Friday, June 7, 2013


The Cathedral at Rheims
I realize that the title of this little piece might be taken in an offensive manner by some but it is not intended so.  Rather, it is our small contribution to the effort of keeping holy the Lord's Day.  Which is Sunday.  Not Saturday.

Obviously, the situation I am referring to is the now common practice of Roman Catholics keeping their Sundays free for relaxing, shopping, sports and fun by getting Holy Mass out of the way on the previous Saturday night...preferably around 4:30, so that it doesn't interrupt the dinner hour.  Everyone knows about this; it is unnecessary to elaborate.  Drive by any Catholic church around 4:30 on a Saturday evening and just count the parked cars.  There will be far more than the ones parked there for the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass the next morning.

My very dear Catholic friends, this is a bad idea.

Who and what brought us to this sorry pass?  It is of course the result of those liberalizations to the Church which came in the late 1960s as a result of that Council.  Rome granted this Saturday evening Mass concession and that action has opened up a number of serious problems in both Church and State.  This writer can still remember a time when most stores were closed on Sundays (indeed up until two years ago most stores in England were still closed on Sundays).  That all went by the boards in the late 60s and early 70s.  In most dioceses today the largest Mass attendance figures, apart from the Big Holy Days, are found on Saturday night.  There are two very grave problems with this.  The first is that it has the effect, unintended or not, of erasing the idea in the Catholic mind of keeping holy the Lord's Day.  The second problem is that it increases another activity that is repugnant to God: doing unnecessary servile work on the day of rest.  If we all flock to Wal-Mart or the malls on Sundays we force people to not keep their Sundays holy by doing servile work for their bosses on that day.  This is in addition to our being tempted to shop and spend on a day that should be devoted to Our Lord, our family and our rest.

When the Church, in a very misguided move, allowed the Saturday night "anticipatory" Mass it opened up the Pandora's Box that we are now faced with: Sunday is just another day in the week to spend money and have fun.  The Church still, amazingly, has not recognized the folly of this move.  Not one in a thousand clerics ever mentions these problems.  [Please write to let us know if and when some brave priest or Bishop has brought this up.  We would welcome such information.]  I am deliberately avoiding the issue of the utter banality and ugliness of most of the Masses people have to attend in order to fulfill their Sunday obligation; that is a story for another day.   The problem is that we are not keeping this clear, unequivocal Commandment demanded by our Creator Himself on Mount Sinai.  I hesitate to say that we are telling God that we will decide how to spend our time on His day.

Not a few Saints have stated that the two sins that offend God the most are taking His name in vain and not keeping holy the Lord's day.  If this opinion is true should it not give us all pause?

This is not the time to get into that red-herring discussion about which day is the "true" sabbath, a discussion that is pointless and leads people away from the central issue.  That question, for those interested, was written about in an interesting article found here.

There are those who will say that the Church has the right to make disciplinary adjustments and exceptions.  And, of course, it does.  What is forgotten, however, is the idea that sometimes those adjustments are problematical or imprudent.  The charism of infallibility does not protect the Church or the Pope with regard to disciplinary changes; they are either good, not so good, or poor.  Examples of disastrous disciplinary changes approved by the Vatican abound but two should settle the argument: altar girls and Communion in the hand.  Those two decisions have wreaked havoc on doctrine, liturgy, the sacred and any sense we ever had of Catholicity.  The great Bishop Athanasius Schneider has written well on the debacle of Communion in the hand, and the idiocy of altar girls has been well and truly exposed by the late Michael Davies.  We needn't cover that ground here.  We know these were tragic mistakes.

And so was the decision to allow an anticipatory Saturday evening Mass.  If we would but look at what this has done to doctrine alone, how it has sown the seed of doubt in Catholic minds, we would see that it is something that we who are trying to cling to the Faith should try never to do.  If nothing else this switching from Sunday to Saturday Mass keeps Catholics off-balance.  We are never certain any more.  Who is right?  Who is wrong?  Of course that is the story of the entire Church today.

Our first goal should be to find a Mass that is beautiful, quiet and reverent.  Not easy, I know.  But our second goal should be to attend that Mass on Our Lord's day.  We might also gently tap on the shoulders of our Catholic family members and friends who use the Saturday exception and encourage them to return to the "old way", which is really the right way.  It is my hope that if we can begin to restore to Sunday the proper reverence that such a day is due we will begin to see the end of several problems plaguing the Catholic Church.


Be Catholic! said...

I was a young teen when this was introduced. We were told that it was for people such as nurses and policemen and others whose work occasionally prevented them from attending Mass on Sunday. WHAT LIARS FROM HELL THEY WERE.

Sunday fulfills our Sunday obligation. Saturday does not. Case %#@!# closed.

Nobody EVER had to go to Confession because they were working the emergency room all day Sunday. Those who committed this lie were enemies of the Catholic Church. They know it. And so do I.

I work out of state many hours from home. Come Sunday I drive another two hours to get to a real Catholic Mass. No sleeping in. No grass gets cut or cars get washed or any other chores that waited all week for me to get home. Even the football god doesn't get to intrude on my holy day. Why? Because it is HIS DAY, not mine or anybody else's and so I give it to Him. It has been MY GREAT JOY to do so!

Aged parent said...

Thank you, Be Catholic, for your reply. Would that many more thought as you do.

Anonymous said...

Clergy is far too focused on making parishioners feel good rather than beeing good. I try to avoid the Saturday afternoon Mass because the exodus of people after Communion is ridiculous. Even more so than it can be on Sunday at my local NO parish. Cant they even be bothered with staying for two more hymns and a few announcements? Considering how many people were taught that the Eucharist is just a symbol and hearing pablum "feel-good" sermoons every week, it's not surprising to hear how low regular Mass attendance has dropped since the 1960s. I feel blessed to have access to resources such as your blog and audio of traditional Catholic sermons at Audio Sancto. People in the 70s-early 2000s weren't as fortunate.

Dominus Vobiscum

Anonymous said...

It's all about not inconveniencing or upsetting anyone. So many priests these days are more concerned with making people feel good rather than being good. Some go to great lengths to avoid making any disturbance or imposition on anyone, even if that so-called disturbance may cost a parishioner their soul. In the NY archdiocese scandalous Kathlyc politicians such as Christine Quinn, a frontrunner to be the next NYC mayor (openly homosexual, living with her "wife"/partner, promoting contraception, abortion and homosexual "marriage" while in public office) and NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo (divorced and living with girlfriend and also promoting contraception, abortion and homosexual "marriage" while in public office) receive the Eucharist every Sunday. I guess that they are most concerned with not offending any sinners. If any of the laity complain they'll quickly get shouted down by various professional Catholics for being uncharitable and rude.

The times I've been to a Saturday afternoon Mass I was surprised by how many people almost ran out the door after receiving Communion. They can't even stay around for two more hymns and an announcement? Really? I suppose it's just one more consequence of decades of bad religious education, pablum feel-good sermons and a complete rejection of anything (everything?) that happened before 1965.

The words of then Cardinal Ratzinger about the Church becoming smaller and loosing power & prestige are proving to be quite prophetic.

I'm very thankful that I have access to so many internet resources, blogs, online traditional Catholic sermon recordings at Audio Sancto and on You Tube, the FSSP and SSPX online information, just to name a few. If this stuff had been around in the 1980s - 90s I doubt I would have drifted away from the Church for 10+ years.

Dominus Vobiscum

[I apologize if this turnout to be a redundant comment. I posted one earlier but my computer hiccuped and the comment seems to have "evaporated"]

Anonymous said...

June 9 10:52Pm, My computer is ultra-sensitive thus that hiccup and evaporation thing happens to me regularly. Sometimes it's very
tiresome. To my ears, uncharitable
has almost become a worn out word.

Anonymous said...

It's the 'chipping away'. At Linen
on the Hedgerow today Mr. Collins'
Post is Hallo Mary. He speaks of
more chipping away. The modern
language thing.

Anonymous said...

Uncharitable, over used and misused. And God's Unconditional
Love. Is God's love Unconditional?
That sounds preposterous to me.
Can someone tell me if I'm right or
if I'm wrong? Surely I'm not wrong.

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