15 April 2011

As We are about to Enter Holy Week...

As we stand primed to accompany Our Lord in His sacred Passion, a reminder, and a minor lament, before returning to work.

1. Reminder: if you are planning to attend Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory this Sunday, remember that the blessing of palms and procession begin at 9:30 am-- NOT the usual 10 am.

2. Holy Week is beyond personal likes or dislikes, obviously.  So, don't take this comment the wrong way, because I know I have to get over this sort of thing.  But, every Holy Week is, in addition to the events we commemorate, on the purely personal level of the faithful in the pew, bittersweet to me. 

Most of my past life has been as a typical novus ordo attendee, and I have seen that form celebrated (sometimes) more or (more often) less faithfully according to its rubrics.  Holy Week brings out the best in the Church and the worst in liturgical committees.  It brings out the best in priests who show us how to enter in to the sacred Passion, and the worst in the priests who try to be Emeril Lagasse, Wavy Gravy and Tony Robbins all in one.  I have seen all of the now so-typical abuses of Holy Week-- the mass-washing of feet by all of the congregation at once, men and women included; messing with the form and content of Easter Vigil lessons, including weaving them into one groovy play; messing with the account of the Passion, including letting the congregation read the part of Jesus, etc., etc.

When I finally embraced the Traditional Mass I was so blessed to escape all of that annual drama, the drama of whether the Masses would be properly celebrated.  I was even more blessed for a couple of Holy Weeks to be aware of Masses according to pre-1955 rubrics.  Many readers know, but many may not, that the same architect of the the novus ordo, Annibale Bugnini, was able to alter in a less substantial way the Masses of Holy Week.  It was, in retrospect, a kind of mini-Spirit of V2 moment, with similar tactics.  Calling changes "restoration", a few parts of Mass calling for the priest to turn away from ad orientem, limited verbal participation by the faithful, jettisoning venerable sacramentals and prayers, and cutting lots of lessons from the Vigil Mass.  And other seemingly little things.

With the promulgation of the motu proprio, it is hard to find a pre-1955 Holy Week Mass, unless you hit a so-called "independent" chapel, which I would not.  So, the liturgical geek in me notices all of the Bugnini-changes like finding grains of sand, or strands of hair, in haute cuisine.  They. just. bug. me.

It's almost worse than Fr. Wavy putting on his show, or having immodestly dressed women in hip-huggers carrying bowls of incense around in procession.  Because it was the harbinger of the liturgical destruction that was to come.

I guess I am often an alternative history guy, who likes to posit what-if?s about the event markers of the long defeat of civilization.  What if the Armada won?  What if the Eastern Empire remained faithful?  What if the Consecration had been done and the secret revealed before 1960?  Stuff like that consumes more of my time than it should.

So, every Holy Week, while praying for a true restoration of the Holy Week liturgy, I have to remind myself to offer up all of my own petty concerns to be nailed to the Cross of Christ.  My own sins have contributed so much to His suffering and death, and add weight to the burden He bears.  I am thankful that the Mass survived. 

When the day comes, if it comes, that I am holy, I will have time enough to complain-- or rather, to realize I shouldn't.

Mary, Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces, pray for us!


Ranger sola said...

Thank you for this. This too was running through my mind over the weekend while talking with my family about Holy Week and how it is observed in its traditional form. I mention the strepitus and the passiontide veiling. I always get the same response. "Thats Weird, it's so cold, no community, we wash each others feet on Holy Thursday, we sing songs with music, I love the Glory and Praise, and the Mass of Creation. My friend ... reads the passion..." and then it's always the kicker, "why do you guys do things so much differently, you should be more traditional..."

I am so thankful for what we have here in Saint Louis, we are so truly blessed. Lord help me be more patient with other.

Anonymous said...

Bugnini didn't institute the changes in 1955 on his own. It was approved by Pope Pius XII. So he was not the big, bad boogeyman that people like you make him out to be. Besides, I was there in 1955 when the changes were made. They were little noticed because the number of people that used to attend Holy Week services was so small, that it wasn't even a blip on the liturgical radar. I remember Holy Saturday services with less than 40 people in attendance, in a parish of 500 families. And this was prior to Vatican II.

PMKD said...

Well, said, Monsieur le Tim-homme.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. Interesting to read. In Dom Gueranger today, he speaks of the deicide in Jerusalem and the punishment. God was so angry! The punishment of Israel was unprecedented.

I could not help but think of our present almost complete world deicide.
In light of other comments this week, I think of the most recent Holy Fathers. To me (I may be wrong), the job of each pontiff is to stand between the world and Holy Mother Church and protect the Church on his "watch"from the evil in the world. In my humble opinion,that has not been done. For over 40 yrs,there has been a terribly destructive worm eating holes in our Holy Church.

Maybe blame rests on the faithful who had not ever prayed for the Pope. I never heard it suggested as child or adult---who'd imagine THAT might be needed? Maybe I wasn't listening to the right people.( Now, I hear about this often--even know a Cardinal begging for daily prayers for himself and the Holy Father).

Pure silliness, the present secular focus (SNAP, media) seems to be to
protect the world from the Catholic Church ! God help us!

World deicide? What do we have in store for us?


Anonymous said...

I read your blog almost daily, and I share your love for the tradition and Truth of our Holy Catholic and apostolic Church. However, you wrote something today which "bugged" me. I cringed at your comment of "chicks in hip-huggers carrying bowls of incense". Perhaps I am just overly sensitive, but I find any reference to women (or men for that matter) that is dehumanizing fails to give the necessary respect to a human being created in God's image. You write about so many truths and bring attention to the beauty of the way our liturgy is to be celebrated -- please do not objectify women (regardless of their spiritual awareness and appreciation of modesty) by referring to them as "chicks".

Ranger sola said...

" please do not objectify women (regardless of their spiritual awareness and appreciation of modesty) by referring to them as "chicks"." i just puked a little in my mouth. PLEASE give me a break...

thetimman said...

I'm sorry if I offended, I was going for humor. I have reworded it.

doughboy said...

Easter Vigil last year at my parish came complete with organ sound effects to mimic the Spirit moving over the water, etc. It was almost more than I could bear. I say "almost" because I of course stayed, but I'm dreading yes DREADING returning for another helping this year. Is casual business attire accepted during Holy Week at SFDS or do you have to wear a tie?

Q said...

anon 11:41:

Your remarks are true and no one here, I think, would deny the need for real liturgical renewal prior to the Council. Unfortunately, radical elements in the liturgical movement were granted way too much power and influence under Pope Paul VI. The real significance of the 1955 revisions only became clear in the light of what followed.


You said "[w]ith the promulgation of the motu proprio, it is hard to find a pre-1955 Holy Week Mass ..."

Is it really since the motu proprio or is it since the revised prayer for the p--f-d---s Jews on Good Friday?

thetimman said...

doughboy, come as you are.

Q-- since the mp; the new prayer the Holy Father mandated is fine (though I would not have changed it myself it is theologically sound and in some ways stronger) and the mere insertion of that prayer by itself would not cause me to consider the liturgy "post-1955". I am not sure if I have your meaning, let me know if this was not responsive.

Q said...


I'm not questioning the soundness or prudence of the revised prayer. But the revision applies to the revised rite of 1962, not to the pre-1955 rite. Supposing a preist offered the unrevised rite, he would not be bound to use the revised prayer for the Jews. He might in fact be bound to use the unrevised prayer (including the "p" word).

This might be interpreted by some as an act of disobedience to the Holy Father. Perhaps this explains the reluctance to offer the pre-revised rite.

I'm just speculating.

thetimman said...

Q, interesting. I'm not sure. But I would take the prayer and the pre-1955 rite as a package deal and be happy as a clam.

StGuyFawkes said...

What a great painting at the top of this post. The Blessed Mother is depicted as saying in Latin.

"O vos omnes, qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus."

All of you who pass through life, wait and see if your sorrow is such as my sorrow.

One presumes that the Blessed Mother is continuing to suffer with her Church, (perhaps every Sunday during Mass.)

Anonymous said...

It's not just the reference to women that is repulsive. I think the commentary would be more respected if the snide remarks were omitted-- the table cloth reference to vestments and the wavy gravy comments.

The lack of respect for another's choices is disheartening. I would take the author more seriously if he were more respectful. Obviously his intense disdain for other forms of worship prevents his simply stating his opinion or describing a setting an event or situation without inflammatory language.

HOWEVER, we must remember that this is a PERSONAL blog. It is a statement of his private beliefs and opinions. He has every right to use the language he wishes, even if it is offensive and repulsive. His word choices also remind us of the diverse kinds of people in this world that we should be aware of.

It is good that he shares with the public.

thetimman said...

See, here is where I think you are off base. The tablecloth and wavy gravy terms are shorthand, (hopefully) humorous substantive comments. These "choices" are indicative of a lack of reverence for the liturgy, for the the Priest and Victim Whose liturgy it is.

Disagree, but no apologies for my usage of these terms will be forthcoming.

Anonymous said...

Shorthand for what? Yes, can understand your attempts at humour but they come across as insults. Just one reader's opinion, one who does not see the changes as a "lack of reverence", but rather an attempt to bring deeper meaning and awareness to the liturgy.

And, no, am not expecting any apology, nor soliciting any. As I wrote, this is your blog, your platform.