Bp. Tobin’s Tough Love: Hirsute flabmeisters… mature women with skimpy clothes… hyperactive gum-chewing kids checking their iPhones

His Excellency Most Reverend  Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence has sobering reminders for his flock. HERE

No doubt His Excellency is addressing himself only to the Catholics of Providence. So, if you are not in that diocese pay no attention.  My emphases and comments:

The Holy Mass – “Let the Whole World Tremble”

After attending Sunday Mass in Florida not too long ago I came across the following admonition in the Sunday bulletin: “Please come to Mass early enough not to disrupt. Leave late enough not to insult. (The Mass does not end until the final blessing). Worship reverently enough not to distract. And dress proudly enough not to offend.” [Excellent.  Fathers, jot that down.  No, wait.  You are ignoring this.]

“Now that little blurb contains some very useful reminders,” I said to myself. It addresses a recurring problem in some our churches these days – an habitual lack of reverence for the sacred mysteries taking place in our midst, especially when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered.
While all of the points in the bulletin article have merit and should be observed, the reminder to “dress proudly enough not to offend,” might be the most relevant, especially now as we enter the hot and humid, casual days of summer. The sloppy and even offensive way people dress while attending Mass is something I’ve witnessed personally and regularly receive complaints about.

You know what I’m talking about; you’ve seen it too. Hirsute flabmeisters[Well done! Just the other day I taught my altar boys the word “hirsute”.] spreading out in the pew, wearing wrinkled, very-short shorts and garish, unbuttoned shirts; mature women with skimpy clothes that reveal way too much, slogging up the aisle accompanied by the flap-flap-flap of their flip-flops; hyperactive gum-chewing kids with messy hair and dirty hands, checking their iPhones and annoying everyone within earshot or eyesight.  [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

These displays reveal a gross misunderstanding of the sacred space we’ve entered in the church and the truly sacred drama taking place in our midst. C’mon – even in the summer, a church is a church, not a beach or a pool deck.

Every member of the worshipping community should dress appropriately for Mass, but the obligation is even greater for those who fulfill public ministries during the liturgy – ushers, lectors, servers, and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. [Reduce the number of lay people in those roles and you help to avoid a problem.] Because they’ve assumed a public role in the sacred liturgy and are in the public eye, it’s important that they give good example to others in the way they dress, speak and present themselves during Mass.

And what about the trend I’ve seen increasingly in recent years, even in our cathedral, of people coming to Mass carrying their water bottles and coffee mugs? Do they really need to be hydrated or caffeinated during that hour they’re in church? Is it a sacred space or an airport terminal? [Ehem… I’ve often written that many suburban parishes look like municipal airports.  When our churches are ugly, will people be filled with awe?] And I wonder how many people even think about the Eucharistic fast (one hour before receiving Holy Communion) when they prepare for Mass? I’m old enough to remember when you couldn’t have any food or beverage, except water, from midnight before receiving Holy Communion. It was a sacrifice, to be sure, but also a clear reminder of how special it was to receive Holy Communion. [Ehem… Your Excellency… check out my poll!  HERE]

And while I’m venting, I still find it inappropriate and disrespectful to have a church full of people talking and creating a boisterous atmosphere before Mass, [Do I hear an “Amen!”?] completely ignorant of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and the spiritual needs of their fellow parishioners who wish to spend a few moments of quiet prayer with the Lord. The Church should always provide a sanctuary of quiet, peace and prayer for anyone who wants to escape the barrage of noise and technological intrusions of our daily routine and enter into the presence of the Living God.

No moment reveals our attitude of respect than during the actual reception of Holy Communion.

I’m not one who has a strong preference for receiving Holy Communion standing or kneeling – both are approved by the Church and both can be either reverent or irreverent depending on the disposition of the person. Nor am I one who will fight over the merits of receiving Holy Communion in the hand or on the tongue. Again, both are approved by the Church and can be either reverent or irreverent. [Ehem… clearly one is superior.]

I am frequently amazed, however, over how many of the faithful, young and old, simply don’t know how to receive Holy Communion properly. This ignorance reached its pinnacle a couple of years ago when one lady, a Confirmation sponsor in fact, dropped the sacred host I had placed in her hand and then looked at me, giggling, saying, “I guess I’ll need another one of those,” like she had just lost her favorite snack cracker.

It’s easy folks, really. As you approach the minister of Holy Communion you bow reverently and when you hear the words, “the Body of Christ,” you simply respond “Amen” as you extend both hands carefully or put out your tongue. And note, you’re required to consume the host then and there and not take it with you down the aisle or back to your pew.

The title of this column was taken from a letter of St. Francis of Assisi to his friars, in which he reveals his profound respect for the Holy Eucharist. He writes: “Let the entire man be seized with fear; let the whole world tremble; let heaven exult when Christ, the Son of the Living God, is on the altar in the hands of the priest. O humble sublimity! O sublime humility! That the Lord of the universe, God and Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation he hides himself under a morsel of bread.”

Would that we might display even a fraction of that reverence when we go to church, attend Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ!

Fr. Z kudos to Bp. Tobin.   It’s refreshing to have some straight talk from a bishop.

Although… I hope he converts about some of those points.

Some think that the one hour fast before Communion is not enough and that the Church’s law should be change to require a longer fast.

Of course people can fast longer if they want to, but for now the law says one hour.

Let’s have a poll.  Please pick the best response and add your reasons in the combox, if you are registered here.

Under normal circumstances, should the Latin Church Eucharistic fast (for people who are obliged) before Communion be lengthened?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Cri de Coeur, Decorum, Fr. Z KUDOS, HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Emilio III says:

    I would prefer the three hour fast, though at 0625 Mass fasting from midnight is no great burden. However, the poll seems to have been closed before this was posted.

    A week ago I saw what seemed an unusual (though logical) method of showing reverence to the Eucharist in this video showing the end of the Corpus Christi procession in Toledo. The rather famous Monstrance of Arfe is welcomed back to the Cathedral by a band playing the Royal March and a 21 gun salute:


  2. Warren says:

    I voted for the three hour pre-communion fast.

    Are we not spiritual athletes (with bodies)? Spiritual warriors in a spiritual battle? If we are to get in spiritual shape, we need intense (obligatory) training of the mind and body to build necessary spiritual muscles. As it is, there are a lot of couch potato Catholics bearing that ol’ spare tire or spiritual muffin top due to a lack of exercise.

  3. John Grammaticus says:

    Two considerations:

    a) I voted for the three hour fast, simply put during the week I attend a lunchtime Mass for working people (the only other such Mass is 7:30 in the Cathedral and the 12:125 is more convenient in several ways), if we didn’t have breakfast then our performance at work would suffer which would if I’m correct actually be a sin in and of itself, not to mention the possible harm to our earning prospects. Sunday Mass is a different kettle of fish altogether.

    b) for the same reason I can’t always guarantee that I shall be there on time, twice this week my work duties have meant that I couldn’t actually go, sometimes it might mean that I’m a little late or that I have to leave a little early. Sure you can make take steps to avoid such situations but if Father is still hearing confessions at the time Mass is supposed to start then I may have to ‘do a Judas’ and duck out before the final blessing.

  4. polycarped says:

    I voted from midnight. This is what we do (not young children and others who are not required to fast) even though the Mass we assist at is not in the morning. It’s a great discipline to adopt and involves that sacrifice thing. Not easy. I do the same even at times when I know I am not well disposed to received – i.e. Also in preparation for spiritual communion. I would however probably advocate for 3 hours fasting if the Mass for any reason is later than say midday.

  5. Geoffrey says:

    I chose “Yes, and it should be 3 hours before”. I try to do this now, depending on the circumstances. I do the old midnight fast if I attend Mass in the morning. Otherwise, always the 1 hour fast at least.

    P.S. Bishop Tobin is great!

  6. Mac_in_Alberta says:

    I voted three hours because it was what we had when I was a child, and it was known to be a relaxation from the former midnight fast. Reforms should be toughening, not relaxation of rules or practices, and three hours, up from a single hour that people have to be reminded about, would be a toughening. It would be just enough toughening to be give a warmed-up, game-face-on attitude to serious Catholics, ready to arrive on time to hit the kneelers for some private prayer before the entrance hymn (not “gathering song”).

  7. Imrahil says:

    The problem with me setting up imaginary Communion-fast-rules are that they always end up much too detailed to be practical. But here we go, let’s forgo the one thing that the rule should be simple and easy to grasp, and let’s think about what, apart from that, might be sensible:

    Three hours, in general, before the beginning of Mass. But not only tap water, but also coffee – with some milk, but no cappucino or latte macchiato -, tee and soda may be drunk in the first two of them – no milk, no pure lemonade, no alcohol, no coke, and fruit juice only when mixed with soda or tap water; about sugar-free coke, alcohol-free beer, the beer-lemonade mixture we call Radler and the coke-lemonade mixture we call Spezi (which both have much more to do with simple quenching the thirst than either of the constituent parts drinken alone) I’m not sure…

    On Sundays, 1st-class-feasts, and feasts of prescription that are not 1st-class feasts (yes, these exist, e. g. St. Stephen in some countries) for the morning mass, people may alternatively eat a nice (ideally: family-table) breakfast up to one hour before the beginning of Mass or alternatively three hours before Communion, provided that in addition to this, the breakfast is finished by 9:00. Those who go don’t get up and go to the late 12 o’clock mass or in the evening (including myself often enough) shall fast longer.
    Exception: If Easter Vigil is on Sunday morning, then this shall not hold; but young people and especially young altar boys shall eat at the discretion of their parents, or the leading altar boys, enough that they don’t faint or get sick (and that also prophylactically, not only medicinically against a present sickness), with still being able to Communicate afterwards.

    All this only for those who arrived at Mass, at the latest, at the sound of the sacristy-bell. (But, as the old manuals insist: whoever is still Confessing during Mass, to another priest, is to be counted as present at Mass.)

    For Communion outside Mass, if it is immediately after Mass and applies to choir singers and the like, same rules as for Mass; otherwise, and also for late-comers, five hours, or alternatively from midnight or from the time people have begun their night’s sleep if that’s later, but at least three hours.

    For Communion in articulo mortis, of course no condition at all.

    Parish priests and also spiritual advisors and habitual confessors shall have the authority to dispense from that.

    now a much simpler, and also somewhat different, try.
    – three hours outside Mass, for latecomers, and in the Mass in which a Sunday obligation is fulfilled,
    – if on time and in a non-obliging Mass (on the Sunday, this requires that the Sunday obligation or is going to be fulfilled not only sufficiently to escape mortal sin, but on time), one hour before the beginning of Mass.

    And now another:
    – from midnight, but at least three hours,
    – parish priests, spiritual advisors and habitual confessors have the authority to put up much easier rules instead, are encouraged to easily grant them, and people are encouraged to ask for them; all the same, this holds only for those who actually have asked.

    Somewhat undecided…

  8. Imrahil says:

    As to Bishop Tobin’s statement:

    I’d be somewhat at ease with people without liturgical function wearing summer casual, say: on the weekday, as long as that summer casual is in itself moral, and not only moral in a swimming-pool context. [And we all do know: insofar as taste enters into morality at all, which is in a very limited way, it is the taste of today, not of the good old days. With hard, objective rules it’s different, but here, for once, it is the case.]

    We don’t want faithful Catholics come home from their well-deserved time-out at the swimming pool (having, of course, exchanged the bathing shorts for decent street-shorts), hear the bell ringing, think “oh why not, I could attend Mass, couldn’t I” and then not do it because they feel inappropriately dressed.

    Putting on the Sunday best on the Sunday is a different thing, and appropriate dress for people in liturgical function is still a definitely different thing. Though you might say, the appropriate dress for people, that is for male ones, in liturgical function (outside the choir) is cassock and surplice…

    I’m totally with Bp Tobin on all other points. Coffee in church! good grief! (When he rightly objects to a Church boisterous with talking people, I don’t think he objected to some people saying some few things to each other, the general atmosphere remaining silent; at least I don’t. We are not Protestants.)

    There is, by the way, an actual reason you don’t eat and drink in Church. It’s because The food and drink is present in the Tabernacle. You don’t eat and drink something else in here.

  9. Pingback: Slobs at Mass | The American CatholicThe American Catholic

  10. NoraLee9 says:

    Although I fast from midnight, I voted for 3 hours. Folks who attend a 5:00PM Mass would be passing out in the pews. There are many folks in my area who attend an afternoon daily Mass after work, and, unless there were different rules for Sunday and daily Masses, I think fasting would become an unreasonable burden.

    Pius XII modified the rules in recognition of these changes in modern life. One of the first changes to Mass schedules came with the “Printers’ Mass,” held at 3:00 AM in midtown Manhattan, for the Catholics who put together the Sunday editions of the newspapers. Clearly fasting from midnight for these gentlemen was not much of a sacrifice, and something in the way of more specific rules were needed. As Mass times became more widespread throughout the day, the three-hour rule made more sense.

    I cannot however, for the life of me, figure out why the change was made from 3 hours to only one.

    As for water bottles in church, choir members in a hot loft may need H2O for their “pipes.” I sang at the dedication of an Altar, one August, many years ago. It was almost 3 hours and it must have been close to 90 degrees up there….

  11. Siculum says:

    And Holy Communion on the tongue. Only. Then no Confirmation sponsors get the dropsies.

  12. Martlet says:

    I also need water to sip, but only when my allergies are bad. Likewise a cough drop. It is sometimes a choice of sipping as discretely as I can, popping a lozenge into my mouth, or hacking my lungs up. Of course, that would be helped a lot if other women used just a drop of perfume instead of sharing it with everyone.

    Three hours, by the way.

  13. DonL says:

    I didn’t vote. I am far too aware that Mass is primarily chuck full of old people who need nourishment and must take food with many common medicine requirements before Mass.
    I feel the same way about alter rails–not all can use them without risk.

  14. A lovely letter by this bishop. Now try enforcing this in churches where weak, lukewarm priests are just struggling to keep the collection plates half full. Practical reality, sadly, outweighs the truth of this great speech.

  15. JonPatrick says:

    I voted for 3 hour fast although people should be encouraged to do the fast from midnight if they are to receive at an early Mass.

    Concerning the statement that communion in the hand being approved by the Church, the conditions that were set by Pope Paul VI under which it was allowed were not met at the time – the then NCCB voted in favor of it. One condition was that it had to be an already established practice (which it wasn’t) and a majority of the bishops had to vote in favor and there appeared to have been shall we say “irregularities” in the way that voting was conducted. Which means CITH may be technically illegal here in the US.

  16. AnnTherese says:

    I must say, while I agree with the lack of reverence some people show in their attire, I’ve never EVER seen someone on their cell phone while in Communion line. But, maybe in Providence. At my parish, one thing I find distracting and equally disrespectful is 10 minutes (I’ve timed him) of announcements by the priest after Communion (that are all printed in the bulletin) while we’re all standing there. Inappropriate. Announcements don’t belong in liturgy.

    We regularly are preached to that we should be kneeling and receiving Communion on the tongue. This is curious to me, because according to the USCCB:
    “The General Instruction asks each country’s Conference of Bishops to determine the posture to be used for the reception of Communion and the act of reverence to be made by each person as he or she receives Communion. In the United States, the body of Bishops determined that Communion should be received standing, and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving…
    “Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion.”

  17. Kerry says:

    Rude behavior and irreverence at the Mass traces back to the dice playing Roman soldiers.
    Don’t be those guys.

  18. frjim4321 says:

    Then again, if someone were busy actually praying they might be to involved in that to be looking around judging the appearance of others.

  19. DumSpiroSpero says:

    Honestly…there are close to 100 Catholics who have never heard of an Eucharistic Fast?????? How is that even possible…even if they don’t follow the rules, how is it possible they have never even heard of it??? Mind=Blown

  20. SanSan says:

    I shared Bishop Tobins admonishment with my local priests……maybe they’ll read it and DO SOMETHING.

  21. vox borealis says:

    “Then again, if someone were busy actually praying they might be to [sic] involved in that to be looking around judging the appearance of others.”

    Except during the backslap and chat fest typical of the “Sign of Peace” portion of the N.O., during which it’s pretty difficult not to notice what your near and not-so-near pew neighours are wearing as they thrust themselves hands outstretched at you.

  22. introibo says:

    Three hours would be nice, but I voted for the 1 hour fast. I used to be able to go without breakfast with no problem…but ever since I started having children, (and I’m all done with that now, 25 years later) I’ve found that I really can’t go that long without eating. Granted, one doesn’t have to receive Holy Communion every week.

  23. Veritatis Splendor says:

    I voted for three hours, though that usually means midnight for me and other early Mass goers, measured from the beginning of Mass, not communion. As mentioned above, if measured from midnight, it is impractical for evening Mass, though I suppose you could measure it from noon or midnight. The one hour is clearly too short, especially when measured from reception of communion instead of the beginning of mass. Under these rules, you can almost be eating as you get into the car, if the church is 15 minutes away and the priest takes about an hour.

    In my recently deceased grandmother’s old 1952 St. Joseph’s missal, there was a list of circumstances that the fast could be dispensed to only one hour before. These included schoolchildren going to Mass later in the day and the elderly who were incapable of the fast. If something is impossible, one is not obliged to do it.

    I wonder Father(s) (and canon lawyers), could the bishop’s ability to declare fasts and feasts(or any other ability), allow him to change the rules on the pre-communion fast for his diocese?

  24. Torpedo1 says:

    I chose the three hour fast, only because sometimes we go to Mass in the evening. I almost went with after Midnight because this is what I most often do for myself. I enjoy the fact that, by the time I am able to receive Communion, I’m both physically and spiritually hungry and Christ is the first thing I am fed with that morning.

  25. Ben Kenobi says:

    Voted for midnight with the caveat of young children and masses before noon, and the elderly – exceptions that were in the missal from before.

    I tried this as a catechumen and it made a ton of sense. Also explained the ‘Catholic brunch’ after mass, which I’ve greatly enjoyed. :)

  26. mrshopey says:

    I am glad he addressed the problem and didn’t just tell us if we were praying, we wouldn’t see them. If those keep insisting if we were praying and wouldn’t notice them, then we need our own stalls with a TV. That isn’t was Mass is about as we come together as a community, not individually. I hope others follow his example.

  27. jltuttle says:

    I voted for starting the fast on midnight before Communion. It will be difficult, but that’s the point. I like the idea that the Eucharist will be the first thing eaten the day of Communion. And, as one commentor mentioned, it will encourage brunch after Mass.

    Fasting before Communion and abstinence on Fridays goes a long way toward strengthening a sense of community. One wonders why our Shepherds don’t take advantage of such things.

  28. dbonneville says:

    I regularly attend Mass at the Cathedral in Providence. I go out of my way to attend the 10am liturgy with Latin chant. It’s the most reverent versus populum NO in the state. And yes, you still see what Bs. Tobin is taking about every week.

    One thing I don’t get though is the sense of surprise at these very surface-level indicators of the poverty of the inner life of the average Catholic here in RI. With the paucity of formation over the last several decades…what should one expect?

    If Bs. Tobin set up an additional EF Mass at the Cathedral on Sunday (maybe 8am), its effect would bleed over to the 10am. Better yet, if the NO was replaced once a month with the EF, it would catch many regular attendees unaware and shock them into a sense of awe. Most of what Bs. Tobin reflects on above would right itself inside the span of a year.

    This is not rocket science.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    Number of fast hours = (80 – Age decade)/10. Example: person who is in their 30’s:

    Number of fast hours = (80-30)/10 = 5 hours.

    Okay, okay – 3 hours, in general, but I like the idea of adjusting the fast to age. I was at a Mass many years ago where the older priest (in his 80’s) liked to keep the midnight-to-Mass fast and he collapsed at the Altar. Fortunately, there was another priest in the church at the time to finish out the Mass.

    The Chicken

  30. Packrraat says:

    I voted for 3 hours. However, I don’t have to be at work at 8AM. In fact, I don’t have to be at work ever again. But, three hours would be difficult for people who must leave immediately from a daily Mass to go to work, hungry. Like my husband. Perhaps, if the requirement were changed, there could be a difference between requirements for Mass on a weekday and those for Mass on a Sunday.

    The attire at Mass—-if anything is to change there, it has to start at the top, with all the people who are doing anything in the sanctuary right out there in public view. Altar boys (and, unfortunately, girls) must not be allowed to wear shorts under their robes or athletic shoes of wild colors or flip-flops. The parents of these kids are responsible too, though, I have noticed that the altar boys who don’t dress properly, have parents who don’t dress properly either.

  31. Imrahil says:

    Dear jltuttle,

    I don’t know whether we should answer each other or not, but I’ll try and I hope it will be quite respectfully. So, the problem I see with your approach is this:

    it marks, quite fittingly, the “day of Communion” as something which, though some very zealous people may still manage it everyday, suggests by its very nature that it is only been done “once all holy times” (as the phrase goes, but here in its literal, canonical meaning). Which is why when Pope St. Pius X focussed on Daily Communion, the midnight fast was (I’m no determinist, but let me say:) bound to fall in consequence, though it took some few decades (and though we may think it fell too much).

    Now, rare Communion, with the pious folk Communicating as much as every Sunday and so on, is, for the laymen, one viable way of honoring the Blessed Sacrament. It has been done in the past; they had their arguments, I’m not going to look down to it. But still… the Church for what she is doing now has her arguments too, and I think the more convincing ones: I believe the Church was right when she in practice reopened the way to Daily Communion (in theory it was always open). At any rate, I, for one, am glad she did.

  32. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “Then again, if someone were busy actually praying they might be to involved in that to be looking around judging the appearance of others.”

    Well, I *try* to pray without noticing… I really do. We, as a family, especially try to do so after the final blessing and hymn. Yet, the cacophony then sets in. It is as if we are kneeling (and, I emphasize, *trying* to pray) in the middle of a midway carnival /fair.

    It simply befuddles me why, in an ordinary parish one may find in the Catholic world today, there is so much of lack of respect for our Blessed Lord’s True Presence in the Holy tabernacle in a *house of prayer*. (Yes, there are exceptions. Thanks be to God. Yet they are rare.)

    What Imrahil said above is so true. We are *not* protestants. The Almighty makes His Presence, *physical* Presence, on the Altar of Sacrifice, and is reserved in the Tabernacle (please God), yet people can simply behave like a flock of magpies. Why? I cannot fathom this irreverence, let alone try to say any mental prayers of thanksgiving.

    I try to keep my head down and pray as best I can. Then leave the church in silence nodding to anyone who may address me and point towards the vestibule.

    Right, I’m the one who’s judging. Thank you for judging me, frjim.


  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    Oh, also, the old rules of fast were developed when the average death age was 45. The Church has never, in its history, had to deal with a population so old, so it is proper, I think to modify the older rules according to prudence.

    As for carrying water bottles, many older folks have to take regulated medicine and water does not break the fast, anyways, so why is this an issue?

    As for the talking – right on, dear bishop. Silence should be the rule in churches. One is, almost, under an obligation of silence in a church except in cases of emergency.

    As for clothing, would one wear flip-flops and shorts in the presence of an earthly king? For goodness sakes, why would one even think to wear those to have an audience with His Most Highness, The Lord of Lords? On the other hand, there is an inverse relationship between what one wears at Church and need or poverty coupled with purity of intention. If the best one has is flip-flops and shorts (and, in this day and age don’t think this might not happen), then one ought not judge. That poorly dressed person might be the holiest person in the Church – one never knows. There are times, however, where it is clear that the person is negligently dressed and deserve fraternal correction. I would not paint the issue totally black and white. We are all required to attend Mass on Sunday, but we are only required to be dressed as well as we can. When violations occur is a matter for the discernment of the mature, not busy-bodies. I know people who are much holier than I who have been out on the streets, so I temper my outrage at dress by circumstances (most of which, I don’t know).

    How to receive Communion should have been taught in a First Communion classes. The problem is really a more widespread loss of a sense of the sacred. More than that, one is not merely receiving the Eucharist. One is giving oneself to the reception of the Eucharist. The reception of every sacrament is a moment of self-giving. No one takes the Eucharist. No one takes Communion. Communion is a mutual exchange of gifts, self for Self. It is the same with marriage – no wonder marriage is in such a bad way – one does not take a spouse, one gives to a spouse the gift of self.

    Can this be changed? Unfortunately, no, not if we stay on the course we are on. We must become detached from technologies of every kind (in the correct sense of the word, detachment), so that we may be attached to the One True God. Our technologies give the illusion that there is security in this life, but the secret to a life without anxiety is to realize that there is no security in this life and nothing on which to hitch our wagon. We are travelers and we must be moving on.

    The Chicken

  34. Imrahil says:

    As a matter of fact, with “We are not Protestants” I was rather intending to say something else (note that to me the archetypal Protestant is the Prussian)…

    We know how to keep a heartfelt, generally silent reverence – that yes -; but without the need of meticulous making and following of rules to ensure it. Someone (Chesterton?) once said that Catholics, if something needs to be said in Church, will just say it, while Protestants will resort to a whisper.

    God actually lives among us (though we deserve it not). He has been present in the tabernacles (and their predecessors) for nearly 2000 years. We still rever him, but we naturally have somewhat got used to His presence. When a gentle captain lives always in his company’s barracks, their salute will, as time goes by, become more and more jovial and even casual. That is not bad; though we’d still hope they won’t leave it away, or take the gentleness as an excuse for insubordination.

  35. Moral_Hazard says:

    I voted an hour. It’s enough time to think, “Hey I’m going to Mass” without having to go overboard planning meals. Would three hours be some tremendous burden? No, I don’t think so. But I do think that people with blood sugar issues, etc., should be told to eat if they need to. In my opinion, from midnight is just silly unless someone was going to Mass before 8:00 am.

    Also, for clothes, I believe in modesty, but with a nod toward the weather. If it’s over 90 degrees, there’s a good chance I’ll be in shorts. I stick to a collared shirt, like a golf shirt, and closed shoes (no flip flops), but I don’t think God needs us to layer up the wool in tropical weather. Clothes are cultural and change with location, culture and decade. What’s modest in one locale at one time is not modest in another locale and time.

    My parish is quite traditional, so there are the families where the man and boys are in jackets and ties, no matter the weather, and the way I dress is at the more casual end of the spectrum. But I’ve been to the parishes where people look like they’re in their skivvies, so I see Bp. Tobin’s point.

    Our church has a rail and my wife and I receive the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue. It’s not my preference (I think the Sacrament is going to fall off my tongue and afraid I would drop the Lord), but I do so out of solidarity with my wife.

  36. Moral_Hazard says:


    God actually lives among us (though we deserve it not). He has been present in the tabernacles (and their predecessors) for nearly 2000 years. We still rever him, but we naturally have somewhat got used to His presence. When a gentle captain lives always in his company’s barracks, their salute will, as time goes by, become more and more jovial and even casual. That is not bad; though we’d still hope they won’t leave it away, or take the gentleness as an excuse for insubordination.

    ~~~ Very well said.

  37. kimberley jean says:

    I just wish people would take their water bottles and tissue with them when they leave.

  38. iPadre says:

    Another needs to be added to that list. What really boils my tea pot is the slamming doors after some have received Our Lord in Holy Communion. They had better watch out, because one day, He may slam a door in their face!

    As for dress. My lectors and altar boys know to be dressed properly or not serve. As for Extraordinary Ministers, I haven’t had the extraordinary reason to need them. When attendance is flowing out into the street, I may reconsider.

  39. mysticalrose says:

    I voted for the midnight fast. I am the 80’s child of pre-Vat II parents, and I grew up keeping the midnight fast, and I still keep it. It’s not particularly difficult for those without medical issues, so I see no reason why it should have been shortened.

  40. mysticalrose says:

    I am surprised about the aversion to flip flops though — my husband and sons are always dressed up for mass, and my daughter and I always wear skirts or dresses . . . and flip flops! Ahem. I think we will be going summer shoe shopping this weekend.

  41. roma247 says:

    I voted for one hour, though I feel conflicted about it. I tend to lean toward the traditional practices of the church, so this feels inconsistent for me. However, because we live next door to a church that has a daily Mass in the evening, I often find it difficult to feed my family at an hour early enough to be able to allow 1 hour before receiving. I’ve had to forego receiving more than once because I didn’t manage it. Not that such a thing is terrible, but…

    I also think that there are much, much bigger issues that need to be fixed before we fuss over the length of the fast, and I think that Bishop Tobin’s letter very aptly sums these up in language that admonishes very carefully. Most people need baby steps, and imposing a longer communion fast is only going to result in flagrant dismissal and ignoring of such rules. Why place yet another burden on the shoulders of those who have yet to learn reverence? The fast is too far lost for them, that it should be able to do the job of instilling that reverence. If we can find ways to bring back reverence, then a longer eucharistic fast will become voluntary.

  42. roma247 says:

    Oooh–flip flops, there’s another sticky issue. Once my priest took me to task for wearing what he saw as flip-flops. I didn’t wish to contradict him, but I have heel spurs, which makes wearing closed-heel shoes very uncomfortable for me. The moment it is warm enough to wear sandals, that is what I do.

    I have very nice leather sandals that I wear. But they have no enclosed heel, so they look like…flip flops. But I spend a lot of money on these, because they help my poor feet but are still very nice sandals. And I don’t want to offend with them….but???

    The objection to flip-flops is the fact that most flip-flops are cheap plastic/rubber foot coverings meant as poolside wear…and thus they are inappropriate for church. Mine do not answer to this description. But they do sometimes make a little noise because they have no heel. They aren’t as loud as high heels! And I’m careful to walk as silently as I can…but it’s not a reverence issue here.

    I’d love to hear any comments or advice…

  43. eulogos says:

    I quickly voted for “from Midnight” because I was taught that by my Anglo-Catholic instructor when I was baptized and did it while an Anglican-at the age of 20. Then when I became a Catholic and went to a retreat at a monastery, I was astonished when they fed us a big breakfast in the women’s residence, right before mass. When I inquired, I was told that by the time we walked down the hill into the monastery proper, it would be an hour from when we finished until the moment we took communion. I timed it and we did just make it. But it didn’t feel right to me.

    But I clicked too quickly, not thinking of how I feel these days, or how I felt during the many years when I was either pregnant, or nursing, or both. I’ll be honest. When I get up in the morning, I have coffee. Period. Then I get dressed and drive half an hour to mass or Divine Liturgy. That makes an hour. I almost never eat anything else before church, but I am not sure I could make it without my coffee. I delayed getting lab work done until a day off, then showed up with a big mug of coffee which I drank the instant they had my blood. I am weak. With coffee, I could make three hours, but not much more. I am weak. When I was nursing (and I once figured I spent 15 years of my life pregnant, nursing or both) I woke up ravenous in the morning. I always managed an hour, though, even then, getting in a cup of tea just before the cut off.

    I think the midnight rule was beautiful and perhaps if I had continued it straight on from when I was 20 it would not seem so impossible now.

    But an hour is something everyone can do without people needing to ask the priest for dispensations left and right, or deciding to dispense themselves. So, I am of two minds.

    Susan Peterson

  44. capchoirgirl says:

    Roma: yes, I’ve always had a problem with the “noise” thing. Most women’s shoes are noisy. They just *are*, and in most places in the U.S., heels are equivalent with “dressing up.” So I have never thought that was a problem, and it surprises me when I read that in the bulletin just about every summer. (I don’t generally wear heels, because I look like Bambi learning to walk in them. ;) ) That, to me, is when we’ve just gone past the point of things we need to be worrying about. Noisy shoes? really?

  45. Matt Robare says:

    I always bring a water bottle with me wherever I go, even during the winter. I have learned from a hard experience that I get dehydrated easily, especially if I’m wearing an undershirt, a button-down, collared shirt and trousers when it’s hot and humid out. I certainly don’t bring it up to Communion, though.

  46. Cincinnati Priest says:

    The problem with your argument (It is better for people to come to Mass from the pool after a change into shorts than not come at all) is twofold: First, the *premise*. Implicit in the argument is that there is no obligation to plan one’s weekend around the Sunday Mass obligation.

    If it is ever a case that someone comes only because he suddently remembers that he or she has to hustle from the pool, then he has been negligent in his duty to put the most important thing of the weekend (honoring the Sabbath) *first*.

    Secondly, it is a very slippery slope. Once one starts excusing the dress of people who couldn’t see to it to plan to attend Mass, this becomes “customary and acceptable dress” for others as well, because they will think to themselves, “If it is good enough for Ms. Smith or Mr. Jones, why should I bother dressing reverently for Mass?”

    I don’t think the argument washes, and while perhaps well-intentioned, I believe that it is precisely this kind of thinking (rationalizing the “excpetional” cases which quickly become the norm, in sliding to a lowest common denominator) that have led to the current state of widespread sloppy dress in most American parishes.

  47. Imrahil says:

    Dear Cincinnati Priest,

    I was talking about the non-obliging Mass (and, no, we are not obliged to build our lives around that, even if we do attend). I think I said, and at any rate I meant, that putting on the Sunday’s best (or, well, at least something Sunday-ish) for the Sunday is a quite different issue.

    As for the slippery slope, technically yes; but then given that a certain standard of dress is not an end in itself, people may, perhaps, decide to endure such a lessening of standard because there after all are just reasons for that. And I, indeed, consider a dress-code (apart from the one prescribed by morality) not something that is worth that a Catholic who has time to spare and feels like attending Mass should rather not attend. (Note that I am, again, talking about the non-obliging Mass.)

    Dear Moral_Hazard…

    well thanks.

    as to the topic of altar servers being well-dressed, some altar servers serve at the altar because they can wear shorts, then (covered by the altar-server dress), while in the pews they would have to wear long trousers (let’s say the occasion is festive enough)…

    Back in my days (odd feeling, saying that), we had (as about the only thing) a “no sneakers” rule (sandals were okay, flip-flops didn’t exist). Seems to have been somewhat forgotten, who’d have guessed it.

  48. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    I was wondering about the modern – and historical – footwear of those in religious Orders. I blush at my ignorance, but don’t many wear sandals? If so, are there customarily recommended, or even prescribed and proscribed sorts?

    And, historically (and, for all I know, outside the North and West, today), what did people do, who only had wooden shoes, as well as those too poor to have any shoes (or who had rag-bindings, in the cold, if they were so fortunate)?

    Not that the North and West should introduce some footwear-equivalent of ‘authentic historical performance’ in music, and not that we the rich-by-any-standard should not help the involuntarily poor, but what still happens, where, today?

  49. comedyeye says:

    I’m sure if a greeter saw somone carrying a water bottle or coffee mug into our cathedral and politely said something, it would be seen as very “unwelcoming”. And part of the New Evangelization is to make our churches more welcoming to the lost sheep.
    It is sad that people even need to be reminded of these things. I wish more bishops would be as direct as Bishop Tobin- about all Truths. So many Catholics just need to go back to the beginning.

  50. RJHighland says:

    When my wife and I were speakers for Catholic Engaged Encounter we were having a discussion about this. I agree minimally the fast should be from Midnight until after you receive. On the weekends they would have breakfast about an hour and a half before mass. My argument was in the English word breakfast or break fast, you do not break your fast until after mass and technically it should be from supper/dinner on Saturday night, which you need to eat before midnight, until after mass. So my wife and I would end up not eating until lunch. To me a one hour or even a 3 hr. fast is meaningless, that is not a sacrifice it’s barely an after thought and should not even be called a fast. A minimum of 8 hrs. but most people sleep for 6-8 hrs. before mass so where is the sacrifice or even thoughtful anticipation? Exceptions being permitted for age and health of course.

  51. Giuseppe says:

    Father Z’s Simpsons post led me down a rabbit hole:
    Found this sign from the First Church of Springfield (The Simpsons)
    No Shoes
    No Shorts
    No Salvation

  52. Veritatis Splendor says:

    On dress, I, like Imrahil, do not think that shorts are a problem for weekday masses. I’m in a suit for Sunday(except if I am serving in which case I ditch the jacket), but on weekdays I often wear shorts during the summer. One of the parishes that I go to for weekday mass kind of had its vents covered when the roof was redone, so it is sweltering in there. Father celebrated possibly the fastest mass I have ever seen on one of those hot days. He wears full gothic vestments, so he must not have been very comfortable.

  53. WYMiriam says:

    I voted for fasting from the midnight before Holy Mass, because:

    1. that’s what I grew up with, even after the change to the three-hour fast;
    2. I would guess that the vast majority of Mass-goers are asleep from midnight until just a few hours before going to Holy Mass, so my knee-jerk reaction is, “what’s so hard about going a couple of more hours without food?”
    3. for those who must, for medical reasons, take food in the morning, there are plenty of allowances for their needs. The Church, after all, is a mother, not a rigid jurist!

    Then I followed the link to Fr. Z’s poll back on 29 August 2013, and read several dozen of the posts, and would make a change in my vote, and offer more reasons.

    I would suggest a fast from midnight for those who are physically able, particularly for morning Masses; a three-hour fast from before the start of Holy Mass for those who need [N.B.: “need”, not “want” or “put off because it’s just too haaaaaard to get up on Sunday morning”] to attend in the afternoon, because:

    1. “. . . it has been a pious practice from time immemorial that the Holy Eucharist is to be the first food taken in the morning, and that they are encouraged to abstain from eating or drinking from the time they wake up until the time they receive Holy Communion.” (see comment by “gheg” at 2:22 p.m. on 30 Aug 13 at the poll mentioned earlier)

    2. If Jesus chose to dwell in the womb of the immaculate Virgin Mary, then should not my life be as empty of sin as possible when I receive Him in Holy Communion, and should not my stomach be as empty as possible, too, in a faint imitation of Mary’s womb?

    3. As a number of other commentors have pointed out, fasting is not simply “the time spent between breakfast and the reception of Holy Communion not less than 60 minutes later.” It’s supposed to — and does — have a reason: to make a sacrifice, and to allow us to seriously reflect on what is happening.

    4. Sometimes I wonder if the frequency with which we receive Holy Communion has had the unfortunate, unintended consequence of making It a commonplace thing. It appears to me that that frequency, coupled with horrendous catechesis (or no catechesis at all), could be implicated in (a) the lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, whether in Mass or outside of Mass and (b) the diminishing numbers of Catholics who believe in the Real Presence.

    5. I know a 95-year-old-woman who kept the three-hour Communion fast until she was around 90 — and changed to a 2-hour fast only because of her increasing frailty and inability to go without food for nearly 12 hours straight. She couldn’t do a three-hour fast because she could not get up early enough. I can only hope to follow her example!

    6. Some years ago I came across a suggestion for meditation for someone who knew he’d be receiving Jesus in Holy Communion the next day (this may have been written before daily communicating was urged): to spend the time from the day before saying to oneself, “Tomorrow Jesus will be coming to me! Tomorrow I will be receiving the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity! What a tremendous gift I will be receiving! What must I do to show Jesus my gratitude!” And to contemplate how he ought to act, how attentive he ought to be during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with what love he ought to receive, and so on and so forth. In fact, I think that the author put this in the context of someone who had just gone to Confession in order that he might receive Jesus on the following day. . . . It sounds a lot like some blogger these days, who is fond of saying [perhaps because he is fond of his readers] — and I quote — “GO TO CONFESSION!”

  54. andia says:

    I love hearing someone-anyone- in church hierarchy talk aobut quiet in Chruch before Mass. I complained about this issue to the head of our seminary recently and got told “go be a Dominican, if you want quiet” Fantastic. I will be forwarding this to him. I wish the good bishop would have also address talking, the rustling of papers ( not book pages, but newspapers, notebooks, and the like), the sucking of water bottles so the plastic crinkles,ect in adoration chapels, also.
    As for the fast- I think 3 hours is too short, but if one attends vigil Mass ( especially Easter Vigil or on Christmas Midnight Mass) from Midnight would be a real hardship for most—I’ve done all day fasts before those Masses , and nearly passed out from it.

  55. Giuseppe says:

    If you plan to receive communion, you have to get into the mindset in advance:

    For all morning masses, no food after midnight.
    For masses after noon and in the evening, a 3 hour fast.
    Upon entering the church, say “Jesus, I offer up this fast to You for the souls in purgatory.”
    Seriously, do it. It makes any hunger worth it.

    Medically-indicated liquids and medication can be taken if needed, and water may be drunk until an hour before Mass.

    If you are so desperately in need of that morning coffee, then get yourself to 8 a.m. mass. It’s usually a quick one anyway.

    Having said all of that, I think if we are sticking with one hour, then this should be emphasized often and people should be told frequently that if they have not fasted for 1 hour, then they should not receive communion, but that they can plan to do so at the next Mass they attend if they prepare appropriately.

  56. Bernard Brandt says:

    May I suggest that if clergy for the previous FIFTY or so years had bothered to indulge in such matters as a devout service of the Divine Liturgy they had been charged to serve, or to preach the Gospels during those liturgies, or to teach the Faith, either through their sermons, or through the example of their lives, we would not be in the present sorry pass that we are, as to the present irreverence of the laity.

    And may I also suggest that as long as those same clergy are unwilling to make reparation for those decades of banality and blasphemy, by the traditional means of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, or even better, a willingness on the part of innocent newcomers to take on those acts of reparation, there will be no change, and no possibility of change or repentance on the part of the laity.

    In short, you were supposed to be our teachers. For fifty years, you taught us only irreverence and folly. Why are you now surprised that we are irreverent and foolish? How can you expect us to be any different, as long as you, or your brother priests, continue to act foolishly and irreverently?

  57. @ Roma247,
    I once had to bring 2 of my children to Mass a few weeks in a row with flip flops. As it was we were in a spot where we did not have the money to buy them new shoes appropriate for Mass. I searched high and low at thrift stores, ebay, etc. for appropriate shoes to no avail. So, flip flops , and tennis shoes it was for a few weeks. Also during a time in my zealous intention to get the house cleared of all unused clothing, I accidentally threw out 2 pairs of good Mass pants of one of my youngest boys. So, he had to wear jeans for a few weeks.

    Also, I have seen some of the Sisters of Charity wearing the Holy Land type sandals with and without socks. I know they are Sisters and granted they aren’t wearing flip flops but their shoes did not seem out of place even though they were sandals.

    If your shoes help a foot condition then wear them. How many times I have seen pencil skirts with vulgar heel heights and I wonder why people are taken to task for wearing flip flops. Not the beach kind but open toed shoes. On the other hand, I also remember going to a local event where Eastern Catholics and Orthodox get together around Christmas time to sell crafts and ethnic foods. When touring the Orthodox Church whose hall the even was held in, the optics would remove their shoes, before walking on holy ground into the chapel.

    While we have to respect the customs of the church the issue of modest and appropriate dress and behaviour seems strange to me when the core issues of reverence are not addressed. We need strong homilies about the dignity and responsibility of being a child of God. Like the Masked Chicken said, this starts at a very early age. We need kind laypeople and priests that understand people are walking in from a battlefield. To be willing to befriend and mentor and most likely learn a little something as well.
    While I agree with most of the bishop’s points, I wonder, is Bishop Tobin preaching to the choir here? I find the way he gives the message distasteful. I can also see busy bodies taking his message and using it to bludgeon someone over the head with. I don’t know about anyone one else but I sure have a hard time seeing though to the good of a message when it s packaged with a certain tone or sarcasm. I wouldn’t automatically think, gee how sweet, the good bishop thinks I am an annoying slob. I think I would be more inclined to be embarrassed and not want to comeback. Tough love, yeah. It’s easy people! Heh, a little too easy.

  58. Chon says:

    I voted for the three hour fast. The one hour fast seems like nothing at all; it doesn’t make an impact. That’s about how long it takes me to get myself out the door and drive to church. A three hour fast would be something I’d have to plan for. It would make me stop and think. If I went regularly to early Mass, I might have voted for the midnight cutoff. But I go at 11:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. on Sundays. And weekday Mass is at noon. That’s hard for me, for several reasonable reasons.

  59. Vincent says:

    Three hours. I don’t agree at all with those who prefer midnight, simply because it’s not actually fair. When I was at university, I spent three years going to evening Masses on Sundays. They were 6.30, 4 and 5. (at various churches). No doubt some will say “well you should have gone to morning Mass.” The carnival masses were in the morning (so called ‘Children’s Liturgy’ – should I have children, they’re not going within five miles of those things…)

    No. When we make laws it is to provide a minimum or a maximum. The maximum permitted speed on a motorway is 70mph. You don’t have to do 70, that’s up to you. 50 is acceptable as well. But what you can’t do is exceed that. In her wisdom, the Church provides a minimum: i.e. What is a reasonable length of time for an average person? Is midnight fair to those who need to go to evening Masses? Well quite clearly no. So do we therefore go for midnight before midday and midday after midday? What happens if Mass is at midday? We have a separate rule, midnight/midday unless it’s near either of those times, when it’s three hours. Right. So it’s three hours, but unnecessarily complicated.

    So let’s not get too hung up on the length of the fast, as though the old rules were ‘more sensible’ or ‘more helpful’. They were what they were because that was what was deemed appropriate at the time. Your personal preference may be fasting from midnight. You are free to do that, but when we think about this kind of thing, we have to be very careful about circumstances. The vast majority of normal people could cope with three hours, with the usual caveat about illness. Returning to midnight would be a mistake because of the changes in society and the care required for people’s souls. Many people travel quite long distances to get to Mass. The collapse of the parish structure that nourished most Catholics for the vast majority of the past, is imminent. The diaspora of Mass times makes the rigorous approach mostly difficult. Breakfast brunch is all very well, but I often have to set out for church at 9.30 and get back at 3/4 in the afternoon. I would struggle to not eat anything in 16 hours whilst travelling, walking quite long distances and having to go to work on a Monday.

    So yeah, three hours is absolutely fine, in my opinion.

  60. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Then again, if someone were busy actually praying they might be to involved in that to be looking around judging the appearance of others.

    Mt 26:41: Vigilate et orate (watch and pray).

  61. slainewe says:

    If we were visiting the pope on Tuesday, would we dress less respectfully than if we were presented to him on Sunday?

  62. kimberley jean says:

    That flip flop sound as someone lumbers around is just so horrible a d for some reason the flip flopper always has to get up to smoke or use the bathroom a few times during Mass.

  63. JesusFreak84 says:

    In a perfect world, I’d vote for the from-Midnight fast. but that was back when Masses were usually between 7-10AM, maybe if you had a large parish, but the TLM at the parish where I used to live was at noon. and fasting for 12 hours…yeah… I’m not sure how parents with small kids would manage that =-( Three hours seems to be the most do-able option, in our world where TLMs are in the “backwater” timeslots at some parishes, (either because someone doesn’t care or because the priest offering it has to commute from his normal parish–as was the case with the priest who offered the TLM where I went to college, or whatever.) IIRC. the current requirement in Eastern Canon Law is 3 hours, but 1) don’t quote me on that, and 2) AFAIK, Latins like myself attending the Eastern Rites aren’t bound by their fast laws.

  64. Imrahil says:

    By the way…

    the one hour is little, and may be too little. It may even be so little that people forget about it. But I’d like to correct one conception: it is not, in itself, utterly negligible.

    Living in a city, or in a village with a Church, it may take (mostly does, around here) five minutes by car (or a bit more) or about fifteen minutes by bike (or so) to go to Church. A priest may need only 30 minutes for Mass up to Communion on a Sunday, and on a weekday even only 25 or 23 minutes. (I should know, because – I admit – I often have timed my coffee accordingly)… Some very quick priests may run through a weekday Mass and arrive at Communion after a bare quater of an hour.

  65. Mike says:

    Then again, if someone were busy actually praying they might be to involved in that to be looking around judging the appearance of others.

    Another reason, or actually two, that I stick to the TLM these days: not having to be unavoidably distracted by (let us say) the girl in hotpants in the pew in front of me, and not having to be shamed by the liberal priest who doesn’t see a problem with the distraction.

  66. arga says:

    Yipppee! A bishop who knows how to bishop!

  67. Kathleen10 says:

    Due to the sad reality that many contemporary people can apparently barely read and are so accustomed to 140 characters they don’t read anything longer, I highly recommend brief messages in simplistic language, bold print, if you want people to really “get it”. Sound bites they’ll read, narratives they generally don’t. Or can’t.

    DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR MASS TO SHOW RESPECT FOR THE LORD. Please, no shorts, flip flops, halter tops, bare shoulders, cleavage (yes, you have to be that blunt), tight, or revealing clothing.
    RESPECTFUL SILENCE IS TO BE OBSERVED IN THE CATHEDRAL. This is God’s house, and while here we need to know Him proper respect and reverence. This also gives us a proper atmosphere in which to spend time with the Lord in prayer.

    You get the idea. I would accompany these with clip art. Yes, people need visuals today.

    Bishop Tobin is super. I disagree with him on the particulars of receiving Holy Communion as well, and hope he comes around. But he’s in a veritable hornets nest of cranks in RI, which is more or less my home territory. Some Bishop’s should get combat pay. Surely he’s one. God bless him.

  68. Kathleen10 says:

    “show him”.

  69. TWF says:

    I believe the midnight fast should be the norm, but the three hour fast would be acceptable to accommodate those who can only satisfy their Sunday obligation at evening masses (either anticipated Saturday evening or Sunday evening).

    I don’t understand why the bishops of the Latin Church feel that traditional norms are simply too much for the average faithful. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters, and many of the Eastern Catholics, continue to require the traditional midnight fast before receiving Holy Communion…not to mention numerous fasting periods throughout the year. I have a cousin who is Eastern Orthodox and he mentioned that his Church is currently in the midst of the “Apostles’ Fast”, a month long fasting period leading up to the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul…he noted that it was a much easier, relaxed fast than Lent as they are permitted to eat fish on certain days! (When we Latins fast, we still stuff our faces with fish…to fast like the East does would be far beyond the discipline of most traditional Latin Catholics).

    (as still practiced universally by our Orthodox brothers and sisters, who are, as it happens, currently in one of their several lengthy fasting seasons)

  70. TWF says:

    Sorry – don’t know where that last stray sentence in the parentheses came from.

  71. andia says:

    frjim4321 says:

    “Then again, if someone were busy actually praying they might be to involved in that to be looking around judging the appearance of others.”

    Seriously? Tonight at Mass, I looked up as I was raising myself from kneeling and praying after communion and saw some woman with a shorts/jumper set that has the back so open her bra was fully visible. jarring to say the least. Not long ago I saw a girl in lace Daisy Duke length shorts and out of the same material,,,when one can see another person’s under clothes it’s not appropriate for public, much less for Mass.

  72. Pingback: The Holy Mass – “Let the Whole World Tremble” | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  73. OlderCatholic says:

    Could we ban (or turn off) cell phones at Mass (actually inside the church always)?

    I know this is as close as I can get to secular sacrilege without getting beheaded, but seriously? We suffer from the illusion that we must be always in touch with any fool who gets hold of our phone number. We don’t need this.

    Let’s talk about the opera. I go to the opera (infrequently). Good seats at the opera are like $200+. No one ever brings a turned-on cell phone to the opera. Never.

    You know why that is? It’s natural selection. Every person since the invention of the cell phone who had a cell phone make so much as a peep during the opera was forthwith beaten to death by everyone seated nearby. Being dead, these people do not attend the opera any more, and by now we have bred them entirely out of the gene pool.

    Is Wagner more important than Christ? When did that happen? I’m only kidding about beating people to death (maybe). I hear cell phones ringing all through Mass, and I see people texting…to say that this is rude is to throw roses at it. Perhaps Father could get into the habit of announcing, before Mass, that now it is time to turn your cell phone off? Those few of us who are brain surgeons who might be summoned at any instant to rush off and save lives could put the phone on Vibrate. How many people is that going to be? One out of 500?

    Turn it off. The world can get along without you for an hour.

  74. Imrahil says:

    Dear TWF,

    there is a simple reason to that (why the bishops feel the traditional norm is too much), and in this case, it is a quite traditional one. (Using “traditional” in the colloquial sense, which means:) It far precedes (in principle) the Second Vatican Council, and it lists among its subscribers such illustrious names as Pope St. Pius X and Pope Ven. Pius XII.

    Which tradition is that? The principle that faithful Catholics should receive Holy Communion as often as possible (yes, not thrice a day, but you get the idea).

    Now the only thing that excludes reception of Holy Communion by necessity is unrepented grave sin. The fast rules the Church set up; for good reasons, sure; but still the Church can abolish them again.

    And it so happens, as a matter of historical fact, that for the said average Catholic, strict Eucharistic fast was only practiced alongside with – seems to have been only possible with – unfrequent Communion.

  75. Sixupman says:

    As present structured:
    Food 3 hrs; Drink 1 Hr.; Alcohol – the previous day.

    In yesteryears: from midnight, with no Communion distributed at Sunday 11:00 High Mass.

    Reception of Communion has become worryingly commonplace?

  76. Imrahil says:

    Could we ban (or turn off) cell phones at Mass (actually inside the church always)?

    Of course.

    I know this is as close as I can get to secular sacrilege without getting beheaded, but seriously?

    Seriously? Isn’t such a ban, with sign or just with by common societal understanding, already the case?

    Sure, sometimes a phone rings. If so, there’s one reason: Someone has forgot to put his cellphone out. I have never ever encountered someone who had his cellphone on on purpose during Mass. (Not counting the old-style “beepers” for firefighters.)

  77. pelerin says:

    OlderCatholic has such a good point. We must find a way to ban cell phones during Mass. I have been in churches where they have a cellphone sign with a line through outside although I have yet to see that in England.

    Imrahil mentions that if a phone rings during Mass it is because someone has forgotten to silence it. Maybe but then all they need to do is put it on silent. HoweverI have seen people immediately leaving their pew with their ringing phone to go outside and returning some time later presumably having answered their phone and had a good chat.
    This happened a couple of days ago and they can’t all be brain surgeons. I get the impression that they really do not realise how distracting it is for those present – especially for the Celebrant – and above all disrespectful to Our Lord.

  78. Gail F says:

    I think it’s fine the way it is. Many things contribute to lack of reverence these days; I don’t think the one-hour fast is one.

  79. pgepps says:

    I am persuaded by Ed Peters’ proposal that Sunday/Holy Day fasts should be restored at 3hrs before beginning of the liturgy. Daily Mass fasts of 1hr are still probably suitable. ( http://www.hprweb.com/2013/07/furthering-my-proposal-to-extend-the-fast-for-holy-communion/ )

  80. Pingback: Religion and law round-up – 21st June | Law & Religion UK

Comments are closed.