ACTION ITEM: Remembrance of things past.

Our friends at Rorate have posted about comments made by His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Lynch, Bishop of St. Petersburg in Florida, on his blog … did you know he had a blog?… about the bad old days, the older form of Holy Mass, etc.

Here is an excerpt:


My personal memory of the liturgy prior to Vatican II is an awful one. I remember the daily Requiem Masses screeched by the eighth grade girls of St. Charles Borromeo parish in Peru, Indiana, mandatory prior to the start of every school day, and even with their screeching, the Mass gratefully only lasted about twenty minutes. Communion distributed to the kneeling at the altar rail was more comic than reverent (remember hearing the words “Corpus Domini. . .as the priest started at one end and then eternam” as he reached the thirtieth person kneeling?). Also strong in my memory remain Masses on Holy Days of Obligation when at the beginning of Mass, during the Offertory and at the Pater Noster, the assistant priests would come out and give communion to anyone who needed to “duck out” and get back to work (this was especially true at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York even when the Cardinal was the celebrant). Adult choirs attempting Mozart were only slightly better in most churches than the eighth grade girls at St. Charles. My grandparents and parents taught us to distract ourselves during Mass by following their example and either praying the Rosary continuously throughout Mass or attempting to follow along using a Missal which had Latin on one side of the fold and the English translation on the other. It was mystery, for sure, but not the kind of mystery which is reverentially spoken of now for the past. [And not content to run down the older form of Holy Mass, he goes on to run down Joseph Ratzinger’s thoughts on the arrangement of the altar…] Monsignor Wadsworth calls in his talk for more attention to be paid by celebrants to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal which guides the liturgical celebration. I agree but he had better be careful for the growing practice of shielding the celebrants from congregants with candles and crosses of such size as to block the vision of many at Mass is explicitly forbidden in the same GIRM. In this diocese, we have a diocesan sponsored Latin Mass in what is called the Tridentine Rite each Sunday at the Cathedral. [Not many people really call it that anymore.] About 150 people attend. I increased its opportunity from every other week to every week when I came. [And now that Summorum Pontificum is out, His Excellency has been relieved of the burden of making decisions like these.] There is also a Latin Mass offered in Hernando county and a Tridentine Mass offered in Pasco county. Work is being done to see about the possibility of the same for Hillsborough county. But there is far from a deafening roar of the crowd for such opportunities.


There’s more.

Rorate had a good idea.  Bp. Lynch has been so kind as to share his memories of the older Mass. Therefore:

[W]e would invite you to share your own personal liturgical memories of the New Mass. Those memories often explain why so many of us do our utmost to seek refuge from the Ordinary Rite of Paul VI. Please, share all your best (worst) experiences with the New Mass.

You can post here on this and you can post there as well.  Be sure to give Rorate some good traffic.

I’ll start you off.

It isn’t unusual to find coffee and doughnuts at parishes on Sunday.  But I have actually seen them being consumed during Mass.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. acardnal says:

    I have a copy of the new GIRM. The bishop said “the growing practice of shielding the celebrants from congregants with candles and crosses of such size as to block the vision of many at Mass is explicitly forbidden in the same GIRM.” Really? I’d like the bishop to cite a reference from the 2011 GIRM where it says it is forbidden.

    Four more (loooong) years before he reaches mandatory retirement age. * sigh*

  2. Alex S. says:

    I wonder why someone who hated the Mass so much as a child would become a priest.

  3. AnnAsher says:

    Water bottles. Gold fish crackers. Children toddling around the altar. Liturgical dancers complete with scarves on Holy Thursday at San Carlos Cathedral. Screeching cantors. Choir performances. Liturgical EMHC hand sanitizing parade. A man in slutty cross dress recieving Holy Communion. EMHC’s laying on hands and blessing congregants. Creative Prayers of the “Faithful”. Tambourines. A homily on how Christ didn’t know He was God until He ascended. A homily on how Pentecost was a day all believers received the Holy Spirit equally with the Apostles. Altar girls and boys receiving instruction during the offeratory. Tambourines. A dog in the sanctuary. People chatting through Mass and leaving after Communion. The Priest Celebrant sitting with the congregation. Being instructed not to kneel for Communion. Flowers on the altar. A moveable altar. Our Lord hijacked in His Eucharistic form and run down and thankfully recovered. Our Lord’s precious body set off to the side of the stage until He could be transported back to the chapel riding with a layman. Tambourines. Writing our sins and tossing then into the Easter Fire. Personal “testimonies” instead of a sermon. General Absolution used because the priest had dinner to get to. A lay run “communion service”. Finally : “This is His Body” vs “my body” and there was the time we heard how we could feel free to Communicate in mortal sin. And if I didn’t mention them : tambourines!

  4. frjim4321 says:

    “This is His Body”

    …seems that would be invalidating.

  5. digdigby says:

    Coffee and donuts dyring Mass? Yawn I used to have a youtube connection that showed a JPII stadium mass with people in T-shirts and shorts putting down the sandwiches they were eating to go up and receive.

  6. MKR says:

    Among the faithless faithful at the NO parish I attend are a few sodomitical couples, who kiss each other on the lips during the sign of the peace. They always get very supportive hand-shakes from the people standing around them. (The sign of peace should, of course, be expunged from the liturgy for many reasons.)

    My mother was in her teens during Vatican II and the liturgical changes. When her parish became NO, the priest instructed the faithful to self-intinct from then on. “That’s how we’re supposed to receive Communion now,” he apparently told everyone. She did this, and everyone at her parish did this, for several years. Only later, after moving to the city in which she gave birth to me, did my mother learn that her priest had lied or had been hideously misinformed.

    My sister has to attend mass at the Newman Center at her college. There are no kneelers. Early in the year, a polite but unambiguous note was printed in the bulletin requesting that no students kneel. Solidarity and sensitivity and all that.

  7. Ben Yanke says:

    My old parish was a mess.

    Overstoles, clueless servers, incense once a year, the same gituar group, ad-libbing priest, weekday communion services, sappy homilies, christmas pageants instead of the gospel at Christmas Mass, happy birthday sung after some daily Masses.

    Once when I was just old enough to still remember it, I remember mom dancing the careful dance of trying to tell me me why the song being sung was heretical, but at the same time, not destroying my trust for priests and the other people that worked at the church. I don’t remember the specifics, but it was something basically saying we all go to heaven, no matter what.

    Let’s just say that was the beginning of the end of our membership at that parish. Soon after, we moved to the Cathedral, with Bishop Morlino, where we could simply relax and trust we were being taught orthodoxy at all times.

  8. AnnAsher says:

    Fr Jim, Yes it does. I did write the letter to the Bishop following Fr Z’s guidelines for such communication. His Excellency is addressing it.

  9. Son of Trypho says:

    I attended a university student Mass on one occasion where the students reclined on beanbags throughout the entire Mass except for receiving Communion when they had to get up and then returned to their lounging.

  10. Fuquay Steve says:

    Until I found a traditional church, I was lost because my flip flops were broken and my jeans were not soiled enough for the norm of the nearby church (in the round). The breadline was a nice touch as it only mirrored the environment. Wish I could help with more info. Truly I am blessed to have found sacred beauty only a few miles further down the road – where clean cloths and veils do not stand out.

  11. BobP says:

    I can just hear it from the SSPX: “We told you so.”

  12. Indulgentiam says:

    @acardnal– i have been meaning to thank you for all the references you post. You have helped me compile quite a syllabus. I am learning a lot so thank you Father :)

    So the Bishop wants to compare horror stories does he?!? how about– Priests that invite children up on the Altar during Mass to pass out candy and school supplies, Priests who curse in spanish during their homilies to, i guess , identify with the bros., female lectors who are allowed to dress like prostitutes, emhc’s that look like wes craven’s pinhead, singing on the Altar, dancing on the Altar, huge projection screens up on the Altar for Catholic Appeal week and to give props to all the “great people who make Church possible”kids in the pews playing nintendo, reading harry potter, eating-you name it. mariachi guitars, electric guitars, accordions and maracas an MC type screaming from the choir section “bienveniedos a su casa!” (welcome to your house) right before the mariachi band commences with a; EEEEEEHAAAA!!! YAYAYAiiii!!!
    We now travel to another state for the TLM— Deo Gratias!
    I heard a very holy Priest say, “if everything inside you is creeping and crawling (at the sight of these abuses) there is someone else who is even more offended and that is the Holy Trinity”
    Do Priests and lay folk really believe that the same God who struck Levite Priests dead, in the Old Testament, for just one liturgical abuse has somehow changed? we are told that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Do people actually believe that He has relaxed His standards b/c we are what? more technologically advanced?
    I pray that this Bishop will remember who he is and Who God is, quickly, before he runs out of time.

  13. DLe says:

    I once helped out at the RE Congress a few years back. I don’t think I need to explain what happened… needless to say, when invited to come back the next year, I declined.

    Apart from that, other such Masses of note are those at my university’s student Catholic center. Greeting your neighbors around you before Mass since “nobody is a stranger here.” Gather hymnals. Bongos. Plenty of Haugen and Haas (though it may just be a matter of taste for some). Celebrant trying to make funny remarks here and there. The Holy Thursday Mandatum being made so that everybody washes everybody else’s feet. Priest makes a few comments as the “homily”, with “reflections” from a female staff member following. Everybody being asked to stand during the Consecration. An essentially unrecognizable Eucharistic Prayer, save for (thankfully) the words of institution. Bread of unknown substance, vague shape (said to be baked by the students themselves). Ceramic chalice and plates. An overly drawn out Agnus Dei (using “King of Kings” and “Prince of Peace” and so on) to buy time for EMHCs to rip apart the bread loaf, with very visible crumbs. Though, despite how the cantor invariably asks that everybody “stand and remain standing” until the end of communion, there are a quite a few who kneel after receiving.

    That said, I haven’t heard of a parish that has “daily Requiem Masses” …

  14. TNCath says:

    WHY do we continue to have bishops like Bishop Lynch allowed to write such goofy nonsense? No matter how one might feel about the Mass prior to Vatican II, what Bishop Lynch has said of his “experience” of the Mass is downright juvenile. While I am sure there were abuses in the Mass prior to Vatican II, I find it quite interesting that His Excellency doesn’t not mention the “personal memory” I know he has about Masses celebrated in the Novus Ordo. Or does he? It seems to me that His Excellency is more concerned about propagating his idea of how the Mass should be celebrated rather than how the Mass is envisioned by the Church. When is this guy retiring? It seems he has been around forever and has dodged the bullet for so long that no one takes him seriously, anyway.

  15. jfk03 says:

    Aside from constant chatter and busy-busy “participation” over the past 40 years, the event I remember best is five years ago when our parish priest, a man in his 60’s, gave a homily in which he suggested that modern-day Catholics really didn’t need to go to confession. I don’t think he was joking or being sarcastic. It bothered me greatly at the time, and it still pains me because I know I need God’s mercy. Sacramental confession keeps me from despair.

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!

  16. contrarian says:

    My worst experience was probably also a moment of clarity for me.
    It was at a suburb church that I went to while visiting family. It looked like it was built in the mid sixties. Aesthetically horrible. No crucifix, no icons, Blessed Sacrament *hidden* in the family room off to the side (through a door). A circle church with an alter that looked like a kitchen table.
    All of the cliches of the terrible hippie Mass were present, complete with the organist–I kid you not–playing Kumbaya during the offering. Truly.
    But here’s why it was a moment of clarity.
    The church was only a quarter full. Most people were old. Not many families.
    The priest, while ad libbing, was bored.
    The folks in the pews responded to the chatty priest with bored answers and bored claps.
    The cantor, while terrible and the center of attention, was bored.
    The guy on bass, the guy on drums, and the gal playing guitar all looked like it was a chore playing Marty Haugen.
    There were two bored alter girls who were wearing jeans and awful shoes under their ill fitting gowns. They rolled their eyes and smirked and zoned out.
    The hymns were all Age of Aquarius nonsense, but they were sang half heartedly by bored old people, who lurched for my hand during the Our Father in a way that looked like habit instead of charismatic joy.
    It was a style that was supposed to challenge the joyless bad old days, but it was the most joyless Mass I’ve ever been in.
    It was truly terrible and awful, but also incredibly instructive. It occurred to me that the Spirit of Vatican II meme was just running on autopilot at this point. It had no future outside of the people perpetuating it in this very church. And they were all old.

    So. It was instructive as much as it was awful.

  17. fvhale says:

    Rather than saying anything about my experience of the Ordinary Form over the last 14 years (since I returned to the Catholic Church), I would just mention a personal trajectory.

    In 1998 I was taught that Latin is extinct, and that we are free to modify both the prayers and readings of the (Ordinary Form of the) Mass for “pastoral needs” (i.e. whatever the ladies in charge of liturgy wanted to do).

    Then I learned some Gregorian chant (in Latin). Then I really began to study Latin. Then I really studied the documents of Vatican II (not just the elusive “Spirit of Vatican II”). Then I studied the writings of Aquinas and Bonaventure, and Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, among others (reading De Lubac’s “Catholicism” this morning). Started praying the Breviarium Romanum along with the Liturgy of the Hours.

    It was bound to happen sooner or later. This evening I attended my first Extraordinary Form mass, with my wife, at a parish in our diocese. Wow. I am smitten. Holiness. Glory. Reverence. Peace. I imagine it is a sin to think of so many Ordinary Form liturgies I have been to over the past 14 years as “third grade plays,” I can read the Latin of the Ordinary Form, so I know it is exalted, but the realization in English, in actual parishes I have been to, is not just “dumbed down”–more like hammered into the lowest possible denominator in the way it is done. I am still stunned by the contrast; forgive my rambling.

  18. amsjj1002 says:

    TNCath: According to my handy-dandy map-book of bishops (compiled so I can more easily pray for our hierarchy), Bishop Lynch’s 75th will be in 2016.

  19. APX says:

    At my grandpa’s funeral at the start of the homily: “You know, I’m up here just sweating away in this 35°C weather. The church has no air conditioning, and I just have to say thank-you to [my grandpa] for choosing to die in the middle of a heat wave.

    The priest dragging some kid up into the sanctuary so that everyone could make fun of him for being a Canucks fan.

    The Sunday after the Stanley Cup: “Let’s get everyone wearing their Boston jerseys to stand up so we can acknowledge their win.”

    Constant score updates whenever Mass interfered with a Riders game.

    Jokes at Christmas Eve Mass about husbands being dragged to Mass by their wives and looking forward to going back home to get drunk so they can deal with the in-laws.

    The sing-a-long homilies with the deacon and his 12 string guitar, including a re-write of a song about having casual sex.

    Hearing about all the latest cool things for sale on the Shopping Network during homilies, yet the priest was too busy on a Saturday night after Mass to hear by Confession after being away for 10 years.

    I’m sure there’s more. Aside from the one about my grandpa’s funeral all happened within the same year with the same priest.

  20. Texas trad says:

    There is something terribly wrong with Bishop Lynch.

  21. Bea says:

    Memories of Novus Ordo Mass.
    Memories or Nightmares?

    1. Communion Song at a Christmas Day Mass: “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”
    2. The recessional was “Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart” and some of the congregation bouncing up and down to the beat of the bouncy tune.
    3. Followed by applause and cries of “Feliz Navidad” to each other.
    4. Spending half the Mass wondering if the balloons are going to waft close enough to the candles to “pop”
    5. Priest announcing an invitation to coffee and donuts after Mass and calling it “A continuation of the Mass.”
    6. Lecturers at Teeny Boppers Mass processing in with their mini skirts.
    7. My husband remembers (I wasn’t there, thanks be to God) communion song was Bob Dylan’s “Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, Play a song for me”
    8.Just last week at a funeral Mass, the priest (and concelebrant?) standing at the altar waiting until everybody finished their endless handshakes of peace across the aisles and everyone gathering around the relatives of the deceased: A veritable circus before the Mass continued.

    I’m sure there are more instances but off the top of my head that’s all that comes to mind.

  22. Clinton says:

    Bea, I may be able to top you– in the parish of my college years, the kids having their first
    Holy Communion were treated to a recording of Kermit the Frog singing “The Rainbow
    Connection” during Communion. How special.

    In that same parish, in the iron grip of a liturgist who never met a rite she couldn’t ‘improve’,
    we had a Mass that was so distorted and absurd that we pewmeat truly had no idea what to
    do or what was happening next. I remember the man next to me, a stranger, turning to me in
    bafflement and whispering “what the @#$! is this?”. I could only shrug and join him
    (and others) in exiting.

  23. Bea says:

    I posted the same above on Rorate, Thanks Fr. Z.

  24. RMT says:

    I’ve gotten the sermon about how the real miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish was that people pulled their lunches out of their pockets and shared with everyone else–to which I respond why were they hungry in the first place if they all had lunch in their pockets?

    I have also heard Amazing Grace played on bass guitar to the tune of the House of the Rising Sun. At one Mass that I went to, the priest broke the host in half at the moment of the consecration when Jeus “broke the bread”

  25. Will D. says:

    I’m underwhelmed by the tone of this post and its comments. I’ve seen some of the abuses Bp. Lynch describes in the older form, and some of the abuses recorded in the newer form. Bonehead priests, bonehead parishoners, bonehead liturgists and bonehead musicians can and do pop up in all places.

    I’d like to see devout, sober masses celebrated according to the missal, whether it be the 1962 missal for the older form or the 3rd edition for the newer form. Rather than sneering about the abuses, why not work to fix them?

  26. DetJohn says:

    If I had the time, I would list all my observations and lump them together with everyone else’s and title it MASS CONFUSION and send it to Bishop Robert Lynch and respectfully request him to teach us how the Ordinary Form on the Roman mass is to be properly said and done.

    I would also ask him why he griped to the press about the altar arrangement the Pope Benedict XVI uses. I am sure that he has the means to personaly express himself to the Pope. The above gripe was publicaly disrespectful and cowardly.

    I hope that Bishop Lycnh is called to the Vatican to explain why he publicaly dissed His Holyness.

  27. Cathy says:

    Non-habited religious sister heard more than once at Mass saying, “May the Lord accept this sacrifice at our hands.”

  28. Bill Russell says:

    Bishop Lynch is one of the remaining protegees of Cardinal Bernardin. In 2000 he banned Perpetual Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in his diocese. In 2004 he absented himself from his diocese at the time of Terri Schiavo’s death. Later, he opposed the Vox Clara process of vernacular translation. And if he has a memory good enough to recall the bad old days of the “Tridentine Liturgy,” he should also be able to remember how in 2002 his diocese paid $100,000 to stop a threatened lawsuit by a 42 year old male employee who accused Bishop Lynch of inappropriate behaviot.

  29. Clinton R. says:

    All of this is good proof that the Catholic Church is a Divinely founded religion. If this was a man made church, it would have died out by now. See: Church, Episcopal. May the Lord have mercy upon us. +JMJ+

  30. Andy Lucy says:

    I converted to the Faith in 1993. In the nearly two decades since, I have been bombarded by liturgical abuses… and personal abuse, but that’s another story. The worst abuse that I ever saw occurred at the 10:30am Mass on a Sunday. One of the half dozen EMHCs used in the Mass with about 100 people attending, dropped the chalice containing the Precious Blood. Onto the carpeted floor. OK… that’s bad. But then, she went to the credence table, got the towel used by the priest to dry his hands after the ablution, dropped it on the floor, and used her foot to mop up the Precious Blood of our Lord. How can someone even think about committing such a sacrilege, let alone actually do it, if they TRULY believe in the True Presence.

    She took the towel, dripping with the Blood, to the sacristy and threw it in the hamper for used albs. That is where I found it when I looked for it after Mass ended. I had tears in my eyes… I asked Father if he wanted me to clean up the area where the spill occurred, but properly. So, using holy water and clean towels, he and I cleaned up the spill and then cleaned everything in the sacrarium.

    That she dropped the chalice, hey… accidents happen, even though THAT particular accident would not happen at an EF Mass. But the casual disregard for the Precious Blood… that raises my blood pressure even today, 15 years later.

  31. Bea says:

    Will D. says:
    26 July 2012 at 12:16 am
    ………………… Rather than sneering about the abuses, why not work to fix them?

    Sadly, Will D. , I have “worked” to fix them and am scoffed at or ignored and I don’t think we’re sneering, we’re too sad to sneer.

    It’s like I don’t “understand” the times.
    I, sadly, understand them too well.

    In a conversation with my pastor at breakfast: (about the “good morning” as Mass begins)
    I asked him “What is the description of the Mass?”
    “TheLatinMass or the NewMass?” he asked.
    “Both” I said.
    “its The Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross” he replied.
    “Can you imagine” I said “Our Lady standing at the foot of the Cross,turning to us and telling the people (and said in a cheery voice) ‘Good Morning'”
    He paused as if giving it some thought, but said nothing.
    I held my breath at the next Mass he celebrated but it was the same as usual: “Good Morning” as the Mass began.

    The TLM is the only Mass that makes sense. I long for the day we may one day have it in our parish.
    I long to be able to put my focus on the Lord with no distractions.

  32. mike cliffson says:

    Fr :
    This thread is more like tat for tat.You tooism. It may be necessary, but …
    I dont know about stateside , but a lot of the externals quoted from the bishop’s blog ring true: en masse, even at mass, even 60 years ago, Catholics ARE a bit sloppy. I’ve found latin/tridentine masses in the UK over the past few years a little ” stagey” , a little “too perfect”, a bit like those films hollowood makes recreating the past were every last item is genuinely 1944, say. Not everything and everyone in 1944 WAS 1944.
    Not to carp: how could it be otherwise? merely to say that for ayounger generation
    The thing is, it was NOT about Us, how well we did it, how well the priest pronounced, how well anyone sang. It was about the mass, worship, jump in who will with the right words but pretty well universally catholics DID know ,cognoscere know ,as, now theyso much dont , what they were at mass FOR.There was a sort of natural reverence , however sloppy, which has largely gone.Hmm a modern way of understanding it:
    If it’s Catholic, there’s kids. If there’s kids, there’s SOME distraction and noise. But surely, unless you hate children ( a problem that started in the catholic church, in the UK at least, BEFORE the changes) you can compare Parish A where 100 kids even aged 2to3, are fairly quiet, all through mass, and if they aren’t mum or dad takes them out, and Parish B where you get theidea, one has no window into anyone’s soul, that parents ONLY god for their kids is immediate gratification and selfexpression be never frustrated.
    The aethetically deficient externals Uk anyway are more like the modern kids in Parish A.
    I can’t understand anyone remembering “My personal memory of the liturgy prior to Vatican II is an awful one” – that’s like the impression of a visiting protestants. Has anyone ever read Gerald Manley hopkins letter to his father about becoming a Catholic, wherein he corrects his father’s idea that it’s about aesthetics.?
    My nose says there’s something very wrong in the quote which is the body of this post, and it’s more fundamental than NO vs EF.

  33. Tradster says:

    Two words: Charismaniac Masses. The list of abuses I witnessed could fill a book.

  34. Athelstan says:

    Hello Will,

    Rather than sneering about the abuses, why not work to fix them?

    It seems to me that your suggestion could also be directed to His Excellency, who is in a better position to correct abuses than any of us.

    Many of us have tried, believe it or not. Parish priests and liturgists are not always so open to correction, no matter how deferential or supportive.

  35. Stephen D says:

    The senior class in my elementary school was called on to sing the responses to the Latin Mass in my preVatII childhood. I loved it, learned some Latin in the process and sang the Mass in a beautiful church with a beautiful altar, wreathed in incense, surrounded by beautiful images and dedicated to the English Martyrs. Years later I visited the church and it looked like a Baptist chapel with all adornments and statues missing. At the centre of the sanctuary was a large chair and the tabernacle was outside the sanctuary in a place where there was formerly a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham – now gone. I could have wept.

  36. benedetta says:

    If only it were mere memory: Haugen and Haas, ad nauseum.

  37. Supertradmum says:

    There is no such thing as a stagy TLM. By its very perfection as the most Sacred Moment of Time and Worship in the world, it must be done as perfectly as possible. God not only deserves this, but demands this. I applaud the younger generation of priests who take every small detail seriously.

    What a blessing. Except for fast Masses, I never saw an abuse pre-Mass of Paul VI. Sorry, but I was very aware– being in a choir, directing it sometimes (Gregorian Chant mixed choirs) and being president of the sacristy club. All my brothers were altar boys. We were at Mass daily and sometimes twice daily. Abuses came with the opening up of the Human-Centered Mass.

  38. Oh to hear again and again and again ON Eagles Wings at a funeral. Cough, gag, wretch!

  39. Supertradmum says:

    Sorry, but my horrible mind thinks of “On Vultures’ Wings” if that song is played at a funeral…

  40. PA mom says:

    My frustration right now is with the altar servers all lined up kneeling behind the altar, staring at the congregation. Just think of how much more they would get out of spending that time kneeling facing the front of the altar, looking up at Our Lord on the crucifix while seeing the consecration. How many more religious vocations might we have? How much more it would be about Him instead of us.

  41. jaykay says:

    “Bring him home” from Les Miserables sung at a funeral recently was the latest inappropriate thing I witnessed here in Ireland. Doubly inappropriate in that the lyrics include the line: “… he’s only a boy” while the deceased was in his late 70s.

    Thank God it was just the choir and there was no soloist, as in the actual stage show, otherwise there would have had to have been the mandatory applause.

  42. ray from mn says:

    Bishop Lynch might be most well known for prohibiting Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in his entire diocese.

  43. Supertradmum says:

    We need to pray for this man, this bishop. His soul is not right. No TLM, no Adoration? Disobedient to begin with…scary.

  44. Nathan says:

    Oh, my, how to put this in the least bit charitably–veni, Creator Spiritus–I really think that, given the state of the sacred liturgy that I’ve seen in his diocese, Bishop Lynch would find that implementing every single one of the pre-Novus Ordo abuses he lists would be a vast improvement over what the vast majority of his flock gets every Sunday.

    We have family that we visit yearly in this diocese, and in the past two years we were there quite a bit during my mother-in-law’s final illness. In addition to a fairly significant vocations problem, the institutionalized “liturgical practices that are now tolerated that began as liturgical rebellion” have morphed into what appears to be a state of just going through the motions, at least in the 4 or 5 parishes I have been to recently. While there’s not room here to go into the details, I think the best analogy for what I’ve seen in this diocese is that the sacred liturgy is like avacado-colored appliances from the 1970s.

    It’s also not just how the parishes there offer Holy Mass, it’s the entire “spirit of Vatican II” we don’t need to think about sin mentality. We once arrived four days before Christmas and could not find any Confessions, either scheduled or available for appointment, within 45 minutes of my in-law’s house from that time all the way through the weekend after Christmas. The only opportunity people had to go to Confession at all was during the “Advent Penance Services” which concluded more than a week before the holiday.

    More urgently, please pray for all the Catholic retirees who moved to that part of Florida and have had their Faith slowly eroded by not only the liturgical but pastoral practices of that diocese, and are now facing dying without the traditional supports of Holy Mother Church.

    In Christ,

  45. anachy says:

    At all of my local N.O. parishes, the pastors’ homilies are utter pabulum. Mass feels more like Romper Room than the Holy Sacrifice. The music, like the homilies, is utterly banal and grating H&H tripe. The warbling of the intrusive, arm-waving canter adds nothing to what should be the dignity of the Mass and instead serves as a most irritating distraction to prayer. At one of the Sunday Masses they have a “children’s gospel” where the children are invited to parade up to the sanctuary with their teacher and are handed a gospel of some sort by the priest who has a few words with them. Then, while the teacher and children parade back down the aisle the cantor sings a jingle that sounds like it’s straight from Sesame Street. I have to fight the urge to stick a fork in my ear just to make it go away. So I bounce around from parish to parish on Sundays, hoping for the least painful experience possible. I can only conclude that the Church has decided that Mass is to be a form of penance. I left Mass in tears one day (yet another local church I tried) because there was nothing about it that seemed in any way Catholic to me. The choir was singing away in true gospel music style, swaying and clapping for the entrance procession. The priest, processing to the altar for the start of Mass, was also clapping and swaying. To start Mass, he announced that he wished he were in the choir because it looked like they were having more fun! There was a baptism at that Mass. I thought I had fallen through the looking glass and landed in the middle of a really bad production of the Lion King. No less than 12 family members circled the baptismal font snapping pictures throughout the sacrament. After the baptism, the priest lifted the infant into the air and carrying the child processed up and down the aisles, announcing that “This is why I became a priest.” The congregation clapped wildly. The same church has a different priest who is the chaplain at a local hospital. While a patient there, I picked up one of his cards. The card listed a web address for the priest. His website has links to such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle. The page providing links to Oprah and Tolle says it is meant so that readers can “stretch [their] mind[s], heart[s], and spirit[s].” His site also proudly displays a copy of the certificate of a “degree” he earned from “The American Institute of Holistic Theology.” It’s a pity he doesn’t challenge people to “stretch their minds, hearts, and spirits” by true Catholic worship. At another local parish, the lone priest would like to retire but cannot do so until his girlfriend, the parish secretary, is able to retire in a couple years, a fact that is well known by the parishoners. He refuses to use the Nicene Creed at Sunday Mass, always using the Apostle’s Creed instead (easier since the New Missal made several changes to the Nicene Creed). His celebration of the Holy Sacrifice is so banal that he might as well phone it in. I always have the sense at his Masses that he can’t possibly believe in the real presence. His Masses are particularly trying during football playoffs as he wears specially designed vestments with pictures of the Pittsburgh Steelers on them, and offers prayers at Mass for the Steelers’ success. Mass then resembles a pep rally for a football team. I have concluded that suffering is the order of the day for those who long for a reverently celebrated N.O. Mass. As for getting a TLM around here – hah! Not in my lifetime from all available evidence. I am 51 years old and I no longer hold out hope that I will live to see it. So, I go to the local Byzantine Church when I just can’t take another banal, clappy-happy N.O. Mass, though I am not an Eastern Rite Catholic. Once in a while I have the opportunity to travel an hour to a TLM and it is like heaven on earth. The TLM really feels like an encounter with God. The N.O. around here is more like a very harsh penance. If there were irreverently celebrated TLMs in the past, they cannot possibly have been as bad as some of what takes place in so many N.O. Masses today.

  46. Matt R says:

    I think Bp Lynch has a valid point. From my reading, it is clear that there were several items involving the liturgy which were distracting. These are pretty much all highlighted by Bp Lynch in his piece, but all seem to be American problems which stem from the Irish domination of the clergy, and the overly fundamentalist (almost Jansenist at times) attitudes which resulted (I’m not well-read on Italy, Germany, or France before the Council, so I can’t render judgment there). For example, actual participation could involve the Rosary, but it’s not appropriate to pray it at your only Mass of the day; this should be for a priest who is praying during another priest’s Mass. This seems to be compounded by the American preference for Low Mass, and Sung Masses but with a specific dislike for Dialogue Masses.
    However, I would like to tell the bishop is that at least the rubrics were followed…that’s not even happening in the NO most of the time. Also, much of what can be appreciated in the EF was not appreciable when it was the only Roman Rite Mass. Finally, the major ‘abuses’, which pale in comparison to those today, are basically non-existent in most EF Masses because the priests who say them take the time to learn the Mass and truly love it (the Mass, and not just the form! I think most priests who say the EF, even regularly or nearly exclusively, would jump at the chance to say a special OF Mass.)

  47. wmeyer says:

    Supertradmum: There is no such thing as a stagy TLM.

    No, but to someone without the understanding of the rite, it could appear so. Especially if that person is enamored of the OF, EMHCs, and all the variability of the current offerings in most parishes.

    Worship is an act of will. It is not an entertainment, and it ought not to be a casual act. Hence my problem with those who fail to dress suitably for Mass. Were they on the way to the cottage, and thought “Oh! Why not go to Mass?”

  48. acardnal says:

    From the bishop’s blog ( ), his last sentence reads, “Now its back to reading my fourth novel of the last ten days.”

    I’d suggest the bishop put the novels down and do some instructive spiritual reading. Perhaps the CCC, or Summorum Pontificum, Inaestimabile Donum, Dominicae Cenae, Redemptionis Sacramentum, et al.

  49. Long-Skirts says:


    Send me not roses
    Carafes of wine.
    Send me your words
    Of love divine.

    Send me not jewels
    Encased in gold.
    Send me your words
    My heart will hold.

    Send me not silver
    In purple so plush.
    Send me your words
    Oh, make my face flush.

    Send me not silks
    Of shimmering dyes.
    Send me your words
    Bring tears to my eyes.

    Send me not song
    I sleep close to death.
    But send me your words
    For my very last breath.

  50. Pax--tecum says:

    Hmmm. Let’s see: In our parish most priests ad-lib during Mass and the other sacraments, only one of our three priests genuflects at the consecration, we have EMHC’s while there are at most 100 people attending Mass, incense is used only at the offertory on Christmas and Easter, when there’s to be a sprinkling with the holy water the priest thinks it’s funny, Mass is celebrated at a table, not an altar, people are chatting before, through and after Mass. Should I continue? The NOM facilitates for priests to do this; because it’s in the vernacular, they can ad-lib (they won’t do it in Latin), because there is Communion in the hand, there are EMHC’s, because the New Mass allows him to have a High Mass without incense, there’s no incense.

    Bring back the Tridentine Mass to all parishes! Give us holy priests!

  51. Supertradmum says:

    wmeyer, I agree with you. Those who criticize the most are those who do not understand.

  52. wmeyer says:

    And yet, there are good books on the Mass, and my own Missal, back in the pre-V2 days, had Latin and English on facing pages; really no excuse for not understanding, given a desire to do so.

  53. man with black hat: The “Lynching” of Saint Petersburg

    “One can accept that a priest or bishop might simply not prefer the Traditional Mass, in favor of the ‘ordinary form.’ To harbor such bitter memories of such worship from childhood so far into adulthood, is a bad sign. For a public figure, never mind a high churchman, to avail himself of a public venue to express such bitterness, is a VERY bad sign.”

  54. dans0622 says:

    I won’t bother giving a public laundry list of things that go wrong at a Mass or what I dislike about a particular form of Mass. All I will say is that we human beings can make a mess of anything, old or new.

  55. mamajen says:

    I agree with Will D. above. The problems we have now sprung from somewhere. It’s easy to look at the past with rose-colored glasses. I grew up without seeing any of the NO craziness described here. We had very reverent priests who said very reverent NO masses and didn’t tiptoe around important issues in the pulpit. It wasn’t until I traveled to much larger cities that I saw shockingingly awful masses, but even then there were usually good alternatives to be found with a little effort. Saint Faustina wrote (long before NO) that the lack of love among priests and religious would cause problems. Many from my parent’s generation talk about physical abuse at the hands of nuns in their Catholic schools, a mass that they couldn’t understand, and gross misuse of collection money. I still see old ladies saying the rosary during mass. I don’t think the bishop was entirely wrong in his sentiments, and we shouldn’t take them personally. Yes, overall things were better “back then”, but it wasn’t perfect. Had people then truly understood and loved what they were doing, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in today. Being forced to go through the motions is not enough.

  56. chcrix says:

    I don’t have good stories about the bad new days. I was out of the church for 40 years before returning, so I missed a lot of the hijinks.

    What I would like to dispute is +Lynch’s caricature of the ‘old days’. Now I am 10 years younger than he is, and V2 hit while I was in grade school and high school.

    That said, the priests of those days worked incredibly hard.
    Every day we had 6:30 mass at the church of course.
    But on Holy Days the masses were: 5:45,6:30,7:15,8,9,10,11,12:15 at the school, and another at 18:00. And this for two priests.

    This was of course in the days of rapidly EXPANDING churches and our little former mission church was stretched to the breaking point.
    Of course, the church grew prosperous and built a large structure later. Now, it has been merged with other declining parishes.

    By their fruits…

    Oh, and one of the priests used to do “Corpus Domine nostra Jesu Christi” on one communicant and conclude “custodiat….” on the next. The other one didn’t. I know because I was serving. Thirty – INDEED.

  57. ocleirbj says:

    In my experience and observation, without an active and living faith it’s easy for anyone to be bored and unreachable at Mass, however it is celebrated. People can sit in a pew anywhere and think, what’s in this for me? and be sadly disappointed. Further, one can sit there and think, how does this honour God? and be even more disappointed. But even a desperately badly produced NO Mass, or a Latin Mass that feels as incomprehensible as a foreign country, can bring light, peace, and spiritual growth to the soul where Jesus is already at home. Many faithful Catholics have been well-nurtured in both the NO and older forms, just as many others have languished in each for lack of reverence, love and faith. I have heard stories from older people similar to that of the bishop here which make it plain that there were just as many problems then as there are now in engaging people’s attention – the form of the Mass may differ, but people don’t change. Each form has its own odd peculiarities to vex us, and its familiar joys to encourage us, but when we seek Christ with an open heart in any Mass, He is always there for us, and that’s the most important thing.

  58. GrogSmash says:

    fvhale- you asked to be forgiven your “rambling”… on the contrary! Ramble away! I am so happy that you enjoyed your first experience with the Latin Mass! I made the switch 6 years ago, and haven’t gone back (to a NO Mass), not even once! I thought in the beginning, I might “miss” some of what I’d grown up with… but one can only bear so much of the huggy/kissy/lovey/we’re all going to Heaven who really needs to bother with Confession anymore crowd. Some of my saddest recollections are Fr. “Speedy” blasting through a 9 minute Mass (every day), dancers, cast of thousands wandering around the stage, Our Dear Lord being concealed in a separate room, glass vessels, endless hand holding, people yelling across the church to friends/relatives, guitars and drums, trick-or-treat Mass, Santa Claus Mass, being informed that our Lord didn’t know who He “really” was, Charismaniacattack blathering, tank-tops/halter tops/tube tops/short shorts/flipflops, Mass at a local movie theater (which had a steady diet of rated R movies running at other times), countless girls taking the name “Madonna” for Confirmation name in the mid-80’s, funerals where the deceased is already canonized, brain-killin-mind-numbing-spirit-neutralizing musical musings by David Haas… etc. (And that’s just for starters!)

    Now, I feel like I’ve graduated into the Big Leagues! I thank our Dear Lord and His Dear Blessed Mother for the opportunity to be a part of our Latin Mass Community. Otherwise, I am quite certain that by now I would have lost my faith, as it was rapidly deteriorating prior to the switch.

  59. Cantate says:

    Ah yes, the bad old days of N.O. –some facets of which are still with us. In the 1970s, our then-pastor instructed us to bring flowering branches from home for Palm Sunday rather than using palm. He “processed” standing, in a Volkswagen “Bug” with sunroof and told us that if Jesus were coming today, that is what He would do rather than ride on a donkey. We were supposed to bring “the world” IN and sanctify it. O, for the balloons and banners! This priest made it into Time magazine in the 1970s. He died recently; RIP.

    The assault on liturgical music was one of the biggest offenses. ” On Beagles’ Wings!” and that sweet-potato song, “Here I Yam, Lord, ” for example In some parishes in this diocese, you STILL are confronted with piano (right up next to the sanctuary in order to compete with what is going on at the altar?), drums, git-tars, etc.–although there is a choir loft unused by the performers. Praise and worship music is not liturgical. (SEE Fr. Christopher Smith’s article at TFor centuries, the Church has had its own, approved liturgical music: Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. (SEE the Motu Proprio of 1903 and subsequent documents during the 20th century.) The rules for music in the Church are preceptive law and must be obeyed. But they were NOT. Perhaps matters will improve: ” in the works” is a committee within the CDW to have responsibility for liturgical music (and I hope, the abuses of same.)

    I am fortunate now to be able to attend TLM in my parish three times per week including Sunday. I don’t “do Bugnini” unless I have to. Although the new N.O. Missal is an improvement, the Bugnini Mass is still impoverished in comparison to the TLM. For instance, the Confiteor: I would much rather have “Blessed Mary, ever Virgin; Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist; the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, and you, Father” praying for me rather than just “you, brethren/brothers and sisters.” The penititential rites are over in a few split-minutes, then we rush on to a Reader, bounding out of the Assembly to the lectern, etc. etc. (The Age of the Laity, you know.) I could go on, but will nod in agreement to other quotes above…. I am blessed NEVER to have seen “liturgical dancing.” Many Catholics stopped going to Mass after the New Mass was instituted and the Mass-of-all-time was suppressed . Methinks that they did not leave the Church; rather, the Church left THEM. Before Vatican II, the Mass was not “broken” and didn’t need fixing.

  60. TMKent says:

    Worst memories I have:
    1976 – Jonathan Livingston Seagull as reading at my 8th grade Catholic School graduation mass.
    1983 – Asked be EMHC at my DC college lunch-time Holy Day mass ( had no training) and having an adult woman (political staffer?) bring me the unconsecrated hosts from the back of the auditorium in case I “ran out”.
    1987 – Having my pastor yell at me for showing a catechumen how to genuflect because “we don’t genuflect in this church”

    BTW -I’ll be attending my second ever TLM tonight and my bishop will be present – all I can say is Deo Gratias – times they are a changin’

  61. Supertradmum says:

    My worst-muffins for communion brought up in baskets; thankfully, not valid, but I did not know that at the time, being very young and going around the church on campus afterwards and picking up every crumb.

    Second worst-“Come On Baby Light My Fire” played on three electric guitars at the lighting of the Easter Fire

    Third worst-woman in practically see-though thingie interpreting the Our Father at Sunday Mass.

  62. Supertradmum says:

    opps through but you all know what I mean

  63. “Bishop Lynch might be most well known for prohibiting Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in his entire diocese.”

    Bishop Lynch’s expressed disdain for traditional liturgy and devotion dates back long before his 1996 episcopal consecration. For quite a while he was general secretary of the USCCB (supervising its liberal staff on a day-to-day basis) and member of its executive and liturgy committees, for which influential roles he must be given much credit for the current state of the liturgy in the U.S. (though not for recent signs of reinvigoration, which he appears to have opposed actively).

    But I’m not sure that Bp. Lynch’s alleged memories of the old Mass have not yet been addressed directly. Even if his “recollections” have a germ of truth in such “liturgical abuse” in those days–after all, as far back as 1903 Pope Pius X found it necessary to urge that we pray THE Mass, not merely pray AT Mass–what is the relevance of these carefully nourished (and embellished, I suspect) childhood memories today? Why must liberals ignore the present, remaining mired in a distant past when they imagine abuses that they think justify their own abuses today?

    I personally never witnessed a 20-minute Mass in daily Mass attendance before Vatican II–or any other such abuses as Bp. Lynch claims–but what difference does it make now if some actually occurred then, over a half century ago? The point is that TLMs today are universally celebrated with a reverence and sanctity that is exceeding rare in parish Novus Ordo celebrations.

  64. CarpeNoctem says:

    You know, I’m going to be a holdout on this. I haven’t read the article, but I can surmise that the bishop is trying to throw continuing liturigcal reform under the bus by impugning the bad stuff that happened before the Council. Unwittingly he is completely right, but for all the wrong reasons. He should condemn an atrophied, perfunctory, love-less celebration of the EF is just as (if not more, to me) offensive as the stoopid stuff he have had to endure in the name of ‘progress’ over the last 40 years. Let’s face it, in criticizing the practices of a generation ago, he highlights the truth that the enemy is not the Mass… “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The same bad attitudes that lead young people like a young Robert Lynch to say that ‘there is no future in this’ is the same bad attitude reflected in the deformed ars celebranda of our own day. The liturigcal reform missed precisely what it was supposed to be aimed at: the hearts and minds of the priests and the faithful.

    The post-Summorum Pontificum restoration of the Mass is an admission not of the failure of the liturgical reform, but of the unstoppable Spirit of that reform. When we screwed it up, the Spirit in his mercy is forcing it forward in new and perhaps (40 years ago) unexpected ways. I don’t know about you, but those who celebrate the EF today do so with a love and zeal that some quarters decades ago might be seen as… unusual, unnecessary, and perhaps in some places as un-Catholic. I love the irony of it all… it reminds me that God is truly the one in charge of the Church and his own worship.

  65. “Bishop Lynch might be most well known for prohibiting Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in his entire diocese.”

    Not quite.

    I remember this story, and the failure to make certain distinctions. I also read his statement. True, it included numerous personal offenses to the piety of the faithful, which appear to be emblematic of his interpersonal skills. Give any guy a title, and he can go through life behaving that way with impunity.

    What he prohibited was perpetual EXPOSITION in parishes of his diocese. Perpetual ADORATION cannot lawfully be prohibited by the diocesan bishop. That said, he would be within his rights to prohibit perpetual EXPOSITION, which is unusual in parishes, as it requires someone be in attendance 24/7 indefinitely. That is why the practice is usually reserved for contemplative orders devoted to such spiritual works, and perpetual ADORATION is more common in a parish setting. Mind you, when I say “perpetual,” I don’t mean First Fridays, or Forty Hours. I mean always. All. The. Time.

    In the Diocese of Arlington, out of 68 parishes and missions, there are two parishes of which I am aware — St Agnes in Arlington, St Michael in Annandale — which have perpetual EXPOSITION. Both have separate chapels devoted to this practice, and someone is always there, or the chapel is locked.

    As to my personal experience with the “ordinary form,” I wouldn’t know where to begin. Even in places where there is the intention to show reverence, I rarely see the Mass done well. I am not convinced that those devoted to liturgy and music at the parish level have a sufficient grasp of their own heritage to pull it off, even in those settings where they genuinely want to. (Hey, people, it’s all on the internet now. You don’t need a password, what’s your problem???)

    If I did not have access to the TLM, I would probably continue attending a Byzantine Rite parish.

    Byzantines “get it.” Romans, not so much.

  66. GregH says:

    I don’t have the fondest memories of the TLM as a child either. I remember attending the Masses of Fr Ringrose at St Athanasius in the early 80’s and it wasn’t exactly liturgical heaven. Cut the Bishop some slack. Nor was I impressed one of the times I went to the TLM at Old St Mary’s in DC at the 9am Mass and the priest blitzed through a sung TLM in 45 minutes!!!

  67. maninblackhat,

    You make an important distinction. Incidentally, it’s interesting to hear that 24/7 perpetual exposition is less common in Arlington than it is (I believe) in many other dioceses. A number of parishes in my own tiny (and probably much more liberal) diocese have separate adoration chapels and perpetual exposition.

    But I wonder how common is the arrangement in my local parish–a “repository” for exposition, rather than a Tabernacle:

    The monstrance with Blessed Sacrament stands behind a glass pane that is locked in place–though shown open in the second picture. The outer doors–shown open in both pictures–are closed (but not locked) when the chapel is left unattended. The Church itself is locked at such times, but the door to the chapel itself is not (I personally would feel better if it were).

  68. Suburbanbanshee says:

    You mean “Latins,” don’t you?

    Anyway, the moral of the story of Bishop Lynch seems to be, “Abuses breed abuses.”

  69. contrarian says:

    “Second worst-”Come On Baby Light My Fire” played on three electric guitars at the lighting of the Easter Fire”


    I mean….WOW.

    That’s…jaw dropping!!!

    As for your third worst, yeah, I can relate. I once saw this girl assigned to ‘bring up the gifts’ (ugh), and her short shorts were so short that you could see her naked derriere. I mean, like, the whole of it. Both cheeks. So. Awkward.

    Oh man. We should start another thread just to share horror stories of how people dress at NO masses…

  70. acardnal says:

    Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Winchester and Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge also have Perpetual Exposition and Adoration.

    I think the delineation between Perpetual Adoration vs Perpetual Exposition is silly. I for one have never been to a Perpetual Adoration chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was not exposed for adoration.

    You mentioned that ” Perpetual ADORATION cannot lawfully be prohibited by the diocesan bishop” . Regrettably, I have been to countless churches whose doors were locked so I could not adore the Lord reposed in the Tabernacle. To me, that is prohibiting adoration despite what Canon Law states cf. Canon 937: “Unless a grave reason prevents it, the church in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved should be open to the faithful for at least some hours each day so that they are able to spend time in prayer before the Most Blessed Sacrament.” I have always found the doors to the churches in Arlington open. Thanks be to God. Unfortunately, in my new diocese, this is not the case very often. Sometimes I just sit outside the church walls to make my visitations.

  71. Nathan says:

    acardnal and manwithblackhat,
    just to complete the Arlington list a bit more, my parish, St Louis in Alexandria (Groveton) has an Adoration Chapel and Perpetual Exposition. The chapel was built across the parking lot from the church about 7 years ago.

    I think we must be the stealth parish of the diocese. St Louis also has a TLM on the first three Thursdays of the month at 7:30, and we usually have no more than 5-6 stalwart souls attending.

    In Christ,

  72. Bob B. says:

    Bishop refusing Holy Communion to a woman kneeling to receive (this is the same diocese where you might find Halloween Masses, where the Blessing of the Waves occurs and the new {shiny} cathedral has recently been bought from a Protestant sect);

    Drums and guitars;

    Individual choir members singing as if auditioning for a part;

    With the exception of Ave Maria every few months, nothing is heard in Latin;

    A mini-jumbotron for the music and responses to the Mass;

    Welcoming everyone prior to the start of the Mass;

    Holding each other’s hand during the Our Father;

    Having been told by an excited student that they had learned about the Golden Legend, the pastor decided to ask me about it during the Mass (instead of the Homily);

    Dueling aspergillums – a priest and a deacon spraying holy water at each other on the altar;

    A little later during this same Mass, the priest washes his hands and flicks the water on the two altar servers;

    T-shirts (some with obscene words and drawings), flip-flops, shorts, jeans, you-name-it;

    Sixteen EMHCs surrounding the altar;

    The tabernacle is off to the side, no red light shows where it is;

    There’s more, I’m sure, but now I’m depressed….

  73. Rachel K says:

    I have posted recently about the wonderful OF Masses I was blessed to attend, so I suppose for the sake of balance I should own up to the worst!
    Nottingham cathedral, England, 18 (?) years ago during renovations which meant the cathedral building itself was out of use. Sunday evening Mass, with my husband (a recent convert) and his brother (yet to convert)- our last chance that Sunday to fulfil our obligation. Mass was offered in an external chapel within the cathedral grounds. We arrived and finding the chapel already full were ushered into an adjacent building (yes!) up some stairs into a room empty apart from chairs set out as for a congregation and two wall mounted speakers. We were seated to as to be facing 90 degrees away from the direction Mass was being offered downstairs in the other building. There we sat with the room almost full of other embarrassed faithful, listening to the Mass broadcast from below through the speakers, not sure where to look, for a few minutes until our humiliation was such that we left. We were young, were we right to leave? Would we have assisted at this Mass in the “upper room”?? Fulfilled our obligation?
    Any thoughts…..?

  74. akp1 says:

    You are all so blessed to be able to have the option of a TLM/EF. The Diocese in which I live is also a small country and we do not have any priest who will learn the TLM. (yet! we are praying!) Although our OF Masses are mostly well celebrated, there are ‘moments’! I try to attend the EF when visiting other countries, the peace I find is immeasureable. Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI – the Pope of Christian Unity.

  75. Rosedale says:

    Last week we had 15 EMHC’s instead of the usual 12 or so. I usually don’t count but it seemed more crowded than usual. The parish is always desperately asking for more EMHC’s in the newsletter, though they just call them Ministers of the Eucharist. It seems to be the parish’s greatest need according to the office. I don’t get it. I’ve been trying other parishes but it’s tough around here. A few weeks ago I actually did see a man sipping coffee. No doughnuts, though. Thankfully, I haven’t had to see liturgical dancing with streamers since my youth in the eighties!

  76. HighMass says:

    Contrary to what alot of folks think the liturgy did not come alive after the N.O. went into effect advent 1969, infact its implimentation was horrid.

    My FOND MEMORIES OF THE “OLD MASS” growing up and attending a Catholic School are very Pleasant. Yes we sang alot of Requiem Daily Masses also, remember the Mass Cards we used for the Parts of Holy Mass were eteched in Black…..

    The Liturgy was sacred, solemn and reverend!

  77. Mom2301 says:

    Ah,where to begin? The priest’s black lab sitting by the altar throughout mass. The campfire style “ring around the altar” at daily mass. Priests without chasubles. The dreaded “Danny Boy” Eucharistic Prayer chant. The “ad-lib-a-creed”. The call and answer Priest: “and the people say…” People: “AMEN!” this must be used several times during mass. The obligatory visual aids for every homily which must be done roaming around the front near the pews. The “let’s-hug-it-out” sign of peace. Father’s high fives during the recessional. The background piano music during the eucharistic prayer. Eleven EMHC’s practically bathed in hand sanitizer for a mass with no more than 65 attending. May God grant us fortitude, endurance and vocations.

  78. Mom2301 says:

    OHHH I totally forgot the Easter Vigil weber grill in the back of the church. I really believed smoke inhalation was going to wipe out half the people there!

  79. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Well I certainly recognize some of these instances. Just picking out a few memories: the Mass where the Creed was rushed through with half of it left out.
    The Mass said in Rayban sunglasses, without any altar, and without a single Sign of the Cross being made from the beginning until the Blessing.
    The one which began with the celebrant’s demand that we all hold both hands with our pew-neighbours on either side, and remain standing throughout. (I don’t know how that one developed, as I fled immediately.) The celebrants whose constantly beaming grin is fixed on the congregation. The wailing, out-of-tune folk-masses, where ‘things as they are /Are changed [beyond any recognition!] upon the blue guitar’.
    The entirely secular sermons that begin with the weather and include a description of a football match, Australian surfers, a film, a meal, a foreign holiday, a nephew (usually called ‘Jim’): sermons whose wildly disparate associations would puzzle Freud.
    Urban parishes where sin has apparently been banished: the posted confessional times are fictional – no priest appears, for there is no confession, unless Father can find a ‘window’ for a personal meeting. But everyone at Mass goes up for Communion.

    And yet, thank God in His goodness, I have now found a church whose faithful priests celebrate both NO and EF with enormous care, whose fidelity to the magisterium and to the Holy Father is unquestioning and eloquent, and who are daily to be found in the confessional. May God reward them.

  80. acardnal says:

    fvhale says @25 July 2012 at 11:10 pm.

    That was a nice post, fvhale. I hope the first EF Mass you attended was a High Mass. If not, go!

  81. Rosedale says:

    Oh and the deacons that tend to stare if you don’t come up to receive the Eucharist a few times in a row.

  82. Laura98 says:

    Shock and Awe at reading some of these comments… I thank God I have not had to witness these abuses. I’ve seen some strange things and some bad things, but nothing like what some of you have had to endure.

    I’m old enough to barely remember pre-VII masses – I went with my friend’s family (my own family was non-religious at the time). We were usually in the “Cry-Room” in the back because my friend’s sister was only 1 or 2, but I especially remember on beautiful statue of Mary with yellow roses and the Gregorian chants. I was only 4 to 5 years old, but I do remember the whole feeling of being there as totally different than services now.

    My grandfather – a Catholic convert himself, refused to attend mass after VII, unless it was a family event (baptism, burial, etc), because he felt it was too modernized (though he refused to part with Rome). When he was buried, his funeral was as traditional as could be done at the time, at the San Fernando Mission. I can only imagine the confusion (anger?) he felt going through VII, after converting from being a Baptist…

  83. jhayes says:

    I have a copy of the new GIRM. The bishop said “the growing practice of shielding the celebrants from congregants with candles and crosses of such size as to block the vision of many at Mass is explicitly forbidden in the same GIRM.” Really? I’d like the bishop to cite a reference from the 2011 GIRM where it says it is forbidden.

    acardnal, the GIRM says they shouldn’t impede a clear view by the faithful. They need to be near the altar but not necessarily on it. The Pope, of course, can do anything he likes.

    307. The candlesticks required for the different liturgical services for reasons of reverence or the festive character of the celebration (cf. no. 117) should be appropriately placed either on the altar or around it, according to the design of the altar and the sanctuary, so that the whole may be harmonious and the faithful may not be impeded from a clear view of what takes place at the altar or what is placed upon it.

    308. Likewise, either on the altar or near it, there is to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, a cross clearly visible to the assembled people. It is desirable that such a cross should remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations, so as to call to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord.

  84. acardnal says:

    thank you.

  85. acardnal says:

    And #117 of the GIRM prescribes the number of candlesticks to be used: 2, 4, or 6 . . . 7 if the bishop is celebrating Mass. I hope Bp. Lynch does not consider seven candlesticks to be too obtrusive.

  86. Joseph-Mary says:

    Wow! The floodgates opened. I have experienced almost all of the abuses mentioned. and saw some of them again when visiting in the dioceses of Springfield, MO and Grand Island, NE this summer. I did not see mentioned where the kids (if there are any) come up and high five and hug father during Mass like I saw in Ravenna, NE.

    I left my hometown when Mass became unendurable for years. We would tell ourselves there was merit in in the enduring and even though the Mass was illicit, it was valid. But it was also painful. The sacrileges broke my heart.

    “Mass is good when I am having fun” said father as he waltzed around in the round church. Easter vigil: freezing cold church, catechumens in little white shifts, overweight father in tee shirt and shorts dunking them in the baptismal pond. It was the closest thing to a wet tee shirt contest I have ever seen.

    I am in a novus ordo parish now but one that is about as good as it gets for the most part with the exception of still lousy or protestant music. But a new priest in the area is going to offer the EF of the Mass twice a month, on a weekday, so that is a start.

  87. Y2Y says:

    With two exceptions (1 being a funeral, the other a Mass in Spanish), I am pleased to say that I have not attended an NO since 1995.
    I stopped attending when it got to the point where the NO always induced a wave of nausea and feelings of overwhelming rage by the time we got to the offertory. By the time the sign of peace came around, I was often ready to deck someone.
    Even thinking of the Novus Ordo brings a little bit of bile to my mouth. I will not attend it under any circumstances.

  88. Gail F says:

    I know you didn’t mean it that way but I enjoyed reading about the “bad old days” and realizing that there really were bad old days. TLM will not bring about perfection, and though it may be harder to mess it up than it is to mess up the NO, I have no doubt anyone determined to mess it up could do so. One reason the EF is so appealing right now is that the priests and people who celebrate it do because they really, really want to. I am not against the EF by any means and I have been to plenty of excruciating OF masses. But I bet there were plenty of bad TLM masses and it’s silly to pretend there weren’t.

  89. Gail F says:

    And you know what makes me never, ever want to go to a TLM again? Comments like Y2Y’s, right above my last one: “Even thinking of the Novus Ordo brings a little bit of bile to my mouth. I will not attend it under any circumstances.” That is not a way to win people over to your way of thinking. As someone once said to me, “I like the Latin mass, I just don’t like Latin mass-goers.” I have known my share of bitter, nasty Latin mass-goers in my time, and while it’s understandable that they feel the way they do, they don’t do themselves or the EF any favors by comments like this. Believe it or not, most people don’t much care one way or the other. If you want them to listen to you, you should be loving, kind, and enthusiastic.

  90. I wish I did not have to choose between the sort of liturgical extremism that Bishop Lynch justly criticizes in what is now known as the extraordinary form and the liturgical extremism that traditionalists rightly criticize in the ordinary form. I wish that if I suggest that maybe it is okay for the congregation to utter a sound now and again that I don’t get lumped in with folks who advocate rap and clown Masses. I wish that if I suggest that Gregorian chant has a place in the ordinary form that I don’t get written off as a hopeless restorationist. Once again, I look to the heavens and cry out, “Lord, why is there no middle ground!” It is lonely here in what ought to be the center of the Roman Rite.

    Anyway, one way to keep the crosses and candles from obstructing the view of the celebrant is to have him offer Mass ad orientem.

    The bishop also has a valid point about Masses for workers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on holy days; it is still an abomination, sad to say, even today. Masses are scheduled every half hour, which is absolutely insufficient time for a holy day Mass attended by a thousand or more people. But that had nothing to do with the extraordinary form or the ordinary form– that is simply a matter of scheduling Masses at appropriate intervals, and not sending priests out to distribute Holy Communion until the appropriate time. Oh, yes– maybe Catholics should take a personal day on a holy day of obligation instead of working. Maybe if bishops and priests were less “pastoral” (in the weakest sense) and more assertive they would tell the faithful things such as that so there would be no question of them knowing right and wrong.

    There were sinners before Vatican II, there are sinners since Vatican II, and thus ever it will be until the end of time.

  91. sarahlcc says:

    As a convert to Catholicism, I don’t know if I would have converted if the mass had been in Latin the day I went in to visit my local Catholic church in my search to find help. I was also very heartened by the people dressed in ‘normal’ clothes (jeans, etc.) and felt very welcomed and accepted just the way I was. If I wanted to dress to the nines, I could. If I didn’t have time to dress up, I could come in my jeans. I also liked the hand shaking at Mass.

    While I applaud a love for the past, and a great reverence for Christ in the Holy Eucharist, I’m glad they opened up the mass to be said in the native language of the people and I like the new form. The poor little kids aren’t tortured by an extremely long service, neither are their parents who are trying to corral them. It’s a lot easier when you’ve got kids for them to be listening to something in their language, especially the scriptures. Not everyone can learn Latin, let it stay a special secret language for the priests. I tell the boys that priests have their own special code when I teach them Latin.

    I also like the way they have included songs / tunes that are familiar to me. It made me feel welcome to hear a few of my old favorites, such as A Mighty Fortress (and rather shocked too ~ I was quite amazed by its inclusion). I also like the addition of drums, piano etc. when it is done in a reverent way. I would not be okay with clown masses, etc., although dressing up as a clown for evangelization is old protestantism, as are puppets. The catholics are behind the times, thankfully.

    I’d love to see someone suggest a clown mass to our priest, he might throw them out bodily, or his eyes might roll right out of his head. I would love to hear the English mass chanted more often, including the readings, that would be fantastic! I especially like to hear the priest chant, even if he is tone-deaf.

    That said, I’m looking forward to attending my first latin mass, because I have heard it is so beautiful and reverent. However, I probably won’t take the kids! Bringing them from protestant to catholic would have been a lot harder with an EF mass.

  92. Fuquay Steve says:

    He provides the best reason to continue to pray for our bishops and all clergy (based on the majority of experiences listed above). And when finished – repeat.

  93. Maxiemom says:

    I believe that even a priest is entitled to his own opinion regarding EF versus NO, even if it is not the same as Fr. Z. I guess I have been lucky that I haven’t belonged to a parish that supports liturgical dancing, clowns and the like and I don’t believe that it has any place in the Mass, but what I read so often in this blog and in the commenters is that if it isn’t in Latin, it’s not worth attending.

  94. Phillip says:

    Two words: Polka Mass.
    A few more: the celebrant dancing to the polka “setting” of the Agnus Dei while at the altar. In the diocesan cathedral. Really.

  95. Skeinster says:

    The priest who married a close relative and his wife left out part of the Mass, so “it wouldn’t be too long”. The priest who baptized one of their children made everyone hold their hands out over the children being baptized. (Two pre-teens in the back began to do the Macarena, to themselves, until their mother gave them the Death Look.) The moat around the sanctuary in AZ, plus the jazz band.
    The church, also in AZ, that cancelled Sunday evening Mass due to the Superbowl. Sand in the Holy Water fonts in Lent. Etc.

    Purely annectdotal: fwiw. I’ve been a long-time attendee (twenty years, off and on) at our local EF. First, as an Indult celebrated in a downtown chapel, and then at the chapel of a Carmel. The sisters, with saintly patience, were our hostesses for nearly eighteen years, until the third bishop involved gave us permission to buy and renovate a church of our own.
    Over the years, there’s been a natural progression of the make-up of our community. Consider:
    if you were, say, 40 in 1969 when the OF was universally established, you’d be 83 now (or dead).
    So, when we started out in 1992, we had a fair number of 60 + parishioners, who were glad to have the EF again, for “attachment” reasons, and a lot of people who, like me, were just curious to experience the Mass we’d heard and read about. The attitude towards the hierarchy (but usually not the Pope) was in fact, pretty hostile, mostly for liturgical and catechetical abuses. This was the first generation to lose a significant number of their children to bad catechesis, in the situations where “Father says ______”, but what he’s saying is heresy, or some poorly-digested Eastern philosophy or the latest psychobabble to come down the pike. The gross liturgical abuses of the ’70’s and 80’s were still very fresh in their minds.
    Twenty years on, most of those people have passed on. The next generation is slightly younger than myself, and many of them have been able to raise their children in the EF from young childhood or from birth. Many of these children are now grown, married and starting families of their own. The attitude of these two generations are less hostile re: liturgy, but still hostile re: catechesis.
    In the last two decades, the two statements I’ve heard the most from visitors have been “It’s so quiet and reverent”, about the Mass and “Nobody ever told us about (ordinary Catholic doctrine ) until we came here”. The ones who stick around- because let’s face it, some hear the ordinary Catholic doctrine and run in the opposite direction- are happy about the liturgy and furious about being short-changed on the fulness of Faith.
    Two things made for an enormous change in attitude: the extension of the EF to the whole Roman church and for us, getting our own parish. If you quit beating people like a red-headed stepchild, they cheer right up.
    Now- we still have cranks. We still have people with personality disorders and apparition junkies.
    But the folks who would, in retaliation for the pain they were caused, have made the whole Church have the EF are pretty much gone. The folk who were going to be mad at the bishop on principle left for the ‘eternal Rome’ of the SSPX. Those that are left generally just want to get on with their lives and enjoy having a parish. The attitude now is much more live and let live than it was twenty years ago.

    Please forgive the ramble. Just wanted to give a realistic view of one EF parish.

  96. eulogos says:

    I became a Catholic in 1973. My first parish was a wonderful Redemptorist parish which maintained much of the spirit of the old days, perhaps including some of the faults of the old days, but my subsequent experiences make me look kindly on those.

    After I left that parish I experienced..a priest who changed the words of consecration (combined the consecration of the bread and wine into one sentence), many priests who ad libbed large parts of the mass, communion with sweet and crumbly bread which clearly contained honey and shortening (butter or margarine) and which crumbled all over the floor as people received. A poor old nun took each child’s hand and brushed all the crumbs into the chalice, but she could only glare pointedly at the adults, who brushed off their hands on their clothes so that the crumbs fell on the floor where people walked on them. Maybe it was an invalid mass….maybe better so, but this was first communion for some of these children, including one of mine. The usual awful music. Dancing. Halloween costumes. Balloons. I’ve got that joy joy joy joy down in my heart…. This little light of mine/I’ve got to let it shine. The “amen” from the movie “Lilies in the Field,” as the great Amen. The usual tamborines, rattly tubes, and guitars, with the choir aping TV/concert performers with their facial expression and body posturing. The “miracle of sharing ” sermon about the multiplication of the loaves, and many other explainings away of miracles. Easter sermons explaining the resurection as the disciples’ felt experience that Jesus was still present among them, comparing this to how we remember Grandmother so vividly. The mass is our family meal as Christians, it is just like Thanksgiving dinner, so have your children all bring in a picture of your family eating together and we will put these up in the church. Writing a sin on a piece of paper and putting it in the fire, or tearing up the slips and dropping them in the water. Communal penance services with general absolution, communal penance services where you went up in a line and could only say one sin to the priest, and because it was as public as communion, you sure were not going to pick an embarrassing one. A female “eucharistic minister” snatching the container of hosts from a priest, because it was her turn to be “host minister” even if there was an extra priest present today. A female eucharistic minister sauntering up to the tabernacle after mass while chatting with a friend, snapping a host into a little plastic container and dropping it in her purse among her tissues and make-up, chatting all the while. Daily mass where all 20 participants and the priest, each hug every other participant, walking behind the altar to do so, ignoring the Blessed Sacrament left sitting there forgotten, All saints day mass where everyone in the parish who died in the past year is included in the litany of the saints. (These last two are ongoing issues.)

    For a while, I cried at these things. Then I got inured to them, and even changed by them. Then one of my sons became Orthodox and I attended Divine Liturgy with him. I said to myself, “Don’t we Catholics have something like this?” and found a Byzantine rite parish. It is not perfect, there is a creaky old Cantor who knew the melodies of the liturgy in the Church Slavonic but who can’t really read music. But despite the human faults of the participants, it is always reverent. It is clearly worship, it is clearly focused on God.

    Susan Peterson

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