Monday, June 09, 2008

Where did the silence go?

One of the benefits of living in the city is the close proximity of Catholic Churches. I have four churches to chose from for Mass; one for the Latin High Mass ( a forty-five minute drive and my usual choice), one for the Latin Low Mass (a thirty-five minute drive in the opposite direction, and my second choice) and two decent Novus Ordo parishes right in my own neighbourhood. I can't help but notice a striking difference between the two Rites when it comes to reverence, silence and prayerful meditation.

The Latin Masses are both held later in the day, as they are in "borrowed" Novus Ordo Churches, so I sometimes head to the 9 AM Novus Ordo Mass just a few minutes from my home. The priest there is good. One thing that really strikes me though, is the noise level at this Mass. The people chit-chat away prior to Mass, not even being careful of their conversation. Prior to the Confirmation Mass last week, a man sat sprawled at the end of my pew, talking quite loudly to a woman behind him. He used words like "jackass" and proceeded to describe an incident that showed someone in a less than favourable light. I glanced over at him, then I took my rosary, knelt down and started whispering the prayers. When I looked up, he was gone. Maybe he didn't like me whispering in Church!

This past Sunday, I went there again. I was greeted by the usual dull roar as people spent their moments before Mass socializing with each other, though there were several people who knelt in prayer. After Communion, the people in the pew behind me carried on a conversation rather than engaging in prayer. Distracting, yes, but more importantly, it showed a total lack of reverence for Jesus whom they had just received! Now, this parish has a good, holy priest, so why are the people so disrespectful when it comes to silence and prayerful meditation before the Tabernacle and after Communion?

Mass has become a social event for many people, but this only appears to be the case at the Novus Ordo Mass. The atmosphere at every Latin Mass I have ever attended is one of prayerful meditation and reverence for the Sacred Mysteries of the Altar. Why is this? Are trads socially inept or are they simply better educated in their faith? What would it take to get people to possess the desire to immerse themselves in the presence of Jesus, and show respect to Him in His own house?

13 comments:

Cygnus said...

But PG, we're a community! And the Mass is all about us and how wonderful we are sharing a meal, so why shouldn't we fellowship? You're just being all fuddy-duddy, pre-VII and stuff.

(When I attended Mass in Niagara Falls, two ladies talked through the WHOLE MASS. I sent the pastor an e-mail to alert him that such disrespect for the Blessed Sacrament was going on. I'm still waiting for his reply.

I want to use the proper context, but I could swear that at one of his liturgical workshops, David Haas said there was no such thing as disrespect to the Blessed Sacrament. But I can't remember exactly what he said to that effect.)

Shirley said...

The answer to your last question is, Humility. Remember what Fr. Corapi said? "No humility, no hope. No hope, no heaven."

ignorant redneck said...

When I was Parish shopping, I wouldn't stick around in a noisy before mass place.

Eventually I found a parish.

It's noisy after mass, though.

Adrienne said...

Our pastor had to finally (at the behest of the Liturgical Committee) actually institute "sacred silence." He rings a bell and announces the beginning of the silence about 10 minutes before Mass.

Can you imagine having to tell adults to be quiet in church??

It is always nicer at a TLM. Always! And the kids behave, too.

paramedicgirl said...

Adrienne, that is a fabulous idea! I love it! Yes, it's too bad that adults have be told to be respectful in Church, (kind of ironic, isn't it?)and the bell is a great way to get that point across.

karyn said...

i detect the same thing... people at the Novus Ordo spend like 20 seconds in thanksgiving after Holy Communion everytime, and the worse thing is that they shut up the church 10 mins after Holy Mass in the evening. The chatting isn't bad, but a number still do socialise in church. Silence is always present at SSPX traditional Masses, with the only noise coming from crying children.

At my SSPX chapel though, people spend an average of 10-30 mins prayer after. Any conversation gets taken out of the church, period.

Marilena said...

hey, eureka! i got it! why don't they ALL attend the TLM then they will be focused on Christ! pretty hard to yap their butt off when EVERYONE is focused on God! at our parish, you'd NEVER see people acting like it was their own personal living room. why? well, you know why. its not a NO church. its an sspx chapel. there is where REVERENCE is. and focus on God and not man. you'll see this at the FSSP and the SSPX chapels. hardly EVER at a NO!

+JMJ+ said...

I think the TLM fosters a greater respect for Jesus truly present in the Eucharist...we kneel more, we RECIEVE on our tongue not take with our hands (like chips). When you KNOW who it is up there it is more obvious to be in quiet, humble veneration on your knees. The TLM is not about us or the priest, it's about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Sadly, the N.O. is a jarringly distracting Mass for me now. You hear so much about the TLM priest turning his back to the people...so then, has the N.O. priest turned his back on God? Our Lord should be the focus of the Mass.

paramedicgirl said...

Ladies, yes, I have been to six or seven SSPX Masses in the past, and what struck me was the reverence and holiness of that Mass. It was the first time in my life I had experienced such a sacred atmosphere at Mass.

I attend the Mass of the FSSP, and people there are just as prayerful.. I just don't get it; why the NO brings out the socialization in people. Maybe it has to do with having the Mass at the dinner table rather than at an altar.

smiley007 said...

uhh
I know of one place in Scarborough M1N postal code area in canada that celebrates mass in Latin. Could you tell me where these other churches are. ON a vacation to a far away land i heard mass in a monastery in latin. and since then i have fallen in love

Angela M. said...

Hi PM Girl...long time no speak! I am hoping to attend the TLM soon and I need a veil - any suggestions?

paramedicgirl said...

Angela, greetings! I am so happy for you that you get to attend a TLM. Will this by any chance be in Vancouver at the FSSP parish? We just got a church of our own, Holy Family Parish on Beatrice St in Burnaby, with a mission Low Mass in Abbotsford. If you come to the city, let me know. It would be fun to hook up!

Anyway, about the head coverings - I just did a post with links to some online stores that sell veils. I have ordered from both of them before, and they are very good to do business with. I also have them linked in my side bar under Traditional Catholic Stores.

Angela M. said...

Hi PMG, yes - Holy Family in Van! I am only planning on being there over the weekend and I am not sure my son will drive me to a 9AM Mass when he lives in Surrey. It's in God's hands. If He wants me to go, I will get there somehow. If not, then I will go to a local NO.

I was leery about ordering veils online but if you are happy that is enough of a recommendation. I think I will buy one for myself for my birthday whether I get to the TLM or not!

God bless!