Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Oh it is so on...

See here for updates at the Fisheaters forum. I am a ''raving loon'' on one blog, and a notorious sodomite waving a pink flag on Fisheaters. Or perhaps I am just a simple unassuming Christian who lives life to the full, and wants the real thing when I go to church on Sunday? I think I am very misunderstood. I venture to add that perhaps all this bickering detracts from the raison d'être of this blog - which is to raise awareness about the loss of liturgical sense in the West by taking a critical look at where things have perhaps gone wrong in the Roman Church (and not just since the Council!), or some devotions/traditions have got ''out of hand,'' to the detriment of Liturgy.

It doesn't do to just assume that everything was hunky dorey 50 years ago, and that the great enemies of Tradition are Bugnini and trendy nuns casting aside their habits. There were huge problems in the Church in the 1950s - the photo I criticized in the last post is evidence enough of this (though I do not pretend to know exactly when it was taken); it may well have been the ''Old Rite,'' but it was a state of Liturgy clearly exhausted by tampering at magisterial level, and degraded by the spectacle of bad clergy and disinclined laity. As a friend of mine said over lunch on Sunday - in Ireland 60 years ago, the attitude to Liturgy was pretty much the same as it is now - the only difference being that now the Celebrant begins (if you're lucky): ''in the name o' the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost;'' rather than Introibo ad altare Dei. What difference does it make if the Mass is in banal English or garbled Latin when you just can't be bothered? It's this aliturgical attitude, and not just prevalent in Ireland, that is an underlying problem in the Church, and which quite frankly I think is irredeemable. The problem lies largely in the imbalanced view of the Roman Church that the Eucharistic Liturgy eclipses all other Liturgy in the sense of the prime importance of the Blessed Sacrament, and reducing the Sacred Liturgy to bare sacramental validity - that however the Eucharist is procured is irrelevant, so long as it's there. This is, to borrow a phrase aptly coined by an Orthodox friend, the ''Low Mass mentality.'' The result of this is the relegation of the Divine Office to the private prayerbook, and obligation, of the priest alone rather than the public prayer of the Church, and the duty of all the People of God; the aliturgical abuse we now have, namely, evening Mass; a series of garbled Low (or ''private'') Masses celebrated at side Altars, to the clear detriment of High Mass; and ultimately a peasant religion of cults, miraculous medals and beads, where Liturgy is just incidental to the ecclesial life of the parish, and something one puts oneself through of necessity on Sunday for an hour. I do not seriously think that humble parishes with the scantiest resources can provide Liturgy to match that of a Cathedral or Monastery. What I do think, however, is that it behoves them to do all that they can within their means to emulate Cathedral Liturgy; and I do not mean add a million candles and more lace on solemnities but trying to procure something authentic and traditional; to be catholic in the all encompassing sense of that term.

I'm sorry but this is an impossible ideal in the Roman Church. The damage wrought by the Pope and his sycophants in the Curia to the Sacred Liturgy has been too great, and neglected for too long. The Church has done literally nothing to correct her gross alterations of the liturgical texts in the last 100 years, or anything ''pastoral'' in the sense of trying to get Catholics to understand their own importance in matters liturgical. The Traditionalist ''response'' to the crisis has been predictable and misguided - they seek only to emulate the errors of the pre-Conciliar Church by assuming that Low Mass and Benediction are acceptable, and remedies to a deep-seated problem. They are not interested in historical liturgical accuracy any more than the liberals, and are afflicted with exactly the same attitude - they are just a different side to the same coin; they scoff at ''active participation'' as though it is a bad thing, when in fact the Roman attitude to the presence of laity at Mass is one of several bad ''developments'' in the Liturgy. Why have sung Office and High Mass as the liturgical norm when you can have a million Low Masses instead? I don't see that the ancestral forms of Liturgy are in any way simple. I think it is precisely because they are so complex, and require that much more effort, that these people simply can't be bothered.

As for Fisheaters; carentium caritatis pro zelo accipiunt, et ignorantiam pro orthodoxia.


  1. A concise and splendid apology for your purpose, Patricius, in the face of a distinct lack of charity (to be polite) from those who claim the seal of Christ.

    I think that it says much more about your detractors than it does you that they have chosen to pounce on your particular channels of interest and your manner of expression in the way that they have. You have never made any secret of the fact that you are Aspie. Therefore, if they have read your blog, as they claim, they must be aware of this and yet have decided to act in a way that betrays what truly lies in their hearts and is barely concealed under a thin veil of Christianity. If they do not know this about you, then they have not read your blog at all and are simply liars. Either way, the response is to pray for their conversion of heart.

    'If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else - even his own soul - when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks.' - Abba Zeno

  2. Whilst I wholeheartedly appreciate that a Solemn Mass is to be preferred to a Low Mass, that's all very well if you have all the Sacred Ministers and Clerics necessary to offer it. I personally have no problem with Low Mass - for some of us it is the only way we can confect and receive our 'daily Bread' - that which is necessary to sustain us now and for eternal life...

  3. I think some of the comments over at fisheaters make good points about you, some are over the top which mirror the over the top posts you make sometimes. You have a worthwhile blog but you come off as catty and mean spirited sometimes. You turn people off when you could be converting them. You have some good points why not be charitable about them, stop calling out Father Z like you have a crush on him. Fr H does not seem to have the same bone to pick you do with Z but he makes a similar case like you do about the liturgy. Love the blog (except when you go way over the top) and hope you go to a monastery to figure out your relation to the Church.


    May the Lord bless you and keep you and all those who read your blog.

  4. Patrick.
    I am keeping you in my prayers at the moment.

  5. If what the priest is doing or saying, and therefore the language he is saying what he is saying in, distracts the laity from their prayers, then clearly it makes quite a lot of difference.

  6. Catholic Boy, the point was that the language doesn't matter if you simply can't be bothered in the first place. I would rather attend a devout and decorous Choral Evensong in Westminster Abbey than a garbled Low Mass said by a visibly disinclined, and even vulgar, priest.

  7. best blog i've read in a while - who couldn't use a little humour along with all the good sense?

  8. petefarrugia, thank you, that is very kind of you. I hope you enjoy future posts.

  9. The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals.

    Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children - from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn - open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand - after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come."

    JRR Tolkien

  10. Relax, dude. I make a lot of the same arguments throughout the forum that you do on your blog. Yeah, I think you go batshit with the fixation on Pius XII (who doesn't?), but not everyone is your enemy. When you lay out a solid argument in favor of solemn Mass and the Office, and that the 1962 books have their deficiencies, most trads on Fish Eaters will agree with you. That's been my experience, at any rate.

    --"The Harlequin King"

  11. James C, while I appreciate your contribution I knew of this letter when I was 14 years old and have quoted it many times. Much as it pains me to disagree with Tolkien, I think that frequent Communion is not necessarily a good thing since it seems redolent of the ''Low Mass mentality.'' Tolkien went to Low Mass everyday for most of his life.

  12. "I would rather attend a devout and decorous Choral Evensong in Westminster Abbey than a garbled Low Mass said by a visibly disinclined, and even vulgar, priest."

    I take it, by this statement, that you also disagree with Tolkien's second point?

    I admit to having this beautiful passage from his letters memorized; it has helped me many times to exhibit more charity when I find myself in less-than-ideal liturgical conditions.

    As for me, I would both go to the Mass AND attend the Evensong at Westminster Abbey. In case of a conflict I would go to the Mass.

    Safe to say that Tolkien loathed Anglicanism and would not attend, no matter how pretty the Protestant service.

  13. James C, Tolkien attended many Anglican services during his life and his contempt for the Established Church was for very personal reasons, as you probably know, which I do not share.

  14. A reader, by the name of friest, sent me their comment by email since they had trouble posting it. Here it is:

    Not to worry, Patricius, a priest once said ''I love the Old Mass, but
    do not particularly like the people who love the Old Mass.'' Indeed,
    there does seem to me a much higher percentage of uncharitable,
    narrow-minded, ignorant, unattractive pharisees amongst Roman Catholic
    Traditionalists than in the general population. But personaly, i have
    met quite a few charitable, broad-minded, intelligent, normal-like and
    likeable persons amongst them: mostly men, clerical and lay, younger and
    older, who , however are intimidated by the majority into silence. Ak,
    the price we pay to participate in a semblance of authentic Catholic
    worship. Funnily enough, most of the women amongst the traditionalists
    seem to be witches.
    PS. All the Masses which i celebrate, both private (unscheduled, the
    much greater part) and public (scheduled, the much lesser part) , are
    chanted. I chant all the audible parts of the Mass. I chant Laudes and
    Vespers at home by myself. Because of eyesight problems i am dispensed
    from the Breviary, but do chant (in great part recto tono) these two
    Hours daily. SO, it is possible. I agree with you that Low (read) Mass
    and private Breviary mumbling are unworthy, unliturgical,
    anti-traditional and unjustifiable.

  15. I must say I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiments, particularly about the Trad women, who often seem to be considerably less pleasant and more conceited than the men, and who (as a rule) know nothing about Liturgy.

  16. At our local formerly "indult" parish, the pastor had to knock a lot of heads. The parish busybodies pushed hard for Low Masses, but the pastor stood up to the pressure. He issued an ultimatum: Solemn Mass on Sundays or none at all. God bless him.

    Have you ever checked out the great book "Why Catholics Can't Sing", Patricius? It has a lot of interesting and eye-opening things to say about both the "Low Mass" and "screeching cantress" mentalities.

  17. James C, yes indeed God bless that man.

    No I've never read that book, I can't say that I've even heard of it.

  18. Patricius, it is a book after your own heart. He places the beginning of the liturgical crisis of the Church long before the Council. I realize now that it was probably never published in the UK. For shame.

    You can find it here:


    Or else I can lend you my copy of it when I relocate to the UK this summer.

  19. 'I must say I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiments, particularly about the Trad women, who often seem to be considerably less pleasant and more conceited than the men, and who (as a rule) know nothing about Liturgy. '

    Thanks for that.

  20. Leutgeb,

    I said ''often'', not always, and my experience of Traddies extends beyond the parish boundaries of Blackfen. And I'm sure Fr Finigan has said something to the effect of ''just ignore him,'' so I wonder that you took the trouble to comment here. I certainly intended no offence to you personally.

  21. I'm sure you intended no offence to me personally, but on the back of the comment preceeding yours suggesting that most traddie woman are 'witches,' with which you were agreeing, it didn't read in a terribly friendly way.

    Fr Finigan has made no comment in my hearing suggesting that you be ignored, Patricius. I'm sorry that you think that.