A CATHOLIC LAMENT, broadly stated:

1. The Latin was mysterious, signalling the (bona fide) mysteries of the Eucharist, vs. today’s liturgical populism, downgrading the mystical and downplaying the sacral.

2. The priest saying Mass was a functionary, reflecting the ex opere operato aspect of what he did.

3. The priest at mass was (presumably) a priest at prayer, absorbed in that aspect, which meant he did not look at or survey people, even when turning to them to pronounce a blessing or solicit response.

4. As functionary or performer of the sacred ritual, he was severely limited. Ritual reigned, ad libbing unheard of.

5. People looked forward and saw the priest facing in the same direction, a crucial element in the transaction but not its focus. (Important point here and now, when the priest has become the focus, people look at him, there being nothing else, presuming they pay attention to what’s going on.)

6. The priest never looked at the people, as noted. It was prayer time, for him and the rest of us, moments of silence and attempted communing with the supernatural.

7. Mass over, church remained a place of prayer, not reverting to a social hall, as if the Sacrament did not remain, ensconced in tabernacle.

8. All in all, there was less or no socializing in church, more or only reverence or at least silence.

It’s different now.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Bowman says:

    Reblogged this on Blithe Spirit and commented:

    Was no “here’s lookin’ at you” from the alter, for example


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