Sunday, September 24, 2006

BUT THEY DON'T KNO-OW ANY BETTER

Well, normally I attend the Latin Mass, but I have to admit that I've been a bit run-down lately with the new school year starting, and various other runnings around - so, I decided not to do the 1.5 hour trek to the Latin Mass this morning and to attend our local church instead. Its a nice small rural community and the priest loves Our Lady. There are usually lots of families in Church with little kids and the choir reminds me of the choir in our parish where we grew up. Remember that part in Cinderella where the step-sisters are crooning "sing sweet nightingale"? That's pretty much what it sounds like.

Anyway, as we arrive, there's a crowd of people around the front door, obviously waiting for someone, but they don't look like they're dressed for church - especially since one is holding a Dunkin Donuts cup. Anyway, we enter, find our seats and kneel to prepare to Mass.

Well, the entourage finally enters, led by a pair of soon-to-be-baptized twin boys. Proudly in tow is the Dunkin Donuts toting, sweatpant suit wearing woman we saw outside. Horrified at seeing a Donkin Donuts cup in Church, I decide to go and ask this girl if she'd like me to throw it out for her. My sister tells me that I should probably ask Father first.

So, I did. Father was quite confused, and after asking a few questions, tells me that there are some mentally ill people in the parish, and we'll just let it go. Okay...

Then, the two children in front of us are playing with a pocket watch, and other toys while the mother looks on and occasionally smiles at them. Some people come in after the Offertory, but at least they're not toting Donkin Donuts...

Why this list of notably distracted and unprepared parishioners?

Well, it occurred to me that people act this way in Mass because NO ONE TOLD them that this isn't appropriate. We have a whole generation, namely mine, that were told that its okay to show up to Mass late and still receive; that Christ said "let the children come to Me" which means that children can play and cry and eat and color in Mass; that thinks its great to have your friends arrive at your children's baptism carrying their designer coffee; that formal dress isn't necessary for Mass and roll-out-of-bed styles are just as good.

My question is: WHO IS GOING TO TELL THEM????

You can't really blame them. They'd probably say "at least we're going to Church" and that is precisely the problem - it is the least they can do. The very least.

But Catholics, and Americans, have never been about the "least we can do" - we're about giving our best to God, Country, Family.

And its also occurred to me that this is precisely the source of the deep sigh that you sometimes see priests do, especially when they realize that yes, they are the ones who have to TELL THEM. And, since they haven't been doing it for so long, they have a lot of work to do.

God help our priests.

15 comments:

Tradcatholic said...

Petrus,
Perhaps the WHOLE parish has a mental problem, no? Seems to me it doesn't take a lot of smarts to know that you dress a bit better when you go to church on Sunday. Look at the Southern Baptists...they are smartly dressed EVERY Sunday and they don't even have the Blessed Sacrament present! These folks don't need to be told how to dress as much as to be told what Mass is all about ...then the dress will come naturally. The problem is one of FAITH...and they have little. If I were unable to attend the Latin Mass on Sunday, I would sit home with my missal rather than try to overlook the disrespect and sacrilege at the 'local' Mass. Attending Mass should not make you more angry. Look how distracted YOU were...better to give it a miss if there is a next time IMO.

qlinger said...

There is no reason in the whole why world to miss mass. That is very bad advice trad. I agree that it distracting and annoying. But Jesus is still there!. We should be trying to be a good example and show people how to attend Mass properly. Not just complain and pat ourselves on the back for such good catholics that we don't even have to attned mass. AS long as the priest if reverent( which I beleive the preistis cause I have been to that churh, and he gives amazing sermons)and there is no sacrilige on the alter than we who know better she be making the example. Jesus didn't cure the healthy people.

M. Alexander said...

Dunkin Donuts coffee cups?

In Mass?

At the Latin Mass everyone drinks Starbucks I'm sure.

Disgraceful.

Personally, I can't take these shenanagins anymore. My age and infirmity make it dangerous for me to attempt it. I would very likely stroke out if I had to witness something like this.

If you cannot stand up and oppose sacrilege I don't think you should stand idly by and condone it either.

I'm glad the priest gives great sermons. Maybe sometime he can talk about appropriate behavior at Mass.

Tradcatholic said...

qlinger said:

AS long as the priest if reverent which I (beleive) the (preistis) cause I have been to that (churh), and he gives amazing sermons)and there is no (sacrilige) on the (alter) than we who know better (she be) making the example.

Now, in my Faith, it is the practice NOT to be associated with sacrilege, to flee from places in which the Christ is dishonored, mocked,disrespected and spit upon. Shaking this dust from my feet I move on. Maybe I am running away like the apostles did at the time of the Way of the Cross...I cannot look upon my Saviour being blasphemed and tortured. (I am not speaking of the particular church Petrus mentioned) Just being physically present at such a Mass is not enough. I do not attend Mass just to fulfill an obligation...I must participate fully which I am unable to do under such circumstances.

(Qlinger:I have put your mispelled words in parentheses so I may help you in translating from your native language to the accepted English. I hope it does not offend)

Let's pray for each other.

notsoneutral said...

I am saddened by the fact that the Lord would be upset by the lack of reverence shown at Mass, but even more saddened by the fact that we would be so busy observing the "misfits" rather than praying for them, and being gracious, caring and very respectful to Our Lord. He did not come for the saved( were there any?) He came for all, no matter what they wear, or even how they act.
Of course the priests should be on the ball. Many do not have the gumption...but again, how do we know that the woman's joging suit was not her "Sunday best".
Shame on you to suggest missing Mass because YOU might be distracted tradcatholic, and shame on you for correcting someone elses work or spelling. That shows real charity!!!

Tradcatholic said...

notsoneutral said:

...and shame on you for correcting someone elses work or spelling. That shows real charity!!!

Now, now, don't get your knickers in a knot! It is always amusing to me that one, like you, 'neutral', can correct me, not so neutral, but the reverse is not true! And, by the way, often REAL charity involves correction. Christ corrected others - he threw the money changers and sellers out of the temple for not treating it as a house of PRAYER. When I see the house of God not treated as a house of prayer, I am frustrated, and would like to overturn the tables also, but, being of a charitable mind, I leave instead. And, oh non-judgemental one, I DO pray for those misled people who know no better at Mass. Do you pray for those of us who are scandalized? Perhaps we are just on the opposite sides of the same Boat. Each of us has to do their part 'rowing' so the Boat travels down the straight and narrow stream.
And, FYI, I DID show REAL CHARITY -- (who was judging then?)--- you have NO idea what I REALLY think! Lighten up. Smile, God loves YOU (and ME, by the way)

M. Alexander said...

It has been 10 days. Why don't you update your blog! You are doing great!!!!!

Petrus said...

Its true. I've been lax. Even to adding my own comments to THIS section.

TradCatholic - what you are saying is EXACTLY MY POINT. We are abandoning not only Christ in the Eucharist who humbles Himself to be present at these Masses, but there is no one there to tell everyone else how they should be acting.

As we worship in our beautiful old Churches according to the old traditions, we could be losing an entire generation. Its really sad.

gawfer said...

OK Petrus,
Here’s my protestant take.

About 7 years ago, my family and I made a commitment to plant a church in a relatively barren community near San Francisco. Our first Sunday had 98 new folks.
In 4 years we were busting at the seams with around 500, so through a peculiar change of events, we merged with a church up the road that had a beautiful building, parking lot and adjacent property totally paid for, but the body was very ill. Up to that point, we had been meeting in a movie theater because property in the SF Bay Area is SOOOO expensive.

It was customary at the theater to bring in coffee and doughnuts into service, and we would even have a friendship break after the worship portion to would allow folks to refill before the sermon.

When we moved into the new big beautiful building, one of the gentlemen from that church told our pastor to be sure to tell folks NO FOOD OR DRINK into the sanctuary. Our pastor responded, 'OK, I'll be sure to tell everyone to bring in food and drinks'. The gentlemen said no, you misunderstood. The pastor said 'no I didn't, but I can't in good conscience let a cup of coffee or a doughnut stand between someone hearing for the first time the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I have to clean the sanctuary 30 times a year, I will do that'.

You see, all people need the Lord, and if we cast our judgment upon them, then we run the risk of alienating them completely. I understand what is right or wrong for you might not have the same relevance to a new comer. Besides, in my opinion, Christ is with me continually, whether I'm at church or at work, so the meaning of attending church is to edify and encourage one another as that body of Christ. The church, is the people in the building, not the building itself.

OK, pray for me now :)

gawfer said...

BTW, that church attendance is now about 950 on a Sunday mornings. For the most part, the demographic in that area has no church background.

and If you are interested their website is www.newlifeinfo.com

SurgiteetCoffeamOlfacite said...

Gawfer, The main difference here is that we have the True Presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ at a Catholic Church. The change from bread tand wine to the True Presence actually take place at the Consecration during each Mass Calvary is present at each Catholic Mass. This does not allow for casual behavior, it demands respect and reverence unless someone doesn't believe that the True presence of Christ is there which leads to the question, then why are they here? Also the Catholic Church admonishes the faithful to maintain at least an hour long fast before recieving, Communion (i.e. the body and blood of Christ.)

SurgiteetCoffeamOlfacite said...

Just to clarify, the fast means no food ar drink at all except for putre water for an hour before recieving Communion.

gawfer said...

"Calvary is present at each Catholic Mass. This does not allow for casual behavior, it demands respect and reverence unless someone doesn't believe that the True presence of Christ is there which leads to the question, then why are they here?"

OK, I understand why one would be diligent with respect and reverence. That makes sense.

But your question "why are they here" can be answered very simply: Because they feel a need to fulfill an emptiness in their hearts that only Christ can fill. They may have zero church experience, but the Holy Spirit doesn't require a church experience to speak to a heart.

I don't attend Mass simply because I am not Roman Catholic. I do believe Christians are part of the Catholic Church (by definition, the Universal Church of God), and I attend church on Sunday mornings because the bible tells me not to forsake the assembly ourselves.

But I believe that when I confessed my sins to God thru Christ, my spirit was reborn hence born again (see Jesus and Nicodemus) and God's Holy Spirit lives in my heart. In other words, He is with me always, and He promised to never leave me or forsake me. So I don't have to go to church to meet with Christ, because that part of the Trinity is alway with me.

Please don't misunderstand me, I am NOT criticizing you, your rituals or the Roman Chatholic Church. I fully agree that worship is not about us, but ALL about Him. And I think keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing is our responsibility.

With that being said, thank you for the education, and have a blessed day in this the Lord's day.

Thank you BTW for commenting on my meager blog.

SurgiteetCoffeamOlfacite said...

I see what you're saying and I agree that people are there to fulfill something in them that can only come from Christ but I believe there is no better way to do that than in the Sacraments because they are not just symbols but they actually effect what they signify. . . The Trinity dwells within you becasue you were Baptized "of water and the Holy Ghost" John 3:5. I am glad the girl was at Mass and Father probably made the right decision, he must know the girl much better and so is really the person to make the call, she didn't recieve by the way but safeguarding reverence for the Sacraments pivotal because if yuo truly believe that this is Christ and you love Him of course you would be sure that everyone treated Him with infinate respect. Thanks for the feedback. Madeline says hi but is too absorbed in football season to blog. Thanks for the wishes God bless you too.

gawfer said...

I miss Maddie'c comments :(, but I'm watching a lot of the ol' grid iron as well.

Peace!