Friday, September 28, 2007

Please Stop Scaring the Clergy

Awhile back I had a delightful conversation with a certain padre, we'll call him Padre Jo*. We were talking about Summorum Ponitficum, imagine that. Padre Jo loves the Extraordinary form and is thrilled to pieces over the MP. What he isn't thrilled about are the tyrannical bat shit crazy Trads that have been unleashed on the clergy since the Motu Proprio came to be.

You know who I'm talking about. The kind of people that critiqued the way Fr. Bob* genuflected at mass but never bothered to consider the knee injury he received in the Navy. We wondered, do some of these people show up to mass with pencils and papers and make note of every mispronunciation and improper arm twitch?

Those are the kind of Catholics that Padre Jo and his counterparts are scared of, in their zeal they dampen any desire a priest may have to celebrate the Latin mass. Rumors of their existence are widespread, this vicious breed of Trad, and many a priest are afraid to even attempt to perform the extraordinary form publicly under such scrutiny of the ever watchful eyes of a hundred separate anti popes.

Can you honestly blame him?

I am sure some of these self proclaimed Liturgical Watchdogs have the best of intentions at heart, a love for the Liturgy. Others may be just stoking the fires of their own intellectual pride. Whatever the reasons, you're scaring the clergy. Stop it! Bad Trad! Bad! Bad! Do not scare the clergy. We should all be united in the effort to see the extraordinary form brought back in abundance. Please stop countering these efforts by going bat shit crazy. Thank you.

*Names have been changed by request.


Joseph said...

Come on, seriously. This is a load of crap. I attend two different traditional Masses and I've never seen anyone with a pencil and paper.

In fact, most people are trying to learn the Mass themselves. This sounds like just another excuse not to say the traditional Mass.

Do you actually think that anyone in Charlotte is going to know anything about the traditional Mass if it ever gets instituted? Do you really think anyone there is going to nit-pick?

This is silly.

Steve said...

No, it's not silly. These things really happen. Anytime a priest doesn't do something perfect, there is always going to be someone to point it out...even in Charlotte.

Ma Beck said...

Um, my mother told me that at her parish, a VERY GOOD priest who is young and just learning the old Mass was very much critiqued AFTER MASS by a member of Una Voce.
Father got his feelings hurt, and if he was a certain sort of priest, might have just said "To hell with it."
Yes, this does happen.

I don't see how people can criticize a poor priest who's doing ALL HE CAN to learn all the jillions of rubrics AND Latin, etc. They are TRYING. Some people just feel superior by pointing out how brilliant they are because they know the Mass better.
God bless these priests, and God keep them from the nasty liturgical Nazis.

(For the record, I'm exceedingly pro-old Mass AND pro-rubrics and it's the Mass I go to each week.)

Joseph said...

I'm admittedly a Novus Ordo liturgical nit-picker. Well, not really. Only when it comes to obviously horrible Novus Ordo Masses. However, when I attend a traditional Mass, I'm just happy that there aren't children eating Cheerios in the pews or throwing missals around the place. I'm also just happy that there is peace and tranquility and that I can receive Christ on my knees on the tongue at the altar by the priest. I'm also happy that the priest is leading me to Heaven facing the liturgical East instead of staring at me from behind the altar on his liturgical throne or starting off his homilies singing "The Who" and talking about last nights episode of "CSI".

But, I've never complained at the traditional Mass. I'm humbled and struck with awe, as is everyone else there. I seriously can't imagine anyone in Charlotte ticking off all of the imperfections of the Sacred Liturgy. They are so starved down there for the sacred that any scraps that fall off the table will be gobbled up hungrily. They've been eating gruel and now the Holy Father has publicly sent out the menu that the liberal priests have been hiding all of this time. They know they can get steak and they want it. They haven't even tasted it before, so they'll be happy even if it's not cooked right the first few times. It beats gruel. This terrified priest needs to shake his fear.

Ma Beck said...

No, I suspect you're like me.
I will cringe at a blatantly blasphemous NO 'innovation' or a priest who makes up his own rules, like it's his Mass to fool with, but I am quite happy at my parish's NO Mass when I go. No tomfoolery, no garbage. Just a beautiful Mass.
I never begrudge a priest who can't sing too well, or who stumbles over his words. These things sort of endear me to him, honestly. He's human, and it shows.
But a priest showing a lack of care and love for the Mass gives me the same kind of revulsion I get when I see a man cheat on his wife.

Joseph said...

Let me qualify my version of a bad Novus Ordo lest anyone think that I'm too extreme in my critiques and I end up getting flamed.

El Paso, TX (May 2007)

1)12-year old girls from the Catholic school cheerleading squad were wearing short-shorts and really short tops raising money outside the parish just before Mass.

2)Before Mass a laywoman in plain clothes said the announcements and introduced herself as the Parish Vicar.

3)All visitors were asked to stand up and shout where they were from and each received an applause one by one.

4)The tabernacle was nowhere to be found (I was going to look for it after Mass but I decided not to hang around... you'll find out later).

5)The "Parish Vicar" carried the Gospels in the procession and set them on the altar.

6)The contemporary band (at the 10am Sunday Mass) played the responsorial Psalm waltz-style while the lead singer sang it like Elvis... I'm not freakin' kidding, OK.

5)The priest talked about how all Christian faiths are equal and we are all in communion with one another during the homily, after which he received a round of applause.

6)Everyone was asked to stand throughout the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

7)The Agnus Dei was changed "Lamb of God..., Bread of Life... Prince of Peace..."

8)Of course, everyone was using the Orans Posture and everyone, except my wife and I, held hands during the Our Father.

9)A literal army of EMHC (larger than St. Thomas), including the "Parish Vicar", of course, handed out the Eucharist while the priest reclined on his contemporary furniture throne (the sanctuary was so contemporary and bland) and the band jammed out.

10)Before the final blessing, the priest called out to everyone one by one who a)had an anniversary, b)was recently graduating from school, c)had a birthday that week, d)got their driver's license, e)learned to tie their shoes (ok, I'm exaggerating with d) and e)) and, of course, there was a resounding standing ovation for each and every one of them...

My wife and I escaped before they could finish the me-fest. That was the first Mass I left before the final blessing since I became Catholic.

Ma Beck said...

Er, yeah. I'd have never made it out of the vestibule with my vomit unspewed.

Fr Edward said...

I am a priest. I celebrate the Holy Mass rubricly in many different languages including at once a week in Latin. I try to put love into every gesture I make knowing it to be an act of service to the Lord. I prepare for Holy Mass in prayer and afterwards I go to the Confessional to make my thanksgiving. I have never had any complaints except from mad liberals accusing me of being a 'Tridentinist'.
I very much welcome the MP.I believe that we will be greatly enriched by it. I celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass occasionally. I celebrate it according to the rubrics and yet there is nearly always someone to criticise me afterwards. Sometimes their criticisms do indeed point out a minor mistake I may have made. Oftentimes they are just wrong (I do know how to pronounce ecclesiastical Latin!). Sometimes I have been harangued and on at least one occasion reduced to tears - not because I weep easily (I don't) but because I was being accused of destroying the thing I love most and have dedicated my life to: serving Christ in the Holy Mass.
I agree with the sentiments expressed in this post. There are many things amiss in the Church. If we give ourselves over to treating every priest with suspicion and contempt we have become part of the problem.
I am now happier to celebrate the TLM privately and the Novus Ordo in public.

Dymphna said...

It does happen. I know one guy who complained in his blog about the priest's poor Latin and clumsiness while saying the Tridentine Mass. He didn't take into considerationt that the poor priest had never said a Traditional Mass before and is a big slow moving guy anyway. Let's give our priests a break. They will need a learning period. Be thankful that we can go to Traditional Mass at all.

Tom S. said...

CC, Thanks for this post.

This is something that has been said before, and needed to be said again. Especially in your unique Cannonball fashion! The last thing that we need right now is a bunch of self appointed rubricops running around spoiling the positive reception that summorum pontificum is getting from so many priests. Such people need to be told again and again to get (and keep) the bugs out of their arses and thank God that they have the TLM at all. Many of us still do not.

ignorant redneck said...

I respect the TLM, and love that fact that I can recieve kneeling, but I prefer the N.O. .

That said, one of the things I repect about the TLM is that at least I know the Celebrant gives a hoot. Some N.O. masses make me think that the "liturgica team" is just looking for ways to defy the local ordinary and Rome.

Of course, it might be that bad in the TLM, but I'd never know so I'd be undisturbed.

ignorant redneck said...

I respect the TLM, and love that fact that I can recieve kneeling, but I prefer the N.O. .

That said, one of the things I repect about the TLM is that at least I know the Celebrant gives a hoot. Some N.O. masses make me think that the "liturgica team" is just looking for ways to defy the local ordinary and Rome.

Of course, it might be that bad in the TLM, but I'd never know so I'd be undisturbed.

Milehimama said...

Even in a LM community, this happens. I've heard a parishioner giving the priest a pop quiz on why he used his left hand instead of his right hand for a certain part of the Mass (he did have a dispensation for that).

A lot of people have morphed their distaste for the NO Mass into a Latin Mass snobbery.

If your priest celebrates the LM or is considering it, be encouraging. If there are still "bugs" in a few months, then perhaps speak to him privately with charity. Give him a chance!

RosieC said...

Well, our parish has had both forms of the Mass, going on 3 years now.

I haven't noticed anyone with pencil and paper, but I do see eyes narrow from time to time, and sure enough, on such weeks a note makes it's way to our parish office.

It's been said, somewhere in the virtual world, that there is a ditch on both sides of the road. This is true. I hear complaints from my TLM friends that our parish isn't traditional enough and from my NO friends that we're hopelessly not "with it".

Well said, Kat. In fact, isn't one of Fr. Z's 5 Rules about not bugging when things aren't as perfect as we want them?

Roman Sacristan said...

Amen, CC.
Working in a parish I see it all the time. It happens in both uses. Everybody has their suggestions. Some may be right, some may be wrong, and some may be scrupulous.
This is why it can be hard to change the mistakes of priests who might actually need it. I think after a while they just build up a thick skin to it. Unfortunately, that might cause them to not listen to legitimate criticisms too.
Choose your battles carefully is all I have to say. If the Mass was invalid, defintely say something, but don't nit-pick where it isn't necessary.