Wednesday, May 6, 2020


The photo below is Cinco de Mayo's Solemn Sung Vespers for Archbishop-Elect of Atlanta, Gregory John Hartmayer. No one is in Atlanta's Gothic Cathedral on Peach Tree Road in Atlanta's exclusive Buckhead suburb.

The same will be today, May 6 at the Installation Mass at 12:30 PM when Bishop Hartmayer of Savannah ceases to be Savannah's Bishop and becomes Atlanta's new Archbishop. Is this exclusive only for those who have to be there fair or needed? Is the Church encouraging Massaphobia?

You can watch the empty Cathedral's Installation Mass on EWTN today. And by the way, Atlanta is pronounced by native Atlantans without pronouncing the "t's", Add-lana.

At my parish, we are making plans to open things up and return to public Masses but not in a full church.

Our main church seats about 1,100. We are "roping off" every two pews for one. Of course in the open pews, apart from family units, we are asking people to space six fee apart. This will cut our seating capacity by more than 3/4ths. In addition, we have the floor marked to help six feet distancing for the Communion line.

Because our seating capacity will be greatly reduced, we anticipate adding another Sunday Mass. Currently, because of the size of the church, we only have two Sunday morning Masses at 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM. We have a Vigil Mass at 5 PM on Saturday. We may add a 12 noon Sunday Mass.

This Saturday, we will return to Confessions in the main church. We have six feet spacing, the confessional will not be used and the penitent will be six feet away from the priest. We are asking penitents to wear masks.

The question is, how many people are afraid of returning to Mass. Should they be mandated or simply encouraged to wear masks?

What a mess!


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Is the Church encouraging Massaphobia?"

No, the Church is encouraging and modeling a prudent approach to dealing with coronavirus.

People will have some fear about returning to churches or any place where it can be difficult to maintain reasonable spacing. Churches, sporting events, K of C meetings, bars, theaters, etc., will have a different experience as we return to "normal."

Vatican Zero said...

If the Novus Ordo Church has done its job for the last 50 years, there would be more Catholics afraid of NOT returning to Mass.

Vatican Zero said...


DJR said...

"And by the way, Atlanta is pronounced by native Atlantans without pronouncing the "t's", Add-lana."

Depends on who you talk to. There are some natives who say "at LAN ter." You will also hear "uh LAN uh."

And of course Coca-Cola is usually "ko KO luh."

Anonymous said...

I developed massaphobia almost 50 years ago with the introduction of the Novus Ordo. The more I knew about it, having spoken to those responsible for formulated it, the more I stayed away from it. That it is shut down seems to me a miracle from heaven. You may try to open your church but the phobia will remain. People have seen that the sky didn't fall in and will be loathe to return to its trivialities.

Bob said...

If we are provided a supply of true medical grade masks and disposable gloves, I will happily be brave as hell and participate in ANY activity ANYwhere (aside from physically demanding activity due to breathing restriction of masks) and as if the virus did not even exist.

BUT, minus truly effective protection, utter lack of any true medical understanding of what is effective (such as real masks, real sanitizing processes), and instead only virtue signaling (ineffective homemade masks, spacing folk on contaminated surfaces in contaminated buildings), and the virus out there present at highest commonality to date, and moi with defective warp drive auto-immune system, now high blood pressure, AND congested lungs of a lifetime smoker...

It is gonna be some while before I go play in a virus wonderland at a church were folk never even cover sneezes or coughs in the first place.

ByzRC said...

"I developed massaphobia almost 50 years ago with the introduction of the Novus Ordo. The more I knew about it, having spoken to those responsible for formulated it, the more I stayed away from it. That it is shut down seems to me a miracle from heaven. You may try to open your church but the phobia will remain. People have seen that the sky didn't fall in and will be loathe to return to its trivialities."

This doesn't seem like an unreasonable conclusion to me. Certainly, there are those who will return but, at the same time, there will be those who will neither run back to something or, away from it. They will just do nothing.

Bob said...

Sorry to neglect your actual question and me give an actual biased personal view of the mask query.

The fact is, we have no real understanding of how common colds or flu is transmitted, as most medical gear is designed to protect the sick person from being infected by the healthcare worker, such a surgeon. We only know such gear might help in infection running the opposite direction. And should be worn while spending any lengthy time in an enclosed area with possibly infected people.

As our own CDC and its infection control people first said, it likely transmitted MOSTLY via hand touching contaminated surface from some uncovered sneeze or cough at some other time, near or far, and us infecting ourselves when touching eyes/ears/nose/mouth,...

BUT, this virus has spread like wildfire, and the homemade masks RECOMMENDATION has been a shot in the dark/better safe than sorry/we'll try ANYthing move, in hopes of catching at least some of the virus from a sneeze or cough, it otherwise essentially useless.

By spending a lengthy time with a roomful of strangers, there is no denying risk will go up, no matter the spacing, and safety totally in the hands of the Unknown Airflow Pattern gods as to who is safe and when and where, and the more repetitious the exposure, the greater the risk.

There also is the initial CDC balking at mask recommendation due to folk with contaminated hands, gloved or not, donning and doffing masks and infecting self.

And there also those same contaminated hands receiving the Body Of Christ, whether they used hand sanitizer 30mins earlier or not, while any sanitizer takes 30secs minimum to be effective at all.

Given the unknowns, I stick with what I have always said, in that until the virus goes away/fizzles, or widespread vaccination and/or already immune from prior exposure, and/or instantaneous testing, it is premature to distribute Communion unless wafers treated with surgical-suite infection control discipline from the opening shipping box until reception. Otherwise, the very great risk of some infected person passing it to entire congregation.

Public Masses, yes, Communion, no....where masks then simply a personal choice to wear, the unmasked free to take own chances, the homemade mask wearers can pretend they are safer, and those wealthy enough or connected enough to wear true vetted medical grade gear can then leave mask in place the entire Mass and them get real benefit of them, as when they take them off and on, they out themselves in nearly same camp as all the others, and greatly increase risks and wasting a mask they could have sent to me for grocery shopping.

ByzRC said...

Fr's AJM or MJK,

Until the threat of contracting the virus is sufficiently well eradicated, how can a diocese reinstate the Sunday obligation under the pain of sin particularly where an individual's risk factors and common sense would lead one to avoid a large gathering - of any sort. In other words, how do you force people back to church when their health could be jeopardized, perhaps terminally? Is there anything that has been discussed that can be shared publicly?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am fearful about returning to Mass. My state is the epicenter of COVID-19 in the USA. If I do attend Mass, I will likely be standing in the back next to the door. I likely will not receive communion, and I probably will not stay for the entire Mass. Yes I will wear a mask. They are required in my state, and do not want to be one of those idiots trying to find loopholes to the governors mask order. Many get around the mask law for grins and giggles.

Anonymous said...

I 'll never go back to the NO.

Anonymous said...

Father Mcdonald:

You should read and take heed of Bob's comments and ByzRC's
comment of 6:19 PM about re-opening the churches for worship.

Two of the commonalities for contracting the virus are:
proximity to another person who has the virus(symptomatic or not)
and more critically, length of time near the person in an enclosed space (church).

Besides, I'm not aware of any missive from the diocesan office allowing the
resumption of public masses.

Paul McCarthy said...

What this has shown about the Novus Ordo mass is how stupid it really looks to face an empty church versus facing God ad orientum. It’s going to be hard as I love our parish priest, but I will never again attend a. Novus Ordo mass. 1 PM on Sunday is now the norm. Hope to see you soon Father. You and Father Firmin are my favorites. I also love Father May, Another faithful servant.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Bay, No one is forced to attend mass under pain of mortal sin if he/she believes it is a serious threat to his/ her health. I know of at least one person, a heart transplant person, who does not attend Mass regularly because that could be a threat to her health.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Given some of the comments above, I guess spacing people far apart and limiting the numbers who can attend won't really be a problem, because it sounds like there really is terror of this disease and catching it lest it cause death. :-)

Don't get me wrong. I am fully aware how deadly it can be. But for some reason I am not afraid of catching this illness. I would gladly go to Mass, anytime, anywhere, with anyone. I would wear a mask, but I would not obsess about whether the virus was blowing in the air around me, or if the pew had the virus on it, or if the wafer was contaminated.

I'm fully aware how fast some people are dying of this illness, but I still go out to the store, still take packages off shelves, still open refrigerated compartments, still take the bags of groceries packed by the clerk, not knowing if the virus is on any of it. I sanitize my hands in the car, and avoid touching my face until at home where I can wash my hands with soap and water, but I cannot live like I am working in a bio-lab that handles dangerous microbes. I have to take my chances. I may die, but I have to go on with my life.

I would go to Mass. I would simply act as normal there. If it is my time and this is God's choice for how I will die, then so be it. I wouldn't take foolish risks, but I do accept God's plan for my life and death.

God bless.

Mark Thomas said...

I wear in public a mask. I also wear in public my homemade clear plastic face.


Face shields may be better than homemade masks. Here's why we should all try one on.



Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Thank God, no more common chalice, holding hands, or handshakes. Those changes alone will add dignity to the Mass

Anonymous said...

When opening a church back up during a pandemic there are things to consider.
What if a thousand people show up at the first mass? Who are you going to turn away?
How are you going to disinfect or decontaminate before the next mass?
Maybe you could rent some military-grade air scrubbers?
How do you keep people from congregating after the mass?
If you pass the collection basket around, it will be handled by those in the pews.
Of course, you could leave those at the entrances.
I suppose you could have someone standing at the entrances spritzing those coming
in with Holy water.

Bob said...

Anon, I voiced concern mainly over distributing COMMUNION...our church local has been unlocked since day one of this, and has been more unlocked than ever it was before the ChiCom Flu. We still have Confession Weds PM and Sat PM, adoration Weds, all this entire time, inside the church. They are even (unwisely) still using the confessional.

As for comments over crowd control, collections, etc, it might help if ANON read the guidelines first as those are built into Father McDonald's plans and spacing, and if one must come back for later Mass, then that is what happens, and if EVERYbody shows up fhe first time to one Mass, then I am sure they will then institute making appointments or even assigned time of attendance.

Folk are mostly self-spacing outside of Mass as it is, and needs no attempted enforcement by anyone at the church anymore than they are policing your own self-discipline, even now. What happens outside the church is the people's own concern as to whether or not they get stupid. Air scrubbers? Military grade? Please describe these "military-grade" airscrubbers (which the military would likely buy off the shelf, and normally does under the name of FAN,ELECTRIC,BOX,LARGE. During Mass? Where IF any airborne virus, this might poison more folk than still air? Likely more groundbound virus than anything airborne...airborne also the fruit of unmuffled coughs and sneezes, and likely very little from normal breathing or normal speaking. Loud speech of spittle flecked, and that of loud singers belting it out from down deep is another most modern parishes, the few louder than loud lay responders who shout responses might be a problem (as is getting an eye gouged out by all their arm flapping), but very little risk in most parishes from loud singers sentenced weekly to sing the same 5 chipper Broadway-tuned ditties week after week, year after year, decade after decade, as the thrill has been gone for 49yrs/18days/33secs...

Bob said...

Hey, Bee....for the record, I am solidly in your camp, aside from maybe communion while attending Mass at this time of widespread and unknown infection. Before Masses for the masses were shut down, I had already partaken of Holy Communion about 36 times more than obligated for the, no tragedy there in more delay...

And, frankly, the local little circa 1980 church with maybe 10 or 12 pews per side, only stained glass actually with daylight through them being midpoint both emergency exits with glass patterns literally appearing stolen from Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Bulova mantle clocks or Masonic square inspiration, with a fluorescent tube backlit Sacred Heart glass panel behind altar, music provided by a lady who loves the Yiddish Broadway sound and who plays "Stump The Congregation" (and the one or two cantors) with selections, the cantors adoring singing in ditto grating minor key harmony, the priest quite happily singing "Through him, with him, etc" in both a tune from, and voice of, Kermit in a Muppet movie, his homlies read as worst high school graduation ever, lisped/droned without looking up from speech, with every second or third sentence starting with a nasal lisped "inDEEeeeed", and then him offering the sacrifice in a profoundly bored out of skull manner, the congregants of every age from child to advanced senior who have been talking/playing/whispering/dumping purses on pews, synchronized arm flapping, sneezes and coughs unmuffled as everyone ignores the bored priest as much as he ignores them, then trotting up for their magic cookie and not one staying to pray after Mass (or before Mass), and every "group activity" prayer session an exercise in speed reading....

I have enough trouble making myself go to Mass weekly in normal times, as it seems participation in some manner of organized sacrilege no different than a really bad protestant church, and if required to tune out the assault from every side while there, and it near impossible to approach God with all the building disgust, and it inspiring the exact opposite of its intent at every level....well, it just is not anything to inspire risking one's life to attend at this time, or, any time.

Ah for a Mass said in true worship and awe, even outside on a picnic table....if beautiful music and church were added, am not sure I would survive the shock...a Tridentine Mass pretty much impossible as half a state away on the far side of a major city, and any Mass otherwise within an hour driving distance one-way really not much better, one really solid truly religious priest over an hour south, one-way, and I cannot run the wheels off my car in short order when I need such for every neccessity and income very limited.

But, I am solidly in your ever so fortunate camp, yes, I am.

TJM said...


I live in Indiana and at our little country parish our 32 year old pastor, who offers the EF once a month, is going to distribute Holy Communion at Mass with NO common cup and it will be offered on the tongue and regrettably in the hand.

Bob said...

TJM, our younger-Prince-Charles-look-alike priest is 30-something, normal garb is worn black Carhartt pants, black sandal with or without socks depending upon weather covering fishbelly white feet, he avoids men, talks nonstop with ladies, gardens and knits, speaks fluent metrosexual, has a similar age male companion semi-frequwntly, and allows the parish old-guwrd to run the Mass to their own liking, including same weekday Mass gift bearers and awful "lectors" at a Mass with not even 10 people in attendance.

If I requested a Tridentine Mass, every single person running things there would give me the, "ah, we were right, you are one of THEM" looks, with another sideglance saying, "racist! hater!"

As far as I know, the entire state may have only one parish where a Tridentine is celebrated, a FSSP parish over half a state away. It certainly is the only one in this diocese.

Wonderful to have an accomodating younger priest and feeling here is of, "here, we do things OUR way because it is OUR Mass and for US. and we do NOT want people taking this too seriously...what we want is more volunteering for the interdenominational food pantry for the exploding local crackhead population we are drawing with our food and run-down trailer for housing assistance program".

Bob said...

Only an update as to own diocese reopening parishes for Mass, it begins May 18. with all the norbal, the NEW norbal, rather than old normal or even norbal precautions which I advised back when this began, such as propped open door, no passed baskets, no hymnals, sanitize pews before and after Mass, folk encourage to take temperatures before attending, folk should sneeze or cough into elbows, and maintain spacing.

Value added for looks, priest/deacons make a show of using hand sanitizer before Holy Communion, and dons a mask (surely handled indiscriminately prior), lay participation limited to essentially floor level with gift bearers and lectors nixed...everyone encouraged to wear masks in "Christian charity", likewise, those with pollen allergies are singled out where an elbow apparently not good enough for them, and more "Christian charity" encouraged for them by them demonstrating same via wearing a useless homemade mask. Everyone encouraged to bring own hand sanitizer with guidance from poor local priest as to what will not damage pews. Depending upon local parish, sanitizer and wipes may (or may not) be provided on every pew, while parishoners strongly encouraged to wipe where they sat upon leaving. MORE Christian charity encouraged via NOT receiving Holy Communion on tongue, folk will be herded as school children at dismissal pew by pew to make sure nobody dare get within 3ft or 4ft or 5ft of one another (this not applicable to "family units" (which are apparently NOT the same as a "families" but maybe Borgs)...singing allowed (bad move as far as I am concerned) but only single use handouts allowed for song text or missal aids

And no obligation to attend.

There being no truly effective masks available, and me having been sneezing/coughing for nearly 3mths from the pollen here and likely a month yet to go, unwilling to wear a fake rag mask which STILL will not prevent glares from any other parishoners when the inevitable throat tickle hits, and maybe even a sneeze, and them doubting immediately my "Christian charity", and all quite apart from just how wonderful Masses are here to start with,...combined with a church of circa 12 pews depth each side, meaning 4 pews available each side with max of 4 individuals each pew for a church which packs its parking lot for all three weekend "Sunday" Masses....

I shall leave my seat open for someone else who needs such a wonderful experience far worse than me, in a demonstration of "Christian charity" of even more value due to its invisible humility...

I had suggested much of this well back when it first began, and was turned volunteering to wipe down church pews and confessional after every use, and was turned down, the confessional which has remained in use still is not getting wiped down between individuals, but now individuals are being encourage to bring own unobtainium wipes and sanitizer and wipe own seating area, before and after Mass and use same on hands prior to reception of sacraments, where it seems spacing will be assured and automatic just by buckets of cleaning supplies brought to Mass by attendees, and which I will cheerfully let them do, including between Masses since it all now THEIR idea.

Anonymous said...

BOB @ 11:56 AM


Bob said...

Will be honest and admit am disgusted by a) a duty to point of Holy Obligation was abrogated by bishops, so that then, b) they could walk hand in hand on the synodal path with civilian authorities in abrogating our Constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and freedom to worship, and c) act as if they have been tirelessly working towards the moment in consultation with all manner of experts (their letter says so), and releasing it only now, coincidentally, when d) civilian authorities have given the green light to again pretend we have rights, duties, and obligations, of which the bishops still baulk at reimposing the latter two. Towers of jello.

We could have done this all at the start. Doing as we are doing now was inevitable even at the very start, absolutely nothing has changed in the risk department and infections far more widespread now, and so why the delay in implementing such, when I know from widely posted commentary back at the start that they were being advised by MANY to do what they only are doing NOW?

What were they waiting? Patently obvious is what they were waiting for...somebody else to pull the trigger first, so that they could not be blamed, nor alone, if the wheels fell off...And heaven forbid they show some courage and stand up to overbearing civilian authority, not the USCCB, which stands for Get Along Guys...guys who do not even know how to close the door in the faces of publically pro-gay-lifestyle and pro-abortion supporters and politicians masquerading as Catholic.

I love my ancient Church, its Truth, its consistant ancient and perrenial teachings, its ancient forms of worship, most especially its ignored spiritual teachins, and all which has almostly ceased to exist in its current leaders and huge swaths of its self-identified adherants.

It is pretty obvious as to whom we should be following as far as we know them, and who we should not be following one tiny bit...those whom are shirking their duties, are truly unworthy of their office, and of whom are many living utterly outside all lawful behavior and their proclaimed Faith are NOT the ones whose lead I feel even remotely obligated to follow. That mindless following is exactly how Hitlers and Anti-Christs happen.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Bob, your recent posts have cracked me up!! :-) ...only because they are so dead-on in the description in the most minute detail of the modern Church's Mass. I have attended those sorts of churches and Masses. And yes, the mind-numbing boredom and endless distractions, and by way of the goings on, the absolute prevention of being able even on the smallest level to actually worship God during the duration, is remarkable. At some point I realized I had to get away, find another parish. For me, I'm lucky to live in a large city with many parishes, so there are numerous parishes within a 15 minute drive. But as I found over time, the same sort of Mass you describe was happening in almost all of them. Occasionally in one or another there might be a priest who was more devout, usually an older fellow, and I would attend there for a while, but then he would retire, or pass away, and that was that. All the Masses there then became as you describe in your parish.

I have been eyeing a very local Ukrainian Catholic Church, which is in communion with Rome, but has the Eastern Church's ritual and practice. This is my plan C. Plan B was St. John Cantius, but that is under the direction of Cardinal Cupich, and I do not know what directives he will issue over the next year that will prevent the priests there from traditional ritual practices. I don't want to do it, but I will if it's the only way to stay in the True Church, and not one that is His Church in name only, but not in practice.

I think if I were in your shoes, Bob, when the obligation to attend Mass is no longer optional, I'd attend the local Mass from the Gospel to just after Communion (to cut down amount of apostasy one has to watch), then go home and livestream a TLM, just to be able to at least participate from a distance in a sacred liturgy.

And I'd pray for a respite from Our Lord, for a holy priest to be sent to your parish, for the salvation of the souls there, because I don't know how else the situation will be corrected. I'll pray for that too.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

As a registered RN I always found it absolutely filthy that in the Novus Ordo all these people drinking from the same chalice and hand holding, kiss of peace, and lay people handing out communion was so beyond unhealthy. Being that I attend the TLM and not the Novus Ordo I did not have to worry about all those germs from touching and hugging each other during the kiss of peace. And by the way the Atlanta Cathedral has a high altar and communion rail start using them or get rid of them, makes no sense to have a high altar and a table sitting in front of it or bring back the TLM.