Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Latin Mass at Sacred Heart

Thanks to the heads-up from blog contributor "Anonymous", I attended a Latin Mass at Sacred Heart on a Saturday evening a few weeks ago.

Contrary to my expectations (and perhaps contrary to the hopes of those who scheduled it for 7:30 pm on a Saturday evening in October), there were about 100 people present. The Filipina ladies in mantillas that I have always seen at Latin Masses in New York City were present, kindly distributing booklets at the door to facilitate comprehension and participation. Yes, the majority of those present were senior citizens with a sprinkling of middle aged people, but there were also a surprising number of families with young children and some teenagers. In a clever move, the organizers posted signs requesting that worshippers confine themselves to the first 10 pews on either side of the aisle, thus avoiding the dispiriting sight of the usual Catholic seating arrangement (i.e. as far away from everyone else as possible). A holy silence prevailed as I entered the church, but the extraordinary atmosphere for this extraordinary Mass couldn't prevent the teenagers and some adults from doing that infuriating, bastardized form of pseudo-Catholic genuflection (slightly bend a knee and then swat away imaginary flies from in front of your face).

Father Jerome, the pastor, was the celebrant and did a wonderful job. He admitted, during his short sermon, that he had to teach himself the Latin, and so he apologized for any mispronunciations he might have made. That was a telling statement. Would a priest go to the trouble of teaching himself to say the Latin Mass just to appease a few cranks once or twice every 2 years? Or does Father Jerome believe in its spiritual value and does he plan to re-introduce the Old Mass into his parish on a more regular basis? If he can draw 100 people on a Saturday night, how many would attend at 10:30 on Sunday morning?

The Mass was beautiful and serene. The usual organist was on duty, but she played mostly Latin hymns rather than the awful, un-singable stuff she usually chooses. People sang. It was a great experience, which I hope will be repeated. The Filipina ladies were asking for names and email addresses afterwards, in order to organize supporters to agitate for more of the Latin Mass. I haven't heard from them yet, but time will tell. The Mass was a great success which I hope will be the sign of a resurgence of Tradition in our local churches.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Outdoor Masses

Interesting topic, at least to me: the pastor of St. Ann's church, Fr. Joy Mampilly, recently celebrated the Mass at South Beach, with a small part of the congregation in attendance. The occasion was to mark the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, during which 1 of the parish's members was killed. There was really no reason to hold the Mass on the beach, except to excite emotion among the participants. In fact, the Redemptoris Sacramentum states explicitly:

Chapter V

1. The Place for the Celebration of Holy Mass
[108.] The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place. The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.

There was no necessity to celebrate this Mass outdoors, such as the Pope does in the event of gigantic crowds, or as happens on the battlefield in wartime. This was done for mere dramatic effect and for sentimentality. And was permission given by the Cardinal? So what will be the result? Yet another blow against sacredness and sacramentality. Why have Mass in a church? Why even go to Mass? Let's worship God in His own great outdoors! Young women, already indoctrinated by wedding shows on basic cable to yearn for scenic outdoor weddings, will rightly ask why their priest cannot bless their marriage on the beach, or on a cruise ship, at the country club or on the top of Mount Moses, rather than in some stuffy church with all those grim statues and crucified Jesus. Will the pastor of St. Ann's church have a convincing answer?

Oddo hits back

So, the tone of this spat over Mount Manresa is starting to turn ugly and anti-clerical. Yes, the Rev. Hallinan's article in the Advance was rude and disingenuous, but Councilman Oddo, a man known for his temper, didn't have to respond with base insults. In a tweet, the Councilman called the priest arrogant, indifferent and disrespectful and accused him of "hiding behind his collar" because he hadn't returned the Councilman's phone call. Now, I agree that the Order and Father Hallinan are coming across as arrogant, indifferent and disrespectful, but 1. it's going too far to publicly describe them as such after a single phone call is not returned, and 2. I wouldn't say that anyone is hiding behind their collar. That accusation implies that Councilman Oddo would physically assault Father Hallinan if he weren't a priest. Oddo goes on to say ""It's curious why he's so invested in this sale", implying that Father Hallinan is going to benefit financially from the sale of Mount Manresa! While I think the Jesuits' actions regarding Mount Manresa can be criticized, Jim Oddo is starting to use language that sounds like Henry VIII when his annulment application was rejected. Is there more to Jim Oddo's anti-clericalism than just the Mount Manresa issue? Did some priest reprove Oddo for his immoral living arrangements?