Friday, March 21, 2008

Touching the Sacred

For Holy Thursday, I decided to attend Mass at Saint John Cantius. Saint John Cantius is a special parish here in Chicago, dedicated to preserving the Latin Mass and Catholicism's sacred tradition. If you are Catholic, you should attend a Latin Mass occasionally. It is a wonderful way to reconnect with our past.

Here is a bit of video from Wednesday night's service (nothing from last night is on the net yet):

This may be a shock to any Protestants or modernist Catholics reading this, but the Latin Mass is one of the great glories of the Catholic Church. And the Mass last night was not a Tridentine High Mass but rather an Ordinary Mass, partly in English, mostly in Latin.

The choir at St. John Cantius is incredible. And given the mode of Mass, the people joined in the Gregorian Chant Now I know that Church is a special one. Most of the members have joined because they have a special devotion to the Latin Mass and to traditional Catholic sacred music. I know that all of our Churches were not all like that in the old days. But whenever I attend a Latin Mass, I wonder what we as Catholics have lost.

I am very much a child of Vatican II. I have no memory of the days when the Tridentine Mass was the primary mode of Catholic worship. Nor do I wish to really go back to those days. But listening to the choir sing old Gregorian chants you could almost touch the sacred. That feeling is, I fear, too often missing from Catholicism today.


Ma Beck said...

Is there a reason you wouldn't want to go back to those days?

At SJC, we don't have enough room for all the vocations, regular confession is a rule for everyone, not an exception, the children are schooled in not just the catechism but in sacred tradition - Latin music, Greek, etc.

I'd give anything to go back to when parishes like SJC were the norm.

albert cooper said...

I want the Tridentine Mass to return,and one reason being that tis experience is truly holy and reverent,without any liturgigal abuses,and the pick and mix liturgy delivered at most Roman Catholic churches worldwide,

Anthony said...

Happy Easter!

Ma Beck -- I agree that SJC is a very special parish. But were all parishes really like that in the old days? I have trouble imagining that to be the case. The thousand people I saw at Cantius on Thrusday would normally be split amongst 100 or so parishes -- so that is anbut 10 a parish. Enough to fill the liturgical committee, but maybe not enough to fill the choir.

Albert -- I agree with you regarding abuses and lack of reverence. One problem I think is that in the Tridentine Mass, the priest is basically a "mechanic" -- the people worship, the priest leads. Some priests sang the Mass better than others, but a good priest was good for what he did outside the Mass.

In the current Mass, the priest to often feels he has to be the "star" and entertain. To me, that is a Protestant concept. I like a priest who is reverant and makes himself humble.

I also have no problem with church music reflecting the society, But it must be reverent. A few years ago, I was stuck in my office on a Sunday in Advent, trying to get some transactions done before Chirstmas. That night, I went to a downtown church for Mass. It is the only time I ever walked out -- the music was a jazz band. Hearing the Gloria in jazz was too much for me and I walked out.

Ma Beck said...


Happy Easter to you as well!

Yes, that was the norm until about 40 years ago. At one time, St. Stanislaus Kostka parish near SJC had TEN THOUSAND families registered. That's 10,000 families! Imagine how many parishioners, at a time when they all had 7 kids or more!

Confession lines were, until post V2, longer than Communion lines, that was just a given.

Children learned Latin (important not just for Church - important for life.) and sacred music.

It was not unusual to have a priest in a family with many boys -now, it's a virtual miracle.