First time to Mass

I took my family to Mass for the first time this afternoon, and I was appalled at the casualness and general lack of reverance that we witnessed! Jeans and t-shirts!? Shorts and sandels!? Seriously!? And the guy trimming his nails in the pew!? I know it was a Saturday evening, and I did expect some level of casualness, but really? Don’t you all believe that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is present at your worship? What about the Euchrist? What about respect for the Savior of mankind? I tried to focus on the priest and see Jesus Christ in the rituals, but the teenagers flirting in the pew ahead of us were extremely distracting. Even the Catholics we were able to speak with did not seem to know or understand, or in some cases even care, what the CC says it teaches.

Am I missing something? Why the disconnect between what I am reading the CC says it believes and the way atleast some (and it would appear the majority) of catholics we have encountered behave? Can someone help me understand?

The honest answer, Stephen, is that many of the people in that Church don’t believe what the CCC says. And there are also others who do believe but have lost all sense of decorum because of the behavior of the rest.

The only places you won’t see this are in Traditional Latin Mass parishes and (so I have heard) Eastern Catholic parishes.

Yup. I feel ya. I jumped ship to the Byzantine Catholic Church because the Latin Church I read about and the parishes I had to, um… put up with… were so different. And regardless, I love traditions and rites for the sake of God, not the other way around, and I found that the Byzantine ways brought me closer to Him and came more naturally to me. I couldn’t deal with the stress of feeling like a stranger in the Latin parishes I attended because I longed for tradition, continuous identity, beauty, mystery, and more active participation in worship. It’ll probably be a long while before the Latin Church completes dusting itself off and polishing things up.

Mater Dei Latin Mass Community (FSSP)

Latin Masses in Pennsylvania

There are parishes where people do not such things that are not TLMs and are not FSSP. It has to do with the pastor who is shepherding the flock. Maybe if some of you stayed and tried ministering to the parish instead of succumbing to pride and thinking you were better than there wouldn’t be so many problems. But then again I guess this is a self-fulfiling prophecy if you tell someone the only reverent Mass they can get is as a Latin one which is no where in the teachings of the CC and I would argue harbors it’s own schismatic teachings.

OP- none of my comments are directed at you - you are asking an innocent question and you deserve better answers than people with an agenda. I have a friend in Pennsylvania with a very active Apostolate and another in the Baltimore, MD area. Please contact me if you need info and I can get their permission to put you in touch.

So are they addressed to me?

I posted EF’s in Pennsylvania because although I don’t know those parishes, I am reasonably sure that he won’t find those types of things at a TLM. If I knew of any good OF parishes in Pennysylvania, I would offer them as options as well.

I don’t have an “agenda” in this thread.

Maybe if some of you stayed and tried ministering to the parish instead of succumbing to pride and thinking you were better than there wouldn’t be so many problems. But then again I guess this is a self-fulfiling prophecy if you tell someone the only reverent Mass they can get is as a Latin one which is no where in the teachings of the CC and I would argue harbors it’s own schismatic teachings.

Seriously, why are you so angry?

If someone asked me for an OF in NY that was reverent, I actually can refer them to one I have been to.

I’m only trying to be helpful and I’m sorry to say, but you’re bringing your preconceived notions to the thread.

Were you there for the Mass or just to observe other people?

hey truelight,

congrats on your reception to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church!

OP, there are many different local churches within our faith and they all, in my experience, have a slightly different culture. If you were distracted there, I bet the next parish has the opposite tendency. People have a tendency to want to be with likeminded worshippers… likewise TLM worshippers. :wink:

Thank you ChristosDavid!

I wonder if any regularly-EF church is as causal as what you describe. Not trying to provoke anyone. I’m actually quite curious.

This is really stretching the truth.

There are plenty of OF Masses in the U.S., e.g., in our diocese, that are reverent and orthodox. The TLM parishes do not have the market cornered when it comes to decorum.

No it’s not you. And no, I’m not angry. You are a newcomer and at this point are happy with the reception you got at the FSSP because they sped up the process for you being received into the Church. This does not mean this is the correct path for everyone. It also does not mean that the TLM represents the greater majority of the Catholic Faith. As a matter of fact I would argue it does not. While licit in spirit it does not represent the spirit of Vatican II (neither does the destruction of kneelers, etc before we go down that route). The danger of sending someone who is new to a TLM is that they can be very difficult to understand as they are not in English. This is one of the reasons for the original reform. I would challenge you to read Lumen Gentium in its entirety and question what it is we are supposed to be doing.

Whether we can do something doesn’t always mean we should do something. Also doing something all the time with no variety can also lead to spiritual dryness.

As far as the others it does not matter if someone comes on here with a lack of reverence issue or a priest who doesn’t part his hair the right way - it is the same posters that come on saying that the poster needs to go to a Latin Mass. These posters whether they realize it or not are creating schism by tearing at the fiber of the OF as well as downgrading other Religious Orders.

I hope with the changes to come in the OF Mass, it will bring back the reverence, respect, a bit more quiet before Mass, and modesty in dress/behavior that is lacking in some parishes. Its hard to find a parish that has all of those things together that I’ve listed.

I much prefer the EF Mass, and think I have been spoiled because I have hardly seen any issues that I’ve mentioned with the OF Masses. I love the fact people give the proper respect and reverence at the EF Mass. I was more liberal in my view points when I was younger because I did not know any better but my eyes are open more, and now my view points are more traditional as I’ve gotten older.

Isn’t worship in this setting a collective experience? I mean no disrespect to anyone, I was just expecting a more reverant attitude.


You need to attend the Traditional Latin Mass. That is what you are looking for. The Catholic Church is in the midst of a great crisis right now (as you witnessed first hand), and it is the Traditional Catholics who have maintained the what has been lost in the Novus Ordo Churches.

TrueLight linked to some good Traditional orders. Hopefully one of these is near you.

Thank you, TrueLight, for those links. There is a TLM near me I think I will try next week.

Here’s a video of a Traditional Mass. Keep in mind that this is a Solemn High Mass which has some additional pomp. A low Mass has less externals, while a standard *High Mass *is often similar to what you’ll see in hte video. I usually recommend a High Mass for new people.

The following Mass is narrated be Fulton Sheen.

^^^Yes, and Stephen, don’t think that just because that mass was celebrated in the 40s that masses are not celebrated still like that. They are. Although the priest’s voice, which I think is very good, has certain qualities to it that are not common anymore…

I would like to say that I am surprised by your observations, but sadly I have seen similar scenes too often in so many Catholic churches. This morning, for example, a guy arrived during the homily, and sat next to me looking bored and distracted, and did not even bother to recite the creed, or engage with any of the congregational responses. He then sauntered up to receive communion and walked straight out. Sadly people like this do have an impact on the assembled collective, and create a sense of disprespect. This isn’t helped when priests rush through the liturgy in a mechanisitic way giving the impression that he wants to finish up as quickly as possible, which is something else I have also experienced.

I try, if I can, to attend flagship churches in central London where the atmosphere is often (but not always) better: but I think it’s sad that many people attending their local church should have to put up with this. It does the Catholic Church no favours when observers from other traditions see what you have described.

As a member of the One Body in Christ I, as a Catholic, want to welcome you to Mass, even if no one else did at that Church.

Why were you there? Are you considering becoming Catholic? If so, I urge you to make your decision based on Orthodoxy, not Orthopraxy.

That is, convert to Catholicism based on what the Church proclaims (Orthodoxy, which means “right teaching”), vs how you see Catholics acting (Orthopraxy, which means “right practice”). Sadly, there is often a disconnect between what the Church teaches, and how Catholics practice this teaching.

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