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typing away caseycookwordpresscomRegular visitors to Churchmouse Campanologist no doubt will have read the eloquent comments from a delightful lady, Cinzia. 

On Sunday, July 26, 2009, Cinzia and her family attended a Novus Ordo (New Order!) Mass in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.  She has been searching for a parish to call her own but, so far, to no avail.  Unfortunately, Mass at one particular church pushed her to the point where she felt duty bound to write to the parish priest.

Cinzia is of the last generation of Catholics to grow up attending Latin Mass, using a Missal and being well-versed in all the traditions and teachings of the Church.  As this formation deepened her faith, she wishes to recapture this for herself and her family.  But it’s not easy in a post-Vatican II world. 

Cinzia says, ‘The Missal.  Yes, this amazing book was instrumental in shaping my faith and my Christian education, my understanding of the Latin Rite, the doctrines and liturgies of the Church, and above all, in helping to strengthen my faith and my love for God.

‘I used to love turning the pages of this very special book of mine – recite the prayer of the day or evening, read about a particular saint and so on. I would religiously take it with me to Mass on Sundays and to school services during the week.’

Against this backdrop, Post-Vatican II Mass can be unfulfilling and alienating. The hymns, the noise and the irreverence disappoint her. She admits that she doesn’t always attend Mass for that reason. Cinzia is a One True Church person in search of a One True Church parish.  Occasionally, she goes to the Catholic cathedral in Melbourne for Latin Mass, however, it’s a considerable drive from her house and it means factoring in extra time in getting her children ready to go.  So, she has been trying other Catholic parishes closer to home.

Follow the arrows

‘I went to Mass for the first time in a different suburb, because that is where my son was going to play his weekly football match after church. We got there at 11 a.m., and we couldn’t make out which building was the church! We then saw a sign on a wall which said, “Mass today will be in the Hall.” We followed the arrows and sure enough, found a hall full of noise, chatter and confusion. We went in just as Mass was starting.

‘The priest kept interrupting the Mass with all sorts of other talk, whatever came to mind. In the middle of Mass, a dozen children were called up to the front to recite a prayer about when they would receive their First Holy Communion. Further on, a couple and their baby were also called to the front to be introduced as the couple with baby who was going to be baptised sometime in the future … The sermon was focused entirely on money, and “giving” to Caritas and to Project Compassion and to the “Project 100″ (the Palestinians). The priest made the relation between this and the story of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes.

‘There was no sacred tabernacle, this being a hall. There was a crucifix, a makeshift altar, chairs scattered around and lots of noise, chatter and confusion throughout the entire Mass, the priest making most of the noise himself.’

Take, this, the microphone …

‘But all that was somewhat bearable until — now comes the appalling part – and I tell you I almost had a heart attack! Just before the Consecration, the priest tells everybody, “It is better if you all sit rather than kneel.” Why? I wondered, there was plenty of room for kneeling. Then during the Consacration, he lifts up the host with one hand, and the microphone in the other while saying, “This is My Body ….” Then again, he lifts the chalice AND THE MICROPHONE together and he holds them both up while he says, “This is the cup of My Blood …”

‘From there, it gets worse. At Communion time, he calls up a lady, lifts the large host (the body of Christ), cracks it in two, and gives her half and tells her to “break it up into little pieces and then go and distribute it” – which she does.  Unbelievable! Has the Catholic Church really sunk this low?’

Troubled by the disorderly Mass, the noise, the priest’s instructions not to kneel, the outrageous consecration with the microphone and requesting a layperson to break the Host and distribute it, Cinzia was spurred into action.  All of these showed a clear lack of respect for the Lord and His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. What an example to give to children.  She wanted to speak to the priest quietly after Mass, but there were too many people around.

At home, she recalled the words of the late Archbishop Fulton J Sheen who said:

Who is going to save our Church?  Not our bishops, not our priests and religious.  It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church.  Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops and your religious act like religious.

So, that evening, she wrote a letter to the priest.  She also copied the Archbishop of Melbourne.  Not many people love the Church enough to have the courage to call out a priest on his errors.  More should.  However, as I mentioned in an earlier post, be prepared for a postmodern backlash.

That’s exactly what Cinzia got. 

Straight from the Postmodern Playbook

Cinzia doesn’t know the priest, who she estimates is in his early to mid-60s.  He doesn’t know her — she was just one of the congregation.  It was the first time she had attended this church. 

On July 28, the priest rang her.  Cinzia says, ‘I was shaking when I got off the phone.  It was terrible.  He said that I was a “very disturbed person“.’ Remember, the priest doesn’t even know this lady yet feels free to label her ‘disturbed’.  It’s very postmodern to accuse strangers with whom we disagree of having disorders.

He also told her she was ‘dishonest‘ and ‘untruthful‘ about remembering Latin Mass. Note the postmodern propensity to discredit memory.  This is a common accusation from older priests who are dead set against Latin Mass. One told me the same thing and also said my mother couldn’t remember Latin Mass when she had grown up with it!

Cinzia continues, ‘The priest then said that he was going to call the Archbishop and give him his “side of the story.”  And he went on to say, “The Archbishop knows me very well, they all know me.”‘ This is the postmodern threat of reporting someone to authority.  Like a cowardly school bully: ‘I’ll tell on you’, when they’re the ones in the wrong.

The best defence is a good offence

Cinzia says, ‘I have to laugh when I think about how heated the conversation was.  Then, out of nowhere, he decided to cut off the conversation because he obviously didn’t like the way it was going. He tried the “I know the Archbishop” kind of threat, and again found that he could not intimidate me in any way.  On the contrary, he had to deal with my straightforward, honest answers, and he had no counter-response to them!  He lost on all fronts!  So he ended the call with a real icing on the cake: “Well I have to go to lunch now, so I can’t talk to you anymore.” What an absurdly comic ending.

‘I was half expecting a call from the Archdiocese of Melbourne.  A week has passed and nothing has happened. I sure hope someone from the Archdiocese calls me.  It will be most interesting to hear their reaction and what they have to say.  I am certainly not afraid of what I have to say.’ 

You don’t have to sit quietly in the background moaning about irreverent Masses.  Take action.  Schedule a meeting with your priest.  Or write him a letter.  But, get your facts together, be constructive and rehearse what you’re going to say, like Cinzia did. 

Make an impact.  You can do itArchbishop Sheen would applaud you.

 

For more articles on postmodernism, click here.

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