Sunday, December 23, 2018


I used to get very impatient on Christmas Eve morning when we would get so many, and I mean, so many, phone calls and people asking "what time is Midnight Mass?"  I wanted to to add explicatives to my answer when I said curtly, MIDNIGHT! YOU (BLEEP, BLEEP, BLEEP).

But today so many parishes don't have midnight Mass any more. The vigil Mass is at 4 pm and the Mass at Night is now around 8 or 9 PM.

And yes, I have a confession to make. This is my third year here at St. Anne in Richmond Hill, Georgia and this year, like the previous two, our Midnight Mass will be at 9 PM preceded by a prelude of Christmas Carols at 8:30 PM.

Until I came here, I never missed a single Christmas as a priest either being the priest MC of the Midnight Mass or the celebrant or concelebrant.

At 65 years old, I must also confess, that I am glad that our Midnight Mass at Saint Anne's if finished by 10:15 or 10:30 at the latest.

I think Pope Benedict started having the Christmas Midnight Mass at 9 PM at St. Peter's which Pope Francis has chosen to remain in continuity at least on this one with Pope Benedict by continuing  with Midnight Mass at 9 PM. 

So what time is your Midnight Mass? Mine is at 9 PM, sweet darling. 

Our Vigil Mass is at 5 PM preceded by the Children's Christmas Pageant at 4:30 PM. The 5 PM Vigil Mass of Christmas will be the most packed and maybe standing room only. Our church seated about 1,200!

We only have one Mass on Christmas Day and it will be at 10 AM and using the readings from the lectionary for Mass at Dawn.

To be honest, I wish that we would not have vigil Masses at Christmas, that the first one has to start on Christmas Day which would be Midnight or 12 AM.  Then we would have more Masses on Christmas Day.


Victor said...

More Novus Ordo foolishness ...always about the people coming first. Why have a Midnight Mass if it is not at midnight?

Anonymous said...

My god, Christmas Eve is once a year!

It is NOT to much to expect Catholic parishes to have Midnight Mass at midnight!

So Father you are tired. I don’t care. I work at least 40 hours a week and actually have to follow the rules, unlike priests, and it doesn’t matter if I’m tired. You people,changed the Mass,the rosary, meatless Friday’s changed, women wearing veils in church changed, nuns in habits changed, all of the sacraments changed, centuries old altars destroyed and replaced with tables, beautiful chants and hymns replaced with silly ridiculous songs, no more kneeling before God at communion, lucky to have confessions available for at least 30 minutes a week and then you get in there and have to convince the priest that a sin is a sin, no more reverence or silence in Catholic Churches. And these so called churches are just one ridiculous scandalous bunch of people who pick and choose what to believe about the Catholic Faith, decades of priests living filthy criminal lives and getting away scot free with it, a pope accused of protecting a disgusting old cardinal and when questioned about it his answer is “I’m not saying anything”, purposeful confusion regarding doctrine from the pope and majority of bishops AND YOU ARE TO TIRED TO SAY MASS AT MIDNIGHT ONCE A YEAR. You have to be freaking kidding me. Newsflash, when you all made the Mass into some kind of pseudo Protestant communion service and removed all reverence and mystery you pulled the rug out from under yourselves Fatherrrrr. Nobody has any respect for any of you anymore. At least nothing like it was before there horrible changes in the Church. I could care less if your tired. The Novus Ordo bunch is slowly dying. Tradition is what will be left. You may have more numbers than we do but the vast majority don’t believe in a dam thing. So you just go to bed in your nice comfy rectory that somebody else pays for. You get your rest. One pope came down from the cross and abandoned us to the wolves why should we expect anything else from the priests. Disgusting. Just one more nail in the coffin. Just keep abandoning things that Catholics did for close to 2000 years because you know better.

Henry said...

As pointed out recently at Rorate Caeli, the traditional Roman rite is blessedly free of anticipated Masses (mistakenly generally referred as "vigil Masses"). Any TLM celebrated on December 24--whether it starts at 10 am or 5 pm or 10 pm, is a Mass not of Christmas but rather a Mass of the (true) Vigil of Christmas, celebrated in purple vestments and with no Gloria and no Credo.

Henry said...

And thus no traditional Mass of Christmas can begin before midnight local time.

Anonymous said...

This is just another way to worship at the altar of the secular liturgical calendar; like saying Happy Hollidays instead of Merry Christmas.

Every accomodating move like this enlarges the cleavage between tradition and novus order customs. This is how slow schism happens. Eventually comes a tipping point at which the schism metamorphoses the schismatics become a new religion. This is how the Lutheran and the english reformations were solidified from movements into sects.

Our parish will not have Mass on Monday or Adoration on Wednesday so as to give priests and religious a chance to return unwanted gifts to Walmart or just to have rest from the the unbearably difficult liturgical calendar for Christmas. Give me a break!

In the new movement martyrdom even on a small scale is eschewed as much as possible. Just like secular work, taking a break after a heavy schedule.

The joys of Christmas are so taxing!

FrG7 said...

This year at my parish, Midnight Mass will actually be at midnight!

Bean said...

Looks to me like Anonymous 2:21's gonna be getting a big ol' bag of coal as his/her Xmas present from Santa this year. Deservedly.

The Mass is "Mass at Night." There's nothing magical about midnight - never has been and never will be.

Be glad, Anonymous, that you have a priest who can celebrate the Mass at any time. More Catholics than you can imagine don't have that luxury. If they get the Sacraments three or four times a year, they are very, very grateful.

rcg said...

What a wonderful way to wrest our lives back from the mundane and selfish world. We live our lives on our tempo with a slight inconvenience so that the people who think they own us are put on notice that we have only one Lord and we happily give him overtime. I also keep my almanac handy so that I plant my garden on nature’s schedule as part of my resistance. Tell the kids the teacher wants them in bed; dad’s boss will be grumpy. Make it a form of sedition.

Anonymous said...

Bean wrote “The Mass is "Mass at Night." There's nothing magical about midnight - never has been and never will be.”

Wrong. 100 percent wrong. The traditional Roman Missal always called for three Masses for Christmas and specifically noted the appropriate times as Midnight, Dawn and during the Day. Facts matter.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me. In my “emotional” state because of what the Church is going through. The Church always mandated the first Mass of Christmas in nocte which was always understood, but not specifically mandated as midnight. But WHY change even that. A practice which arguably bores back to the third century. Why abandon it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No matter the time, it is Midnight somewhere and the Church's Liturgy is a step into eternity where timelessness reigns. But with that said, it is clear that the EF Mass and its liturgical laws must be followed which state there are three principal Mass of Christmas, Midnight, Dawn and Morning. However even in pre-Vatican II times there were additional Masses in the morning into about noon time. So I presume there was some flexibility for which Mass those additional Masses used.

The OF Mass has its own newer tradition and liturgical laws. Four Masses are now allowed, at the Vigil, at night (not necessarily Midnight) at dawn and at the Morning. The only difference is that post-Vatican II Mass laws allows for the feast day or Solemnity to begin at the Vigil as does Evening Prayer even in the EF Tradition. I would suggest that the Solemnity, be it Sunday or another Solemnity does begin at the Vigil and is the oldest Tradition in our Tradition harkening back to Judaism and when the Sabbath began.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A @ Dec. 23 @ 2:21 pm--You only work a 40 hour week? It must be nice to be part time. I work far more hours and when at home I am on call 24 hours a day and have no housekeeper or cook and my young associate and myself cook and clean for ourselves and on top of that try to have some kind of recreational life apart from all the heavy labor.

I am sorry that you have authority problems. Does this stem back to your relationship with your parents or other in authority with you? Or do you want to be the autocrat? The last time I checked, our Church is divinely ordered as a Hierarchical Church where Patriarchy is divinely revealed. And yes the Church has the authority to loose and bind unless you are a Protestant rejecting this authority? Are you a convert or are you a Catholic who has become a Protestant? You must really hate the two infallible dogmas elevated to such by a pope alone, although he was not home alone, that of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, decrees imposed on the Church which make the things you bitter decry being changed by "you guys" insignificant to say the least.

Perhaps you should read the story of The Christmas Carol and learn a lesson from Scrooge's conversion, no?

John Nolan said...

The first Mass of Christmas comes between Matins and Lauds and when it is, as is customary, celebrated at midnight, Matins has to be anticipated. The same thing happened with Tenebrae until the Holy Week reforms of Pius XII.

We shall be celebrating the Missa in Nocte (EF) at 6 pm, for the simple reason that it is a normal parish and the midnight Mass will be in the Novus Ordo. Where both rites co-exist, the EF has to be flexible as regards timings. The same applies to the Sacred Triduum.

Celebrating the anticipated Sunday Mass on the Saturday evening is now the norm in the OF. But surely where there is a vigil Mass (e.g. Christmas and Pentecost) this should be used, not the Mass of the following day. In the OF this would use white vestments and include Gloria and Creed. To substitute the Mass of the Day (Puer natus) would surely be highly irregular, if not downright illicit.

TJM said...

The days of the rectory being run as depicted in "The Bell of St. Mary's" or "Going My Way" are long gone. Unfortunately, Father McDonald's schedule has become the rule rather than the exception. Although Anon at 2:21 pm appears not to appreciate your efforts, the rest of us do. Merry Christmas Father!

Henry said...

Re: Fr. Allen J. McDonald...A @ Dec. 23 @ 2:21 pm

Actually, I had rather admired the precision of thought and clarity of statement that Anonymous brought to bear on each of the issues he mentioned in his comment at 2:21 pm on December 23.

Good thing you set me and him straight, else we both might have remained forever balefully ignorant of all the glorious fruits of Vatican II, each of which he benightedly took to be a flaw rather than the great leap forward that your kind correction of us implies it to be.

Henry said...

Regarding the Christmas schedule for priests ... My favorite priest is celebrating 5 Masses in 3 languages during a 20-hour period -- 5 pm vigil (Eng.), Midnight (Eng.), 8 am (Latin), 10 am (Eng.), 1 pm (Spanish).

Incidentally, each of the 5 or 6 Knoxville area parishes I checked is celebrating the Midnight Mass of Christmas at midnight.

rcg said...

These seasons and Mass schedules really make me love and appreciate priests. My dad worked as long as it took to suppport us, mama worked to feed and clean, Father works hard to feed our hearts and souls. It makes me thankful for our family.

rcg said...

And Henry and John: wasn’t there a calculation of ‘day’ that went from sunset to sunset or something similar? It predated the current timekeeping system and even had local variations.

And what did everyone have for Christmas dinner after Mass? We have roast duck, wild rice, haricot vert, tomato aspic, a little gravy. There was an atrocious orange sauce that came in a bag packed with the duck’s innards, but it went on the composter. Tomorrow we have a charcuterie on the dining room table so visiting friends can graze while playing fiddle and singing Christmas songs while we admire the new little Prince of Peace sweetly napping on Mary’s lap. Actually, we talk about Him while looking at our own latest little wonder.

God Bless and Save all of our priests, whether Holy or fallen, and everyone who reads these words and fights here with me motivated by the Love of God and His Holy Church.

Yikes, must have been the whisky.

Mark Thomas said...

Victor said..."More Novus Ordo foolishness ...always about the people coming first. Why have a Midnight Mass if it is not at midnight?"

The principle behind "the people coming first" in regard to the Divine Mysteries isn't "Novus Ordo foolishness."

The principle in question was promoted by Pope Venerable Pius XII in 1953 A.D. He insisted that modern society presents difficulties that hamper the Faithful from participating in the Divine Mysteries.

Therefore, the Church must accommodate Herself to modern man, according to Pope Venerable Pius XII.


Example: When he initiated the process to relax the Church's ancient traditional Eucharistic Fast, Pope Venerable Pius XII declared:

"It should nevertheless be noted that the times in which we live and their peculiar conditions have brought many modifications in the habits of society and in the activities of common life.

"Out of these there may arise serious difficulties which could keep men from partaking of the divine mysteries if the law of the Eucharistic fast is to be observed in the way in which it had to be observed up to the present time."


Adherence to the Church's traditional Eucharistic fast hampered modern Catholics from having participated in the Divine Mysteries, according to Pope Venerable Pius XII.

Therefore, Pope Venerable Pius XII determined that the Church must bow to modern times to enable the Faithful to participate in the Divine Mysteries.

Moving the traditional Midnight Mass to an hour that is more convenient to modern Catholics recalls Pope Venerable Pius XII's principle in question.

That is, the Church wishes to make it easier for the Faithful to participate at "Midnight Mass" by moving the Mass to an hour that is convenient to the majority of Catholics.

I am certain that many priests appreciate the Church's gesture as well.

The Church is merciful to Her children.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Now that She has tinkered with Midnight Mass, what is next for the post-Vatican II "Novus Ordo Church?

-- Modify the traditional Midnight Eucharistic Fast to that of a three-hour fast?

-- Exhort women religious to modernize their congregations...modernize their attire?

-- Introduce vernaculars into the Roman Liturgy?

-- Permit married, former Protestant clergymen to serve as Latin Church priests?

-- Declare that the Holy Ghost inspired the creation of the Ecumenical Movement?

Oh, that's right. All of the above was introduced by the pre-Vatican II Church of the 1940s and 1950s.


Mark Thomas

rcg said...

I am not tyring to argue with Mark Thomas, but....
Just because there were changes made either before or after Vatican II does not mean they were right, good or wrong, bad, although the odds for wrong, bad are tilted toward post VII. It is nice that the Church has acknowledged the havoc progressive modernism has inflicted on the society and individuals in allowing for lax Mass schedules. However, people being people, many have toyed with the permissiveness of the ‘Mass of convenience’ to pervert it from helping with their busy schedule to elevating it to the mortal sin of presumption. I suspect that in the bad ol’ days of pre-Vee Two this would have been noted and addressed if not reversed. But in our era it has become paired with meat on Fridays, and acts of conscience substituting for compliance with doctrine.

Mark Thomas said...

rcg said..."Just because there were changes made either before or after Vatican II does not mean they were right, good or wrong..."

It is true that certain changes may not have achieved desired results.

What interests me is that certain "traditional" Catholics classify post-Vatican II changes as the unacceptable work of "Novus Ordo Church/modernists."

Said "traditionalists" long for the "pre-Vatican II Church. However, they remain silent in regard to radical changes that were authorized by the "pre-Vatican II Church."

Anyway, radical changes have occurred within the Church from Her founding to date.


Mark Thomas

John Nolan said...

Things done for the best of motives can have unforeseen and indeed unfortunate consequences. Pius X could not have known that encouraging frequent Communion would eventually result in reception of Communion being seen as a routine part of attending Mass. Pius XII relaxed the Eucharistic fast to enable Mass to be celebrated in the evening (this had been allowed during the Second World War and was made universal in 1957). Within ten years the fast had been effectively abolished. Pius should have foreseen this.

20th century popes treated the liturgy not as a 'given' but something they could alter at will. By the time he wrote 'Spirit of the Liturgy' in 2000, Joseph Ratzinger had come to deplore this tendency. That is not to say that reform was not needed; Pius X, in restoring the balance between the Temporal and the Sanctoral Cycles, was removing a lot of the clutter that previous popes had imposed.

Pius XII mistakenly thought that concessions to modernity and the more extreme demands of the Liturgical Movement could be kept within bounds by papal authority. But it was his own authority he was thinking of. Paul VI used his authority, backed by a Council which he had guided and whose decrees he had approved, in a far more extreme and ultimately destructive way.

Mark Thomas is right to see the genesis of the post-Conciliar train crash in Pius XII's pontificate. But it was Paul VI who switched the points which sent the train hurtling to destruction.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"20th century popes treated the liturgy not as a 'given' but something they could alter at will."

This seems a little too callous. I suspect that changes were made not simply "at will," but after consultation, consideration, and prayer.

Also, much of what was "given" was, while "traditional," entirely subject to being changed. I know you don't share this view, John, but it is the reality.

TJM said...


Well the proof is in the pudding: "reforms: resulted in far less Catholics attending Mass on Sunday, Churches closing due to lack of Catholics attending Mass, etc. I know you don't share this view, Kavanaugh, but it is the reality.

John Nolan said...


Not my view.

'After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters, especially if he were acting on the mandate of an ecumenical council. Eventually, the idea of the given-ness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West ... The pope's authority is bound to the Tradition of faith, and that also applies to the liturgy. It is not "manufactured" by the authorities. Even the pope can only be a humble servant of its lawful development and abiding integrity and identity.'

Joseph Ratzinger, 'The Spirit of the Liturgy' (2000) pp.165-166

'There was no hope of producing anything of greater value than what would actually come out of it [the liturgical reform], what with this claim of recasting from top to bottom and in a few months an entire liturgy it had taken twenty centuries to develop.'

Louis Bouyer, 'Memoirs' (2015) p.219

If St Francis (1181-1226) had attended a Roman Rite Mass in 1962 he would have found it reassuringly familiar. In 750 years it would have changed but little. If the saint had attended a Mass in 1972 he would have neither recognized nor understood it.

That is the reality, not your spurious argument that what happened between 1964 and 1969 can somehow be justified because the rite was being constantly altered in the past.

Mark Thomas said...

"If St Francis (1181-1226) had attended a Roman Rite Mass in 1962 he would have found it reassuringly familiar. In 750 years it would have changed but little. If the saint had attended a Mass in 1972 he would have neither recognized nor understood it."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger insisted that a by-the-book celebration of a sung Novus Ordo Latin Mass differed little from the TLM.

He insisted that without specialized liturgical formation, the "average" Christian would find it difficult to distinguish between the (by-the-books) two forms of the one Roman Rite.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 1988 A.D:

"An average Christian without specialist liturgical formation would find it difficult to distinguish between a Mass sung in Latin according to the old Missal and a sung Latin Mass according to the new Missal."


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Mark, Pope Benedict was being a bit condescending and critical of not very well formed Catholics who know very little about the liturgy. Not only was he speaking about Latin, Latin Chant and using the propers, he was also speaking about ad orientem. I would suspect too kneeling for Holy Communion.

I would tend to agree with His Holiness on this point and the thrust of his liturgical renewal in continuity would have led to even greater mandatory use of Latin, Gregorian Chant and kneeling for Holy Communion, not to mention ad orientem.

But that the laity can't tell the difference between the two forms both in Latin and with similar continuity is a negative judgement on the formation of the laity in things liturgical.

The fact is that Pope Benedict recognized that the continuity factor between the two Mass is indeed very rare if not non-existent. He went on to decry the fact the the Ordinary Form differs from celebration to celebration, priest to priest and parish to parish and that there isn't much continuity at all in the Ordinary Form much of it due to creativity on the part of the celebrant or the liturgical committee that planned it.

His speech is really a lambast on the state of the Ordinary Form then.

Mark Thomas said...

"If St Francis (1181-1226) had attended a Roman Rite Mass in 1962 he would have found it reassuringly familiar. In 750 years it would have changed but little. If the saint had attended a Mass in 1972 he would have neither recognized nor understood it."

In light of the accretions that altered the Roman Mass throughout the centuries, would St. Francis (1181-1226) have recognized a "traditional" Roman Mass as celebrated, for example, in 100 A.D.?


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Cardinal Ratzinger:

"After the Second Vatican Council, the impression arose that the pope really could do anything in liturgical matters...Eventually, the idea of the given-ness of the liturgy, the fact that one cannot do with it what one will, faded from the public consciousness of the West."

Hmmm...Pope Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger willed the concoction of the new Good Friday prayer for Jews that replaced the ancient, traditional prayer in question.

Pope Benedict XVI declared that the traditional prayer in question had "wounded" Jews.

In turn, to the outrage of "traditional" Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI imposed his will upon the Good Friday "traditional" Roman Liturgy via the concoction of the new, watered-down prayer in question.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald said..."The fact is that Pope Benedict recognized that the continuity factor between the two Mass is indeed very rare if not non-existent. He went on to decry the fact the the Ordinary Form differs from celebration to celebration, priest to priest and parish to parish and that there isn't much continuity at all in the Ordinary Form much of it due to creativity on the part of the celebrant or the liturgical committee that planned it.

"His speech is really a lambast on the state of the Ordinary Form then."

Father, yes...Pope Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger had spoken critically about the manner in which many priests had taken liberties with the Novus Ordo celebrations.

But he had also spoken critically about the TLM stagnation — the overall poor state of Latin Church litirgy — that had marked the Church prior to Vatican II.

He praised the Missal of Pope Saint Paul VI. He insisted that the TLM and Novus Ordo form the one Roman Rite. He insisted that the OF and EF must enrich each other.

The Novus Ordo suffers from priests and liturgical committees who view the Mass as a lump of clay to form as they please. The TLM suffers (or suffered) from Low-Mass-mentality priests who mumbled and rushed through Mass.

The following from Cardinal Ratzinger, 1988 A.D., explains a great deal in regard to collapse of the Mass and Faith, at least throughout the West. (The Church in Africa and Asia has enjoyed for decades tremendous holy success.)

"While there are many motives that might have led a great number of people to seek a refuge in the Traditional liturgy, the chief one is that they find the dignity of the sacred preserved there.

"After the council there were many priests who deliberately raised "desacralization" to the level of a program, on the plea that the New Testament abolished the cult of the Temple: the veil of the Temple which was torn from top to bottom at the moment of Christ's death on the cross is, according to certain people, the sign of the end of the sacred.

"Inspired by such reasoning, they put aside the sacred vestments; they have despoiled the churches as much as they could of that splendor which brings to mind the sacred; and they have reduced the liturgy to the language and the gestures of ordinary life, by means of greetings, common signs of friendship, and such things."


Mark Thomas

TJM said...


When are you going to comment on PF doing nothing about the cocaine fueled gay sex orgies at the Vatican? Is there no cut and paste defense available?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - Again, I think the phrase, " cannot do with it what one will..." is far too harsh. Changes have, like it or not, been implemented in the liturgy over the centuries. They have been made after, I would bet, consultation, consideration, and prayer.

You don't like the result, but that doesn't mean the result is discontinuous or that the liturgies of the Church have been "recast from top to bottom."

The argument that St Francis would not recognize the mass celebrated in 1972 is a spurious one. One, you can't know the mind of St Francis. Two, his sanctity, I firmly suspect, would enable him not only to recognize, but be transformed by the mass, whether celebrated in the 1972 OF or the EF of the 1962 missal.

It is nowhere written that the "recognition" of the mass by a person from a time centuries ago is a valid measure of the mass celebrated today.

TJM said...


If the papacy reimposed the EF on the Church universal and abolished the OF you would squeal like a stuck pig and find all sorts of spurious reasons as to why the Pope lacks the authority for doing so. If the left didn't have double standards they wouldn't have any standards at all. Thanks for the laughs.

Mark Thomas said...

What the Latin Church needs desperately is holy priests such as Father McDonald.

We need priests who offer the Novus Ordo (which will remain in place despite the trads' pipe dream that a Pope will abolish the Novus Ordo, as well as Vatican II) and TLM in holy fashion.

We need Latin Church priests to offer the TLM regularly at parishes.

One given: Should the TLM return to the mainstream of Latin Church life, then the awful pre-Vatican II, rushed Low Mass mentality — 20 minute mumbled Masses — must not return to parishes.


Mark Thomas

John Nolan said...


The point I was making about St Francis was to show that the Mass as celebrated in the early thirteenth century was not all that different from a Mass celebrated 750 years later. Without wishing to belabour the point, imagine, if you will, a scientist who leaves for Antarctica at the beginning of 1964 to work on a long-term research project. He does not return until the summer of 1967. He attends Mass at his parish church on his return, expecting to find it as he had left it.

Instead, nearly everything is unfamiliar. The atmosphere is markedly informal. The priest now faces the congregation over what resembles a dining table. The familiar Latin is completely replaced by an English translation. A lay person reads the epistle, gradual and alleluia at a lectern. Even the Canon is recited aloud in English, and most of the ritual gestures have been removed. The priest no longer joins thumb and forefinger after the consecration. Nor does he sing anything, and the music consists of four hymns or songs. One of these, 'Michael row the boat ashore' he remembers as a pop hit. In 1964 this Mass had been a sung Mass with Asperges, lights, incense, and a decent choir. He learns later that they had resigned en masse two years ago since the parish priest had refused to let them sing any Latin chant.

When it's over the servers return to the sacristy but the priest makes a beeline for the exit where he stands, still in his Mass vestments, to greet the congregation on their way out.

This is an accurate depiction of a parish Mass after the implementation of Inter Oecumenici and Tres Abhinc Annos, plus a number of lesser directives. I know; I was there. Bouyer was at the centre of things when he talked of the liturgy being 'recast from top to bottom' in a matter of months. That is precisely what happened. As for Ratzinger, you need to be on firm ground before taking him to task. Perhaps you do believe that a pope can do what he likes with the liturgy - MT would probably agree with you, since he thinks popes are oracles of God.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John, I'm glad you chose a scientist as your example.

A scientist, who is nothing more than a highly trained observer, would certainly notice that there were differences in her experience at mass.

She might say that your comparison of the new altars with dining tables is rather inaccurate. Most dining tables are in dining rooms while altars are in churches. Most dining tables have chairs arranged around them while altars do not. Most dining tables have plates and cutlery, serving utensils and bowls, salt and pepper shakers, etc., while altars do not. Most dining tables have guests gathered together, seated around the table, altars do not.

As for the language being used, the scientist might now think, "Goodness! Now I can understand what the host (priest) is saying and that makes it possible for me to enter in this act or worship, this scared meal, I a way that I could not do so before."

As for being greeted by the priest at the end of the mass, the scientist might think, "This helps me to appreciate the humanity of the man I have regarded heretofore as a functionary, a factotum, a puppet on a stage. Knowing him now in a decidedly different way, I am more inclined to listen to his words, to appreciate his sincerity, to want to be part of this worshipping community."

The scientist would not say "CHANGE! CHANGE IS BAD! WE CAN'T HAVE CHANGE!" because, as a scientist, she has studied change, she has written about change, and she knows that change is just another facet of being alive.

John Nolan said...


Perhaps. But the analogy was meant to highlight the extent of the change in a mere three-and-a-half years, not to pronounce on whether it was good or bad. Interesting that you should make your scientist female. I noticed back then that the liturgical changes appealed to women rather than to men, and that it is precisely the touchy-feely, sentimentalized and feminized modern 'liturgies' which still put men off.

I'll be willing to bet that you are the favourite of your lady parishioners of 'a certain age'.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

LOL. I bet he is their "favourite!"

ps: Kavanaugh dispenses with science when it comes to distributing Holy Communion, the agenda uber alles

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John Nolan - Two of the three scientists who taught me biology in college were women, Dr. Betty Baker, the department chair, and Dr. Eunice Cronin, a wonderfully whacky botanist/mycologist. My basic chemistry professor was also a woman, Dr. Monica Minton. The faculty member in whose labs I taught while in graduate school studying fresh water biology with an emphasis on fresh water insects was also a woman, Dr. Linda-Margaret Hunt. So female scientists are second nature to me.

TJM - Regarding the distribution of Holy Communion, the only science I have referred to is that which finds that there is no grave danger in the use of the common cup. Not only have I not dispensed with it in this matter, I have and continue to rely on it.

John Nolan said...


You are quite at liberty to use the common chalice, but to 'rely on it' suggests you don't believe that Communion for the laity only requires reception in one species. I hope I am wrong. The Anglicans use the common chalice and are no more likely to drop dead as a result as are the rest of us.

My objection to drinking from the chalice is two-fold. Firstly it is unnecessary. Secondly, unlike the Anglican custom, the chalice is handed to the communicant who therefore communicates himself. The same applies to the way that communion in the hand is administered in the Catholic Church.

Of course women took to the new liturgy as ducks to water. Previously they had performed a valuable service by laundering altar linens, polishing candlesticks and arranging flowers. Suddenly they had new opportunities as readers, so-called Eucharistic Ministers, altar servers, and - hold your breath, Phyllis Zagano! - perhaps deacons! And once the citadel of Holy Orders has been breached, the sky's the limit.

Just look at what's happened to the Anglican Church.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"I hope I am wrong."

You are.

And what I said was that I rely on are the scientific studies that indicate there is no grave danger from the use of the common cup.

Signs are necessary. Hence, we "discuss" here maniples, lace, the placement of candles, etc. Receiving from the cup is a better sign, a fuller sign, and, in that sense, necessary and edifying.

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered.

"Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you."

John Nolan said...

If signs are important, and I would not dispute this, the method by which most Catholics receive these days indicates self-communication, viz. receiving the Host in the palm of the left hand and picking it up with the fingers of the right, and taking the chalice from the minister before drinking from it.

The formula, used since 1965 (Corpus Christi) is interesting, since it is simply a statement of fact. The previous formula (Corpus Domini Nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam, Amen) is a prayer which echoes that of the celebrant when he receives. Even in the Novus Ordo he says 'Corpus (Sanguis) Christi custodiat me in vitam aeternam.'

I have heard it said that if the minister, who might well be a lay person, says 'the Body (Blood) of Christ' it means that the recipient is not self-communicating. I find this argument singularly unconvincing.

It was decided in the 1960s that the chalice be offered to the laity in particular circumstances, after appropriate catechesis. It was not intended to be a universal practice, and outside English-speaking countries it isn't. If the chalice is offered at every Mass, it sends a sign that reception under both species is necessary, as it is for the priest. When Our Lord spoke to the disciples at the Last Supper he was instituting not only the Eucharist, but also the sacramental priesthood. At least this is what Catholics believe. Protestants do not, but we are (one hopes) not Protestant, despite many 'signs' to the contrary.