Et tu, Roma?

Certainly, readier access to the Latin Mass would thrill the core of liturgical old-schoolers who have longed for its return. But how many mainstream American Catholics would be interested in attending a Latin Mass? Some of the largest and most passionate Catholic congregations I’ve seen have been in churches whose services have veered far from the pre-council standard and toward something more resembling an evangelical megachurch service: video screens, pop-influenced worship bands, a breezy informality in the pews.

–Fr. Andrew Santella

Et tu, Roma?

I know a Catholic family who digs a more somber vibe and loads up a 15-passenger Ford Econoline van every Sunday morning at 5 AM to drive an hour to Cullman in search of the closest Latin Mass to Huntsville. I’m betting that they feel the same way as I do about PowerPoint animations.

Meanwhile, I know what sets my heart on fire these days: a prayer of thanksgiving, followed by good food and drink shared with a small group of close-knit friends, recalling stirring stories of times past and encouraging one another as we move toward an uncertain, but promising, future. Somehow, that sounds strangely familiar.

I’m not absolutely convinced it was ever meant to get much more complicated than that.

  1. Terri

    …and amen!

  2. Brady

    Got to comment. Vatican II opened up the way for Powerpoint presentations and the like, but it also allowed people to worship in Spirit and truth, encouraged them to read their Bibles and learn of God, and brought about freedom that was missing.

    BTW, your communion time sounds fun. And meaningful. Blessings to you.

  3. Mike the Eyeguy

    That’s a good point, of course. I just found it ironic that no matter where you turn these days, there are so-called “worship wars.”

  4. Donna

    Huntsville to Cullman…..Cullman to Birmingham….where will the madness stop! And you describe so beautifully the simplicity that it was meant to be.

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Of course, then there are some who will travel all the way to Malibu. šŸ˜‰

  6. bpb

    I have always attended the church of Christ. In 1999, I married a man from Russia. He had been raised in the Russian Orthodox church. When he would be in the U.S., he would attend the church of Christ because it was the only one that had communion every Sunday and didn’t use instruments in their worship service. Well, we’ve recently stumbled across an American Orthodox church in Huntsville! We attended it last Sunday. There is also a Russian Orthodox in Huntsville (we live in Athens). We plan to attend it this Sunday (May 14). I’ve learned that the Catholic church broke off from the Orthodox church because they wanted instruments that the Orthodox does not use. Think back to the travels of the apostles . . . Greece . . . the East . . . the churches in Russia don’t have names like we have here. They have names like “Church of the Redeemer,” “Church of the Spilled Blood,” etc. Has some logic to it . . . the church started in the East. The U.S.A. hadn’t even been discovered! I think we forget that sometimes.

  7. Mike the Eyeguy

    Yes, there is so much history that most CofC folks are blissfully ignorant of. Many function with the idea that the church (the one that “looked like us”) went underground for centuries and re-emerged in frontier Kentucky in the early 19th century. Sort of like Mormonism but without the Golden Plates. Arrogant? Yes–and very American.

    I’m familiar with the Orthodox church on University Avenue. Godspeed in your travels East.

  8. Double vision

    I’m with you.

    It is amazing in middle TN. I attend a very traditional Presbyterian church which prides itself on being reverent and orderly. In fact traditional services have become the alternative worship services around here because everyone has gone to the “Praise and Worship” style with feel good sermons. I can see how Latin Masses must be refreshing to some. I must confess–I like a little of both– traditional worship with some contemporary music–but no powerpoints please. I’m to reverent and in order. They don’t call us the frozen chosen for nothing.

    But I’m with you–good friends, good wine, good reflections, and a good outlook is where the church got it’s start. I think we ought to start a revolution and take the church back to where it began. We need to expand our circles of friends and experience worship the good ole fashioned way at home with some friends.

    BTW-anytime you are in the Franklin, TN area give me a call. Would love to have you and the eyegal over for some fellowship and a good glass of wine.

  9. Double vision

    And breaking of some bread!!!!!!!

  10. Mike the Eyeguy

    That is an invitation that I can’t refuse!

    I suppose it’s good that there are churches which reflect different styles–maybe that’s the H.S. reaching out in different ways to attract different types of people.

    Still, I think there’s “a core experience” that has been found to be tried and true regardless of the time and place. And I think it has something to do with food.

    Looking forward to that bread and wine!

  11. Jon

    Different types of services to reach different types of people are fine so long as the truth isn’t comprimised. I still think that the ‘wilting rose’ needs to be reserved for a ‘praise & prayer’ style worship. To distracting.

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    Ah yes, let’s hear it for the truth. Or is that Truth?

    Quid est veritas, Jon?

    That rose is so DOA!

  13. Tarwater

    So the Church Catholic had no obligation to defend the Faith against the Arians? And had no authority to do so?

  14. Mike the Eyeguy

    Hmm, I’m not sure how you got that out of my post. I was simply trying to make a point about the simplicity and purity of early table fellowship.

    Of course, if Jesus had returned when everybody thought he would, then there would have never been an Arius nor a need for Nicea. Like I always say, church history is what it is, for better or worse–usually both.

  15. Tarwater

    Let me back up. Perhaps you could solidify and explain:

    “Iā€™m not absolutely convinced it was ever meant to get much more complicated than that.”

  16. Mike the Eyeguy

    It was really more a musing than anything, not intended to be any sort of infallible doctrinal pronouncement by any stretch of the imagination.

    I do find it interesting than when Jesus and his main men speak of the man (“not one of us”) casting out demons in Mark 9, not only does Jesus commend him, but there’s no indication that Jesus or his main men compelled the “loose cannon” to join up with their little band. Makes me wonder if a good deed done in faith and in Jesus’ name is the real sine qua non of Christianity.

  17. Tarwater

    Fair enough. I didn’t take it to be an infallible pronouncement.

  18. Mike the Eyeguy

    I just wanted to make sure you didn’t get me confused with that “other guy.” šŸ™‚

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