Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

What Does the Lord Require?

October 8th, 2009, Promulgated by Gen

An ounce of dignity, I should think. I would just like to set forth this humble comparison of two recent Masses which I attended. A priest friend of mine has told me, and I agree, that “in matters of taste, there is no argument.” However, I should think that one of the following two options will stand out as being uniquely reverent and the other as uniquely . . . not.

Mass 1:

  • Immense levels of pre-Mass chatter in the church itself.
  • The altar candles were white, opaque hurricane lamps with what one would assume to be white pillar candles inside.
  • The altar servers were two girls, in albs (which is a priests vestment, if one actually reads the rubrics etc.) who had a contest which I could only intepretate as a game in which one throws the chalice and other vessels for Mass onto the altar from a moderate distance, seeming to be approximately four feet. They then, giggling and bumping into each other, “processed” down the aisle to receive the gifts.
  • The priest himself was a victim of circumstances.
  • During consecration, one could audibly hear a string of jokes coming from the altar girls.
  • During the distribution of Communion, the chatter grew louder than it had been before Mass
  • And, lastly, the music was all from the span of 1968-1980, and had been taken from a Lutheran/Presbyterian hymnal.

Mass 2:

  • Silence before Mass
  • Four altar boys, in cassock and surplice (which, if one reads the rubrics, is supposed to be used by servers), processing slowly and symmetrically to the altar, the High Altar, with incense billowing and crucifix held proudly aloft.
  • Gregorian chant and hymns of majesty and nobility, namely All Creatures of Our God and King.
  • Mass was Novus Ordo, but in Latin.
  • The people actively responded and sang to appropriate parts of the Mass.
  • No chatter throughout the Mass. Focus was on the altar where it should be.
  • When there was no chant, there was Renaissance polyphony.
  • The priest was not the center of attention, the Mass was.
  • There were no lay people (aside from servers) in the sanctuary. The readings were done by other priests and deacons.
  • The homily was about avoiding liturgical abuse, modernism, etc . . .
  • The organist used Widor’s 5th Symphony for the recessional. One of my favorites.

So, what do you think the Lord requires? Irreverent altar girls or majestic organ music?

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11 Responses to “What Does the Lord Require?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    10 more days until the big 1000 day countdown for Bishop Clark's retirement.

    It will be a happy day in the Diocese of Rochester.

    Bishop Clark is the bishop that has the lowest rating among his parishioners out of all the bishops in the United States.

  2. Persis says:

    I found this at www.

    According to the Ceremonial of Bishops, n. 65:
    "The vestment common to ministers of every rank is the alb, tied at the waist with a cincture, unless it is made to fit without a cincture. An amice should be put on first if the alb does not completely cover the minister's street clothing at the neck. A surplice may not be substituted for the alb when the chasuble or dalmatic is to be worn or when a stole is used instead of the chasuble or the dalmatic. When a surplice is worn, it must be worn with the cassock."

    The dalmatic and chasuble are only worn by the priest and deacon so the vestments for altar servers are the alb with a cincture or a cassock covered by a surplice.

    So now, my question- I keep hearing a lot about "rubrics". Where exactly does one get that information? I am not trying to "pick a fight", I am just curious. I see a lot of people refer to "rubrics", yet when I go to the 1975 GIRM (or the new one) or to the "Code of Canon law", I do not always find statements to back up what is said (as the example above illustrates).

    As someone who is trying hard to learn the truth about my faith, it would help me to know where to go to find the "actual rules".

    I am appalled at the behavior of that is reported at Mass #1 and do hope that you did either talk with the priest after Mass, or made an appointment to talk to him- these girls SHOULD NOT be servers if they are not going to act in a dignified manner.

    But, for the record, I have seen boys act the very same way!

  3. Gen says:

    I will try to find the exact copy which is used by the folks in the Vatican and by me, and send it to you Persis.

    For over five centuries, the alb was reserved solely for the priest. Cassocks were (and are) "work garments," and the surplice is worn over them for ceremonial occasions, i.e. Mass. This only changed after Vatican II. I am not saying the current usage of an alb for servers is illicit. I am saying that the use of an alb for practically every "ministry" at the Mass is. Yes, the alb is "the vestment of the baptized." However, to have so many ministers wearing them and so many of these ministers acting in manners un-befitting of their ministry, the role of "priest" is severely obscured by modern theological ideas which are contrary to the spirit of Vatican II. This spirit of which I speak is not the "let's turn the altars around" spirit, but the spirit as genuinely found in the documents of VII regarding the liturgy. 90% of the "reforms" we have seen here in the United States were NEVER MANDATED by the Church. The over-use of albs is one of these. The bishops didn't open up the liturgy to the laity to have the role of priest berated by men and women who seek their own liturgical, theological and spiritual agendas.

    I'll definitely try to look for the documents, Persis. I have most of them in PDF format, I think.

  4. Persis says:

    Thanks Gen, that would be great!!

    And for the record, I do agree with you about too many people wearing albs. I especially have a problem with PA's who wear them, and then have no respect for the liturgy (i.e. I have seem some who stand at the alter during consecration who do not bow/genuflect, show no reverance to the tabernacle, etc.)

    If you put a pig in a suit, it is still a pig!

  5. Kelly says:

    Your point was made using two extremes; both nearly complete opposites. Let us not forget that there is indeed something in the middle which is very orthodox and reverent – which the Lord requires.

    If many of you think that when Bishop Clark retires, the Masses in the DOR will all be in Latin and immersed in Gregorian chant with a quartet of strings from Eastman and an organist from Hochstein…

    I realize that by suffering through decades of liturgical abuse which is actively endorsed by your Bishop, many may have a tendency to cleave to the opposite pole. 49% (a majority) of those on CF who have responded to your poll say that they prefer a reverent NO Mass to any other. NO does not necessarily = heresy. Remember, the SSPX and Sede crowds took things to the extreme and ended in a rather unpleasant situation. Our Holy Father celebrated Mass in the vernacular when he visited the U.S. and the Masses were very reverent. Reverence or the lack thereof has nothing to do with the language used during the Mass.

    I attend the NO Mass regularly and have witnessed none of the abuses you have mentioned. Unless it is your assertion that altar servers are forbidden to wear an alb.

  6. Kelly says:

    Gen, after having read your reply to another comment, I understand what it is you are saying about the alb. Our parish was merged with another parish. The smaller parish had only altar boys so the alb was never used. In the larger parish, there were female altar servers and the alb was used for boy males and females. Cassock and surplice would look pretty out of place on a girl, no? No other ministers wear the alb – no female-priest wannabe, etc. The Deacon and Priests are dressed appropriately and we have two to three altar servers wearing white albs.

    Not all Catholics have witnessed what the DOR folks have. Your disdain for albs is a bit more clear to me now. If Fr. Joan and her 'sisters' in the 'priesthood' wear albs, I can understand why you shrink at the sight of them.

  7. Gen says:

    I know for a fact that no matter who the next DoR bishop is, there will still be some of the "old guard" who keep the banner of heresy and heterodoxy flying. All I want is a simple return to, if not absolute tradition, a cessation of hatred towards it.

    You should be glad, Kelly, that the DoB doesn't permit such abuses as those which are seen and promoted here. When I saw and heard Bishop Kmiec publicly support a church as beautiful as OLV Basilica, and when he thanked "his fellow priests" I had a sort of feeling which I have never received in Rochester. It could only be described as being proud of having a bishop. Nothing against Bishop Clark, but his policies have bolstered and fostered error while causing immense and immeasurable pain for the greater part of his diocese. I pray for him that his heart will be converted as so many other priests and nuns have.

  8. Kelly says:

    I love my Bishop. If anything takes place at a parish (or school) which ruffles feathers, a call from the Chancery is expected before the dew dries in the morning – and heads roll. We have people from the DOR – Avon, Livonia, Caledonia, Scottsville, Henrietta – drive to our parish, some over 40 minutes to attend Mass. They also share horror stories of lay homilies, PAs, priests who serve as mere ornaments at the Mass, general 'group confession', etc.

    The DOR continues to be in my prayers and I continue to try to let others know what has been taking place. It is amazing how few know outside of the DOR what is going on within the DOR.

  9. Gen says:

    And those who do know aren't in positions to bring about . . . dialogue. lol

  10. Nerina says:


    Be thankful you have access to a reverent NO Mass. Most of us here, do not. In addition to innovations in the liturgy, we are also subjected to poor homiletics and imitation ecumenism which amounts to "whatever works for you…" I've mentioned this before, but I heard a homily where the priest said "you can believe 10% of what the Catholic Church teaches and still be Catholic." Left alone, without further explanation, this statement is at least problematic.

  11. Kelly says:

    Nerina, I am very thankful – every single day. For a reason only known to God, the faithful of the DOR have been given this cross to carry.

    It is important that we continue to get the word out about the crisis in the DOR to our neighboring Catholics. Many have no idea what is going on.

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