Friday, 11 January 2013

Mass - in a variety of "styles"

We all know don't we that there are more than two types of Mass?

And I don't mean Low Mass, High Mass, Solemn High Mass and so on. 

I mean that you can visit virtually every Catholic Church in the land and have a unique one off experience of 'Holy' Mass.

You can have the warm welcome at the foot of the altar sort of Mass:

"Good morning class everyone and how are we today?"

You can have the 'informal' type of Mass where, every so often, the priest pauses to make an aside:

"I don't think that was very clever of St Basil was it?"

or, even:

"You wait till you hear this bit" nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

You can have a sort of half sung Mass where the priest lets rip with variations on Purcell, or is that Persil?

"Glory to God, glory to God, glory to Go-oood on the Hi-------gheeeest"

You can even experience a sort of a Latin Mass where the priest dodges and dives between the vernacular and the Latin (and if his Spanish Auntie is in the congregation you may even get a Beso of Paz or two.)

It's all so

When once we could travel the world and still participate and comprehend the Mass we now can't even travel from Birmingham to Bradford and understand the prancings and the poutings that take place.

St Joseph's church in New Malden, has got a very busy website, so busy, in fact, that it makes you feel a bit funny if you look at it for longer than 3 seconds.

One of the messages it puts across is as follows:-

"If you're new to the parish, or just interested in Catholicism, your best first step is to come to Sunday Mass and experience the varied "styles" at 9.30am, 11.30am and 5.30pm - you'll be handed our weekly Sunday Bulletin with reflections and news".

There you are. 

"Styles" of Mass. Unbelievable. And the text, in many parts, is just totally at sea as far as grammar goes.

That's Nu-Church for you, just not my style at all.


  1. Very entertaining stuff! Thanks for posting.

    Yes I recognise most of the styles you mention. At one church, we get a mixture of old and new English translations. Usually we get the latter, but the wording in the collects is habitually rearranged. For "us men"? No, just "us". And perhaps most strikingly of all, "pro multis" still gets the 1973 treatment.

    Various other norms are casually swept aside as the preferences of the priest dictate.

    Still it is Holy Mass. I don't know what the angels think but they are there and so Christ becomes.

  2. And the beat of the "spirit" of Vatican II drum goes on. Anyone interested in our beautiful Catholic faith is best served by attending a Latin Mass. There, one will find the Mass that nourished so many saints.

  3. Actually I think you are being rather unfair here. St joseph's New Malden is one of the most faithful and orthodox parishes in the diocese, in fact in the country. Have you visited or are you basing your piece on the their webpage? Amongst other things the Parish priest is a Trustee and Director of the Catholic Truth Society (CTS) and Chairman of its Editorial Board, one of the founding Conveners of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and hosts many of their meetings, is in partnership with Maryvale who run the Maryvale Catechist Programme there. As to the style the 11.30am Sunday Mass is solemn sung Latin. Every Mass is celebrated strictly according to the rubrics, often ad orientem. Fr Tim Finnegan- Hermeneutic of Continuity describes the church- 'the beautiful and well-kept Church of St Joseph's New Malden.' I agree that in many parishes one has to suffer appalling liturgical abuses, not at St Joseph's.

  4. Marianne, I'm sorry that you think that I am being unfair to St J's. I have not visited this church, my comments are aimed at the wording on their website.
    I do not think one should have "styles" of Mass.
    If Fr Tim Finnegan commends the church then it must have much that is good but not in "styles" of Mass.

  5. I agree with you Richard.