Sunday, August 4, 2019


As everyone knows I am conflicted when it comes to the Liturgy. I love the Ordinary Form celebrated well and I also love the Extraordinary Form celebrated well.

What does that mean?

For the Ordinary Form, I see no conflict between “saying the black and doing the red” and having some flexibility, warmth  and a human touch to the Liturgy which involves the “H” word, the horizontal, relational.

What I don’t like, which makes the OF a bad celebration, is the relational or horizontal overpowering the vertical and Divine. Informality is not liturgy as Liturgy is formal but it need not be inhuman, rigid or robotic.

For the Extraordinary Form, I love  the awe, reverence and choreography of the Mass. I love the seriousness of it and its focus on God and that there is no confusion that the prayers of the Liturgy are directed to the Almighty and not to the congregation in front of the priest since the priest does not face the congregation in praying. He does not in any way “PROCLAIM” prayer either toward the congregation or toward God. The priest prays to God and offers the Sacrifice to God on behalf of the congregation, for them and with them.

What I don’t like is an inhuman EF Mass where there is more concern with the robotics of the Mass. When the EF was freed from its shackles in 2007, EWTN did a very well done educational video by an FSSP priest. He was robotic and almost inhuman, a computer generated version of a real person and Mass.

I don’t remember the Ancient Traditional Mass in my parishes being that way. The priests I saw celebrating this Mass prior to Vatican II did so with comfort, grace and in a human fashion.

The eyes cast down stance when facing the congregation and speaking to them does not serve the human aspect of the EF Mass at all. Jesus Christ is one Divine Being but He has two natures, Human and Divine. The same can be said of the Mass, it is Divine but has two natures too, divine and human. The human when celebrated properly is not an enemy of the EF Mass.

As I type this, two horrible mass shooting are being reported. The demonic in action.

There was a clip of a vigil Mass last night from El Paso. The scene that was broadcast on the news were of Catholics praying at Mass the “Our Father.” The congregation grieving over what has happened with 20 murdered at the Walmart and 40 others wounded, held hands during the Lord’s Prayer.

Is that really a horrible thing? Or is is human, created in the image of God?

I ask; you answer.


Ryan Ellis said...

Holding hands during the Our Father is an illicit gesture. It was illicit before anyone got shot, and it’s still illicit.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ryan, but Ryan, it is also illicit to hunch forward with arms resting on the pew in front of you and with you rear end resting on the pew behind you and your knees on the kneeler. But as I recall, in the Low Mass in particular, this was quite common to see and I even did it as a child prior to Vatican II.

It is also illicit to be praying the Holy Rosary or other novenas during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but I don't think priests prior to Vatican II called these people out because for the most part, the priest faced the same direction as the laity and could give a flip about the illicit things going on behind him.

Ryan Ellis said...

Well, there are no illicit gestures for the assembly in the TLM because there are no licit ones. They aren’t accounted for. I’d have less problem with hand holding in the TLM, as a legal matter. Substantively is another story.

But the Ordinary Form does give the assembly instructions. There are directions on posture and gesture and words. The USCCB has weighed in on this. It’s not a sanctioned action.

And with all due respect, Father, your Novus Ordo formation is showing. The Mass is to be obediently received, not manufactured. Our opinions are irrelevant. Priests formed after the Council think they can do as they wish and they can’t.

Anonymous said...

"Holding hands during the Our Father is an illicit gesture."

So what? Seriously, so what?

How many times are we warned against legalism by Our Saviour?

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others."

So what if people choose to hold hands during the Our Father?

"OH! this will lead to every other imaginable illicit behavior!"

No, it won't. The hand holders aren't going to start lighting up joints, fondling each others genitals, spitting on the floor, or engaging in some other "illicit" behavior because "Father" didn't preach about the danger of the holding hand.

The people who hold hands aren't going to stop believing in God or Redemption in Jesus Christ or the Triune nature of God.

"You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."

John Nolan said...

I'm going to weigh in on this. As most people on this blog know, I divide my time singing for the EF and attending a Solemn Latin OF Mass. The latter is at the Oxford Oratory which has a fine choir and organ. Like the Oratory priests I am bi-ritual in the sense that I am equally familiar with both forms and respect the rubrics proper to both; for example I do not kneel at the 'et incarnatus est' when attending the OF.

During the singing of the Pater Noster I have noticed a few women (no men) adopting a palms-up gesture as if carrying a large parcel. I have no idea where this originated from, and while liturgically inappropriate is hardly illicit. And Pius XII was at pains to point out that praying the Rosary during Mass was acceptable if not ideal.

As for the FSSP video mentioned by Fr McDonald, it is designed to be instructional. Priests formed after V2 encountered few rubrics and ignored even these. Once they learn the correct way of doing things it becomes second nature and flows naturally.

A small detail: when the priest ascends the altar he puts the right foot first. Anyone who has served in the military knows to step off with the left foot, and that habit will remain with him until the end of his life!

TJM said...

Holding hands is a silly affectation during Mass just like people who raise theirs arms in the orans position. FYI, I do not hold mens' hands, but I imagine some men get their jollies doing so. It is also a sure fire germ carrier

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD said, "The priest prays to God and offers the Sacrifice to God on behalf of the congregation, for them and with them."

This is what I love about the Mass....when the Mass is an extended prayer made to God, for the worship of Him and and offering to Him the Sacrifice He designated.

I have attended NO and EF Masses where the priest said the Mass with this attitude, and it is those Masses that seem to be most filled with the Holy Spirit. But both EF and NO Masses where the priest is not praying, but his mind is doing something else, are fruitless to me.

I go to Mass to pray and worship God. I cannot offer the Sacrifice. Only a priest can do that.

I hope and pray all priests will soon do their "job" at Mass and pray the Mass, offering the Sacrifice to the Father. Then it won't matter where I go to Mass, it will be wonderful.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

I find that the Novus ordo encourages informality, sloppiness in behavior, inevitably a source of distraction; ultimately, weakening even loss of faith. Children observe learn such behaviors and conclude what is the big deal. Then when they grow up just leave thinking why spend time at such prayer when TV, games, almost anything is more meaningful.

Father, sometimes your attitude toward the Mass worries me.

TJM said...

Anonymous ,

Please explain why Father McDonald’s attitude worries you. Concrete examples please, no “dump and run” like MT

John Nolan said...

The 1997 interdicasterial Instruction 'on certain questions relating to the collaboration of the non-ordained faithful in the sacred ministry of priest' expressly forbids 'deacons and non-ordained faithful' to use gestures or actions which 'are proper to the priest celebrant' (Article 6, Section 2). I have yet to see a priest adopt the Moslem palms-up gesture or the 'beachball' posture, so presumably these are licit. The same would apply to holding hands, although this doesn't happen over here, and in certain circumstances might constitute assault - what if I'm standing next to a 12-year-old of either sex?

If I'm singing a familiar piece (Asperges, Vidi Aquam, Credo I or III, Pater Noster etc.) I keep my hands by my sides, as this is the best posture for singing. When wearing a blazer my hands are in the pockets, thumbs forward, in the manner of Royal Navy officers in 1950s war movies, played by the likes of Jack Hawkins and Kenneth More. Should anyone try to hold my hand they will be treated to the Anglo-Saxon version of 'noli me tangere'.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the mass shootings, perhaps the media could enlighten us on the background of the parents---were they active churchgoers? Did they monitor their sons' social media? On guns, better background checks? Limits on certain types of weapons and magazines? Why do these things happen here and not in most other countries?

Hopefully there won't be an outcry from death penalty opponents about Texas seeking the death penalty for the El Paso shootings. If ever there was a case for the ultimate penalty being implemented.....

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I think these things happen here for several, interwoven reasons.

The first, and the easiest to change, is the easy availability of guns. Other countries with higher gun ownership rates but with vastly more restrictive gun laws, and whose citizens have the same access to violent movies/video games, don't have this problem.

The second, and more difficult to change, is the inability of many people to deal appropriately with their emotions, especially anger. This arises from inadequate parenting which, in turn, stems from 1) single-parent households, 2) poor parenting in dual-parent households, and 3) the lack of understanding of some parents regarding what their role is with their children. (I heard a quote recently that makes sense to me: "Violence is what we do when we don't know what to do with our emotions.")

The third, and most difficult to address and which stems, itself, from several sources, is the fascination our Western culture, especially in the USA, has with violence. Certainly the acceptance of abortion contributes to this lack of respect for human life. Also, the glorification of violence in many "acceptable" venues, such as some professional sports, is a factor. Personally I think the movies/video games are way down the list of contributing factors, but that is arguable I am sure. Parents who say, "Boys will be boys" when their son is a violent bully are making violence acceptable, in not overtly approved.

America is an adolescent culture in many ways. We carry in our psyche the concept of rugged pioneers toughing it out on the prairies, Western lawmen shooting it out with the Bad Guys, and, just 165 years ago, our own Civil War. As an immature culture, we tend to cling to the concept of violence as a way of life, as a way we MUST live in order to survive.

Marc said...

Fr. Kavanaugh makes excellent points, to which I would add that American society is becoming increasingly hyper-individualized and over saturated with media, particularly social media. Together with those things Fr. Kavanaugh mentioned, I think this leads to individuals undertaking acts of violence based on individual, self-created vendettas, assured of a certain amount of notoriety that they cannot get in any other way.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes all of this is true and not only is social media radicalizing the mentally imbalanced and sad socially disenfranchised including those given highly dysfunctional upbringings in a politically correct society that hates God and God’s laws but we have politicians antagonizing these kinds of people who then react be it the president ‘s vulgarities or the Democrats sanctimony,

Anonymous said...

Democrats complain tha Senate Republicans have held up gun control legislation. Yes and Democrats have filibustered legislation to prohibit late-terms abortions of late. So time for some dealmaking---Mitch McConnell allows gun control legislation to come to a vote, and Democrats vow to allow (not filibuster) restrictions on late-term abortions. Don;t hold your breath on such a deal happening, of course!

TJM said...


The “mature” cultures in Asia and Europe, brought us Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Zedong. I am sick of elitist twaddle. These folks are nuts but don’t lock them up or the ACLU will come after you. Fyi, there are mass killings in Europe and Asia if you care to refresh your memory

Frederick (Fritz) Bauerschmidt said...

The USCCB has weighed in on this. It’s not a sanctioned action.

The USCCB site says "No position is prescribed in the Roman Missal for an assembly gesture during the Lord's Prayer." I don't see how this proscribes anything.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Marc - I have frequently noted the hyper-individualization of our culture here; it is another significant cause for the violence we see.

For the newcomers to the blog: "Habits of the Heart, With a New Preface: Individualism and Commitment in American Life" by Robert Bellah, et al, is the work to which I have often referred.

Article "America's gun culture in charts"

TJM said...


You still haven't educated us on how the "mature" Europeans put mass murderers into power and how mass killings have occured in that "mature" culture. Why run away?

JDJ said...

I agree with FRMJK, Marc and FRAJM about worsening violence in our culture. I do think there is violence in other cultures as pointed out by TJM. But surely we are going to have to do something about our own problems here in the US before we point fingers elsewhere.

TJM said...


Well our culture has become more liberal, less religious, fractured families, coupled with an unhinged and irresponsible academia, media and Hollywood that worships abortion but I am not buying the crap Kavanaugh is peddling about Americans being "immature." The one group in America that is immature are the so-called "elites"that have caused the degradation of American culture, not the average American. Kavanaugh will never explain how mass killings occur in "mature" cultures like Europe and Asia because he either won't address it because he has been trapped in his own ridiculous assertion or is it against the idiotic, liberal narrative. Strange why so many foreigners are trying to bust into "immature" America when "mature" Europe and Asia are there for them to bust into .

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My greatest problem with handhold at Mass is when the priest asks everyone to do so. The other problem is the presumption a layperson has that the person next to them must hold hands.

When asked about this, I recommend only family members or those willing do so. There need not be an unbroken chain of handholding.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

In my former territorial parish which I rarely attended the “liberal” pastor demanded that people cross the aisle to join hands. Needless to say I declined his order and he accused me of “politicizing” the Mass. i am still scratching my head over that statement.

John Nolan said...

Precisely when would the priest ask the congregation to hold hands? The invitation 'praeceptis salutoribus moniti ...' follows immediately after the doxology, and the priest may not interrupt the liturgy or ad-lib at this point.

Thirty years ago I was teaching at a small Catholic secondary school which had a weekly 'school Mass'. On one occasion the (visiting) priest asked everyone, staff and students alike, to hold hands and circle the 'altar' (actually a table in the school library) while saying the Our Father.

I said 'No, that's going too far', and refused to join in. The rest, who were as surprised at the suggestion as I was, meekly complied and played 'ring o' roses'. Thankfully, this was the one and only occasion anyone tried to inflict this nonsense on me.

It has frequently occurred to me that current liturgical practice in most places, far from empowering the laity, actually infantilizes them. The old ICEL 'translation' is a case in point; it assumed that people were semi-literate at best and could not cope with subordinate clauses. Musical settings could not rise above the level of advertising jingles. Postures had to be regimented so that the 'People of God' could proclaim their unity. 'Childlike' and 'childish' are confused.

Anonymous said...

Breakdown of the family----you never hear the Democrats being critical of the "fatherless society" that grips large portions of St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Columbia....Ok, you get the point!

On another front, you usually don't hear in a mass shooting case that the killer was a faithful member of XYZ church, sang in the choir, was a deacon----it would be interesting to compare crime statistics among frequent worshipers versus the "seldom or never" crowd.

Anonymous said...

"Breakdown of the family----you never hear the Democrats being critical of the "fatherless society" that grips large portions of St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Columbia....Ok, you get the point!"

Yet, you hear Republicans and other cultists supporting, defending, and lionizing the Man in the White House who embodies the breakdown of the family, the thrice "married" denier of his need for divine forgiveness, the exemplar of the "seldom or never" crowd.

But that's another front...

TJM said...

Anonymous K,

A member of the party of Clinton and Kennedy has a lot of crust talking about family/marriage

Anonymous said...

"A member of the party of Clinton and Kennedy has a lot of crust talking about family/marriage"

But, you see dear boy, I wasn't talking about Clinton and Kennedy.

I was talking about Trump and those who support him. I can see how you could miss that, though.

Anonymous said...

A thought-provoking post; "The Best Vehicle for Church Renewal and Evangelization".


Anonymous said...

Why is the one priest wearing Mass vestments are a luncheon reception?

Victor said...

Mr Nolan:
"'Childlike' and 'childish' are confused."
You pretty well summarise the Novus Ordo not only as ubiquitously practised in the affluent suburban parishes, but by its very nature as conceived in Sacrosanctum Concilium, a "politicised" work mainly by Josef Jungmann and "dressed up" by Annibale Bugnini so as to appeal to the Council Fathers for a quick favourable vote thereby avoiding discussion above all else which would otherwise reveal its Modernist agenda. If the liturgical reforms are to be founded on "active participation above all else," itself a fanatical Modernist statement, then you can only do so if it suits the lowest common denominator in the congregation.

Anonymous said...

From another thread: Fr. McDonald: "His reception was in our social hall and I asked him to go immediately so he wouldn’t get trapped at the Church. He also offered First blessings at the social hall with the indulgence. He was ordained July 8. Cut him and me some slavk"

Paul McCarthy said...

No one has mentioned the real master of these mass murders. Satan the father of all lies who Our Lord let loose upon the world and his church more then 100 years ago and time is now coming to a close in my opinion so all this babble about this and that is a waste of time. Ever think why all of our lady’s visits have been in the last 150 years or less. Warnings upon warning with none being heeded.

Pray the rosary and pray that Our Lord’s judgement is just for each of us. I’m sick of politics and I’m sick of the anti-church that was birthed the same year of my own birth.

My anger at the sodomites and the pathetically weak shepherds is beyond words. I can no longer pray for their conversion time is up.