Sunday, December 10, 2006

Last Christendom weekend

Well, starting next week, I'll be a free man, of sorts. Although I won't have to sing at Christendom, I'll still be singing elsewhere...

This weekend has been pretty busy. On Friday, Ryan, Eric, Joe, Ken and I drove down to SC for the funeral of Mama (Ginger) E., MikeE's mother. The morning of the funeral (December 8), Eric, Joe, Ken and I went to early Mass before heading out. Ryan wasn't able to make it to the morning Mass, so we had to catch one that evening. All five of us piled into Eric's Explorer, and we made the trip, arriving at the church about five minutes before the ceremony was about to begin.

It was a sad time for all of us who knew her. I had only met her twice, but it was still sad, losing such a great woman. Her family is all in my prayers as they continue to struggle with this loss...

After the ceremony and the reception, we went to a local Catholic Church and caught Mass, just in time for Ryan. The first thing we noticed about the church was that it looked more like a warehouse than anything. Turns out that it was a run by the Franciscans. To those of you who don't know, this usually implies a great deal of liberality... Here we go: ready?
  • The priest was vested in blue vestments. Blue. Does anyone else see a problem with this? Thank you, I knew I wasn't alone.
  • There were two altar girls. There was also an altar monk. There were plenty of men and other people of the male gender in the congregation. Problem? Call me old fashioned but, back in my day, if you filled the position of acolyte or lector, it meant that you could be ordained to the priesthood. I don't have a problem with the altar monk or the deacon. However, neither the lectorette/congregation "choir" director nor either of the altar girls could ever be ordained.
  • Guess what color the altar girls, the altar monk, and the deacon were wearing? If you named off any color in the spectrum aside from blue, you're wrong... (White isn't a color, but yes, they did have white robes on, too.)
  • At the Our Father, everyone joined hands with everyone else in their rows ... across the church. I did not. The altar monk seemed to be glaring at me for not participating. I glared back.
  • Extraordinary Eucharistic ministers -- unnecessary because of the presence of a fully capable priest and a deacon.
  • Saving the best for last: the Mass was made illicit by the actions of the priest who broke the host before the consecration, because he was acting out the words...
*Whew!* Enough there? If people still wonder why I hold to the Tridentine Latin Mass as the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the top notch, the Royal Flush (or the five-of-a-kind hand of Aces, if you're playing with wild cards or multiple decks), the quadruple-shot of espresso for the soul, etc., I pity them...

On Saturday, I cleaned up the apartment, because we were having guests over. Ken and Alaina were the first to show up, followed not long after by Alex, Ashley, Elizabeth, and Sarah.

On Sunday, I sang with the Christendom choir, and then out at Old St. Mary's. I took TJ, Ellen, and Jason to Old St. Mary's -- which meant simply that I had to take them back to Christendom...

There was a visiting choir at Old St. Mary's, the Ad Hoc Singers. They sang (among other pieces) Mozart's Missa Brevis in B-flat (KV 275), which is a very beautiful and rather impressive Mass.

On Monday, I rode in to work with Ken, and then back with him. I think this is becoming a weekend tradition...

4 comments:

cnote said...

I certainly understand your distress at the liturgical confusion/willful disregard that you witnessed at this Mass. The priest was obviously in serious error. But I would guard against concluding that the Tridentine is, for this reason, obviously superior. I say "obviously" because I suspect that it might be, yet it is not proven by your post here. In terms of liturgical correctness, you are probably right, but in terms of the proper disposition of the priest and the congregation in celebrating and assisting in the Liturgy, I would have to take exception. I grew up attending the Tridentine Mass (for a time) and witnessed many beautiful, ordered, pious Masses, so I can relate to your love of that Rite. But I also saw quite a lack of Charity, a lot of arrogance, and even some disobedience on the part of the priests and laity. I was involved in a Gregorian Chant Choir which became the subgect of numorous attacks and detractions for not being solemn enough (we often sang from the setting of The Mass of the Angels), congregants would often refrain from giving anything to the collection basket (often remarking later, outside the church, that they "were not about to support THAT Bishop"), and church leaders were publically criticized from the pulpit. These are also great evils.
Certainly the Rite itself is not to blame for these things, but the spirit in which the Rite is celebrated is simply not right. It is a spirit of defiance and over-correction.

So I think that the proper reaction to what you witnessed at Mass is not to cling to the Tridentine, but to insist on and promote the correct implimentation and celebration of the Novus Ordo. Thank you for being this concerned about the state of the liturgy.

Phantom Seraphim said...

I definitely grant you your points. I do not say that it is because of this Mass that the Tridentine is obviously superior. I have probably mislead a number of people by saying that. However, I think we're both in agreement in that almost any Mass would have been superior to this one, though...

Your other points are all valid. It's a sad fact, but wherever mankind is involved with things, someone somewhere sometime will abuse that power or right (or rite), and shed a bad light on things. Strictly in a liturgical sense, assuming that everything is done properly and that there are no abuses in either Mass, I would hold that the Tridentine Latin Mass is better than the Mass of Paul VI, although there is nothing wrong with the latter. My reason for saying that the Tridentine is better is mostly because of the fact that it was in existence for several hundred years, and, before V2, it was just fine. Liturgically speaking.

Enter mankind. Humanity, being what it is, always seeks to better itself and things that it makes. Sadly, in so doing, they have taken the highest act of worship and dumbed it down, also taking 90% of the mystery out of it. Nowadays, no one walks into a normal Low Mass of V2 and says with a sense of wonder, "What is this? This is awesome! What does it all mean? Why is that man doing what he's doing?" You'd have to have a High Mass in Latin to get that sense with the V2 Missal. In the 1962 Missal, there was so much mystery that people didn't get it, and, in the interest of furthering their knowledge, asked questions or did research. People don't ask too many questions about the Mass of V2. They hear the words and understand them. There is no pre-requisite learning that is recommended before the person can begin to understand on their own what is going on.

As for the lack of charity, that's a problem that needs to be overcome by mankind. That has nothing to do with the Tridentine Latin Mass. It does happen far too often that those people who attend that Tridentine get a puffed up sense of arrogance that lends itself to situations that you have described. There is only one solution for that: a virtuous life, including the virtues of humility and charity. People who attend the Tridentine often forget that, and thus have a mis-placed sense of pride: "Look at us. We attend the true Mass. You don't," or "That bishop isn't doing things the way I want him to. Since I'm the Traditionalist, I know the way things should be. I will no longer support him." This is the rut that a good chunk of traditionalists find themselves in -- without realizing it.

In any case, I'm rambling now, and I should just stop, otherwise, I'll probably end up confusing the point (and myself)...

cnote said...

I think that, at the heart of the problem (as you have pointed to) is the loss of the sense that Liturgy is a departure from the profane, from the vulgar. We have lost the sense that we are experiencing God made man at every Mass. I do think that, given the good disposition of the priest and laity, the Mass can elicit that wonder you are speaking of. Also, let's not confuse wonder for confusion. Recall, if you will, that the term "hokus pokus" has it's origin in confusion -- in the part of priests --of the words "Hoc est maum corpus." Not the fault of the rite, no, but still a problem that makes the practice of such a rite problematic.

cnote said...

I'm sorry, that was "meum," not "maum"