With increasing frequency, I hear people saying that, while they prefer the traditional Latin Mass (and attend it when they can), they still attend the novus ordo Mass; generally speaking, it’s easier to get to the new Mass or, in some cases, the people concerned have commitments in their parishes which they are not yet ready or willing to relinquish. Having educated themselves on the Mass controversy, and come to the conclusion that they really ought to be attending the traditional Mass, they are still somewhat (and naturally so) attached to their parish communities. But are they right to continue to attend the new Mass, knowing what they now know? Here’s a short talk on the question of informed Catholics continuing to attend the new Mass…
Imagine the reaction of a judge in any courtroom you care to name, listening to to a defendant accused of any crime, who, while admitting his guilt sought to excuse himself by arguing that he would have “preferred” not to have committed the crime at all, but… Is that a defence? Aren’t we all expected to conform our behaviour to comply with the law, whether road traffic laws or the moral law? Try running a few red lights and telling the court that you’d really have “preferred” not to do so, or excusing the murder of your annoying neighbour by insisting that it really wouldn’t be your first choice of action, your “preference”, but…
Why, then, do we think that it’s OK to swap the new Mass for the traditional Mass when it suits us, spuriously claiming that we “prefer” the traditional Mass, so that’s all right then?
Answer: it’s not. It’s really notall right. God more than “prefers” the traditional Mass; this is the worship that He wants from us, as is clear from the history and tradition of the Church – not to mention the decimation of entire congregations since the introduction of the new Mass in recent years. So, what any of us “prefers” is irrelevant. Goodness, we might “prefer” to spend a couple of hours clap-happy singing in the nearest Pentecostalist church – who cares? “Preference” is irrelevant. Our duty is to give due and true worship to God. We are quite simply not doing that at the new Mass.
If you have some cast iron evidence to the contrary, of course, let’s hear it!
Pope Francis, while he says “we must rediscover the reality of the Sacred Liturgy” also warns against “[looking] back to nostalgic past tendencies or [wishing] to impose them again…” Loosely translated, this seems to be saying, stick with the new Mass, and don’t hanker after the old…
So, it’s maybe time to remind ourselves of what, precisely, he means by “nostalgic past tendencies” and what precisely, he doesn’t want to “impose again”. Take the few minutes necessary to watch the short video below and then share your answers to the two questions below…
Since the liturgy of the Church is directed to God, to offer Him true worship / adoration, do you think He finds the Novus Ordo Missae acceptable and pleasing – does it achieve that central aim ?
How, in God’s eyes, do you think the Novus Ordo Missae compares to the Traditional Latin Mass (see video below)…
“When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.” – St. John Chrysostom(Bishop & Doctor of the Church).
Catholics will please God by holding to true beliefs and correct moral norms. The Mass you attend is secondary…
Editor, Catholic Truth writes…
I keep finding myself in conversations with diocesan Catholics – defined simply as those who attend the new Mass – who consider that being orthodox in doctrine and morals is the most important thing today, not which Mass we attend. The point is always made that, for those brought up in the new Mass, with no alternative, it’s all they have, and therefore, surely the most important thing is to be wholly orthodox, stick to right beliefs and moral norms. When I ask if they go along with ecumenical events, I get a variety of responses tolerant of through to positive about ecumenical activities. To date, I’ve never met with an outright denunciation of ecumenism.
Ditto, these Catholics seldom denounce the false apparitions at Medjugorje, instead focusing on the adherents in their circles who have experienced “conversions” and vocations, including priestly ordinations. All wonderful people.
I’m told too, that “traditionalists” need to stop talking so much about the Mass and focus on God more. Don’t go on the “attack” in conversation with diocesan Catholics right away, to ask if X attends the old or new Mass – speak about God first.
My answers to the above have not been successful in changing hearts and minds. Help!
April 3, 2018 – There is a strange tendency nowadays to think that the external aspects of a thing matter very little, while the “inside” is all that counts. For example: as long as you’re “a good person on the inside,” it doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress, how you speak, what music you listen to, or even (taken to an extreme) what religion you profess.
There is a grain of truth in this view: one’s height or build or skin color, for instance, are not moral qualities; sinners and saints come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. The problem is rather that we are too quick to forget how the outside wells up from within, how it often reveals to us just what is in the heart. A good person will dress modestly, speak respectfully, and listen to music that builds up a noble character instead of assaulting it—and all this, because of dispositions in the heart, invisible to men’s eyes but visible to God’s. The profession of a religion, while obviously done with external words and gestures, is rooted in the deep soil of the soul, and shows outwardly what a man’s most intimate worldview and priorities are.
The great British philosopher Roger Scruton comments:
There is truth in Oscar Wilde’s quip, that it is only a shallow person who does not judge by appearances. For appearances are the bearers of meaning and the focus of our emotional concerns. When I am struck by a human face this experience is not a prelude to some anatomical study, nor does the beauty of what I see lead me to think of the sinews, nerves and bones which in some way explain it. On the contrary, to see “the skull beneath the skin” is to see [merely] the body and not the embodied person. Hence, it is to miss the beauty of the face.
With perfect consistency, therefore, our medieval forebears would never have agreed with the platitude “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” For they spent enormous sums of money on Evangelaries or Gospel books with heavy bindings of gold, silver, and jewels, so that it was perfectly obvious that this book held the very words of God Himself, and deserved our utmost veneration.
The sacred liturgy, too, holds the very words of God—indeed, astonishingly, the Mass holds God Himself, the Word made flesh. It is utterly inconsistent with its inner contentthat the outward form of it should be anything but glorious, majestic, beautiful, solemn, reverent. We should be able to judge this book by its resplendent cover, that is, the Mass by its appearances, musical, textual, ceremonial; we should be able to see the heart in the actions. We should not “miss the beauty of the face.”
Nowadays we hear a lot of emphasis on not paying too much attention to externals in the Mass but just remembering that “Jesus is present.”
To lapse into a bit of slang: Sorry, this ain’t gonna cut it.
Throughout history, Christians have offered the best they can to God in the liturgy, especially the beauty attainable in the fine arts, in order that the souls of worshipers might be better disposed to adore and glorify the Lord. This is the sense in which St. Thomas insists that the liturgy is not for God’s sake but for ours. Of course it is directedto God; there would be no point in liturgy if God did not exist and if Christ were not our Redeemer by whose Sacrifice we are saved.
But the liturgy does not benefit God or Christ, as if making them better; they are already as good, holy, and glorious as they can be. Rather, it benefits us who offer Him the sacrifice of praise, by ordering our souls to Him as our ultimate end, by filling our minds with the truth of His presence and our hearts with the fire of His love. These things are best accomplished by a liturgy that is impressive in its setting and furnishings, gestures and vestures, chants and ceremonies—one that is permeated from start to finish with manifestations of the nearness and otherness of God. A liturgy that is thoroughly sacral will be one that cannot be co-opted for secular purposes but compels the respect, wonder, and prayer of the beholder.
Put simply, man as a creature of intellect and sensation will not be benefited nearly as much by liturgy that is either verbal-cerebral or superficially flashy (as in the circus exhibitions of the Three Days of Darkness in Los Angeles) as he will by liturgy that is packed with rich ceremonial-textual content and saturated with sensuous symbols. This is exactly what all historic Christian liturgies are. Sadly, this is exactly what most contemporary Catholic liturgies are not.
A happy exception would be the growing number of places where the traditional Roman rite or “Extraordinary Form” [Ed: Traditional Latin Mass] is being offered, for this rite is saturated with sacrality and nearly compels one to pray, to go deeper into the mysteries of Christ through the outward appearances, just as the disciples at Emmaus “knew him in the breaking of the bread” (Lk 24:35). The liturgical rite is like bread miraculously multiplied down through all the centuries and placed in front of every king and pauper who seeks the food that will not perish. When we break this bread by entering into the rite, we come to know the risen Christ.
Matthew Schmitz has remarked:
It is amazing that the leaders of a ritual faith imagined that they could dispense with traditional forms of prayer. Among the few elites who saw the folly of this project, most were artists, naturally alert to the way supposedly superficial things can in fact be essential.
In like manner, aphorist Nicholas Davila observed: “When religion and aesthetics are divorced from each other, it is not known which is corrupted sooner.”
For all these reasons, then, a liturgy not only may but must be judged “by its cover,” by appearances—for, as Aristotle says, it is the appearances of a thing that point to its nature and substance. The Catholic Church has to care not only about realities but about appearances. Human beings come to know the truth through their senses; they cannot have concepts without phantasms. In religion, in the encounter with the God-man in His life, death, and resurrection, our senses, memories, imaginations, and emotions play as important a role as our intellects and wills. Source – LifeSiteNews
Report on the Diocese of Middlesbrough, north-east of England…
The new diocesan outreach ministry to the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community has now held its first Masses in York.
Some 60 participants travelled from across the diocese for the first Mass. Catholic members of the LGBT+ community were joined by their families, friends and supporters and Christians from other denominations.
All gathered in the hidden chapel of York’s historic Bar Convent, at the kind invitation of the Sisters of the Congregation of Jesus. It was noted in the words of welcome that the Bar Convent has a long history of offering sanctuary and began its life to support minorities suffering persecution by civil and religious authorities.
The presider at Mass was Father Tony Lester, who is working to establish this ministry in our diocese at the request of Bishop Terry, who sent good wishes for the launch. Father Tony was joined on the altar by Canon John Lumley and Deacon Peter Warren, together with Deacon Nick Baggio, from the Diocese of Leeds.
Mass began with a Litany of Welcome, reminding those present that all people have a place in the Christian community because all belong to Jesus Christ, and it is his table the Church gathers around at the Eucharist. It is God who counts us worthy and the welcome the Church makes visible is God’s welcome to all in Christ.
The readers included a human rights defender from Kenya who is spending six months at the University of York as a “protected fellow”, because as an LGBT activist his life is in danger at home. While in Britain he is learning ways to reduce the risks to his life and to network with fellow human rights defenders.
Sadly, his baptismal and confirmation papers were publicly torn up by his parish priest in Kenya because of the work he was doing. Father Tony acknowledged that for many LGBT+ people their experience of Church is marked by pain. Pope Francis has said this is something for which Christians need to apologise.
After Mass the congregation socialised over refreshments and people shared stories of their journey. Among the experiences shared was that of a young man who stopped attending Mass as a teenager, not because he had lost his faith but because he felt his parish community would not accept him. He was very pleased at the launch of the new ministry, which he felt gave him the opportunity to start attending Mass again.
Those who attended the launch were asked how they would like to see this ministry develop in the future. It was agreed that a Mass with an explicit welcome to the LGBT+ community, families and friends would be celebrated at the Bar Convent on the second Sunday of each month at 3pm. In time, a rotation of priests will preside at these Masses and the community that gathers will develop a broader programme that is spiritual, social and supportive.
In a special issue entitled “It will be the year of Paul VI Saint”, the weekly magazine of the diocese of Brescia,
La voce del popolo, writes that on 13 December, theologians of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints recognized a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope Montini, after a first free go-ahead had been given by the medical consultation of the Vatican Congregation itself. At this point it is necessary that the cardinals of the Congregation and, finally, the Pope express themselves on the same miracle.
The miracle regards the birth of a girl from Verona called Amanda, who in 2014 had survived for months despite the fact the placenta was broken.
Pope Francis beatified his predecessor on 19 October 2014, concluding the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.
“Rumors are so insistent and the next steps so fast to take, that everything indicates 2018 as Blessed Paul VI’s canonization year”, writes the diocesan newspaper of Brescia. The last official stage took place last December 13 in the theological commission. The miracle attributed to the intercession of John Baptist Montini about the healing of a fetus in prenatal age in 2014 was approved. The expectant mother native from Verona, at risk of miscarriage, a few days after the beatification of Montini in Brescia, went to the Sanctuary “delle Grazie”, to pray to the newly beatified Pope.
Subsequently, a child in good health was born. After the doctors and theologians’ recognition, there are still a few more steps to be taken: the passage in the commission of cardinals, the final approval of the Pope and that of the Consistory with the official announcement and the definition of the date. But at this point, it is more than a hope. The month of October could be the right one. From 3 to 28 October in Rome, the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on young people will be celebrated and will gather in the Vatican prelates from all over the world. What better opportunity to canonize in front of such a large portion of the College of Bishops, the other pontiff, after Saint John XXIII of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council? It will most likely take place on one of the first three Sundays of October, even if the most accredited date today seems to be the 21. Indeed, sooner or later, in 2018 Paul VI will be Saint! We praise the Lord to Whom we entrust the year that will come”. Source
Is this yet another questionable canonisation to come – the creator of the new Mass, in fact, a saint? Really? Or is this simply the latest attempt to “canonise” the Second Vatican Council and its scandalous aftermath?