Monday, March 9, 2015


In recent homilies concerning the liturgy, Pope Francis has indicated that there should be a connection between authentic actual participation in the Mass and how we live our lives in the world.

Many of us indeed can look as though we are quite pious at Mass, quite holy. But does this make us hypocrites when we leave the church, run down parishioners in the parking lot, treat each other shabbily, cheat our employees and show little or no concern for the poor and blame them for their state in life?

I suspect one can be a good person and actually keep all the commandments except the third one and never step foot in a church or even say a prayer. This isn't what the Lord has in mind for His people who are to be faithful to all the commandments either.

We are told that only 12 % to nearly 30 % of Catholics actually attend Mass on any given Sunday depending on what part of the country one lives. What percentage of the low percentage of Catholics who actually attend Mass are hypocrites and Pope Francis would understand the term?

Are the Catholics who attend Mass very infrequently or not at all less hypocritical and better at being basically good people?


Anonymous said...

Maybe if they stopped turning the liturgy into a joke and started making it more serious, this is what separates us from all other Christian groups, besides the Orthodox. I have a roommate who is an Anglican, he said he would convert to Catholicism if they actually took the liturgy seriously.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Making the connection has always been the struggle.

I don't think that we are hypocrites for being sinners - we would be hypocrites if we did not acknowledge our sin and our need for the saving grace that is communicated to us through the mass and the sacraments.

rcg said...

Agree with PI. I am very reluctant to reach a conclusion about people who don't go to Mass except that they are sinning. It could seem justifiable only to a flawed person so helping them come for the Love of God would be my goal.

About connecting Liturgy to Life: the Mass is a prayer, the ultimate Prayer. Praying in life is more than important, it is Vital. (Pun intended). Our priest once stopped me in the middle of working on our parish furnace to pray the Angelus. "If you don't seize the day," he said, "it will seize you."

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is any connection between incense and COPD....

Anonymous said...

Off the story a little bit, but in light of the latest controversy over SAE in Oklahoma (chanting racist remarks on their way to a formal), is it appropriate for a Catholic to join a social fraternity? Would that be akin to joining the Masons? Seems like when it comes to bad behavior---racist chants, sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse---things stay the same decade after decade in the fraternal world...

George said...

"But does this make us hypocrites when we leave the church, run down parishioners in the parking lot..." We would certainly give that appearance. I gree with Fr. Kavanaugh that we are all sinners but we should make evey effort to keep from sinning.

If someone comes up and tells you that a certain person is gossiping then that is a sin itself. Father, if you know firsthand of those that have come up to you and said something uncharitable about someone else, then that would be a good time for a little corrective admonishment . Charitably done of course. It can be difficult to correct others because you want to repond in a way that will that will cause them to change and cease their harmful behavior without just dismissing you and continuing on in their ways ways,if that is at all possible. St John Vianney wrote some strong homilies on the subject.
Not all 'gossip' is malicious. I don't know how many times I could have prayed for someone but was in the dark about their problem. Sometimes, if I've heard something (or overheard) I find myself asking someone about it, to even determine if it is true or not. One needs to be careful. If I tell someone that from things I've heard him say, I'm thinking X is leaving the Church to become Hindu, or has cancer, if that turns out to be not the case then I could be inadvertently starting a false rumor. If it is true, then I can pray for the person. Still, the best position to have is that if you need to know something, then it will somehow be made known to you.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McD asked: Are the Catholics who attend Mass very infrequently or not at all less hypocritical and better at being basically good people?

I didn't think the criteria for Christians was being a "good person." This always gets me, as if decent behavior trumps faith or submission to God's laws. I was reminded recently of the story of Cornelius in the Act of the Apostles, (Chap 10 & 11) where Cornelius, a Roman centurion, righteous and God fearing, prays to God and gives alms. He's a "good person." But he is not saved. And so an angel appears to him, and tells him ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’ And once Peter arrived, and began speaking with him, the whole crowd there experienced the Holy Spirit, and Peter then baptized them, and thus the first Gentiles were saved.

No, it is not enough to be a "good person." One must be a good person AND follow God's Commandments, including those given to us through Holy Mother Church as how to conform ourselves to Christ.

I am very disinterested in those who others admire for being good without reference to God. That lie, that we can be good without reference to God, is the secularist lie of today. Maybe these are "good" in our judgement, because Satan leaves them alone more, since they are already in the bag, so to speak. And those with fault we notice are constantly being harassed by devils tempting them, like flies around a sandwich.

Don't judge your neighbor. Get that plank out of your own eye. That'll keep you plenty busy.

Anonymous said...

Petra, I think a lot of people would be judging their neighbor if it were that foul-mouthed kid (whose names was released today) from Dallas who lead the racist rant on the SAE bus at OU which has gone viral of course. I am a little more than concerned how a Catholic high school (where that kid graduated from) could produce such a graduate. Or do we blame the fraternity system? The parents? Racial segregation?

WSquared said...

Agreed with Fr. Kavanaugh.

And here's the thing about "basically good": Christians are called to be saints, not "basically good" qua "good enough." To be a saint is to love as God loves.

...and we can't do that on our own.

Православный физик said...

This is the way that I see it, the struggle for holiness is by no means hypocritical. In such I agree with Fr. K

Really, though the primary reason for Mass is the Adoration of God, everything else is secondary...the disconnect between the Liturgy and life requires harmonization between Liturgical prayer and personal prayer, as well as the disposition to be open to the graces that are received.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Joe - There are two primary goals of the liturgy. Not only is the mass for 1) the worship/adoration of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, but it is also and necessarily for the 2) communication of the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the People of God.

The communication of the saving mysteries is not secondary, especially if you are a person in need of receiving the gift of redemption/salvation. God made us to be with Him in heaven. Therefore, our need for the mass is essential to our pilgrimage thereto.

Having two primary goals is not unusual. For example, marriage is designed for 1) the good of the couple and 2) the good of having and rearing children.