Masculinity and the Liturgy

Today, I want to broach a controversial topic, knowing full well that I may cause a ruckus. I want to talk about masculinity and the liturgy. (Fair warning: This is going to be long.)

communionI will start with a few caveats. First, I do not believe the liturgy should ever be a controversial issue. It shouldn’t be a matter of politics, factions, personal preference, or cultural fads. But sadly, many have made the liturgy their personal plaything, making these conversations all but impossible to avoid.

Second, all of the following opinions are just that—opinions. I am an uneducated layman. I am not a theologian or a liturgical scholar. If you want an in depth treatment of the liturgy, read Pope Benedict’s “Spirit of the Liturgy.” That said, I am a man, and I want to share my personal observations on why I believe the liturgy is now less masculine.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I attend the Latin mass. I am not a sedevacantist, nor do I believe the Novus Ordo mass is somehow invalid, making those who attend it from choice or necessity inferior Catholics. I love Pope Francis, I love our priests, and I love the Catholic Church. All right, onto the issues.

My experience

I want to begin by sharing a few of my experiences as a convert. On the final stages of my road to Rome, I spent a good deal of time with high church Anglo-Catholics, regularly attending liturgies at a seminary and church near my home. These Anglicans took the liturgy seriously, and their services were conducted reverently and beautifully.

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What I expected.

In fact, their services looked so Catholic that experiencing them led me to study further exactly why Anglicans weren’t Catholic anymore. The rest of the story is beyond the scope of this post, but the point is, I came into Catholicism with an experience of very reverent and dignified liturgy, kneeling to receive communion, and an atmosphere of sacredness.

Eventually, after months of studying Catholic teaching, I worked up the courage to attend a Catholic mass. I had no idea what a mass looked like, but at the very least, I expected it to be more beautiful and reverent than the Anglican liturgy. After all, the Catholics had the body, blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, while Anglicans did not have the real thing.

novus ordo

Something like what I saw.

One Sunday, my wife and I slipped in the door of a beautiful, Spanish style parish near our home. What followed was eye opening, and frankly, a bit disappointing. The music was tacky at best—a piano and guitar playing shallow ditties. The altar was stripped and bare. Where there was once an incredible high altar (there was a painting of it in the back of the Church), there was now a bizarre piece of glass with swirling colors. The priests vestments looked like a pinstriped sheet. Even the language of the Mass was far from sacral—it was almost on a kindergarten level. When it came time for the parishioners to receive communion, a number of laymen came forward to distribute it, and it was received standing and in the hand.

All of this was in stark contrast to the sacredness I had experienced in the conservative Anglican churches I had attended. In this instance, the Anglicans literally out catholiced the Catholics.

This was hard for me to digest. Intellectually, I knew how powerful the mass was from my studies of Catholic doctrine. Yet, when I encountered it first hand, it was far from a transcendent experience. Rather, it was trite and banal. A few months after we were confirmed, my wife and I were attending a Latin mass.

Where are the men?

An Irish Catholic friend has told me that his grandfather, who was a coal miner, would rise well before dawn to attend 5:00 am mass with his fellow miners. These men took the faith seriously and they loved the mass. They also weren’t unique. Parishes used to be packed with men who saw the mass as something masculine, inspiring, and something worth sacrificing time for.

A few decades later, most parish masses are dominated by women. The lectors are women, the cantors are women, the extraordinary ministers are predominantly women, and the altar servers are often girls. Other than the priest, there are hardly any men involved in the liturgy.

This is not to denigrate women. The most glorious creature God ever made is a woman. I also do not mean to say there are no men involved in parish life, because this is not the case. I am referring specifically to the liturgy.

Why is this? I am not a liturgical scholar, and I can’t propose to provide a precise diagnosis. Many others, including Pope Benedict, have done a fine job of that. Instead, I will share 7 reasons I think men no longer love the mass.

1. Lack of order

In the Extraordinay form, there are few surprises in the liturgy. While there are occasional seasonal changes, it follows a set pattern that can be learned easily. The actions of the priest and acolytes are regimented and orderly, and the mass looks essentially identical no matter where you go. In short, the Extraordinary form is rigid, disciplined, and almost militaristic in its precision.

In contrast, the Novus Ordo mass is much more fluid. The priest can choose a number of different Eucharistic prayers, the penitential rite at the beginning of mass can be chosen at the discretion of the priest, welcoming remarks and announcements are commonplace during the opening and closing prayers. Extraordinary ministers are not required, but they are almost always there, even if there are only 10 people at a daily mass.

The Novus Ordo can be beautiful and transcendent, or it can be incredibly poor. The point is, you just don’t know what to expect. The difference between the two forms of the mass is really the difference between objectivity and subjectivity.

2. No longer exclusively for men

Radical feminism has ensured that there are almost no roles left that are exclusively for men. Whereas men and women used to have distinct and exclusive roles, the lines have now been blurred.

Roman-Catholic-Mass-at-Iwo-Yima-1945-US-forces.

Marines, receiving communion kneeling and on the tongue. Iwo Jima.

Sadly, this blurring has crept into the liturgy.

Being an altar boy used to be a high privilege. It was even considered a potential first step on the path to the priesthood. Even if a boy didn’t become a priest, he would have a unique opportunity to see the dignity and masculinity of the priesthood firsthand.

Now, girls can be altar servers, and boys aren’t as interested. It’s like adding girls to the football team—it saps the masculinity right out of it. While it may be hard for women to understand, exclusively male roles are a healthy thing for boys. Quite literally, boys need to be boys, and they need to learn from masculine men.

In addition to altar girls, the distinctive role of the priest—who is, of course a man—has been diluted by the introduction of laypeople into the liturgy. The very fact that a woman can now distribute communion or read the Epistle immediately makes the liturgy less masculine.

You could argue that the priesthood is still exclusively for men, and that’s true. But if you start distributing the priestly duties to laypeople, it doesn’t really matter if women can’t be priests. They can still do the priest’s job.

3. Sentimental music

The music at most parishes is abysmal. It is more suitable for a Greenpeace rally than the church of God. It is sickly sweet and sentimental fluff that no man in his right mind would want to sing. The lyrics are all about our feelings, and they use vague ambiguities to describe our relationship with God. Of course, a growing number or parishes are working to change that, but the majority are still stuck in the doldrums.

I don’t mention music just to nitpick. Music has everything to do with the atmosphere of the mass. The Gloria set to a tune that sounds like the theme song of the kids show My Little Pony is going to trivialize the source and summit of the Catholic life.

On the contrary, beautiful, dignified, ancient, and masculine music like Gregorian chant (the music Vatican II actually called for) sets a solemn tone that inspires the lifting of the mind and heart to God.

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A mass during World War II.

4. The priest faces the people

Frankly, most people don’t think the priest facing the people is a big deal. Even if it is, it doesn’t have much to do with masculinity, right? Wrong. It has a lot to do with it.

When the priest faces the same direction as the people (ad orientem), he is very clearly leading them before the throne of God. He is the representative of the people of God before an awesome and objective reality. He stands in the gap, offering sacrifices for us and for our sins—something we cannot do on our own. He is the captain, leading us toward heaven.

Furthermore, the entire congregation is oriented toward someone: Jesus Christ present in the tabernacle. Again, it is very clear who the real audience of the mass is (hint: it isn’t us). When the priest faces the people (versus populum), however, it turns the whole mass inward, toward us, and toward our subjective feelings and experience of God. It turns an objective and transcendent reality into a self-referential act.

The priest, rather than courageously and humbly standing before God, becomes a performer for our observation. Our sense of participation is wholly dependent on whether or not we can see what is going on. The mass is no longer a march toward heaven, it is solely about us and our feeling of community and belonging.

Turning the chief player in the mass, the representative of Jesus Christ, toward the people is like having a battalion commander march into battle backwards. It makes no sense. It reorients the action toward an object it was never intended for.

5. The sense of ancientness is lost

Men love tradition. While women find their sense of community through shared conversation, men find it through shared action. Men would much rather have a shared battle cry (Hooah!) than have a conversation over a cup of tea. That is why men love fraternal orders and the camaraderie of the military.

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Monks offering mass.

The extraordinary form is all about ancient actions. I have a missal at home that contains pages from ancient manuscripts of the mass. In 900 a.d., the ordinary of the mass was almost identical to what it is now. When you become a priest of the old rite, you are literally entering a centuries old club with its own secret signs and actions. The role of the people, too, is largely unchanged.

There is a sense of participation with the Church through the ages that men need (and I would argue women need as well). As men, we need to know that the we are making the same genuflections that the great soldier-saint, St. Ignatius of Loyola, made. We want to be drawn upward into a reality larger and older than ourselves, like being drawn into a secret society.

While there is debate about whether or not it is an inherent problem with the Novus Ordo, the fact is, it does not have this sense of ancientness about it. Rather, change is the name of the game. Even the words Novus Ordo mean “new” order.

If you study the texts of the mass, you realize just how much has changed in the prayers. But even if the prayers were unchanged, the atmosphere of most parish masses is something new and innovative. Again, you never know quite what to expect. There is no sense of ancient or shared action. Some people hold hands during the Our Father, others don’t. Some shake hands and socialize during the sign of peace, others don’t.

Men don’t like this unpredictability. We crave order, and the more ancient the venerable traditions that shape our actions are, the better.

6. No more Latin

Like it or not, Latin is the language of the Church. It isn’t something to be scorned, and it isn’t the domain of a few extreme traditionalists. It is essential to who we are as Catholics.

And guess what, Latin sounds incredibly masculine when you hear it. It is strong and concrete in its cadences. “Credo in unum Deum.” “Omnipotens Deus.” “Adveniat Regnum Tuum.” Abolishing Latin from the mass was never the object of Vatican II. Read the documents. The mass that Vatican II called for was a “Latin” mass.

Besides that, it provides the ancientness I mentioned previously. It keeps the mass from being constantly revised and retranslated to keep up with the changing fads of the vernacular.

While it may seem strange and foreign at first, I think most men are drawn to the power of the Latin language. In a way, we want mass to feel foreign, like we are stepping into something special rather than common place. There is a healthy feeling of disorientation upon stepping into a sacred place, and Latin enhances that.

7. Sacrifice is downplayed

The mass is the sacrifice of Calvary, but sadly, that reality has been hidden from most Masses. Some parishes don’t even have a crucifix near the altar. Instead, the concept of a “community meal” has taken precedence.

This weakens the mass, the central reality of which is always the sacrifice of Christ, and seeing his once for all sacrifice re-presented inspires us to make sacrifices of our own. Men love the concept of sacrifice. We desperately want to be called to it. We don’t want a community meal. We can get that at the local pub.

Removing, or at least downplaying, the sacrificial element has driven men away from the mass.

Why it matters

Tridentine_Mass

Solemn. Beautiful. Masculine.

You may be reading this and thinking that I am just ranting away and criticizing everything about the ordinary form of the mass and those who attend it. This simply isn’t true. I love the mass, and that is why I want it to be the best it can be, an action worthy of its Divine audience.

I took the time to write this post because I believe that transcendent liturgy isn’t an option. It is everything, and as the health of the liturgy goes, so goes the health of the Church.

The mass is literally the incarnation of the faith. Lex orandi, lex credendi. It is where the faith meets reality in our lives, and where we encounter firsthand the creed. And because of this, there is no more urgent need in the Church than a dramatic return to sacredness in the liturgy. The reason that 50% of Catholics don’t believe in the real presence is because the mass they attend doesn’t tell them about the real presence—not just through words, but through reverent and sacred actions.

Specifically relating to men, we can try programs, clubs, books, prayer, etc., but if the liturgy is weak and trite, men won’t love this beautiful reality. They will muddle through it and be half-heartedly engaged at best. Of course, men should go to mass anyway, but the point is, it won’t inspire us to holiness or great feats of sacrifice.

If we return to sacred and reverent liturgy, I guarantee we will see a new dynamism in the Church: increased conversions, more vocations, and men again taking the lead in matters of faith.

I’ve done enough talking. What do you think? Am I off base? Do you find the liturgy in most parishes masculine? Why or why not?

201 Responses to “Masculinity and the Liturgy”

  1. A couple of things: 1st, I always resented having a priest “feed” me. Especially once I grew up. I’m a grown-up, I prefer communion in the hand. 2nd: There is NOTHING sacred about latin. It was the vernacular in the Roman empire at the time and was thus more convenient for converts and attendees at the time. Jesus spoke Aramaic from what I understand so to be exactly correct the consecration should be done in Hebrew or Aramaic. English or the local language is perfectly acceptable. One more point. The ONLY reason there are no women priests has nothing to do with scripture. It is an unfortunate carry over from the patriarchal society that was prevalent at the time of Jesus’ ministry. I know what Blessed John Paul the Great said about it but he was wrong.

      • All of it. I didn’t say that I don’t believe. As a Catholic I am required to believe and hold fast. So I do.

        • So, if the Holy Father put things back to Latin I guess you would simply follow? In addition the Holy Father already made it clear that women cannot be priest, so therefor it is apart of the Faith and therefore your belief?

      • Hello Mike,
        I dont know if you know this or not but… women can’t be priests because they lack the necessary matter of the Sacrament. Just like you need water to baptize one needs a male in order to ordain. The pope cant change the matter of baptism anymore than he can change the matter of Holy Orders.
        Hope this helps. God Bless

      • Catholic Gentleman,

        Great post. Great comments. Great thoughts!

        The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should look like the Holy Sacrifice of Christ, and should also represent and mirror the orderliness, holiness, sacredness, Charity, Truth, goodness and beauty of the heavenly Kingdom. The N.O. so often does not appear as it should as Divine worship or as it is sketched out in the Council document.

        I love the TLM as well. It shows itself to be a gift from the Father; it unites all Catholics throughout history and throughout the Church Triumphant, Suffering and Militant; and it shows itself as Divine rather than as something of our human divided and scatteredness.

        And what is really great is that the whole sense of Transcendence, Absoluteness, Divinity, unity, orderliness and discipline creates a structure in which to exercise spiritual disciplines and open oneself up to GOD and to receive Him interiorly in order to grow in grace. The TLM is so centered and focused. It’s AWESOME. It makes us men better men, and it makes women better women. It may be more masculine, but at the same time it is more feminine. In being more Divine, it is actually more soundly human. It must be because the True GOD and True Man sits at the right hand of the Father!

        Thank you for your post! I have felt that the N.O. has exchanged the vertical for the horizontal, the spiritual for the social, the Divine for the human, the contemplative for the sentimental and the eternal for the limited. I have to work to bring the former things in so that the latter do not cause me to lose my focus. Hence, I prefer the TLM by far. It really is fully Catholic. The N.O. is really “technically” Catholic, and a poor setting for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

        God bless you and Our Lady keep you.

        All Hail Christ, High King over all the Earth!

    • Always resented having the priest “feed” you? The Pope was wrong about women in the priesthood? What an utter lack of understanding you have of the Catholic faith. I would feel sorry for you except that I suspect that you’re willfully ignorant.

      • Nope. I would be willing to bet you that I know far more about the faith and the history of the Church than you. I’ve been studying it closely for the better part of 50 years. And you are how old?

        • Hi Mike. With all due respect towards you and your 50 years of study I beg to differ concerning reception of Holy Communion in the hand.
          Firstly, it is not the priest who is feeding you. It is Our Lord, since the priest is acting in persona Christi. Moreover, kneeling (if you are physically able) before the priest and receiving Holy Communion on the tongue is an outward sign of what we believe; namely, our submission to Jesus Christ, who is Our Lord And King.

          Secondly, many many saints have received Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI also preferred communicants to receive the Eucharist in this fashion. Furthermore, it is at the discretion of the bishop to decide how communicants should receive the Eucharist. So I don’t see your point.

          Lastly, you argue that Pope St. John Paul II was wrong concerning the ordination of women. How do you know this? I ask because I am pretty sure that Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have asked God if He wants women to be priests.

          • The Pharisees were well-studies and knew a lot, as well. Obama was a constitutional lawyer. It’s the greatest scandal when such knowledge is used against the host institution providing that knowledge. Also, that type are the biggest literalists, because they look for loopholes to promote their agenda and, where they can’t find any, they work on confusing the members who accept authorities into thinking the holes exist or that things had changed. Enough “experts” of Vatican 2 did that and got us in this crisis of faith.

    • Mary Frances Nelson Reply

      Men traditionally deal with death; women with birth however- Jesus went against the tide of the time in regards to women. Mary Magdelene ought to have been stoned. Also- Jesus is true God and true Man and perfect; – never sinned right? or He was a lying. He picked the twelve disciples because of the twelve tribes of Israel. If he wanted a women priest he would have given the honor of consecrated the host to them- but he did not. I’m a woman, and I am not offended by this since the greatest creature God ever made was Mary- a woman and she followed her Son- the Lord of us all. Sad that you bought the lie that it was only a sign of the time. Also, biologically speaking woman cannot represent God because we are not always fertile; men are and I for one don’t recent them for that. I love them for it. Eve came from Adam not the other way around. We are compliment in relationship not in competition.

      • Also, do not forget Mary, the New Eve who brought Christ into the world. In words reminiscent of Hans Urs von Balthasar, she is the woman who allured God into the world… And that role, bringing Christ into the world is the exact role a Religious Sister continues today, fulfilling the role of Mary in the Church as the Priest fulfills the role of Christ….and it is a role I do not begrudge women, though I am a man who can never fulfill that role.

    • This is the way I see it. I never resent a priest “feeding” me.That priest is “in persona Christi”, so recieveing it from him is like recieving it from Christ (same with confession). Yes I’m only 17 and yes some of us may be grown up, but the first point where I SPIRITUALLY MATURED is when I let my PRIDE BE SHATTERED and I fell on my knees with my tongue open to recieve that which is greater than me: the Lord of lords and the King of kings! I fall on my knees before my King!

    • Mike in KC, MO Reply

      Missed… Entire… Point… Of everything.

      “It is an unfortunate carry over from the patriarchal society that was prevalent at the time of Jesus’ ministry.”
      – Ah yes, because if there’s one thing we know about Jesus, it’s that He bent over to conform Himself and His Church to whatever culture was prevalent at the time. That a person who calls himself Catholic would believe the kind of intellectual sewage you spout here is breathtaking. You have quite obviously not even even expended a single moment in understanding why the Church teaches what she does. If you had, you would not have written what you did and embarrassed yourself so spectacularly.

      “I always resented having a priest “feed” me. Especially once I grew up. I’m a grown-up”
      – Oh WOW! Look out Church, I’ve got my Big Boy Pants on! I’m too mature, smart and awesome to humble myself in any way when I receive the Son of the Living God in the Flesh. I’m over 18! That would be silly.

      Your understanding of Catholic teaching and history is more shallow than a WalMart kiddie pool sir.

      • The Church is Patriarchal. We call God Father and Jesus is a man, and since the Holy Spirit comes into people and into the Church I think its safe to say that that also is a masculine action!! As a man I would think that you would feel privileged that God would choose to take the form of a man. Then again to whom much is given much is expected.

      • I think you’re misunderstanding me. I was addressing the bankrupt idea espoused by MCROGNALE that the reason the Church doesn’t have ‘priestesses ‘ is because of an iron age taboo.

    • Hey Mike! Thanks for the post. I just want to let you know that Latin is the official language of the Church, thus making it sacred. Also, there have been counts of DEMONS LAUGHING at priest who were performing EXORCISMS in the VERNACULAR, but couldn’t resist to the power of the Latin prayers. Also remember, it was through Latin words that condemned our Lord to death… there’s power in words.

      • AWESOME point.

        Reality continues to contradict the imaginings of Modernist Liberals at every turn.

    • Annnnnd cue the biggest reason the liturgy will never be repaired: smug Catholics replying to this gentleman Mike with sneers and “concern”. OP asked for opinions and experiences. Mike gave them.

      FWIW, I think Mike is wrong about women priests. But he is correct to say that it is not an absolutely settled matter of doctrine. It is not “intellectual sewage” to say what he did, and it does not necessarily denote schism or idiocy for him to have done so. (On the other hand, I do think that disagreeing with JPII is not generally a tenable position in the long run!)

      As long as we who would love to see the return of altar rails treat those who don’t like rebel garbage, though, we’re NOT going to get altar rails back. The Holy Spirit will leave us in communion-in-the-hand territory ’till we’ve learned how to be civil and charitable.

      • Thank you for showing charity sir. That is something our modern Church lacks a lot of. I am a 20 year old seminarian, these discussions are always torn apart by guys too immature or angry to listen.

    • My Christology teacher explained it with 1 Peter 3, “In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands” Interestingly enough, my teacher was a woman

    • ME THINKS YOU HAVE PERMITTED THE DEVIL TO PULL YOU AWAY FROM ALL THE TRUE TEACHINGS OF HOLY MOTHER THE CHURCH,,,GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FOUNDED BY CHRIST, PETER AND EARLY FATHERS.
      YOU SEEM TO BELIEVE THAT ALL THE “CHANGES” WERE FULLY THE CHOICES OF MAN, PRIEST, BISHOPS, POPES////
      THAT IN YOUR MIND THE HOLY SPIRIT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING!!
      RECALL THE SS… THE FATHER AND I WILL SEND THE HOLY SPIRIT TO PROTECT, GUIDE ETC??

      • Sorry Father, like most the rest who commented on my post you missed the points. By the way typing in all caps is considered shouting and rude.

    • “I always resented having a priest ‘feed’ me”.
      I don’t understand this attitude, our Lord asks us to be like little children. He also asks us to be humble, so we should not have resentment to be fed by a priest who is acting in persona Christi but instead one should have great humility. One should not only have great humility but great reverence for our Lord and one should receive on the tongue while kneeling. As for saying that Blessed John Paul the Great is wrong when it comes to not having the authority to allow women to be ordained, well once again a little humility goes a long way.

    • Preach, Mike. I hear yea. This is why it’s so hard to be a free-thinking catholic. No catholics or non-catholics understand or listen to you. So much hate and disrespect.
      Just keep on keepin’ on, my man.

    • “I always resented having a priest ‘feed’ me” We receive the Eucharist, we don’t grasp it for ourselves, whether in the hand or on the tongue. It is not the priest who feeds you, it is Christ acting through the priest. It is not something to resent but something to rejoice over.

    • Gee, Mike…it seems like you lack the humility to remain as a little child so you can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So, you’re all grown up and you refuse to act as a child in relation to the God who made you. Having Jesus feed you directly in persona Christi offends your pride, huh?

    • Mike, you are confused.

      If your ego rebels at being fed by a priest, you need to ask yourself why, in view of whom the priest represents.

      Latin is not magic. However, it is unchanging and universal. It provides many benefits that are lost in the vernacular.

      Please consider that as a divine Person, the Second Person of the Trinity is in no sense bound by time. Is Jesus was born in the 1st century and not at the end of the last ice age or the beginning of the next one, it is because the time was divinely chosen. In no sense is the Church a prisoner of the culture or times in which she was founded.

      I don’t wish to be harsh, but your entire approach to the Faith is protestant.

    • Deacon Joe Pasquella Reply

      Dear Catholic Gentleman, Greetings in Christ. I should agree with everything you said. However, even if the first part of the Divine Liturgy of the Mass were totally in the Vernacular, IF the priest and the people of God would follow all the Rubrics and face East together, what a difference it would be. I have studies Liturgies of many years, having gone to Eastern Orthodox seminary and having been ordained a deacon in the Antiochian Orthodox Church before becoming Roman Catholic. If you were to attend an Orthodox Church, or it’s Catholic Counterpart, ie, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, or Byzantine Catholic Church etc, you would witness a most holy masculine Mass, and most of the time in the USA, it would be in English for the most part, depending on how many people where from other countries. When the firsts Masses were celebrated they were celebrated in the Language of the common people. While it can be wonderful to use the ancient Greek or Latin, Even the Eastern Churches have agreed upon reflection that it is a great benefit to the people of God to understand the Liturgy. Yet I see the benefit of the Liturgical Language of the Church being important also. When they started to experiment with the Mass Post Vatican II, I remember as an altar boy, it was still all boys and there were no women readers or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Communion was not given in the hand but the tongue and there was an Altar Rail, People genuflected when they passed the Tabernacle when they entered or left the Church, or were going to walk pass the tabernacle, this was true of the priests, deacons, and laypeople. NO ONE entered the sanctuary except those that hand a purpose to do so, and they usually entered though the Sacristy. There was great reverence. But the Liturgy of the WORD was all done in the Venacular, and we retained the prayers at the foot of the altar in English. Once the Anaphora of the Mass began it was in Latin. I could live with such a Mass. The music was dignified, probably some of these old Hymns we sang were Anglican and some where translated Latin Hymes, and some Hymns were just in Latin. Altar boys were Choir dress, Cassocks and surplices, as do priest at Mass who are not con-celebrating. I appreciate all the time you put into your blogs and pray for you.

    • You obviously don’t know the Catholic Faith. St. John Paul gave a solemn and formal definition. If you deny this, you are in error.

      “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.

    • Sacred means special. Latin is special. Do you want to see a judge wearing a Hawaiian shirt in court, or change your birthday to another month and day? I doubt it.

    • Mike, from reading your post I honestly think you might be happier as an Episcopalian.

      In particular as regards your attitude about Communion in the hand, you demonstrate that it causes people to lose sight of their dependence on the priest. You seem to have an attitude you are equals. You’re not. If the priest doesn’t confect the Sacrament, you don’t get the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of God. You might want to ponder that reality and also consider Who it us you are receiving. The priests hands are consecrated to confect the Sacrament, mine aren’t. The priest is another Christ, the Altar Christus, I’m not. Our religion is based on a sacrificial priesthood and we need to remember that fact.

    • Mike, I suggest you learn up a bit more on your history and theology. Your post is pure opinion. Sorry brother.

    • Nobody is feeding you, but if for some people this consecrated waffle is the real body of Christ, it should be treated with due care and devotion. This is why, once the priest has pronounced the formula of consacration, it cannot touch anything else (not even the pages of the missal) with the part of his body that touches the waffle. Not all the apostolic churches follow this custom, but I understand this is the normal proceeding that follows the belief stated above. Anyway, it is a way to show respect to whay you are doing.
      It is true that Latin is not the language spoken by Christ, nor Slavonic. But the fact is that Latin became the Language of the Universal Church. As such it supplies two important psicological functions: 1 it is considered a sacred language (very useful for any believer) and 2 it is a neutral language (opposite to any national language) that allows every Catholic feeling himself being a member of a body of believers. Still more: These days of international travels, tourism and mass migration, this language will allow you to attend a Mass anywhere in the world and still feel at home. Not in vain the Catholic Church style itself as the Universal Church (no the USA Church).
      Probably male priesthood is a convention, but in the Catholic Faith, the important thing is not who commands (the material administration), but the believer´s personnal responsability and his personal experience in the Faith. Nor priests are chiefs of Christians, as it is proved in convents and monasteries: it is the abbot /abbess or the prior / prioress, democratically elected by the community who are the bosses. The priest is only the one who administers the sacraments, like the father / mother baker is the one who makes bread, or the brother / sister porter attends the gate.

    • If you are resented for such a small thing, I think you should stop being feeding. Having the option of attending another kind of services, perhaps it would better to go where you feel more confortable -for your psycological health- not for your soul´s health.
      My father has dementia and he is terminal. I had to feed him (until for a neumonia a tube was inserted in his belly). Believe me, there is nothing to be resented in being helped. Many times we believe what we are not, and it is enough a toothache to remind us our place in this world.

    • Guess you’re voting for Killery too? And voted for Obama?! Congrats, you are with a majority of catholics!

  2. Spot on, sir! I could not agree more.

    You address very specifically the generalities that have been eating at my own heart. The more I grow in my faith, it seems, the more I am disappointed by the modern Mass. It’s not even just the Mass itself that is diluted, it is also the reverence of the parishioners involved. We are entering the house of God! Receiving His very flesh and blood! And yet we walk in wearing short-shorts and sport tees, casually popping the Host into our mouths like a piece of candy.

    I want to email this to some priests and fellow parishioners, if you don’t mind. We need to start spreading the message that there is a problem before we can fix it.

    • Something that may help you personally reclaim that reverence, is to wear a Rosary. I will wrap my Rosary around my hand in remembrance of my Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, and also to have her, my mother and Queen, to draw me ever closer to her son, Jesus Christ. It is both a prayer and a sign to me of the spiritual reality I experience.

    • I agree! These people would not dress that way for an earthly wedding feast thinking their friends or family will love them all the same. Why the heavenly one? Where are these charitable “new faithful”, who could have been handling this problem the last 10-15 years?

  3. Bravo! I could not agree more. As a fellow convert from high church Anglicanism, I, too, have come to love the TLM…and yes, there are more men in general at the TLM than at the NO, and especially more young men in their twenties.

  4. Dear Mike,

    When Bl. Pope John Paul II spoke on female ordination he spoke infallibly, thus it’s doctrine. If you think he/God was wrong then by definition you’re Protestant.

    Latin is the universal language of the Church. The Council Fathers said it was to be retained in the liturgy. That makes it holy.

    A priest’s hands are consecrated just like the sacred vessels. The Body Of Christ is sacred thus deserves to be exchanged from consecrated hands directly into your body. Several ecumenical councils, popes, saints, and doctors of the Church have taught against Communion in the hand.

    I’ll pray you return to the Church before it’s too late.

    Glen

    • “Latin is the universal language of the Church.”
      .
      Sorry, but that’s wrong. Maybe Latin is one language of Holy Mass and therefore one of the many languages of the Church.
      If Latin is the universal language, why are you commenting in English and not in Latin? Do you see the performative contradiction?

      • Latin is the universal language of the Church in that its documents (encyclicals, Divine Office, etc), liturgy, etc are, usually, first promulgated or published in Latin then translated into the vernacular. If you go to the Vatican website there is an option for Latin. The Catechism we use in the US is a translation of Latin. The newest Mass translations are not from Italian or any other vernacular but from Latin. Until Vatican II, the language of the Church literally was Latin. Many of the speeches and discussions at the council were in Latin because it was a language most, if not all, the bishops spoke. Latin gives the Church a language that binds us universally without prejudicing one language over all the others. A parish priest told me his graduate theological exams (pre-VII) were done entirely in Latin. It is certainly not “one language of Holy Mass” it is THE language of the liturgy. It is given pride of place so that no one national language over powers or supersedes the others.

        And, how does what language we comment in change the validity of his statement? If I know five languages but only comment in one does it mean I do not know the other four or that they are not useful? Or, since most viewers probably read English shouldn’t we comment in English?

      • It actually is the universal language of the Church. The head of the Church is the Bishop of Rome, our Holy Father the Pope, Successor of St. Peter; if you look into history, a precedent was set very, very early on that the language that the Holy Father would use in liturgy and in ecclesiastical documents would be Latin. Look at the infallible Church Councils; almost all of them are promulagated in Latin. WOrld Youth Day: latin responses. The Latin Rite is by far the largest RIte of the Catholic Church. While we celebrate the diversity of the other sui juris churches/other Rites in our one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church, we acknowledge that, even when bishops of other Rites join our Holy Father in Rome, the official language is Latin. That is the language of dialogue throughout the infallible teachings of Mother Church; and since the infallible doctrines lie at the very heart of who we are – for they come from He Who Is our very life and soul, the Word of the Father – I think we can claim it to be a universal language for His Church.

        Not to mention that the Popes have intended it that way throughout the ages – and what the Pope says in that matter is certainly how it goes.

      • You are correct. Latin is not the language of the universal Church, but of one part: the *Roman* Church.
        Michael Lane, the CCC was written first in French then translated into Latin. Also, it is no prejudice for a people to worship and celebrate the liturgy in their own language, which Vatican II affirms, nor does it allow one to supersede the others if the liturgy is translated into the languages of different areas. Remember, the Melkites refused to speak in Latin at the Council because doing so privileges the Roman Church over all the others. To criticize the use of the vernacular is to implicitly criticize the principle of the Eastern Churches, including those in communion with Rome.
        George Hagler, the first eight councils were conducted in Greek, and the canons and creeds they promulgated were in Greek, which were subsequently translated into Latin. That Latin was the primary language of the later Catholic councils shows nothing more than the numerical predominance of the Roman Church in that communion. The weight of your numbers do not mean we or our bishops and patriarchs are obliged to use Latin at any point as, once again, it is the language of the Roman Church, not the Universal Church. Note: we *are* Churches, *not* rites; we have rites, but we belong to our Churches. As for the pope, just because he wants something doesn’t mean he does or should get it; he’s not an absolute monarch.
        Catholic Gentleman, Latin is not essential to anything; it is important to the traditions of the Roman Church, but not essential. No, Vatican II did not abolish Latin from the liturgy for the reason of its importance in the tradition, but that cannot diminish the fact that the Council also recognized the good of a vernacular liturgy as witnessed to by her Eastern brothers there. Does that mean there should be no Latin in it? Not at all. It does, however, recognize the importance of people worshipping in their native languages. Remember, the liturgy of Rome was in Greek until Gregory the Great. As for subjective evaluations of which language is more “masculine” than another, I find Church Slavonic and Greek much more masculine than Latin, but that’s a terrible reason to pick a liturgical language, especially when you make a big deal about objectivity.
        To all, beware the heresy of the Three Languages. Latin is no more holy nor more inherently suited to the liturgy than any other.

        • I’ve done plenty of study on this point. If you care to point out how I’m wrong, I’ll gladly respond, but you just made a simple (and incorrect) assertion with no reference to anything I said.

    • Nope. JP II stated that the church has no right to ordain women. You and he are forgetting what Jesus said to Peter. Whatsoever you loose on earth, etc. Sounds like He gave the church that right. it’s the MEN who refuse to use it. Patriarchal. Honestly, I don’t care but I am a realist when it comes to church doctrines. I follow them and hold fast to them as a practicing Catholic but I am not blinded by devotion to the institution. Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I worship Him through the one true church.

      • Mike in KC, MO Reply

        “Honestly, I don’t care but I am a realist when it comes to church doctrines.”
        – False. You are nothing but a faddist. Had you any real understanding of the Church’s teaching your ‘explanations’ wouldn’t bear the similar reek of a Chick tract.

      • At least someone around here has their head on their shoulders.
        Dear traditionalist Catholics, instead of throwing venomous words at those you disagree with lets all pray for each other that the Holy Spirit will show us the way. Nothing is a closed issue with God.
        Peace.

      • Mike in KC, MO Reply

        “Nothing is a closed issue with God.”
        – Really? So is the teaching that Jesus was not just human but divine also open? Or are just issues that conflict with modern fads the ones that are up for grabs?

        No. Ordination is closed. MCROGNALE shows a sadly all too typical lack of any knowledge of the Faith he claims to profess. From what he has stated thus far, it seems he has some vague idea of some doctrines, but a completely protestant (and therefore false) understanding of them. Classic example of this being his mistaken notion of papal power on display here.

      • Mike in CK, MO, Please don’t put words in my mouth. Perhaps I could have been more clear. There are many things that we have right, I don’t deny that (and there is no discussion in the Church about Jesus’ divinity. That is a hyperbolic example), but there are also many things that we thought we had right, but have since changed or things that we thought we understood but have since added on to.

        If the Church is alive it will continue to change and grow in understanding with the guidance of God. All I meant is that I hope when the Holy Spirit guides us we may all be open hearted enough to follow in whatever direction that is without letting our ego (or idolization of the institution) get in the way. And I mean ALL of us. My heart may need to be be changed, just as much as yours.

        In the mean time I pray that all of us in the Church can put aside our anger for the “other” (is there “other” in the Church? There shouldn’t be), learn to pray for each other, and listen for the will of God.
        Nothing is a closed issue with God (read: God knows the truth. God will show us the way. Do not assume that you know, you are not God.)

        Again, peace.

      • Mike in KC, MO Reply

        “and there is no discussion in the Church about Jesus’ divinity. That is a hyperbolic example”
        – False. That IS a topic people try to bring up. If you doubt me, I would suggest you spend some time listening to people on the National Catholic Reporter or Commonweal. There are quite a few who seem to think that’s up for grabs too.

        “but there are also many things that we thought we had right, but have since changed or things that we thought we understood but have since added on to.”
        – You still do not understand what I said. I will try to be clear.

        There are articles of Church teaching that are not ‘we think we got right’. There are articles of Church teaching that ARE… NOT… OPEN… PERIOD. Do you understand that? The matter of the Sacraments is one of those. We can not have a woman as matter for priestly ordination any more than we could use a chicken taco for the Eucharist. It is invalid matter. That is not now, nor will it ever be up for debate. We do not have the authority to change that.

        Are there things in the Church that can change? Sure. The Novus Ordo uses the vernacular. That is a change that is allowed and in the power of the Church to change. Do you understand the difference?

        “My heart may need to be be changed”
        If you believe the matter of the Sacraments is something that can be changed… whenever we feel ‘moved’ to do so, then yes, your heart DOES need to be changed because you are wrong.

        As for the divinity of Christ, why if, as you say, ‘Nothing is a closed issue with God’ and ‘be open hearted enough to follow in whatever direction that is’, why is that article of faith not up for revision? Why do you declare that Jesus’ divinity to be totally untouchable by this open ended idea? Why that and NOT the matter of the Sacraments? On what authority do you judge the Divinity of Jesus to be unassailable but the matter of the Sacraments to possibly be so?

      • I think that you are forgetting that the priest is “in persona Christi” which means he is representing Christ Himself. A woman simply never could be that representative. It’s like saying any man could represent the Blessed Mother…it just isn’t so. You say that you “hold fast to the church but are not blinded by the institution”…but I believe you are blinded by your own pride. Jesus gave the Church complete authority to speak on His behalf. The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and CANNOT make a mistake on faith and morals….and the Church has spoken. Therefore, if you believe that it is in error on ordaining women then you can’t really believe that Jesus is Lord of all if He can make such a mistake in who He left to shepherd the flock.

      • Mike,

        Your political views (leftwing, feminist) are informing your theology, when your theology should be informing your politics. Do you think JP forgot about the verse you reference? The reasons why the Church lacks authority to ordain women lie well outside the authority granted by Jesus in that moment.

        JP didn’t elaborate on the doctrinal reasons in that document because he wasn’t making a new infallible doctrinal statement. When he said it was infallible he wasn’t making a new declaration nor was he invoking papal infallibility – he didn’t need to. He was merely reaffirming it as infallible as part of the ordinary Magisterium. JP merely restated what has been infallibly true since the beginning of the Church.

        Frankly, you make your self look mighty foolish saying JP was wrong. You appear to be the one steeped in ignorance about this particular point, but it’s nothing some honest study on your part can’t correct.

      • Actually, since Christ is the High Priest, all clergy will have to be men in imitation of Him. Peter has no authority from GOD to change this.

        If women are concerned about their dignity, they should strive to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary who gave Christ human form, and who offered Him up to the Father on the Holy Cross in support of His own offering of Himself in payment of sin.

        Women are not an oppressed class. That is Marxist sociology talking, and it typically generates envy and strife, which is why it is called the “conflict perspective in sociology: it sees every relationship as a conflict, and as immoral and unjust.

      • PaxChristi2015 Reply

        I normally try to avoid the comments section on such articles entirely. As the old adage goes, “Don’t argue with idiots, because they’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you by experience.” In fact, I would very much appreciate it if the Catholic Gentleman himself gave us a “hide comments” option so those of us who want to read without distraction wouldn’t have to deal with such drivel. But in a Catholic spirit of fraternal correction – which I can tell you find extremely distasteful, being such a “mature,” “grown-up,” “realistic” person – I figured I’d offer you a couple pointers.

        First off, you insist beyond a shadow of doubt (one would almost say, dogmatically) that because Christ gave Peter the power of binding and loosing in heaven and on earth, he and his successors (the Popes), not to mention the rest of the Twelve and their successors (the College of Bishops) must by necessity have the right to do whatever he/they want with the Deposit of Faith, and the only reason they haven’t “gotten with the times” on women “priests”, same-sex “marriage”, contraception, etc. is because they don’t wan’t to. Has it ever occurred to you in your ramblings that perhaps the Second Person of the Trinity who gave Peter that authority may have – God-forbid – set a few parameters regarding the exercise of that authority? That maybe – just, maybe – he wanted the Church to still be following His directives even though he was no longer physically present among them? If that’s not true, then why would St. Paul – the man personally selected by Christ to be the Apostle to the Gentiles, and therefore, presumably, having Jesus’ blessing to speak and exhort on His behalf – state with full authority in Ephesians 5 that Christ is the Head of the Church, and the Church is subordinate to Him (Ephesians 5:22-23)? Then, of course, there’s the whole issue of “He who hears you, hears me” (Luke 10:16) – a directive of Jesus to the Apostles – and “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:19) – the affirmation of an Apostle back to Jesus. Care to explain to me how those and many other passages somehow aren’t binding on the nature of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ?

        That covers the general misconception of the Church being able to do whatever she wants. Now, specifically on the matter of women “priests” (I put that in quotations because, as someone who – I like to think – has a pretty firm grasp on this teaching, the whole idea of a woman becoming a priest is about as absurd as a woman naturally growing male genitals). Going on the previous assertion that Church does, in fact, have a Head that She is obliged to follow (namely, Jesus Christ (the invisible Head), represented by the successor of Peter (the visible Head)), then how exactly do you explain Jesus’ actions regarding the Last Supper, traditionally regarded as the moment at which the priesthood and the Eucharist were first established? Notice, at the Last Supper, the only people he allowed to attend were twelve men, and not twelve of the best and brightest men, by a long shot. One of them even went out that same night and betrayed him to the Sanhedrin! But, nevertheless, it was to these men and these men alone that he gave the commandment, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19), and later, it was to these same men (with the exception of Judas, who had killed himself) that he gave the command to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

        Now, why would He do such a thing? Clearly, many of these men were not worthy to lead; for crying out loud, he had previously referred to the man he selected as their chieftain (Peter) as “Satan!” You’d think that, of all people, his Blessed Mother or Mary Magdalene might have been a much more suitable choice, but if the accounts of the Gospel are to be accepted as authentic, they weren’t anywhere near the Last Supper when it occurred. I’m sure you’ll object that this was simply the result of circumstance, or else it was an example of Jesus uncharacteristically bowing to the influence of his human culture, but considering his actions regarding Mary Magdalene when she was caught in adultery, the scorned woman who washed his feet, the Samaritan woman at the well, etc., it’s clear his attitudes were actually quite countercultural, so why would he suddenly go wimpy on the issue of women following in His Personal footsteps? Clearly, if the accounts of John 6 are to be believed, he wasn’t the least bit afraid of losing followers, even though 90% of his disciples abandoned Him once he started insisting that eating His Body and drinking His Blood were necessary components of salvation, so what other reason could he have? Would you go so far as to accuse the Gospel-writers – two of whom were Apostles themselves and two of whom were secretaries to the Apostles – of lying through their teeth and putting words in His mouth? It’s always possible, since we are a fallen race, but somehow, I don’t think the men who followed Jesus during His earthly lifetime would be quite that stupid.

        I’m pretty sure I’ve made absolutely no impact on your thinking, since the Church does acknowledge “invincible ignorance” as an effect of our postlapsarian condition, but as a fellow Catholic who also claims to “follow and hold fast to Church doctrines” as you do, I would strongly urge you to consider how “realistic” your assumptions about the nature of the Church, the priesthood, etc. really are.

        And don’t give me that bull-honky about “I’ve been a Catholic longer than you, therefore I have a better grasp of it.” Fr. Robert Drinan was a renowned and respected Jesuit priest for over 50 years and a Catholic from birth; at the same time, he was also one of the most fervent advocates for legalizing and liberalizing the chemically-induced slaughter of the unborn. And – if you can believe it – he too claimed to be a faithful follower of Church doctrine on abortion, while also being a committed “realist” in terms of how it could be applied to the wider nation-state. Then again, given the nature of your comments, you might actually be a fan of his, in which case that example doesn’t really help much…

  5. adamtaylor379151044 Reply

    Excellent post! And on the feast day of the namesake of Gregorian chant, Pope St. Gregory the Great, in the ordinary form, and the defender against modernism, Pope St. Pius X, in the extraordinary form!

    Thank you for speaking up about these issues, and thank you for specifically addressing how they affect us men. You hit the nail squarely on the head in each of the seven reasons. All of them can be fixed if we celebrate the Novus Ordo according to the rubrics, the way it was intended to be, or if we simply attend the Vetus Ordo. Praise God for the “mutual enrichment” of the forms spoken of by Benedict XVI in his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum.

    Thanks again for an awesome, inspiring, and truly masculine post about an awesome, inspiring, and truly masculine topic.

  6. Nice thoughts, but I think I should give you some points you may think about. One bad point on discussion about Mass is sacredness and worthiness. Most people forget that God created everything and said that it was good. Actually there is no gap between sacredness and profane things. And on worthiness we should consider that there is just one and only priest: Jesus Christ himself. A priest by our common language is a man who re-presents Jesus Christ. It’s all about getting Jesus Christ into our presence. Jesus is the one who effects. He sacrifices, he transforms, he blesses, he does it, not the priest in front of us. That’s why in every Mass we attend, Jesus Christ comes to us in bread and wine with his full presence as his body and his blood. It doesn’t depend on anything anyone is doing and how anyone is doing it.

    Comment on no. 6: Actually the language of the church is very varying. First it was Greek and in that period most important things in Mass and doctrine were settled, e.g. Kyrie eleison, Gloria (nowadays a translation into Latin…), creed,… . But as people change, language changes and it’s one of the greatest experiences to attend a Mass with celebrants of different cultures celebrating the Eucharistic Prayer in their own tongue. Then you can feel like the origin Pentecost which I believe is a great thing.

    Comment on no. 7: I totally agree and therefore I am disappointed by most priests. How can priests celebrate Mass everyday, but doing nothing for your closest on any day. Reading idea: Imitation of Christ, II,11. Hit me by heart.

    As catholics we know the et…et and that’s very important. Old, Greek or new Mass canon doesn’t matter. Important is to face god in every liturgy. A real gentleman knows that by heart.

    Be blessed!

    • Elinor Dashwood Reply

      You’re wrong. There is no Eucharist without a priest. Wherever you got hold of this wacky fantasy about Our Lord just appearing during the Mass, apart from the priest’s action in the Consecration, it’s wrong. I haven’t the least objection to your pretending you’re at the first Pentecost when attending a polyglot Mass, but surely you must know that how it makes you FEEL has n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do with anything. And don’t talk about feeling things anyway – it’s creepy. Talking about feelings is for girls, and very annoying, too.

      • I’ve never said, there would be Eucharist without a priest. I just said, the priest isn’t the one who has any effect. Jesus Christ (the one the priest re-presents) effects. Jesus uses the priest as an instrument. And that’s the church’ s tradition as it is said in Vat II LG 10 for example.
        .
        For “wacky fantasy”. Gospel is also said by Jesus Christ and not the priest.
        .
        And for that “feeling”: Maybe re-think or sense would be a better word. Didn’t mean something like emotions, but like sacramental encounter.

    • Actually, there most certainly IS a gap between the sacred and the profane. I don’t know where you got that one.

      And Jesus is not the one and only priest – He is the High Priest above all priests, though you are correct that He effects the Sacrifice through the priest at the altar.

      But you go off the rails again when you said “It doesn’t depend on anything anyone is doing and how anyone is doing it.” Again, that is most incorrect. The priest must use proper matter (bread and wine vs popcorn and Kool-Aid), but he must also say the Words of Institution. Most of all, he must have the authentic intent of doing as the Church desires in fulfilling his priestly duties. If he uses proper matter and performs the mandated actions intending to do as the Church desires, then the Mass is both licit and valid, even if he is in a state of mortal sin.

      Finally, VAT II reaffirmed Latin as the main language of the Mass but offered some latitude for the vernacular. Typical liberals ran wild with the provided ambiguous language to make every Mass an exception to the rule, and so Latin was illicitly removed from the Mass despite violating the mandate of the Council.

  7. I’m glad you began by stating your caveats. It never crossed my mind that the Novus Ordo Mass was not “manly” enough!

    I’m a man, and I find nothing wrong with the Novus Ordo.

  8. Gentlemen, the language of the Mass shouldn’t be the issue. His Real Presence is! One wonders if the Apostles received on the tongue or in the hand. Early Christians did receive in the hand. Focus your attention on ways to really help these poorly catechised brethren to recognize His true presence in the Eucharist. He meets me in the sacrament and I rarely attend a Latin Mass. As far as an infallible teaching, I question whether or not JP II’s truth-filled powerful teaching with which I completely concur was officially declared infallible. One still is bound to adhere to it, since “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven…”

    • Elinor Dashwood Reply

      Teachings aren’t declared infallible. If they fulfill the criteria for infallibility, they’re infallible. (I won’t offend you by assuming you don’t know what these are. If you don’t, the Catholic Encyclopedia will tell you all about it.) The Pope doesn’t have to stick a THIS IS INFALLIBLE label on encyclicals.

    • Sacred languages are sacred because they hung on the Cross with Christ. (There are three of them.) Latin in unchanging and not in active us so it allows for clarity and precision that other languages do not have. Early Christians after hours of prayerful reflection and with a cloth covering received in hand. Latin is unchanging–if language didn’t matter; saint after saint wouldn’t have railed against changing the liturgy into the vernacular. If language didn’t matter Luther wouldn’t have railed against Latin to such a high degree.

      Yes it is about the real presence. And if we truly believe that God is with us in the flesh and that He allows us to partake in Him–shouldn’t we treat Him accordingly? And are we more likely or less likely to convince skeptics that we truly believe God is among us with a return to the sacred?

      You should read Dominus Est sometime for a great history of reception in hand vs. mouth.

      • “Sacred languages are sacred because they hung on the Cross with Christ. (There are three of them.)”
        That’s known as the Heresy of the Three Languages, which is condemned by Rome. Latin is no more sacred than any other language.

    • That’s an invalid statement presupposing that this is an either/or situation. And there is nothing special or more valid by pursuing an archeological approach to liturgy. A lot of early practices were what people did without a lot of thought (on the part of the bishops) behind it. They had more important things to do – like the survival of the Church. After persecution ended a lot of practices were examined from varying perspectives and modified as seen necessary.

      As for JP II, he was merely restating what was already part of the infallible Magisterium going back to the beginning of the Church JP himself did not invoke infallibility – he didn’t have to..

  9. Dc. Skip Olson Reply

    Catholic Gentleman: I am a deacon and work at the chancery of our diocese in communications. My boss, my editor and I were having this conversation early this morning, and I believe it is providential (at least for me) that I stumbled onto your post. I am currently preparing a homily for this Sunday that speaks to this subject. You’ve inspired me (and while I will probably paraphrase some of this deeply insightful post, I will attribute you). Excellent observations. Bless you!

  10. Thank you, Catholic Gentleman, for speaking for all of us who want to reclaim our heritage — including Catholic ladies like myself — not for the sake of antiquarianism, but because it expresses the fullness of the truth, and the richness of the faith, for which we thirst!

    The changes to the Mass went well beyond what was called for by Vatican II, and I would argue actually served to undermine the goals of the original Liturgical Movement.

    How could we truly engage the liturgy if we didn’t even learn the term Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, let alone understand it? How could we enter into the mystery, and offer ourselves in union with Christ’s sacrifice, if we thought that Mass was just about our gathering together?

    As a cradle Catholic from the generation coming along a few years after the Council, I was deprived of anything resembling solid catechesis in the faith. We were fed pablum, so no wonder so many have drifted away.

    I agree with you – and Bradford – that the combined effect is rampant desacralization. We’ve lost the sense of a sacred reality, a sacred space, set apart from our usual hangouts.

  11. To my fellow Catholic Gentlemen,

    I believe that the writer of this post hit this subject on the head, for the most part. I, too, have noticed that the Mass is not portrayed as masculine anymore. It saddens me. The music is indeed terrible, the absence of the Crucifix in my new parish disturbs me, and the lack of military precision bothers me. What we must realize is that we are not gathers as the people of God so much as the Host of God, God’s army of martyrs.
    Change is the last thing we need, for how can one change what is perfect?

  12. The comments in this thread demonstrate the general futility of inviting the public to make pithy, incomplete statements on a thoughtful, organized article that provides a valuable perspective on the topic at hand. Good analysis, Catholic Gentleman.

  13. There is nothing unmanly about Pope Paul the VI or his Mass, just in the ways it is poorly celebrated.

    I think the most appropriate way to engage children in Church and at the Mass is to have boys be altar servers and have girls be sacristans (preparing the church before mass and after mass). This would best stress the signs of their masculinity and femininity as created by God and still allow children of both sexes to be involved in the life of the local church (as should be).

    The title of the ordinary mass is The Mass of Pope Paul VI. Novus ordo just means new order. In the 1500’s the Tridentine mass was the novus ordo of its time. Sure it is new, compared to the old version, but that will always be the case. Most of the people alive today have no memory of pre-conciliar times (myself included). To think that people use it today as some sort of derogatory term to denote the ordinary mass of the Catholic Church has always struck me as a bit ridiculous.

    Yes, I know what you want, and I want it too. A taste of the sacred. A feeling of meaning and identity. These liturgical virtues are a rare treat when we encounter them. Consider them as also being extraordinary.

    • If I can select more or less at random a comment to which to reply:

      1. The pathologies of the 1972 Missal go beyond merely is poor celebration. They lie more in its designed openness to being poorly celebrated. The Mass leaves room for mush by design. See, e.g., the bidding prayers: why is there an entire part of the Mass that isn’t even in the Missal, but that is instead written by some polyester-wearing OCP desk clerk? That this is even possible is a structural problem with the missal itself.

      2. The reference to “novus ordo” in the original post is not its strongest point. But the Missal of St. Pius V would not have been “new” when promulgated in the same manner as the 1972 MR is “new,” because almost nothing in its text or organization was “new.” It merely regularized a single liturgical law across most of the Western Church. But the content of the missal was not innovative.

  14. Good piece, Gent. The ministerial priest acts in persona Christi — in the person of Christ — when he offers Mass or confects a sacrament. Christ is the Man-God. Our Savior is masculine, and the priesthood was always a masculine reality, in the Law of Nature, under the Mosaic Law, and now in the New Law of Christ. Since it is Christ the High Priest who acts through the ministerial priest at the altar, the sacred action of the Mass must be worthy of Christ’s masculinity.

    It is disturbing, but at the same time illuminating, to connect the dots between the moral crisis in the Church, the crisis of identity in the priesthood (and consequent abandonment of their vocations by many), and the liturgical crisis. Consider for a moment that the crisis in fatherhood and masculinity is reflected in the clerical crisis. Priests are spiritual fathers. When they are robbed of their patriarchal role (or give it up voluntarily), they become something less than fathers. Sometimes much less.

    This subject has been treated elsewhere by priests. They are saying in a scholarly (and one in a polemical) way what you are saying here in “layman’s terms.” And they are quite specific:

    The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass
    by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, Ph.D., D. Phil.(Oxon.)
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-devirilization-of-liturgy-in-novus.html

    –and–

    The Emasculation of the Priesthood
    by Father James McLucas
    http://www.latinmassmagazine.com/articles/articles_emasculation.html

  15. Fr. Casey Jones Reply

    Bravo!

    As a priest who celebrates in the Ordinary Form. I do have to mention one thing. You did a great job of pointing out that you are not a Rad Trad, but in the same vein I hav eto say that the problems you identify do not stem from the Ordinary Form of the Mass itself. If more of us men at the altar would simply follow the rubrics, it would change so much. And of course many of the things you mentioned need not be associated with the liturgy at all. To many of us men in black have allowed the culture to emasculate us. The authority of the priesthood and beauty of the Liturgy need to be reclaimed and protected. However, it cannot just be regulated to the chapels that offer the extraordinary form, we need you (good laity) to help us in this endeavor and need your support in parish Churches. Thank you for writing! Well said!

    • Bravo to Brother Andre Marie and Padre! Well stated. I concur with Father as I too celebrate the Ordinary Form Mass…part of the solution is quite simple: follow the rubrics! – “say the black and do the red”.

  16. “The very fact that a woman can now distribute communion or read the Epistle immediately makes the liturgy less masculine.” I take offense at this statement. If I am to understand you, a woman should have absolutely no role in the liturgy? Am I to sit in the back of the church, instead of proclaiming the Word of God with my voice, because my role in life is not ministerial? In return, I would argue that a woman’s role is ministerial (not in the same way as a man’s, of course… I don’t support the ordination of women), but a woman ministers to others by living out her vocation as a mother. Who is to say that the liturgy must be 100% masculine, anyway?

    • This is one aspect of the argument made that is poorly explained, but merits much deeper reflection and meditation. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? If we take the sexes as symbols of human salvation, we can see why only men can be priests and why it is an appropriate sign to have men serve the Mass.

      Man is a symbol of God. As a symbol of God man is the initiator in action. The woman symbolizes the Church, who receives the gifts of God, and nurtures them through faith, hope and love. Of course all men and women are part of the Church, but women especially are a symbol of the Church. It is therefor symbolically more appropriate for men to be priests, to lead the reading, and if needed, serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. It is also more appropriate for a man (the priest) or men to wash feet at the Holy Thursday mass.

      These sybmolic nature of manhood and womanhood point to the very heart of God’s love for us and his plan for our salvation. This is why marriage is the oridnary sacrament of ssalvation

      • Smaugie,

        I’m sorry but that is a horribly inaccurate argument/analogy. Perhaps even a dangerous way of thinking. God does not have a gender/sex, he has both male and female characteristics, and only through the complimentarity of BOTH sexes is he fully realized. He is not “best symbolized” by either gender, and while I’m sure you didn’t mean to sound so, asserting that males symbolize God better than females comes off as mysogynistic. Same goes for the Church–it both nurtures and leads, comforts and admonishes. Could it not be argued that women are more like God because they are the ones that beget life?

        Perhaps I misunderstood what you said. Even if that is the case, this is still not the BEST argument to be made for the male-only priesthood or the primacy of males as liturgical ministers.

        Blessings.

      • Ryanlanger –

        It is true, God does not have a gender. Jesus, did, though. You say my argument is horrible and mysoginistic, but you do not really say why.

        God shares his divinity with the Church. This is why the Church is infallible. To equate woman with the Church is to lift her up, not put her down. I never said anything about one sex being better than another, if you thought that I did, please reread what I said. There is an entire chapter in the bible dedicated to the mysticism of being man and of being woman. Why else would God make sexual intercourse the central sign of our salvation? Women received the fift of life from man, nurture it and frow it and bring it into the world. This is the special genius of woman as POpe John Paul II said. Woman cannot beget life of her own self, neither can man. They are partners in continuing the work of creation and salvation. Yet each has their specific role to play in the economy of signs (yes I borrowed that from Christopher West) that is human masculinity and femeninity.

        If you deny the plan of God in making man male and female, then I am not sure there really is any reasonable explanation for why only men can be priests.

        • Smauggie gets it right. The key words are initiator and receiver.

          Additionally, given that Christ became a man, a masculine human hypostatically united to GOD, sits at the right hand of the Father.

      • Actually, Ryan, Smauggie is entirely correct, although I would have said Jesus instead of God. He has described Church teaching. I suggest you delve deeply into Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, and study Ephesians 5 from a TOB perspective.

        Political currents should not inform our theology; our theology must inform our politics. God didn’t make the sexes the same, nor are we to treat them the same. Besides, one of the blind spots of 21st century liberalism is the unfounded belief that equality equals sameness.

        That notion is not only wrong, but observably stupid except for those too obtuse to see it.

      • @Phil,

        Forgive this observation, but you seem to have a consistent smugness in your arguments with everyone here that (accurately or not, I don’t know), convey a lack of humility.

        I have read TOB, and it wasn’t the secondary source, Christopher West. While my response to smauggie sounded feminist because it was a response, I am well aware that “equality does not equal sameness” and that both genders are created differently. I also admitted that it was possible I misunderstood what they said, and it is definitely possible that I failed to adequately express what I was saying. Such is the challenge of language.

        The danger I saw in smauggie is not that they were wrong about what symbolizes what, but in seeing that the God ONLY has masculine characteristics, and that the Church is ONLY masculine. When dealing with transcedentals, its risky to interpret them in singular fashion. And maybe they weren’t doing that, I don’t really know, but it sounded possible.

        And my theology should influence my politics, of course. Which is why I’m neither republican or democrat.

  17. The underlying assumption that order ,sacrifice,appropriate liturgical music and liturgical reverence is somehow masculine in nature really annoys me…I endure the pain of liturgical aberrations for the love of Jesus while I await authentic reform and renewal rooted in holiness….. Seeing as our Church is run by Men I wish they would get a moving in this department…In the mean time you will find many a poor women consoling our Dear Lord daily at holy communion …. There are very few liturgical choices for daily communicants who live outside of big cities ..

  18. A well-written article; I express similar sentiments.

    You reminded of a quote I read yesterday by the Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon:

    “The Eucharist is the mystery of our faith. We believe in any revealed truth – only as intelligently, only as entirely, only as clearly, only as courageously, as we believe in the Eucharist. Faith in the Eucharist is the barometer of our Catholic faith. It is the test of our Catholicism. It is the norm of our commitment to everything else which Christ has revealed.”

    As visual creatures, inclined to distraction and earthly things, it is essential that the Mass raises our mind and hearts (and subsequently our wills) to higher things. The elements of the Traditional liturgy that you draw attention to, most certainly help to achieve this.

    God bless you.

    “In Mass I come with such humility that there is no sinner, no matter how depraved he be, that I am no ready to receive, if only he desires it. I come with such sweetness and mercy that I will pardon My greatest enemies, if they ask for pardon. I come with such generosity that there is no one so poor that I will not fill him with the riches of My love. I come such heavenly food as will strengthen the weakest, with such light as will illumine the blindest, with such a plenitude of graces as will remove all miseries, overcome all obstinacy and dissipate all fears” (Jesus to St. Mechtilde).

  19. “I am an uneducated layman. I am not a theologian or a liturgical scholar.”

    Well, you managed to get that much correct! This piece is littered with historical inaccuracies, logical fallacies, and just plain false assumptions. If liturgy isn’t your area, great. Have the humility to stick to your strengths and not overstep your bounds. Frankly, this piece is an embarrassment and a twisted view of Catholic liturgical tradition, at best.

    • Well, at least he has the cajones to make an explicit argument, providing much support for his views. And to counter him you did…what, exactly?

      You got nothin’ and nothin’ is all you said.

    • Rubbish. He has read and understood because he has seen the differences in application, rather than thinking he has experienced the reality by reading a book.

  20. “I am an uneducated layman. I am not a theologian or a liturgical scholar.”

    “Well, you managed to get that much correct! This piece is littered with historical inaccuracies, logical fallacies, and just plain false assumptions. If liturgy isn’t your area, great. Have the humility to stick to your strengths and not overstep your bounds. Frankly, this piece is an embarrassment and a twisted view of Catholic liturgical tradition, at best.”

    Wow. This is simply a devastating, brutal attack which has so obviously dismantled every single point of the article I’ll be surprised if this man ever writes a thing again on any topic, much less the liturgy. And best of all, you managed to do it without going into specifics on anything. A bravura performance!

  21. No Mike, you’re wrong. When a pope uses the phrase, “I declare” that’s infallible. When Jesus gave the first pope the keys to Heaven and power to bind and loosen He gave him the power to speak infallibly. http://www.ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/ORDIN.TXT

    You have an obligation to properly educate yourself and pass on the truth. http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0810.html

    Lots of info on how to receive Communion here: http://www.communion-in-the-hand.org

    From the Canons of St. John Cantius on why Latin in the liturgy: http://www.sanctamissa.org/en/faq/understanding-latin-in-the-liturgy.html

    You’re welcome,

    Glen

    • Glen, the doctrine of Papal infallibility was promulgated after a long, divisive and bitter fight amongst the cardinals. There was a VOTE on the matter and the doctrine was narrowly approved. Once it was approved it became a doctrine of the church. You are deliberately missing my point. Doctrines can be changed. Only the words and teachings of Jesus are set in stone ( to coin the phrase).

      • What doctrine has changed, Mike?

        Are you saying the priest who wrote the EWTN article is confused too? Did you bother to read it?

        When an ecumenical council rules on doctrine, it’s infallible too.

      • Mike, you’re fighting brave against windmills. But I’m afraid most guys around here would even say, that Bonifaz VIII. is still right with his doctrine in “Unam sanctam”.
        .
        That a doctrine can’t change is the major point of the Pius brotherhood, why they can’t agree with Vat II. “Nostra aetate” is clearly breaking up with “Unam sanctam”. On the one hand “pope’s infallibility” (in a stronger version than JP II’s did) and on the other an ecumenical council. In history you find many examples (e.g. Council of Basel with 3 popes) of discontinuance.
        .
        And hey, JP II is a designated saint. He must be right ;P Have nice day and stay cool. Holy Spirit leads to unity, not to separatism.

        • Thanks Mobbischer. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, It’s not that they know so much. It’s just that so much of what they know is wrong. Glen doesn’t truly understand my points. So I’m not going to bother replying to him. God bless you and your family.

      • Only a liberal would say doctrines can change. NO, they cannot.

        You’d like them to, though, wouldn’t you?

      • The authority of the Church is to define the pre-existing Truth. Defining doctrine is not like setting policy. It is the verbalization of transcendent, absolute Truths that do not change.

        Jesus appointed Peter as Pope. Jesus recognized the gift of the Father to Peter, and he declared it official with “You are Peter.”

        As for doctrine, Cardinal Newman was clear that it develops (or unfolds) but does NOT change or evolve.

  22. Great article, and as others have noted, spot on. This needs to be shared widely. I am also glad you tackled head on the differences in the actual prayers between the Usus Antiquior and the Novus Ordo Missae:

    “There is a sense of participation with the Church through the ages that men need (and I would argue women need as well). As men, we need to know that the we are making the same genuflections that the great soldier-saint, St. Ignatius of Loyola, made. We want to be drawn upward into a reality larger and older than ourselves, like being drawn into a secret society.”

    …If you study the texts of the mass, you realize just how much has changed in the prayers.”

    Absolutely correct. In fact, I would say that the mindset that led to so many changes in the surroundings and postures of the liturgy, such as ripping out the communion rails, trite music, communion standing and in the hand, etc. is the same mindset that informed the liturgical reconstruction in the first place. Lauren Pristas has recently written a book on the actual changes to the liturgy after Vatican II and one can see some of her articles here:

    http://faculty.caldwell.edu/lpristas/

    In brief, the liturgical commission essentially had carte blanche (regardless of what the Council Fathers themselves may have wanted or intended) to adapt the liturgy to their conception of “modern man,” and a good friend of Pope Paul VI, Jean Guitton, noted:

    “The intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the Mass, was to reform the Catholic Liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy. There was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or, at least to correct, or, at least to relax, what was too Catholic in the traditional sense in the Mass and, I repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass”

    Apropos, December 19, 1993 and again in Christian Order, October 1994.

    Thus I would say with a number of men regarding the New Mass there is simply a profound lack of respect. Yes, it’s valid, and yes, you can surround it with some of the same trappings as the Old Mass. Yet the entire enterprise seems to be one big effort to accommodate “modern man” and avoid offending Protestants as much as possible while still having a valid Mass.

    This type of servility and appeasement is repugnant to the masculine nature, which would much rather plant a stake (or a Gothic cathedral) in the ground and stand for what is true, good, and beautiful. There’s a reason so many men revere Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, well, not so much.

  23. The fact that your church has to call the venerable liturgy of St. Gregory the “extraordinary form” should tell you all you need to know. I, too, converted to Catholicism and found the same as the author. In fact the local Roman rite parish was less reverent than the Methodist church I had left! I tried the Tridentine Mass for a while and Eastern Catholicism, but found it wanting. It was missing the apostolic spirit.

    Then God led me to Holy Orthodoxy, where the liturgy, sacraments and traditions remain timeless. Sure, the people aren’t perfect and we don’t always live up to the standard before us, but I found the faith that St. Vincent of Lérins spoke of. I pray the Latins will return to this spirit of Orthodoxy with their precious and venerable liturgical traditions as they were before the 20th century.

    In Christ,
    Andreas

  24. Collin Babcock Reply

    While one might agree with your complaints about the changes in the Mass, the new evangelical super churches use all of those changes and pack the churches, sometimes with as many as 30000 and lots and lots of men. The problem is NOT with the Catholic church or it’s practices. The problem is people wanting a quick lift, no change on their own part and no rules: especially the men. Very similar to therapy: make me feel better while I stay just as I am.

  25. Collin Babcock Reply

    What must Mass have been like in the catacombs ? Ut must have been special because it really caught on!

  26. Just a brief update. At a daily mass this morning (Novus Ordo), the Eucharist was dropped by one woman, and the priest gave three or four hosts to another woman who proceeded to put them in her pocket. I was absolutely outraged and grieved by these horrible abuses. Jesus hidden in the Eucharist is not a toy. Lord, have mercy on us.

    • Yeah, that doesn’t do much to credit the Novus Ordo… but those are a very small percentage and again, its up to the priest to control those situations. That points again to the emasculation of the priesthood…

  27. Hi. Young theologian/religious educator here. And a man. A pretty damn confident man, too. Please stop. The liturgy is not the place for men to hide their insecurities behind lacey vestments and incense (both of which I admittedly enjoy). If they cannot stomach the sound of a woman’s voice at the pulpit or the sight of an adorable ten-year-old girl struggling to hold a candle during the processional, what they need isn’t a new liturgical form, but a therapist, spiritual director, or maybe just a grip on life and a respect for the innumerable and sadly un-lauded contributions women have made to this holy but fickle Church of ours.

    Faith in Christ Jesus sets our eyes forward to the glorious day of his Second Coming, not backward to the (non-existent) glory days of the Medieval Church.

    You are right about hippie music though. It usually sucks.

    Oremus pro invicem.

  28. Javier: Suggesting that your opponent is mentally ill is not an answer. I could just as easily suggest that people who prefer an effeminate liturgy need therapy.

  29. Thank you for this article, I very much like it. I would say, however, that it’s not mere “feminization” of the liturgy that has some poor results b/c authentic elements of feminine beauty have also been “manfully” stripped from the liturgy in favor of more utilitarian cut and dry lines. I would say it’s the absence of BOTH authentically feminine and authentically masculine elements at work!

  30. CG:

    I could not agree more with the gist of your post. We can argue back and forth about whether it’s a good idea to have virtually everyone in the sanctuary, except the priest, be female, or whether this music or that is conducive to prayer and contemplation. But I don’t think it can be denied that the vast majority of modern masses have NO sense of antiquity whatsoever, no sense that you’re doing the same things that your ancestors did going back centuries, and I think that’s a shame.

    I firmly believe that the state of the modern liturgy is literally a scandal. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that mass attendance is way down since the liturgy was revolutionized. Not everyone hates it outright, but an awful lot of people find it banal and uninspiring, ESPECIALLY TEENAGERS.

    For what it’s worth, here is my recent take on one big difference between the traditional and modern liturgies: http://agellius.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/the-immobility-of-higher-activities-recollection-and-contemplation-in-the-liturgy/

  31. All things being considered why are so many young people retuning to church via the Tridentine Mass? They see something in it. They see what we and our pre Vatican II parents saw. In our church we had three full Masses being celebrated at the same time.
    Says something doesn’t it ?

  32. I agree. When it comes to young men that’s what we seek, order! a place that there’s accountability and expectations. Why do you think gangs, especially in Chicago are rising, because gangs offer that, order, there’s someone that’s holding them accountable, someone who is giving them expectations. If, Mass in the NO or any other Mass was celebrated in such reverence and devotion to VII we wouldnt be having problems

  33. Since when did being Catholic mean being a misogynist? Don’t drive women out of the Church. Trust me, you need us. This type of article WILL cause women to leave.

  34. While I agree with some of the points, I disagree with the main idea that we need to “masculinize” the Mass. Why shouldn’t we strive to make a liturgy worthy of both sexes, as both males and females were created by God? We all agree that the Mass is central to our lives as Catholics. Jesus, the very heart and soul of the Mass, went out of his way to welcome women and value their contributions. The most important thing to Catholics shouldn’t be fashioned/organized with only half of them in mind.

  35. AS:

    The old Mass is perfectly suited to both sexes. The problem is that the new mass seems *not* to be suited to men, as evidenced by the fact that very few men (or boys) choose to participate in it. Go back to the traditional Mass and the problem is solved.

    • Suited to both sexes? Females were not allowed to be involved at all – very contrary to their natures. Women want to love, teach, nurture, commune, and communicate. In the old style Mass they must just kneel silently. Not that there shouldn’t be kneeling – the Mass definitely needs to regain some of it’s reverence – but to say that it was suited to both sexes is false, it was very against the nature of women.

  36. AS:

    Now see that’s the real issue for you: You want women to be allowed to act in clerical roles. I was only talking about how the Mass appeals to the people in the pews.

  37. Leaving aside the comments regarding the mutability or immutability of Church doctrine (I subscribe to the latter – the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth, after all), I think that what Agellius (and the Catholic Gentleman) say is correct, viz. the Extraordinary Form is suited to both sexes. The Ordinary Form… not so much.
    AS’s objection is misplaced, I think, because it was not as if ALL men are in the sanctuary and only women are in the congregation. The vast majority of lay people, men and women, are in the congregation “kneeling silently”. For lay people, the Christian life is not lived in its fulness in the sanctuary, in reading at Mass or serving, but in the whole of our lives. Assisting at Mass gives us the strength to live the Christian life, and Our Lord gives us this strength in the Mass. Since Our Lord is a man, our encounter with Christ in the Mass should be a masculine experience in some sense. This is often not the case in OF Masses.
    “Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Lk 10:42

  38. Thanks for this post. I appreciate your thoughts. I am just about to enter the Catholic Church, therefore I can’t say much at this point, and have only experienced the Novus Ordo mass. That said, there are two things that ring true about your post for me: 1) I spent 40 years a Protestant before studying Catholicism, and I have been studying it now for seven years. When I finally did attend a mass, I found many of the same problems you point out, and I was a bit disappointed. I expected more reverence for the Real Presence of Christ. I was thinking, “Okay I’m not Catholic, but don’t you all realize this is sacred ground? Why dress that way, why this music, why behave that way, etc.?” Maybe I was wrong to think that. Certainly I came with some preconceived stereotypes and ideas. I had also attended and Eastern Orthodox church once, and it was like stepping into the 8th century – amazingly beautiful, incredibly reverent, powerfully solemn. So I had that as a comparison as well. 2) I have been a student of classical education for several years and I find the many of the modern “inventions” in education are similarly anti-male without realizing it. Recent studies are showing that most schools are not great places for boys, but great places for girls. Perhaps as a culture we have overreacted to real and perceived inequality. I can’t say. Certainly, as a culture we are still interested in male and female for various reasons, but have lost a deep understanding (and love) of masculine and feminine. Anyway, I’m excited about entering the Church regardless of what form the mass is.

    • Welcome home! Thank you for sharing your thoughts as a fellow convert. As you no doubt know, the Church is the most beautiful and wonderful reality, the body of Christ and the Ark of salvation. You will not regret your choice. May God bless you and Our Lady keep you.

    • The more lace the greater the grace. These vestments are very elaborate and represent the great effort and skill required to make them beautiful and most of it is only seen by the man who wears it. Since the vesting rites aren’t required anymore, many have no clue what each part of the vestments represent. The laity certainly have no clue why those at the altar wear what appears to be a weird getup. There’s certainly a teachable moment for everyone where vestments are concerned.

  39. “Men dressed in brocade and lace always make me think of masculinity.”

    You’re thinking from a very limited historical perspective, i.e. the perspective of your own time. It was only a couple centuries ago when it was common for men to wear lace. That’s kind of the point of the old Mass: It broadens your perspective and reminds you that the Church is not a product of your own age.

  40. I think this blog should have the opportunity to give a thumbs up or down in the comments section. There are a number of comments I would want to give a thumbs up too. Thanks.

  41. Jennifer Valentine Reply

    Homosexuality is the biggest turn off. Homosexual priests have made it uncomfortable for others.
    And let us not forget the recent pedophile priest scandal. Why would any up-righteous person want to be a priest when such atrocities are covered up and condoned!

  42. Great post!! A couple of comments:

    I take my family to a church outside our parish that offers a beautiful Novus Odo mass. That parish incidentally also offers a Tridentine Mass, although we have not yet attended mainly due to the time. The reason we go to this other parish (and are officially registered there as well) at the expense of a half-hour commute one-way is that the service is much more reverent and (dare I say it) masculine. The liturgy is beautiful, music very reverential and sacred. Did you ever see the movie “Chariots of Fire”? There is a scene where Mr. Liddell is singing as part of the choir during a Presbytarian service. Nothing sappy about that. Very reverent. The first time I saw that scene I thought – that’s what I need to be doing. I can do that at the church we attend. By contrast, the local parish out where I reside is totally opposite – the music is sappy (makes me feel like a wimp so I don’t even bother singing), much less reverence is shown at the mass, and I feel out of place being the only gentleman who wears a blazer. It is also very difficult to avoid taking Communion from a lay person. Missing Mass on Sunday is a serious matter, but at the local Parish, it doesn’t “seem” like a big deal when you see how casual the approach is. Therein lies the problem with our society in general.

  43. RED

    Vestments of red
    Altar cloth too
    Martyrs who bled
    Did this for you.

    Gold Tabernacles
    Veiled in red’s hue
    Martyrs in shackles
    Hung for this view.

    Red mums full bloomed
    In water and brass
    Martyrs consumed
    Burned for this Mass.

    Red rays of sun
    Rose-streak the nave
    Their suf’ring done
    Now red we must crave!

  44. eek! all I can say is that the Mass is what you bring it. You are focusing too much on externals and not enough on interior disposition.

    Don’t get me wrong – I grew up hearing from my mother to NEVER receive communion in the hand (as a Hispanic immigrant she was APPALLED by the American Roman Catholic services). When the bishops allowed women altar servers she almost had a heart attack. To this day I don’t receive in the hand and we had only male servers at our wedding.

    That being said – we have to trust Holy Mother church, the pope, the Bishops, and the Holy spirit to guide and protect Her. These things, though we may not approve of them, are allowed and we have trust God to protect His Church. Let’s focus not on things that we cannot change (and should leave up to the Bishops to decide) and lets focus more on our own interior disposition. Let’s embrace our faith with joy – radiating that joy all around us so we can bring more souls to God.

    I’ve learned that someone receiving communion in the hand may actually be doing a better job than I because of their INTERIOR disposition.

    We should focus on helping people realize that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. Reverence for the Eucharist will naturally help people change their attitudes in Church. The belief in the True Presence has been lost among many. Once they realize what it is really happening at Mass and during communion, the Mass will have a more reverent feel to it.

    • The externals form the internals. Smells, bells, Latin, Gregorian chant, beautiful vestments, reverent postures; we sense these things and our minds and souls are lifted to higher things. When our eyes see ugly architecture, cheap vestments, tacky felt banners, sloppy posture and our ears hear sugary sweet music and a priest who sounds more like a talk-show host than a priest offering the Sacrifice of Calvary to God the Father, our internals are formed in a very different way.

      Surely, we can come with the correct interior disposition, but when our internal disposition is fighting against the externals we sense, the liturgy is failing us.

    • Also, using another of your examples, I don’t disagree that someone receiving in the hand MIGHT have a superior interior disposition than someone receiving on the tongue, the likelihood is low because it is the humble act of receiving on the tongue which creates a superior disposition. To not do so is an act devoid of that level of great humility.

      Too many of the exterior acts of participation of the Novus Ordo are self-referential based on the falsehood that participation is comprised of physical exterior action directed at MY involvement. OTOH, kneeling to receive on the tongue is an abject act of humble deference which takes one away from a focus on oneself.

    • I do believe more graces flow through the TLM even though Our Lord becomes present on the altar with the Novus Ordo, etc. and the reason is the disposition of the people and the priest too, in a general sense. Father does not have to put on a show or see hundreds of eyes looking at his performance; he can better pray the Holy Mass. The people come expecting more silence and reverence; there is not the chit-chat visiting before, the glad-handing during, or the explosion of conversation immediately afterwards. People dress reverently and modestly because they value the Mass; there are no flip-flops, short shorts, etc. The whole attitude is different; the whole disposition is different. Gone is the indifferent gum-chewing thrusting out of grimy hands; rather there is the reverential kneeling to receive Our Savior. There is no “Gather us In” or “Sing to the Mountains” or “We are the Body of Christ”…in other words, the sacred hymns reverence God or the Blessed Mother or a Saint and not just ourselves because, after all, we are at Mass to worship God and not us.

      We have not just come together to “share a meal”; we have come to adore and worship God and to receive Him.

      • This is an interesting observation, but I wouldn’t say one is better or more grace filled. You said so yourself, it is the disposition of the people who make the TLM what it is. So the type of person to want a more traditional Mass will attend such a Mass… but if the TLM were the only option, you’d have the same chit chat and flip flops as you sometimes get at an Novous Ordo Mass. And you’d probably also have less people attending Mass and being exposed to the Blessed Sacrament for the sheer fact that our western culture has changed dramatically since the middle of the last century.

        It is good that those who feel the need to steep themselves in tradition; to get away from the distractions of everyday life can come to worship in their own way. This form of Mass may seem more reverent because the type of people who choose to go there create the culture of reverence. They leave the “messy” NOM for the calm and quiet of likeminded individuals.

        However, there are many of us who delight in dissecting the NOM during Mass; to dive deep and inhale the layered semiotics of each word, action, and song. (I can do this because it is in English, although I have two degrees, I am no Latin scholar.) I can see the hands of God in this. There are those of us who also delight in seeing teenagers dragged to Mass by their parents because we are able to pray for each one of them individually. I love to see 7 year olds struggling to sit still, parents sacrificing their full immersion in the Mass, to teach and guide their little ones. I am awed and humbled that I not only get to adore Jesus on the altar and in my heart, but that I get to, for one fleeting moment, caress Him in the palm of my hand. It is good that those like me can find a place each week to remember that God is in the messiness and struggle of each day. To be reminded that God is Love and Love is messy.

        It is not the Mass that makes us more reverent, nor is one Mass, by virtue of the rubrics, any more “reverent” than the other. One may seem more “reverent” because of the people who attend, but it is the people who set the tone. Like wise, it is the personal disposition of each individual to choose the Mass best suited to their needs, even if that means people like me dress modestly beside someone in short shorts, or my bow before receiving communion is followed by a “grimey handed gum chewer”. These less reverent people deserve the chance to approach and be approached by God in a way that is welcoming, loving, forgiving and not intimidating. I am glad every week for their presence, for it was the grace of God who brought them there.

  45. Despite my personal affinity with the Tridentine Mass and the more solemn approaches to Novus Ordo, I feel slightly not at ease with a number of things mentioned in this post. I agree whole-heartedly that matters of liturgy and religion are all too often approached in too much of a touchy-feely (and effeminate) manner in our Church, there is a danger in caring to much about the “masculinity” of our church.

    First, most obvious, point is that “there is neither male nor female”. As Mass is the sacrifice of Christ himself, this sacrifice is offered to men and women alike and liturgy can not and should not be either explicitly masculine or explicitly feminine. That being said, I agree we should watch out for deviating too much in either direction.

    I also agree with MIA that often interior disposition is more important than outer signs. Even though I personally feel inspired by incense, bells, chanting, vestments and reverent posture, I have been to more than one Mass, especially in Africa or in immigrant communities, where they had a Novus Ordo with extensive layman (and laywoman) involvement, sappy rhythmic singing with drums and synthesizers, interjections deviating from the “normal order” and even some liturgical dancing, where nonetheless a true spirit of reverence could be felt and where people took the sacrifice of the Mass very, very, seriously. We need to remember that there are “many mansions”.

    And, I feel especially uncomfortable with the militaristic aspects of your post. Without getting into a debate about pacifism and militarism within Catholicism, the association of militarism and religion is always a very dangerous thing. Yes, of course the discipline and grandeur of the liturgy appeals to the martial instincts within us, to the little boy who wants to be part of something grand. And maybe this is less of a big deal in America, but I happen to be European and in Europe we have been confronted with what happens if patriotism, militarism and religion get confused, especially for Catholics. Franco’s Spain is just one of the many gruesome examples in our history.

    • I whole-heartedly agree with your statement that mass is neither male nor female. As a Catholic and a feminist I was somewhat offended at your comment about altar boys and taking away an exclusively male position… I disagree, what about young girls and allowing them to live out their faith? Just because boys seem not to step up and be leaders in the faith early-on, does not mean girls should not have the opportunity to serve in the church. The church is about the people- male OR female and living out their faith, like Christ, every day. I honestly think it is wrong to classify the mass OR the priest as having a masculine role… just because in the Catholic Church right now priests are men, does not mean the priest’s role is masculine.
      Despite that, I appreciate this well-written reflection and your thoughts.

  46. Man is both body and soul. One must worship God “in spirit and in truth” Man then, in both his body and soul must worship God. The external and the internal must conform in the one worship. Yes in “spirit” we can do it internally, but the “truth” of the matter is that we too have our bodies that should pray (ie. kneeling, sign of the cross, fasting, bows, etc.). So yes, I agree that the external signs and actions in the Liturgy are important aspects in the formation and development of our Faith.

  47. Catholic Gentlemen I, a college student at LSU, want to let you know that I fully agree with you. My question to you gentlemen is what we the laity can do to help bring back reverence to the mass.

    • Be loud and outspoken! Priests can be silenced by their bishop but no one can shut up a lay person. Complain about irreverence and liturgical abuse. Read and know Church history and the Catholic faith.

  48. I just want to say that I know I’m late, but this is one of the best, most dead on articles I have ever read!

  49. Thank you for such a well written article sir! Where could I find some good solid books on this subject? I want to read up on this as much as I can before I open my mouth by saying something wrong or uncharitable.

  50. Thank you for your article, it sums up your thoughts really well. But i also want to state my own opinion (i will try my best, english is not my first language).

    Firstly i would like to say: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. For me the beauty of the mass lies in its simplicity. (1 Sam 16,7)

    Secondly, our God gave himself in the form of bread, a form which is pure and simple. And i can assume that if God would really want to have gold all around Himself he would make it so. He could create a “metal of wonder” on which we would feast our eyes. So i can conclude that all the gold around, all the golden or whatever vestments are for us. So that we can be “closer” to God. But we can also assume that someone who feels that gold and such things hold no value, would hesitate.

    And the so called “new liturgy” is in reallity the “first” liturgy of the church. If you wrote that someone steps in the tradition of 900 years we can say that in reallity the liturgy which was not really reinvented, just found again, is the one which the disciples practised so it is quite older than 900 years.

    Also, about the lay people which give communion, this is a service which was established by the apostles by the name of acolyte (hostiariji).

    And lastly in my own humble opinion, i myself love the masses on weekdays because they are simple, humble, silent and Christ is in the centre, if the priest is facing me or not. In reallity we are all facing Chirst himself. (John 4,23)

  51. Great article. Unflinching but generous in tone.
    I agree wholeheartedly with your points. Until I ‘discovered’ the EF, I would sit bitterly through Mass, a believer but utterly turned off by the cringe-worthy and mostly effeminate manner of our modern liturgy.
    Interestingly enough, I might add that even within the EF, there are those priests/altar servers who will persist in offering the ancient liturgy in an effeminate (or overly dramatic) manner, the way I have seen it ‘performed’ by homosexual anglo-catholics. Frankly, this is just as bad as effeminacy in the NO.

  52. AMEN to this article! Spot on!

    Can’t wait to let my wife read this as we have discussed this subject in the past.

    We are lifelong Catholics, and are in love with the faith, but are becoming more and more frustrated with the church and the continuing changes and for a lot of the reasons you bring up in your article.

    We will never choose to stop being Catholics or adopt a new faith, but modern Catholicism is not true Catholicism. The faith remains the same as it has been for over 2,000 years, but as you point out, all of these quiet changes and tweaks to the way things are done and handled over the decades, make the practice of being a Catholic far less sacred.

    To answer your question, no most parishes do not have a masculine feel to them. It is more and more rare when you find one that does. I have two thoughts as to why I think this is…

    1. The Catholic Church is as guilty as many other institutions of caving to political pressure due to the “feminist movement.”

    2. Effeminate Priests

    It is becoming harder and harder to find a parish that has a priest that is genuinely masculine anymore.

  53. As has been noted – Latin was a vernacular language of the Roman Empire for literally centuries. And while it sounds freaking sweet, I like to completely understand Mass. Go to a Spanish Mass without knowing Spanish and you’ll get what I mean. Best compromise is the main prayers in Latin (4 of the 5 parts of the Ordinary), the Greek (Kyrie) and the rest in English.

    Music used to be awful; it’s now re polarizing to NOT be awful. Keep my Baptist songs away from my Catholic/Anglican/Lutheran hymns. Do we need a lot of chant? No. Chant for an hour tends to knock people out. Should we use them for the aforementioned prayers? Certainly.

    Priest facing the people: the people should be in awe of what they’re seeing. I prefer to be able to see my Lord and Savior – when he’s hidden behind a priest, I don’t feel His presence.

    Sign of peace: this varies parish-to-parish, culture-to-culture. And that’s ok. A parish in the American South is far more friendly than one in Boston, based on the local culture. The Spanish Mass at my parish takes a long time because of the 55 or so, they all wish to greet each other, because they love one another. That’s fantastic.

    Women’s involvement: boy, bit of an inflammatory topic. Most churches that have enough boys prefer them to be altar servers (tradition) but it shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter if a woman says a reading. She wants to widen the scope of her faith; why shouldn’t she be able to do so?

    Mass is no longer “masculine” because the men of the Church no longer know and preach the faith – in families, they allow their wives to do more of the “priestly” duties. That’s the problem. We don’t lead on our own homes – how could we lead in the home of The Lord?

    If this bothers you to such extremes, join your Knights of Columbus council, or form one; you’ll notice these problems begin to disperse.

  54. I concur 100% with you. Lucky you can attend the extraordinary form of the mass, some of us just can’t…

  55. Brother James Reiter, OFM Conv Reply

    For the most part, you make some valid points. There are definitely a dearth of men participating in the various liturgical roles. However, I’m not sure that that makes the Mass less masculine. The gift of the Eucharist is for all, not for some. “In Christ there is neither male nor female.” “Ad Orientem” means facing the East. It doesn’t simply mean that we all face the same direction. Many of the churches were built so that the priest and congregation faced the East. It was the belief that when Christ comes again, he will come from the East. I don’t know if you would necessarily use the term “Ad Orientem” if the sanctuary was built facing the south or west or north. At the Last Supper, the first Mass, Jesus was gathered around the Passover table, not standing with His back to the disciples. The liturgical reforms were an attempt to reflect the manner in which Jesus celebrated the sacred mysteries.

  56. I have to be honest here, the Byzantine rite is the maniliest and Latin sounds girly compared to Church Slavonic 😛 I find the east has a much more militaristic feel with poweful chants and a greater emphasis on sin and the fear of God. That being said ANY liturgy done right is manly, I find especially that the Anglo-Catholic ordinariate have a manlier feel, since for me as a Canadian, it carries more acientness linking the present to the great ages of the British Empire and a strong Anglo identity, while the Latin mass is more foriegn and Italianite.

  57. Great post! 2 notes: 1) Mary is not the most gorgeous creature God ever made. Yes, She is and always will be the most wonderful human “person,” because Jesus is forever a Divine Person, but the greatest creature will forever be the humanity of Jesus. One might argue the equality of their perfect humanity, but the one hypostatically united to the 2nd Person of the Trinity can not be placed second. 2) Yes, Vatican II did call for Gregorian chant; also, the current GIRM not only does not require the Mass to be said versus populum, but it is written seemingly presuming that it will be said ad orientem, e.g. “then the priest turns toward the people and says, “Ecce Agnus Dei…” Your article is well-done, especially #3 & #4. Let us pray for more reverent Novus Ordo Masses & ask our priests to help us have them.

  58. I left this reply over at the repost of this article at OnePeterFive. Looks like there’s considerably more comment action over here, so I will re-post my comment.

    =====

    I’m a Protestant, currently heading toward joining the Catholic Church and starting RCIA classes soon. So take the following for what it’s worth.

    I attend one of “those parishes” that Sam writes about, with contemporary music, communion standing up, etc. And for me and my family, coming out of many years of Protestantism, this is a Divine and transcendent experience. And there are plenty of men who participate and a strong sense of purpose and among those men. It’s a community of people who are kind, faithful, and have shown much more grace to my family than our Protestant friends (and sadly, our Protestant families) as we make this journey into the Church. There is absolutely no way I would leave this parish in search of a more transcendent experience.

    I don’t mean to defend one form of the Mass over the other because frankly, I wouldn’t know how. (Did I mention RCIA hasn’t started yet?) And believe me, I do not disagree with what Sam has written here. One of the great pulls to the Catholic Church for me is precisely the Divine, and the tangible sense of the Divine, in the liturgy. You will be extremely hard pressed to find this in Protestantism, where churches suffer from this feminization of their liturgy (or what’s left of it) far worse than Catholic churches do.

    It can just be frustrating sometimes to read posts like this, because here I have risked and in some cases ended friendships over my conversion to Catholicism, joined a parish that is in our community and from which we are learning and growing — only to hear something that despite all disclaimers sounds like condescension.

  59. As someone who has been obsessed with Catholicism for years and has finally converted I have to say that the past 50 years of the Church did nothing but hinder the process and seriously call into question everything about the faith. Everything in my studies was fantastic until Vatican 2, then suddenly…hey, wait, what happened to the Church? What happened to the uncompromising faith of the ages, eodem sensu eademque sententia? The feminisation of the Church can be seen in the documents of the council themselves; vague, compromising, apologetic, sentimental. The confusion which stems from this is the fruit of its corruption and it is only due to the Holy Spirit that the council was prevented from declaring outright heresy. In this sense alone is the mess of Vatican 2 a blessing.

    Before converting I shopped around my local parishes watching the liturgy, observing how the priests interacted with people and the people with the priest. In many cases they have completely lost the faith and created a new church for themselves. I ended up moving to be near a traditional parish with a strong priest who is educated in his faith and firm in his teachings and his liturgies are beautiful. Under this man the fullness of the faith is revealed and I have to strength to remain firm in these chaotic times. The feminisation and destruction of the Church is a travesty and one which is obvious to all but the most pigheaded. I despair at the state of the Church in most places and I feel profoundly sorry for all those who aren’t lucky enough to have a good priest like I do.

    Do people not wonder why so many people from all backgrounds convert to Islam and yet treat Christianity like a joke? The masculinity of Islam is one thing which they have to their credit. They are serious about their faith, uncompromising with the ‘truth’ of Islam. In trying to be everything to everyone Catholicism has in many cases become nobody to no one. I pray that the Church recovers what it has turned its back on in this time of chaos.

    Here’s an excellent interview with Cardinal Burke on this topic. Please ignore the unfortunately stupid name of the website.

    http://www.newemangelization.com/uncategorized/cardinal-raymond-leo-burke-on-the-catholic-man-crisis-and-what-to-do-about-it/

  60. Why do so many here feel the need to assign a gender to the Mass? The Mass is for all…. not just a man… all, literally all of the arguments put forth in the article are stylistic preferences of the author. Who, by the way, is contradicting the Church. So many have gone astray by thinking they know better than Mother Church.

    It is a sad and unfortunate circumstance that finds so many here so making silly statements implying that their definition of ‘manliness’ is an objective fact. The size of ego that would impose his own definition of masculinity on another is astonishing… let alone impose it on all. This mentality reeks of insecurity and selfishness… when the role of man according to bible is to lay down his life for his wife. Conflicting to say the least.

  61. rado marjanac Reply

    This post may be over 2 years old, but that does nothing to diminish its relevance for me. As a 58 year old catholic born in Tito’s Jugoslavia, I have had a complex and trouble faith journey. I left the catholic Church at age of 18 and returned at the age of 50.My mother is Catholic and my father Serbian Orthodox. I was born in Catholic Slovenija, there I was baptised. My father decided to baptise me anew in the Serbian Orthodox Church at the age of 15.
    Upon returning to the Catholic faith I have read extensively to learn. To learn what I never knew or never understood.
    Today I go to my local mass and it is as weak as water and does nothing to fortify me. So I go to faithful catholic web sites like Father Ed Tomlinson in Pembury England and Leilla Miller at “Little Catholic Bubble”. I read Tolkein, CS Lewis and Chesterton or even John Eldridge.

    I am not the same as my Wife. We often argue about this exact topic. I need more than what the Church in Australia provides. It is lead by weak Priests and Bishops who are always happiest to settle for second best, and appease at all times.

    I have been described as intense because I hold to the Catechism of the Catholic church. Currently I hold the badge of being a bigot and intolerant religious fanatic because I oppose ” marriage equality”. I love order, tradition and mystery. I also love a good battle, and thats what we are in the middle of.

    The Mass is for all Men, men and women, Greek and Jew. For all, therefore it can and needs to satify the needs of men and women. The Holy Trinity are followed by the Virgin Mother Mary and the by her husband, the foster father of Jesus. A great example and mystery to ponder on.
    Does that make me reek of insecurity and selfishness. I would gladly lay down my life for Christ, this minute, But only for him. If that is in the service of my wife or my fellow man.

  62. agree with what you have written here. I have noticed a greater number of men at the Latin Mass who are highly involved in their parish. I would just like to add that the casual liturgies you describe do not appeal to women either who love tradition. I am also a convert and I also struggled with the casualness in the Mass until I found the Latin Mass. The casualness is just not spiritually helpful. It is also I think not feminine either, because women imitate Our Lady best by praying at Mass, not taking the responsibilities of the priest or deacon or altar boy. So I’d say the TLM has enough masculinity to bring a man there and enough femininity that women can relate to it on a spiritual level too. The two aspects are perfectly congruent there. I also noticed about music: the women in the parish love the music as much as the men. As a woman, I highly dislike the banal modern hymns and their ambiguity, because I want to sing to God, not sing about the community aspect. We are in community but the vertical aspect must be emphasised. In my Latin Mass parish, both men and women like the music. Even some songs with more personal words (polyphonies like Jesu Rex Admirabilis’) are liked by men I know because they are about God and actually express something to Him… They may be very loving but not sentimental. Anyway, in my opinion the Latin Mass has a lot that appeals to both masculinity and femininity and somehow those aspects totally coexist there without contradiction. Maybe it helps that men have the more masculine active roles and women veil and pray like Our Lady did at Holy Mass 🙂

  63. Thank you for your post. I agree with all the points you made and they were well stated. As a serious Catholic man I am most attracted to the Holy Mass that is reverent. I am blessed to belong to St. Francis Xavier parish in Acushnet, Massachusetts. Our parish is Eucharistic and Marian. We arr blessed with a very orthodox pastor who is unafraid to teach the truths of the faith and morals, no wishy washy fluff. We have only altar boys, about 40 of them. The tabernacle is in the center of the highest part of the sanctuary where it belongs. We sing Latin, and have the sweet aroma of incense. Our priest and deacon wear beautiful vestments not bed sheets. We have the Tridentine Mass every Thursday, Eucharistic adoration everyday and night, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Evening Prayer. Devotions to Our Lady and the Sacred Heart of Jesus are promoted and practiced. There see many men, young families, young people, babies, all attending Mass. The parish continues to attract more and more people. These are the types of parishes we need more of, and I am sure many Catholics long for liturgies that are reverent and transcending. This is not a return to the past, it is a continuation of our tradition and faith in the present.

  64. It was never the intention of the 2nd Vatican Council — much less of the Holy Father — to institute Reception of Holy Communion in the hand; where that abuse had become a practice at the time of the Council (the Netherlands and some parts of Germany) it received an indult. How it received an indult in the USA — where, until that time it was never practiced — is a far murkier story; but it assuredly was never the intention of the Church: read the Instruction of Pope Paul VI of May 28 1969, On the Manner of Distributing Holy Communion; it can be found in its entirety here: http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/documentText/Index/2/SubIndex/11/ContentIndex/289/Start/241

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