July 27, 2007

Fear of Missalettes

A cranky Cathy post! (I might as well just state that up front so my readers know what to expect and be, appropriately, afraid! bwah-ha-ha-ha)

A lot of people are bitchin' that with the release of Summorum Pontificum Catholics will have to read the Mass in the Missalette to understand what is going on because the Mass won't be in the vernacular.

This Sunday take a look around at the people in the pews at your parish: How many, for whom English is their first language, already have their faces buried in the Missalette during the English Novus Ordo?

At my parish, which provides Missalettes at the door, it's about 1/2 the congregation.

If some Catholics can't take the time to memorize the Mass in their native language, these same people are not going to bother with the Latin anyway. They will read it just as they are doing now.

Frankly, I think you can be called lazy if you've known English your whole life and been going to essentially the same Mass for over 30 years and still haven't bothered to figured out what WTF is going on. But, what do I know what's in a person's heart, you lazy fool!?! (I"m talking here to those who have full capacity for learning. Let me make that clear before someone who has a learning disability chimes in and yells at me)

It astounds me that people will whine and say: "It's too hard, to memorize the Mass" or "I don't have time" and then turn around and quote to me all the stats for all the players on the current Minnesota Twins roster from memory.

The drama about people having to follow along, wah, wah, has no basis in "lived reality of the faithful" (a fav phrase of the dissenting set) since, from my observed experience, a lot of the faithful are regularly following along now.

For those who do know the English N.O. by heart but complain because they may have to read along with a Missalette for a while-get over it. We all have to start someplace. Baby steps, people. Be humble. Become a child again. Remember, what it was like? So, you may look like you don't know what's going on for a while. So will most everyone else. Most of the faithful every Sunday have no idea what's going on now. Why be different? LOL! Think of it this way: we (well, most of us anyway) are starting at the beginning at the same time. In any event, the odds of the Tridentine Mass sweeping the world overnight is low so for many S.P. may have little to no daily impact. Quit acting like it's a tsunami wave. Be glad that this particular document WILL NOT have the massive impact on EVERYONE that the Mass changes in the 70's did. My maternal Grandpa never recovered and virtually left the Church over the sudden shock of the "new Mass".

The Tridentine Mass is largely unknown to me so I'll be following along. I have to follow the Missal during parts of the Latin N.O. now because that Mass is fairly new to me. Heck, a properly celebrated Mass is fairly new to me! (Remember, the infamous parish I came from?) I had to relearn the Profession of Faith in English since I had not said it for nearly 20 years. I'd never heard of the Confiteor prior to 2004.

I don't understand why people are so afraid to learn and afraid others may judge their capacity to do so. Broaden your mind. Christ has given us a treasure trove of riches, why not explore all of it and learn as much of it as you can?


Blogger Ray from MN said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 27, 2007 5:09 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

It's a miracle, I tell you! Cathy was expecting to be in recuperation mode for months and here she comes out flying with a 5,000 word rant by the end of her first week!

Great job, Cathy.

And you're lucky because some considerate soul already had the foresight to get you your own missal. I would expect the prices of 1962 Latin Mass missals are skyrocketing already!

July 27, 2007 5:12 PM  
Anonymous nab said...

This is why I want Latin N.O. Not even necessarily it ints entirety, but at least the propers and the ordinary aside from the creed and maybe the Our Father.

WE DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT TRANSLATIONS. You learn it once, and you're done...I'm more freaked out about the idea of having the new translations come out that are just enough different to make it difficult to remember which is the old and which is the new, than I am having to learn something totally new. (Yes, yes, I want the new translation...I just wanted it before I was born.)

July 27, 2007 5:41 PM  
Anonymous nab said...

*in its* I don't know how that typo happened.

July 27, 2007 5:41 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Good post Kitten - glad you are back. (Off the pain meds, huh?)

I just want to add something to this however. The use of missalettes in the Novus Ordo was actually discouraged by many liturgists to promotote active participation of the congregation, and to prevent people from burying their heads in the missal - which I always thought was dumb. (Conspiracy theory alert! It may have kept people from recognizing when the priest improvised in the Mass, or left things out as well.)

Nevertheless, following the Mass in a missal, especially for those not accustomed to attending Mass regularly, or the hard of hearing, is very helpful to understand the prayers, readings, etc.. It is not a bad thing no matter what form of Mass one attends.

There is much to be said for using a missal, especially if one has a tendency to be distracted at Mass. We hear what we read - which is similar to Lectio Divina, when the person reads the text out loud - which has a positive, double effect, involving all of the senses, immersing one in the prayer. It has always been a part of the TLM and it's not a bad thing.

The anti-missalette thing comes from dubious liturgical directors and nouveau liturgists. Part of the tactics to promote this was the inference a person who used a missalette was dumb or old fashioned, and not "community" minded.

July 27, 2007 6:31 PM  
Blogger Ma Beck said...

My missal, which belonged to my dear father (oh, no, he's still with us - he just was so tickled when he heard I was going all Trid on him that he sent me his missal in a moment of joy and gratitude)is like a friend to me. I love how it smells, I love the old pictures, I love how I can virtually open it to the "Beginning of Mass" section just by feel.
It's mine, all mine.
Missals are very personal. My holy cards are interspersed throughout, the note my father sent along with the missal is there to remind me to pray for him, my five little ribbons mark places and prayers that are special to me.
I don't understand people who DON'T want one of these beautiful little books to call their own, and to one day pass on to their child.
(And I also have the Daily Roman Missal for the NO Mass, which I love.)
Well, consider me Missal Defense!

July 28, 2007 12:27 AM  
Blogger JesusFreak84 said...

I use a Daily Roman Missal at the English NO I attend. Partially, I read the prayers myself since I know full well the priests in my parish will never follow them. Secondly, 90% of the lectors in my parish are Filipino; I have no problem with that, but the result is that 9 times out of 10, their accents are so thick, I haven't the slightest WHAT they're saying when reading the readings. A missal allows me to follow the readings on my own, rather than sitting there just twiddling my thumbs. Basically, a missal allows me to "pray the Mass," as Pope St. Pius X told us to do, in a way that would not be possible in my parish without it.

July 28, 2007 3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes,yes,yes! I'll be happy to have a missal in my hands. I prefer following along with the lectors and priest during the readings at mass. Our parish has the readings in a few of the gather hymnals(randomly dispersed) which are coded with a square on the outside. I enter the pew, and fumble around in hopes of finding one of these...usually in vain. I am a visual person and like to read along while I listen- it does help me focus more intensely on the words. We have subscribed in the past to the Magnificat and Magnificat for Children and those are great, provided I remember to bring them!:)
Glad you're back Cathy, great post.

July 28, 2007 7:48 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

As Terry said, sometimes the missal(ette) is a tool for focusing one's attention. I have the responses memorized, but I like to follow the readings in print, I am a visual person. And yes, the anti-missalette thing sometimes did come from the "ad-lib the liturgy" crowd. The tackiest thing I have seen, though, is the parish where they didn't have missalettes, but projected the song words onto the wall, and there was a little dot bouncing around to show you where to sing. (Think "Sing Along With Mitch"!)

July 28, 2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Missalettephobia (missa-letta-fobeeah): Fear or hatred of Missalettes and Missals. Modern: Contempt of Leaflet Missal Company Management.

July 28, 2007 11:56 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Terry: LOL!

All: Thanks for your comments. Let me make myself clear because I don't think I did in my post.

I have a special problem with the individuals who use the missalette for the unchanging parts of the Mass because they have not committed it to memory. These would be things like the Sanctus, Gloria and Credo.

I identify these folks by their lack of response without the Missal in their hands or their mad scramble to find it because they don't know the responses.

I think it's a different thing entirely to read the Missal if the Lector is unclear or if you bring the Missal because you can't understand the language or maybe you want to know what the Secret Prayer is or your holy cards are in it (as Ma said)

However, I maintain that there is a fine line between overusing and overrelying on the Missal and not participating fully in the Mass because you have your attention divided between the Missal and the action in situations where, really, with some effort, you could, perhaps, do without the Missal.

I LOVE my St. Andrew Missal that Ray gave me and I have it stocked full of prayer cards but I don't look at it during Mass unless there is a Latin that I don't know.

I, too, have been in situations, like jesusfreak84, where you can't understand the Lector because of their accent OR they have contorted the readings so badly in their mad quest for inclusive language that you can't tell what the heck the readings were supposed to be in the first place.

July 28, 2007 3:27 PM  
Blogger Melody said...

I have a St. Andrew Missal, too. It has not yet been used; I picked it up for 50 cents on a remainder table at a bookstore in about 1969. I wore out two clothbound student daily missals in grade school. We had dialogue Mass every day, and missals were required. I envied the more well-to-do kids who had the gilt edges and real leather covers. So I bought the deluxe edition St. Andrew's, even though I knew it would probably not be used. But maybe now it will be. I still remember most of the Latin responses, and the Confiteor.

July 28, 2007 7:22 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

As a mom with two little ones, I hardly ever get to pick up a missal because my hands are always busy with the kids. I don't even miss it any more and only really used them for the readings/gospel since I have some hearing loss.

What I think is odd is a local parish buys the 1/2" thick missals and has then well stocked in every pew. But, then prints up, each week, a flier (maybe that's what you are calling a missalette) that is handed out before each Mass, containing that day's readings, responses and songs. Seems like a huge waste of money, effort and time seeing as the missals are also in the pew. Why recreate the wheel, I mean, missal?

July 30, 2007 2:24 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

swissmiss: Good point. Perhaps that is done because someone needs a job? It is redundant.

July 30, 2007 6:43 PM  

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