04 March 2009

Sharon Remembers...

My devoted wife Sharon related a story to me yesterday that really brought back memories. Not great memories, but memories nonetheless.

She told me that she was listening to Catholic Answers Live with Jimmy Akin. A person from St. Charles called to relate that on Sunday (the First Sunday of Lent) upon entering the church he dipped his hand into the holy water font only to find-- you guessed it-- sand. His question: "Is that right?", was properly answered.

I responded that that sort of thing was one of the things I don't miss about attending my former territorial parish, and that maybe I would blog about this sort of thing. But Sharon was way ahead of me, it seems, and as I lay sprawled in my early evening interlude of unconsciousness on the sofa, she was able to drown out the sound of sawing logs and come up with the following list.

I risk my marriage by publishing this, because Sharon would rather people blamed me for it.

Also, my brother warns, "You will lose some readers over this." I don't know why, but his instincts are usually right. The list below is meant to be humorous, but frankly, I have experienced every single thing on this list.

Oh well, here goes:

Things I Don't Miss Since I Escaped My Parish

-- Sand in the holy water fonts during Lent

--"Discerning" whether to be on the Parish Council

-- Liturgy Committees--their existence, and omnipresent menace

-- Altar boys of both genders, wearing bathrobes and flip-flops

-- "Inclusive language" inserted in the readings, prayers and hymns

-- Homily damage control for my children: "Now, what Father really meant when he said..."

-- Searching for the tabernacle when I enter a church

-- Groovy tunes like "Gather Us In", Table of Plenty", and "Lord of the Dance", to name a few

-- Loud talking inside the church, and little time for silence and prayer

-- The veritable army of "Eucharistic Ministers" schlepping around the altar

-- People wiping their mouths after receiving the Precious Blood

-- Choirs made up of guitars, electronic keyboards, tambourines and other garage band wannabes

--The parade of children pied-piper'd out of Mass for their dumbed-down "Children's Liturgy of the Word", and trooped back in with equal commotion to share at the table of plenty

-- The term Ordinary Time, making the Mass sound, well, ordinary

-- The increasing sight of the stealth priestess/pastoral associate lurking about the sanctuary

-- Parish layman-led retreats modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous

-- And, finally, sand in the holy water fonts in Lent


Patrick Kinsale said...

I queried the archdiocesan office of worship a few weeks ago about this and they were clear that removing holy water should not be done. Of course, there's no enforcement of this ...

Christopher said...

sounds almost like what I encounter when I am forced to go to other parishs that are not my own either:


Anonymous said...

Wow, the sand got "double" credit! LOL! :-p

I've NEVER been to a parish that has sand in the fonts! BUT I have been to a parish where the fonts were empty (dry).

I'll have you know, my Norvus Ordo parish has water in theirs. :o)

Anonymous said...

I love this! AMEN AMEN AMEN! This is why I read this blog.

Thank you thetimman!

Humorous and sadly so very true.

Thats why my entire family left three different parishes and now attend the Extraordinary Form at the most beautiful church in St. Louis.

Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Timman - I am SO offended by this list.......

.....you forgot "Here I am, Lord" in your song list. You may not realize it, but the melody is the same as the Brady Bunch theme. (Special thanks for an Audiosancto.com sermon to point that out!)

Peklet Mom's Kid's Dad

PS - Don't forget "All Are Welcome" either.

Gregory Thaumaturgas said...

Frankly, I've got to say some of these are pretty sad, especially that one about the wiping of blood from your mouth :(

Some, on the contrary are rather funny such as all the modern stuff

Anonymous said...

I don't see why you'd lose readers over this. Those of us who disagree with you on virtually every point, already disagree with you on virtually everything else. I personally read you because my husband and I often have a good laugh over you. In general, the only agreement I have with you is about Pro-life issues.
However, have you actually seen people wipe their mouth after receiving the Precious Blood? I've never noticed that, but if it does happen, that is awful. JMJ

Fenian said...

As someone who attends Novus Ordo mass 90% of the time, I agree with you on a couple points.

I do not advocate both sexes being altar servers. I believe it takes away an opportunity for a boy who may one day grow up to be a priest. Furthermore, the caliber of altar servers, especially at my church, is terrible. No bells, not genuflecting in front of the altar, etc.

I also agree with the army of Eucharistic Ministers. Lay people often try to place themselves on the same level as the ordained.

Individuals who bring themselves up in the Communion line to receive a blessing also irks me.

Finally, a personal peeve, the orans stance. Why do people engage in a position that is not in the rubrics? I have even seen 80 year olds engage in it.

/Rant over.
//Maybe I need to change parishes.

A. T. Wallace said...

Tim, you still have my loyal readership.

Anonymous said...

Your gift of satire is truly admirable and has given me a welcome laugh at coffee break. Although it's satire, the actual happenings described are real, unfortunately. How happy I am that I found sanity and reverence at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

Anonymous said...

These are a few of my favorite things...!!!

Anonymous said...

I admit that I like most of the things you mention although I would certainly describe them differently. I've never experienced sand in the holy water font in my moderate Novus Ordo parish. But hey, it would be a pretty dull world if we all thought alike!

Anonymous said...

One time when we were at one of our N.O. parishes still searching for a reverent mass we were shocked when the church pianist started playing loudly, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Stars on his up- in-front, grand piano as the children gaily skipped out of church for their "special liturgy."

My then fiour year old son grabbed my arm and asked (rather loudly)" Why are they playing that baby song?"

People heard him. Not happy looks.

Anonymous said...

OKAY, I don't know why they think sand is appropriate for the holy water fonts. I never have seen this. WHY? WHY? Is the sand blessed and your supposed to put it in your eyes as penance? (kidding)

Anonymous said...


Don't forget 1) shaking hands with every living soul within 6 feet, even to the point of people wandering up to and around the alter to shake hands, and 2) holding hands and reciting our Lord's Prayer, including lifting the out-stretched and still clasped hands to the ceiling during the added "for the kingdom, power and glory is yours...".


Anonymous said...

Here, here! Now, I am a post-V2 kid, having attended parochial school in the 70s in the Belleville diocese. I admittedly had my wandering in the desert for about 15 years (teens & 20s). I have never seen such things until I returned to the Belleville diocese in 2006. God was good in that I was restored to the Faith in an orthodox diocese of Northern Virginia. The church in DC area in general was fairly conservative, liturgically speaking (and substantively, I'd say)--certainly compared to Bville, with some very notable exceptions, however.

Anonymous said...

You are redundant (1st and last "memories): Goodbye.

Evann said...

The only one I have not yet experienced is the sand in the holy water font, but there's still time!
Thanks, Sharon.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Amen. Thanks, Sharon, for the memories. They remind me that it's so worth the extra effort to travel further at a less convenient time for a Wholly Holy Mass.

HSDad said...

Great post and unfortunately so true. Having experienced or witnessed all these in one form or another, except wiping the Precious Blood, I wonder if anyone has witnessed the elevation of a dark friendship loaf at consecration or Sister Wannabee presiding over a 'communion service'? When more time is spent after Mass in colorful conversation over the abuses than the time it took for Mass to be celebrated, it's time to reconsider one's participation at the local territorial Parish, especially when small impressionable children are involved.

To balance the warnings of your brother I would submit are the legions who either agree with you or may read this post and ponder it further ...

Gregory Thaumaturgas said...

Speaking of wiping off mouthes after recieving the precious blood... I haven't seen that... but what I have seen is:

You know those huge hosts that break up into like 24 pieces? Well at our Church, people recieve their piece and eat it. But since there's dust (ie., Jesus body) all over their hands, they have to brush their hands off on their jacket to rid themselves of such horrible hand-dirtying material.... Rather sad.....

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Thanks for reminding me why I switched parishes.

Anonymous said...

I saw a woman dunk the Host in the Precious Blood and flick It before she consumed It. No one said a word to her because her father is a big honcho in the Knights.

Anonymous said...

JOHN 15:6
If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings

Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

TITUS 1:10
For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers

Anonymous said...

My favorite is the "stealth priestess/pastoral associate." Not exactly sure why, but it just had me laughing pretty hysterically!

Anonymous said...

Athanasius Magnus said...
"My favorite is the "stealth priestess/pastoral associate."


And the Word was made Flesh
But does that really mesh
With authentic faith and dialogue today?

‘Cause at Eucharistic meal,
Which is no big bloody deal,
We smile and our mistakes are washed away.

We gather round the table
To hear a gospel fable
From Father Bob the celebrant divine.

Never kneels he always stands
But he runs to shake your hands
Then he sits a lot perhaps a weakened spine.

The ladies and the girls
Their ministry unfurls
A Eucharistic minister’s sensation.

With servers and the cantor,
They have a playful banter
Then bread and wine it’s time for celebration.

As the people we all sing
But the bells they never ring,
For they took away the Words that made His Flesh…

For a Corpus? That’s too rough
There’s no need for violent stuff
That’s as welcomed as a Brit in Bangladesh!

Anonymous said...

I think a priest we saw say mass in Florida found the answer to those who hold hands or use the orans position during the Our Father.

He simplly folded his hands about waist high while saying the prayer--I have been doing this most of my life!

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention the SHOUTING out your intentions from the congregation? I am not kidding!
"My intention is for world peace" or "for aunt Dorothy's kidneys" or my private one of temporary muteness for all attending mass at this time!

Anonymous said...

The pastor that used to empty the holy water fonts during Lent is gone. New pastor (of a few years now) leaves the holy water alone during Lent, we sing the Kyrie in Greek at times, hear Latin in the hymns now and again. Mostly solid Catholic homilies. All is well? Nope - last Sunday he stopped just before the Our Father to 'invite' us to pray using the orans stance. I cried both times from the pain of it. Such a sensitive and holy moment in the liturgy brought to a screaming halt by 'gesture instruction'.
Lenten penances are not always just the ones we choose for ourselves. Pray for him; pray for me to keep praying for him. Lord have mercy on us all.

Anonymous said...

Similar to this is my guide to Really Bad Homilies ... http://gogodot.blogspot.com/2007/05/i-think-its-high-time-to-publish-guide.html

Kevin O'Brien said...

Similar to this is my Guide to Really Bad Homilies ...


Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. These things annoy me, too. My addition to this list is the parish nun in secular clothes always on hand to safeguard that you don't get the wrong (orthodox) impression of things. For example, make mention of adoration and her quick intervention will be: "Well yes, we do talk about a real presence in the tabernacle, but that doesn't mean much to us if we don't reverence the Christ who is present in every poor person we encounter on the street, so be sure to sign up for some time as a witness/protester/activist/soup kitchen worker, before volunteering for a eucharistic holy hour if you want your faith to be authentic." Makes me wonder whatever happened to my training of so many years ago that induced an immediate "Yes, Sister" out of me whenever one of our nuns said anything to me. Wonder what happened to that response of mine? Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you already know this, but it's worth mentioning. The term "Ordinary Time" comes from the Latin root from which our word "ordinal" comes, meaning the order in which things occur in a series of events. For example, if we were to count to five using ordinal numbers,we would not say "one, two, three, four, five;" rather, we would say "First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth." So the use of the term "ordinary time" is a reference to that season of the year in which we count the time until the great seasons of the year (Advent/Christmas; Lent/Easter) arrive. This is a way to help us to focus more on those special holy seasons.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog!

I have to add...

-Washing womens feet on Holy Thursday.

-Nuns, oh excuse me "sisters" acting like they are priests.

-Communion "ministers" blessing people.

-Father telling me in confession, "thats not a sin anymore".

-Lay persons giving the sermon at Mass.

-Pentecostal/Gospel music at Mass. Then trying to convience us thats its an African tradition. RIGHT!

-Lay people gathered around the altar with sticks during the Canon.

-Life teen Masses

-Christ Power

-Rock Masses

-Concelebrated Masses (all the time)

These are some more reasons why my wife and famiily now attend the Extraordinary Form.

I encourage all people who have never gone to the Latin Mass to go. Hands down, no arguement, its just better.

Did I mention that my wife and I are 29?


Anonymous said...

Tim: No, you didn't. Let me be the first to tell you that you missed a lot. When singing "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" replaced traditional hymns in 1965, I knew it was all over.

I've been thinking a lot lately that a book MUST be written, while there are enough of us alive who remember, about all the insanity that went on before we are all dead and buried and they try to rewrite history (as some are already starting to do).

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate my sweet husband for not taking credit for my list, I think he may have added a couple of his own items to my original list. But I like it the way it is anyway!

To the Anonymous "Ordinary Time" commenter, I am aware of why the Church uses this term; however, I still think that it makes the Mass sound more ordinary. In my opinion, the Traditional Calendar's method of naming Sundays is a much better way of helping me to "focus on those more special holy seasons." For example, during the weeks preceding Ash Wednesday, we celebrated Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quniquagesima Sundays. These days are wonderful reminders that Lent is approaching and are great helps in preparing for my Lenten sacrifices. I never felt ready for Lent when thetimman and I attended our old parish; it was always a surprise when Ash Wednesday popped up on my calendar.

As for sand in the holy water fonts, my guess is that it has something to do with Jesus going into the desert for 40 days and being tempted. But I don't know how that is supposed to help carry us through Lent. It seems to me that if He had angels minister to Him, we should at least have our sacramentals! And, yes, I have unfortunately witnessed someone wiping his mouth with the back of his hand after receiving the Precious Blood. It was quite upsetting!

To everyone who had other items to add to "my" list, you gave me plenty of chuckles, too. It also amazes me how much I've forgotten about the Novus Ordo's issues since we've started attending the Oratory. I can't believe I forgot about the Orans stance during the "Our Father"! And I don't want to even think about LifeTeen Masses!

Anonymous said...

I hope that all of the commenters enjoy their higher places in heaven than those of us who happen to like some of the items on the "list"!


thetimman said...

Don't worry, Oransgal, I don't expect any higher place in heaven than anyone else. If I manage to get there in spite of myself, then I will be happy enough.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I want to address all of the people who have said, or are saying to themselves,"What is wrong with some of these things?" "I LIKE THEM!"

My husband and I were very good Novus Ordo parishioners at one time as well. My hubby was a "Eucharistic Minister", and we even asked the pastor if we could all hold hands during the "Our Father" as it made us feel so close to each other.

Then we moved and began attending reverent, holy N.O. masses where the priest had the alter boy hold a gold patent under the chin of all receiving communion, or under their hands to catch any crumbs of Our Lord's body. He also took his time during the consecration and had benediction and adoration along with processions.

Now we realized that it is ALL ABOUT JESUS, not us, not how we feel. Even though we "knew" it was Christ's body truly present in the Eucharist, we never truly KNEW until then.

If you like holding hands, or hearing guitars, or being a Eucharistic minister, just ask yourself "WHY?" If the answer is that it is nice and makes you feel good, important, or enjoy mass more, then you need to rethink what we are at mass for.

The mass must glorify God, not ourselves, not our feelings. That is why people who go to Latin Mass can look back and almost laugh at the "strange" practices. Many of us were there once, and see that the contrast between the two forms of masses are stark to the point of the N.O. "appearing" as if it was similar to a Protestant service.

Anonymous said...

As an extremely elderly person I have experienced all of these through the years. The absolute worst was when a nun who I new in high school took me down into the basement of the house a few nuns were inhabiting. There was a small room with a cicle of about eight chairs with the Blessed Sacrament in a small glass vessel in the center on a low table. That was their chapel. There was a vigil light. I reported that to a Bishop.
Improperly clothed women on the altar just drive me wild.Short skirts,tight pants and sleeveless shirts are also seen. So many people are just sloppy in their dress.

Anonymous said...


The last comment in your post about the Novus Ordo

"appearing" as if it was similar to a Protestant service

I think is taking it a little too far. Protestant services do not have Jesus present in the tabernacle and they do not have the Eucharist. I'm pretty sure they don't have the order of the Mass either.

I agree, the Latin Mass is very beautiful. I also agree, there are things even in my own parish that bother me. But Jesus is still present and suffering along wtih me and my family of all the little abuses. We are trying to be good examples in our parish, we sit in the front row with all of our children and show our reverance, especially when receiving Our Lord. I'm thankful that we are in a parish with AWESOME priests and I do pray that things do change. And I'm also thankful that our priests give great homilies that I don't have to re-explain to my children after we leave.

With that being said, I still love you, my friend! :o)

thetimman said...

cmziall, there is a difference between "appearing" to be like a thing and actually being the thing, or even being like the thing. The point about the novus ordo is that the accidents of the Mass were purposely altered to make it more palatable to protestants, and more congregational in feel. That is not my opinion only, but one of the goals of the liturgical reformers in the wake of Vatican II. You can find articles and the like on this very matter with google and a cup of coffee.

Of course the n.o. isn't a protestant service. It is the Mass. Jesus is there and the Sacrifice is made present.

But I would disagree with you that the "appearing" thing is taking it too far, particularly one with more of the kinds of abuses listed in the post.

And I still love you, my friend.

Christopher said...

While protestant services do not have Jesus present in the Eucharist - some - do have the Order of Mass and some even have taken the N.O. Sacramentary and introduced parts of it into their services

and their are even Protestant "Latin Mass" [ http://tinyurl.com/aufd7n ]

the problem is with protestants - at one place it may "look/feel" Catholic or somewhere else would be more...well.. Protestant. One never knows amid the 30,000+ denominations.

Unfortunately it has been said that Paul VI wanted to make the Catholic Mass more like a "Protestant service" - I have seen this claim Made in some SSPX literature and other Psudo -Sedevacante web sites [that i leave once I see they are sede's] - All I know is what we have in most OF parishes is NOT what VII called for - but is what the liberals forced upon us in the "SPIRIT" of VII- if the OF was celebrated according to the GIRM and with the Latin Ordinary books - we would NOT have lists like that


I love you all

Pax Domini sit Semper Vobiscum

Anonymous said...


I would never insinuate that Jesus wasn't present at the N.O. mass. You misunderstood me,

My point was that it is sometimes not obvious, which is why more than half of Catholics do not believe in the real physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They think he present like he is spiritually everywhere.

That is why they some are wiping their mouths with their hands and committing other abuses.

When my Protestant raised nieces visited for Christmas a couple of years ago we brought them to SFdS on Christmas day. They knelt and prayed reverently, clearly realizing this was different than their services.

Later, when one called her mom, she said."The Latin mass was the most beautiful, oh, so awesome! I loved it. It was different than anything I have ever seen!"

She never said that in the 13 years of visits when she attended N.O, mass with us.

/i still love you too, friend. :)

Anonymous said...

I am sincerely sick of hearing about people reporting things to the diocese. My guess is you were all the snitches in 5th grade who never really grew up. We have these truly scary happenings at Burroughs, and all over for that matter, and you report sand in fonts to the Bishop. Don't bother trying to convince me that if holy water was in the font at Lent, things like the Burroughs prom wouldn't happen. Let's start developing some sensible priorities PLEASE. JMJ

thetimman said...

Just for the record, I didn't report the sand in the water fonts. I blogged about someone who called Catholic Answers about it. That being said, I think that the sand in the water fonts and the Burroughs thing are both effects of a serious problem, not causes. Of course these two effects are of differing levels of seriousness.

But I think the Catholic mind can process both in the same week.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

My point is that I think that it is a waste of the Catholic time and mind to spend more than 2 seconds worrying about sand in a holy water font. I never thought that you were the one who called the diocese about this. Although, I suspect that you are on of the usual suspects in the childish snitch department.JMJ

thetimman said...

JMJ, I won't respond in kind. You can think what you like.

Christopher said...

@Anon [READ:COWARD] Holy Water in the font is to remind us of our Baptism - Saying its no big deal is to say that washing away of Original sin is no big deal.

Perhaps Eternal Damnation isn't something that is on your short list to worry about either

Patrick Kinsale said...

Wasn't it Cardinal Mahony who recently said the "spirit of Christ" wasn't in the Tridentine Mass?

Anonymous said...

Christopher, How ridiculous. All of us know exactly who you are because you are soooo brave. Of course, it's Christopher Smith. Oh no, maybe it's Christopher Jones. On the other hand maybe it's Christopher Wren . Get real.JMJ

Anonymous said...

JMJ- your crazy. I guess you were one of the ones with sand? :)

Why can't people obey the Chruch? ie: the Vicar of Christ, and his directions.

thetimeman keep up the good work. We don't care if your a 5th grader at heart. :)

Having person(s) like JMJ should remind all of us that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

This blog is so wonderful.

Removing Holy Water during Lent IS a MAJOR error. And you can take that to the bank.

Nancy Roberts said...

Here's why silly things like sand in the holy water fonts matter: nothing in the Church was left to chance. Everything was to instruct us in our faith - to pass down what had been received directly from the Apostles, and those things that had become a part of the catholic (small c as in universal, that is to say, we were ALL doing it) church.

I recently read a sad post by a young woman lamenting the change of the words of the communion prayer "Lord I am not worthy" from "to receive you" to "that you should come under my roof." She thought it was an arbitrary change that just made the language overly wordy, and "so specific about roof" that it could no longer "mean what she always felt it meant." She had no idea that it was actually taken from a Gospel, and was included to make us think about that Gospel story, and about Christ's instruction that this kind of faith was the faith needed for us to get to heaven.

That is to say, a small piece of the deposit of the faith and the instruction of tradition were totally lost on this young Catholic. And she was complaining that the Holy Father was trying to give it back to her!!

These small, seemingly inconsequential things, taken as a whole, rob us of the very thing that bishops have, since the beginning of the Church, promised to give do: pass down the faith as they have received it.

As Father Z (http://wdtprs.com/blog/)says, "brick by brick." That works both ways - you can build something up brick by brick, but those same bricks, removed one at a time, can just as effectively tear it down.