06 September 2010

Causing Trouble Sometimes Causes Trouble

I often reflect about how good we have it in St. Louis, because it is human nature to take blessings for granted. Catholics have the opportunity to assist at the Traditional Mass at many places-- without taxing my brain, I can think of six places that offer it on Sundays and at least three that offer it daily.

Now, the cynic (realist?) may point out that 6 out of 250 isn't all that great. But I prefer to look at the glass as 6/250ths full.

Because in many other places, things are truly bleak. And where the traditional Mass makes an inroad, it is subject to great opposition. Lots of people would like it not to exist; lots would like it to go away.

And we know that there are some who adopt the Saul Alinsky tactics of faux controversy and misdirection to get what they want.

I remember when I first came to the traditional Mass about five years ago seeing a person at the Communion rail with hands extended for Holy Communion. The priest, a very holy and humble man, did not demand that the hands be withdrawn, but rather held the Host patiently near the mouth until the communicant understood the protocol. Nothing confrontational, just effective. I remember thinking that I may never have to know the answer to the question-- would they ever distribute in the hand?-- because of the charitable and humble way of addressing the situation.

As further background, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, charged with administering the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, responded to the question posed by a correspondent of the propriety of Communion in the hand in the context of the Extraordinary Form. The answer, in relevant part:

...the celebration of Holy Mass in the extraordinary form envisages the reception of Holy Communion while kneeling, as the Holy Host is laid directly on the tongue of the communicant. There is no provision for the distribution of Holy Communion on the hand in this form of the Holy Mass.

Now this was an answer to private correspondence, so one cannot cite it as though it is an ex cathedra pronouncement. But it clearly gives heart to those priests who seek to safeguard Our Lord's Body and Blood from sacrilege and to restore the immemorial custom of receiving on the tongue while kneeling.

Back to the point, I often speculated that the manner of receiving Holy Communion would be a dramatic way for anti-TLMers to try to turn Bishops against the Extraordinary Form in their Dioceses. Simply insist that they must receive in the hand, and one of two things must occur: either they help establish a practice of receiving in the hand, or else they can fly to the Bishop (upon whose authority they may actually rely for the first time) and claim they are denied Communion. Perhaps in this way they can bully a Bishop into demanding the allowance of Communion in the hand to appease people who will never darken the doors of the Church once it is granted. Perhaps-- this would be ideal-- they can convince a Bishop that the TLM is "too divisive" or "too much trouble" and cause it to be practically suppressed.

This sad situation of making Holy Communion a crisis moment has now happened in Knock, Ireland, where, according to reports, a would-be communicant did not follow the cue to receive on the tongue and caused a scene that resulted in a sacred Host being thrown on the floor. Because the information is not complete, I am not inclined to link to the source for this news nor list any names involved.

The reason I post it is to point out again, the relative position of the TLM in St. Louis and just how blessed we are. And also, to pray for those priests and bishops who are trying to be faithful to the Church and to implement the Holy Father's wishes that the Extraordinary Form spread throughout the Church. Though it is their calling to be faithful sons of the Church, their work is difficult and subject to opposition by many-- and many who are not acting in good faith.


Tina aka Snupnjake said...

How are you getting 250?

And which 6? I know 3....


Anonymous said...


Your post calls to mind my favorite line from A Man for All Seasons: "It isn't difficult to keep alive, friends - just don't make trouble - or if you must make trouble, make the sort of trouble that's expected."

If you make the sort of trouble that's expected - that is, protest racism, homophobia, global warming - you'll be lionized. But if you seek to protect the rights of Holy Mother Church - ah, that's the sort of trouble that will get you into trouble, both inside and outside the Church.

doughboy said...

i'm glad you posted on being grateful for the extraordinary form, because it gives me an opportunity to say how appreciative i am of the existence of the TLM here in STL. i was in great need of confession after an off-putting saturday evening. nowhere do i know in st. louis where it is possible to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Mass on sunday morning *except* SFDS. i stayed for Mass following Confession (my first sunday Mass at SFDS) and, while not understanding 98% of the prayers, was just so happy to be there. there was such a quiet joy and reverence in all those present. women present were modest and didn't look like the *catholic amish* i keep reading portrayed. children yes CHILDREN of all ages were well-behaved and attentive ATTENTIVE i said! no toys or cheerios in sight. and with gratitude for the saving grace of our Lord's forgiveness, i was especially cognizant of the fact that i was there to *receive* Him. it wasn't all about me, "us," etc. it was (is) about HIM and HIS interaction with the Father, and our Lord graciously incorporates us into that prayer and sacrifice of His. now, i think the ordinary form is perfectly acceptable and i receive in the hand more often than on the tongue. but kneeling at the rail, hands under the cloth (i don't know the proper term), and receiving our Lord is i have to say the best way. i look forward to the day when the ordinary form can be celebrated with so much reverence and respect and quiet joy.

StGuyFawkes said...


Nice, nice post. Thanks for touching on the touchy subject of how hard it is to find a reliable source for the Sacrament of Penance.

From one sinner to another: St. Joseph's in downtown Clayton, M-F, at 11:30-Noon. Never found the priest not on time and ready to shrive.

st. guy

thetimman said...


I made a guess at 250, but it turns out I am not far off. The Archdiocesan website's alphabetical listing of parishes lists 203, and this does not include the various chapels, missions, monasteries, etc., not encompassed by the term parish. So, I will stick with 250 as a reasonable guess at the number of places where one can hit Mass.

The six and three, as I wrote, were merely off the top of my head and I don't mean to exclude anyone, nor can I comment about the type of liturgical environment in some of these:

At least Sundays: St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Mary's Assumption, the Oratory of Saints Gregory and Augustine, Little Flower, and St. Joseph in Apple Creek (?)(one of the two of Fr. Dattilo's parishes-- a commenter can correct me as to which).

Daily public TLMs: St. Francis de Sales Oratory, St. Mary's Assumption, the Oratory of SS. Gregory and Augustine.

I also believe there is a daily (or perhaps several times a week) TLM at the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. Also, St. Agnes Home's chapel has the TLM the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.

But, like I said, this is without serious research. There are many young priests who are saying the timeless Mass privately and perhaps daily. You will have to find one and latch onto him to find out more.

Anonymous said...


You are also able to receive the Sacramental Confession about 1/2 hour before the 1:30pm Sunday Mass St. Elizabeth of Hungary, so that makes at least two. Indeed, right before the recitation of the Rosary at 1:05 pm.

To all, in your charity, pray for our good parish priests who celebrate the Extraordinary Rite 'in the wild' so to speak. TLM is still the orphaned step-child in the eyes many a parish member.


Anonymous said...

I, too, am supremely grateful for the fact that Confession is offered at St. Francis de Sales before every Mass.

Just a little information. Fr. Datillo has moved his TLM to the first Saturday of the month at 8am. It is at St. Joseph in Apple Creek on the first Saturday of odd months and at St. Maurus in Biehle the first Saturday of even months. Low Mass is followed by Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, and Benediction.

Fr. Datillo will be away the first week of October, so there will not be a TLM at St. Maurus next month, but it will return at St. Joseph in November. As you might imagine, in such small towns in a heavily Protestant area, the attendance is not very high. Including the four of us in my group this past Saturday morning, there were perhaps eight altogether.

Working to get a TLM in Cape Girardeau, though. Definitely an uphill battle.


Tina aka Snupnjake said...

That's fine for a ballpark. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anyone.