Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I happen to like Vigil Masses and I am glad that we have a vigil Mass on Saturday. It extends Sunday and is very Jewish. The Holy Day begins at sun down (or thereabouts).

But then there is Christmas and the proliferation of Vigil Masses. Last year we had three vigil Masses, at 4:00 PM; 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM.

Christmas Day had three Masses, Midnight, 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM.

The majority of people try to cram into the Vigil Masses so that Christmas Day is free. In fact, truth be told, we could get away with only one Mass on Christmas Day.

This year, we're bucking the trend by eliminating one of the Vigil Masses, the 8:00 PM Mass. And I'm not adding any additional Masses on Christmas Day and in fact have eliminated two Masses as it is a Sunday this year.

I'm a little bit nervous about our crowd control this year. I've encouraged our parishioners to make use of the two Christmas Day Masses. Time will tell.

Could you imagine a proliferation of Vigil Masses on Easter? At least for Easter, the bishop sets the time for the only Vigil, and a vigil it is.

Maybe bishops should be more pro-active in reclaiming Christmas Day as the Day of the Mass by saying that we can't have Christmas Eve Masses before 10:00 PM. What do you think?


Robert Kumpel said...

Howsa bout this?

Every parish has to have a time clock with a card that you can punch in when you attend Mass. If you don't have a minimum of 24 punches for the year, you cannot enter the church for Christmas Mass through the main doors, but are re-routed to a confession line where you can confess missing Mass on Sunday before being admitted to the church.

Just an idea!

Paul said...

I like midnight mass - at MIDNIGHT - but with kids we don't do that. We go on Christmas morning and I like it! Let all the C&E Catholics go to vigil masses. The AM mass is very reverent, not too crowded and much more prayerful. So, please don't make a big push to force everyone to the Christmas morning masses.

Templar said...

When my kids were younger we used to do the Vigil Mass. But that was when I was attending at "the other Parish" and we got to see the children come up on the altar and act out the Gospel, oh what joy.

I don't think that with the full cast on the altar though they ever came close to out numbering the army of 17 EMHCs that paraded up there for the consecretion.

Now we attend Midnight Mass. I love the Choral Program before it, I love the reverence of a Solemn High Mass, I love going out to breakfast with the family immediately afterwards, and I love driving home in the peaceful dead of the night. One of the best nights of the year. After that nothing can ruin Christmas for me.

Marc said...

I have a general observation about the concept of the Vigil Mass (more properly called an Anticipated Mass) for Masses of obligation... How can we possibly have an anticipated Mass at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday that counts as a Sunday Mass and also have a Mass at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday that also counts as a Sunday Mass? Isn't that an Anticipated Mass for Monday? Just never really understood the logic on that one - therefore, I personally attend neither of those Masses! (Before Pater jumps in talking about First Vespers for Sunday being on Saturday Evening and Jewish tradition, I will state that I am aware of those things, but this still is odd to me!)

For Christmas Mass in particular, there is a real danger of people just trying to "get it over with" (that is true every Sunday as well). That is a sad phenomenon that I'm not sure you (as in Fr. McDonald, specifically) can fix by simply doing away with the Anticipated/Vigil Masses. It seems to me that people who want to "get it over with" are just as likely not to show up at all unless the Mass fits within their scheduled...

As for myself and my wife, we will be at the Midnight Mass at St. Joseph this year. Once a couple years ago, we fell into the "get it over with" crowd and went to the 8 p.m. We regretted it very much and looked forward all year to the next Midnight Mass, which is especially beautiful at St. Joseph.

As for Christmas Day, I anticipate heading up to Jackson, Georgia to support Fr. Fischer in his offering the Traditional Mass at 11:00 a.m.! I recommend those of us who are attached to the EF to make an effort to go in hopes of bringing about a regular Sunday EF Mass in that parish, as it is much closer to Macon than St. Francis de Sales in Mableton! (FYI - I believe Fr. Fischer is formerly of the FSSP and formerly pastor of St. Francis de Sales, prior to his incardination into the Archdiocese of Atlanta).

Maybe one day we can have the EF on the 1st and 3rd Sundays at St. Joseph and the 2nd and 4th in Jackson, GA. That would be great for our small (and hopefully growing) stable group of EF devotees here in Middle Georgia...

Gene said...

Kumpel, I like that idea. Were I still a prot minister, it gives me the idea for a fire and brimstone sermon entitled,"God's Time Clock."

Marc, I envision the "get it over with" crowd in a long line at the Heavenly gates. They complain to St. Peter, "Can't we just get it over with?" In a flash, they find themselves "...hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky... down to bottomless perdition," the last thing they hear being St. Peter's final words to them, "Ok, it's over with."

I find that attitude entirely unacceptable and in the same class with the absolutely inexcusable practice that I often see of people going straight from receiving out the rear door to their cars. This happens at almost every Mass, and it is more than one or two people.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - the only thing I'll jump in to comment on is your calling Fr. Fisher's mass "The Traditional Mass."

Every mass is Traditional. They differ historically, but they are all Traditional.

Blessed Christmas.

Anonymous said...

My family has always gone to the Christmas Day Mass, the earlier the better. We all get up and get dressed, go to Mass, then back home for loads of Christmas cheer. We would visit friends at their homes then have them over to our house for food, and more of the cheer ;-). It reminded me a lot of what happened whenever someone had a baby, people would visit, exclaim about the mother and child, spend time reminiscing about each other and people long gone. It served as the natural prelude to the fun at home and with friends.

This year my eldest daughter and her husband travel from KC, KS to visit. Not sure how many more of those we will get.

When I was away from home a lot I would make sure to never miss Mass because I knew my family were going, too. It was my way of visiting with them.

I have gone to the St Vincent de Paul building in town, but have not done that in few years. Time seems so compressed. I need to manage better.


Templar said...

Marc, technically you have to give Ignotus his point.

One Mass has a Tradition going back to at least the 4th century, and the other has a Tradition going back to 1970.

One Mass developed it's Tradition via Organic development, and the other developed it's Tradition via a Committee of Rebellious Clergy who ignored the very documents that gave they license to meet.

So, he's right, both are Traditonal. One traditionally gives Glory to God, and the other traditionally gives Glory to Man, or the Priest who would be Actor.

Anonymous said...

I've seen Christmas "vigil" masses at 4:30 pm to accommodate the children (who need to play with their new toys on the 25th)! In parishes with large with Latin Americans population, the mass isat midnight since it is a tradition (coming from Spain) to eat dinner after midnight, and start the feasting then until January 6th. Most people have Christmas fatigue by Christmas Eve and want to get it over with/- we have to stop letting the secular calendar and commerce influence our liturgical calendar! Still, I applaud all those who come to mass at Christmas, that's more than what they do in some parts of Europe. I agree- let the bishops put a stop to these afternoon "vigils".

Marc said...

LOL @ Templar!

Pater, you know, when I wrote that, I thought you might make your argument about the Novus Ordo being "Traditional" since you claim it is based in traditional Catholic theology. I appreciate your argument in that regard and I believe you (like many other priests) truly believe it is true. After much study on the matter, I happen to disagree with your conclusion.

The reason I normally write "Traditional Mass" is that the label "Extraordinary Form" itself has no basis in T(t)radition. There have never been two "forms" of the Roman Rite in the history of the Church - there is no precedent for that. Moreover, the difference in the "forms" is enough to make them essentially different rites. Therefore, just as you believe "Traditional Mass" is not an accurate label, I believe "Extraordinary Form" is not an accurate label. But, you'll notice that I will refer to the Tridentine Mass (we could argue that moniker as well) as the EF Mass because, well, that's what the Holy Father has called it...

Happy Christmas to you as well, Pater!

Robert Kumpel said...

When my oldest was two years old, my wife had to work all night on Christmas Eve (she was doing her medical residency). She came walking in at 6 am on Christmas morning. We opened our gifts and decided to go to the 7:30 am Mass at our nearby Church. I was shocked to see empty seats! I hadn't been to an early Christmas Day Mass for years, and this sent me into shock. Now we are blessed with four kids, but we are not blessed with the time or patience to try that again, especially after fighting on Christmas Eve to get the kids to bed!

I know this sounds crazy, but I would like to see EVENING Masses on Christmas Day. All the bustle is done with and it would be so much more relaxing and less tense. Of course, not too many parishes are ever going to let THAT happen.

Anonymous said...

Robert, evening Mass on Christmas Day? I'm usually in a coma by then!


Pater Ignotus said...

If the Holy Father and the bishops celebrate the OF - and all of them do - then it is Traditional. Otherwise we have to believe that the Pope and bishops in communion with him are acting in a way they know to be non-Traditional. And this is impossible, unless you believe that the Holy Spirit has left the Church, another impossibility.

Now, if you choose to believe, as Templar does, that you possess the Truth that the Pope and bishops have forgotten - well, that just non-Catholic.

There are historical differences between the OF and the EF, but the OF contains all the Traditional elements of the mass.

Maniples are not Traditional.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Midnight Mass, OK and also 10 PM and Christmas Day...Otherwise in another 50 years everyone will be going on the Eve and fewer and fewer on Christmas Day.

Anonymous said...

As I am the only Catholic in the family, I go by myself unless a friend goes with me. One year the Spanish Mass was the Midnight Mass (10 p.m.). I thought that was a terrific idea. The devotions, as at Guadalupe on Dec. 12, are beautiful. It has only happened once though. As both our priests speak Spanish, it is not uncommon for any of the Masses to have parts in both Spanish and English -- "and with your spirit/ y con tu espíritu." I see more and more Latinos at the "English" Masses. If not, we could end up with two churches under one roof. ¡Felix Navidad a todos! Merry Christmas to all! -- next Sunday/ el próximo domingo.

qwikness said...

Saint Joseph's used to have evening Mass on Christmas evening. I wish some parish in Macon would do that. We have to eat at the Grandmom's Christmas Eve. I can't stay awake for midnight or take two babies. Plus I have to put stuff together. Christmas morning will be too busy with Santa Claus and going back to Grandmom's. Evening Mass? No? Okay. See you next Sunday.

Henry Edwards said...

Does not the proliferation of ALL anticipated Masses--whether of Sundays or of solemnities--detract from the focus on the Sunday or solemnity itself? Wouldn't First Vespers--and confession for everyone intending to receive at the Mass next day--be better on the preceding evening (a la the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics)? It seems to me that a lot of people who think about this seriously are wondering whether what initially seemed like a good idea has not gone wrong in practice (like so many good intentions in recent decades). For instance, I've heard of some English bishops asking their pastors to greatly curtail anticipated Masses as a way of emphasizing the Day of the Lord itself.

Templar said...

PI said: "If the Holy Father and the bishops celebrate the OF - and all of them do - then it is Traditional. Otherwise we have to believe that the Pope and bishops in communion with him are acting in a way they know to be non-Traditional. And this is impossible, unless you believe that the Holy Spirit has left the Church, another impossibility."

Soooooo, when Popes were selling indulgences that was Traditional? When Popes were keeping Mistress' and fathering bastard children, that was Traditional? When Benedict IX was engaging in rapes, murders, orgies and beastiality, that was Traditional? When Popes were digging up former Popes from their graves and having trails conducted against the corpse, that was Traditional?

In light of these fine Traditions, and other notorious traditions handed to us by Popes and Bishops, I proudly exclaim that the OF has got zero to do with the True Traditions of the Catholic Church.

Your statements smack of the worst sort of Clericalism PI. The Pope is but a man, and not every word or deed is a golden nugget to be emulated. The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against Christ's Church, even when those gates come in the form of Heretic Popes, or Heretic Clergy.

If you wish to call me un-Catholic because I have the unpleasant habit of fact checking your Modernist posts then I stand in good company. We, the Faithful who were cheated and duped by Apostate Clergy these past 40 years will not suffer it any longer. Be gone ya' Troll.

Anonymous said...

Christmas mass for me is fiding the church that has the best pastries after the mass. So I go to a church in an affulent neighboorhood. I thought of a church so rich that the ushers who take up the collections are Jewish CPA's and the coffee and donuts are cordon blu chefs making crepes and cherries jubilee for desert. Christmas is a time for jocular joy.

Pater Ignotus said...

Temp - The papal sins you mention have nothing to do with Tradition. Yours is the kind of argument that many who oppose the Church like to bring up whenever we Catholics speak of Tradition.

If you checked your facts accurately this go 'round, you would have known this. Better luck next time.

Templar said...

Those Papal Sins have as much to do with Tradition as the NO Mass does. All are born of a papacy exceeding their authority to hand down what they have been taught, and not to change it on a whim.

You'd have realized that if you weren't such a Modernist Apostate. Better luck next time.

Anonymous said...

In latin america, there is only the midnight Mass and then Mass on Christmas day. Many many people attend the midnight Mass, children stay up late, people then gather for a late dinner and festivities, including fire works and then the visit from Baby Jesus, who is the one who brings the presents.

Anonymous said...

For the record, popes never sold indulgences. That canard comes from Luther's camp and it's been so effective that even we Catholics have bought it.

Catholic Answers' website dealt with this in a post called "Myths About Indulgences":

One never could "buy" indulgences. The financial scandal surrounding indulgences, the scandal that gave Martin Luther an excuse for his heterodoxy, involved alms—indulgences in which the giving of alms to some charitable fund or foundation was used as the occasion to grant the indulgence. There was no outright selling of indulgences. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "[I]t is easy to see how abuses crept in. Among the good works which might be encouraged by being made the condition of an indulgence, almsgiving would naturally hold a conspicuous place. . . . It is well to observe that in these purposes there is nothing essentially evil. To give money to God or to the poor is a praiseworthy act, and, when it is done from right motives, it will surely not go unrewarded."

Marc said...

Pater and Templar, I think the problem with this discussion is the difference of opinion regarding what the word "Tradition" means in this context. Pater seems to be arguing from the point of view that "Tradition" is the Deposit of Faith; whereas, Templar is using more of a colloquial definition of "Tradition", as I am when referring to the "Traditional Mass."

"Traditional Mass" means the Mass that has a long-standing tradition in the Church. That's more colloquial and more akin to saying the "Historical Mass" (but that misses the mark because it is the Mass of All History, past present and future).

I can't imagine anyone who is intellectually honest (or who lacks an agenda) would seriously argue that the Novus Ordo is Traditional using the definition just provided.

That being said, there is a debate about whether the Novus Ordo is based in Traditional Catholic theology, as Pater contends. I believe it is not because, among other things, it is based on Protestant "meal" theology (at the expense of the emphasis on the propitiatory sacrifice), for example.

There is really no doubt the Novus Ordo was invented with an "ecumenical" aim at the expense of Traditional Catholic theology. That doesn't mean that it is invalid and doesn't necessarily mean that it is "bad." What it does mean, in my opinion, is that it has the potential to harm the One True Faith because things become much less clear for the people in the pews.

So, Pater, maybe you can explain in more detail, with specific references to Tradition, how the Novus Ordo is in accordance with the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church and the history of liturgical revisions in the last 2,000 years...? I would honestly LOVE to read your thoughts on that topic.

Adlai said...

Pater Ignotus - the only thing I'll jump in to comment on is when are you going to allow the Traditional Latin Mass or Extraordinary Form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to be offered at your parish. I'm still patiently waiting for a yes or no answer.

Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - I am comfortable with the distinction that comes from Catholic Answers: We must distinguish divine Tradition from mere ecclesiastical tradition or custom. Divine Tradition comes from God, either through the written word of the Bible or through the oral teaching of Christ himself or his apostles. Because it is revealed by God, divine Tradition may not be altered by men. Ecclesiastical tradition or custom, on the other hand, originates with the Church's pastoral and disciplinary authority and may change.

Does this work for you?

Templar said...

Pope Leo X was notorious for granting indulgences to anyone who would make a contribution to the building fund of St Peters. You can wordsmith that all you like, it's selling of indulgences. The practice of attching indulgences to alms giving is rife for corruption and anyone who thinks the things weren't being sold is lying to themselves.

You will take notice that no where in current Church practice are indulgences attached in any way to alms giving, no matter how noble the cause, and that is preciously so for the abuses that came before.

Luther was a Heretic indeed, but not all of his 95 points were, well, pointless.

Anonymous said...

Pater: Yes and no. I agree with the statement, but I'm not sure it fully addresses my question. There are aspects of the liturgy that manifest in a very real way the Tradition of the Church. These include the words of consecration and the offertory, the inclusion of Sacred Scripture, episcopal or priestly blessings, the Sign of the Cross, etc. On the other hand, there are ecclesial traditions (probably more properly called "monuments") that point toward the Tradition and illuminate the reality of the Faith. These might include the maniple (since I know you love that example) and other vestments, calendars and liturgical seasons (to an extent), etc.

Just because something is a monument set up at a certain time and pointing toward the Sacred Tradition does not mean that it should readily be changed. This is particularly true of those monuments given by divine inspiration, such as the Holy Rosary or these major/minor liturgical changes. Doing so not only shows a lack of piety for the tradition that came before and for the saints of the prior eras, it damages the faith of the current generation by less clearly illustrating the truths of the Faith.

Take for example, the diminished focus on the sacrificial element of the Holy Mass in the Novus Ordo. Is it valid for the Church to institute such a change? Probably so. Is it providential to do so? In hindsight we know that it was clearly not and we know this because we are now experiencing a time of diminished faith and much confusion over the nature of the Mass. I'm certain most people in the
pews now believe the Mass is a communal meal and merely a play acting of the Last Supper.

So, I agree that Tradition cannot be altered by man and ecclesial tradition can be altered. I disagree that that means that ecclesial tradition should be altered to such a great extent without grave reason, particularly within one generation as it was in the wake of Vatican II. There is no precedent in Church history for such an overhaul of ecclesial tradition.

As you know, we judge the merits of a change in ecclesial tradition on the basis of what came before. Therefore, I'll ask a more concise question of you: In what particular way does the Novus Ordo better show forth the True Faith, particularly the sacrificial nature of the Holy Mass, when compared to the Mass According to the Missal of Blessed John XIII?


Pater Ignotus said...

Marc - I'm not ready to move on beyond what constitutes Tradition vs what constitutes ecclesiastical custom. Your 12:58 comments gave, in my estimation, too much weight to custom, and your 4:41 comments reinforce that.

Do you agree that any ecclesiastical customs, which by their nature are not irreformable, can be changed by proper authority? This would include, among many others, maniples, the oder of vesting for mass, the colors used in the various seasons of the year, the calendar of memorials, feasts, and solemnities, and the language used in the celebration of the mass?

I am not thinking here of the felicity of such changes, only whether or not they, as mere ecclesiastical customs, are subject to alteration.

Pater Ignotus said...

Adlai - You are the very model of patience! I would never think of depriving you of the practice of that virtue.