Why Does This
Catholic Than Our Mass?
Dear Folks at The Remnant:
a lurker to your website for a while, and a subscriber
to your fine newspaper for a few months now. Your paper
has been a continual source of clarity and....well,
mentioned in a recent YouTube shtick (it was with Matt
and Ferrara), that you were going to devote future
YouTube conversations to the problem of the New Mass. It
made me think of my own case.
recent convert to Catholicism from 'confessional' (read:
traditionalist) Lutheranism, and it's been
disillusioning being on this side of the Tiber. Being
raised confessional Lutheran, I of course know my
Lutheran catechism very well (I could probably recite
most of it by memory even now), and for that reason, I
find the Paul VI Rite bizarre. In the New Mass, there's
nothing particularly Catholic-specific about the content
of the orations. If anything, it seems rather 'neutral'
and 'happy' in tone, in that not only is it purged of
Catholic-specific dogma, but references to sin, death,
hell, Satan's works, and the warring angels, have been
comparison, my old Lutheran Mass's orations were chalk
full of allusions to this 'hard' stuff.
some of the words in the new Mass's Canon—including the
'Blessed are you Lord' prayer, strike my former Lutheran
ears as doctrinally suspect. My Lutheran friends find
that prayer especially weird, and they argue that it
cheapens the Real Presence. I have a hard time
disagreeing. At the very least, no confessional Lutheran
pastor would ever say such a prayer before the
consecration in a Lutheran Mass. No. Way.
this with the Traditional Latin Mass—the Mass that
Luther objected to and which was the foil for my own
childhood catechesis. Most prayers in this older
Mass contain doctrines and ideas that are highly
offensive to my former Lutheran ears—propitiatory
sacrifice, the merits of the saints, purgation, etc. All
over the place in the changing orations of this Mass,
you find ideas and doctrines that make me think, "Yeah,
there's no way I could pray this as a Lutheran. Way too
Catholic." I hardly ever think that when I read/hear the
orations of the new mass.
this the fact that the Old Mass has that great
Eucharistic Prayer in the Canon ("Accept, O Holy Father,
Almighty and Eternal God, this spotless host...), which
is totally offensive to Lutherans. That prayer,
of course, was axed from the New Mass.
from my perspective. I just don't get it. So there's a
weird irony for this former confessional
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Certainly, a confessional Lutheran has to avoid the old
Mass like the plague, in that it is chalk full of
doctrines that are, for a Lutheran, Catholic-specific
(read: heretical). Then again, the Paul VI rite is also
unsuitable for Lutheran worship; but ironically, this
isn't because it contains Catholic-specific dogma
(because it doesn't), but because it it's too soft on
sin, hell, the warring angels, and the evil work of
course, there's the way a new Mass is
'celebrated'. Some of my old Lutheran friends talk about
how the Catholic church 'jumped the shark' at Vatican
II, and it shows in the way the new Mass is offered.
confessional Lutheran kid today, learning his catechism,
visits a Novus Ordo Mass for the first time. In addition
to hearing the 'neutral' and 'happy' prayers, this young
Lutheran kid will see things he's never seen before in
his own Lutheran church: people standing for
communion receiving in the hand, chatty and irreverent
priests and laity, ad-libbing, altar girls, lay readers
(including women), disposable hymnals, lay administers
of communion, priests walking around the sanctuary
during the sermon, and loud and obnoxious cantors
(singing a lame responsorial psalm from the pulpit, no
also notice that, as compared to his own Lutheran church
that sees Zwingli as an enemy, the Catholic church he is
visiting seems purged of icons and crucifixes. Moreover,
here at the Catholic church, none of the men have suits
and ties on, and everyone is talking before Mass begins.
And yes: lots of bad, bad, idiotically bad, insultingly
music. Insanely bad. Our young Lutheran visitor finds it
odd that he knows by heart more hymns by Thomas Aquinas
than these Catholics do.
rate, our young Lutheran visitor is sorely confused
after attending his first Catholic Mass. As it turns
out, his little confessional Lutheran church is by far
the most 'conservative' and 'traditional' church in
strangely, our young Lutheran visitor finds the
Catholics to be heretics. Yet, these Catholics don't
want to return the compliment. 'Oh, same difference!'
they say to him.
to the fact that you guys are a source of sanity for me.
As a convert (who gets the 'same difference' line
constantly upon mentioning that I'm a convert), I'm
always interested to get Catholic opinion on these
changes. But on most major Catholic blogs and media
outlets, the answer I get is that I'm a 'radical
traditionalist' simply because I suggest that there are
huge discrepancies between the two Masses, or because I
don't understand why they would introduce such lame
music, or because I think that the new Mass is
doctrinally weak. Thing is, I don't usually attend a
traditional Latin Mass. It's too far away. And anyway,
I'm new to this Catholic thing. I don't really know what
it means to be a traditionalist. I'm still
wanting people to see that something really weird is
going on in the prayers of the new Mass. Given that I'm
new, I figured I'd be able to get some easy answers to
my confusions from seasoned Catholics. But no one seems
to care...even if they agree with me (and they usually
don't). The issue, I'm told, is with me. I've been told
that I'm a heretic, moreover, because I don't accept the
idea that everything is totally fine.
relief to find The Remnant! You seem to be saying many
of the things I'm thinking. It's nice to know my
intuitions aren't off base. At any rate, I thought of
this all, given your mention of a talk on the Mass in a
future YouTube broadcast.
thanks for what you do. Sorry for writing a book here.
...A Remnant Reader