Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Forgetting Peter and Paul

I was a little dissappointed, the children of our school didn't come to Mass today. Before Holy Days were transferred they would all pile into Church on such days, now they are moved to Sunday no-one notices them and the assumption is they are all tranferred.
I, myself, too involved with Corpus Christi, forgot to announce the Holy Day at the main Mass on Sunday, though it was in the newsletter. I am told other priest's didn't even remember to do that.

Compared to the major Dominical feasts, like the Epithany, Ascension and Corpus Christi, Ss Peter and Paul are easily overshadowed. The other problem is that if Episcopal Conferences tell people religion is a Sunday only thing we can't blame people if they take them at their word.

I know our own Bishops are going to re-examine the whole issue of Holy Days, the problem is it is very easy to let genies out of bottles but how do you get them in again?


nickbris said...

I think the STRIKE has taken centre-stage at the moment or the Secularist lobby is having greater success than was thought possible.

Jonathan West may have a view

Anonymous said...

All 3 of my childrens' Catholic Schools had Mass today. Good communication between Parish Priests & the schools!

ServusMariaeN said...

The past forty odd years in the desert seem to be strewn with imprudent decisions and one wonders what sort of prayerful discernment preceeded the transferal of Holy Days to Sundays, mitigation of fasting and abstinence, introduction of communion in the hand, versus populum, replacement of Latin with vernacular what is the fruit of it all?

santoeusebio said...

Thanks for the reminder! Somebody had put it down at our Mass centre as having been transferred to the Sunday!

Nicolas Bellord

Matthew Hewitt said...

I was very happy this has not been moved to a Sunday. I used to go regularly to weekday Mass in my lunchtime (I work near St Mary Moorfields in the City of London), but had fallen out of the habit partly due to pressure of work over the last couple of years. The fact that it is retained as a day of obligation roused me from my lethargy and I went to Mass, which was wonderful in the middle of a working day! Provided Mass is offered at sufficient times, it is easy enough to get to one on a weekday provided the flesh is willing.

vetusta ecclesia said...

My bishop announced that BCEW was considering returning some feasts to their proper days " to bring us in line with other Christian denominations which also keep these feasts". So no mention of being in line with the Apostolic See of Rome!

Corpus Christi, he said, would be excepted "because it has become the natual day for first communions"

Why can't they just say," we were wrong; we are going to change back"?

RJ said...

'Obligation' as in 'holy day of obligation' is not a popular word ("legalistic" and all that). "Duty" is another unfashionable word.

It would be helpful to have some explanation of why obligations are obligations and the good that flows from them. Could their value be that they point to what is important? That they take us beyond what is personally convenient to protect what is both a personal and a common good, in this case the habit of religion expressed in common worship? Is it simply that we owe a duty to worship God (as we do), but then why this particular occasion? Is it because we have a particular duty to give thanks to God in communal worship for all that he did through these Apostles?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your words Fr. I found them interesting. There are so many theories going around these days as to why Mass attendance is low in all countries. I was wondering, perhaps the voices of the people haven't been heard!, after all Fr. we are the Church and the ordained are the servants of Christ and the people (the church)

Pax and in Christ

Lucy said...

Our parish had three masses today. I took our home educated children to the 10am mass. But there was no mention of holy day of obligation and if it wasn't written on our calendar I would have had no idea. It was a blessing to do something "extra" for God while thinking about how much more the apostles did.

georgem said...

The flight of the young seems near complete. At the Mass I attended this evening there were only about five people of working age (ie under 60) in a sparse congregation of around 40. No-one under the age of 30. The ratio of women to men was roughly 7-1.
RJ makes a very good point about obligation and duty being unfashionable. So many people shout about their rights that they have all but drowned out their responsibilities.
Perhaps posters in schools in advance of a Holy Day might be a good idea and teachers encouraged to explain what a Holy Day is and why it's important to keep.
Of course, I've no idea of the status of a pp with regard to schools nowadays. I suppose some head teachers might resent the "interference".

pelerin said...

The Daily Mail website today has news of a 1400 year old fresco representing St Paul having been discovered in the catacomb of San Gennaro in Naples.

Interesting to see vetusta's comment on bringing us back in line with other Christian denominations. Did they not realise when Feasts were pushed to Sundays that this would put us out of line with other Christians? (The BBC has always broadcast a service for Ascension Day on the Thursday.) And as for Corpus Christi being retained on Sunday - years ago when it was on Thursdays I am sure the children's First communions were on the nearest Sunday. I agree these excuses don't wash.

Cecilia said...

Regular Mass goers I know had forgotten about yesterday's Holy Day of Obligation. The muddle was caused by the transfer of Corpus Christi to Sunday. The rhythm of the liturgical year has been damaged by the moving of the Epiphany, the Ascension and Corpus Christi.

santoeusebio said...

How to remind people about obligations? Everyone goes on about Human Rights. They need to remember that Human Rights are a waste of time if people have no obligations. One should read Simone Weil's "L'enracinement" (Roots) where she points out the flaws in Declarations of Human Rights. For example there is no point in having a right to eat if there is no obligation on anyone else to feed you. Obligations come before rights and are of supernatural origin - something that would have been denied by the men of 1789. There is a whole debate to be had about this.

Actually yesterday I went to the evening mass at Worth Abbey. Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei sung in Latin. New metal chalices replacing the ceramic ones and there are now kneelers. Just what is happening?

Nicolas Bellord

Patricius said...

Any wise teacher knows the importance of clear instructions which avoid information overload. This is especially true in the mixed ability "class" that is the Church!
Tell people that holy days of obligation which are "feasts of the Lord" are automatically transferred and how many will miss that key distinction? Tell people that it is no longer necessary to abstain from meat on Fridays but that some other form of penance is acceptable and the first part of the message goes in while the second is somehow lost.

Peter said...

My daughter's school went to Mass in the morning and I went at lunchtime.
How good to read Nicholas Bellord on Worth. I told the new Abbot that in hindsight (I went in the 1970's) that there was a failure to teach us about liturgy or chant. Perhaps things are improving.

RJ said...

"...there is no point in having a right to eat if there is no obligation on anyone else to feed you."

I think you make a telling point, Nicolas.

If one person has a right, then someone else has a corresponding duty. This is relevant on a completely different subject - assisted dying. One person's right to be 'assisted' is another person's 'duty' to assist, and, if that 'right' is legally established, will the right of conscience to abstain from this 'duty' be respected?

Pastor said...

Fr Francis Marsden, a good and wise priest, wrote about Corpus Christi last Sunday.

He said "I tried for several years with a May procession. We got a handful of children and parents, and the good faithful elderly pewople who always come to support.

When I was given a second parish to run, unfortunately the procession disappeared again - just too much to do, and an afternoon Mass in the other parish to boot."

When I was at a Catholic Primary School in the 50's and early 60's, we always had a school holiday on Holy Days of Obligation.

Sadly nowadays very few Catholic Schools have a holiday on a Holy Day. Usually they expect a priest to celebrate Mass in the school - rather than walk the children to church.

For a large Secondary School, the school would need to arrange several Masses.

So if a priest has two parishes and two Primary Schools - and is also required to celebrate Mass in a local Secondary School...

As each parish will normally want a morning Mass (for the retired) and an evening Mass (for people who go to work) there would be potentially four parish Masses plus three school Masses - making a total of seven Masses ......... and one priest suffering from burnout.

I almost forgot to add: Canon Law wisely forbids a priest from saying more than three Masses a day.

Instead of assuming bad faith on behalf of the bishops perhaps we might exercise some charity towards them. Who knows - care for their priests might have been the main motivation for transferring some of the Holy Days to Sundays?

As regards the causes of the apparent apostasy of much of western Europe: "Post hoc non est propter hoc".

santoeusebio said...

RJ writes: "If one person has a right, then someone else has a corresponding duty."

Simone Weil puts it the other way round. The obligation comes first and the right arises because of the existence of the obligation. This is crucial to her theory of obligations and rights. One of the problems as I see it, at present, is that people invent rights and one needs a test to see whether such a right really exists. Her test would be whether there is an obligation from which the right flows. For example "the right to choose" is asserted. Where is the obligation? Surely the obligation is to care for the unborn baby. How can a right to choose arise from that?

Similarly unless you can find an obligation to die where does the right to commit suicide arise?

Nicolas Bellord

RJ said...

I hope I didn't give the impression I was arguing for a supposed 'right to kill oneself'; just trying to draw out the consequences of legal recognition for what we believe to be a spurious right.

KFCA said...

The upheaval of the last few years could, one supposes, be considered to have been a short period of reflection, which may well be to our favour, and lead, not only to the reinstatement of all of these Holy Days to their correct place on the Calendar (especially Ascension Thursday and Corpus Christi) but God willing, the inclusion of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as well.

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