Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mass for Dummies: Vortex

In Monday’s (Jan. 21) Vortex, Michael Voris discusses this news from Rome via Zenit:

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is preparing a booklet to help priests celebrate the Mass properly and the faithful to participate better, according to the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

You can read the entire (short) article here. Some of the highlights are these paragraphs (my emphases):

…The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments criticized existing abuses such as showmanship, and praised moments of silence "that are action," which enable the priest and the faithful to talk with Jesus Christ and which exclude the predominance of words that often becomes showmanship on the part of the priest…

…The cardinal criticized the effort to make the Mass "entertaining" with certain songs -- instead of focusing on the mystery -- in an attempt to overcome "boredom" by transforming the Mass into a show.

Well, it sounds like they’re on the right track! I’m happy that a new publication will be addressing these issues, but as Michael Voris comments at the end of the Vortex, the people who are invested in liturgical abuse will not be happy to receive the news, and they will likely ignore the instruction. After all, we have had a couple of instructions already – notably, there was Redemptionis Sacramentum, in 2004. That document, while claiming “liturgical reform inaugurated by the Council has greatly contributed to a more conscious, active and fruitful participation” in the Mass, also acknowledged that “shadows are not lacking”, and that

In this regard it is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the Liturgy and the Sacraments as well as the tradition and the authority of the Church, which in our day not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations in one ecclesial environment or another. In some places the perpetration of liturgical abuses has become almost habitual, a fact which obviously cannot be allowed and must cease. (RS, 4; my emphases)

Some of the wording, as you see above, was pretty strong. RS even called some abuses “reprobate”! And yet…not much attention was paid. Not much changed as a result of that document.

But, hope springs eternal! Maybe Michael Voris is right; maybe this new document does mean that the powers-that-be are starting to seriously consider the effects of 50 years of bad liturgy.

Here’s the Vortex, with the script below:


In further evidence of the epic failure of Church leadership over the past 50 years – AND a sign of encouragement that at least some in the Church are finally trying to change course – the latest news out of the Vatican is noteworthy.

The Vatican is preparing what amounts to an instruction booklet for priests AND the faithful on how to properly attend Mass - meaning with reverence and piety and a worshipful soul.

Imagine this for a moment. Things have gotten SO bad that the Vatican has to issue what is essentially a “Mass for Dummies” handbook.

Underscoring this, late last week, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone gave a speech in London England and during the Q & A he lamented rather dramatically – according to those in attendance – the woeful and near disgusting lack of silence in the Church before and after each Mass.

What Catholics – the average Joe Catholic sitting in the pews – have failed to grasp is the enormous drop off in authentic worship that has overcome a HUGE number of people sitting at Mass each week.

They simply do not know or understand – AND have no real grasp that they DO NOT KNOW – just how bad things have really gotten at Our Lady of Suburbia. And what’s more, a large number of priests are equally in the dark.

They haven’t been trained enough in theology; they haven’t been formed sufficiently spiritually to grasp just how miserable conditions are at Mass each Sunday. Not that all of this is their fault.

Ignorance of the truth does excuse a person, to a degree. Just exactly to WHAT degree will be adjudicated by Our Blessed Lord;  but in the meantime, this ignorance must be overcome.

So…enter the Vatican’s new manual that they are hoping will be out by the summer. We’re told there are some rather direct (THANK YOU!) comments in there about priests needing to stop being showman. Yep.

The Mass isn’t about Fr. Nice. It’s about worshipping God. It’s supposed to say that in there as well. The Mass isn’t about gathering as a community and having some feel good emote-in. It’s supposed to say that in there, too.

The Mass is the central act of worship, the HIGHEST expression of our Catholicism, because it is offering to and worshipping God in the precise manner in which He Himself has commanded it: DO THIS IS MEMORY OF ME.

Stated in another way from the Vatican cardinal leading the work, the Mass “is the adoration of God and the salvation of men, which is not a creation of ours, but source and summit of the Church.”

The cardinal also blasted the idea of entertaining music being played and certain songs being sung that are meant to evoke an emotional response and help overcome boredom.
Yep. Clearly he’s been to practically any parish in the United States on any given Sunday,  where the “audience” is treated to a nice rendition and medley of Protestant hymns like “Amazing Grace”, as well as syrupy-sappy 1970’s and 80’s Catholic hits suitable for banjo and drum accompaniment.

We’ve attached a link to the news article that offers more detail. It’s well worth the read; but in the meanwhile, it’s worth considering, again, that: a) this is being done…GOOD! And b) that things are so off track, it NEEDS to be done…BAD!!

Now this is gonna go over like a lead balloon with many of the baby boomer Catholics who rather like this Church of Nice – and we’re talking about priests as well as laity. They don’t go to Mass to worship God, they go to worship themselves – so instructions from that old man in Rome are not gonna be received joyfully, will be opposed, will be spoken of in derogatory terms either explicitly or implicitly and slyly by the more career-minded.

But they can throw fits and whine and yell that the Church is out of step, is trying to return to the Dark Ages, and all their usual talking points all they want. The fact is, things are severely messed up, and little by little, steps are being taken to fix them.

While it is proving to be ONE VERY LONG day, this much is certain: the sun is continuing to set on the modernist Catholic crowd. Pray that a peaceful night will soon be upon us.


  1. What a GREAT Vortex ....Mass for Dummies!!!!
    I am excited and believe you me I will buying these (many copies) for friends and family!
    FINALLY they (Vatican) see that people are showing a severe lack of reverence before, during and after THE HOLY SACRIFICE of THE MASS!
    Yep its not about us folks , it is all about GOD! We were made by God for GOD! I might even get up from my desk here and do a little dance ! Just Kidding ! God Bless!

  2. I'm glad the problem is recognized by Rome and that something will be done to try and correct it. However, no booklet in the world will be able to address the root of the problem which is very poor formation in seminary coupled with the "its all about me" focus which exists world wide. What could happen, though, if the booklet were specific enough, is the elimination of some of the more serious abuses. Yet with even some Bishops participating in abuses like Masses featuring "liturgical dances", the wearing of costumes, and inviting the laity into the sanctuary itself during Mass it will be difficult.

    Take a hard line Rome. If it sways some abusers to conform that is a plus. If it drives some away oh well. Leaner and more orthodox is good. Better fewer with quality than many with disrespect.

  3. This booklet will be ignored just as the GIRM is ignored. At my former parish, they did finally institute "sacred silence", meaning about 5 minutes before Mass a bell was rung - a signal to be silent.

    Here's the real problem. There are priests out there who are afraid to rile up the pew potatoes by bringing their attention to these things.

  4. My sentiments as well, Adrienne. As I said, there have been "corrections" and "instructions". People will do what people will do, whether they are priests or laity. Bishops have some authority and power to change things, but will they? They haven't so far, at least in most places.

    But if the people have that much power - that priests are afraid to rile them - I guess we just need a bigger, more vocal group of those who desire a Mass said according to the rubrics.

    And the silence part - yeah, the Cathedral sort of instituted a "silence before Mass" idea many years ago. The announcer would welcome everyone (!), and give a little blurb about "what God wants us to know today", and then say "Now let us observe a few moments of silence before we begin our celebration". The few moments are just that, because there are few "announcers" who can stand at the lecturn in silence for more than 15 seconds without feeling very uncomfortable. And after 20 seconds, the announcer says, "Let us begin our celebration" or some such thing.

  5. If I may ride my tired and ailing old hobby horse yet again, nothing at all will come of these exhortations, recommendations, pleadings, booklets, etc. unless they are backed up by strong and decisive ACTION on the part of Bishops and, failing that, Rome. Thus far neither the Bishops nor the Vatican can seem to bring themselves to do much more than supinely ask that their directives be carried out.

    Regarding this "participation" business, I am at a loss for words. In the first place, the effrontery of those in the Vatican who introduced their idiotic new mass in 1969 who maintain that Mass-goers were not participating at Mass prior to Vatican 2 is breathtaking in its stupidity. The quiet contemplation of the sacred readings, the reading and re-reading of the beautiful words of the missal, the listening to the hushed responses of the altar boys to the words of the priest, the listening at High Mass to a well-rehearsed choir under a skilled choir master singing the music of the ancients...all this was participating. But that kind of contemplative participation the wreckers did not want to know about. They wanted the hand-clapping, the dreadful caterwauling of an untrained, unled laity trying to belt out tunes they were unfamiliar with, the obnoxious hand-shaking and constant yammering by the faithful, the whole sorry, sickening mess. And Rome is still, after all these failures, still pursuing this fool's errand of "active participation" (because "that's what the Protestants do"). Boy, these people are going to go to their graves clinging to this idiocy.

    Incredibly, but inevitably I suppose, this "active participation" is creeping into the traditional Mass as well, as some well-meaning but woefully misguided priests are dusting off that awful "Dialogue Mass", that first flowering of the modernists back in the early part of the 20th century, and forcing their reluctant congregations to shout out the responses that should be the province of the altar boys. Sadly, the Institute of Christ the King is a leader in this type of thing. Odd, because their priests say the Mass so beautifully. Yet these same priests insist now on the usual bad congregational singing that was the bane of all those who suffer through a new mass. And this same Institute demands that the once quietly beautiful, totally silent Low Mass now be bombarded with non-stop organ music during the entire Mass! This is one of the corruptions that the new mass has wrought: it even affects in some places the celebration of the vastly superior traditional Mass.

    No one, it seems, understands the value of silence any longer.

  6. As you mention, Redemptionis Sacramentum was quite specific and strongly worded, as I recall. I seem to remember reading the phrase "must desist immediately" in reference to one of the many abuses that are so ingrained in U.S. Novus Ordos, it would come as a shock that it's not meant to be. May even be that it was in reference to so-called "Eucharistic Ministers". It's been awhile since I read the document. Anyway, not to be a pessimist but it's just more of the same pastoral, gentle urging, instead of bold, firm leadership from Rome.


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