Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Interesting Comment on a Previous Post

I recently recorded the rude behaviour of some biddies in my parish, who are passive-aggressively protesting a Nigerian priest's homilies on Saturday mornings, since they think it makes Mass too long. A reader left a very interesting comment:

Traditional Catholics, outside of the British Isles of course, actually stereotype pious Irish Catholics as being willing to attend five Masses a day-Matt Talbot like-as long as they are only 20 minutes long and pious English Catholics as refusing to attend a weekday Mass unless there's incense and polyphony. There seems to be a grain of fact in this, our rector noticed a vast difference in the tastes of "republic" Irish, English, Scottish and even Northern Irish Catholics; strangely: (non-Irish/English) Traditional Catholics put it down as a legacy of the "Mass rock era", but why Irish people, descendants form the Mass Rock penal era would prefer shorter Masses to the English Catholics who are largely Irish descent or descendant from the priest hole penal era is confusing. Vespers is one point though. Even a lot of modern English Catholics like their sung vespers. I've never heard of vespers in connection with a Dublin church, but traditionally a lot had novenas of all sorts to fill the same gap, you might say.

This is interesting to me because I certainly recognize myself in it. Twenty minutes, to my tastes, is the ideal length for Mass. After that, my feelings of devotion flag. I know that St. Josemaria Escriva said: "The Mass seems long because your love is short". Well, it does seem long to me when it goes much over twenty minutes.

For this reason, as well as many others, I prefer daily Mass to Sunday Mass. I would happily attend daily Mass first thing in the morning every day. Well, I could do that now, but I'd have to get up absurdly early to make the 7:30 Mass in Our Lady Queen of Heaven in Merrion Road, before work. (Half-past five in the morning. I've tried in the past and I just ended up struggling to stay awake during the Mass.)

I prefer a Mass with no choir and no hymns (other than a recessional sung unaccompanied), but I like there to be a homily.

The very idea of High Mass makes me feel hot and bothered and tired. This is why, despite increasing irritation at abuses in the Ordinary Form, I'm reluctant to make the jump to Traditionalism. (Well, that and many other reasons.)

I generally like simplicity and understatement. A simple garden shed has always seemed the most beautiful of buildings to me. However, this isn't consistent. I like cinemas to be plush and cavernous, and I like movies to have the highest production values possible, and to make love to the eye.

The comment is also interesting to me because I like the idea of cultural heritage, cultural memory. I tend to be pessimistic about this, believing that a completely homogenized world is just around the corner. Rationally, I know this is alarmist, but I still think it's perfectly rational to resist globalization and homogenization, even if I exaggerate its extent, and even if I underestimate the tenacity of national and local character. A hypochondriac is not being irrational when he washes his hands and puts on sun cream.


  1. You probably should have corrected the typos. I'm actually much better with a pen.
    I've never read it but apparently the American book WHY CATHOLICS CAN'T SING has influenced a lot of people in Australia, and probably America, to see the lack of liturgical sense in these countries as being something inherited from Irish priests, and perhaps religious and others also. However it's, no doubt,a bit simplistic as congregations in Ireland can be enthusiastic about congregational singing. Yes,I do remember people at novenas lifting the roof in Dublin,I don't ever remember any singing at Mass except at my First Communion.
    And there are pockets of high liturgy everywhere, St Mary's Palestrina choir and, probably, some Irish religious houses would be examples

    1. I can only see the one, and I've corrected it.

      I'm pretty casual about typos, except where they might actually lead to confusion.