14 September 2008

Why Don't I Go to St. A's on Sundays?

Some might ask, "why don't you go to Mass at Saint Augustine's on Sundays?" Well, I do some times. If I have no other choice, then of course I go, but on occasion I will hear Mass if I feel like I can. In a way, Saint Augustine's is my parish. I am registered there, I go to daily Mass there, I attend CSF, Newman Dinners, and Bible Study. If I have any bills in my wallet on Sunday Mass, I drop a few in the collection. So in this way, it is my parish.

So why go elsewhere to assist at Mass? Why go to another diocese? Well, the answer is clear. Queen of Peace Ocala is the closest parish that has the Traditional Latin Mass! It is offered by two priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP). The FSSP is in full communion with Rome, has the Pope's and the local bishop's approval, and brings to us the Roman Rite in its form of over 1300 years.

While the community aspect of the Sunday Mass should not be ignored, "the sacred liturgy is above all things the worship of the divine Majesty" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 33). Therefore, what we should be most concerned about in Mass is the adoration of the Holy Trinity. The sacrifice of the pure Victim (Christ) offered by Christ in the person of the priest and joined with the laity is the supreme act of worship.

Now, if there are certain elements in the local celebration of the Mass that detract from the worship of the divine Majesty, what should be done? At times it is nearly impossible for me to sit there and focus on the sacrifice of the Mass when there are abuses and profanations happening. Some of them include:
  • Bad music. Music needs to be associated with the Mass. First to go are heterodox songs- "Sing a New Church Into Being" and the like. Next are the anthropocentric songs. Many times at St. A's I hear lyrics and think "I, me, we us". After those, the songs that are just not appropriate for the Mass in general. Every song should reflect on what is going on in Mass. For example, after Communion, a poor song choice would be "Over My Head". "Over my head... I hear trouble in the air... there must be a God somewhere." Hello!? Of course there is a God somewhere. He's right here and we have just received Him in the sacred species! The idea of Afro-spirituals and other contemporary music, while for the most part not inherently bad in itself, is another topic entirely.
  • Felt. Okay, those banners- I know they are only up for two weeks or so, but please. They distract the mind like crazy. We are supposed to be focused on the altar, yet right behind the altar is a big, ugly, purple banner that reads "CENACLE". Let's get out of the 60's, please, and into the action. Full, conscious, active participation? Not here.
  • Hand holding. We aren't supposed to hold hands at the Our Father. Especially if the priest is involved... the Vatican has said that the addition of any rite or gesture must happen through the appropriate avenue- which is not the laity.
  • False starts. Related to hand holding is the idea of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and when they head on up to the altar. The common practice at Saint Augustine's is for the EMHCs to go to the altar for the Lord's Prayer. Then they either hold each other's hands (implicit approval of the parish) or hold the priest's hands! (Explicit approval of the parish.) According to the GIRM, #162, these "ministers should not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion." That would be after the priest says, "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to His supper."
  • Clapping. As soon as the recessional hymn is done, the congregation begins to clap. When I go to the Traditional Mass on Sundays, as soon as the recessional is done, everyone kneels and says prayers of thanksgiving.
This is all besides the fact that I strongly prefer the Traditional Mass. There is nothing wrong with this, either! The Holy Father has clearly shown this with his motu proprio . Then today I read this remark about Summorum Pontificum.

"Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never (must he feel) rejected."

Should not traditional Roman Catholics feel at home too?


Blogger Anthony M Piferrer said...

We're not part of the everyone. We're "those" people...

September 16, 2008 12:55 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Absolutely right on all these points. Music at St. A's is only relevant if you happen to be a 19th century African slave with a penchant for Spirituals. Does the NO really call for the Graduale? I did not know that.
And, who is this "second priest" from the FSSP?

September 16, 2008 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding "the Roman Rite in its form of over 1300 years": I think you actually mean the 1962 missal. Between the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council, there have been seven revisions of the Roman Missal that I know of, some of them major revisions, and some very minor.
Blessings to you.

September 16, 2008 11:19 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Haha... and yes, the NO does call for the propers (or some other option). The propers can be found set to chant in the Graduale Romanum. The latest Graduale that I am aware of was published in 1974- obviously for the New Mass.

The second priest is Fr. Daniel Geddes, though it seems that he has moved back to Vancouver. They were just given a personal parish there, as you might have read. At least the FSSP in Florida is here to stay- I've heard that in the Diocese of Venice they will get their own parish!

September 16, 2008 11:48 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

Thanks for stopping by, faylei. You are correct in saying that the rubrics for the Traditional Mass are of the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII. To say, however, that it is a different Mass would be equivalent to say that the 2002 Missal (the third editio typica of the New Mass) is a different Mass than the one promulgated in 1970.

The Roman Rite had changed little between Trent and Vatican II. For example, one Pope's revision amounted to aligning the Latin readings from Scripture to the updated Vulgate. Another revision was that the priest elevates the chalice all of 5 seconds later. Yet another introduced the use of the altar bell. It was not until the 20th century, when Pius XII revised the Holy Week liturgies that major changes were made. Even then, it was only one week out of the year.

The Roman Rite of Mass changed very, very little from the time of St. Gregory the Great (late 500's) until 1970. In fact, the Eucharistic Prayer (the Canon) and consecration are identical from at least 589. This was all changed in the New Mass...

That is why it is correct to refer to the Latin Mass as the "Gregorian Rite" as the Pope's head man on the Old Mass calls it.

Here is an interesting timeline, for your information.

September 17, 2008 12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the interesting and helpful timeline, which I am adding to my Favorites. It is incomplete, however, and omits Pius X's rather major revisions of rubrics. As for what you said about a "different Mass" -- I understand what you are getting at, but to be accurate there is only one Mass, whether celebrated using the Missal of 1962 or of Paul VI. There are different rites (in fact, many rites approved and in use today in our one Catholic Church), but only one Mass.

September 17, 2008 7:06 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Knox said...

This is true, there is only one Mass. That was a sloppy choice of words on my part. I should have said it is a different Rite of Mass. Whereas the other revisions kept the rite intact, the revision in 1969 was less of a revision and more of a substitution.

September 17, 2008 7:23 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Someone's getting picky on semantics.

September 17, 2008 8:33 PM  

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