25 June 2007

How Was Your Lunch?

Scene: Local Restaurant at lunch time

(Three traditional Catholic friends eat lunch and discuss the past weekend's activities)

How was your weekend?

Fun. The lake was really beautiful. Just got back this morning.

Looks like you got a sunburn.

Little bit.

What did you do for Mass on Sunday-- is there a traditional Mass up there?

Nah, I had to do the N.O.

Ouch, that's rough. Was it bad?

Sorta. The priest who celebrated Mass had everybody turn and greet each other after the entrance procession.

You're kidding! After the procession?

I think I would have walked out-- nah, I guess I would have stuck it out.

Where else could she go?

And almost everyone bowed to the tabernacle when they came in. One family genuflected, though.

Well that makes it O.K., then. Any dancers?


There you go. Did you kneel for communion?

No, I thought about it. But the priest was a bit surprised when I received on the tongue.

Cool, no Eucharistic "ministers"?

Nah, there were the usual eighty or so. (chuckles).

Were they wearing their dress sweatpants?

No sweatpants. But the cantor wore a suit with sandals and socks.

Ugh. Weird.

Did Father have one of those polyester table cloth chasubles?

Sure did.

Wow. I had a seminarian friend point out something about those I hadn't thought of-- not only are they unattractive, they're impractical.

How so?

Well, they have all those chalices and decanters with the Precious Blood on the altar now, and the poor priest is wearing this huge robe with enormous flowing sleeves trying to maneuver them all.

Wow. Never thought about that.

Did people give you weird looks because of your veil?

No, I wore a hat.

Modernist. (smirks)

Very funny.

Let me guess-- Gather Us In; Here I Am, Lord; Table of Plenty; and Let Us Build the City of God?

Almost-- you got the last one wrong.

Sing a New Song?


(collective shudder)

Man, I can't go back. I just can't.

Me neither. Wait, Paul's wedding's coming up.

Yeah, I forgot.

(collective shudder)

Is that Motu Proprio out yet?

Scene fades to black........


Anonymous said...

Nice. Excellent post.

One bone of contention, however:

I'm always surprised when the
trad-crowd (and sometimes NO'ers)
talk about "walking out of a
Mass." Such an act would be
extremely disrespectful to God
and His Church.

Also, you're taking quite a
gamble, as no one ever knows
when the last Mass they attend
will be. Tomorrow is a promise
to no one, after all.

So, I'm a trad, I like trads, I
like the TLM, I'll attend the NO
if I must, and I think that
things would be nicer if the
NO folks simply realized that
their personal spin on things
could be done in other places
besides the Mass. Having one
big sing-song jamboree with
electric guitars and clown suits
would actually be rather fun
***AFTER*** Mass. I'd definitely
go if there were cookies and cake

Also: I like the Seinfeld
reference, and I like the post.
I'm not trying to pick a fight.
I just sometimes wish the trads
were more friendly and
charitable. Hearing the "did
you walk out?" question always
sounds so grating and horrible
to me. It puts me on my guard,
as I'm not sure exactly who I'm
talking to anymore


Steve said...

Earl --

I agree with you for the most part, as I think most trads are far too ready to find an excuse to walk out of an N.O.

However, I do believe there is a line at which one should leave. I mean, if the priest read aloud from a pornographic novel during his homily, you would leave, right?

thetimman said...

Earl, great comment. I actually seriously considered adding a postscript to the post just to remind everyone that it was intended to be humorous and not to be uncharitable. In the end I decided not to, thinking the post was obviously satirical.

And the fact that the conclusion of the speaker in the post who asked whether the friend had walked out was that no, you had to stay, was no accident.

So, I agree with the essentials of the post, but you would agree, I assume, that liturgical abuses could be so bad as to create an obligation to walk out. Not in the case discussed, of course. But if the priest allowed a Hindu priest to give the sermon and he stated that all religions were the same, or if during the consecration the priest said, " this is symbolic of my body, which our faith makes real when we eat it", you could be sinning simply by staying put and giving tacit approval.

Just a matter of degree.

The conversation posted is a rough paraphrase of a real conversation, and I remember thinking at the time that it is a fairly common tale to talk over the abuses we see nearly every time we have to go to a novus ordo Mass. Not the promulgated Mass, as you know, but the one people actually get most of the time.

Even when the rubrics are more or less followed, the music is almost uniformly insipid.

Thanks again for the thoughtful comment.

kris said...

I have a question. For those of us raised on and who only know the NO mass how do you feel about our acceptance of it? I have been on some traditional catholic blogs where they seem to be hostile towards those of us who just accept the mass as is. I would gladly adjust to the original mass and the traditions of the past but do most traditionalists feel a commitment to the "old mass" is required of a good Catholic if they want to truly be a GOOD Catholic? I guess what I'm asking is do traditionalists think it's possible to be both a good Catholic and a regular attendee of the NO mass?
With genuine love and curiousity - Kris

thetimman said...

Kris, thanks for the comment. You raise a question, some parts of which are probably capable of different answers depending on the traditionalist you talk to. However, regardless of the type of
"mainstream" traditionalist (including SSPX attendees), no one denies the validity of the novus ordo. By the same token, regardless of type of traditionalist, all agree that the traditional Mass has not been abrogated. While true that there are varying degrees of antipathy or acceptance of the way the novus ordo is, or can be, celebrated, it is helpful to begin with those two facts.

As for the answer to your questions, let me give you my perspective as one who attended the novus ordo for about 37 years before fully embracing traditional Catholicism, and who attends an oratory of the Institute of Christ the King. While I would rather have always had access to the traditional Mass and sacraments, at least the path I took gives me some insight on the novus ordo side from the perspective of the "conservative", sincere, faithful Catholic there.

At that time I would have considered myself an orthodox, conservative Catholic. I tried to follow the teachings of the Church as I understood them. A sinner, obviously, but I was comfortable with the idea that I was on the right side of things in the fight to preserve the faith from those liberals who disobeyed the Pope, etc.

In my opinion, the root of the problem with this position lies in the fact that for most of us Catholics raised post-Vatican II, there is a real dichotomy between the intellectual assent of faith to the teachings of the Church and the way in which we express this faith in our sacramental worship of God. This was lived out, practically speaking, by suffering through the novus ordo Masses celebrated time and again with greater or fewer liturgical abuses, and with abuses more or less serious. Yet at the same time, I tried to learn about the Church's teachings, stay loyal to the Pope as I saw others defy him, and defend the teachings of the Church as I knew them.

It was only after much study and investigation into traditional Catholicism, especially the Mass, that I realized that even the most reverently celebrated novus ordo Mass falls far, far short of the beauty and truth of the traditional Mass. Not simply as a matter of taste, but objectively. I can't possibly in this venue give all of the reasons for this, but I believe it firmly.

In any event, the traditional Mass has become integral to my Catholic faith, in belief and practice. I know that the paraphrase of St. Prosper is often quoted, but I have found it to be true: Lex orandi, lex credendi. The law of prayer is the law of belief. We should pray as we believe, and we will end up believing as we pray.

As the novus ordo possesses some level of ambiguity at least, many Catholics have embraced ambiguous beliefs. Again, this way too simple a generalization, but the Church has clearly been in the throes of a crisis of faith for some time.

So, long answer to a short question-- I think that one can be a faithful Catholic in the novus ordo world. It is just tougher. Not because YOU aren't good enough, but the new sacramental forms aren't as good. It seems harsh to say, but I can't think of a different way to say it. I encourage you to learn about tradition and the Mass. A very good place to begin is the fisheaters website, linked on the right of the blog. There is a ton of apologetics and other helpful info there.

Don't be alarmed if some traditionalists seem less understanding-- most are quite charitable. There are cranks on both sides of this question. Many of my "n.o." friends have come on over, but many are just as intolerant and judgemental as the stereotypical traditionalist they would warn you about.

God bless you. I will keep you in my prayers.

paramedicgirl said...

That was fun to read. I'm who has to attend the NO. It's either that or nothing. I don't prefer nothing, even though an SSPX priest recently told me it's better to not attend the NO than to go to one. Doesn't help their cause much when they do that, does it?

All you have easy access to the TLM and especially to the ICRSS should be thanking God every day for His generosity to you.

kris said...

Thank you for your patience and your charity. I have to admit I was actually a little scared to post a comment/question. I am happily relieved now. - Kris

Anonymous said...

Tim, Steve, everyone;

Thanks for the discussion. Yes,
I tend to agree that there are
limits to what I would accept in
a Mass. I've traveled the
country a great deal, and I've
attended TLM and NO Masses all
over the country. I'm probably
the most well-traveled trad out
there, and so I speak from that

So, after attending Masses all
over the place, I have to say
that I never walked out of a Mass.
I felt like doing so on occasion;
but since I understand the
supreme eternalness of the things
around me, I stay put. And
suffer. I simply can't summon
sufficient feelings of personal
affrontery needed to walk out of
a Mass -- a thoughtful
acknowledgement of my sins keeps
me from ever doing so.

If a Hindu priest were brought in
and given a chance to speak, I
would probably get extremely upset,
but if the Host was still going
to be consecrated by a Roman
Catholic priest, I'd probably still
stay. But that would be the last
time I'd ever attend that priest's
Mass. There's a lot of pride and
Me-Too-ism going on in the NO
these days, and frankly speaking,
it's rather sad to watch.

But then, it's also extremely
difficult to be around some of the
trads. I've discovered that the
pride and Me-Too-ism doesn't
disappear just because the Mass
is a TLM. I recently had one of
our altar 'boys' (old man, really)
walk up to me and condemn me for
not opening my mouth wide enough
when receiving the Host. (Yes,
I'm telling the truth).

He approached me while I was
*kneeling in prayer,* and talked
to me for at least fifteen
minutes about me not opening my
mouth wide enough. When I made
it perfectly clear to him that I
a form of TMJ (messed-up jaw bones
and tendons -- that sort of thing)
precluded me from opening my mouth
very wide, he disbelieved me and
proceeded to *examine my mouth to
see what the problem was.*

So, the point I'm making here is
rather important. Prideful
arrogance isn't just an NO thing.
From my life experiences, I'll
tell you right now that if the
TLM were such that the laity had
the simple role of walking into
Church, and sitting in a perfectly
dark room without speaking to one
another, there are characters out
there that would start to put a
personal spin on things. A Room
Boss would be appointed in most
churches; and there would be Room
Boss Assistants who would make
sure that the Room Boss was
comfortable, and that the 'people'
kept their mouths shut for the
duration. The women would demand
a role too; and then there would
be trad-blogs arguing about
whether women could be Room Bosses
or not. And of course, all Room
Bosses would get to wear a special
pin on their suits, guaranteeing
that little boys and girls
everywhere would wait in
anticipation to be Room Bosses
one day; just to wear that coveted
pin and to have a chance to order
some old lady into her seat and
to tell her to keep her trap shut,
'cause the priest is about to
begin in The Other Room.

It's human nature, unfortunately.
I've suffered in silence in a lot
of Masses now. I've never tried
to be any sort of Room Boss during
Mass before, and so I've been the
target of a lot of abuse over the
years. All those Room Bosses and
Lectern Readers and Ushers and
candle-stick-lighters believe that
people like me are the bottom of
the barrel, and that's how I've
been treated on too many occasions
to count.

So to sum up, it would take an
awful lot of bizarre behavior to
make me get out of my seat and
walk out of a Mass. To me, it's
an act of prideful display of
one's disapproval, and a not-so-
subtle message that you are
better than your current
surroundings. I find it much
more to my liking to never attend
a particular church again; and
to make a simple phone call to the
rectory, asking that my name be
taken out of the church's

So, 'Kris', I'm sorry that you
actually felt "a little scared
to post a comment/question" to
a pack of trads. I undertand
where you're coming from, and
your hesitancy is warranted,
unfortunately. Trads can be just
as mean and nasty as that old
lady in the silver dress and
pearl necklace, with the nice,
shiny, silver Eucharistic Minister
Medal hanging around her neck at
the NO Mass that you attend.

And I think it's vitally
important that folks like Kris
come to trad blogs. We're all
Catholics, after all. Let's
not forget THAT point, or else
we'll be in more trouble than
anything else that modernist
practices have ever wrought.
So, please stay, Kris, and bring
all of your friends here too.
It's the discussions that really
make a blog interesting; and its
the only way that the TLM will
grow in appeal, and its probably
the only way that all trads will
become truly happy and charitable.

Love and Charity,


thetimman said...

Earl, just a quibble-- the "pack of trads" thing is a little broad. I hope I'm not part of a "pack" of anything. As to charity, yes, all of us Catholics should live the truth in charity.