A seminarian reports: A Gaudete parish nightmare

From a seminarian (edited):

Fr. Z,

Please feel free to delete this & move on. I’m sure you receive many similar missives. For me …catharsis ..or I explode!
I went to Mass for Gaudete Sunday at my local parish. I arrived 20 minutes early. The lady sacristan greeted me cheerfully as she scuffed by in her characteristic flip flops..
Our presider (Parish adm; not Pastor) processed in wearing his tailored alb and his usual large blue & white stole. He said, "now let us begin our Liturgy in the Name of the father…….,"  he then asked us, "to greet those around us by telling each other how far along we are in our Christmas preparations."
When the din had died down he then said, "this is Gaudete Sunday which comes from the latin Gaudeamus which means Let’s Party. That’s when the monks and priests break out the beer, the Benedictine and the Chartreuse. That’s where we get the good stuff, ya’ know, from the big orders."
He then went on with Mass. He began his homily with a story: For Christmas a little girl received a watch and perfume.
She was quite excited and her mother told her not to bother the priest at dinner with her gifts. Irrepressibly she nudged the priest & said, father if you hear or smell anything…it’s me.
At the Our father he summoned his servers up to the Altar to hold hands with him.***
His ushers are trained to continue shaking hands with us while we sing the Lamb of God & indeed to Communion.
His new wrinkle is at he Per Ipsum. He now says, "As we all pray together, Through him…….etc."
Of course, the wine is consecrated in a flagon & the poured into the chalices by a lay person.
At the final blessing, it’s the usual, may Almighty Goe bless each and every one of us, "In the name….."
Sometimes we plumb the depths of our musical treasury all the way back to the 1980s.
*** The holding hands at the Our father is a thing with him. When he 1st came to our parish, a year ago, he said he was shocked that we didn’t hold hands. One of the fellows said that the cardinal had put the kibosh on that, to which he replied, "that order came from Rome!" In point of fact, I had dinner with the cardinal and one of his classmates and hand holding came up. Mahony opined it started with marriage encounter & went back to the parishes that way. He doesn’t like it.
Fr. Z., if you got this far thanks for listening.

PS. We’ve had a series of unbelievable lectures from the seminary staff if. If you’re interested, let me know.

I am afraid to ask.

Do we need more reasons to implement Summorum Pontificum rapidly and everywhere?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. HootWill Gibson says:

    Hold hands!! I attended mass at a Central Wisconsin parish. I was most surprised when the pastor passed a microphone around the church before mass. We were to introduce ourselves by name and then describe ourselves and where we live! Before Holy Communion, half the church went to the altar to distribute the Holy Host! The sermon had nothing to do with the readings. They had to do with an upcoming election regarding support for some social welfare cause. I long for the traditional Mass from years ago.

  2. shadrach says:

    Happily, the TLM at the University of Notre Dame today was beautiful. Thanks to all involved. A wonderful beginning to Gaudete Sunday.

  3. kat says:

    Sorry, I heard a lovely homily stating the reason for it being called Gaudete Sunday (as that is the first word in the Inroit prayer in Latin), the priest wore rose vestments, there were no abuses, no holding hands (except with toddlers), in fact there were no shenanigans whatsoever.
    There is a way to dispense with this abuse nonsense: 1962 all the way!

  4. Andreas says:

    I don’t know about others but to me this sounds like a description of an average Mass at an average parish in any average town accross the US. What’s the big deal? The way I see it: let the priest come in, if he wants to, on a unicycle to celebrate Mass and ad lib the whole thing and fry pancakes on the altar: I coudn’t care less: I fulfill my OBLIGATION and I’m out of there. Then I go home and read some Latin books for my own edification.

  5. Dr. Eric says:

    At Mass today the kids from the Catholic Grade School all got up at the front of church, not in the sanctuary though, and sang the 4 hymns (2 of which were composed before 1950.) Father also held hands with the altar servers during the Our Father, but this time he didn’t invite us to do it with him like he usually does- “United in hand and heart, in spirit and truth, we dare to say…” The kids also mumbled through the readings, psalm, and intercessions. Father read the Gospel and gave the homily. He did wear pink though. It wasn’t as rose as the priest on EWTN today. He also ad libs the offertory, “…which will become our spiritual food of life …which will become our spiritual drink of life.”

    We need the SP here! The closest EF is an hour away either to the north or the south and over an hour and a half away in St. Louis. We have 4 little kids and we can’t easily take them to an EF.

  6. Maureen says:

    I like the fact that Cardinal Mahony doesn’t like holding hands for the Our Father, and that he provided valuable information on the custom’s provenance.

    Everybody has a good side!

  7. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    Thanks be to God and His grace, I can say, as a priest, that not one of those silly things described happened in my parish today. Quite the opposite, in fact. Please pray for my brother priests who are so confused!

  8. Giovanni says:

    Unfortunately, I think this type of thing happens all the time. Today we had a horrible stunt pulled at my parish. Immediately after the homily the priest substituted the creed with having everyone shuffle to parts of the church, including the altar, to sign up for different parish services(i.e. extraordinary eucharistic ministers, ushers, lectors, etc). Complete chaos. Even for our priest, who can ad-lib, applause, and butcher the Mass with the best of them, I was shocked.

    Dr. Eric, I\’m in the same situation as you. At least an hour in each direction for the TLM. We need SP badly here too. I am in the beginning phase of requesting it. But with no support from the clergy and little from the laity, the road is long and difficult.

  9. Paul Stokell says:

    One could develop an entire, stand-alone website determining where these horrible practices came from: Marriage Encounter started hand-holding, Paulist retreat masters had the “say something nice before taking the chalice from the altar” garbage, and Lord knows where the clown Masses came from.

    They all had to start from somewhere. Thanks be to God they’ll all, in the fullness of time, have an end.

  10. AGAM says:

    FOr the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in our Deanery, the congregation was “treated” to the spectacle of Liturgical Dance. (I thought this nonsense had been eliminated ?) In the same parish this weekend, the Priest came to the Altar and immediately began talking about Gaudete Sunday and the origin of the term.After this he offered a prayer,lit the third candle on the Advent wreath and sat down for the First Reading.There was no Confiteor, nor Kyrie at all ?At least this gentleman (who frequently processes to the altar with his hand clasped firmly behind his back, does not reply “thankyou”; every time the congregation responds “and also with you”; a phenomenon not unknown locally either ! Many people also participate in this hand holding gesture here too; something I refuse to do, resulting in some rather pained expressions at my rejection.One hates to sound like some bitter child; but given the success of the restoration elsewhere; some of us are yet like the Israelites wandering in the Liturgical desert. It is a matter of great penance and perseverance ! But keep up the tremendous work Fr. Z.

  11. Ben D. says:

    It’s not remotely boring for me to hear that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has seminarians who feel this way, or at least has one such seminarian.

    To the seminarian who sent this email: if you need a respite one Sunday, try St. Sebastian in Santa Paula or Thomas Aquinas College up the road. Neither is far from St. John’s. Neither is liturgically perfect, either, but they are relative oases in the area.

    Meanwhile, hold tight to the cross. The archdiocese needs priests who love the Sacred Liturgy. Do you get Sacred Music Magazine? Does St. John’s? I would be happy to buy a stack of subscriptions for the seminary. Maybe someone would benefit from it. (Fr. Z, please feel free to pass my email address on to your correspondent).

  12. Simon-Peter says:

    No matter how many times I read these accounts, I’m still surprised and horrified.

    We had a visitor in between chaplains one week. He told us all to hold hands during the Our Father. I think he was a bit miffed when nobody did this (this is particularly a problem for them in my part of the world, as the English don’t usually like to touch each other). The big comedy inclusiveness smile quickly departed his face. This priest in question is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, which just makes me confused!

    My favourite though, was on another occasion, being ordered to put our hands on the shoulder of the person to our right. This make-your-own-rubric caused much confusion, and prolonged the Our Father by about three fold, and moreover, made everyone unconfortable and think not of the Lord, but of the person to our right’s dandruff our hands are going to be coated in if we participate in this farce.

    I do wonder sometimes. Also, it may be old news, but I think it’s important that these stories are still shared, so that we can remain vigilant and not get used to our own safe-havens.

  13. John Anon says:

    I think prudence is a virtue not observed by many conservatives.

    If you refuse to hold the hands in a situation where no one will understand and cause a scandal, you can’t do it. It is a SIN.

    Let us face it, we tend to know what church is what and the people that go there. If you know the consequences don’t do it. Scandal is worst then you holding the others hand.

    Now you take a place like Rome. You’ve got a bit of everything. If you have a bit a rounder edge in the angle of your square mind, you know how to do things diplomatically.

    I have had to be in the most diverse places. It is my job to conquer souls. I can’t if I am a scandal. With the progs you have to play a bit, with limits of course, then you will have the key to their heart. The trads are tougher cases believe it or not.
    Our Lord converted more of the left: the pagans, sinners and the sort. The right: the Pharisees… They killed Him. The trads think they reached the level they need to reach, they see the battle between Good and Evil in limited spheres, above all in the liturgical sense.
    They tend to be square and unable to work outside their spheres of influence.

    In essence, be prudent. The Church did not burn the first barbarians for adoring trees. They tought them by example and turned an idolotry into an immemorial custom. It is easier to correct a sinner than a sinner who thinks he is not.

  14. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    “Our presider (Parish adm; not Pastor) processed in wearing his tailored alb and his usual large blue & white stole.”

    Ah yes. The classic stole and alb look at Mass. Kind of like how we all frequently forget to get fully dressed before going to work. But let’s be generous. Those pesky chausables do so get in the way of improvisation – sorry, I meant “being moved by the spirit”.

  15. Dominic H says:

    That is appalling. Maybe I’ve just been lucky, over the years, and at the many other parishes at which I have attended mass (mostly in England, but also, principally, in Scotland, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and Italy) but I, thankfully, find it difficult to imagine much of what the seminarian writes about going on in a Holy Mass. Truly shocking.

    Oh certainly I have experienced things like:
    Dreadful music, yes. (Even worse singing, or a widespread lack of participation therein, certainly). Insufficient reverence, yes. Over-the-top and excessively lengthy “sharing of the peace”, yes. (Oh, not forgetting that cathedral in the east of England where it’s impossible to kneel down because the rows of chairs are deliberately placed too close together, too – although much else about the conduct of services at that place, even if strictly Post-VII, strictly Novus Ordo – is surprisingly admirable and the theology impeccably orthodox).

    Oh dear.

  16. TNCath says:

    This is a typical example of a sad but common experience that so many of us are endure, in varying degrees, on a weekly basis.

    For me it’s the following:

    1. The “good morning” greeting, followed by the welcoming of visitors, followed by the weather report.
    2. Penitential Rite C every week with those inane invocations from some missalette company playbook: “Lord Jesus, you are the strength of our community: Lord, have mercy. (Indeed!)
    3. A rambling set of General Intercessions where Father concocts vague, circumlocutive petitions for everything from the soldiers serving overseas to crime in the city and makes announcements during the intercessions themselves (“Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Petunia Bagodonuts, who died yesterday and will be buried from this parish on Tuesday at 10. All are invited. We pray to the Lord.”
    4. A lengthy and spontaneously created “Orate Fratres,” that goes something like this: “Please pray, my brothers and sisters, that this sacrifice, the sacrifice of our lives and everything we do, will be pleasing and acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.”
    6. A blatant disregard for the choices of prefaces, often using Eucharistic Prayer IV (which has its own preface) with another preface.
    7. A lengthy and spontaneously created invitation to the Our Father that often rivals the General Intercessions.
    8. A lengthy and spontaneously created “Ecce Agnus Dei.”
    9. The celebrant’s voice barking, “Body of Christ” as he distributes Holy Communion, which can be heard throughout the church, even over the music being sung.
    9. A few final thoughts before the “Ite Missa Est,” usually concluding with, “Have a good week.”

  17. Jayna says:

    “At the Our father he summoned his servers up to the Altar to hold hands with him.”

    Happens every week at my parish. I’ve taken to not holding hands during the Our Father. Only a couple of people have appeared offended by it. Most of the time, though, if they’ve noticed my demeanor during the Mass up until that point, they are hardly surprised.

  18. Karinann says:

    You poor baby- you need to find a new parish if possible! I will keep this pastor and his parish in my prayers- the people deserve better than what they are getting here.

  19. I am surprised that these things are still happening in U.S. – I mean to that extent. Nothing much like this has happened in Britain although we do have priests who say, “Good morning” as well as “The Lord be with you” and, now and then, hold hands with children for the Our Father. Appart from that, it seems to me we are quite “normal” (as in Missa Normativa).(Correct me if I’m wrong)

    I have read a lot on liturgy and thought about it a great deal. I have often asked myself how we got into the state we are in. There is the obvious interference from the enemy, but there is also pride. In fact I would say this is probably the one thing that has got us where we are, and the more I think about it, the more I equate this with the “Abomination of desolation” which, to my mind at least, has something to do with the exaltation of the human over the Divine – rather like some of the Bishop’s thrones that have appeared over the years in the place of the tabernacle. I am not against Bishop’s thrones (or bishops) but I think we need to get things in order. The Bishop represents Christ in a special way, but – anyway I am rambling now…

  20. Fr. Kowalski says:

    To the seminarian: I know how you feel. If you need to get away from this type of “relevant” liturgy, you can always come visit my parish. We don’t do any of that stuff here. AND we’re ad orientem for all Masses, weekday and Sunday.

    About the hand holding during the Pater…. I was given to understand that that gesture originated not at Marriage Encounter stuff [although they MAY have done it, I don’t know] but rather as part of AA [and I’m NOT disparaging AA in any way]. We had parishioners doing it here until I educated them and we got that to stop during Mass.

    Happy Gaudete, y’all! :-)

  21. Cygnus says:

    If you refuse to hold the hands in a situation where no one will understand and cause a scandal, you can’t do it. It is a SIN.

    Um, no. I’d rather refuse and be thought anti-social by you than perform something that isn’t in Canon law or the rubrics. Liturgically correct, not politically correct.

  22. Julie says:

    Oh, here, let me tell you about my most “relevant” liturgy. At the time, I was trying to be a practicing Catholic, but had avoided this parish:

    1. I can’t remember what the priest wore. I think he looked like a priest at least. But all he did was the consecration, am not even sure he read the Gospel. Or that the Gospel was read.

    2. The “homily” was actually a set of testimonials from various people in the audience. Some of them had slides. I wondered if we’d wandered into an AA presentation.

    3. The communion “hymn” was “Let it Be” by the Beatles. Oh, yes.

    4. The “consecrated” bread was pita bread, very crumbly. I’m certain it was invalid.

    5. We were offered the “Cup of Christ” (Had they been reading Jeremiah? I think this parish STILL resembles what the prophet was getting at in the parable of the loincloth…)

    I left completely rattled. My friend, a left-wing liberal pro-gay, pro-abort, pro-all that is immoral, said, “Well…I’ll never go THERE again!” (Even SHE knew how awful it was!)

    So, tell the dear seminarian that we do feel for him, but there are those suffering even worse, and make sure he thanks God he has not been subjected to such, and if he is ordained, would have the ability to make sure it NEVER happens to the souls under his watch!

  23. Truman says:

    Without minimizing the unpleasantness of the events described, it is 2008. This is not something that has suddenly crept up, forty plus years after the Great Renewal. Go to Mass someplace else.

  24. Julie says:


    I have to comment. I’m with you, but remember that we are bound to act with charity. It is a greater offense to offend charity than it is to offend the rubrics in THIS case. I’ve been placed in a position of forced hand-holding. There I was, in front of Christ; He knew what I knew to be right, and also that the guy to my right staring at me expectantly would have not known what to do had I looked him in the eye, turned my head, and folded my hands. He would have thought it was an outright rejection of HIM, and in doing so, it would ALSO have been a rejection of Christ who was not twenty feet from me.

    I took his hand, I looked at Jesus, and I offered it up.

    I’ve also had my hand taken by a toddler as I stood with folded hands. She didn’t know any better, so I took her hand and considered it a compliment (having especially once been a shy child).

    We have to take care to do what is right and follow the rubrics, but at the same time, live with the fire of charity. Many people don’t know any better; seeming rude doesn’t obtain conversions, even if our intentions are good.

    I HATE hand-holding, I cringe at the very idea of the orans position, but sometimes, I’ve learned, it’s better to get rid of pride and self-love in favor of realizing someone else hasn’t been made privy to the same benefits as you or I. And we slam that door shut when we choose this battle at that particular time.

    I’ve watched it happen, and I don’t want to be that woman.

    I have been too many other times in my life. Please reconsider your position.

  25. Larry says:

    I am deeply sorry for folks who have to put up with this non-sense.
    Unfortuenately, I don’t think implementation of SP will help. Sadly if priests like this got into the TLM they would simply scandalize those who attended. These men need re-education in what the Mass is all about. Maybe as the economic situation unfolds many priests and memberes of the laity will awaken to what it means to NEED GOD and begin to pray from the heart. Then the beauty and reality of the Latin Mass celebrated facing the Lord wil become apparent.

    Please take a momemnt to pray for the soul of a confirmed agnostic if not atheist who entered eternal life at 93 years of age. I suspect he had the suprise of his life the instant it’s earthly paart ended this morning.

  26. Chris says:

    Did he seriously call the priest, the alter Christus, a “presider”?

  27. Seamas O Dalaigh says:

    Why do I feel as though I’m in a time machine in the ’70s?

    James Daly

  28. William says:

    Just tell the good folks around you before Mass begins that you don’t hold hands during the “Our Father.” They’ll buy it and,
    hey who knows, you just might be engaging in a “teachable moment.”
    I do it all the time.

  29. Fr W says:

    I had dinner tonight with a somewhat ‘progressive’ priest from the Philippines. We were discussing some ‘priest-personalities’ that are problematic at Mass, and he actually said: ‘You know, in the Old Mass, there were none of these problems; the New Mass is too dependent on the personality of the priest.’

    I was amazed. Brick by brick!

  30. Cygnus says:

    Thanks, Julie, but no thanks. If you’re going to force me to choose between being right and “charitable,” I’ll choose right every time, especially at Mass. Otherwise, my “charity” perpetuates a wrong . . . and how charitable is that? How many other liturgical wrongs will we perpetuate in the name of “charity”? Let us get over ourselves and realize the Mass isn’t about us anyway.

    Now, if I could just get the congregation to stop applauding the music ministers at the end of Mass. Eeesh.

  31. David2 says:

    “John Anon” erroneously opines:

    If you refuse to hold the hands in a situation where no one will understand and cause a scandal, you can’t do it. It is a SIN.

    Nonsense. It is no such thing.

    1. That is not the correct definition of “scandal” in any event. It is necessary to note the meaning of the term, scandal, in Church discipline. The properly theological meaning of scandal is to do or omit something which leads others into error or sin. [surely one cannont seriously contend that failing to hold hands at the pater noster could ever do this!?!?].

    2. Hand-holding and the related Orans posuture for the people are not mentioned in the GIRM, have never been part of the practice of the Church and may not be imposed by the bishops, or a fortiori, the priest or some “presider” (whatever that is): ttp://www.adoremus.org/1103OransPosture.html

    3. I venture to suggest that this is one of those situations where it it would be a worse sin to take scandal than to give it. Honestly, how could any rational person’s faith be undermined by an individual’s failure to do something that is (a) nowhere mandated in the rubrics, and (b) not part of the patrimony of the faith?

    Some “liberals” are really authoritarians at heart.

  32. Julie says:

    Cygnus ~ Exactly. Then don’t make it about yourself and your preferences. That was the sin of the Pharisees; they saw “right” ONLY in terms of the Law.

    We have to remember that love of God and His Laws necessitates love of neighbor. There is a time to choose that battle, and when I can do so, I do. But when someone who truly doesn’t know better reaches for my hand, I’ll assume the best of them rather than malicious intent. Charity demands this.

    Holding someone’s hand when “forced” during the Pater Noster isn’t going to end the world, but it MAY affect the disposition and well-meaning heart of the person who reaches out to us. Each situation needs to be discerned. I’m not a relativist (you know this, you read my blog on occasion), but we do have to see others as God does.

    The Priest has a MUCH greater obligation, but if he doesn’t follow the rubrics and we are ‘forced’ into a corner, then we must make a decision for the benefit of others. Sometimes that means holding tight to our own hands, sometimes that means reaching out and dealing with the hand in ours.

    Please don’t think I’m coming down on you; I’m a pharisee myself and trying hard not to be. As it is, if I grasp anyone’s hand, including yours as I’m doing now, my hands are covered in the same blood as yours.

    I’ll chooose REAL charity over my self-loving idea of “right” any day. Rubrics (as they apply to the laity specifically) are important, but, having just had a class in orthodox Catholic mysticism, well…I’ve been chastized enough to learn that love of neighbor means that I can’t be as pharisitical as I’d prefer without arousing God’s own wrath.

    As a rule, I avoid such parishes in order to avoid conflict. But in the event of a funeral, or a wedding, or some other event, maybe I don’t have that choice…then discretion and charity come into play.

  33. RBrown says:

    4. The “consecrated” bread was pita bread, very crumbly. I’m certain it was invalid.
    Comment by Julie

    Why do you think it was invalid?

  34. There’s a reason I ditched the parish down the street, for my new parish in Alhambra.

  35. Adam says:

    To the seminarian who wrote this letter – I notice from your last paragraph that you live in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. May I recommend Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Wilmington? There is a 6:30am TLM and a very well-celebrated NO at 9:30am. It may be a drive from where you are but it might be worth your time.

  36. David2 says:

    Julie / RBrown,

    The bread only needs to be wheat bread for vailidy, no?

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but unleavened bread is licit in the West, leavened bread in the East, but both are valid matter.

  37. David2 says:

    So Julie, should we sit through an “ad-libbed” Eucharistic Prayer, or attend a “Baptism” “in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier”? These things have been happening in some parts of Australia, and parts of the congregation concerned (including the priests) are furious at a parishioner who reported it to the Bishop and to Rome.

    To admonish the sinner is a work of spiritual mercy, too, you know.

  38. Central Valley Catholic says:

    I beleive I have witnessed every violation mentioned in the posting and the comments in the diocese of Fresno, Ca. Holy Father help us.

  39. Hrothgar says:

    I have found a rather easy solution to this hand holding nonsense: Stand tall and place your hands in the classic Albrecht Durer “praying hands” position. It helps if you elevate your hands so the fingertips are in front of your lips.

    If you sloppily keep your hands by your side during the Our Father, you get what you deserve!

  40. Julie says:

    On the pita bread ~ I believe it had “accidents” in it…I’ve since learned that at the parish I visited on that day (which I’m not going to name but if I did, you wouldn’t ask that question because you would automatically assume it’s invalid), there were additions such as eggs and sugar and honey. That would render it invalid. Let’s just say I know where they got their bread for the supposed Latin-Rite Mass, and that it wasn’t made for sacramental use.

    Secondly…to David2 and any others who want to throw a red herring, I refer you to what I said IN CONTEXT with an INDIVIDUAL in my comments. Go back and read. Don’t put words in my mouth or bring isssues into this conversation that don’t belong here.

    To Fr. Z., I apologize for apparently bringing a red herring to his combox. I invite anyone who prefers to misunderstand what I stated to email me directly by contacting me at my blog so as not to waste Fr. Z’s space and time. My email is linked to my blog…you needn’t read there just as you needn’t read here to contact me.

    Thank you.

  41. Fr. J says:

    Dear Fr. Kowalski,

    I have educated my people in the bulletin on the subject of holding hands many times, but they do it just the same. Some even asked me if that meant they could not do it any longer. I just don’t get it! I know we need to have hope, but we need directives from on high.

    What did you do to educate your parish?

  42. TomW says:

    At our parish, its about 50 / 50 for people holding / not holding hands. When one of these hand holders reaches for my hand, I simply say no thank you. If I suspect they didn’t understand my unwillingness to participate in this “communion”, I simply explain my reasons to them after Mass. Also, at this time of year, I’m especially watchful of taking anyone’s hand, as many are coughing and picking all through the liturgy and all the “kum by ya” in the world isn’t going to stop those germs from getting me.

  43. Erin says:

    If I go to a parish that seems to be hand-holdy, I close my eyes, hands folded, before anyone around me can think of reaching for me. That way you don’t offend anyone but don’t have to hold hands either.

  44. Julie: It is illicit to add extra ingredients to the bread, but it doesn’t render it invalid matter, as long as the bread is wheat bread (in the sense that a reasonable person would recognize it to be wheat bread). Sweeteners such as honey therefore don’t affect validity.

    An unrelated point:

    I think that one of the most common kinds of liturgical abuse is the one that is least visible. It’s when a priest performs the entire ritual correctly, but his demeanor subtly conveys the idea that this is “no big deal”. Similarly, if the priest and readers were to alter the Scripture readings, that would be an obvious abuse. But when the readings are read, and then the homilist begins by saying something like “Wow, that Paul really is a downer. Let’s take a different perspective….”, he conveys to the congregation that Paul is so stuck in primitive times, while I am so very modern!

  45. michigancatholic says:

    Fr. J,
    I suggest you just stand there and stare at them til they quit. And then go on with mass.

  46. michigancatholic says:

    Personally I put my hands in my pockets. And if it’s a really, really touchy GRABBY parish, I sneeze in my hand and pretend that i can’t find a handkerchief. That usually fixes it. Sometimes it makes the handshake more “efficient” too. BONUS POINTS ;)

  47. PNP, OP says:

    David2 wrote: “Some “liberals” are really authoritarians at heart.” One of my fav Liberal Fascist stories comes from my days as a deacon in a campus ministry setting. For years the Newman Center had been ruled by an “enlightened” feminist who used Wite-Out on the sacramentary and had everyone bring their own bowls and towels for Holy Thursday. Anyway, one of the stalwarts of this lefty gulag was a 70-ish year old woman who whined at me constantly about the growing “right-wing” influence of the young people on the campus ministry. Go figure: young people influencing campus ministry. During the Our Father one Sunday evening Mass, a student refused to hold Grandma’s hand. She recoiled, stared at him in horror, and then began loudly snapping her fingers under his nose. When he refused to budge, she grabbed his arm instead and held on for dear life. After the Mass she stormed into my office and demanded that I start classes on “community” and what it means to the Church. I said, “Community does not include assaulting people at Mass.” I thought she was going to blow a gasket. Fr. Philip

  48. RJM says:

    Thankfully, I live close to a parish run by the Institute of Christ the King, so I rarely have to attend a Mass in the Ordinary Form. Just out of curiosity, do any of the priests who read the blog think that this level of disregard for liturgical norms will wane as a new generation of priest comes to the fore?

  49. A Random Friar says:

    RJM: Yes, I do. It will happen, but as the motto says, “Brick by brick.” I know we may not go as fast any many would like, but not everyone is in a position to effect change, or can effect all the change necessary at once.

  50. Clinton says:

    I very much disagree with those who’d suggest that we should go along with liturgical ‘ad libs’ such as holding hands during the Lord’s
    Prayer. That is how such, er, novelties achieve legitimacy and often become mandatory. That’s not a bad thing if we’re talking about
    a venerable local custom. It’s when the novelty is concocted, artificial — as is the hand-holding — that I object. I believe that was the
    case with both receiving Communion in the hand and receiving while standing. Both began not with official directives from competent
    authority, but as abuses that were tolerated, urged, even forced on the laity. Hardly organic development of the liturgy! In the case of
    receiving while standing, the novelty was finally given legitimacy as an option. It was declared to be every bit as reverent as kneeling. Then
    it was suggested that having two postures for Communion undermined the sign of unity in the Sacrament. As we all know, it was the
    venerable custom of kneeling that was given the axe here in the States. A gentleman in a recent post on this blog describes how, in his
    parish, the option of receiving Communion in the hand is not so optional anymore. If our bishops apply the same reasoning to the hand/
    tongue options as they did to the standing/kneeling options that seminarian could have a lot of company. So to those who are uncomfort-
    able with the hand-holding, or the remaining standing after Communion, or the not-kneeling during the Consecration that some of us
    are urged to engage in I say: Don’t. No charitable person can fault you for politely and reverently engaging in postures and responses
    that are yours by custom and sanctioned by legitimate authority. And if you do “go with the flow” keep in mind that what is merely a
    novel option today can, because of widespread use, become mandatory tomorrow.

  51. Michael UK says:

    At one time I would travel 120 miles roundtrip to get to a weekly and Holyday TLM. I am now constrained to attend my local parish church. My routine is to prepare for Mass by reading a set of personal prayers [also daily]. It is bedlam in the church, with everyone chatting aided and abetted by the PP and Deacon who wander about jpoining in with the congregation. The PP demonstrated churlish annoyance at my being buried in my missal and not joining in the ‘get-together’.

    Once a month I got to a TLM, 5 hrs roundtrip by public transport, I arrive at the end of the 10:30 NOM. Again a great deal of gossiping after Mass and they will stand next to where I will sit reading my missal. Even common courtesy is not evident. The PP did have a notice in the porch regarding chatting in the church, it is evident no more. The parish has a strong lay management – the PP “very sound” and that is an SSPX imprimatur. But, of course, he is Oaratory trained.

  52. John Anon says:

    Oh these trad americans!!!
    They are so imprudent and incapable of looking past farther than what the books say.
    Someone said a really good synthesis. Pick your battles wisely. You may believe it is not a scandal but it certainly is many times. Above all you forget that it is grace that changes people and not pure doctrine. Of the trancendentals, Truth, which in this case translates into doctorine does not move people. People today are DUMB! They are incapable of living by ideals and in consequence of logical conclusions. So that “teaching momment” is worthless when you come in with that mentality. With prudence and above all a AMDG spirit, you will conquer souls.
    And by the way, it is a moral concept that not all truths are meant to be told. Second, look at the life of Our Lord and the apostoles. St. Paul preferred to tell a slave to be obedient then to have a problem with people that were not ready to accept that it is wrong. It took 19 centuries for the Church to convince the world!!! Not once did She go and say “HELL IS UPON YOU!!!” The indians were not handed a shawl when they went to Mass the first time. The Church, prudent and motherly, slowly taught them that it is wrong.

    And as a whole, be prudent in how you present yourself. Between being marked a liberal and a trad, the best is neither.

    Winds change…

    And storms come…

    It blows to the East now…

    And after?

  53. George says:

    Well, I can see how one can have issues with that. It’s an unnecessary incident of bending (or breaking) the ribrics. On the other hand, it can get FAR worse (FAR, as in VERY FAR). So why not offer it up and hold your breath? I’ve foudnt hat very helpful indeed. OK, you may also find it helpful to talk to the priest in question in private after Mass (if you’re good at finding the right words, of course). Finally, I fail to see what this has to do with Summorum Pontificum. What is your Point, Fr. Z? OK, I see what your point is, but the logic is a bit odd. That’s not how it works, [Yes, it is.] and I don’t think it helps the cause of Summorum Pontificum (which I know you support for reasons that I will not judge upon). George

  54. If this person’s stuck in LA: Holy Trinity, St. Therese, St. Peter Chanel, Holy Innocents, St. Joseph are the places to go to avoid this mess.

  55. paul says:

    I think these types of antics- only will have the outcome of making the traditional mass more of an interest to people. I really believe in 50 years the Catholic Church in America will be looking quite different. Holding hands at Mass and the orans position has never never been officially approved by Rome. When Rome okays these things then I’ll follow.

  56. J. Wong says:

    Sounds like mass at some of my local parishes.

  57. Amadan says:

    This is why Christian Order reported that Redemptionis Sacrementum is “dead on arrival”


    Long live Pope Benedict (he has a lot of work to do)

  58. Ann says:

    This really struck a chord and I sympathise so much! I just want to know why, why, why have all these antics like hand-holding and being forced to intriduce ourselves publicly been forced on us? We are not kindergarten children! In the past I went to Mass in many different countries and personally felt that one of the beautiful things about it was that I could go to any church and attend Mass without having to explain myelf to anyone except the Lord. It was taken for granted that I was part of the Catholic family. The fact that we were were all there together to worship God immediately bound us together – we didn’t need to emphasise it by forced outward signs. Now we’re taught to worship, not God but the people around us. It’s a total distortion. There’s plenty of time for that at coffee-and-donuts. Mass is for most people the one time in the week when they can do something different. Why has it been turned into just another management course/kindergarten class/networking workshop or whatever? I am naturally reticent. I hate this sort of thing. It upsets and embarrasses me. Why should I have to be upset and embarrassed at Mass? It seems that many people feel the same way. Yes we can go to TLM, which I do, but it’s not always possible and I don’t particularly see myself as a “trad”. I just want to be left alone to worship in the time-honoured way!

  59. Gravitas says:

    I agree with Cygnus.

    Julie, it’s not a sin to set an example. And I’m affraid you’ve fallen victim to the modern definition of charity, which does not mean kindness. In fact, charity would demand Cygnus do exactly what he’s doing.

    While I refuse to go to the novus ordo, I’m forced to with weddings and funerals. When I go there, if I’m not holding a child, I hold a missal in one hand an a rosary in the other. That way I don’t have to shake hands during Mass or hold hands. Someone turns around and says peace, I just hold up my filled hands and smile. It works well.

  60. Maureen says:

    Sad people who don’t understand real community do some very desperate things to pretend community is there.

    I second the recommendation to close your eyes and fold your hands before the Our Father. You may still have to deal with people trying to grab your hands as you bring them up to fold them, but this can be offered up and happens very seldom.

    Re: ad libbed tropes for the Agnus Dei

    Nobody really bothers me about them now when I cantor, so I just do three Lambs of God. If the music director or organist for the Mass specifically asks me to do certain tropes, I obey, although one time I did threaten to do them in Latin. (Why sing “Jesus, Tree of Life” when you can sing “Jesus, Lignum Vitae”?) Also, once I sang something about “Jesus, Sacrificed Lamb” and “Jesus, our High Priest”. So nobody’s specifically asked me to do any tropes for a while, much less pick my own; and I just sing Lamb of God thrice. Heh.

    Of course, this might not work if you are not sincerely and seriously nerdy, as I am.

    I can’t help you with priests making up intros. There are so many options for them to pick that they might not even be ad-libbing.

  61. o.h. says:

    Every discussion on hand-holding, or not, assumes that everyone at Mass is Catholic, or at least Christian. But I know for a fact I’m not the only person with a non-Christian spouse who generally attends as part of being together as a family. Likewise, some people bring guests who are not prepared to join in the worship.

    To seize someone’s hand for the Our Father, or for the priest to announce that everyone *must* hold hands (and my husband has had both inflicted on him) is to force them to join in a prayer which they may have had no intention of joining. Are you sure that person with his hands together at the Our Father is a conservative who doesn’t want “community”? Is it possible he’s a Hindu, or Buddhist, or even atheist, who is willing to attend a Catholic Mass but not willing to participate actively (hm, sort of how Catholics are supposed to behave at non-Catholic services)?

    Coercion, whether of fellow Christians or not, has no place in worship.

  62. Jane says:

    There is not one parish in my county that doesn’t have some type of abuse on a regular basis. The problem is reverence. When the priest is reverent, you are free to focus on God and enter into the Divine mystery of the Mass. When you’ve got the hand-holding, rock bands, interruptions in the middle of Mass to fill out forms, to recognize someone’s birthday, etc., it’s all a distraction. Often it’s an occasion of sin for me because I sit there and seethe inwardly at the nonsense.
    We are not unified, we are not One, as Christ prayed for us to be. After Mass yesterday,I decided to start driving the 2 hours to a TLM, because I am starving for a reverent Mass.

  63. Fr. Kowalski says:

    FR. J,
    I ran the article I wrote about the position of the hands of the laity during the Our Father during Mass for several weeks in the bulletin. I also preached on the specifics during homilies whose topic was different parts of the Mass and why the church has rubrics, etc. I found that our folks are very much willing to do the mind of the church but many aren’t sure what that mind is because they have heard conflicting things. Once I explained it, most were perfectly fine with it. The few holdouts who kept trying to do it for a few weeks after that, finally got the message when after the Prayer After Communion [the time when I make any announcements] I finally said, “Folks, several weeks ago, we discussed this and we stopped this practice, those of you who are persisting are to stop. Period. Thank you.” It was said firmly and clearly. No threats. Just using my authority as their pastor. The following week one or two continued to try, but those around them refused and they finally stopped. One person appraoched me after Mass and teld me she was leaving the parish because we/I were “unfriendly” and she no longer felt welcome. I replied very sweetly and with charity, “you are always most certainly welcome. If you feel otherwise, then perhaps another parish might be what’s best for you. If you decide to come back, please know you’ll be welcome.” She was stunned and she disappeared for about a month. Then she came back [after having gone to the only other parish nearby and found it to be an even bigger zoo than she could handle. she was mature enough to speak with me and tell me of her experience. And now she’s fine- respects our liturgical life here and doesn’t hold hands during the Pater. Tiring and a lot of drama? Yes. But that issue is now finally over here. Occasionally, we might have a visitor or two who does it, but when I see it I just remind folks during the announcements that we are “a ‘hands-free’ parish during the Our Father” and those who visit with us are asked to respect our parish family by following what we do here. Finally, Fr., I think my Ordinary did issue some form of directive about this, which I did promulgate here. Although, to be honest, I don’t know where I filed them since we were in compliance with everything here already. lol

    To michigancatholic: I strongly disagree with stopping Mass and “staring at them until they quit” because: a] in most cases, people don’t know why you’ve stopped and stared and won’t quit holding hands anyway at that point; b] it makes the priest look “angry” and believe me, that’s all people remember – “Father was angry during Mass” and the whole point of what you’re trying to accomplish is lost; c] it’s a disruption and distraction during Mass and can be better addressed at a more appropriate time. Just my thoughts.

  64. Gravitas says:

    Good for you Jane!

    Our family has it close but, if we lost it or moved, we’d drive three hours for it if we had to.

    The question really becomes, unless you have to work or simply cannot afford the gas under any circumstance, what do you have to do Sunday that’s more important? Nothing.

  65. RBrown says:

    On the pita bread ~ I believe it had “accidents” in it…I’ve since learned that at the parish I visited on that day (which I’m not going to name but if I did, you wouldn’t ask that question because you would automatically assume it’s invalid), there were additions such as eggs and sugar and honey. That would render it invalid.

    It would not necessarily be invalid. As noted above, as long as it’s still wheat bread, it’s valid. The rule is that as long as the extra ingredients don’t exceed the amount of wheat flour, it’s valid matter.

    Liceity is another question. Certain matter is prohibited simply because it is not obvious that it is valid–not because it is invalid.

    Let’s just say I know where they got their bread for the supposed Latin-Rite Mass, and that it wasn’t made for sacramental use.
    Thank you.
    Comment by Julie

    When I was in Rome, a tanker truck would regularly pull up at my residence (Convitto San Tommaso), and rather sizable vats would be filled with wine via a large hose. That wine was used both for mass and for dinner.

  66. patrick finley says:

    I think implentation will help, but there also needs to be a tremendous rethinking on sacred space. That way people will start behaving first of all, and secondly they will start following the girm.

    EG Putting Jesus in the corner…. Unless a church does the divine office, the tabernacle to my knowledge is supposed to be the focal point of the church, IE centered

    EG 2 : I dont even know how to describe, I will give my church as the example though. We just built a new ambo at our church (I use we in the colloquial sense).

    Now, the thing is gorgeous, except it dwarfs the altar in size. Its really depressing to witness. Your eyes are instantly drawn to the ambo, and its a distraction.

    So The BIG problem is the structure of the mass, and I think not only will Summorum fix that, but also some understandings of things that are apart of the church, and apart of the mass.

  67. Jane says:

    Thanks, Gravitas. You are right, there is nothing more important. I pray that someday all parishes offer the TLM for Sunday worship, and that all priests be reverent. (Hopefully in my lifetime.) As Fr. Z continually points out, we cannot build a strong Catholic identity and culture until then, and only then can we effectively counteract the culture of death. (Save the liturgy, save the world) Thanks Fr. Z, for the spiritual nourishment you give to us!

  68. Cathy Dawson says:

    I was visiting a parish once where a priest stopped Mass to correct a liturgical
    abuse. He did it in a way wasn’t at all offensive, not to me anyway. As he
    began the words of the consecration, just about everyone in the church was
    standing. There was an unusual setup in this old Spanish mission church where
    the altar was facing the side of the building. The priest was bowed down over
    the altar about to consecrate the host when he simply turned his head and said,
    “please kneel”. He paused for a moment and everyone knelt. His manner was very
    firm but his tone was not chastising. It just sounded like he was informing
    people of what should be done at the moment. It wasn’t a big deal at the time
    and I didn’t hear anyone complain afterward – and this was at a Mass where the
    opening hymn was “Jesus is the rock and he rolls our blues away-hey-hey”,
    complete with a little dance and hand motions that the congregation were supposed
    to do along with the musicians. I think most people just go along with whatever
    everyone else is doing unless told otherwise.

  69. meg says:

    Yes, Jane – I seethed for years, then finally realized it was an occasion of sin, as you said, but that there was an answer in the TLM. Now we drive 40 minutes each way, but would drive farther if necessary. We used to drive 5 minutes and it was actually harder because I knew I would be upset by the end of Mass; 40 minutes actually provides some relaxing time for reflection and quiet talk with my family beforehand.

    In my old parish, I used the “fold hands and close eyes” version of avoiding the hand-holding with great success. Once, an older woman next to my then-8-year old son tried rather violently to grab his hand and he involuntarily recoiled against me in horror; I must admit I was happy he didn’t cave.

    To those whose TLM’s are over an hour away: go once a month instead and make it more of an event – stay for lunch, or pack sandwiches if money’s tight; many TLMs have gatherings after that you could take part in, so it won’t feel like you’re driving all day. It’s worth it – it will sustain you through the rest of the month. There’s no reason to deprive yourselves any longer, and if you have children, many TLMs are loaded with them. The increased interest will no doubt be noted, with the eventual result of more TLMs.

  70. robert says:

    Wow! This is like our Mass in Ukiah! Things have gotten a little better lately, but I can definitely still relate to your experience.

  71. TJM says:

    This priest, with all due respect, is “stuck on stupid.” I feel for his congregation. This man is so desperate to be “loved.” A real pathetic
    performance, all around. He should just “say the black and do the red.” Tom

  72. RichR says:

    TLM vs NOM …… survival of the fittest

  73. magdalene says:

    “If I go to a parish that seems to be hand-holdy, I close my eyes, hands folded, before anyone around me can think of reaching for me. That way you don’t offend anyone but don’t have to hold hands either”

    I do the same thing.

    Lawrence King wrote: “Julie: It is illicit to add extra ingredients to the bread, but it doesn’t render it invalid matter, as long as the bread is wheat bread (in the sense that a reasonable person would recognize it to be wheat bread). Sweeteners such as honey therefore don’t affect validity”

    I have checked on this matter myself and my spiritual director has told me that when honey and salt and oil and other things are added, that the batter is NOT valid for the making of Communion bread. It is not just illicit but invalid. He told me–invalid matter: no consecration and no Mass.

    That cliche that ‘bread must look like bread’ to justify the use of invalid and illicit bread things is an innovation from those who do not wish to be obedient. A grave disservice to the faithful if the ‘bread’ is invalid for consecration and for a valid Mass.
    I know of places where this happens and the priest has been approached many times but will not use hosts. The bishop knows too…

  74. marty says:

    Holding hands came about by versus populum: we see Father’s hands up, so our hands go up. Then, our hands naturally go out to the next guy or gal, and eventually to the fellow across the aisle. Now we’re one big happy family. Great.

  75. Edward says:

    While I find some of the comments about people causing scandal and acting sinfully by refusing to hold hands during the Our Father ridiculous, I would agree that the Our Father situation at most American parishes is just one of many instances where an orthodox Catholic is faced with an occasion of sin at your run of the mill Novus Ordo. This is why I avoid the Novus Ordo at all costs, and drive to the nearest traditional parish an hour away. I would advise everyone else to do the same. There is no sense in putting your soul in jeopardy every Sunday by attending one of these circus events.

  76. Alessandro says:

    I am utterly horrified reading these comments: endless shaking of hands, cakes instead of simple bread (wheat flour and water and stop), vestments of incredible shades and shapes, words made up at the moment…and so on.
    But is really that difficult to celebrate a normal Mass, a standard celebration with the missal of Paul the 6th? I don’t think it would be impossible. I know many people that can do that. And I don’t think either the only solution can be to take refuge in the 1962 mass (TLM vs NOM …… survival of the fittest: is a simplistic comment, right against the will of pope Benedict).
    We should try to understand why some priests and congregations cannot be obedient and catholic. The liturgy they invent is stemming out of real heresy, it is not a mere abuse. The problem is within, not only in the strange things they do, but because they do so “on purpose”, not “by chance”.

  77. RBrown says:


    Your citation is incorrect. There is no mention of “alone”.

    Can. 924 – § 1. Sacrosanctum eucharisticum Sacrificium offerri debet ex pane et vino, cui modica aqua miscenda est.

    I have checked on this matter myself and my spiritual director has told me that when honey and salt and oil and other things are added, that the matter is NOT valid for the making of Communion bread. It is not just illicit but invalid. He told me—invalid matter: no consecration and no Mass.

    I’m sorry, but your spiritual director is wrong. This problem was dealt with in a document from the SCDF. The matter is valid as long as it still can be considered wheat bread. Thus: Wheat bread with honey is still wheat bread; wheat bread with salt is still wheat bread; wheat bread with oil is still wheat bread. If, however, the additives equal the amount of wheat flour, then there are problems with validity (see below).

    Having said that, I’m not endorsing the use of additives.

    That cliche that ‘bread must look like bread’ to justify the use of invalid and illicit bread things is an innovation from those who do not wish to be obedient. A grave disservice to the faithful if the ‘bread’ is invalid for consecration and for a valid Mass.
    I know of places where this happens and the priest has been approached many times but will not use hosts. The bishop knows too…
    Comment by magdalene

    I would not use the phrase “look like bread”.

    The following is from that post Vat II radical innovator St. Thomas Aquinas (ST, III, 74, ad 3):

    Reply to Objection 3: A moderate mixing does not alter the species, because that little is as it were absorbed by the greater. Consequently, then, if a small quantity of another grain be mixed with a much greater quantity of wheat, bread may be made therefrom so as to be the proper matter of this sacrament; but if the mixing be notable, for instance, half and half; or nearly so, then such mixing alters the species; consequently, bread made therefrom will not be the proper matter of this sacrament.

  78. athanasius says:

    On the contrary, the Paul VI rite of Mass has become intrinsically bound up with disobedience and a false concept of liturgy, even though it need not be so necessarily, principally because the metaphysics of the whole Mass are off kilter. The endless options of the authoritative missal and rubrics are entirely opposed to the spirit of Catholic liturgy, because they are based on the liberty to do as you will. It is no surprise that the lefties take it beyond the scant rubrics of the missal. Moreover it is no surprise that on the one hand you could go somewhere such as the London Oratory where the Novus Ordo is said with reverence and dignity in Latin, and a place such as this unfortunate fellow describes. That’s why I haven’t been to the NO in nearly 3 years and no force on earth could ever make me go again.

  79. Alessandro says:

    “That’s why I haven’t been to the NO in nearly 3 years and no force on earth could ever make me go again”

    Even a visit of the Pope himself to your Parish?? :-))

  80. Jason Keener says:

    This is just another sad Novus Ordo story. I’m sure we could multiply stories here by the hundreds. In any event, the current establishment has tossed our liturgical patrimony into the dumpster, “wreckovated” our churches, stripped away many beloved Catholic devotional practices, and given the Church a new orientation towards man (oops…humankind) instead of God. Why do we keep banging our heads against the wall thinking this same establishment is going to now abandon their entrenched ways and finally come to sanity? It ain’t gonna happen.

    Instead, do all you can to support the Traditional Latin Mass with your prayers and financial contributions. Support the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. Support the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Pray that the SSPX will be fully reconciled to the Church. Make a sacrifice and drive to a Traditional Latin Mass if you can. Encourage diocesan priests to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. Write charitable editorials in your local newspaper about the great beauty found in the Ancient Liturgy. Invite others to attend the Extraordinary Form. Buy hand missals for your family and friends for Christmas. Future seminarians interested in solid philosophy, good Liturgy, and traditional Catholic spirituality, think about serving the Church in a traditional priestly society instead of through your local diocesan apparatus.

    I think we need to realize that most in the Church’s establishment are never going to be totally on board with an effort to fully and truly reform the Novus Ordo. Even “conservative” Catholics seem ambivalent about good liturgy and traditional Catholic practice. Why keep up this endless battle to re-arrange the deck chairs on a sinking ship when there is a better and easier way? The Traditional Latin Mass ALREADY has everything we are trying to coax, cajole, and force into the Novus Ordo. Let’s focus then on presenting a clear alternative to the typical Novus Ordo parish.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems the ethos pervading the current Novus Ordo establishment (“Catholic” colleges, seminaries, diocesan structures, etc.)is beyond reform when it comes to Liturgy and traditional Catholic practice. The evidence is everywhere. If you can’t reform them, present a charitable, but clear, alternative.

  81. Christa says:

    The question of the hand-holding came up when I was in RCIA. We were told it was a custom but against the rubrics, and we didn’t have to hold hands.

    The question in RCIA made it to the question box in our bulletin, where the young and orthodox associate pastor explained that it was a custom that had arisen in the last 20 years, and that it was against the rubrics. He told us to not grab the hand of some one who seemed to want to keep their hands together in the praying position, but if somone took our hand to accept it in charity.

    I have pretty much solved this problem by going to the 7:30 mass which has a smaller attendance, and selecting a pew in which I am the solitary worshiper.

    This past Sunday, however, a young man came in late and sat at the end of the pew. When the “Our Father” was started, he stepped over to me, easily half a pew length, and took my hand. I think he thought he was being kind to an old lady (I am 60) and so I just let him hold my hand, knowing that God would accept his kindness even though it was misplaced.

    I dislike the hand holding because it is distracting to my concentration on the mass. Holding hands makes me notice things like rough skin and sweaty palms, while worrying that my hands are not as soft as I would wish. It is a distraction and I try as hard as I can to avoid it. I don’t even hold hands with my husband when he attends mass with me. (He works at a city half-way across the country and flies home about every 6 weeks.)

  82. Lydia says:

    And all these things, the abuses, the disrespect, the priests who seem to border on heretics, not to mention the bishops, are why I no longer go to Mass. I am Catholic, I love the Church and my faith, but I cannot bear it, I just could not take it anymore. I feel I am participating in a sacrilege, and therefore I am legitimately excused from attending Mass.

    I eagerly await the day when I can go to Mass (NO or TLM, it doesn’t matter which) and not feel I’ve accidentally walked into some perversely surreal combination of a Baptist revival meeting and a Democratic party fundraiser.

  83. Not my usual posting name says:


    This isnt’t my usual name because I don’t want to embarrass anybody in my parish. I was in the Communion line last Sunday and I was third from the front. My hands were folded in front of me at lip level (I receive on the tongue) and I was trying to hide behind my veil hoping he would get the idea. No such luck.

    A man on the aisle right up front was accosting everybody in line, shaking their hand, and saying “peace be with you”. He tagged me after all, and it became a choice between a physical brawl just before receiving Christ, or turning to him, hands still clasped, bowing slightly and saying “peace”. That in itself was enough of a distraction, but seemed the least of evils — ignoring him if he meant well didn’t seem charitable either.

    I really, really, hope this isn’t a custom to come. I think (and hope) that he was either new or a visitor and that somebody will politely say something to him. Has this happened to anybody else and what did you do?

    Not my usual posting name

  84. In partibus infidelium says:

    It is this sort of thing that keeps an ex-Anglican who greatly admires the Pope and accepts 99% of Catholic teaching from joining the Church. Nor is the Lefrebvrist sect an alternative, it is too infected with anti-semitism. When all this hand holding came in my daughter was very tempted to ask young men who wished to hold her hand if they had washed it.

  85. Rather Read says:

    I go to a church where there are a few very small pews that are right next to a pillar. I always try to get one of them. Then I don’t have to hold hands. If I’m forced to sit in one of the big pews, I fold my hands, close my eyes and no one bothers me. I really, really HATE to hold hands!!!!

    My parish isn’t too bad, but I really wish the little old ladies would shut up before Mass and let those of us who want to pray have the peace and quiet to do it.

  86. ssoldie says:

    Hey Maureen, even a broken clock is right twice a day. We drive 45 minutes every Sunday and Holy day to go to the TLM, now the “Gregorian rite” I am not alone, others travel over an hour. We have a wonderful 88 yr old priest who has all the beautiful vestments,and drives himself 25 miles to this small, Sacred Heart Church, this wonderful priest hears confession before and after Mass. We are known as the Latin Mass Community,and believe we are so blessed.

  87. Margaret says:

    I feel compelled to point out that there are still parishes that celebrate the Novus Ordo properly according to the rubrics. Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara http://www.olop-shrine.org/ does things by the book, and still has it’s altar rail in place. Not surprisingly, the parish also has 24-hour adoration, confession prior to every Mass (including the three daily Masses,) produces vocations, has a thriving, orthodox catechism program, and is generally very crowded for Mass.

  88. athanasius says:

    “That’s why I haven’t been to the NO in nearly 3 years and no force on earth could ever make me go again”

    Even a visit of the Pope himself to your Parish?? :-))

    Not unless he says the EF.

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