ASK FATHER: “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus…”?

four-endsFrom a reader…


Last summer I heard a bishop say, “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus…” (I was too shocked to hear why we do go.) Last week, my own priest in his homily, said something to the effect that we go to Mass to support each other in our journey as Christians.

I can support my friends over coffee; they aren’t why I come to Mass.

Am I wrong to have adoration as my primary focus?? Doesn’t Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication still apply?

Is this confusion why we have to sing constantly during the Communion procession? There is no silence for personal prayers of gratitude and love.

I’ve tried to ask for clarification, but those who are committed to this community model become very agitated when I question. It’s pretty much the universal model in our diocese. Am I really that far off base? Please some direction or explanation. If I’m wrong, I will do my best to go along with this, but the best spin I can put on it is that it’s rude to ignore our Lord, and I believe it’s probably a lot worse than rude.

We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus?

Huh!  Who knew?

The first of the “Four Ends” for Mass comes to mind.  The Four Ends (reasons/aims/purposes) are:

  1. Adoration [Hey!  It’s the first!]
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Atonement
  4. Petition

A wag once said,

“To pray the liturgy is to really enter into the mystery of God, to allow ourselves to be brought to the mystery, and to be in the mystery. [We are all] gathered here to enter into the mystery: this is the liturgy. It is God’s time, it is God’s space, it is the cloud of God that surrounds all of us. To celebrate the liturgy is to have this availability to enter into the mystery of God, to enter into His space, His time, to entrust ourselves to this mystery. We would do well today to ask the Lord to give to each of us this ‘sense of the sacred’ — this sense that makes us understand that it is one thing to pray at home, to pray in Church, to pray the Rosary, to pray so many beautiful prayers, to make the Way of the Cross, so many beautiful things, to read the Bible — [but] the Eucharistic celebration is something else. In the celebration we enter into the mystery of God, into that street that we cannot control: only He is the unique One — the glory, the power — He is everything. Let us ask for this grace: that the Lord would teach us to enter into the mystery of God.”

Entering into that mystery is another way of saying adoration.

In the Holy Mass, God touches earth and gives us a glimpse of heaven. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity becomes truly present in the Eucharistic elements.

God is really there.

Adoration seems like a reasonable response.

Adoration of the God who made us could be among the reasons for going to Mass.

So, keep adoring. And keep ignoring silly things that some people say, even if they wear pointy hats and rings.

Oh… and that wag?  That was Pope Francis on 10 February 2014.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. KatieL56 says:

    Just the Sunday before last I had the same sinking feeling when the priest gave the same ‘pep talk’ of how we come to church to be with each other as a community to ‘share a meal’ and to ‘give each other support’. GOD is almost never mentioned. I mean it. No mention of doing things for Jesus, or trying to follow Jesus, but everything all about being one big family of tolerant love sponges. And yet, sadly enough, even this is better than I get at my territorial parish.

    I don’t think I’m being unreasonable to believe that if I attend a Catholic parish that I should be able to hear a Catholic liturgy, and to engage in Catholic worship, among other Catholics. But too often I feel like I’m going, not even to a non-denominational ‘worship space’ to have an interfaith hodgepodge service, but to the local Starbucks or other trendy ‘gathering place” to attend a brainstorming session of the town planning committee. Because considering the way that “liturgy’ is celebrated, one could find oneself at the latter and have exactly the same kind of experience one has at Mass, though with perhaps slightly better coffee.

  2. polycarped says:

    “…even if they wear pointy hats and rings.”

    Love it.

  3. Kerry says:

    Yesterday, at the NO mass, at the end of “Pray Bretheren…”, we, as is our wont, reading from our missals, “…totiuesque Eddlesiae suae sanctae”, the Priest, (I kid you not), stopped and said,said, in the midst of Mass, “Excuse me. We do not say the prayers in Latin, we use English as a sign of unity”. [Jackass.]For half a second we thought of leaving and are glad we did not.
    This morning, at home, my wife said, “Let’s start praying the Rosary in Latin”. We have begun with the “Ave Maris, gratia plena”.
    Our response to the priest will not be either to leave or get louder, J.R.R. Tolkien’s advice to the contrary. We were though, quite astonished. From an essay by Father Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press, “Paragraph 54 is a key paragraph: “In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue.” What did the Council have in mind? Let’s continue: “This is to apply in the first place, to the readings and to the Common Prayer. But also as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people.” Yet it goes on to say, “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass” – (that is, the unchanging parts, the parts that are there every day) – “which pertain to them.”
    Father Z, thoughts?

  4. Kerry says:

    Oops, “Ecclesiae suae sanctae”.
    KatieL56, instead of “brainstorming”, didn’t you mean, ‘brimstoning’? Heh.

  5. Glennonite says:

    I am in crisis. For two and a half years I have replaced Sat/Sun Mass with Friday (noon) in the Adoration chapel of my parish. This past February, while on retreat, I was pointedly told by my confessor that the Church doesn’t allow this and Sunday obligation cannot be substituted for Friday. Deep down, I knew that. Since then, I have continued Friday Mass (because of the smallness and quiet reverence) but have resolved to endure the Saturday evening “dinner party/flea market Mass. I have been “offering it up”.

    Rather than enumerate the list of painful abuses here, I will simply say that after two months of enduring this, last Saturday I could not (did not) make the Mass. I still attend Sunday Adoration at 8pm.

    I shouldn’t feel so relieved, but I am. I am in crisis over this.

  6. Amateur Scholastic says:

    For an excellent discussion of what’s really going on at Mass, as opposed to the fashionable guff that has been taught in the past 50 years, search on Google for Fr Thomas Crean’s article, ‘The Mass as an actual sacrifice in Catholic tradition’. It taught me a great deal.

  7. Sandy says:

    These are the things that make me happy that I was raised all those years ago with a holy and wonderful foundation in our Faith. How blessed some of are to have been given this gift, but how painful to be exposed now to all that should not be happening. As the good nuns said, we must offer it up! And I certainly do b/c this absurdity drove some of my children from the Church. St. Monica, I turn to you and Mother Mary who understand so well. God bless you, Father Z.

  8. Auggie says:

    I’m curious about this notion of an N.O. mass being a form of penance. Do we know of any Saints who wrote about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as “penance”? Or is this a completely new idea?

  9. Sonshine135 says:

    My daughter is homeschooled, and many of you may be happy to know that the Baltimore Catechism is used in my house as my principle teaching method. There is nothing better at evoking discussion when it is used properly to learn faith. The unambiguous teaching is the best! The catechism has never been revoked, because what once was true is true today, and it will be true tomorrow.

    361. What are the purposes for which the Mass is offered?
    The purposes for which the Mass is offered are: first, to adore God as our Creator and Lord; second, to thank God for His many favors; third, to ask God to bestow His blessings on all men; fourth, to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him.

    There is nothing in that answer about “communal meal”, “helping each other”, or any of this other celebration of self nonsense. If you are in a church that is teaching these things, do yourself a favor and run! It isn’t worth it.

  10. benedetta says:

    This is an example in how if one attempts to genuinely comprehend, follow, teach and/or otherwise pray the dissenting magisterium one gets tripped up, left scratching head and sometimes unable to go on…If that is true (and I have heard that taught vociferously as well where I grew up) that “we” (it’s always the royal we) do not come to Mass to adore Jesus, then, why is it that the same group who asserts this never permits Eucharistic Adoration? And locks the doors to the church and moves the tabernacle to an secure alternative location out of sanctuary, church, altar which would be the usual places logical minds or even whimsical ones would guess on the appropriate place? Or yak it up before, during and after the Mass so that one is pretty much barred from any attempt at adoration?

    Certainly one may find some bare thread of coherence in the notion that Jesus is not to be adored in the Mass, literally, when one might even in curiosity come in off the street or from outer space to gaze upon the Catholicks during communion song…wherein the tee shirted Masses throw the host back whilst walking, grinning, on the fly, as it were, not apparently attuned at all to what one is in fact doing? Maybe they are just being honest…”We don’t come to Mass to adore Jesus”…When you look at it from an objective guilty bystander’s viewpoint, indeed that is how it looks.

    Ah, but they will say, we adore Jesus, in each other! We come to Mass to adore one another…Oh yes? Hmmm…Results will vary. Greatly in fact. I daresay that, and stranger things have happened, a great many people despised and on the margins find a merciful and gracious, respectful, charitable, and genuinely compassionate welcome, no matter one’s state in life or varietal of sinner we may be, at EF Mass communities as compared to your standard issue, garden variety, “We don’t talk about certain things here”, liberal Catholic faith communities…One would think that for all their adoring one another and all who are welcome on the sign that people would be lining up to get to those Masses, yes? Because from liberal icons to Mother Teresa we all know how broken the world is and in great need of mercy…

  11. acricketchirps says:

    I don’t understand how it is our beloved wag can understand that so well and not seem to understand that it is the TLM that actually inculcates the truth in its hearers that the purpose of the Mass is to enter into the mystery of (adore) God, and it is the NO that seems to allow its own to forget that truth so easily.

  12. anilwang says:

    Bishops like that don’t realize how damaging their words are to the faith.

    The whole reason the “House Church” movement has become popular in the Protestant world is that smart Internet savvy Protestants realize that if “worship” is just fellowship and sermons and music, they can get consistently better fellowship with their friends/social groups/charities and hear consistently better sermons on podcasts and have access to better worship music on youtube. If that’s all you need, then “Established Denominations/non-denominations” is a poor substitute to “House Churches”.

    If Church is just a Christian social club, then why bother? If it is something who’s towards God, then how could we deny our heavenly Father, especially after he has done so much for us.

  13. NomenDeiAdmirabileEst says:

    I have been attending a recurring talk on the riches of the Mass for two or three years now, and each time it sounds pretty much like that. The Mass is a celebration of the community, the purpose of the Sunday obligation is to gather the community, the Mass is about the world collectively, Vatican II got rid of old elements and restored a sense of the horizontal, etc.

    Included in the talk are little pieces of advice such as: once you have received Communion, you should sing along and watch your brothers and sisters receive Communion because that isn’t the proper time for silent prayer; you shouldn’t kneel for Communion, since that breaks the unity of posture; you should receive both the Body and Blood because that “completes the symbol;” the Church allows that you receive Communion either in your hand or on the tongue, and both are perfectly acceptable, but receiving in the hand is the much more ancient practice.

    Unfortunately, this talk is happening on the campus of a Catholic University and is being given by its Director of Liturgy. Anytime I question something he says, I am told by others to trust that he knows what he is talking about. Funny, though, this same man objects to the use of an exit procession on the basis of it being a Protestant addition to the Mass. Hmmm.

  14. APX says:


    Is there not an Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy you could attend on Sunday rather than commit objectively grave sin by not attending Mass on Sunday?

  15. acardnal says:

    I appreciate the image you posted Fr. Z of the traditional four ends of the Holy Mass. I note that “meal” or “supper” is NOT one of them! [Which would be news to some of my brethren.]

    I listened to a lecture recently on the holy Mass. The priest spoke about the recent (unfortunate) emphasis of the Mass being a meal and a gathering and not primarily a propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. He then reminded the listeners – as you often do Father – that we are obligated to assist/participate at Sunday Mass and Holy Days of obligation, but no one is obligated to RECEIVE holy communion at holy Mass. If Mass was primarily a meal/supper, wouldn’t we be obligated to receive communion every time we went to Mass, otherwise we wouldn’t really be participating in a meal would we?

  16. Rosary Rose says:

    During Communion at every Mass, I pray a Fatima prayer taught to the three children:
    “My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I ask forgiveness for those who do not believe, nor adore, nor hope, nor love You. Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore you profoundly and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the World in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended, and by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
    Please everyone pray for the Church. Pray for our Priests!

  17. ASPM Sem says:

    Context would be nice. Be not so quick to pass judgement. Too bad this person passed judgement and didn’t listen to hear the context. I bet we could come up with several was to complete the sentence non heretically.

  18. ASPM Sem says:


    “Yesterday, at the NO mass, at the end of “Pray Bretheren…”, we, as is our wont, reading from our missals, “…totiuesque Eddlesiae suae sanctae”, the Priest, (I kid you not), stopped and said,said, in the midst of Mass, “Excuse me. We do not say the prayers in Latin, we use English as a sign of unity”. For half a second we thought of leaving and are glad we did not.”

    That is a very harmful attitude to have. The priest said something I don’t like? I guess his words invalidate the fact that in a few minutes, my Lord and Savior will be received into my heart. Over break from seminary this Easter, I attended a local parish (not my own) where the pastor said some interesting things about liturgical dance in the homily. I disagreed, yes. Did I cause a disruption in Mass to make a statement? Jesus is still present even if the priest says something you don’t like. Receiving Jesus’ body, blood soul and divinity outweigh any bad homily. Sure, the priest shouldn’t have called you out during Mass either, but the attitude you have is harmful as well.

    Also, the mindset of “let’s pray in Latin while everyone else prays in English” seems “holier than thou”, even if not intended that way. If you would like to use Latin, say it in your head or go to an EF or NO Latin Mass. Saying the prayers out loud distracts people from what matters and will cause people to look at you not with an interest in your devotion but with a distaste.

  19. iamlucky13 says:

    “Yesterday, at the NO mass, at the end of “Pray Bretheren…”, we, as is our wont, reading from our missals, “…totiuesque Eddlesiae suae sanctae”, the Priest, (I kid you not), stopped and said,said, in the midst of Mass, “Excuse me. We do not say the prayers in Latin, we use English as a sign of unity”. “

    On the one hand, the idea of interrupting the solemn rite of the Mass to single out a family for admonishment as a way of encouraging “unity” is painfully hypocritical. It is a contradiction to unify people by making an example out of someone.

    On the other hand, if you’re saying it loud enough that the priest hears you distinctly enough over the rest of the congregation to recognize what you’re saying, I can’t help but think your responses are likewise distracting those around you from their proper focus on the Mass.

    I’m strongly in favor of knowing the prayers in Latin, and while I usually respond in whichever language the Mass is being celebrated in, I’m not aware of anything specifically wrong with your choice to pray the same words in Latin (according to the current Latin missal for the Ordinary Form, since that’s the Mass you were attending). Still, it seems most prudent and beneficial to those around you to do so quietly.

    Similarly, when I end up at a Mass in Spanish, for those prayers I don’t know in Spanish (almost all of them), I whisper them in English. Actually forming the words helps me focus, but I don’t want to be loud enough that it might distract others.

    Regarding Fr. Fessio’s commentary on Sacrosanctum Concilium, I note the phrasing, “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

    Calling for steps to be taken to allow the faithful to pray in Latin, in the context of that section (Mass in the vernacular), suggests that this is more than a passive accommodation – it’s not simply “don’t forbid it.” I read it as implying faithful may be or at least feel unable to; maybe it’s awkward, disruptive, confusing, or whatever other factor may have led the council to ask that “steps be taken.” In contrast, where the Church makes passive allowance, phrases like “the faithful are not to be prevented” (ex: Redemptionis Sacramentum, paragraph. 91) often get used. I also emphasize the Council said “say or sing together.”

    Therefore, my interpretation is that the Council was encouraging congregations to collectively, rather then individuals separately, offer these prayers in Latin. It seems to me the pastor, with the aid of the choir where applicable, implements this suggestion of the council. Fr. Fessio in particular seems to be explaining how we know that Vatican II did not forbid in general the use of Latin. He doesn’t seem to be addressing a situation as specific as your use of Latin at a Mass offered in the vernacular.

    Again, I’m also not seeing any commentary suggesting you’re doing anything illicit by using Latin simultaneously while others around you use English. If you are, then maybe I’m also doing something illicit at Spanish Masses.

    By the way, thanks for pointing out that article by Fr. Fessio. I looked it up, and skimming through it, I’m seeing answers to a couple questions I’ve not been able to find answers to. I will have to sit down tonight to read it properly.

  20. ASPM Sem says:

    Glennonite, I agree with APX. Fr. Z would say this as well. A holy hour is not an acceptable replacement for the Sunday obligation, no matter how poorly the Mass is said. Missing Mass in Sunday is grave matter.

    From CCC 2181:

    The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

  21. Gail F says:

    Glennonite: I know exactly how you feel. I went to Mass for years feeling pretty much distraught at it and trying to ignore it, which didn’t seem right to me… but it was preferable to feeling distraught. One thing that really helped me was to say the deliverance part of the Lord’s Prayer (“lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”) because I often felt like I was under attack! I know that sounds dramatic, and I don’t think it WAS an attack, but it was so distressing that I felt it coming at me in waves. That prayer really helped me visualize kind of a shield around me. Yes, it is still Jesus and yes, we should put up with anything for Jesus, but ASPM Sem, I respectfully submit that saying so in such a glib way is NOT helpful. People should not be making others “put up with anything for Jesus.” And Glennonite, if you have any other parish you can go to, GO!!!

  22. Elizabeth D says:

    Glennonite, I prayed for you. Jesus loves you and wants you at Mass. I think you should try all the Catholic Churches and all the Sunday/Sat Eve Mass times in the area till you find the one that works best for you.

  23. JustaSinner says:

    I go to Mass for the Body of Christ, period.
    I don’t want to shake your hand, I don’t want to hold your sweaty hand while praying some sort of the Are Father, and I sincerely have no to wish to raise my hands while holding said sweaty mitts at the end of the prayer. Also, I don’t need some lay person raising their arm to signify when I need to sing a response or say one…news flash: been doing it since I was like four, and that was LAST MILLENNIA!
    Don’t want coffee and donuts after Mass, but would like the Rosary before…don’t think stories about Aunts and Nephews make a good sermon…like to hear a Priest reiterate HOW BAD ABORTION IS…
    Church has a beautiful organ, so WHY ARE THE TEENAGERS PLAYING ELECTRIC GUITAR AND DRUMS? If I wanted Metallica I would attend their concert…expensive yes, but better musicians they are.
    I can wait to get Communion from a Priest, so how about a single line to the Father, and maybe a line on each side for the Precious Blood? While the Priest is at it, hey Father, I am unworthy to touch Christ’s Body, so I would like to take the Host on my tongue; I’m not sticking my tongue out at you…
    While we are at it, Communion Rails?
    RANT OFF….

  24. Kerry says:

    ASPM Sem, I think you are assuming facts not in evidence. We have no doubts about the Presence of Christ. We made no statements about liking or not liking what “he said”, just stated what was said. Are you aware of the feelings or opinions of any other people at that Mass based on what I said, and if so, how do you know? We are holier than none! Did I mention the weekly, ‘will the children now bring up their offerings’ parade to a sappy “Jesus Love the little Children”, a recording played by something electronic? The massive outbreak of chattering, in the pews, the Father included, sometimes with collar askew after the “The Mass in ended, Go in Peace”? Or the woman several weeks ago who tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I loved hearing your Latin”?
    At what volume are we reciting those parts of the Mass of the faithful, “Which pertain to them”? Or that after a fine homily on thinking exactly what one is receiving in the Host, and some horror stories about consecrated Hosts found in missalettes, and criticizing society’s breakneck race to quickly arrive somewhere else, the Credo was zipped through almost ‘presto’, without even a pause at “and became Man”? We have been to this Church previously a number of times, and the priest, I think, only heard my “eccleasia sua sancte”, because I could not keep up with the English.
    Some geographical data of which to be aware. The church in our town of 647 was closed last fall. The nearest next one is 11 miles, not terribly far, in a circular building with wooden ribs, (like the St. Louis Planetarium building, a hyperboloid of extension). Just behind the last pew on the east side is, “Believe it, or Not!”, a men’s room door. It is louder after mass than the above. The next place, like the church referred to above, is 24 miles further away, in a stunning building where whom we consider ‘our priest’ was stationed, until he was moved 44 miles away. By the Grace of god and the requests of the Discalced Carmelites there, a Latin mass was begun on Christ the King. It starts at 7AM. We have to get up at 4:45 in time to make it. That is our preferred mass. We get weary of driving sometimes. I believe the closest TLM is likely the FSSP in Denton Nebraska. The stunningly restored Sioux Falls Cathedral is 88 miles, on way.
    Thank you for sharing. My apologies to all here, I think my comment has become a rant. Who knew that the language of the Church offends unity.

  25. Sliwka says:

    While I agree that the Mass is primarily for adoration, there is a powerful communitas that occurs. The thing that is missing from the “we support each other” communities is that this is through the power of the Sacrament and Sacrifice not in place of

  26. Penelope says:


    I have experienced a crisis similar to what you describe. You have my deepest sympathy.

    The best solution I have found is to make the long drive to the Latin Mass at the nearest FSSP apostolate. There I am able to pray the Mass and receive the graces I need to persevere as a Christian, not to mention retaining my sanity. When I can’t get to the FSSP on a Sunday, I go to the most reverent Novus Ordo in my area, but I don’t go into the nave of the church. I go into an area where I can hear the Mass, but it’s quieter. I either pray the Mass prayers from my hand missal or unite myself to the sacrifice at the altar praying silently in my own words.

    I don’t know how familiar you are with the TLM. The very best short explanation I’ve found is in the Introduction of my Fr. Lasance hand missal. If you can’t afford to buy one, you can find an electronic version at this url:

    I’ll be praying for you to receive an abundant outpouring of God’s grace and peace.

  27. ncstevem says:

    I’m in a similar situation as Penelope. I have to travel 250 miles from our home every weekend to see my wife who is in a medical residency. The two Catholic Churches in this small city are of the happy clappy variety. For the first 2+ years of my wife’s residency, I’d drive 3 hours to a TLM and sometimes go to the SSPX chapel which is closer.

    For the last year I’ve been going to one of the local parishes’ and it is truly awful. I too never enter the nave during Mass and remain in the lobby. Unfortunately there’s two large screen TVs there to ‘televise’ the Mass for those in the lobby which the ushers generally turn on before Mass. If I’m the only one in the lobby I turn them off. If others are in the lobby , I go elsewhere in the Church building to get away from the noise and read my TLM missal there.

  28. Pingback: “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus…”? What!! | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  29. Kerry says:

    At the FSSP website are videos for the training of Priests in the TLM; they are inspiring pedagogy.

  30. arga says:

    Given the excellent statement of adoration by our Holy Father, one is nevertheless constrained to ask, “Why does he then refuse to kneel at the consecration, which all priests are supposed to do?” Can anyone explain this apparent contradiction?

  31. kimberley jean says:

    Kerry, you might have just been too loud.

  32. Heather F says:

    “Given the excellent statement of adoration by our Holy Father, one is nevertheless constrained to ask, “Why does he then refuse to kneel at the consecration, which all priests are supposed to do?” Can anyone explain this apparent contradiction?”

    He’s not a young man, and it’s entirely possible that his knees are not what they used to be. Could be if he goes down it’s hard for him to get back up unassisted. I generally assume that if anyone who looks a little on the frail side isn’t kneeling, it has nothing to do with lack of reverence or inattention to rubrics but merely accommodation of bodily weakness, unless they give me reason to believe otherwise.

  33. grn724 says:

    I keep it simple. I am “in” Mass to give to Christ, all my love in strength, mind and spirit. I am “in” Mass to receive Christ with all the spiritual nourishment that Christ offers, most importantly, His Flesh to be Consumed for the eternal life in Him.

  34. Mike says:

    The Baltimore Catechism’s explanation of the four ends, as summarized by Fr. Z, is clear and understandable even to a primary-school student (which I was, using that Catechism in CCD, circa 1970).

    However, that Catechism and other clear and understandable explanations of the Faith fell into disuse many years ago when Tradition was trashed. Thus, who can blame a present-day priest or prelate who makes it up, so to say, as he goes along?

  35. SaintJude6 says:

    Heather F.
    I’ve already seen the “too frail to kneel” possibility contradicted elsewhere. He has knelt to be blessed by non-Catholics, no problem.

  36. John Stevens says:

    In the Mass, the priest (acting in persona Christi) sacrificially offers Jesus in the Eucharist to the Father. So, precisely, the Mass is adoration directed to the Father through the perfect offering of the Son.

  37. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Some days, some old people are less frail than other times. Plus the guy’s got a lung problem, so some days he’s probably got more wind than other times.

    But most frail priests (like most frail sopranos) have to bend to prudence and just never try the hard stuff at Mass, even if sometimes they can kneel (and sometimes they can hit the high notes).

    Also, I bet that in a public speaking situation, he’s got a crew of brawny guys to help him get up again, just like Pope Benedict XVI and Pope St. JP II had. At Mass, you can’t just have guys lifting you bodily at every genuflection. Or rather, you could, but it would be making a big deal of your frailty instead of minimizing it.

  38. Grumpy Beggar says:

    There does appear to be a potential way which might partially reconcile what the Bishop had said . . .but it’s a bit of a long shot.

    Father Z’s reader said in the OP, at the outset (if I understand correctly) that he didn’t hear everything the Bishop said:

    “Last summer I heard a bishop say, “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus…” (I was too shocked to hear why we do go.) . . . “

    (I’m going to borrow from John Stevens’ post just above – will italicize that part). So what if the larger context of what the Bishop has said, went something along these lines:
    “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus…the Mass is adoration directed to the Father through the perfect offering of the Son.”
    . . . A bit of a long shot, but something that might be reconcilable ; the general concept being confirmed by the words of the Per Ipsum.

    That being said, to begin a sentence with , “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus … ” reminds me, at the very least, of a boxer who comes storming out of his corner as the first round begins leading with his chin, and with both his guards down . . . You know he’s going to get it – it’s just a matter of time.

    Just to confirm what was being discussed roughly 8 or 9 posts ago , the priest genuflects after the consecration (I don’t believe he usually “kneels”). This is significant, because that genuflection is an act of adoration towards our Blessed Lord- truly present in the consecrated Host [even the 1973 ICEL got that one right guys – remember the classic Father Z directive / – “Say the black and do the red” ? Here’s the “red” which directly follows the words of consecration from the 1973 OF [Order of Mass with a Congregation]

    He shows the consecrated Host to the people , places it on the paten, and genuflects in adoration.

    The same act of adoration is subsequently made towards our Blessed Lord – truly present, in the Precious Blood contained in the chalice directly after consecration:

    He shows the chalice to the people, places it on the corporal , and genuflects in adoration.

    At the elevations which directly follow the words of consecration , the priest holds up the consecrated species so that we too may adore Him in this Sacrament.

    So we also adore Christ, Jesus, during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It would surely be lacking a particular logic to believe that while we may adore Christ in the Blessed Sacrament both on reserve in the tabernacle and during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, we may not adore this same God and Saviour in the same Host when just consecrated during Mass.

    As Saint Augustine says:

    “No one eats that flesh without first adoring it.”

    Eucharist, Worship and Custody ; Fr. John Hardon, S.J.

  39. Brian1951 says:

    ” I heard a bishop say, “We don’t go to Mass to adore Jesus”

    Nicene Creed
    …….I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
    who with the Father AND THE SON
    is adored and glorified,…

  40. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Glennonite,

    There is advice that St. John of the Cross used to give to depressed people, which, interestingly enough, was the same advice Einstein used to give: you should approach the situation, for a time, as if you were the only person in the Church (what they said was that you should pass through the day-to-day aspects of living as if you were the only person in the world). In other words, buy a missal and pray the Mass as if you were the only person there. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the congregation is dancing in the aisles, so to speak. You, by your single act of devotion console Christ and form a bond of silent friendship with the Crucified. Sit in the back. No one will notice. Only crazy people sit in the back, right, so people will leave you alone – unless they are a “welcoming” crowd, in which you can simply tell them that you would like to be alone because someone you adore has died and you spend Mass with them, in spirit, which, of course, is true, inasmuchas you adore Christ and he did die. This broad mental reservation will keep people away. It won’t help with any guitars, but you can cultivate the habit of singing off-key. This will, quickly form a cordone sanitaire around you. I think massive amounts of garlic before Mass will, also, help in this regard. No one has, yet, published, The Bad Mass Survival Guide, but it has a catchy ring and tons of profit potential. In other words, don’t let them control the Mass. You are giving them way too much power. Christ controls the Mass and you are there for Him. Before Christ said to love your neighbor, He, first, said to love God. So, for now, it’s you and Him, mate.

    Here’s the problem: most of the laity have no idea what the Mass is, anymore. The idea that it is a community meal is a bastardization of what the Passover meal is all about. The high point of the meal is not the community – God never mentions community in the modern “churchy” sense, once, in the Passover narrative (and the concept of tribe is much different than that of a gathering). The high point of the Passover was the sacrifice of the Lamb. How things changed from sacrifice to meal is a sad part of modern Church history. For now, be the remnent on Mt. Carmel, hidden, silent, praying. Times change and, perhaps, before you die, God will make the idea of sacrifice known, again, in your local church, in part, through your efforts.

    In any case, confess your earlier missed Masses (and, I think psychological stress might be added as a mitigating factor) and then, either find a church where the Mass is understood or, not to get too Zen, if you must suffer bad litugy, then be the light through which other people see the reverence they should be holding for the Mass. By all means, ask for prayer. You have a difficult task, ahead – to make Jesus loved as he ought to be.

    You will be in my prayers.

    Oh, by the way, have you considered that you might have a contemplative vocation?

    The Chicken

  41. mwmn says:

    Our priest said during the homily last Sunday: “Don’t through marshmallows at me, but nowhere did Jesus ever say ‘Worship Me'”.

  42. Grumpy Beggar says:

    mwmn says:
    Our priest said during the homily last Sunday: “Don’t through marshmallows at me, but nowhere did Jesus ever say ‘Worship Me’”.

    I believe He did . . . it’s just that He said it so humbly that someone who’s more concerned about marshmallows and about saying something clever, just might’ve missed it:

    Matthew 4: 8-10 [NAB]
    “Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'”

    (I think it’s time I took a break – I can’t stop imagining someone who was present holding a tomato up in reply for everyone to see and saying to Father, “Nowhere did you say , ‘Don’t throw tomatoes at me.'”)

  43. Daniel W says:

    Mass is ultimately to worship God, which of course is to our benefit.

    However if you read many references to participation in the Eucharist in the Catechism, they refer to participating in Holy Mass as a community. One aspect of why we “gather” for Mass, (ome of the first parts of the Mass refer to this gathering together), is to support each other.
    Yes but to support each other in what? In worshiping God.
    I have learnt EVERYTHING I know about worshiping God from others, and much of it from seeing their adoration at Holy Mass.
    Liturgy is Holy Mother Church’s PUBLIC office, and she gathers us together to support each other and learn from each other: to worship God, at Holy Mass and then in the world through our Christian lives.
    The main persons I have learnt to worship God from are priests, through their obedient fulfilment of our Mother Church’s rubrics regarding how to make really present the sacrifice of her Son, to join Him with others as his Bride, in worshiping our Father God.

  44. mwmn says:


    I didn’t say I agreed – just what he said.

    Also, when saying the Nicene Creed, he never says the word “men” in the following:

    “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven”

  45. Theae kinds of abuses, and episcopalian neglect and/or encouragemenr of them, has made me happy to assist at a Maronite Rite parish. In general, the bishops of the US Roman Catholic Church have all but eaten through their inheritance and are not yet noticeably longing for the husks flung from their Father’s house

  46. Glennonite says:

    To All who have offered condolences, advice, and prayers:
    Thank you. :) I’ll get back off the mat and redouble my efforts. I have given thought to the possibility that my quiet prayer (despite the incongruous, “Turn to your neighbors in the pew and introduce yourself!” from the lector) as Mass begins, and my continued kneeling in quite repose after Mass, (while the “auditorium” and “stage area” are flooded with cacophonous boister) might be my ministry.
    It’s just so infuriating that I wonder whether Mass is supposed to evoke such (predictable) negative emotions from me. I feel like Peter in the Garden of Gethsemine. :/

    Thanks again to all.

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