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First Mass With the New Missal: Vatican II Not Eradicated

I was visiting my childhood parish of Christ the King on Long Island tonight and just returned from the Saturday evening anticipated Mass. Guess what? The Mass went on with its elegant language and there were no riots! No complaining among the faithful. A little bit of enthusiastic instruction and a few people forgetting to look at their sheets here and there. But the priest knew his parts perfectly. The achievements of Vatican II did not vanish and people understood the words, no matter what some of the professional-naysayer liturgical intelligentsia were saying would happen. (Remember those riots in South Africa?) Aside from the slight novelty of a few new words and the reminders at the beginning of Mass, the new texts were hardly a distraction at all to active participation. And to an attentive listener, they were a rich source of theology.

However, here's what was a distraction to active participation in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in all of its eschatological dimensions, new texts or not:

1. Mass opening with the suggestion that we turn to our neighbor and introduce ourselves.
2. The show-tune style Kyrie accompanied by a piano and a cantor singing like a Broadway soloist with arms stretched wide and a big grin.
3. The mother in front of me giving animal crackers to her over-the-age-of-first-Communion daughter and assisting in her breaking the Communion fast.
4. The permanent deacon leaving the sanctuary and pacing back and forth in the front aisle, preaching for 13 minutes and never once mentioning the Gospel reading from the Mass.
5. More piano-accompanied Broadway-style singing during Communion complete with a wide wavy vibrato and vocal scooping.
6. The general roar of conversation in the church after Mass with no interest at all in reverent silence.

Praise God that we have elegant and elevated new texts. But they were almost forgotten among the mundane, the un-liturgical and the just plain tacky. Much work remains to be done in implementing the riches of the Council.
How'd it go in your parish?

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32 comments:

Toma Blizanac said...

Riches of the Council?

Michael Anaya said...

It went by pretty much the same at my neighborhood parish. Especially the "touchdown" gestures and Broadway music. Only difference was that the priest gave a pretty good homily on the gift of salvation and on the meaning behind "for many" in the new translation. While the texts of the Mass and the homily were very beautiful, everything else was just sort of distracting. Sometimes going to Mass seems like doing penance for me.

Mindy Goorchenko said...

Haven't gone yet but Archbishop Schwietz here in Anchorage, AK took this opportunity to change the norms back to kneeling post-Holy Communion and to limit the time spent during the Sign of Peace, etc.

Here is a post with related links.
http://thedevoutlife.blogspot.com/2011/11/advent-has-arrived-and-mass-changes-are.html

Peterk said...

the outstretched hands, the over the top singing (did they fail the audition at the Holiday Inn?)and the meet and greet are just a few of the annoying parts of the post-V2 Mass that I find most annoying. Meet and greet each other after Mass in the vestibule or outside. that was the way pre-V2.As for the songs face it Catholics can't go gospel music, stick to the traditional songs,let the evangelical Protestants try the new songs. I'm just glad to see the pendulum swinging back

Anonymous said...

1. Mass opening with the suggestion that we turn to our neighbor and introduce ourselves...after a person has to climb over them for a seat, it is really hard to feel welcome.
2. The show-tune style Kyrie accompanied by a piano and a cantor singing like a Broadway soloist with arms stretched wide and a big grin.The saloon is down the street.
3. The mother in front of me giving animal crackers to her over-the-age-of-first-Communion daughter and assisting in her breaking the Communion fast...instead of instilling the reverence and awe due to the King of Kings, God of the world and Holy Redeemer, an exercise in the metaphysical.
4. The permanent deacon leaving the sanctuary and pacing back and forth in the front aisle, preaching for 13 minutes and never once mentioning the Gospel reading from the Mass. Purgatory.
5. More piano-accompanied Broadway-style singing during Communion complete with a wide wavy vibrato and vocal scooping. Revelry because our golden calf...??
6. The general roar of conversation in the church after Mass with no interest at all in reverent silence. Irreverent, rude, inconsiderate. Turning one's back to the Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle and in our bodies for the twenty or so minutes Our Lord stays with us in the Host. Parking one's butt on the back of the pew with one's back to the altar and tabernacle. If Christ turned His back to us in the same way...
Let me add: The Kiss of Peace, the priest leaving Jesus on the altar to offer the peace of Christ to the guy in the back pew might be compared to being introduced to the Queen of England, leaving her there and running out to shake hands with the taxi cab driver who brought us. Get the Real Presence.
Jesus Christ is a PERSON.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Yes, the women with dresses bare to the back and black nail polish. Unless there are no more living breathing males, women in the sanctuary are truly missing their vocation, which would be bringing men into the sanctuary. Disrespect by any other word.

Anonymous said...

Because of the big word "consubstantiation" in the Creed, and probably no one knowing what it meant the priest substituted the Apostles Creed instead. No explanation of the meaning of "consubstantiation" (a good homily subject??), no instructions to go home and learn what it means. Most of the parishioners used the old wording, either in defiance or being oblivious to instruction, the missals and the pew cards. Not a big difference, as the priest told us.

elm said...

Oh yeah, who composed the Broadway Gloria?, Sanctus?, Acclamation?, etc. Is he a practicing Catholic? When does the scantily dressed gals in the chorus line come in and really get us worked up?

Lord have mercy on your Church.

Joe W. said...

Anonymous 10:25: the word is "consubstantial" not "consubstiation." Consusbstantial means "of one substance" with the Father... a good theological idead. Consubstantiation was a doctrine of Martin Luther about the Eucharist.

Anonymous said...

Just got home from mass. No riots, protesters, or even confusion. I attend a pretty average parish.

Anonymous said...

I love the new translation. The only stumbling at my parish was that a few forgot the "and with your spirit" a few times. I am a bit of a language and grammar geek, but I have to say that I loved the new wording in the Eucharistic Prayer. It is both beautiful and pleasing to the ears.

NOW, let's get down to doing something about the dreadful state of music! Anyone know if such an overhaul is coming down the pike?

~Elodie

Steve said...

I'm stuck at my in-laws' parish for the Thanksgiving Weekend. I'm not sure if I can bring my family back.

The priest started out by welcoming us to the first Sunday of Advent as we "lurch back to the 16th century" to applause from the congregation. Most of the people around me snickered and complained every time something new was said. The priest also mentioned that "we" don't agree with the theology of the new translation and that we'd say the Apostles Creed because we "all" agree with it.

Sadly, I spent the Mass angry and was in no shape to receive our Lord.

What do I do in a case like this? I don't want to go back, but if we don't, my in-laws will scream at us.

Dirtdartwife said...

Ours has been practicing for over a month now so most people have gotten it, even without the help cards. Some people seem to refuse to use it (or just plain forget). I actually struggled with trying to figure out the Missle as I've never had to actually "use" one beyond the readings (there were no more cheat cards left by the time I got there and the cheat cards were VERY straight forward)

Katie Steiner said...

I'm from a parish much like this one, and encounter the same distractions whenever we visit my parents and attend Mass together.

Now we live in a very small more traditional parish and distractions (although somewhat present) are kept to a minimum. Many of the congregation had trouble following the help cards, and Father stumbled a little as well. But we did pretty good for our first time!

Anonymous said...

Since I vaguely remember the NEW responses which are actually the correct ones, I did not have any trouble with that. I watched the Mass on EWTN and it actually to my great surprise brought tears to my eyes to hear these new words the priests use, I had not shed any tears during any Novus Ordo Mass but I did during the last Latin Mass that was broadcast on the network 2 years ago. The deacon used inclusive language though.

Kowalski Jones said...

No grumbling, snark, or heads exploding at our parish. I wonder if the same grumblers at change in the Holy Mass were shouting "Change! Yes we can!" a couple of years ago. I smiled at the wisdom of the new translation as I saw the connection between a key phrase in the opening prayer and a phrase in the first reading.
Each "And with your spirit" was delivered by our congregation with great gusto.

Anonymous said...

Joe W., I posted "Consubstantiation" not "ConsubstIATION" (as long as we are in nitpicking mode). I completely throw myself on the mercy of the readers for my writing the wrong form of the word that is in the Creed, in case anyone else was wondering. Mea Culpa. I do know what "consubstantial" means. The point was the priest used it for an excuse to use the Apostles Creed instead, probably because it is shorter and a petty way of wiggling out of using the new translation.

John said...

Our parish is what I would consider a conservative, by-the-book, midwestern parish. Always proper vesture, no guitar Masses, no meet-n-greets at the beginning of Mass. Our pastor has just returned from a 3 month sabbatical to Rome and clearly, was a bit under-prepared at the Saturday evening vigil Mass. He chose to concelebrate with our VERY rubrically-correct young assistant. Monsignor and the young assistant were on point with all the Propers (but a little deliberate). The Eucharistic Prayer (III) was slow, but completely correct. Chanting was at a minimum. The people messed up a few "And with your sprirts" but there were no riots and no major slips. The "through my faults," "I believes," "consubstantial," "under my roofs" all went well. The only major flub was in the final blessing when Monsignor reverted to the older form, stopped himself and started over. That was all. I agree with most, our music needs work. Introits and Communion Antiphons would be refreshing. Baby steps. I just wonder if the aging hippie, leftist-voting, youth-guitar-group-founders in the congregation were rolling their eyes at the new translation as much as we all have rolled ours at the "old new" translation and it's associated abuses, for the past 42 years ... ?

Dymphna said...

What did you expect. The Church is in a mess. An accurate translation of the Mass is not going to change anything overnight.

CS said...

"Consubstantiation was a doctrine of Martin Luther about the Eucharist."

Minor quibble: While Luther taught that the bread and wine remain with the body and blood of Christ, he rejected Aristotelian categories of explanation, and so asserting that Luther taught "consubstantiation" would not be technically incorrect.

CS said...

"would not be technically incorrect"

Oops, I meant to say "would not be technically correct."

Anonymous said...

What is all the hub bub about, anyway?

Most of the people did not use the provided missalettes. On a couple of occasions the priest stumbled through the "new" words. The priest, pointedly, directed the people to each page as Mass progressed, when a response of the congregation was expected. All in all things went as could be expected. Yawn!

I do not see how any of this is going to help the Church. Yes, all the reasons......da, da, da, why this or that is good or bad, are just...tiring.

Without pastors and bishops who actually address serious wrongs, generally and in specific cases(especially when their intercession is sought), with canonical sanctions and public defense of such actions, the decay will continue. These men do not care and this behavior IS the fruit of VATICAN II.

In the Church in America, this is just not happening and does not seem likely to happen.
It is terribly disheartening but it is difficult to expect much response from a body that is dying, albeit, in slow motion.



Karl

Wendi said...

In our parish it went wonderfully. For those wondering what the fruits will be...it depends on the parish priest.

Some will use this opportunity to overhaul the music (we have already started this process) and restore a sense of the sacred to the space (go talk in the narthex or the social hall).

Some will grudgingly use the new translation and "get around" it whenever possible.

In the long run however, the elevated language will help those who want to reform the reform.

For the person who asked about overhauling the music...There is a great group of musicians that are all over it. http://musicasacra.com/

For Steve who doesn't want to go back...if you have children you might want to consider braving the screaming of your in-laws. IMO it's a better option than having vulnerable children exposed to dissent and heresy. Easier said than done I know...from personal experience. But in the long run...oh so worth it. Which I also know from personal experience.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much a mess here. In addition to the pure garbage of introducing ourselves to those around us and way too much time spent at the sign of peace, the profination of the Eucharist continues with both species of communion being distributed by a flock of EEMs almost larger than the amount of people in the pews - REMEMBER that both Species was suppoed to have ended with the indult that was pulled in 2005 - and also the typical Deacon homily of ten plus minutes talking about nothing as usual.

debval said...

We had a guy who laughed multiple times during the Mass because some people forgot to look at their booklet when responding. My favorite part was the mother behind us looking at her son and in a very load voice say "roof? Why would we say the word roof during Mass?" I wanted to turn around and tell her where in scripture the response came from but decided to continue to prepare myself to receive our Lord.

Anonymous said...

I want to make a comment about the hand shaking. At our church we do it before the opening song begins. I am not sure when your greeting happens but that is when our is.

Let me premise my comments that I am very conserative in my views when it comes to the church and while I understand what people are saying about the handshaking, I want to post another view.

I had left the church for several years and when I finally came back, I went to a church that did not shake hands and did not do a lot to make people feel welcome. It was very strigent and it did not do much to make a person feel welcome. I attended that church several times and never was able to feel like i had a place in it. So I thought that I would try another church and that is when I found my current church. You know what drew me to it, it was the handshake. I felt welcome and that meant the world to me. I have since come back to the church and I am a very active member of it. It was through that church that I have met many wonderful people and I am currently discerning a vocation. To tell you the truth, I am not sure if it had not been for the handshake, if I would have come back to the church and started the process of learning more about my faith. I agree that people can take it too far but before we condemn it, take into consideration the people that it welcomes back to the church. I think that this idea that we cannot look at others, acknowledge others while at Mass because it would be wrong can be taken a little to far because sometimes people just need a little encouragement so that they can return to God and the Catholic Church. I know that I did and look at what it did for me; I am Catholic who loves God, loves my faith, and loves my church. God welcoms everyone and maybe we should try to do the same especially at church. We need to God's light for others.

CQ

Fr Bill P said...

Our bishop mandated that every parish use the chant tone for the Mass parts. No Broadway here:) I went over the 'and with your spirit', the confetior, the preface dialog, and the "lord I am not worthy' before Mass; the musicians did one more run through of the Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Memorial Acclamation. I also chanted the opening and closing collects and we chanted the Our Father. All in all, things went well.

Anonymous said...

"The achievements of Vatican II"... really?

Anonymous said...

These ARE the riches of the Council. A good translation of a terrible liturgy is still a terrible liturgy.

Blackrep said...

I was shocked by silence, a lovely new polyphony choir, Advent hymns and a solid homily. Thought briefly that I'd died and was the last to know.

Anonymous said...

It went very smoothly at my parish thanks to the recent ramping up of catechesis and rehearsal.

Dave

Sophia's Favorite said...

Luther rejected Aristotelian categories along with the rest of reason; the thing he's describing is consubstantiation, whether he had the brains to admit it or not.

If some half-educated savage is telling you about the wind, his superstitious rejection of science doesn't change the fact that he's talking about a pressure differential caused by differential heating of air.

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