Those popes who bear the name, "Pius," are the greatest guardians of the Church against heresy. This blog is a watchdog for modernism in the Church. In reality, outside this blog, the members of the board temper their criticisms and opinions with prudence and charity so as to help souls in their journey towards Christ. But sometimes, for the sake of their own sanity, the authors of this blog just need to blow off some steam. The result is Totus Pius.

23 June 2007

The Mass a Spectacle?

Fr Z had some comments on a very stupid article in the Boston Ledger which quote some stupid professor from Boston College.

Our only comment: BC, BC, what a miserable place.

But that being said, so help any professor from our favorite university who dares utter something equally stupid - which one of them very well might.

Catholic Mass: For parishioners of 1880s, Mass was ‘a spectacle’

By LANE LAMBERT, The Patriot Ledger

For Catholics of times past, Mass was a different experience - and one that today’s parishioners probably wouldn’t find very satisfying, according to Boston College history professor James O’Toole of Milton.

‘‘It was very quick - about a half hour - and of course it was all in Latin,’’ said O’Toole, who’s the author of books on the American Catholic Church. ‘‘The priest would have faced the altar, away from the congregation, and his preaching would have been very short, in a low voice.’’

Back in the 1880s and ’90s, when parishes like Holy Family in Rockland were still new, ‘‘Mass was a spectacle that people watched, rather than something they participated in, as they do now,’’ he said.

Unlike today, Masses were celebrated on the hour through most of the day, ‘‘so they had to be quick,’’ O’Toole said.

The now-familiar streams of believers going to the altar to receive Communion would have been absent as well. Until the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1965, the church’s teachings emphasized the unworthiness of sinful souls, and the need for confession as a preparation for Communion.‘

‘If you were going to do it, you had better be (spiritually) prepared,’’ O’Toole said. Consequently, few believers went to the altar rail. Even the most pious parishioners usually received Communion no more than once a month.

‘‘It was a spiritual division of labor,’’ he said. ‘‘Ordinary Catholics said their prayers and prayed the rosary, and the priest did what he did.’’

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