Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Traditional Than Expected?

Every time I go to Mass at the parish where I've gone since I was in my mama's womb, I become just a little more disillusioned with them. The fact that they pretty much skip over the Penitential Rites really bugs me. The clapping, and (sometimes) dancing along, I see during the Alleluia/Gospel Acclamation always makes me cringe. I've had priests (one in particular) look at me when they see I'm not partaking in the clapping most of the parishioners are more than happy to do. I refuse to clap along, sorry. I feel like it's disrespectful to the sacredness of the Mass. More things I don't like: not wearing a skirt or dress to Mass... not wearing a mantilla/chapel veil... not receiving communion... not attending Mass, period. I have been known to cry when I am unable to attend Mass. The more I learn and read about the Church pre-Vatican II, the more I feel like the "outdated rituals" would suit me the best. That doesn't mean that I am against the Second Vatican Council... I just prefer the way things used to be way before my time. Am I more traditional than anyone, including myself, expected?

I have never been to a Latin Mass before but, after learning more about it and watching videos on youtube, I feel like it is the perfect Mass for me. Sadly, they're not really offered within the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Not even Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum has helped that issue here. The nearest parish where they offer Latin Masses is almost an hour away from where I live (for those who aren't familiar with L.A., the county is large and sprawled out). They don't even offer it at the San Fernando Mission anymore! I could go into the whole issue many of us have with Cardinal Mahony, but I won't. All I will say is that I think it's sad that the archdiocese seems to have something against the TLM. If you want to hear more about what's wrong with this archdiocese, go to Joe's blog, Verbum Veritatis in Mahonyland. He expresses himself better than I do on this subject. (P.S. He can attest that I actually wear a mantilla to Mass; he's seen it for himself.)

I have embraced the fact that I have become a traditional Catholic (and I fall in the first group of traditional Catholics according to Fish Eaters). When I started this blog, on Christmas night 2007, I had NO CLUE that my journey returning to the Church would lead me here. For those very few that have read this blog since the beginning, I ask you: did y'all see it coming? I am actually very proud that! While I no longer wear the mantilla my father brought me from Mexico earlier this year (I have decided to not use it until my wedding day), I still wear one. I am proud to wear my mantilla to Mass... even if I'm the only woman under 50 that wears one. I REFUSE to receive communion by the hand. I'm usually one of the very few people in my parish who receives the Eucharist directly in the mouth. I wouldn't mind seeing altar rails brought back to the parish, though I won't hold my breath on that one. I'm not even going into the music played during Mass because I will never stop writing (St. Cecilia would be proud. :D)

I've read recent articles (which I cannot find at the moment, I need to organize my bookmarks) that say that statistics and surveys have shown that my generation (those in their late 20s and younger) seem to be more traditional than previous generations. Yes! Most, if not all, my Catholic friends are traditional, so I believe the articles. So will I be one of several that, with the help of Pope Benedict XVI, get their wish fulfilled and see parishes allow more Latin Masses to be said? Will we slowly see beautiful mantillas return? Only time will tell... but I am certainly hoping it happens.

Though I want to write more, I will stop for now and pick it up sometime in the future. Maybe next time I'll have the links ready. lol. ;) I am off to prepare myself for tomorrow's Philosophy course. Another round of "Oh no you di'nt" discussions with my professor? We'll see. :D I hope y'all are having a great start of week. :D

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!


Regina Heater said...

I have found that even though I LOVE music, I am most happy worshipping at the Masses without music in my Parish. Maybe it's just because I'm able to concentrate on the liturgy a little more. :)

My experience in leading worship over the years (as a Protestant) shows me that worship style is often like learning style. You need to worship in the way that brings you closest to God. For some people, following a traditional path is what speaks to their hearts most. For others, that can be alienating. An individual must constantly discern what 'works' for them, see where they are growing in faith and where they are flagging and adjust their disciplines accordingly.

'young people' are embracing traditional rites in both worship and orders - it's really interesting from a sociological perspective.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Yes, i can attest to it, she does, she rocks :)

God willing, there will be more Masses in the EF being offered in LA. I have an idea, which I'll discuss with you over e-mail.

Just encouraging you in the Faith <3

Pax Vobis

Francisco said...

I think the music thing is actually cultural, not entirely religious. If you go to parishes with mostly Latin American people, that's probably why they sing and clap a lot. Here in Mexico, taking part in those things is considered part of being solemn with everyone else, while some people might even say not singing and clapping along is disrespectful.

And about our generation being more "traditional", apparently that's because we grew up in times of prosperity (i.e. already "free" from oppression, unlike our parents, who had to free themselves from it), but now that we're adults, the economy is in bad shape, so we become more rigid as a society. Because of that, we are drawn back to how our grandparents had to live, except with less children and a lot more technology. Very interesting stuff.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Francisco, there's much of the Hispanic Liturgical Tradition which has been hijacked since Vatican II, many of this clapping, dancing used to be before Mass. I've found some beautiful spanish gregorian chant, which I wonder why that isn't in Liturgy :(

There is of course incultrualization in Liturgy, but there's authentic inculturalization, and craziness.

Dean Soto said...

We had the Latin mass going for a while over at St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, but they stopped it all of a sudden. It wasn't too big of an issue because the Oblates there are very much traditionalist in nature even when they are saying the new Mass.

I, too, wish there were more said in the LA area. It will come though. Reform is slowly starting to happen (very slowly it seems). I sometimes attend Ruthenian Byzantine and Maronite liturgies (both Eastern Rite Catholic) when I can in order to take part in the sacredness that they exude.

Anyway, keep writing and going against the grain!

Claire Christina said...

Emmy, I know you didn't discuss music, but since others have: The music at Mass is supposed to be an integral part of the prayer, in the same way that the proper prayers and readings are! The hymns and songs usually sung for offertory and whatnot are an option to replace the proper Biblical texts that Holy Mother Church has assigned to those times.

My personal reason why I think our generation is drawn to tradition is twofold: 1) We are not grounded in it - family habits, even places of habitation are rarely the same over several generations anymore. Our generation is more self-enclosed than any of those before us have been (i.e., we have less meaningful contact with older generations who would pass on to us their wisdom)... We're attracted to all sorts of traditions, not just religious ones. Sure, they are usually celebrated in modern ways, but my point stands (heck, the way TLM is celebrated today is different from how it was celebrated before the Council!).

2) We, as a generation, are so sick of people telling us, "Hey, this is important, you should make it part of your life, so here let me dumb it down and make it look all pretty so you'll take it." The TLM, on the other hand, says, "Hey, this stuff is important - so important that I'm not going to change just to make it more convenient for you. You're smart enough; learn how to pray this way, and you will come to understand."

I'll stop there. My thesis topic will cover such issues, so I've much to say. (And yes, I will eventually send you that email about those liturgical abuses we discussed on facebook, I promise!) *hugs you!*

PartyGurle said...

Wow...they clap and dance in your church? That seems so weird to me...

Kelly said...

Awesome post Emmy!! I am 32 yrs old and consider myself very traditional. I am the only one I've seen to wear a mantilla at Mass. Yes, I'm wearing one now! :D and haven't worn anything other than a dress or skirt to Mass for the past 10 yrs at least. I always only receive on the tongue. I'm not saying that I judged others who do not do as I do. I am just doing what feels right for me. It helps that my husband is also traditional.

And btw, my cousin goes to the Mass at St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens. She loves the Oblate priests there. She has sent me some of their talks through St. Joseph Radio tapes. They are very good!

God bless you!

Francisco said...


I think you're focusing too much on what went on in Spain. Here in Latin America, missionaries made religious music as fun and interactive as possible so people with very little education wouldn't feel intimidated by it. They really felt they had to dumb down the faith to make it more attainable. Back in the XVI century, all they wanted was for the natives to become Catholic, so here it really is a cultural thing that goes way back to when indigenous cultures got mixed up with Spanish Catholicism. In some places, like Mexico City, they actually prefer Greogorian chants to usual Church songs. In other places (like Chiapas, in the south), Catholic rites is so intertwined with ancient indigenous tradition, that it's pretty much unrecognizable, but they're still considered Catholic.

The Gulbransen Family said...

Emmy...couldn't agree with you more.

We have a great Latin Mass here in San Diego. If you'd ever like to come down and attend, let me know. My wife and I would love to host you and have you experience it first-hand.

You know where to find me...



Cam said...

I can't believe there isn't a TLM in LA! The closest one to us is three hours away, but we live in a little podunk town (160 people, it really is tiny) and you expect to miss things like that (we go to a parish in a slightly larger town- a few thousand people, 15 minutes away). I just imagined that most big cities had at least on Latin Mass these days! That would drive me crazy!

My husband and I both consider ourselves to be traditional. I'm the only one in my parish who wears a mantilla (although occasionally I can keep one on my 16 month old daughters head) and only a few of us don't receive in hand. I was so happy to see communion rails at the Church we recently visited. I wish it wasn't such a long drive...

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Cam, there are TLM's in LA, they just happen to very inconviently located for most people in the archdiocese that aren't around the parishes where they are located

Emmy Cecilia said...

Francisco - The clapping, dancing Masses in Mexico must be in bigger cities because I NEVER experienced that when I've attended Masses out there. I went to Mass with my late maternal grandmother, who always wore her mantilla/velo, and there was never that kind of hoopla.

Emmy Cecilia said...

Maria - Oh yeah! Especially during the Jazz Masses. Oy. Don't get me started. lol.

Scott - I will take you up on your offer next time I'm in San Diego. :)

Cam - They DO offer TLM within the Los Angeles Archdiocese, but it's usually in the outskirts of the city. The nearest one to me is about 45 minutes away. As I said, Los Angeles is a large city and you can drive for two hours or more before you reach the city limits.