Monday, December 19, 2016


I watched the first part of Pope Francis' birthday Mass in the Pauline Chapel on Saturday. It had solemnity, Gregorian Chant, the Propers were chanted and it was in Latin. Great, if only parishes around the world could follow this model.

But then came the greatest wrong-headed addition to the OF Roman Missal: after the Sign of the Cross and Greeting, all sat and the head of the College of Cardinals spoke directly to the Holy Father about his monumental milestone of turning 80. At that point I decided not to watch the Mass. This could have happened at a reception following the Mass or even after the Prayer after Holy Communion, but please not at the beginning of Mass!

These ad libs, as well-intentioned as they might be, distract from the flow of prayer in the Holy Sacrifice. Keep in mind that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass begins the moment that the Introit or a substituted Entrance Chant, no matter how traditional or contemporary, begins. The Mass does not, let me repeat, does not begin with the Sign of the Cross. But how many priests/bishops say after the Entrance Chant, "Let us begin, In the Name of the Father...." and then even more destructive to the focus of prayer, after the greeting, the celebrant gives a homily, makes some sort of announcement or has to greet everyone and use the banal "Good morning everyone" greeting to which all respond. None of this is prayer and prayer of the Mass is completed disrupted, until the priest/bishop introduces the "Penitential Act" either using the concise words of the Missal or his own words that are too wordy!

The next serious problem with the OF Mass, which is not built into it, is the lack of attention to detail.  The liturgical "ministers" are not properly trained or choreographed and this includes the altar servers, lectors, and extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I know, I know, many of you don't like these additional ministries, but they are allowed and since they are let's focus on training them properly and choreographing them properly as well as making sure they are properly vested for these important ministries. Sloppiness and casualness are the enemy of the Ordinary Form of the Mass and sadly all too common making the laity and some clergy think this is what Vatican II desired not to mention the committee that wildly reformed the EF Mass. No one at the time who had some authority in the revision of the Mass desired sloppiness or casualness. Those who had no authority to cause this to happen are responsible in the clergy and laity.

Just my two cents worth.


TJM said...

Spot on!

rcg said...

YES!!! Almost every objection to the NO in the history of this blog goes back to the root question of WHY a change or allowance must be done within the Mass and can't wait until the pastries and coffee afterwards. That goes for holding hands, dancing, amplified guitars, raising hands, pop music.

TJM said...


The answer is simple, really: it's all about me, me, me, me, and not the Lord

Tony V said...

If people wanted a caberet show that's where they'd go. If they wanted to be the studio audience at a television-style chat show, that's where they'd go. If they wanted a Protestant service, one that down-played or ignored the concept of sacrifice, suppressed mention of the saints, and added that peculiar doxology to the Our Father--then they'd go to a Protestant service. Why try to make the Catholic Mass a pale imitation of something it isn't? The real thing will always do it better.
What we should be doing is offering the Catholic Mass. Why on earth did we stop doing that?
(Oh yeah, I remember--we had a pope who thought he was allowed to do whatever he wanted.)

Jan said...

Simple answer is: the involvement of the laity means it doesn't seem like a Mass to me. The way it is set up the ordinary form of the Mass is like any school or college presentation with people coming to and from the podium, processions etc. The only saving grace for the ordinary form of the Mass is Eucharistic Prayer One ...

TJM said...

Tony V,

I think we have another Pope now that thinks that way, which will have equally disastrous results.

Gene said...

Jan, you are correct. I attend these rinky-dink, half-apsed Masses and I think, this is like the Methodist church. At least, at St. Jo's when Fr. MacDonald was there, he imparted some dignity to the Mass and did ad orientum and the TLM occasionally. I have not been back to St.Jo's since he left for fear of what I might find. I attend two Churches in my area sometimes and both are just awful...sloppy dress, sloppy ritual, maudlin homilies, perfunctory Communion, and the music would gag a maggot. Something is wrong when people go to Mass (and I have spoken with others) and leave feeling depressed and/or disgusted. So, yeah, go to Confession, go get your wafer, and go home. Ho-hum.

Anonymous said...

" doesn't seem like a Mass to me."

Since when is "me" the measure of what the Mass is or isn't?

TJM said...


Perhaps if you were better trained in the Faith like Jan, you would understand what a Catholic Mass should look like.I guess you are part of the lowest common denominator.

Anonymous 2 said...


“I have not been back to St.Jo's since he left for fear of what I might find. I attend two Churches in my area sometimes and both are just awful...sloppy dress, sloppy ritual, maudlin homilies, perfunctory Communion, and the music would gag a maggot.”

I really do not understand why you have not been back to St. Jo’s since Father McDonald left. Based on what I have experienced, the liturgy there would surely be more appealing to you than the liturgy at (I assume) Holy Spirit or St. Peter Claver as you describe them. Please consider returning to St. Jo’s. I am sure you would me much happier if you do.

Gene said...

Anonymous @ 9:01, Expressing a personal reaction and opinion does not mean that I believe "me" is the measure of what Mass is or isn't in the theological sense. God's Grace can make that group of dogs barking "Jingle Bells" efficacious if the Holy Spirit is moved to do so. However, it would be nice if His grace flowed into the Mass BECAUSE of our celebration of it rather than in spite of it.

Gene said...

Anon 2, Actually, although I have attended both Holy Spirit and St. Peter Claver and found them to be equally disappointing, I was speaking of Sacred Heart in Milledgeville and Christ Our King and Saviour in Greensboro. The latter, though a beautiful mission style Church on the outside, is in the half-round with the choir sitting up front in street clothes and some pimply faced kid banging on a fifty dollar guitar and singing through his nose as loud as he can. When I went to Confession there, confessing to a heavy burden, the Priest quickly absolved me saying, "Very well, now run say an Our Father and come join us in the social hall for coffee and cookies." I'm not kidding.

Anonymous 2 said...


I am familiar with neither of the two churches you mention but from what you write I have to think you would be happier back at St. Jo’s.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I have been blessed by the grace to have grasped that Mass is the prayer of the Church and worship of God. So it absolutely drives me bonkers when I go to Mass, and I arrive a few minutes early to give myself a chance to focus my mind and heart getting myself ready to pray - and I mean pray in common with the Church - and then the priest treats the Mass like theater in the round, or some kind of entertainment event, or even says, "Good morning, everyone" and expects the congregation to respond, "Good morning, Father."

To me it would be like reciting a rosary and after the first decade taking a break to make a phone call, then say another decade and take a break to check my email, then say another decade...and so on.

I don't know. I for one can really stay focused in prayer for the entire 45 minutes to an hour it takes to say a Mass. All of the prayers preceding the Consecration, including the Liturgy of the Word, mean a great deal to me. They prepare me for that great moment. The prayers following that and leading to the reception of Holy Communion focus me even more on the moment when I dare to present myself to receive Our Lord Himself. The prayers after communion place me in a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude.

What is so wrong about wanting this when I come to Mass? Why would a priest on the altar think anything less than this is what people should experience? When the priest takes it upon himself to step out of what to me is the purpose of that Mass, to worship and pray to God, I find myself distracted, and pulled away from the very purpose I came to Church.

So I agree with you Fr. McD - Let the orations and speeches be made at parties outside of Mass. Let the ad libbing and insertions be left unsaid. Please, priests of God, please just say the Mass as it is written, and perform the rubrics as they are written, so we can get down to the business of praying for this crazy world and offering our worship to God while we have time to do so!

Here's something I saw on our parish Facebook page.

"Dear Friends in Jesus and Mary:
There is nothing more valuable to Catholics than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. One old Catholic prayer book even made a short list of some of the key benefits we receive from having the Mass offered for our intentions:

-At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.
-Every Mass will go with you to Judgement and will plead pardon for you.
-By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins according to your fervor.
-By devoutly assisting as Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.
-Though the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.
-He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgive you all your unknown sins which you never confessed. The Power of Satan over you is diminished.
-By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.
- One Holy Mass heard during your life will be of more benefit to you that many heard for you after death.
-Though the Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.
-During Mass you kneel amid a multitude of Angels, present at the Adorable Sacrifice with reverential awe.
-Though Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
-When you hear Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honor of any particular Saint or Angel, thanking God for the favors bestowed on him, you afford that saint or Angel a new degree of honor, joy, ad happiness, and draw his special love and protection for yourself.
-Every time you assist as Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honor of the Saint of the day."

Don't we believe this anymore?

God bless,