Sunday, August 15, 2021




1. Sloppiness and casualness—go to your average ordinary form Mass and you will find priests in wrinkled albs, polyester chasubles and altar servers who are clueless. 

2. Music can be dismal and a throwback to the Saint Louis Jesuits (most no longer active Jesuits or clergy) Ray Carey and Kumbaya. 

3. There is no sense of reverence in the congregation before Mass, during and after. The dress of the laity is a cut above what one might find at a Banana’s baseball game in Savannah. 

4. There is no consistency of the quality of the manner in which the Mass is celebrated not only from diocese to diocese, parish to parish, but from Mass to Mass in the same parish and from priest to priest. 

5. The sanctuary is cluttered, flowers and plants hide the ambo and altar and the altar looks like a casket covered in a pall that is to small for the casket. 

But apart from that, the real presence is experienced ex-opere-operato. Which means in English: We have hit rock bottom.


TJM said...

Father McDonald,

I agree with all you have stated. I remember belonging to a parish where the dictator pastor (a "liberal") said they were introducing a teen Mass and announced, quite proudly, it would be "loosey goosey" as if that was something to be proud of. Well, the teens did not respond and loosey goosey went away after a few months.

Here is a quote I think you will find interesting:

"The motu proprio Tantrum de Custodibus appears to be nothing more than a desperate attempt to mandate the growth of the NO — if the bad-traddies are growing, I’ll make them come to the new mass and then the new mass will grow. There is clearly not ONE calorie exerted toward anything like introspection, considering evidence, drawing rational conclusions, or listening for the voice in the night or the whisper after the storm. Nope, but those so disposed see justification to outlaw ANYTHING that might be derived from the older form … well where does that stop, and how do you say with a straight face that this isn’t ironclad proof of a new religion, not merely a “pastoral council”?

Father Cory Sticha said...

Oh, but Father, don't you know those are features, not bugs? A musician in my diocese was positively offended by the mere suggestion of replacing hymns for the entrance procession and communion with sung psalms with antiphons, like a Responsorial Psalm. This wasn't even speaking of chant, just putting the psalms to music. That was beyond the pale, but she was so proud of the fact their parish used hymns written as recent as 2015!

Fr Martin Fox said...

I will point out, yet again, that most people do not like the Missal of 1970, especially those who claim to be it's ardent supporters. Witness how many self-described "Vatican II" priests (note: I am a Vatican II priest, but they would shudder at the thought, as well as my cassock) cannot abide the Mass of Paul VI as it is, but rather must tinker, adapt, adjust, omit and re-arrange? The prayers aren't right, so they have to be re-arranged; the Gloria cannot stand alone, they must overlay it with a sprinkling rite. The proper antiphons prompt a reaction akin to garlic for a vampire. Using Latin texts for the ordinary parts, as called for by (a) Vatican II, (b) Pope St. Paul VI, (c) Pope St. John Paul II, (d) the U.S. bishops? UNTHINKABLE! Instead, let's "improve" the 1970 Missal with processions of athletic trophies arranged before that table up there -- what's that for? (i.e., the altar of sacrifice), let's take the tablecloth and candles off the table and have the kids dress it at a certain point, and let's have the sign of peace be "improved" by handing out roses or whatever... Oh, and let's have people stand around that table, that'll really make it work better, too...

There aren't many who actually like the 1970 Missal as it is. Oh, some exist, but not many.

TJM said...

Father Fox,

Spot on! Do you think some of these priests are narcisstic?

Fr Martin Fox said...


Sure, but to be fair, priests, like others, can be extroverts (I don't pretend to be expert on personality types); we get energy from being with other people, from drawing reactions when we tell a story or whatever. This is normal, so I think the way Mass has tended to play out for many decades tends to feed this. Lots of priests simply don't know anything different: they grew up with priests who operated this way, it was their normal, and then when they entered the seminary, they may well have been encouraged to emulate the example of these warm, engaging pastors who manifested so much compassion and empathy and so forth. Realize, also, that this sort of thing is well received by so many; so it seems to "work" as a pastoral strategy.

John said...

The quality of the music is as good as Father wants to have it. The musicians are not liturgists. Maybe a few have some acquaintanceship with it but most are just piano players without a gig in the neighborhood bar. In that case it would be better to have Mass without music or just sing a cappella. Why not? Most NO Masses would be better without the piano music they have now.

Ultimately, our bishops need to act. That they do not is a shame. Beautiful chant music sells like hot cakes bought up by young music connoisseurs. Of course they do not care about the words but they find the melody inspirational.

ByzRus said...

Agree. The sooner the powerbase of the hierarchy grows up and accepts it, the sooner a solution might materialize. If they are reading this as you do seem to attract readers from overseas: Grow up already. Yes, you!

John Nolan said...

Musicam Sacram (5 March 1967) was issued under the heading 'Second Vatican Ecumenical Council' so can be seen as a Council document. The Instruction has not been superseded and although it contains certain elements which are now in practice obsolete, and is in parts confused and contradictory, it is the musical framework for the Novus Ordo.

Its preface defines sacred music to include Gregorian Chant, sacred polyphony both 'ancient' and modern, instrumental music (organ and other 'approved' instruments) and finally 'sacred popular music be it liturgical or simply religious.'

This last category could cover everything from negro spirituals to Harry Belafonte singing 'Mary's boy child'. Kumbaya would certainly make the list, and 'approved instruments' (approved by whom?) would presumably include the pianoforte.

The Instruction reiterates SC's injunction that Gregorian Chant should have 'first place' as being proper to the Roman liturgy, but only in the context of a Mass sung in Latin, which narrows things down quite considerably.