Monday, August 07, 2006

Mass Preferences

Something that has become an increasingly asked question around the Catholic traps is “What is your Mass Preference?”, "What kind of Mass do you go to?" or some other varient.

I have a problem with this. It really doesn’t sit all that comfortably with me. Why? I’m not overly sure. However, I’ll try and give some kind of reason.

Firstly you are talking about MASS here. You know, Christ, transubstantiating Himself into the form of bread and wine, the most incredible and wondrous mystery that we have been given by God. So when asking what is your Mass preference it can seem a little like they are saying, “So how do YOU like YOUR Jesus?” Whether they mean to or not.

Secondly, whether it is meant or not, this kind of question seems to me to breed a kind of snobbery. A “My Mass is better then your Mass” kind of mentality. Now I have been accused myself of being a liturgical snob. In some of my most formative years I was lucky enough to have as a Parish Priest Fr William Fitzgerald, who is an incredible liturgist and who now resides in the States. Because of this kind of formation, I cringe every time I see a glass/wooden/clay/ “insert other obnoxious material here” chalice/pattern/ect. Or when women, who don’t understand their own feminine genius, get up and perform various roles and tasks of a priest. The other day I saw a women exposing the Blessed Sacrament while THE PRIEST WAS ON THE SANCTUARY Ahh!!!! It nearly killed me!

Yes liturgical abuses make me cry. But this is because the liturgy has been fomed in oder to link back to salvation history and to our faith. The Church has guidelines on it because if you do something wrong, then it can be like preaching a heresy in action rather than in words.

The snobbery I can’t stand is where if you say that you like the Novus Ordo, done well, and without a navel gazing focus, there is the danger that some will either see you as a liturgical fool who knows nothing, or as some kind of psycho-conservative who doesn’t understand the “ebb and flow of the spirit of Vatican II”.

Sheesh… I just can’t win!!!! You know what? I am not a “Traditional Catholic” but I don’t mind going to an Old Rite Mass every now and again. I am not a “Charismatic” by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been to “Charismatic Masses” which don’t abuse the liturgy. I am not a “Liberal Catholic”, I am not a “We are Church” Catholic, I am not a conservative Catholic, I am not a Feminist Catholic, or a “Neo-‘insert favourite phrase here’ Catholic”. Do you want to know what I am? I am a Catholic. That it! Just that. I have no Mass preference so long as it is in the truth, beauty, goodness and oneness of the Church.

Hmmm this is starting to sound like a rant. I might post part two of this later… hey!! At least it will mean that I have to post again! That will keep Shannon happy.


gregrandgar said...

Talk about gagging on gnats and swallowing camels — you are arguing about the kind of gnat you prefer when you have already swallowed the camel of transsubstantiation. I'll never get over such gullibility excused as an article of faith. And the dinasaurs were gods test of faith in the Bible.

aaron said...

Most of your commentary is reasonable. I put the post on my blog just out of interest to determine what kind of people read my blog. I know they are pretty much all orthodox, but what kind. Did I have the Fr. Fessio kind, real trads, or just plain old orthodox.

I think the question is a genuine one. It's more about the preference for liturgy. Anglicans will have similar. Low Church, High Church, Evangelical etc. Let alone all the breakaways. It purely determines liturgical preference in a similar way to asking what kind of music someone listens to.

Hey, this is good. I might post these comments of mine on my own blog.

PS. Comment moderation is on!
PPS. You don't have you blog on your profile to people interested in knowing your opinion from my blog can't find them.

Miss Monification said...

I don't know Aaron...I do understand what you mean but can you equate Mass with the type of music you listen to? I mean one is a holy sacrifice and the other is entertainment. Still doesn't sit all that well with me.
Anyway... I think I fixed that PPS problem you mentioned.

Edmund Blackadder said...

What the Indolent one was referring to perhaps, from apurely metaphysical point of view, was what did you prefer with regard to the 'accidentals', no one is disputing the substance of the Mass-that is the unbloody re-presentation of Jesus Christ on the Cross. My only problem is that whatever way you say we need to include more incense-it represents the prayers of the people and does also qualify as liturgical dry ice-kinda gives a more mysterious ambience, don't you think?

aaron said...

Yes, incense is a must... along with Byrd!!

Edmund Blackadder said...

I am a strict Gregorian Chanter myself but am fond of the odd drop of Gabrieli and other 16th cent Venetian music. But really we need as areform of the reform to have incense at the main mass on a Sunday-we should try to learn more from the East rather than from Calvinists when it comes to the liturgy.

Miss Monification said...

You people are crazy, interesting, but crazy...although I'm with you on the incense thing. A lot can be learned from that holy smoke.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Gregorian Chant but would love more polyphony, especially Byrd!

I understand what you mean though Miss Monification. I have encountered so many snobby attitudes about liturgy. All I ask is that it is done without breaking any of the rules and with a focus on God and the Sacrifice of the Mass. I like the Tridentine Mass but find the people who attend it to be so anti anything else. I find similar snobbery on the other side of things.
In the end it's the Mass and we should be focused on that.

Bec F

Elizabeth is so right right now said...

Monica I love you I do but I'm gonna have to disagree slightly. I totally agree with your general gist - that Jesus is Jesus and Mass is Mass, but I mean the Church has given us forms of worship that engage our eyes and our ears and our voices etc because it is good for us to be so engaged. These elements of the Mass are steeped in meaning, and that meaning helps us to encounter God in a way that is tangible to us, and that's important - that these things be tangible and meaningful for us. sure, Mass is ultimately about glorifying God, but it's important that we are engaged in it. and given that our human family is so varied, and that diversity is part of God's fabulous plan, certain people will be drawn to particular styles of worship. and I mean, the Tridentine Mass is just clearly really different to the Novus Ordo, and I think it's legitimate for people to say - well i get more out of one or the other (aka i prefer...). liturgical snobbery, however, is a scourge, i'll proffer no defence for that.

so yeah, altho i totally agree that every Mass is holy, and everyone needs to acknowledge that, I think it's part of God's plan that people "prefer" a certain liturgy over another...

Miss Monification said...

Hey Miss Liz!
Mmmmmmm yeah, I know where your coming from. People within the Church are drawn to various charisms and I don’t deny that. That’s great. But to me there is a danger to say I “get more out of such and such”. That is the same reason that people use for a “rock mass” or a “clown mass” (Small ‘m’ on purpose here!). It’s ‘more relevant’ to me.

To me Mass isn’t about me and what I get out of it. It is about glorifying God. Who cares if I get nothing, as long as God is being glorified. I believe that it’s not what you get out of faith that makes faith real. Faith is what you have when you are getting nothing and still believe.

All this being said I am drawn more to some ways of prayer then others. This is a charism, the way in which we are made to live for, and glorify God. I would prefer to be asked “What is your charism” then “what is your Mass preference” because these days the later just seems a way of someone trying to find out whether or not they think that they are more superior to you.
Make sense Liz?

Cypressus III said...

I agree with you Monica, but perhaps you don't understand what you are actually saying. You don't believe that there should be Mass 'preferences' but you agree that there are different 'charisms.' This is, however, contradictory. By having a 'special charism,' a mass will appeal to some more than others. Not in the sense that there is more or less 'Jesus' present, but in the way the mass facilitates people own prayer preferences etc. A mass attended prayerfully has more efficacy than one attended with apathy or distraction.

The problem you raise is, however, deeper. Simply, there is far too much variation in masses in the Roman Rite plain and simple. People should not have to have clear 'preferences,' but they do becuase you can go to one parish and another and feel like its almost totally different.

I am no fan of Rubricism, but I think you point out inadvertantly that there is far too much freedom to adapt in the current way of doing things. The Mass still retains its inherent beuty and holiness, but above that whatever happens in the random church a perons happens to walk into once is anybodys guess. And that is not a good thing

Cypressus III said...

I dream of a day when I walk into a Church for mass and it has the sanctuary arranged in a standard (but personalised) manner, there are altar servers who are male, the priest (and servers assisting)celebrate mass occording to the current rules and the parts of the mass are sung. These are pretty much the basic norms for any good mass that follows the norms set down by the Popes. "Charisms" come after these criteria are met to be legitimate. Any deviation is not a charism, but disobedince of Rome.

Miss Monification said...

Sigh... so hard to explain... I object to the WORDING of Mass preferences. I think that wording it like this breeds the "my Mass is better than your Mass" mentality ect ect ect.

I'm not saying that some don't people pray better one way and some another. I just hate the fact that there is so much judgment on the issue. I believe a lot of it comes down to the way in which people speak of the Mass.

Edmund Blackadder said...

We need to focus on what the essentials are in the Mass and that is that the form and matter which the church has laid down must be adhered to otherwise there is no Jesus, everything else is just academic! Incense is great by the way! I agree with one of the above correspondents you can't have more or less of Jesus, either he is there or he isn't.

Muriel said...

“Mass preference” is just different perceptions of what the mass is.

If you go to celebrate, self celebration and liturgical novelties are to be expected. I have to disagree though; there is no charismatic mass without liturgical abuse. Charismatic mass IS liturgical abuse.

If mass is Christ’s Sacrifice for you, then only solemn worship and strict adherence to the rubrics are good enough. Anything less offends the Sacrifice.