Daily Worship in the Latin Church


#1

This thread is somewhat of an offshoot from a thread in the "Non-Catholic Religions" sub-forum entitled Examining Orthodox Theology. In that thread one poster suggested that the liturgical life of the Eastern Churches is potentially lacking because of a general lack of celebration of daily Mass/Divine Liturgy (there are reasons for this lack which we can discuss later). In response another poster said the following (I'll put it in bold because I'm too stupid to figure out how to do quotes):

"As noted earlier, access to daily Divine Liturgy would vary depending on the congregation itself of a parish. Besides, there is more to daily spiritual life than Mass. To tell you the truth, I find Roman Catholicism here in North America very lacking for lack of any religious activity besides Mass. No wonder priests have been experimenting left and right with the Masses here. When you go to a parish all you can do is Mass. I appreciate our Liturgical services especially during Holy Week, with all the different prayer services and processions."

So the question for discussion in this thread is: Do you think there is a connection between liturgical experimentation/abuse and the lack of a broader liturgical life in the Roman Church outside of Mass?


#2

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:1, topic:293137"]

So the question for discussion in this thread is: Do you think there is a connection between liturgical experimentation/abuse and the lack of a broader liturgical life in the Roman Church outside of Mass?

[/quote]

Yes, I do.

Now that is not to say I think it is a valid excuse for liturgical experimentation. But I do think it is one of the reasons.


#3

Yes. Even though it is not "liturgy," I am very dismayed at the lack of extra- or para-liturgical events like group rosary, more regular celebration of the Via Crucis, themed prayer services, weekly veneration of Saints' relics, processions, etc.

Our American liturgical life is so one-dimensional because the cultural aspect of Catholicism has, ironically and perhaps to the "Spirit of Vatican II" Catholic's ire, greatly dissolved in the USA. I think an argument can be made that goes something like: "Since a level of inculturation or parochialism is allowed in the post-Conciliar Form of Mass, we have lost our reason for having para-liturgical events and cultural private devotions."

Of course another reason that probably plays a large role is just how lazy we are in this country. People like to whine about their work and kids' soccer practice. What they forget is that 75 years ago, people had far less means and probably on average at least as much time consuming obligations as they do now, yet seemed to make it to church for these kinds of para-liturgical events far more than they do now.

I am a huge supporter of the EF Mass. I am also a huge supporter of things like culturally relevant devotions and prayer services. This popular form of Catholicism does have a rightful place in the Church, but our way of doing it in the past (above) seems to me to have been far better than the way we do it now (destructovating the Mass, "multicultural" liturgies which are generally embarrassing to all cultures "represented").


#4

[quote="SMHW, post:2, topic:293137"]
Yes, I do. Now that is not to say I think it is a valid excuse for liturgical experimentation. But I do think it is one of the reasons.

[/quote]

It's an interesting question, and equally interesting that you agree. The Latin Church does have a richness of its own, with devotions and novenas, etc. that seem to serve a need for spiritual enrichment outside of Mass.


#5

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:3, topic:293137"]
I am also a huge supporter of things like culturally relevant devotions and prayer services.

[/quote]

YTC - I'm glad you brought this up. I couldn't help but think of this, but even here in the States, many Eastern Catholics Churches have managed to somehow faithfully support the custom of pilgrimage to Marian shrines for many years. In my own Ruthenian Church, the Sisters of St. Basil in Uniontown, PA have been an indispensable part of our very existence by supporting an annual Labor Day weekend pilgrimage which has been held for decades. We are having a mini version in the Northeast in a few weeks. While the interest isn't what it used to be in some respects, these are still very well attended and offer tremendous opportunity for Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.

On the latter point, I do feel that we in general no longer have the sense of community we once shared both out of necessity and culture. It is no wonder than even Eastern Catholic bishops are now exploring ways to use modern technology to reach out to the faithful (and the fallen).

Not to get off track at the very start of this thread, but I feel that even a locally planned event like this might be hard pressed to draw a crowd these days.

Have we been conditioned that the Mass is our connection to Church and God, reducing it down to that level of utility?

But more to the point of the OP, knowing this might be the case, have clergy and lay ministers perhaps responded with "innovation" in order to keep the interest of the faithful?

Further, could offering other services on a regular basis become a more central part of Latin Church praxis, so that the Mass could then be, well, the Mass?


#6

I've observed a few things in my own personal experience that I think are good and ought to be encouraged. Indeed, the first of these things has been officially encouraged by Vatican II itself in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

So first, I believe a wider public celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours would benefit most Roman parishes greatly. The CCC encourages all parishes to celebrate at least Sunday night Vespers. I would love to see something more along the lines of Saturday night Vespers, Sunday Matins, and Sunday night Vespers celebrated in parishes. The Liturgy of the Hours themselves are liturgical celebrations and provide the proper context for Mass. I remember one parish I used to attend when I was a child celebrated Morning Prayer/Matins together before every weekday morning Mass. Of course, if for whatever reason it is not possible for a parish to celebrate Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer before Mass, it would be perfectly acceptable to have a group recitation of the Rosary prior to Mass. The rosary is a private/para-liturgical devotion, but was traditionally devised as a replacement for the Liturgy of the Hours for those who could either not read, or could simply not participate in the public celebration of the LotH.

Secondly, weekly Adoration and Benediction. I know there are tons of parishes these days that are offering "Perpetual Adoration." This, I think, is a wonderful para-liturgical celebration for Roman Catholics. But I also like the idea of having a parish-wide "Holy Hour," or at the very least weekly Benediction.

Thirdly, para-liturgical events proper to the liturgical season. One (obvious) example is the Stations of the Cross. But, the Stations can't really appropriately be celebrated all year long. One would not celebrate the Stations publicly during Advent or the Easter season. Nor would one set up Nativity scenes during Lent or Pentecost. So I think Roman Catholics would need to find/develop public para-liturgical devotions appropriate to the liturgical seasons. One possibility would be the idea of developing an entire ritual around the lighting of the Advent Wreath in the parish. My own parish growing up used to simply light the wreath prior to Mass with no ceremony or devotion around it. Perhaps that could be an appropriate para-liturgical development?

Finally there could be non-liturgical but still devotional events taking place in parishes that are organized by the people themselves, not the priest and/or parish committee. One parish I attended some years ago had weekly "Praise and Worship" meetings in the parish hall. This was completely organized by motivated parishioners and was a wonderful way for members of the parish to gather in a more free-spirited non-liturgical setting in order to offer praise and thanks to God. Weekly rosary groups, or Divine Mercy groups are another possibility. Or heck, how about a weekly Bible study that focuses on the readings for the week, or at least the upcoming Sunday, and situating those readings in the wider liturgical context? This, I believe, is an area where folks could be creative and experiment without at the same time damaging the liturgical life of the Church.


#7

[quote="ByzCathCantor, post:4, topic:293137"]
It's an interesting question, and equally interesting that you agree. The Latin Church does have a richness of its own, with devotions and novenas, etc. that seem to serve a need for spiritual enrichment outside of Mass.

[/quote]

You bring up an excellent thing here. Novenas and Litanies are para-liturgical devotions in the Latin Church that could be celebrated publicly during appropriate liturgical seasons. The Litany to the Sacred Heart, for example, could be celebrated the week prior or anterior to the celebration of the Feast Day itself. The same could be said for any of the litanies to Our Lady and her Feast Days. :thumbsup:


#8

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:7, topic:293137"]
Novenas and Litanies are para-liturgical devotions in the Latin Church that could be celebrated publicly during appropriate liturgical seasons.

[/quote]

If memory serves, these can all be led and self expressed by the laity alone, like the Rosary, so there would be no further strain on the clergy (although I'm sure it would mean a lot to the faithful to see their pastor come and pray alongside them).

I also like you idea of seasonal / themed events, services and devotions. Perhaps those tied to the patronal saint or feast of that parish. In the Byzantine tradition, where St. Nicholas is universally revered, events and services tied to his patronage are still quite popular and well attended. Surely its also easier to get the kids excited with the Santa Claus connection, too. ;)

I think that's part of the trick - getting the young folks involved and "hooked" in the life of their church.


#9

The quote in the OP seems reasonable to me, so I will answer "yes" to the OP's question, though I don't have much more to add, since I'm not in the RC anymore.

I have a question related to this, though: Why do Latin Catholics not keep the daily hours in private practice? I know they do publicly/in corporate, because I attended the occasional reading of the daily office in the last RC church I was active in, but I'm not sure how popular the practice is as a private/home devotion. The recovery/popularization of the Hours seems to me to be a very good way to keep a worship-centered life in focus outside of the liturgy. It is something the Coptic Orthodox live by, anyway, and is especially important for us in the "Coptic communities" of the USA (those communities that are still working to establish a proper church at their location), as we only get to celebrate liturgy twice a month at best. But, to the best of my knowledge (read: without prying into the lives of every person in my church), all Copts keep at least the morning and evening hours daily, and more if possible (this is why you can sometimes see Copts carrying the Agpeya with them throughout their day). Is there a reason why Catholics couldn't/don't do that?


#10

[quote="ByzCathCantor, post:4, topic:293137"]
It's an interesting question, and equally interesting that you agree. The Latin Church does have a richness of its own, with devotions and novenas, etc. that seem to serve a need for spiritual enrichment outside of Mass.

[/quote]

As has been noted by others, many of these devotional and liturgical traditions DO exist. But they are sadly lacking in implementation.

There was a time in the United States when family life was more likely to revolve around parish life. At least in urban areas, parishes were closer to where the people lived, the children attended school there, and the parish was likely to reflect the cultural background the families. I would dare to say that experimenting with secular music and other innovations at Mass was a kind of way to create* an American *cultural unity to make up for the lost Italian, Irish, Polish, German, etc. cultural unity that was once part of the American Catholic experience.


#11

This past Lent, our parish had all kinds of things...group rosary, Stations, Benediction and all day Eucharistic adoration every Sunday after the last Mass...we even had the Forty Hours. And this is a large, modern looking, but very theologically orthodox parish. With, until recently, *one **priest *, one elderly weekend assistant and two permanent deacons serving a parish of 5000 families. :eek:

So it does exist, I guess it just depends on the interest of the parishioners.


#12

[quote="SMHW, post:10, topic:293137"]
There was a time in the United States when family life was more likely to revolve around parish life. At least in urban areas, parishes were closer to where the people lived, the children attended school there, and the parish was likely to reflect the cultural background the families. I would dare to say that experimenting with secular music and other innovations at Mass was a kind of way to create* an American *cultural unity to make up for the lost Italian, Irish, Polish, German, etc. cultural unity that was once part of the American Catholic experience.

[/quote]

A very plausable theory.

For the same reason, it is understandable that other devotions, which likely would be led by lay ministers, are difficult to root in today's day and age.


#13

I know I'm not directly answering your question...

I wish more parishes would ring their bells at the various hours of the day and let the people know that these are the traditional times for praying the liturgy of the hours. (They could at least ring the bells during the day; I realize the neighbors might complain at night.) I wish pastors would suggest that people at least pause and perhaps make the sign of the cross even if they cannot actually take time away from their work or other activities.

In places where there are churches located near each other that would make quite a wonderful sound!


#14

[quote="dzheremi, post:9, topic:293137"]

Why do Latin Catholics not keep the daily hours in private practice?
Is there a reason why Catholics couldn't/don't do that?

[/quote]

Funny you should ask that it's so on the point I was going to raise.

Our Current Pope and his predecessor, plus the documents of V.C.II have all exhorted the lay faithful to become familiar with the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours), with particular importance on Morning and Evening Prayer (Lauds and Vespers).

I have heard some people discourage me from praying this "Because it belongs to the Clerics and religious" - an idea which has been strongly refuted throughout the past 100 years by the Magisterium. On the contrary they have suggested that this Liturgy should be the blueprint on which all lay prayer-groups design their meetings.
There is a magazine published called Magnificat which includes a shortened version for private or public lay use.

all Clerics and Religious are Bound and Obliged to pray this liturgy by cannon Law, and by the Rule of their order (if any) - at least in part. That does most certainly not exclude the Laity from doing likewise.

At home, in the faimily it is good to remember that you are "The Domestic Church" and it is good to pray this Liturgy together - at least any members who are old enough to be able.


#15

[quote="SMHW, post:13, topic:293137"]
I wish more parishes would ring their bells at the various hours of the day and let the people know that these are the traditional times for praying the liturgy of the hours. (They could at least ring the bells during the day; I realize the neighbors might complain at night.)

[/quote]

Well, we can likely thank the neighbors and the lawyers. Ringing of bells, even in the daytime hours, are often subject to local restrictions.

In the town where my parish is situated, we have to get permission to toll the bells on weekdays even for funerals, all because of neighborhood complaints.

That said, the neighbors have no problem using the parish parking lot as their driveway and the grounds as their personal private park :(


#16

Personally I could do without the church bells. I remember to pray just fine without them.

I used to live across the street from a Methodist church and they had those annoying fake bells that play hymn tunes. They seemed to play every three hours for 15 minutes...

I wanted to blow the place up...it was like a giant Good Humor truck with stained glass windows.


#17

[quote="robertericleech, post:16, topic:293137"]
Personally I could do without the church bells. I remember to pray just fine without them.

I used to live across the street from a Methodist church and they had those annoying fake bells that play hymn tunes. They seemed to play every three hours for 15 minutes...

I wanted to blow the place up...it was like a giant Good Humor truck with stained glass windows.

[/quote]

:rotfl: What, you didn't like hearing "Go Tell it on the Mountain" chimed every hour through the Nativity season? followed up with the loop of "Amazing Grace"?


#18

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:1, topic:293137"]
So the question for discussion in this thread is: Do you think there is a connection between liturgical experimentation/abuse and the lack of a broader liturgical life in the Roman Church outside of Mass?

[/quote]

Yes, I strongly believe that. Today, it seems as though there is Mass, and that's it at many parishes. To make this worse, the liturgical reforms following the council rolled most of the sacraments and other rites into the Mass, so that they are usually, if not often celebrated within the Mass (For example, baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick, etc...). This seems to have made this effect even worse.


#19

[quote="dzheremi, post:9, topic:293137"]
The quote in the OP seems reasonable to me, so I will answer "yes" to the OP's question, though I don't have much more to add, since I'm not in the RC anymore.

I have a question related to this, though: Why do Latin Catholics not keep the daily hours in private practice? I know they do publicly/in corporate, because I attended the occasional reading of the daily office in the last RC church I was active in, but I'm not sure how popular the practice is as a private/home devotion. The recovery/popularization of the Hours seems to me to be a very good way to keep a worship-centered life in focus outside of the liturgy. It is something the Coptic Orthodox live by, anyway, and is especially important for us in the "Coptic communities" of the USA (those communities that are still working to establish a proper church at their location), as we only get to celebrate liturgy twice a month at best. But, to the best of my knowledge (read: without prying into the lives of every person in my church), all Copts keep at least the morning and evening hours daily, and more if possible (this is why you can sometimes see Copts carrying the Agpeya with them throughout their day). Is there a reason why Catholics couldn't/don't do that?

[/quote]

As another pointed out, it wasn't until just about 100 years ago that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church started encouraging lay people to begin celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours. Prior to that it was seen as being the sole territory of clergy and religious. The reforms of the LotH after Vatican II were, in part, intended to make it more widely available to the laity. Today it is not uncommon to see Catholics here in the U.S. carrying around the books "Christian Prayer" or "Shorter Christian Prayer," both of which are abbreviated versions of the LotH - the first volume containing everything one needs to pray Morning and Evening prayer as well as some of the "Lesser Hours," the second containing just the complete Morning and Evening prayer services and their propers.

I grew up praying the LotH off and on for many years, and my devotion to it became stronger and stronger right up until the time that I became Byzantine (Melkite) Catholic. Honestly the biggest thing I miss about being Roman Catholic is having the "option" of praying the LotH either publicly as a group, or privately when no group was available. In the Byzantine tradition it is not really possible to celebrate the LotH privately.


#20

[quote="superamazingman, post:18, topic:293137"]
To make this worse, the liturgical reforms following the council rolled most of the sacraments and other rites into the Mass, so that they are usually, if not often celebrated within the Mass (For example, baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick, etc...). This seems to have made this effect even worse.

[/quote]

You raise another interesting point, although I had never heard of some of these sacraments being administered as part of the Mass, specifically annointing of the sick.

At least in the Byzantine-Ruthenian Church, it has become common to have the Rites of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation/Confirmation and Holy Eucharist, all conferred at once) as part of the celebration of the Sunday Divine Liturgy. Because Holy Eucharist is given, there are some obvious and practical pastoral advantages. However, the real rationale was to have the community of faithful witness the reception into the Church, as per ancient custom. Emphasized as such, it has actually become a well received practice. It is also a great way to catechize our youngsters, who then can see what was done for them when they were received in the Church in this way.

Looking at it from the Latin Catholic perspective, it would make some sense to connect Confirmation with the Mass, as this too is a formal reception into the Church in Latin tradition, as the [voluntarily accepted] completion of Baptism.

Again in some of the Eastern Churches, we have begun to move away from Divine Liturgies with funeral rites and marriage, only the latter (the Mystery of Crowning as it is known) being sacramental. This also has the practical advantage of avoiding issues with reception of Communion by guests other than practicing, properly disposed Catholics. It is of course more compliant with tradition, as well.


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