Boys Will Be Boys

Interesting post on facing liturgical east from a high school chaplain’s perspective, and duly noted by Father Z.

It’s not a leap to think back to my own high school days. My peers and I would have approved of teachers facing “academic east” and keeping their backs to us. We weren’t out of our minds for wanting to be out of sight.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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10 Responses to Boys Will Be Boys

  1. Charles R. Williams says:

    Two things stick in my mind as motivations for switching to the Byzantine Rite. The first is the horrible music that is almost universal in American Roman Rite churches and the second is having to avoid staring at the priest during the consecration.

    The atmosphere in the typical American Mass is effeminate and healthy American boys are repelled by it. It takes a boy with the example of a Father whose faith is strong to get past these surface impressions. It is true that over history and across cultures women have often attended mass more regularly than men. But something more is going on here. For the first time in centuries we see the Mass itself corrupted by a degraded and alien spirituality.

    Sunday, I attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form because the Divine Liturgy was impractical. I was struck by the high percentage of men in attendance.

    Ad Orientem is indeed more manly because the posture is more consistent with the sacrifice that happens in the Mass and offering sacrifice is in a special way a masculine activity. A boy who notices this is beginning to understand the priesthood as a noble and quintessentially masculine vocation.

  2. Todd says:

    A “degraded and alien” spirituality? I think your case is overstated to the point of caricature.

    If we were impressed by the poll results of teens, it would be interesting to see the preference between simple vestments and the fussy liturgical wear promoted by traditionalists.

    When clergy hide the Sacrament during Mass by facing East, I wonder where the attention is drawn if not to the vestments?

  3. Gavin says:

    Todd, remember when you denigrate ad orientem, you’re denigrating all of the Eastern rites, as well as the Orthodox. I’m not sure you’re willing to do that, but if you are you may as well be consistent and bash those “iconostasimaniacs” as well.

    In response to your blog post, I have to wonder: are you planning on throwing spit balls during Mass if your priest isn’t staring at you? Your view of “hiding the sacrament” is interesting, but flawed given that the Sacrament is not visible in any orientation except at the elevation. I’m in the choir loft well above the altar and can’t see it.

    In fairness, I sincerely doubt that most young boys care about ad orientem. I’d even propose that the overwhelming majority of us 20- or 30-somethings don’t really care. However, good liturgics doesn’t admit majority preference as a legislative factor, so the point is moot either way.

  4. Gavin says:

    Ah, let me add, the Sacrament WOULD be visible if we suspended a large mirror over the altar. Would this be something you’d suggest, or are you going to keep hiding the Lord? And, if you would support Ad Mirror, would you also have the priest face with the congregation or towards them, given that the Sacrament is visible (which is the suppose goal of facing the congregation)?

  5. Michael says:

    Ad Orientem is indeed more manly because the posture is more consistent with the sacrifice that happens in the Mass and offering sacrifice is in a special way a masculine activity. A boy who notices this is beginning to understand the priesthood as a noble and quintessentially masculine vocation.

    That is possibly the silliest thing I’ve read this week; it certainly betrays a profound misunderstanding of masculinity.

  6. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    Once I checked the link I wasn’t inclined to read much further. Rev.Dwight Logenecker seems to be cut out of the same cloth as Fr.Z. If I visit his sight it is for ‘light entertainment’, suggestions on how to be more Roman than the Romans, something I would never recommend to people trying to find a voice for Christ and his Gospel in Asia, indeed anywhere outside of a Western/Euro-centered church.
    As in this contribution, bad history, bad theology. Ad orientem is not older, as I mentioned before it emerged during a particular period in history with its own specific theology of the Eucharist, a one sided Christology that doesn’t explore the full weight of the meaning of the Incarnation, and so much more. Also my sympathy is with the young people at the school where he is a chaplain. But then I am only a school chaplain at a school where Christians are in the minority, and I speak from 32 years here in Asia, out on the margins

  7. Tony says:

    When clergy hide the Sacrament during Mass by facing East, I wonder where the attention is drawn if not to the vestments?

    Todd, it ain’t Jesus until the priest holds Him up over his head and into the view of the congregation. That is one of the purposes of the bells. Before the bells it’s bread. After the bells it’s Jesus.

  8. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    Tony’s comment reflects bad history.
    Why did the celebrant, who due to Frankish influences began, about a century earlier start facing the wall, start holding up the Eucharistic species, at an originally inappropriate time? So that the laity, who were taught to believe they were unworthy of receiving the sacrament, could at least see it. And the bells were rang as much to warn them of the upcoming ‘evelation’ and with time to accompany it. Surely this shows how unhealthy the understanding of the Eucharist was in this era – 11th-12th century.
    In pre-Tridentine theology, in the west, and even more in the east, the epiclesis was considered central to the consecration. Among the problematic aspects of the “Roman” Canon was the placing and obscuring of the role the epiclesis. While the Institution Narrative is at the ‘verbal’ center of the Eucharistic Prayer, the role of the Holy Spirit, as expressed in the epiclesis is essential to the effectiveness of the Eucharistic act. Once more may I encourage some of your commentators to engage in a fuller study of the shape and form of the Eucharist thru history, the theologies that have informed our celebration of the Eucharist at various stages in history, and since they are intimately related the history and theology of liturgical space – church architecture.
    The biggest fault with many ‘reformers of the reform’ is their selective, one could even say, ‘ideological’ reading of history and/or their dismissal of studies that don’t suit their agenda. And here we have to regretfully note that the speeches and writings of the present occupier of the See of Peter, Benedict XVI, do occasionally show a selective reading of history and the exegesis of scripture.

  9. Tony says:

    Brenden, I’m going to assume that “SVD” stands for the Society of the Divine Word and as such you have more than a cursory understanding of the Mass.

    As the epiclesis always occurs before the elevation of the Body and Blood of Christ, are you saying that the epiclesis is sufficient to effect transubstantiation?

    We ignorant peasants in the pews would really like to know exactly when the bread becomes Jesus.

  10. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    I hoped that we had moved beyond a narrow focus on the recitation of the Institution Narrative as THE POINT when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. While I wouldn’t go as far as saying the epiclesis is sufficient for consecration in the Roman rite, let me first note that the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, used among the Chaldeans and Assyrians does not have an institution narrative, but in guidelines issued in 2001 by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity a Eucharist celebrated using the Addai-Mari Anaphora was declared valid. The link is:
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20011025_chiesa-caldea-assira_en.html.
    Second, by the time the celebrant says ‘Let us proclaim the mystery of faith’, we would be right in asserting that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharistic elements.
    For more on the Addai-Mari Anaphora the writings of Robert Taft SJ can be profitably consulted.
    For the question of when we can consider the Bread and Wine to be the Body and Blood of Christ, the writings of John Baldovin SJ (Weston School of Theology),Kevin Irwin (Dean of Theology at CUA),see his “101 Q & A on the Mass”, or for more treatment in depth his book “Models of the Eucharist”, or the late Edward Kilmartin SJ are worth consulting; I list them in order of readability.

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