A Typical Modern Mass
In a typical modern parish on a Sunday, the entire service is conducted in English. The priest sits or stands facing the people throughout and often makes spontaneous remarks to them during the course of the service. Lay people in the sanctuary add comments or proclaim the Scripture readings. Part of the service takes place at a table. The tabernacle is never on the table but at the priest's back, or off in a corner. The Sign of Peace is an occasion for handshaking, emotionalism or socializing. The priest gives Communion in the hand to most people, and he is assisted by lay men and women. The priest makes few genuflections, if any. It is rare that two celebrations of the new Mass are exactly alike. They vary from priest to priest and from parish to parish. In many places some bizarre things have been incorporated into the Mass: there are:
"Clown Masses," "Puppet Masses," Balloon Masses," and Masses featuring movies, slide shows, skits, and popular music.
The Traditional Mass
Contrast this with the traditional Latin Mass. It is celebrated in the ancient and venerable language of the Catholic Church. The priest faces Our Lord in the tabernacle throughout. He makes no spontaneous comments on his own, but recites exactly the same prayers which priests have used for centuries. The priest alone touches the Sacred Host with his hands. The people kneel for Holy Communion before their Lord and Savior, and receive Him on the tongue alone. There is no handshaking and socializing before the Blessed Sacrament. The people follow the Mass silently and reverently in their Missals (Mass-books) which translate the words of the priest. The gestures of the priest are reverent and restrained, and include numerous genuflections our of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. The texts and rites of the traditional Latin Mass are the same everywhere and do not vary from priest to priest or church to church. Everything in governed by uniform and very specific rules.
Because the liturgy both expresses doctrine and influences what people believe, the Church down through the centuries has closely guarded the text of the Missal, in order to insure that it accurately reflected her beliefs and excluded anything that compromised them. The traditional Mass is faithful to doctrines the Church has constantly held and proclaimed- while the New Mass waters down or obliterates these doctrines in order to accommodate non-Catholics. The traditional Mass treats the Blessed Sacrament with the greatest possible reverence - while the New Mass treats the host like ordinary bread. The traditional Mass is Catholic and rooted in apostolic tradition - while the New Mass resembles a Protestant service and corrupts the Faith.
Ask yourself which of the two accompanying photos best represents the real meaning of the Catholic Mass. If you agree that the picture with the priest facing the altar best represents the meaning of the Mass, you have much in common with "traditional" Catholics.
The pictures demonstrate the radical changes that have taken place since the early 1960's. One picture shows the Mass as a man-centered "celebration." The other shows it as a sacrifice and act of adoration centered on God. There are many other differences between the modern Mass and the traditional Mass that are readily apparent to even the most casual observer.
Out of respect of the Blessed Sacrament, please observe the following standards of dress:
Women and girls must have their heads covered. (There are veils available for loan in the vestibule if you do not have one.) Slacks, shorts, sleeveless, tight, or low cut clothing are not permitted. Dresses and skirts must cover the knee completely when standing or seated.
It is recommended that men and boys wear a suit-coat and tie. Jeans and other casual attire are inappropriate for attendance at Church services.
Thank you and God bless you!