Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Liturgy and Sacraments
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Apr 23, '12, 1:24 am
Jegudiel Jegudiel is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2012
Posts: 513
Default What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

I suspect that 80-90% of most practicing Catholics' main interaction with the Church these days is attending Mass. I believe this interaction is being damaged in many parishes by what I call utilitarian Masses. I don't mean "liturgical abuses" per se, but Masses with every bit of solemness stripped from its celebration.

I went to the early Sunday Mass as usual. My pastor (we have 2 F/T priests and 2 retired priests) was the celebrant. He literally looked like he was trying to rush the Mass because he had a plane to catch. This is nothing new for him or some of the other priests, but he seems especially anxious to finish Mass last Sunday morning.

We began the Mass within a minute of 07:00 (we are excellent at starting on time at my parish.) Mass was over by 07:41 including a homily and communion under both species for 200+ people. The Mass seemed so dry, so rushed, so utilitarian, so stripped of beauty. He seemed so anxious to finish the Mass that I figured something was up. After Mass I talked to someone for a few minutes in the parking lot and then headed to breakfast at a favorite diner. As I was slowing down to pull into the lot I saw my pastor get out of a car with a few of his friends from the parish. He seemed quite happy.

That really angered me. Is it just my parish or is this going on in other parishes as well? Get them in, punch their ticket and get them out! Take care of that Sunday obligation but keep it moving! To heck with solemnness -- the grace is locked in (presuming people continue to attend such Masses, availing themselves to God's grace.) If I wasn't so angry I would have actually went in and asked him about the early morning Mass rush. As it was it was best I just keep going. I just looked at the bulletin and he didn't celebrate his second Mass until 6:00 pm so he wasn't under a time crunch.

I think this sort of stuff is really taking a toll on parishes as the Mass is many Catholics' main (or only) interaction with the Church these days. Your thoughts?
  #2  
Old Apr 23, '12, 1:48 am
figs's Avatar
figs figs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2012
Posts: 319
Religion: Roman Catholic - since1966
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

While I can appreciate your disapointment to a degee, all I can say is things aren't always as they appear. you don't know the details of what was going on. You only know the appearances.

Also, to remember that you Priest is human too! Unfortunately that means there are faults at times.
__________________
.
ΙΧΘΥΣ
  #3  
Old Apr 23, '12, 2:14 am
Jegudiel Jegudiel is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: February 17, 2012
Posts: 513
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Quote:
Originally Posted by figs View Post
While I can appreciate your disapointment to a degee, all I can say is things aren't always as they appear. you don't know the details of what was going on. You only know the appearances.
Yeah, what else could they be? I have asked both he and our parochial vicar in the nicest terms why they are in such a hurry to celebrate the Mass? The pastor ignored me. The PV just smiled and changed the subject.

My strong feeling is both of these priests entered my parish where such behavior is SOP (it certainly did not begin with them) and both have found it to be agreeable so long as they can get away with it. I suspect if they tried this in other parishes, they would eventually get reprimanded by the local ordinary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by figs View Post
Also, to remember that you Priest is human too! Unfortunately that means there are faults at times.
And? This situation is critical enough and has enough negative impact on the parish that one would think they would work to overcome whatever is making them treat the Mass in this manner.
  #4  
Old Apr 23, '12, 3:09 am
figs's Avatar
figs figs is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2012
Posts: 319
Religion: Roman Catholic - since1966
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jegudiel View Post
Yeah, what else could they be? I have asked both he and our parochial vicar in the nicest terms why they are in such a hurry to celebrate the Mass? The pastor ignored me. The PV just smiled and changed the subject
I wonder why
__________________
.
ΙΧΘΥΣ
  #5  
Old Apr 23, '12, 4:26 am
Cat Cat is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: June 1, 2004
Posts: 11,670
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

I always look happy, too, when I'm able to enjoy going out to breakfast with dear friends. I hope there is nothing evil in this.

On Sunday morning, many priests have a heavy schedule of Masses. (Our priests have nine Masses on weekends.) Why begrudge the man a chance to enjoy some fellowship with friends while he nourishes his body? A priest needs both the food and the friendships.

Solemnness is an attitude of the heart, not a "method." I'm guessing that if you look around, you will probably be able to find Masses that last much longer than one hour that you don't deem solemn enough.

There are many good reasons why some Masses are deliberately held to a shorter time period. Here are a few ideas for you to consider.

In our parish, one of these reasons is parking. It is important that the Masses finish on time so that there will be adequate time for all the outgoing families to safely exit the parking lot and all the incoming families to safely find parking spaces. There are a lot of people who must be dropped off due to various conditions (mainly walking disabilities, but also people with large numbers of very small children), and this drop-off line is very long and takes a long time to finish.

Another reason why the Mass has to end on time is so that the musicians can arrive early to run-through their music. Obviously, the musicians SHOULD meet during the week for rehearsal. But in real life, it is very difficult to get a good attendance at a weekly choir practice. Some people simply cannot make the weekly rehearsal time, and so they show up only on Sundays for the run-through.

It's possible, too, that a nearby company or business has an understanding that their employees are able to attend the Mass that you attended, as long as they limit their time away from work to exactly one hour. The pastor of the parish may be working so hard to keep the Mass shorter to accomodate these employees who are making an effort to honor their Sunday obligation and be a witness to their co-workers.

We have a nursing home on the campus of our parish, and I know that the employees have a Mass said in their facility. But I'm sure many of them prefer to attend Mass in the church so that they can be free to worship without having to also care for their elderly patients at the same time.

Is there a large hospital anywhere near your parish? The Catholic hospital in our city offers Masses that last only around 20 minutes. This is done to accommodate the very busy and hectic schedules of employees, family members of patients, and even the patients. Perhaps even if there is a non-Catholic hospital in your city, the management of that hospital has responded to the requests of their employees who wish to be able to fulfil their Christian obligation, and they are allowed to attend Mass at your parish, but only if they can leave and return to work within one hour.

Keep in mind that many hospitals have schedules for their nurses that involve working long shifts all weekend; this is done so that the nurses can get in 40 hours on one weekend, and have the rest of the week off--many nurses find this schedule appealing because it allows them to be home with their families and avoid hiring daycare for their babies and young children. So perhaps that's the explanation for the fast Mass that you attended.

Is it possible that the Mass you attended is understood to be the "Family Mass," where families are encouraged to bring their young children? We have a Family Mass in our parish; it is held in the gym of the parish school, and it is usually about 45 minutes long. There is no "skimping" on the liturgy; the pastor makes it clear that all the rubrics are followed, including the kneeling. But because there are so many children present at this Mass, the pastor makes an effort to keep things moving along, and keeps his homily short and pithy. Perhaps there are people who attend this Mass so that they can get out in a hurry--so what? They are fulfilling their obligation. Perhaps they have other obligations outside of Mass to families, young babies who have been left with another family member, jobs, etc.

And you have no idea what the "hurriers" do outside of Mass to live out their Christianity. The person who is in attendance at the "Fast Mass" might well be a paragon of prayer and adoration, or perhaps is involved in a difficult outreach ministry, or gives tons of money to help the poor.

We really need to assume the best of our fellow Christians, and examine OURSELVES rather than others.
__________________
  #6  
Old Apr 23, '12, 5:37 am
Adonia Adonia is online now
Regular Member
 
Join Date: November 6, 2005
Posts: 527
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Thank God our priest is not like that. He shows the utmost respect and reverence for the Mass and all that it entails. He would never rush through Our Lord's Supper- never!
__________________
[
  #7  
Old Apr 23, '12, 6:04 am
ProVobis ProVobis is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: January 26, 2008
Posts: 27,210
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jegudiel View Post
I suspect that 80-90% of most practicing Catholics' main interaction with the Church these days is attending Mass. I believe this interaction is being damaged in many parishes by what I call utilitarian Masses. I don't mean "liturgical abuses" per se, but Masses with every bit of solemness stripped from its celebration.

I went to the early Sunday Mass as usual. My pastor (we have 2 F/T priests and 2 retired priests) was the celebrant. He literally looked like he was trying to rush the Mass because he had a plane to catch. This is nothing new for him or some of the other priests, but he seems especially anxious to finish Mass last Sunday morning.

We began the Mass within a minute of 07:00 (we are excellent at starting on time at my parish.) Mass was over by 07:41 including a homily and communion under both species for 200+ people. The Mass seemed so dry, so rushed, so utilitarian, so stripped of beauty. He seemed so anxious to finish the Mass that I figured something was up. After Mass I talked to someone for a few minutes in the parking lot and then headed to breakfast at a favorite diner. As I was slowing down to pull into the lot I saw my pastor get out of a car with a few of his friends from the parish. He seemed quite happy.

That really angered me. Is it just my parish or is this going on in other parishes as well? Get them in, punch their ticket and get them out! Take care of that Sunday obligation but keep it moving! To heck with solemnness -- the grace is locked in (presuming people continue to attend such Masses, availing themselves to God's grace.) If I wasn't so angry I would have actually went in and asked him about the early morning Mass rush. As it was it was best I just keep going. I just looked at the bulletin and he didn't celebrate his second Mass until 6:00 pm so he wasn't under a time crunch.

I think this sort of stuff is really taking a toll on parishes as the Mass is many Catholics' main (or only) interaction with the Church these days. Your thoughts?
One can always go to two Masses if they feel one isn't long enough, right?

But the obligation part is a good point. I've often wondered what the Church attendance would be if they removed the obligation altogether. IMO, there seems to be more spiritual benefits in a weekday Mass these days. Just saying.

Last edited by ProVobis; Apr 23, '12 at 6:19 am.
  #8  
Old Apr 23, '12, 6:16 am
Hecares's Avatar
Hecares Hecares is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: February 26, 2011
Posts: 313
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

There are so many reasons for the way Mass is said! It' hard to know why a particular priest says Mass the way he does. Here are a few I have encountered.

In some parishes, the early morning Mass is the "no frills" Mass. Some people aren't especially fond of extras at Mass, like music, incense, long homilies, etc. Often they have good reason. One woman I know who attended this Mass had a husband who needed a lot of care. If she got up early and wasn't gone too long she could still attend Mass. Some people have to go to work. Some are leaving on vacation. Some have activities planned later in the day. I know you would like for them to attend a long, liturgical service; but for some, this is the best they can do at the time. Some people have medical conditions that don't allow them to sit for very long. The shorter Mass is good for them.

To some extent, the way Mass is said is a matter of preference. Everyone has different ideas about what they like in Mass. As long as the Mass conforms to the rules set out by the Church, there is nothing wrong with it. Some people like it that way. If you like it a different way, maybe you could find a different Mass, or a differnt Church more in keeping with your preferences.
  #9  
Old Apr 23, '12, 6:22 am
NewEnglandPriest NewEnglandPriest is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2009
Posts: 3,179
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

1. Some priests are just fast talkers. It has nothing to do with irreverence its just their personality.

2. A usual Sunday Mass is around 45 minutes so 41 minutes isn't exactly a rush job.

3. I'm not sure what "toll" it's taking since the parishes with the "quickest" Masses seem to be the fullest.
  #10  
Old Apr 23, '12, 6:35 am
YoungTradCath's Avatar
YoungTradCath YoungTradCath is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 2, 2011
Posts: 6,752
Religion: Latin Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

There are legitimate concerns raised here. It is a delicate subject, but one that must not be overlooked. Indeed, this is a very important subject. Pope Benedict doesn't quite use these terms expressed in this thread, but it is clear from his own personal writings and actions as both a Cardinal and Pope that he sees many of the same problems, and honestly, many more. Otherwise he would never have written about the ars celebrandi, nor would he have written The Spirit of the Liturgy. I also want to point out something, another dimension to this. Look at his Papal Masses. They are remarkably magnificent and artful, much more than even at the beginning of his Pontificate.

Our current Pope is a very liturgical one no doubt, and why would he have written all these things and restored all these things if he saw no problem with the status quo? I think it is crystal clear that he is sending a message, not just about Papal Masses, but about the liturgy of the whole Church.

I think we can make excuses for all eternity, but it is not going to justify anything. Now, I do understand that there are time constraints in many parishes which of course must not be ignored by any means, as well as other hindrances, BUT I believe it is very possible to celebrate Mass under a time crunch and do it with dignity, grace and art. I am a firm believer that this really comes down to the image that the celebrant exudes. If he sits erect and is attentive yet sober, if his gestures are graceful and refined yet not effeminate, if he walks with an air of importance for the ceremony, if the vestments he wears fits and are attractive even if they aren't the most expensive, if the norms are strictly and religiously followed, then he will inspire the people even if they are not used to this. And this can ALL be done very well in a Mass of any length. I adamantly hold to this belief.
__________________

Deference to tradition should be taken for granted.
Devoted bibliophile.
  #11  
Old Apr 23, '12, 6:45 am
Rich C's Avatar
Rich C Rich C is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2011
Posts: 1,845
Religion: Irish Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProVobis View Post
One can always go to two Masses if they feel one isn't long enough, right?

But the obligation part is a good point. I've often wondered what the Church attendance would be if they removed the obligation altogether. IMO, there seems to be more spiritual benefits in a weekday Mass these days. Just saying.
Smarter Catholics than I would know whether that Mass obligation is merely a discipline (thus changable) or not, but I'd say look at the Friday penance. As soon as the Church said it's a very worthy thing to do but not a sin if you don't, it practically disappeared from our lives.
  #12  
Old Apr 23, '12, 6:52 am
Rich C's Avatar
Rich C Rich C is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2011
Posts: 1,845
Religion: Irish Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

@OP,

Unfortunately a lot of Catholics have very low standards for what they expect to see and hear at Mass, because they have never had to opportunity to see it done any better. You said this has been SOP at your parish since before these priests came, right?

I suggest making an appointment with the pastor on a Saturday or something to present your concerns as respectfully as you can. I don't go to the bishop just because father blew you off (or it seemed like he did) after Mass. Priests are very busy around Mass times.

I pray your parish improves.
  #13  
Old Apr 23, '12, 6:56 am
Rich C's Avatar
Rich C Rich C is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2011
Posts: 1,845
Religion: Irish Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungTradCath View Post
. And this can ALL be done very well in a Mass of any length. I adamantly hold to this belief.
Good point. Friday's Low Mass lasted 29 minutes, including the Leonine Prayers, but it was beautiful. The OF can have a similar austere beauty.
  #14  
Old Apr 23, '12, 9:28 am
jpjd jpjd is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2005
Posts: 2,004
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Is it possible that this priest has schedule that you are not aware of?

Maybe he says Mass at a nursing home within 2-3 hours of the first Mass, and he would like to have breakfast with his friends before the nursing home Mass and still keep the 1-hour fast.

Maybe he has a diocesan meeting in a couple of hours. I know my priest has had to go to meetings on a Sunday.

My point is, you don't know the priest's schedule. So he celebrates a morning Mass and an evening Mass that you know of. What does he do in between that you don't know of? Be charitable.
__________________
Assume positive intent.
_____________________

Support the expectation of dressing respectfully for Mass (for those who are able to but do not, referring to dressing with respect, not finery.) Give God better than the least you can do.
  #15  
Old Apr 23, '12, 9:36 am
YoungTradCath's Avatar
YoungTradCath YoungTradCath is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 2, 2011
Posts: 6,752
Religion: Latin Catholic
Default Re: What's Hurting the Church: Utilitarian Masses

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpjd View Post
Is it possible that this priest has schedule that you are not aware of?

Maybe he says Mass at a nursing home within 2-3 hours of the first Mass, and he would like to have breakfast with his friends before the nursing home Mass and still keep the 1-hour fast.

Maybe he has a diocesan meeting in a couple of hours. I know my priest has had to go to meetings on a Sunday.

My point is, you don't know the priest's schedule. So he celebrates a morning Mass and an evening Mass that you know of. What does he do in between that you don't know of? Be charitable.
A time constraint is not an excuse for a utilitarian Mass. A beautiful and absolutely reverent and graceful Mass can be celebrated shortly.
__________________

Deference to tradition should be taken for granted.
Devoted bibliophile.
Closed Thread

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Liturgy and Sacraments

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8257Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: GLam8833
5020CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: 77stanthony77
4346Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: FootStool
4029OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: B79
3835SOLITUDE
Last by: beth40n2
3571Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: RJB
3230Poems and Reflections
Last by: tonyg
3207Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: Chast Forever
3134Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3049For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: Thomas Choe



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:36 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.