Thursday, 30 June 2011

Time for Novus Ordo Catholics to step up to the mark?

Fr Z's brick by brick philosophy is all well and good except that, in Great Britain it would appear as if the bricks are still in the ground in the form of clay - sticky, claggy and unmalleable, at present at any rate.

First, make your bricks - a slow
 process in England & Wales
Abuses continue to abound in Churches but, apparently, only in those where the Ordinary Form of Mass is celebrated. We don't do liturgical shenanigans in the Extraordinary Form.
The rather wonderful thing is that a large proportion (I estimate) of OF Catholics are as opposed and dismayed by such goings on as the Traditionals.
The trouble is, they labour under a heavy yoke of what they falsely believe is 'obedience'. For 'obedience' read 'do nothing'. Obedience in my book relates to conformity with Rome not to Father Jimmy and his hippy, hippy shake dance at the Offertory.

It seems to me that our OF Catholic brethren turn a blind eye to abuses in the fond hope that they will suddenly disappear. Instead, the bizarre antics become a routine until such time as accepted as the norm.
Back in the 1980s at the height of insurrection in Northern Ireland I had to travel to Belfast on business. My Protestant agent looked after me well showing me the sights (Falls and Shankill Roads) and we had a good pub meal somewhere. He insisted that the bombings and shootings were isolated occurrences that only happened in specific, contained areas and that the troubles did not affect the ordinary man in the street. He was telling me this as we left the pub and walked to his car whereupon he dropped on all fours to check to see if someone had planted a bomb under the vehicle. The bizarre had become so everyday that he had forgotten what was normal.

So what other abuses besides prancing around the sanctuary are there that OF Catholics might make a stand against?
Here are a few for starters, I am sure others might like to add to the list:-

1. Talking before and after Mass
2. Not genuflecting
3. Guitars, flutes and whistles used against the Holy Father's 
4. Kiss of peace where, instead of a manly handshake, people
    embrace, hug and generally behave in a silly fashion
5. Eucharistic Ministers of Holy Communion who give blessings to non
    Catholics presenting themselves at the altar rails
6. EMHCs who undertake the priestly duties of purification of vessels
7. Liturgy of the Word ceremonies
8. Turning the church into a coffee bar after Mass
9. Queuing for Holy Communion while chewing gum
10. Inappropriate dress
11. Ad libs from the priest during Mass
12. Extraneous bits of prayer and ritual added to the Mass
13. Use of a card table as an altar
14. Clapping at any time

I could go on.....but I shan't.
I am very grateful to some good friends with whom we had coffee yesterday. They step up to the mark, they inspired this post.


  1. "I am very grateful to some good friends with whom we had coffee yesterday. They step up to the mark, they inspired this post."

    Oh, for a moment I thought it was me who had inspired you, or rather my comment on your guild post, from yesterday.

    I agree with all your abuse views. I prefer to be left alone in Mass, also no music wouldn't bother me, I can listen to worship music online and post it on my blog to save it.

    I still embrace Mass, however it is celebrated, as long as it's inline with church teaching/authority.

    Actually Richard, I would recommend including blindfolding some 'types' as they enter Mass. Some abuses are done with eyes and ears, not all Novus Ordo preferer's either. We ALL have room in our hearts for improvement in attiudes. Maybe earplugs and gags could be included as perceived neccessary and we could tie up the hands and feet of some(wih a master lock release when knees are needed for kneeling)? Or maybe throw bricks (plastic) at repeat offenders of either side of the liturgical fence (we want to remain impartial obviously)?

    Ok, I'm going a bit over the top maybe...... ;)
    In the meantime, I will pray for your EF wish.

  2. Shadowlands - thanks for your good comment. I think you beat me into submission rather than inspire me :)

  3. All that, plus:

    "Good morning, everyone"
    Mini-homilies before the start of Mass
    Replacing the Confiteor with the priest's own confection
    Preambles to each part of the Kyrie
    Priests coming off the sanctuary to shake hands
    Priests patting non-communicants' heads while distributing Holy Communion
    Anglican hymns replacing Catholic ones
    The OT reading which rarely links in with the Epistle and Gospel
    Lack of preparation which turns a reading into gobbledegook
    Elongated bidding prayers
    Applause for children who show their pictures crayoned during the Children's Liturgy
    Children's Liturgy
    Procession of gifts down the nave
    The crashing of coins as they are emptied into one basket
    Hair-flicking server girls
    Parents who give their toddler sons toy cars to crash into pews and walls
    Chewing the Host
    Sitting down and chatting immediately after reception
    "Bow your heads and ask for God's blessing"
    Talking loudly during the organ voluntary

    I must add that this is a miscellany, although several of the above can be experienced in one parish.
    Time to lie down in a darkened room.

  4. It needs to be said that some of these are not "official" abuses but are things some people do not like. I do not think the use of guitars and flutes has been strictly forbidden - as we will see at Youth Day Masses etc. Also, the Instructions in the Roman Missal (Missa Normativa) allow the priest to use his own words in limited areas. "Bow your heads etc" is part of the Missal and not an invention of the priest etc. I think we need to distinguish between real abuses and things people don't like otherwise it becomes too subjective. There are lots of things I do not like, and some things I do, which are neither innovations not abuses. Just let's be clear about this so we know what we are talking about.

  5. Genty - you overwhelm me, I think I'll have to go and lie down in a darkened room!
    Good list.

  6. Thanks God you don't come to my parish! You would be sick, mainly for the clapping and the dance of kisses and hugs at the same time that the Tabernacle is opened.

  7. I agree with you on a number of these issues - I think it's important to keep the Mass as reverential as possible with Christ as the focus. Our pastor ran a fairly tight parish in regard to your list. Not quite as strict as yours, though :) You can't stand at the door and force people to spit out their gum (lol). Of course, they're not supposed to be chewing it before Communion anyway. They are supposed to fast. Unfortunately, our pastor passed away last week. The Latin Mass has been cancelled for the summer and we don't even know if we'll get it back. I guess it depends on who we get as a new pastor. I attend weekday Mass at another parish and I DO see a few of the items on your list there. But, Richard, to be fair, some of these things happen at the TLM, too. This is usually on the part of the people. After all, no one can control what another person does. OF or EF - let us remember that Jesus looks at the heart of a person attending Mass. Outward reverence is good if it shows the inner reverence of the heart. If this inner reverence is not there, one is no better than the Pharisees that Jesus condemns regardless of whether that person attends the OF or the EF.

  8. Those EMHC's would not appropriate the priest's duties with purifying the vessels if Father wouldn't plant himself in a chair as though exhausted by the act of administering the Eucharist.

    Some of my pet peeves in addition to yours:

    Lay persons who prepare the altar for the offertory as though the priest can't do it himself

    People who do not allow the priest to lead the prayers, such as the Gloria, Creed and Our Father. It makes me want to grab the offender by the shoulders, shake him and yell: "We KNOW you know all the words, now slow down!"

    People who receive Holy Communion and bolt out the door.

    Cantors who can't carry a tune. Don't let me get started on this one.

    Organists who don't pay attention to the offertory and continue to play even though the priest has washed his hands and is about to say "pray brethren".

    Priests who tell jokes in the sanctuary instead of prayerfully preparing themselves and the servers for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    EM's who traipse about the altar and in and out of the tabernacle with the same reverence they'd have getting a snack out of the refrigerator.

    Ushers who smack their friends on the back as they're getting out of the pew to go to Communion and chat with people they know who are on their way back from having just received the Lord.

    I do have one pet peeve concerning the TLM btw. There are two people in my parish who have deluded themselves into believing they can sing. For some reason, they seem to think they should sing at twice the volume the schola does,which is a problem when they race through the chants rather than letting the schola lead. The faithful are invited to sing some of the chants with the schola. They are never invited to sing louder than the schola, but you'd never know it listening to these two. It's the one time during the TLM when I'm tempted to have uncharitable thoughts. Hey, at least we HAVE a schola and a TLM. I should be embarrassed to even complain, right?

  9. TLW - and Uncles who hug you before Mass :)

    Mary - I am sure some of these things must happen at a TLM from time to time but I've never witnessed them. We can, on certain occasions, charitably admonish those who transgress. I recently visited a famous church where a male tourist wandered around wearing a hat. I politely asked him to remove it and he did.

  10. Catholics - be proud of the wonderful heritage you have! As a recent convert who had to flee from a liberal RCIA to the joy of 'old fashioned' instruction at the Oxford Oratory, I want to encourage my recently acquired brethren to be a sign of contradiction. You don't convert the world by aping it.

  11. You got it, Anthony. Welcome aboard!

  12. Could you point me to where the Holy Father talks about guitars? I recently did a post about guitars being a no-no in the Mass (a follow up to a post about applause being a no-no in the Mass) and got quite the back-lash. Funny being that I'm a convert from low-church protestantism.

    What most don't understand is that as the liturgy goes so goes East-West reunification. Or as Father Z. says, "Save the Liturgy, Save the World."

  13. Brent - I saw it on an American blog recently, I will research it and report back.
    Many of our best and strongest Catholics are converts.