Sunday, November 11, 2012

What Do We Do Now: Suffer With Him

Yesterday’s Vortex (posted here) was excellent, I thought.

Michael Voris gave a great run-down of what we shouldn’t be experiencing at Mass, but which most parishes provide to us on an ongoing basis. How are people dressed? Do they indicate reverence in their actions? What type of music do you hear? Does the priest act like a priest, or a talk-show host? Are there a lot of Obama bumper stickers on the cars in the church parking lot?!

Voris urges us to run from parishes that have too many of these indicators of “neutered” Catholicism. I think that’s good advice…

…but…what happens when your choices are limited? I mean, seriously limited, as they are in the Diocese of Baker – especially way over here on the eastern hem. It’s not that there are clown Masses or dancing girls in every parish; no, I don’t think either of those abominations can be found here. But the parishes in this diocese, in my experience, are undeniably and unashamedly…mediocre. They are lukewarm.  At best.

I haven’t been to every parish in the diocese; I haven’t even been to many! But I have talked to people who attend at different parishes – people who want the Traditional Latin Mass, but are denied, and so are forced to go to the local Novus Ordo.

I also know a couple of priests who have traveled extensively in the diocese; they have visited most of the parishes and celebrated Mass there, and they know the other priests. I asked one priest the following questions about the state of the liturgy in this diocese; his smart-alecky responses are in italics:

Do you know of any parish in the Diocese of Baker where Gregorian chant is sung on even a semi-regular basis?

What's "Gregorian chant"?

Do you know of any parish where Latin is used regularly, even for just a part of the (Sunday) Mass?

Didn't the Church get rid of Latin at Vatican II?

How many/which parishes have only male altar servers?

How sexist! [Actually, I know of two parishes where the priest has taken action to ensure that only males will serve.]

Which parish of the Diocese has the most liturgically correct Mass, in your experience?

Probably least egregious: [He names a parish which I will leave unnamed, but note that he uses the phrase “least egregious” – rather than “best”]

Sigh. Well, at least we have plenty of room for improvement! We need some strong leadership to move away from the Protestantization of our diocese, though. Look at this photo which graces the Diocesan website under the banner, “Welcome to the Diocese of Baker Website”:

About the only thing I can see in this photo that says “Catholic” is the banners. (That’s a joke, folks. Banners are the bane of our Catholic existence, and should be banned in our churches. Let them adorn the walls of the parish hall.)

This photo irritates the heck out of me every time I go to the diocesan website. It does not say “Catholic”. It does not say “Cathedral”. It says, “Aren’t we a happy, comfy community?!” The only reason you see so many nicely dressed people is that the occasion was the episcopal ordination of Bishop Liam Cary. And that in itself says something about our diocese. Why in the name of Heaven did that ordination take place in this “liturgical environment” rather than in the Cathedral of the Diocese?!

Which seems more appropriate for the ordination of a new bishop? This:

Or this:

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

Okay, that was just a little side-trip down Memory Lane. What I’m getting at here is “what do we do now?” What do we do when our liturgical options are so seriously curtailed?

I’ll tell you what the temptation is, in my view: it is to run to the nearest chapel that has a Traditional Latin Mass. I’ll leave you to sort out the conscience issues if that chapel happens to be an SSPX one.

But I have another suggestion, especially for those who  want a TLM but have no access to one (including those who do not want to attend an SSPX Mass). It comes from a correspondent, but these are my thoughts and actions exactly:

Go to Mass at your current parish, wear your chapel veil, bring your 1962 Missal with you, and pray from your missal throughout the Mass in reparation for the sins of the world and the dishonor to God of this and so many other Masses. The Missal will serve the purpose of occupying your mind, your hands and your eyes. You can skip Holy Communion and make a spiritual communion instead.

 In other words, you won't have to watch what is going on, you won't have to get involved in all the "hand stuff", and your mind can focus on the prayers of the Mass in your Missal. In this way you are honoring God in multiple ways, including obedience: you are praying, you are actually participating in the Mass in a deeper way than those around you, and your suffering has merit and means something!

I avoid the “sign of peace” as much as possible, too. Having a missal in my hands and looking at it throughout the handshaking phase of Mass is an effective way of saying, “It’s not that I don’t like you; I’m just busy praying.”

My correspondent adds:

You may choose to receive Holy Communion or you may not, depending on a whole variety of factors. The point of this method of participation at Mass is that you are "keeping holy the Lord's day" in the only public way available to you. You are giving witness to the priest and those around you by participating quietly (and one priest says this makes priests uneasy, and that it’s good for them!). The important thing is to not let what is going on around you "disturb your peace." If you were at Calvary, your participation would be silent and filled with grief. You are simply declining to participate in the event of Calvary in a wholly inappropriate way. You are choosing to suffer for Our Lord, in obedience.

Who knows? Such silent but public acts of reparation may have the same effect that the Carmelites of Compiegne had on the French Revolution: you will effect change through your suffering that could not be accomplished in any other way.

This is a good answer to “what do we do now” – when there is no other parish nearby that is leading you to holiness. Everyone can do this in their current parish, no matter how bad it is. Imagine the effect on an errant priest if a sizable portion of the congregation stopped chit-chatting before and after Mass, stopped glad-handing each other at the sign of peace, stopped singing the inane ditties offered as liturgical music, etc!

But even more than that, imagine the effect of those actions on your own soul. You will be “actively (actually) participating” in Mass in the way intended by the Church. Imagine how pleasing to God your actions will be as you join your suffering to that of His Son on the Cross

After all, it’s really about the Cross, isn’t it? And we much each bear our own, even if that includes bad liturgy.


  1. Thank you Jay for yet another great post.

  2. Thanks, Jay. That's what I do when I go to a NO Mass, pray the entire Mass using my Missal. I must confess, though, that I still struggle mightily with wearing my veil when I go there. I've totally wimped on that one lately.

    Because of some disabilities, I sit in the second pew which has the benefit of allowing me to actually kneel while receiving Holy Communion as the priest comes to those of us in the "disabled" pew. But being all the way in the front of the church, I feel so conspicuous when I wear my veil. I know, I know, it's not about me. And truthfully, people probably aren't even looking at me. But I struggle with it still.

  3. Elizabeth, I understand; I've been the only woman wearing a veil many, many times, and even if I sit in the back, I feel conspicuous! Less so now, though; I forget I have it on. But also, especially if you're in the front, if you wear your veil, you might give someone else confidence to do the same.

  4. Dear friends,
    I am most blessed to have the TLM each and every Sunday at St. Francis de Sales Oratory ..thnaks be to God ! I even asked the Canon's to have a class on how to use the 1962 Missal , since this is somewhat new to me...and they are have a class soon for us newbies .
    Tuesday night they are having a class on The Teachings of the Holy Catholic Church ...yippeee, I will be there . Right after Holy Mass (low Mass ) and Our Lady of Perpetual Devotions !
    I have actually joined and am now a member of the Oratory.
    I have not checked out the NO parishes around me , moved to a new apartment ...I "might" do that if I get up enough nerve!
    Elizabeth I understand your struggle with the veil, I have had the same struggle when at the former local parish I would attend I would not wear my veil either ...I did not want to draw attention to myself, pretty lame excuse . Let's see : Honor God or worry about my neighbors snickering at me. You all know the correct answer ...GOD ALONE !
    Wonderful post Jay , God Bless you and your family!
    Another one to ponder and reflect on , solid and nourishing as always!

  5. Dr Jay, you're a gem!
    I already wear a chapel veil. We sit in the last pew. Sometimes I bring my old missal but, after reading this article, I will now bring it every Sunday. I have to go to Holy Communion as I have no reason to believe that it isn't valid, and I couldn't deprive myself of the graces and the help that I so desperately need. Yesterday, I went down on one knee to receive. I am too unsteady to go down on both without a communion rail which, surprise of all surprises, our parish doesn't have. can you believe it?? (Ha!Ha!Ha!)
    And that is exactly how I view it - I am with Our Lady and the other valiant women on Calvary. Just think. It must've been simply horrid there. And much worse than any novus ordo Mass any of us would have to suffer through.

  6. Jeanne, pray for the rest of us from your little haven!

    Lorraine, it does make a difference to think of Jesus on the Cross, doesn't it? He endures all those horrible Masses all over the world, every single day...

  7. Be assured of my prayers Dr. Jay and Lorraine and other that are on here .
    I am very blessed and I thank God every day!
    I was in the dark for many years my dear friends .
    I was attending a NO Mass for most of my life ..and saw nothing wrong with it at all. I am ashamed to say that , but I had no idea of any of this because THEY said it was okay , and Vatican II was "approved" . I never heard of liturigal abuses ...and never gave it a thought UNTIL the light went on : I am going to Calvary , to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass : not some celebration and gather around the table hand holding serive with Father Friendly giving a warm and fussy sermon ...may God have mercy on me ..Today is a NEW DAY and I will worship MY GOD in the TRUTH and the way HE deserves to be worshipped : not some watered down protestanized liturgy !

  8. I know you are well intentioned and from reading your post (which I am now subscribed to your blog) that you are one of the few honest Catholics out there. However I do think that you are giving misguided advice, which I hope in charity you can be able to see why.

    To give you a little of my background. I was baptized at 6 years old, and never taken to Church after that which I am actually grateful for. Where I learned my Catechism, got my sacraments was from a SSPX chapel. Thanks to the excellent theology, and thomistic background of the SSPX. I have always had a great love for the Church. This was about 15 years ago, and I am only 25 years old.

    The few times in the year or sometimes years that I would not be able to attend the True mass. I would go to the New Mass, never participating or receiving communion doing precisely the type of advice you said in the post. Which is to do the best that you could given your "circumstances". That is the way I always saw things, and I never would look to see all the abomination going around especially at communion because I knew that it would simply make me lose my peace. I go to Mass I would tell myself to give Glory to God, plain and simple. However, it would be irrational to think that God demands something that is spiritually harmful to us. A law that ceases to fulfill its purpose is no binding law at all. I saw how I kept thinking like most Neo-conservatives that we have to always choose between the lesser of two evils. When no where in Catholic theology does it say that you are bound to that standard. That legalistic mentality, that completely misses the whole point of fulfilling the Sabbath, even back then many places never had a mass to attend or it was too far for most people. The Church never looked down upon these folks for not attending mass, after all if your circumstances would warrant it and it was something impossible given your location. No problem, just do the best with what you got. I have several friends that have decided to go back to the New Mass, and guess what they used to be the most pious of people now they are no different to what is out there. If only they would have listened to the advice of their loving friend, not to play with fire. God is love, and he never demands the impossible! If you don't have access to the true Mass, then you simply stay at home and do your best to keep the faith. If you have access to a good priest for confession, then recourse after that priest. If not then make a scheduled way to go drive and find a good priest. No one said that being a Catholic nowadays was going to be easy.


  9. I did not know the difference between the New Mass or the True Mass, when I was younger. I was simply not raised religiously, now looking back if I had been taken to some Novus Ordo parish with God fearing parents. I would probably not only have ended up in prison (yes at a young age I was heading down the wrong direction), but would of never cared for religion. I know several in my family who were raised with actual religious parents, and received nothing but the best "catholic" education out there. They are all apostates now... Completely indifferent about their Catholic faith, and openly professing false ecumenism among other things.

    You do not realize because of the grace that you have received, because God is so good. How evil the Novus Ordo really is, and this is something that most people never reflect on enough. All of their questions are always just simply centered whether the mass is valid or not. The primary purpose of the law is to save your soul, if something is spiritually harmful to you. Then you run away from it and don't think yourself so good that you would remain unscathe by its powerful attractive force.

    I have never been so much at peace when I finally recently made the choice of not attending the New Mass again. Even the few times I would attend it, because I felt "forced" and "compelled" to do so. I really dont see how for so long, I was so blind about this one issue. I had to make a big choice because I was moving to Lubbock where there is no TLM for about 300 plus miles not even a Eastern liturgy... Never recommend people to sit through abominations... And justify it as something holy, I know that you do it with good intentions. But the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Thank you for listening and keep the faith. From your Brother in Christ, take care. My best wishes and prayers go out to those who have no access to the True mass. Having been there, I never desire to have anyone go through such a scenario. It is the most horrible thing, but God is good and he will help you. We all are trying to keep the faith and that is what matters now. The time now requires heroic virtues to persevere not just ordinary, so therefore join the Saints. Become one of those heroes who give testimony to the true Mass, by not being comformant to the world with all its pomps and vanities. But rather follow your cross, and suffer unjust persecutions as all traditional Catholics have been doing for a long time.

  10. I do understand your perspective, and you're right - no one said that being a Catholic (in any time!) was going to be easy.

    While I see how a person might come to the conclusion you have, I don't think a devout, tradition-minded Catholic would be misled by the following suggestions in this post. If one takes care to pray the prayers of the 1962 Missal, and to pray for the conversion of the parish, and for the restoration of the Old Mass, then I think God will be pleased.

    Each person struggling with this will have to form his own conscience, of course. But it is still true that the precepts of the Church demand our attendance at Mass on Sunday; and it is true that our Holy Father celebrates the Novus Ordo Mass, thereby telling us by example that this form of the Mass is licit and valid (however much we may want to criticize the theological aberrations we see in it, not to mention the liturgical abuses in our local parishes). So even if the NO Mass is not pleasing to God, He will still be pleased by obedience to the precepts of the Church in the best way one can manage it.

    And thanks for subscribing. I hope you will continue to add comments as well.

  11. Like I said I am blessed to have St. Francis de Sales Oratory, and the TLM ...thanks be to God.
    Before that I was going to the local parish and the more I went the more I was uncomfortable ...and the people attending would be talking and socializing like at a social event and dressed like they were going to a football game ...casual and care free ..YIKES!
    At the 6PM Teen Life Mass we would have Father Friendly come down and talk with the Worship Leader and have this little dialogue ..again PLEASE....Father talk show host came down to chat with the Worship Leader and then give his feel good sermon , I suppose.
    I stopped all this madness when I found the TRUE MASS at St. Francis de Sales and I have no intention of going to another NO Mass at all ...but I guess I would if I could not get to HOLY MASS at St. Francis de Sales !
    I really believe people in the parishs around town don't even know this TRUTH and the True Mass , the Mass of all times and all ages has been destroyed ....I know I didn't realiza all this ....not at all!
    I do NOW and thanks be to God .
    At 25 years of age , you are most fortunate and blessed .
    And all your comments above are most challenging and enlightening.
    I thought to myself those same thoughts.
    If I could not get to a TRUE MASS , I would stay at home but I understand we are to be OBEDIENT to the Church ...and so ...what is a person to do!
    God help us all .

  12. Please take the time to go to Catholic Family News and read the article by Bishop Bernard Fellay , his sermon on November 11, 2012 it is excellent and enlightening .
    He reminded us of the messages of Our Lady of Fatima and especially Our Lady of LaSalette : Rome will be the seat of the Anti Christ and Rome will lost the Faith and the Churhc will be eclipsed ...these are the words of Our Lady , The Mother of God.
    My dear friends do not lose heart are lose hope : TRUST in the Godd God: HE WINS and we are on our way to Heaven . This world has NOTHING to offer us. WE were meant for HEAVEN , Our true homeland! REJOICE! Go read the article , I am so glad I did. Catholic Family News. There is the main article which all about the Novus order Mass....the article from Bishop Fellay is to the right side of the main article . Don't miss out ! God Bless !


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