As the finger drumming continues in anticipation of the derestriction of the so-called "Tridentine" rite via a Motu Proprio, and when it finally arrives, we will see many more articles like the following.
They will be characterized by that deadly combo of ignorance and arrogance. (My emphases and comments.)
Catholic Mass: For parishioners of 1880s, Mass was ‘a spectacle’
By LANE LAMBERT
The Patriot Ledger
For Catholics of times past, Mass was a different experience – and one that today’s parishioners probably wouldn’t find very satisfying, according to Boston College history professor James O’Toole of Milton. [Right, because a Mass, errr... liturgy, not characterized by music worthy of Gilligan's Island and a grinning presider probably would be too challenging, not satisfying at all. You would have to work at it, instead of zone out.]
‘‘It was very quick – about a half hour – [except High Masses] and of course it was all in Latin,’’ said O’Toole, who’s the author of books on the American Catholic Church. ‘‘The priest would have faced the altar, away from the congregation, and his preaching would have been very short, in a low voice.’’ [This is where the journalist of the article stumbles badly. he just accepts the old chestnuts offered by O'Toole as true. For example, we have the old canard of "priest facing away" from the congregation. The truth is that when Mass is celebrated ad orientem the priest and congregation are facing the same direction. It is inaccurate to say the priest is turned away from the people. And, short preaching? The author reveals his ignorance. Most pre-conciliar collections of sermons and sermon notes indicate that sermons were rather long, by today's standards. Furthermore, in the days before microphones were wide-spread, the preaching would have been anything but in a low voice. The author seems to think that loud is better. You get the impression that the "expert" is imposing his own boyhood memories on the entire pre-conciliar Church everywhere.]
Back in the 1880s and ’90s, when parishes like Holy Family in Rockland were still new, ‘‘Mass was a spectacle that people watched, rather than something they participated in, as they do now,’’ he said. [Again, a canard. These people think that if people aren't clapping or carrying things, they are not participating. However, the true meaning of "active participation" is found in interiorly active receptivity, the loving act of uniting the mind, heart and will to what you see and hear in the sacred rite in which Christ is the true Actor. And, when you consider the goofy and unbridled liturgical hijinx in many parishes, where over-amplified poorly performed music intimidates people into mute zombies and self-interested creativity alters the rubrics on a week to week basis, which version of Mass do we want to call a "spectacle"?]
Unlike today, Masses were celebrated on the hour through most of the day, ‘‘so they had to be quick,’’ O’Toole said. [That's because a) there were more people going to Mass so more Masses were needed, b) there were more priests available to say Masses, c) it takes longer to spoon-feed junior in his high-chair than it does for an adult to eat big people food. Often Masses are artificially lengthened today because people are being forced to listen to all the verses of every awful ditty and Mass has been turned into a didactic moment (partly as a result of having three readings on Sundays instead of two) rather than an encounter with the mysterious.]
The now-familiar streams of believers going to the altar to receive Communion would have been absent as well. Until the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1965, the church’s teachings emphasized the unworthiness of sinful souls, and the need for confession as a preparation for Communion. [Things are so much better now. Everyone goes to Communion, rather like filing forward to get a, parking ticket validated. Thank heaven no one believes anymore that we can sin, that confession is necessary or the L that Communion is actually reception of the Blody, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Almighty God our Lord Jesus Christ our , who will come again as Judge. Communion is a matter of group sel-validation, I guess. Notice his term "believers". "Believers" go to Communion. It is not our belief that makes up prepared to receive Communion well, so that we receive is graces rather than profane It by sinful reception. His language seems nearly... well... Lutheran, to me.] ‘‘If you were going to do it, you had better be (spiritually) prepared,’’ [But you don't have to be now? St. Paul might have a comment on that.] O’Toole said. Consequently, few believers went to the altar rail. Even the most pious parishioners usually received Communion no more than once a month. [The author might be ignorant of the fact that St. Pope Pius X in the beginning of the 20th century was promoting frequent Communion - in the state of grace, of course.]
‘‘It was a spiritual division of labor,’’ he said. ‘‘Ordinary Catholics said their prayers and prayed the rosary, [Orrrrrrrrr.... carefully followed Mass as they participated fully, consciously and actively.] and the priest did what he did.’’ [And that is bad? Of course O'Toole's comment probably comes more from perspective that everyone is a priest now, in the sense that blurs the distinction of the priesthood from baptism shared by all and the priesthood conferred through Holy Orders. Since everyone is a "minister" now, the division of roles should be blurred as well.]
We will be seeing more and more articles like this, filled with old chestnuts and factual inaccuracies. You must get used to sniffing them out quickly and have good responses for your future conversations.