May 23, 2011

The Good(?) Old Days

For Mitchell

Many Catholics among us look back with longing to a day when all Catholics knew and practiced their faith, all the Masses were solid and reverent, and all the priests were good looking and above average!

It was not St. Woebegone; but it sure seems like it. I was born in the Dark Days after the Empire, uh, in the post-Vatican II era. I don’t remember a day when every Mass was mostly in Latin and Introits were chanted (heck, what was an Introit if not an Opening Hymn?) and women more mantillas to Mass and priests scared the hell out of you with the Homily.

I’ve spoken to my Dad and other older relatives about what they recall abou the Mass back in what was supposedly the good old days (pre-Vatican II in this present age seems to be the dividing line between pre-historic and the modern era) and as most of them are from small towns, they report they never had chant scholas, yes, only boys were altar servers, Mass was said ad orientem and women had mantillas but they rarely knew what was going on or why, they couldn’t understand Latin so they read along in a Missalette (if they could afford one-my Dad’s family never could). They may have memorized the Baltimore Catechism but they didn’t get as much education on the whys and wherefores of the Liturgy. If you were an altar server, you may learn slightly more about the Mass than other kids.

I don’t think that a reclamation of the 1962 Mass (EF Mass) means the Church will gradually shift back to a rose-colored age. I don’t think such an age ever existed as more than a never-lived dream. I do think that we know more about Liturgy in this day and age than we ever did back in the “golden” age. We have the opportunity to apply what we have learned AND deepening our interior spiritual life thru the partcipation in Holy Mass. Is THIS not the golden age?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make a good point, Cath. I didn't understand what was going on in the liturgy of the old Mass back in those days, either--of course I was only 2 when they started the changes ;)

My dream and ideal Mass would be to say the Tridentine Mass in the English translation (the right side of the missal). And it wouldn't be a bad idea for the congregation to say a few of the responses along with the priest, especially the maxima culpa and a couple others. Thatt liturgy is just too beautiful for improvement, the whole attitude is one of humility and worshipful AWE at the reality of what is taking place on the altar, as it should be! and as the Great Saints of the ages who have gone before us have prayed it too--why improve on THAT? But people would definitely be able to follow and pray along with it better if it were in their own vernacular tongue.

BTW, how is Dad doing? I'm keeping y'all in my prayers.

May 24, 2011 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget that a great many people studied Latin in those days. It wasn't so much the Latin but that so many of the prayers of the Mass were said inaudibly by the priest that may have led to the sense of not knowing what was going on. I don't recall having much of a problem. The sisters and my parents instructed me well, and I always had a missal to follow along.

May 26, 2011 8:01 AM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...

I've always wondered about the "Golden Age" when all the priests were Bing Crosby and all the nuns were Ingrid Bergmann.

Actually, if you take a look at it, most of the 'weird' of the Post VII Church was instituted and instigated by people formed, educated and often ordained during the "Golden Age".

I don't think there ever was one, perhaps just an ostrich age.

May 26, 2011 6:56 PM  
Blogger 3puddytats said...

Me and several of my acquaintances are "JPII" Catholic converts...

We all agree..

If the Mass was still in Latin we would not be Catholics...the smattering of Latin I know is from Biology and botany classes..scientific names.

I've tried the Latin Mass.. several times...I just dont' get it..yes it is lovely, but to me lovely in a way as watching a fine ballet or opera. If the opera is in Italian...I find I spend more time trying to following along with the English translation than greally getting INTO the opera..

I don't go to Mass to sit and read a book...I can to that quite a bit more confortably at home with a glass of wine and a comfortable chair.

Mass in the vernacular makes it REAL to me..

My HO....Sara

May 26, 2011 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Smartuckus said...

I think you need to insert an interim period. Before the liberalization of the church most Catholics learned Latin in grade school. The Latin Missal was widely used and people certainly did understand what was going on during Mass - how couldn't they? After all, not only did their religious education include a complete instruction on the Mass (see Fr. John Laux's text books for one of many examples), after just a few Masses even school children were very quick to pick up what was going on. THAT was the golden age.
Once Catholic parents started shifting their children into public schools Latin was either not taught, or it was an elective that only Catholic children were taking, for which they were persecuted to an extent. Then came Vatican II! By this point the secularization of children's education had done a really good job of disarming Catholics and making them feel comfortable with the secularization, or rather the liberalization of their Catholic faith. And who were these theologians promoting this liberalization? The very same ones whose new age beliefs found their way into the consiliar documents of that council. Rahner, Conger, Schillibeeckx, Curran and company.
The Golden Age, the pre-consiliar age, and the post-consiliar age; that's what I'd break it down to.
I still attend the Latin Mass and I could never be comfortable in the Novus Ordo, I like the quiet, personal interaction with Jesus - far from reading a book, those in attendance pray the Mass along with the priest. Sure, it's not an ecumenical sing-song replete with Kumbayas and other such hoot-nannies; and we don't have all the glad -handing and lack of respect (to God) found in the "sign of peace," and we don't have guitar "masses," - heck, we know we take part in a real and valid sacrifice, confected by a legitimate priest, devoid of any liturgical abuses; none of our altar boys are being sodomized by un-classicly trained presbyters. There is an irreplaceable comfort in attending the Latin liturgy that was written, in all the essentials, by St. Peter; the Mass of so many saints! I don't get that level of comfort with the Novus Ordo, knowing that not only us its very existence a violation of the mandate promulgated by Pope St. Pius V in Quo Primum, but that its chief architect was a secret and excommunicated freemason, and that of those who contributed to writing it, not a single one was Catholic. But there are obviously many people who like what I just described - or at least they are willing to put up with it because they don't think they'll understand the Latin. To each his own.

June 01, 2011 2:12 PM  

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