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Six Impossible Liturgical Things before Breakfast

Inspired by Pope Francis’s latest pronouncements on proper conduct at Holy Mass, I’ve thought of  some other things that we might wish to happen.

  1. No hymns written after 1905 will be sung at Mass.
  2. There will be no drums, wind instruments, or guitars accompanying the choir for hymns or other liturgical music.
  3. The “Our Father” prayer will be recited or chanted;  anyone who sings the “Notre Dame Folk Choir”  “Our Father” will be required to do penance.
  4. All children under three will sleep through Mass.
  5. No one will arrive at Mass after  the opening prayer;   no one will leave until the second verse of the recessional hymn is sung.
  6. As Pope Francis requested, all cell phones will be off and conversations will be held outside the church.

I have many more, so look for another edition of this.  And feel free to add your own.

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Bob Kurland, Ph.D.

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/ and http://home.ptd.net/~rkurland). Extraordinary Minister of Communion, volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC.
Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

23 Comments

  1. I leave early when I have to attend a New Mass, because I can’t stand watching Our Lord profaned by so much irreverence in the Communion line. Get rid of Communion in the hand, and the swarm of laymen handling the Sacred Species, and I’d hang around.
    Oh, and add hand bells to the instruments list. And no bossy cantor waving around the fascist salute at half cock at everybody.

  2. The boundary is the Gospel, not the opening prayer.

    A dozen years ago, they commissioned a survey in the Diocese of Rochester asking about preference in service music. The response they received was: 24% wanted strictly traditional music, 18% wanted strictly modern music; 29% wanted a mix; and 29% did not care or disliked music. Speaking impressionistically, the situation re the liturgy was marginally better in Rochester than in Syracuse. In Syracuse, in a randomly selected parish, about 85% of the music was published after 1965 (delivered courtesy OcRap Press). I knew of two parishes which offered strictly traditional music. One was a little wooden Church on Geddes Street which Bp. Moynihan had allocated to the indult Masses he didn’t want to have to permit. The other was in Chenango County about 50 miles from Syracuse, 50 miles from Binghamton, and 45 miles from Utica. About 0.3% of the active Catholics in the diocese regularly attended these two parishes. Mightn’t a novus ordinary parish which offers multiple Masses allocate one for those favoring traditional music? Not aware of any place that’s been done.

    You get what they feel like giving you. I sometimes think the Church is dominated by people who actually hate their lives.

  3. LQC’s proposal—to permit only 1 of 5 liturgical languages to be used (Aramaic, Latin, Koine Greek, Old Church Slavonic, or Elizabethan (King James Version?) English—would greatly enhance and protect the liturgy from the ever-encroaching secular atheist-modernist advance. At present, the Novus Ordo liturgy has often become little more than a political rally in some churches, with aggressively packaged messages.

    Too bad it’s too reasonable to ever happen.

  4. LQC’s proposal—to permit only 1 of 5 liturgical languages to be used (Aramaic, Latin, Koine Greek, Old Church Slavonic, or Elizabethan (King James Version?) English—would greatly enhance and protect the liturgy from the ever-encroaching secular atheist-modernist advance. At present, the Novus Ordo liturgy has often become little more than a political rally in some churches, with aggressively packaged messages.

    Too bad it’s too reasonable to ever happen.

  5. 1.No hymns written after 1905 will be sung at Mass. Can’t fully agree. I’m no musician, but I’m sure there are some wonderful reverential hymns written after 1905. Ban post-Vatican II hymns.

    2.There will be no drums, wind instruments, or guitars accompanying the choir for hymns or other liturgical music. Disagree – the organ, of course, is the proper instrument, but pipes, flutes, harps etc. are biblical instruments. Drums out, and pianos, but some string and wind instruments are OK byvindividual approval ;
    3.The “Our Father” prayer will be recited or chanted; anyone who sings the “Notre Dame Folk Choir” “Our Father” will be required to do penance Agree :-).
    4.All children under three will sleep through Mass. Disagree – however, churches should be designed to include crying room. “Let the little children come to me.”
    5.No one will arrive at Mass after the opening prayer; no one will leave until the second verse of the recessional hymn is sung. Maybe – but all should be there before the readings, and stay till the final blessing.
    6. As Pope Francis requested, all cell phones will be off and conversations will be held outside the church. Strongly agree – even a stopped clock is right twice a day. 😉

  6. “All children under three will sleep through Mass”- I disagree. I’d much rather a babbling toddler than a teenager sniffling through mass, or a middle-aged man coughing. I am always conscience of making sure my 4 are as quiet as possible, otherwise they will hear about it in the car afterwards!

    And as for crying rooms, if I am forced to sit in one during Mass I might as well count myself as not having attended Mass at all. Many parents use them as an excuse to let their children run wild.

    I would like to add one:
    Every Mass should have the confessional in operation during the service. We drive an hour to attend the Cathedral in town because they have Mass on the hour, but mostly because confession is on all day.

  7. “Ideally, no one would leave until the Leonine prayers had been
    recited. That, I would love to see.“

    I think the Leonine prayers should be recited in lieu of the recessional hymn.

  8. “Ideally, no one would leave until the Leonine prayers had been
    recited. That, I would love to see.“

    I think the Leonine prayers should be recited in lieu of the recessional hymn.

  9. I’m completely with you on this – except for #1. I am very fond of certain hymns that are post-1905, which are Scriptually-based, such as “Here I Am Lord” (based on Isaiah 6:8) and others, like “Whatsoever You Do” (before the lyrics were changed to be politically correct). They aren’t all bad.

    I must say, though, there are some really dreadful hymns written over the last century – “All Are Welcome” (sounds like a kindergarten marching song, and not fit for Mass), “Song of the Body of Christ” (monotonous tune, and forgettable and uninspirational lyrics), and others which I particularly loathe. You get the picture.

    God bless all here!

  10. Please stop attempting to make a “song” out of the Gloria. Such a beautiful prayer…..recited. How many attempts have been made to apply “notes” to this beautiful prayer and all we end up with is some convoluted tune which makes those sounds from the children under three sound like a symphony.

  11. No gum chewing.
    People come to Church appropriately attired.
    No Communion in the hand.
    Dial back to no altar girls.
    No women in the Tabernacle or at the altar.

  12. And how about priests and other “ministers of the table” who don’t know what to do with their hands? Or how to hold a processional cross or candle. It’s all just part of the same sloppy, can’t wait to get it over-with attitude that pervades the New Mass. The sooner they consign the new rite to the dust bin of history, the better we will all be.

  13. #6 particularly makes sense.

    On the other hand, I live in a small central Minnesota town. Some folks in the local parish work/volunteer for the community’s emergency services.

    What follows isn’t a criticism of your highly-valid point, just an observation of what one community has done.

    Catholics who serve emergency services cannot perform their secular function and deactivate their cell phones or pagers.

    Technically, they could: but that could easily put lives and property which is critical to the livelihood and shelter of households at risk. There aren’t a whole lot of us here, and accidents sometimes happen at inopportune times.

    The existing work-around has been for folks with emergency services responsibilities to keep their devices on a ‘silent’ setting, and hope nothing bad happens during Mass. It’s not a perfect system, certainly not ideal. And that’s another topic.

  14. At my parish the traditional Latin Mass, in solemn form (i.e. with deacon & subdeacon), is the principal Mass on Sunday—even during summer. The choir (schola) is comprised of professional musicians. The current pastor is a convert from the Episcopal church, so has introduced the practice of singing a Very Traditional hymn in English as the clergy and (approx. 20!) servers process in: not a common practice in the USA prior to Vatican II, but common in some other countries and permissible, since the Mass itself does not “officially” begin until the Asperges (on Sunday) or Introit (non-Sundays). The remaining 1969 Novus Ordo Masses are celebrated with considerable Latin chant, scriptures are sung in the vernacular, but using the ancient Gregorian reciting tones, the “Liturgy of the Eucharist” portion is celebrated at the high altar. The free-standing “table altar” was removed by the previous pastor. So basically, the 1969 Novus Ordo Masses at my parish are celebrated “in the spirit of Vatican II”. I don’t mind hearing toddlers and babies during solemn Mass; they introduce an element of reality. We’re not using the ‘usus antiquior’ just because it’s pretty, but because it best expresses the Catholic understanding of what the Sacrifice of the Mass actually is. The only non-organ instruments used are an occasional woodwind, a lute or theorbo (occasionally accompanying Renaissance motets) and strings to accompany an occasional “orchestral” Mass, e.g. by Mozart. We’re just a regular, small urban diocesan parish—but with a vision and commitment to carry out that vision. Almost ANY parish could do this—if there was but the will http://www.stmarynorwalk.net/

  15. The language of the country should be said only. We have more Masses on Sunday in another language than English. I can’t stand bi-ligual or tri-ligual or more Masses. It breaks up the whole message of the Word. No communion in the hand.

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