Monday, October 16, 2017

Your First Latin Mass: a super quick peek

The first traditional Latin Mass I ever attended was years ago at Old Saint Mary's in DC. It was an incredible experience. What follows is a quick introduction to the Mass of the Ages for new folks. I'm an ordinary laywoman so this is not exhaustive or scholarly. 

People who are hesitant about going to the traditional Mass frequently express  anxietys about not  knowing what to do and are afraid of making some terrific faux pas. That's a problem which can be easily dealt with. Just sit in the back and do what everybody else does. The church or chapel you visit will probably have the little red  missal from Ecclesia Dei for everyone to use. That's what we have at my parish and an office assistant prints copies of the readings of the day.  Interestingly enough, most of the younger people bring their own daily missals, and others bring Mass reflection pamphlets which give meditations for each point of  the Mass like the St. Francis De Sales method. I prefer to use an online missal  on my phone but sometimes when I'm overly tired or sick I don't use a missal at all. Some people at my parish never use the missal but listen. A few people silently pray the rosary, pausing only for when the priest directly speaks to the people and Communion. Rocky usually goes with the red missal but he also uses a reflections pamphlet. All these methods are perfectly okay. Eventually you will find one that will work for you. 

English is faster to read than Latin unless you are fluent so don't be surprised if you can't keep up with the priest or if you lose your place on the page because you read faster than he did. Another thing to remember is that unlike in the Novus Ordo a priest saying a Low Mass is in constant motion and prayer and since he's talking to God not us, 90% of the time he can move along at a nice clip. Don't get flustered. You are not required to follow along with the priest word for word. 

If it's a Low Mass things will begin with a bell being rung and the priest and altar boy(s) come out of the sacristy. The priest will bow and make the Sign of the Cross. Some priests are louder than others so you may or may not hear him say the prayers.  Some priests are almost inaudible except for when the Church says they must use a raised voice. At this point some people in the pews will kneel, others will remain seated. The Church never actually gave a rubric for the laity so you can follow what most of the people are doing or sit.  Rocky has severe arthritis in his knee so we sit.

The priest and altar boys say these words which never fail to thrill me:

P. I will go in unto the altar of God.
S. To God who giveth joy to my youth.
Ps. 42, 1-5. 
P. Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation which is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.
S. For Thou, O God, art my strength: why hast Thou cast me off? and why go I sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?
P. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy mount, and into Thy tabernacles. 
S. And I will go into the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth. 

Right after the Judica Me the priest will say his Confiteor. You may or may not hear him speak and the marvelous thumping sound when he strikes his breast. The altar boys say a Confiteor for themselves and the people. Some people will  whisper along with the altar boys, others will say it mentally.  The next thing you will really notice is when the priest says the Introit and the Kýrie. In a dialogue Mass the people respond out loud. If that's not the custom people will be silent.  There may be a Gloria and then the Collect prayer and you will hear the priest say the Lesson from St. Paul. After a short prayer the missal is carried to the Gospel side and the priest will read the Gospel of the day from the ambo. You stand up for the Gospel. If the Lesson and Gospel were read in Latin Father may read them in English now and if it is not Sunday or an important feast day he may or may not give a homily.  If it is Sunday or an important feast day the priest say say the Creed. When you hear "Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine," kneel or if you can't, bow.

After the Creed, if there was one, we now leave the Mass of the Catechumens, the first part of Mass and entering the second part, the Mass of the Faithful the sacrifice part. The priest turns around to address the people. Some do this slowly, some are much quicker depending on age and physical condition and says "Dóminus vobíscum". 

Again, depending on local custom people may respond with the altar boy or they may respond mentally. Whatever you do, don't bellow out the "Et cum spíritu tuo." Some people's church Latin pronunciation isn't as good as they think it is  or even if it's good blasting away really disturbs people around you. I once sat in front of a young man with a a deep baritone who spoke the responses so loudly that it felt like I couldn't even hear myself think. God bless him but when he sat somewhere else the next week both Rocky and I were glad. 

Next comes the Offertory. Sometimes I'm reading the missal at this point or sometimes I'm looking at the altar and trying to meditate on the preparations on the Last Supper.  After the priest finishes washing his hands he will turn to the people and say "Oráte, fratres". The Preface comes next and then you'll hear the bell for the Sanctus. If there are a lot of people at Mass the sound of people landing on the pews is so loud that it almost drowns out the priest and is rather impressive.  If you lost your place in the missal by this time the bells  and the Sanctus are a great  cue.  Now comes the Cannon which does not change according to the day.At the Hanc Igitur the altar boy will ring the bells. Get ready. The greatest thing on earth is about to happen. The priest raises the Host and in a few minutes the Chalice, the bells ring. God the Son is really truly physically present. You adore. 

The next major points are the Our Father, the Angus Dei and the priest will say his Dómine, non sum dignus. Father's Communion comes now.  In some places the altar boys may say a second Confiteor.  The priest will turn to the people, hold up the Host and say "Ecce Angus Dei..."

The altar boys and in some places the people say their  Dómine, non sum dignus. After Communion the Mass will quickly move to the end. The last Gospel will be read and we have the Pope Leo prayers. Keep coming back and then one day everything will fall into place. If you want to read more this 1954, child's missal is a favorite of mine and an excellent place to start. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017


When the priest raises the Host I am reminded of this particular sculpture of the University of Cordoba.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A question

Apparently a lot of people were hoping for a disaster yesterday and are disappointed. 

To those people I simply ask this question:Were not the Spanish Civil War, Red China, WWII, the Soviets conquering half of Europe, and the explosion of open immorality, the terrible loss of Faith of millions of Catholics and all of the wretched isms not enough of a chastisement for you?  

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.

Death, Judgement, Heaven or Hell are the final last things. 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

The rot is too deep

Politics is not going to save America. For decades a slow rot has crept over the fabric of this nation. It infested the churches, the schools, the sciences, the high and low arts, the social clubs, sports and the family. People shrugged at and were repulsed by the most grotesque of the feminists and even other hard core feminists thought Andrea Dworkin went too far, but practical feminism (the idea of woman as god)  can be found  everywhere. People were horrified by the open sinfulness that was embraced by the elites but today single mothers by choice are treated like heroines and even praised from the pulpit. Pornographers were once seen as nasty little trolls working in rented rooms on some filthy back street. Today Hugh Hefner is a figure of Americana.

The old lecher is dead and gone to his reward but judging from the commentary you could almost think a philanthropist died.  Some saints could actually smell sin and I imagine that to anyone who had that divine gift, Hefner's stench must have been unbearable. When you think about all the lives he ruined, all the girls and boys gone to Hell because of him and his slimy empire it's just staggering. This week I read comments at a conservative discussion forum where the only men who condemned Hefner were called Puritan, accused of  being unattractive to women and mocked. One man said Hefner wasn't a pornographer but "just" printed "tasteful" nudes. Another listed all the infamous women Hefner had liaisons with and said he lived the American dream.  Many of the men on this particular site are fathers and grandfathers. If they are the conservatives then you can easily see how deep the corruption has gone.

Playboy was a dominant force in normal people's lives. Once when I was a child I visited Atlantic City. While skipping down the boardwalk and chewing on taffy, my classmates and I saw a couple of Playboy Bunnies standing near the Playboy club door in broad daylight. We, little Catholic girls got excited and waved to the Bunnies as if they were movie stars. The adults with us chuckled. My mother was not amused and I didn't set foot in Atlantic City again until I was an adult. A Catholic woman told me that her parents had once had a Playboy club membership because it was a cool spot and at the time, it was the only place in London, where an American could get a good steak. I recall that when I was a teenager the mother of a classmate and neighbor  told my mother how sad she was because she found Playboy in his sock drawer. She consoled herself that this was normal and healthy and thank God he wasn't going to be gay. My mother thought that the idea that a boy either had to be eager to look at smut or be suspected of homosexuality was extreme but she apparently held held the minority view. The magazine only lost its place because it couldn't compete with the Internet and is not nasty enough for the much of the public's taste

The rot is deep and everywhere. The mainstream pornography that Hefner unleashed  got to the point where the in the 70s, the "sophisticated" set told us that so called "artistic" child pornography was okay and except for people like Jerry Falwell and a few good concerned Baptist ladies almost nobody spoke up. Movies like Pretty Baby had a 12 year old Brooke Shields as a sex symbol. Jody Foster was 12, when she played a prostitute in Taxi Driver. Linda Purl was an adult but played a teenager in the very popular TV movie,  Little Ladies of the Night.  Roman Polanski raped a 13 year old and got away with it. In general people didn't boycott his movies. Playboy for its part, regularly showed pinups naked but with carefully selected  childlike attire like ribbons or  teddy bears and it had cartoons with little girls in them. Those articles, short stories and cartoons that people claimed they read the magazine for were full of molestation and incest innuendo. The  magnificent Judith Reisman  pointed this out and fought a heroic and often lonely battle against Hefner's empire.

The seediness was so intense that some form of self preservation made people unconsciously react and things quieted down a bit  in the 80s.  "Soft core" pornography was still mainstream but guys realized that they weren't going to be welcomed at the Rotary club  or the Grange meetings if they openly displayed that stuff in their living rooms anymore. It was window dressing mostly. Serious soul harming damage had already been done to the national zeitgeist. The 90s came and soon people could see gross images on their computer at home and indulge in their solitary vice to their heart's content... and today? Today, as I said before, Hugh Hefner is an icon, fondly looked back upon and his perversion seems almost like quaint compared to the pornography that is readily available. Politics is not going to save us. The rot is too deep. The only hope is a massive turning to Christ.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

A prayer for the redemption of bad priests

Divine Savior Jesus Christ, Thou are the Good Shepherd who gives His life for His sheep. Oh, be in a very special way the Good Shepherd of those poor lost priests who are also appointed by Thee to be leaders of Thy people, but who have broken the oath of their holy ordination and have become unfaithful to their exalted calling. Bestow upon these poorest of the poor the very fullness of that pastoral solicitude with which Thou dost so faithfully seek the sheep that are lost! Touch their hearts with the irresistible ray of grace which emanates from Thine all-merciful love! Enlighten their minds and strengthen their wills, that they may turn away from all sin and error and come back to Thy holy altar and to Thy people. O most compassionate Savior! Remember that Thou didst once redeem the souls of Thine erring priests with Thy Precious Blood and in infinite preferential love didst impress upon them the indelible character of the priesthood. Put wholly to shame those miserable helpers of Satan who lay snares for the virtue of priests and endanger the holy ideal of the priesthood. Most graciously accept our prayers and sacrifices for poor priests who have gone astray and hear our earnest petition.
Imprimatur - Bishop John F. Null (April 18, 1948)

St. Anthony of Padua, defender of the Holy Eucharist, obtain for us holy priests
St. John-Mary Vianney, model of sacerdotal holiness, obtain for us holy priests

St. Francis Xavier, patron of missionary priests, obtain for us holy priests
St. Therese of the Child-Jesus and of the Holy Face, victim offered for the sanctification of priests, obtain for us holy priests

Saints and Servants of God, obtain for us holy priests.

Tough times call for tougher people