Ever since coming to this parish I have instructed First Holy Communion children on the how and the why of to receiving kneeling and on the tongue. They happily follow this for a while then suddenly begin to stop to receive standing and on the hand. I don’t think this is because they think it is the adult method, because a number of adults receive kneeling and on the tongue. Rather, I suspect it is instruction from parents and grandparents who do not like to receive on the tongue ‘de-instructing’ the children. That they cannot humble themselves to ‘stick their tongue out’ as they describe it, nor bend the knee, is an attitude they should not be forming their children in. But there is much prejudice about all the Traditional liturgical forms.
It is possible to invite clergy to attend the Extraordinary Form in choir and to receive a polite ‘no thank you’ simply because they have had a prejudiced view of the Extraordinary Form given by the seminary. In our time we (late eighties, early nineties) were told ‘the Old Mass was priest-centred; a nonsense in that the priest was saying something quietly while the choir was singing; bad to have one’s back to the people and use a language they didn’t understand’. These prejudices were then handed on to the people, and still thrive.
Why was the Traditional Form the subject of such negative, disparaging talk? The answer is simple: when you have had something you have extolled for nigh on two thousand years it has to be criticised in the sharpest of terms in order to justify putting it in the bin. Now if the New Rite is so superior to the Old it would have naturally displaced the Old; I believe that the New Form was imposed because they knew it would not be chosen freely at the time. It is also true that the Church could not forbid what she had declared sacred for century upon century without saying she cannot be trusted liturgically, for by saying this she automatically undercuts promotion of her new liturgical form too.
The criticisms levelled against the Old Form are in fact completely wrong: the new form is much more priest-centred in that he faces the people, engages with them as an entertainer -even his chair replaces the tabernacle at the apex of the sacred space. As for saying something quietly while the choir was singing, this provides for the Mass to be a symphony of voices, while ‘having one’s back to the people’ is actually leading from the front, like a Drum major uniting the band behind him. As for using a language the folk did not understand, most Catholics did know Latin: they learned it at school, and in any case, use of a sacred language for worship is a mark of the great religions: Judaism using Hebrew; Islam using Arabic, Christianity using Latin.
Simply put, the negative ‘Frame of Reference’ used by those who disparage the Old Form of Mass needs to be challenged and corrected.
Well said Fr Gary. The only missing element seems to be the fact that they would not fight so hard & vociferously if they didn't fear the fact that had the New Mass (which is still a truly licit Mass) been allowed openly to 'compete' with the EF Mass it would not have survived. It had to be mandated &, as you say, they had to denigrate the EF Mass for OF to survive. Perhaps had the Church been less obedient (as it is now) the change might not have beenReplyDelete
Thank you, David.Delete
Well said; they seem to have known they had to outlaw competition of the forms, because If that had been the case, I took think the New Form would not have survived.
Interesting observation about obedience/disobedience...I think you are on to something there!
You have raised a number of issues in this posting but they all fall under the headings of ignorance and untruths. As Michael Davies commented, those who control the media are able to fabricate an artificial consensus. This is what has happened since the end of the Second Vatican Council and the results are there to see. The scandalously unCatholic RE books which have reigned supreme for the past few decades have created an emptiness of knowledge of the one, true faith which has led to an emptiness of belief in our schools and the lapsation rate among our children is catastrophic. A natural consequence of the unhappy state in our schools is an emptiness of spirituality in our churches every Sunday which has led to an emptiness of vocations in our seminaries and religious houses. And the disastrous collapse in Mass attendance has led to an emptiness of grace through prayer for the souls of our deceased relatives in purgatory. The living and the dead are suffering terribly. Sadly, the greatest tragedy is the emptiness of regret from those whose policies have created this disaster. There is a great deal of sense in the saying about the emptiness of lies and the fullness of truth. The emptiness of lies has held sway for too long and it is time that we looked for the fullness of truth.ReplyDelete
The primary method of receiving Holy Communion is kneeling and on the tongue. This was clearly confirmed by Pope Paul VI and the overwhelming number of our bishops in 1969 (Memoriale Domini). However, those with an agenda manipulated this to their own ends and succeeded in turning this on its head to make the reception in the hand the norm and receiving on the tongue something to be avoided at all costs. Similar frauds and deceptions have been applied to the traditional Mass where it is now considered rude for the priest to ‘turn his back to the people’. That the traditional Mass was banned by Vatican II is another deception. That Vatican II ordered the re-ordering of sanctuaries is another deception. That Vatican II ordered the Mass in the vernacular is another deception. The list is endless.
As for the people not understanding Latin, I always thought that prayer was something addressed to God and I am sure that He understands it. This is yet another example of the liturgy being adapted to suit the laity and its true purpose being forgotten.
Thank you, Leo.Delete
The kernel of the whole liturgical problem is that of "the liturgy being adapted to suit the laity and its true purpose being forgotten". The New form of Mass is decidedly anthropocentric.in its concrete celebrations.
As for current catechesis, it appears to harm more souls than help them -our youth lapse at an extraordinarily high rate from our catholic schools.
What you say Fr Dickson is so true. The prejudices starts with the bishops. Many of the Gaudium et Spes bishops in Australia no longer subscribe to the old priesthood as it was hand on by the Apostles. Rather they prefer the more culturally relevant Protestant vision of the priesthood and ministry. This has had major ramifications for the Church's sacraments, especially the Mass, and it's holy day of obligation. I have written an article about the consequences of these bishop's obligation-free sacramental policies in the December issue of Into the Deep at stoneswillshout.com/wpReplyDelete
Thank you, Gregkanga.Delete
It is not just the Bishops of Australia but Bishops and clergy of the West in general who have prejudices against the Catholicism of their youth and who thus, from their own fear and/or distaste, inculcate the same prejudices in younger generations, unjustly depriving them of the necessary fear of sin as well as of their doctrinal, spiritual and liturgical heritage, preferring instead the guru’s of the modern age (in which the Church is diminishing rapidly in numbers and influence); gurus who share their fear of/distaste for the Church in her (thriving) past.
I shall look up your article.
Gregkanga's article can be found here:Delete
The nub of the problem comes to this, that sequentially over the period since Vatican 2 the "faithfull" have been finessed into believing in universal salvation. Logically then there is nothing at stake. If the salvation of ones soul is effectively guaranteed (as well as the souls of all outside the Church) then it must follow logically that attending Mass is of no real consequence, nor does it matter what form of Mass is presented. And so the "faithfull" become indifferent, and faith becomes no more than a social nicety.Delete
Thank you, John.Delete
Yes indeed, the idea of universal salvation may not be spoken but it underlies what has been called 'the Church of nice'; all we need to get to heaven is to be nice in some way; not socially challenging. Today's Church would not welcome Our Lord on earth today, and would be perhaps even more hostile to His teaching that the religious authorities of His time. Many, many clergy down play keeping the Sabbath holy; not committing adultery etc. We can miss Sunday Mass, divorce and remarry; even co-habit with persons of our own or the opposite sex, but as long as we are 'nice' people' all is well with God. After all, the Ten Commandments were not -we are told- commandments, only 'ideals'.
One suggestion is simply to explain to young people that it has been the Churchs’ position for centuries, publicly supported by St Francis of Assisi, (that should go down well ), that only the anointed, blessed hand of a priest or deacon may touch the sacred Elements or vessels. Hence Communion on the tongue.
I was speaking to a young man not long ago who was considering entering the Church and asked him how the young should be encouraged . Now I got no advice on that but he did say on no account let them near a Novus Ordo Mass!
An interesting response from that young man, no?
Fr Dickson, all the comments so far, yours included of course, have been insightful and very helpful. I know of a couple of parish priests who regularly say the EF Mass and who have systematically been giving their parishioners and anyone interested, catechesis on the Mass. Many Catholics do not understand that the holy sacrifice of the Mass is Jesus' prayer to the Father, through, with and in the Holy Spirit. As such it is a Trinitarian mystery the Church has been commanded by her head to celebrate. There are many bishops and priests who seem to think it's their Mass or the community's celebration. And by virtue of their baptism, some lay people, who see themselves as the privileged 'People of God' seem to think they have the authority and right to alter and embellish this mystery with music and their own gifts and talents. As young people we were conned by our very own priestly fathers and bishops, and our uncatechized parents just blindly obeyed. Hence the Church is currently in the mess she is in this country.ReplyDelete
Thank you again, Greg.Delete
I need not add anything to your comment.
I would however, like to quote from the article your article to which you referred us: "Catholic education has been a major contributor in the collapse of the Faith and the ongoing failure of the Church's all-important elevangelizing mission". Here here! Prior to the loss of catechises and Traditional worship the glory of the Church in her worship and her lifestyle were themselves evangelising factors, bringing many converts to the Church: Today that glorious edifice if besmirched as a 'closed ghetto' or 'a fortress with the drawbridge raised'. We could do with raising it again, IMHO, after the plundering of souls from its safety, Perhaps I will post on this someday.
I think you can't really consider the problem of lapsation and youth involvement without also thinking of the wider societal changes. The Catholic Church is not the only one to see such reduction in numbers, so although changes over the years may indeed be having effect, it is not correct to lay all the blame at their door.ReplyDelete
A big change in the last 50yrs has been the way that communities are far more separated, work is away at a distance with both parents commonly having to work. The media is pervasive and highly influential In attracting people to the Church then we must be connecting with them in many different ways. Reverent liturgy and catechesis are certainly part of the solution, but visible community and christian living are equally important.
Thank you, Seeker.Delete
I agree that it was more than just the changes in the Church that brought such lapsation for many protestant Churches have seen an increase over these years -often of lapsed Catholics. I have a sneaky suspicion God permitted the changes in order to get us through this turbulent period of relativism, but I suspect too that the changes will fade away when the Church regains her equilibrium.