The Mass Should be Humble. Yes or No?

We all know that Humility is a Virtue, one that our present Holy Father is a shining exemplar of. In fact, because of Francis, it might be the virtue at the forefront of most Catholics’ minds - including, maybe even especially, among lapsed Catholics - those we are trying to reach with the New Evangelization. So the Church should be Humble and it should make us Catholics strive to be Humble. The Heart of most Catholics encounter with the Church is the Mass. So shouldn’t the Mass be Humble?

I explore the topic of humility in the liturgy on my blog (see link below if interested), especially in relation to the Traditional Latin Mass.

What do you think, is the extraordinary form humble enough for the Church in the 21st Century?


The Mass is not about us, the Mass is about Our Lord. We do to mass to pay homage to Our Lord, so we ought to offer Our Lord the best of what we can. Making the Mass more ‘humble’ is not a sign of humility on our part, quite the reverse. Stripping away the grandness of the Mass is an attempt to view Our Lord as being closer to our own mundane state. Jesus is Our Lord, not our ‘best buddy’ who we go for a beer with. Deliberately attempting to make the Mass more ‘humble’ is focussing on ourselves, not on Our Lord. The Mass is not about us, it is about God.

And why is the 21st Century so special? Does the Liturgy alter to suit the ‘signs of the times’? Is truth subjective and dependent on the the expectations of the secular world around us?

The Mass doesn’t exist in order for us to use it to portray an image of ourselves that would be better accepted by the world around us. The Mass exists so that we may give glory to God in all his majesty. Nobody seems to have an issue with all the pomp and ceremony that surrounds Monarchs and Heads of State, yet Our Lord ought to get a basic ceremony without and frills? The Mass does not exist as a community gathering where we come to pat ourselves on the back for being ‘humble’ and have a chat with our Jesus as our ‘buddy’, we go to Mass to give glory to our eternal God and King.

I attend a regular OF Mass, and it does hurt me when I see the Mass being made ‘lower’. Incense almost never used (not even at Christmas), sloppy vestments, folksy chats, dry hand fonts, every word of Latin removed. That’s not humilty, that’s disrespect.

Sorry for the mini-tangent, but what qualifies as sloppy vestments?

**Great **post. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

I agree. It is one of the best posts I have read on here when it comes to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

Amen, Amen!!
This is a very clear understanding that you have. Humility is shown by a priest who is willing to submit and obey to the rubrics and texts present in the missal that come from hundreds of years of Tradition and tradition, both big and little “t.” Pride is fostered by priests who hi-jack the Sacrifice of Calvary for their own personal agendas and change the sacred liturgy to reflect their personality. Furthermore, since it was brought up in the original post, humility is reflected by a pope when he submits to the traditional marks of the papacy and doesn’t try to change things to suit himself. I am NOT saying that our Holy Father Francis is a proud man. I am not saying this at all. But I will never believe that standing out from the crowd by, for example, refusing to wear the garments proper to your office is a mark of humility. I take such exception to this because when people make these kinds of statements about “humble Pope Francis” there is an implicit attack on “proud Pope Benedict.” This upsets me very much. And to echo the quote above, if we want to be humble lay people, let us stop making the Holy Sacrifice about ourselves, our tastes, and our preferences, and graciously accept what God has given us and what has sustained the Church for ages.

I agree with what you wrote. Perhaps some hear humble and simple and equate them to mean casual.

Yes, and that is the exact point I make on the blog post!!!

Following the Rubrics, allowing the Mass to be the Mass (lace, incense, and all) is the humblest form of Liturgy b/c it is allowing the rite to take precedence, allowing the rite to shape the Mass, indeed allowing the Mass to shape us rather than making the Mass in our image and likeness.

I’m guessing you didn’t follow the link…

God Bless and thanks for the zeal!! We need more Catholics like you!! :thumbsup:

Alb and stole without a chasuble, or vestments that look like they’ve been slept in. I’d classify things like that as sloppy when saying Mass.

I admit that I didn’t follow your link until after I had posted. I took your comments on here as literal, as opposed to ironic. I have since read your blog and see where you are coming from.

I also don’t think it’s about EF Mass either. I attend OF Mass (I have only been to three EF Masses in my life) and have seen the EF Mass done (many times) with great reverence (as it ought to be). Sadly this doesn’t happen all the time. I really just don’t get the mind-set that thinks that it is somehow better to strip out anything that is deemed to be ‘too reverent’ from the Mass.

:thumbsup: Yup.

After going to traditional Latin mass long, I my childhood parish for.a.novus ordo mass. Needless to say, all of the clapping, protestant songs (our God is an awsome God) what happened to yhe mass. Lack of.reverence to the Eucharist is a main reson I had lost my faith

I take an issue with the statement in red. The Lord was close to our mundane state. He was exactly the same mundane state as us.

God himself became one of us, like us in all things except sin - cold, tired, hungry, tempted - taking the form of a slave. More than just a slave, the one through whom the whole universe was created became an embryo and a fetus inside of a Jewish peasant girl. God became completely dependent upon a human.

You can argue about the Mass all you want. My comments have nothing to do with the Mass. My comment has to do with the mistake of dismissing Jesus’ humanity for the sake of his divinity. The incarnation is a reality. The corpus on the crucifix over every altar is that of a human.

Yes, Jesus is God. There is no doubt about that. But Opus Dei has a particular devotion to the incarnation of God - the humanity of Jesus - like us in all things but sin. The Jesuits see Jesus as a person, a friend with whom we can converse. These are authentic Catholic spiritualities and it is a mistake to dismiss them. The fact is that there are very simple and humble Masses offered every day before people go to work, at lunch time, and especially in monasteries all over the world - hidden and quiet, where only the monks and Jesus can see.

Jesus is King but also brother. He called his disciples his friends. He washed their feet. He comes to us humble under the appearance of bread. I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with that.


I agree with you here as well. I live abut 15 mins from a weekly EF High Mass and usually attend Mass there, but it isn’t about EF vs OF. I’ve been to parishes where the OF is as Beautiful, as Solemn, as any EF. In fact, IMHO, an OF that looks and feels more like the EF is the future of Catholic worship. We might not all live to see it, but I’d bet that is where the liturgy is heading over the next 20 to 100 yrs.

I don’t think the question makes any sense at all. Humility is an attribute of a person. A ritual may be many things, but humble is not one of them. Nor is prideful for that matter. The people engaged in the ritual may be humble or not.

Can a person engaged in a ritual do so humbly even if the ritual is quite grand and ornate? Sure. Offering Holy Mass with “all the bells and whistles” for the greater glory of God is wonderfully humble. Much like the woman who anointed the Lord with nard. Of course, offering Holy Mass in the simplest form possible could also be wonderfully humble as the priests in the concentration camps made do with a raisin and sliver of brown bread in the midst of death and despair contrary to all the rubrics normally applied.

Contrariwise, a Mass can be offered pridefully in great physical beauty by those who simply want to show off their own superiority - like the publican at prayer. Or, in a fit of hubris some will revel is disregarding all the rubrics to be “more relevant.”

Oddly, at the same Mass both things can happen at once, since it is the heart of the person that is humble or not - not the liturgy.

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