By Allan Gillis
So, I’m at a Novus Ordo Mass last week with my grand-daughter and it is a typical Boston-area Novus-Ordo parish complete within a 1950’s style “airport terminal” building and dully-fitted “picnic-table” bare altar with a bare and white-washed 30 foot-high wall behind it and of course the Tabernacle is fashionably set off to the left of the altar by about 20 feet. From what I hear the old building was gorgeous…but, to some designers and archdiocesan administrators back then, in those halcyon days just after Vatican 2 – perhaps it was way too Catholic-looking.
It is the “Children’s Mass” as it were…the 9 o’clock Mass on Sunday…the music is saccharin and upbeat – but of course completely devoid of lyrics that might invoke truths/concepts such as “sin”, “sacrifice”, “hell” or perhaps some other unpleasant notions. I just realized as I write that any Marian devotion or mention is hardly ever made. Why doesn’t the N.O. form allow for at least a recital – somewhere during the Mass – of at least ONE Hail Mary???
Oh well… too Catholic I suppose.
So the pastor takes the ambo and then nonchalantly sashays down off the raised platform during his homily to get down with us – the people (how NICE of him!). He begins lamenting the sudden need he sees for his correcting men about taking their hats off “in church”. Imagine?! He regales us with anecdotes of how nice it was “years ago” when everyone would piously genuflect before the altar, when people had a reverence and knowledge of how they were in “God’s House” and acted accordingly, and men ALWAYS took off their hats. He then fervently upbraids us for failing to genuflect. Failing to demonstrate our understanding of the symbiotic relationship between “symbols” and “actions of faith” (my words). He encourages the congregation to be more mindful of this in the future – to be more disposed to demonstrate to the world the Eucharistic presence of Christ within us.
I was pleased and dismayed simultaneously. Confused actually.
When they took a wrecking-ball to the churches after V2 and destroyed the beautiful altars and interiors they decided for some diabolic reason to set the tabernacle off somewhere else…in one local church until recently the tabernacle was way off and tucked further down the transept.
…and they wonder why the Catholic people don’t genuflect anymore? I KNOW for a fact that many, many people are confused. I see people “reverence” the altar, while ignoring the tabernacle and I see others doing the exact opposite. People don’t know what to do. They remember (or have a collective memory of) when “in times of old” the tabernacle AND the altar was one central focus of reverence. Sadly, I think this is exactly what some evil bishops wanted… and still want. Confusion breeds apathy. Apathy will breed faithlessness.
The destruction of our Catholic identity is the Devil’s work.
So, I approached Father X after Mass (respectfully and NOT in a smug or combative way – I assure you, especially those of you who know me well). I asked; “Father, if you are concerned about the lack of reverence for symbols and actions… why not put that tabernacle back in the center of the apse? (but there is none architecturally – so back at the center of the altar) and while you’re at it, maybe you would seriously consider Cardinal Sarah’s exhortation to celebrate Mass “Ad Orientem”? This would certainly help to heighten consciousness – no?”
He nearly coughed out his false teeth!
His plump face turns pale and he snorts: “You’ll never get anywhere with ME on those ideas!”
So, I am left dismayed.
Lex Orandi Lex Crendendi