A Conservative’s Lament (written in 1965)

From a reader:

Dear Fr. Z,
While digging through my parish archives for historical items, I found this interesting poem by an unknown parishioner DATED 1965!  Hope you find it entertaining!
God Bless,

The Updated Church

(A Conservative’s Lament)
written in 1965

Latin’s gone
Peace is too
Singin’ and shoutin’
From every pew.

Altar’s turned round
Priest is too
Commentator’s yellin’
“Page Twenty-two!”

Communion rail’s gone
Stand up straight
Kneelin’ suddenly
Went outa date.

Processions are formin’
In every aisle
Salvation’s organized
Single file.

Rosary’s out
Psalms are in
Hardly ever hear
A word against sin.
Listen to the Lector
Hear how he reads
Please stop rattlin’
Them Rosary beads!

Padre’s lookin’ puzzled
Doesn’t know his part
Used to know the whole deal
In Latin by heart.

I hope all the changes
Are just about done
That they don’t drop Bingo
Before I’ve won.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. wmeyer says:

    A lament it is, to be sure. My Rosary, however, is in my hands every morning. Though I cringe at each outburst of applause, I pray for the day when we will return to the more reverent practices of my youth. My parish will soon have a crucifix–something I was astounded it did not have, other than in the chapel–though it having been commissioned of a local artist, I pray it will not be inappropriate in form. I pray too, to an end to the use of extraordinary ministers; with a maximum of 700 in the pews, does it not seem excessive to use 10-12?

    I pray, too, for the reconciliation of the SSPX with the Church. Selfish, perhaps, as there is an SSPX chapel a few miles away.

  2. Wow, I remember this one. It was printed in an issue of Twin Circle (now Faith & Family) magazine. This was in the days when Archbishop Dwyer had a weekly column, a lone voice in the desert.

    Sorta gives away my age, doesn’t it?


  3. TNCath says:

    My grandmother (now 99) had a copy of this poem. I remember her having this poem many years ago from a magazine clipping she had saved in a file cabinet.

  4. Rubricarius says:

    An amusing poem and not really surprising considering the pace of change in the previous decade and the ‘hype’ about liturgical reform that could be read in most Church-focussed journals of the time.

  5. Me says:

    Padre’s lookin’ puzzled
    Doesn’t know his part
    Used to know the whole deal
    In Latin by heart.

    Sad but true.

  6. The last verse begins: “I hope all the changes
    Are just about done.”

    Actually this was just the beginning. The next four to five years were ones of constant change. The younger generations just don’t know what it was like. You have to have lived through it.

  7. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Love it! Can’t cry enough, gotta find a way to laugh at it all.

    thanks Father

  8. David says:

    It sounds a little strange that this could have been written in 1965, since the N.O. was not published until 1970.

  9. Pedace says:

    Yes I also agree with sad but true, those of us who remember those years, truely do not remember this time and not with happy memories.

    Has anyone ever read Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani’s intervention? His Eminence pretty much forsaw and predicted what we have seen the last 45 yrs +.

    Bugnini new was he was doing, and that was to sow desent in the church

  10. Father Bartoloma says:

    Noli timere, Bingo maneat in saeculum saeculi.

  11. Jordanes says:

    It may not have been written in 1965, but it’s possible that it was. That was the year that the first reformed Roman Missal was promulgated (when the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the Leonine Prayers were deleted). The liturgical reform/deform was in full swing, and in many places confusion, chaos, presumptuous, and disobedience had already begun to appear, with many priests and others taking it upon themselves to make illicit changes in the liturgy, including practices never mentioned or intended at Vatican II.

  12. Rubricarius says:

    By 1965 vernacular could be used in nearly all parts of the Mass except the Canon (that came in 1967). Versus populum celebratios had become highly fashionable during the 1950s and almost universal by the mid-1960s (despite of course nothing in SC to suggest it) and commentators were considered a way of enhancing ‘active participation’ of the faithful (c.f. 1958 Instructio).

    One only has to read ‘A Bitter Trial’ presenting the dismay of Evelyn Waugh at the changes. Waugh died in 1966 before Tres abhinc annos, the new anaphorae or the introduction of the novus ordo Missae in 1969.

  13. Rubricarius says:

    Sorry I should have added the poem appears to have been first published in the April 1965 edition of the ‘Homiletic and Pastoral Review’.

  14. ED2 says:

    What does the “psalms are in” part mean? Did psalms not used to be used in mass? Is there a problem with using them?


  15. EJ says:

    I was surprised pretty surprised at the poem – I was not at all aware that things had gone downhill as early as 1965, when the still had that first reformed missal, which was still in essence the traditional Mass.. there was evidently already enough disarray to inspire the author to write this. How sad.

  16. Jordanes says:

    In the traditional Mass, the Psalms are the usual source for the various Proper chants (Introit, Gradual, Alleluia or Tract, Offertory, and Communion), but there was no “Responsorial Psalm” and the laity in the pews rarely if ever joined in the Proper chants. The Propers usually were read (not sung) by the priest in Low Mass, or chanted by a choir or schola in High Mass. Only with It was, and in places still is, common for Catholics to pray the rosary during the traditional Latin Mass, but with the introduction of Responsorial Psalms and Dialogue, the laity were expected to participate in ways that would make praying the rosary during Mass difficult if not impossible, and in any case would make it seem inappropriate.

    It is possible, however, that the poem isn’t necessarily referring to the rosary and psalms at Mass, but more generally to the way praying the Psalms became trendy and all the rage at that time while praying Our Lady’s Psalter became seen as passe or backward.

  17. Rubricarius says:


    The 1965 Ritus directs that chants like the communion antiphon are sung ‘with its psalm’, #81.

    Of course by then other changes had taken place to such as a further reduction of the fast, Communion distributed with the formula ‘Corpus Christi‘, the introduction of ‘bidding’ prayers, a rite of concelebration and the possibility of the distribution of Communion under both Species etc.

  18. Trad Tom says:

    Just a few weeks ago I was going through boxes of college (late 60’s-early 70s) memorabilia and came across a typed version of this same poem. I probably thought it was somewhat amusing at the time. I did not realize that it was signaling 40+ years of church/faith unhappiness. No, I never quit. I hung in there, unhappily so. But now, maybe, things are changing. It can’t come soon enough to Cleveland, Ohio.

  19. Jayna says:

    wmeyer: You’re at St. Thomas Aquinas, aren’t you? If you are, don’t be nervous about the crucifix. I jumped on Fr. Greg about it as soon as I heard the whisperings a couple of months ago and he has assured me it is to be life size, quite realistic, and it will be suspended over the altar (like the ones at St. Brigid and St. Peter Chanel). He told me at the end of May that he hoped to have it up in about three months. And more changes (both architectural and liturgical) are on deck, but he has to ease into them as there is a lot of resistance coming from the staff.

    If you’re not at STA, you can ignore that, but from what you said I am nearly positive you are a fellow parishioner.

  20. G says:

    Kneeling had gone “out” by 1965?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  21. ED2 says:

    Thank you for the answer to my question. I used to think when I went to mass that I was participating in a 2000 year old ritual- I knew it used to be in Latin but I thought that was the only major change. So its been a little dissapointing to learn that a lot of it is pretty new.

    Pray the rosary during mass? I don’t understand why because I would think it would make more sense to pay attention to the mass itself since you could pray the rosary any other time. Does anyone want to explain this to me?


  22. Julia says:

    My 1959 high school yearbook has a photo of us learning the diologue Mass with the priest in the center. Then soon after Vatican II started, it seemed there were new changes every time you went to Mass – first came English and then dropping the Last Gospel and the prayers for the conversion of Russia, etc. etc. etc. It all started dribbling away. Of course, by then I was at St Louis U, home of the famous Jebbie scholastics and their guitars.

    There were nearly 10 years of incremental changes by the time we got the Novus Ordo at Advent in 1969. I think it’s really funny that the Modernist bishops and priests don’t want to change the current English translations because the change will be too disconcerting to the people in the pews!!! The Novus Ordo didn’t appear out of the blue, things were changing constantly for the entire 1960s. In the same way, the sisters didn’t all of a sudden turn in their habits – the outfits kept getting more secular over a period of time.

    Before OCP started the throw-away booklets, there were hardback books like “Our Parish Prays and Sings” with the things that the Council Fathers thought all lay people should be able to sing. There were many psalms which were suggested as entrances and recessionals AND Gregorian chant – the simpler ones. Yes, the reason so many of the older folks in your parishes can sing along if the choir does chant is because they learned to do it in the 1960s!!

  23. anon says:

    This poem made me very sad, because it tells the story of many people who never really picked up the pieces after the old rite was torn out of their lives. I remember when I was seven or eight (at least twenty years into the reforms), and hearing my grandma talk about how much she loved the TLM. At the time I didn\’t understand her, but looking back at her description I understand too well why she stopped going to church. I wish she could have lived to see the liberation of the Traditional Rite, for the benefit of her soul and because she loved it.

    My father left around the time of the promulgation of the novus ordo, dropped in and out for many years, but became a Sunday communicant eventually. But he has told me that his return to the TLM of his childhood has completely changed his relationship with God and the Church. SP is bearing wonderful fruits for those who deep inside never really left the TLM. If only the person who wrote that poem and my grandma made it around the other end as we have.

  24. Ken says:

    I second the recommendation for Evelyn Waugh’s “A Bitter Trial,” compiled by an English deacon. (Although dialogue/singalong TLM fans will not like it.)

    It shows how an otherwise good shepherd bought into the spirit of Vatican II and deceived his sheep. Waugh was fortunate to pass on before the worst was to come.

Comments are closed.