an obligation.

They no doubt know that according to Lateran IV the laity need only be present from the Offertory until the priest's Communion.

Those who attended an OF Mass today (Lent 1) would probably have encountered a service which bore little resemblance to the centuries-old Roman Rite. The temptation of Christ would not have been given in detail since we are in 'year B' and Mark only mentions it in passing. Psalm 90 probably didn't make an appearance, whereas it pervades the Propers in the authentic Rite, being chanted almost in its entirety in the Tract.

Regarding which, we sang it this morning in its proper chant. It took about thirteen minutes, longer than the sermon. Shock! Horror! Post V2 Catholics can't be expected to sit through this! Yet I didn't see the congregation, many of whom were young people with families, fidgeting and wishing they were somewhere else.

When I was a child I was brought up with a 'grown-up' liturgy which to my childish mind embodied something important. Even before I was a man, it had been replaced with an infantile product which I found of no interest and which was repellent in its banality.

I do not consider myself in any way obliged to attend it, any more than PF's upcoming canonization of Paul VI is anything else than an empty gesture, despite the irony of the modern age's worst pope honouring its second worst.

Henry said...

”the form of the liturgy is now more communal, scriptural, and imbued with the paschal mystery.”

I’d also take issue with “more communal” but, regarding that “more scriptural”, let me take the liberty of quoting from the Latin Mass column on page 4 of our parish’s Sunday bulletin today (which apparently is read more by those at the OF Masses—during Mass itself, something I’ve never observed at an EF Mass):

Holy Scripture plays a more integral and prominent role in the older extraordinary form of the Mass than in the newer ordinary form. From the recitation of Psalm 42/43 (“I will go unto the altar of God” at the foot of the altar at the beginning of Mass, to the reading of the Last Gospel of John 1 (“In the beginning was the Word”) at very end of the Mass. With innumerable scriptural verses repeated every Sunday throughout the fixed Order of Mass.

And each individual Mass has its own scriptural theme that typically is reflected not only in the Epistle, Gradual Psalm or Tract, and the Gospel of the Mass, but in its proper (variable) prayers as well. For example, the theme of the whole liturgy of this First Sunday of Lent is trust in God, as expressed in Psalm 90/91:

“He that dwelleth in the aid of the most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of Jacob . . .

This special psalm of confidence is chanted as the Tract for the First Sunday of Lent, and a few verses at a time are repeated in the Introit when the priest first ascends the altar, in the Gradual before the Tract, and in the Offertory and Communion antiphons.

Henry said...

But Henry, they could remain foe a "spiritual communion."

I doubt that those "bad Catholics" (as you characterize them) are likely to make a spiritual communion, either at Mass or after lunch when they get home.

George said...

Spring is the season of renewal in which new growth comes forth from the soil of the earth. The fields of the countryside are plowed ,seeded and tended so that new growth can come forth which will prosper and endure until harvest time. So it is with our own spiritual season of Lent. Our souls, for proper and productive spiritual growth, must be plowed with the disciplines of sacrifice and fasting, seeded with the Holy Word of God and watered with the rain of His grace. In the time of Noah, God had sent the rain of justice to renew the earth and purge it of its sinfulness. In our time of the New Covenant, it is the rain of grace, the rain of His mercy which he sends down to us to help purge us of our sinful inclinations and renew us spiritually.

Plants in the field and other plants, such as flowers, absorb water and nutrients according to their kind and stage of development. So it is that we must recognize what is in our capacity, lest not having attained the necessary level of spiritual development, we become frustrated or complacent and give up on our Lenten disciplines. Use the grace which is provided you and just like the plants which can absorb more water as they grow and develop, so it will be with you also.

The farmer plows the soil and plants the seed, but without the free gifts of sunlight and the rain which falls from the sky, all that he did would be for nought. The soil and the seed which he procured, he did not create, but there is a co-operation with what he provides in concert what God provides to achieve a good result. There is co-operation and likewise dependence. How good and generous is God in imparting value to our good works and dispensing His grace to us. By always acknowledging dependence on God for our spiritual growth and sustenance we acquire an attitude of humility which along with charitable love, is so essential for our growth in holiness.

The Egyptian said...

I doubt that those "bad Catholics" (as you characterize them) are likely to make a spiritual communion, either at Mass or after lunch when they get home.

Maybe but at least they attended, lot more than can be said today

Anonymous said...

I have been reading articles which argue that the only way the liturgy could have been so radically changed and dissent so tolerated in the 1960s and 1970s was by a slide to modernism beginning not with the good Pope John (1958 - 1963) but in several important and significant but subtle ways starting shortly after the death of Pius X in 1914 during the papacies of Benedict XV, Pius XI and Pius XII ; an approx period : 1915 to 1958.

John Nolan, I have often appreciated and learnt so much from your comments that I confess to recently doing such google searches as : John Nolan Latin Mass, etc, in order to read further comments by you on other sites.

Rood Screen said...

So, this fellow does not think Catholics should feel obliged to go to Mass on Sundays, but if they do choose to go for some reason, he does think it's wrong to either arrive late or leave early. There's a logic to what he says: if Mass is not an obligation, then there's no need to apply mercy to those Catholics who miss the beginning or end. But if Mass is obligatory, then the Church rightly defines the limit of toleration for late arrivals and early departures.

I wonder if his monastery has any rules, and if there is any mercy for those who don't live up to any such rules.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Anthony's complaint boils down to being so very disappointed in the faithful.

ByzRC said...

I've always understood the sacrifice to have its conclusion when the priest consumes the precious blood. It is at this point, you have the Mass and while the post communion and blessing should be prayed and received by the faithful, they are not essential to the sacrifice itself.

I find it annoying when some holier-than-thou is going to lecture and/or stop people from leaving after communion (I've seen people do this in the vestibule and haughtily scoff at those leaving). It is neither their place nor their responsibility to do this. They have no idea why people come and go late/early. Perhaps they are caring for someone who is infirm, perhaps their shift ended and they arrived as soon as they could, perhaps their shift starts shortly after Mass and the only way to be on time is to leave early, perhaps they themselves don't feel well and, coming late and leaving early is all they can physically tolerate in terms of being in public and, perhaps they just like to come late and leave early. While I don't do this, I also don't get involved with judging others who do for the reasons I mentioned.

Rood Screen said...


Good points, but to be fair, there are parishes, especially suburban ones, where a large proportion of the congregation arrives late and leaves early. So, perhaps what's needed is not just sacramental theology, but also a renewed appreciation for the liturgical rites which have developed in support of the sacraments.

Anonymous said...

Father Anthony Ruff again makes the bizarre claim that the 1962 missal is at odds with authentic church teaching on ecclesiology and the sacraments and teaches false things in these matters. Does anyone know where he gets this bizarre claim from? Is there any evidence that any of the council fathers or post-Vatican II popes held the view that the 1962 missal had been found to contain grave errors?

Anonymous said...

Rood Screen,

You are correct, outside of my scenarios, many parishes have a sub-group with their own version of arrive late / leave early. Given how many have become mostly indifferent to the liturgical rites, a renewed appreciation will likely be challenging to achieve.