ASK FATHER: Lutheran service more reverent than the Sunday Mass

From a reader…


I’m on vacation visiting my sister in Orlando. I try a new parish every time I come because they all seem to be lacking in reverence.

(After Mass, I attended a Lutheran service with my sister’s family and it was more reverent without Jesus’s actual presence!)

Lots of abuses at Mass that I question but in particular I’d like to ask about the patens. They were glass, along with the chalices. After the Eucharist was distributed, an EMHC poured all the unused Eucharist into what looked like a large glass fruit bowl and carried it down the hall. I thought that glass was not to be used because of its fragility. Is that a regional thing?

I have no idea what that’s about.  It could be that there is a separate chapel where they reserve the Blessed Sacrament.  That would suggest that the Blessed Sacrament is not reserved in the church… which is dreadful.

What strikes me in this is your observation that the Lutheran service was more reverent than the Mass you went to.

Sweet Jesus, how long?  Frankly, its amazing that anyone goes to church at all in some places.  That’s going to change, of course, with a massive demographic cliff we are about to go over.

Under the last pontificate we made real progress with our liturgical ars celebrandi.  Younger priests, lacking the drunkenness of those halcyon days of the 60s and 70s, are doing their best to bring the ship back to course.  However, there are still a lot of priests on deck who were pickled in the briny “spirit” of those times and they still hold positions of power.   And there are a goodly percentage of really decent younger priests who just don’t know any better.    They, alas, were raised up in an era of horrid education and worse catechesis.  In their seminaries – some seminaries at least – they were taught a combination of very little and very goofy.  They didn’t buy it all, of course, and sensed that something else was out there to be claimed as their patrimony, but they didn’t know how to find it.  Then they were flung into parishes run by the pickled pastors still teetering on the fumes of Vatican II’s “spirit” and Rahner and Notre Dame liturgy workshops.  Many were hammered by whining complaints of lay-libs, even more inebriated on the lib-grog measured out to them in regular doses by their pickled pastors.  Nolens volens, the liturgical and pastoral style of most priests will always bear something of the stamp of the first pastor to whom they were assigned.  The rest is history.

Right now I’m picking up notes of regress.  It’s going to get worse before it gets better.  But it will get better.  Demographics are going to change things dramatically.  I suspect that, before too long, the only ones left will be those who have a strong desire for tradition or at least a great interest and openness that can be fostered by kind, prudent, patient laypeople who are involved in all levels of the parishes life.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JesusFreak84 says:

    I read this and thought of something I saw on Twitter last night:

  2. L. says:

    I am hoping that our new Bishop, whenever he’s appointed, is devoted to orthodoxy. For years, hints of orthodoxy were causes for alarm in the Chancery and complaints about orthodoxy were cause for a Priest to be banished to the boondocks (our diocese has lots of those). One of the best Masses I have attended in years and years occurred one Sunday in an old town in the mountains in our diocese. I mentioned this to a friend of mine who is knowledgeable about goings on in our diocese, and he said the Priest– who was intelligent, well-spoken, and who celebrated a very reverent Mass– used to be at the major church in our state Capital but got banished to the mountains because of his good example.

    Active homosexuality and abuses in saying Mass were not a problem at all for Priests who were “on the team.”

  3. Kukla65th says:

    While I’m thinking of it, last night at a cathedral in a major archdiocese for Mass, I witnessed three laypeople who were distributing the chalice stop on the sanctuary on the way back from distributing, and in unison take their respective chalices and drink the rest of the Blood that was left in each. I had always seen a priest consolidate the Blood and consume it. Is what I saw last night also an acceptible practice? Very unusual and I didn’t remember even seeing it at that cathedral, previously. Keep in mind, this same Mass has only priests distributing the Body, almost exclusively, at all Masses.

  4. Gee, at least they are still using a paten, even if it is glass. I have lived in my diocese for almost 25 years and cannot recall that I have ever seen the use of patens here, except at the traditional Mass.

    In re how Catholics stack up against Protestants in the reverence department: three years ago a dear friend of mine died and was buried out of the Episcopal church. In an age when Catholics are yakking and carrying on in front of the Blessed Sacrament as if they are at a cocktail party, I felt astounded and ashamed at the reverence and absolute silence of the congregation in this church where the Real Presence does not subsist.

  5. OrdinaryCatholic says:

    “I suspect that, before too long, the only ones left will be those who have a strong desire for tradition or at least a great interest and openness that can be fostered by kind, prudent, patient laypeople who are involved in all levels of the parishes life.”

    I do hope you are right Father because I am so afraid of all those who are leaving the Church due to really bad Catechetics and have no idea the Faith they are leaving: The one true faith. There is no where else to go except the Catholic Church. There are going to be a lot of things that will have to be answered for in the coming judgment.

  6. iamlucky13 says:

    Anita Moore, are you thinking of the Communion plate that altar servers may hold under the chin of those receiving? The paten is the vessel the host is placed on during the Consecration. I have never observed any priest fail to use a paten anywhere I’ve traveled.

  7. Yes, the under-the-chin plate for Communion. I thought that was also called a paten. Always subject to being proved wrong, though that is very rare.

  8. Hidden One says:

    Both are patens.

  9. iamlucky13 says:

    There’s a lot that can be said about reverence in the Church today, but I’ll just make a brief positive note that yesterday we attended a parish we avoid as much as possible. I’m happy to report a significant improvement in the general sense of reverence during the Mass, affected in part by the fact that there is now a tabernacle prominently located in the sanctuary.

    As for the sacred vessels, here is some relevant info from Redemptionis Sacramentum 117. The GIRM says similar, but not as clearly or emphatically. One possible course of actions for parishioners at a church where this kind of abuse occurs is to volunteer to lead a fundraiser to purchase a set of appropriate vessels.

    It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region, so that honour will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily.

  10. iamlucky13 says:

    Anita Moore – I did some more reading and found out you are correct. The Communion plate also is referred to as a paten. Sorry for any confusion.

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    JesusFreak84: So the Leftists and assorted malcontents are whining about young priests? Excellent.

    This Tradical guy is right, the Crusades were justified. And jihadis are also the reason we have our Navy. After the Revolutionary War the US had only something akin to a coast guard. The Barbary Pirates of North Africa then got out of hand, capturing and enslaving many American cargo ships and sailors. Around 1795 a law was passed to establish a permanent US Navy. Sometimes it takes a cannonball to adjust a jihadi’s attitude.

  12. rtjl says:

    In the city where I live, only two of about 20 Catholic churches have a communion rail, and one of those is a very small ethnic parish. All 7 of the Anglican churches in the area have communion rails and most of the Lutheran churches do. And in those protestant churches, where I have friends, people do not enter the sanctuary without a good reason and nobody does so without making some significant sign of reverence first. In the Catholic churches, everybody feels free to waltz in and out of the sanctuary as if it was a train station without even taking the time to think about what they are doing. Go figure.

  13. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I was raised Lutheran – Missouri Synod – and continued as such until 1989. Prayers were addressed ad orientem, communion (such as it was) was always kneeling and never in hand, no one chattered while in the pews, until 1983 even the language was much more formal than one would use in daily life – think King James English. Those things (and the good music, with JS Bach in heavy rotation) I miss, but they are nothing compared to the Real Presence which is of course lacking there. if only the true Church would show reverence for her Lord!

  14. Barnacle says:

    “…lay-libs, even more inebriated on the lib-grog measured out to them in regular doses by their pickled pastors.”
    Fr Z, you deserve a literary prize for this! I laughed out loud. I love the ‘pickled pastors.’ I’m going to quote you!

    [A bit of the purple patch from time to time never hurt anyone.]

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