Ritual and Consistency

A recent study presented to the Society for Catholic Liturgy showed that Catholics prefer ritual and consistency in the Mass and shun changes meant to make the Mass "more accessible".
The summary of the Ligas’s and McCallion’s research boils down to the idea that Catholics are more apt to verbally participate in parts of the Mass that are more ritualized, such as the Our Father. The response to the general intercession had the highest rate of response and participation, while more “changeable” parts of the Mass, such as the hymns, psalms, or the pastor asking the congregation to greet one another, tended to have low rates of participation.
“From our initial responses, we found that ritual comes to form again,” McCallion said. “If people are not singing the same songs, people are less likely to sing. That’s our hypothesis that bore out in the data. Some hymns, some other parts of Mass that are constant, we found a greater rate of response.”
In other news, water is wet.

The Mass is not a tent revival, a choir recital, or a praise and fellowship gathering--though certainly there are proper places and times for such forms of worship. It is a most ancient and solemn ritual precision-designed to do what rituals do best: connect people's everyday lives with their shared identity.

And the Mass is ritual par excellence because it actually brings about what it symbolizes.
The initial analysis implies that when pastors and music directors change the pattern of the liturgy in an effort the make the Mass more accessible, it tends to have the opposite effect.
“When you know what’s going to happen, you will know what’s going on,” McCallion said. “When you go to a baseball game, nobody is sitting right next to you telling you every single rule. You just know them, because of the repetition. You know what you are supposed to be doing to enter into the collective ritual.
A collective, communal tradition under siege--why am I sensing a pattern, here?
“The liturgy is supposed to be a communal event, but American postmodern culture is really focused on individualism,” McCallion said. “I’d argue that our liturgy has been affected by individualism. Sometimes as, Emile Durkheim (a sociologist who studied the Mass) said, the ‘secular invades the sacred.'”
The tension between making the liturgy a communal prayer experience while at the same time fostering an individual relationship with Christ is something everyone involved with liturgy – pastors, music ministers and catechists – will have to address in the new evangelisation, McCallion said.
“In the new evangelisation, there is a stress on having a personal relationship with Jesus, but the Mass stresses you are supposed to have a communal relationship with Jesus,” McCallion said. “It is both/and, the sacraments are all communal. The Eucharist, if you want to find the physical body of Jesus, is communal.”
Add "obfuscating the meaning and coherence of civilization-preserving traditions" to the list of reasons why individualism is a cancer eating away at the mortally ill body of the West, along with:

  • Trying to make personal consent the sole criterion of the good
  • Creating a mass of atomized individuals that is helpless against collectivist manipulation
  • Being impossible to implement and live consistently

It doesn't take a genius to see why parishes administered by the Confraternity of Saint Peter frequently have standing room only Masses. A major negative consequence of the Boomers' rebellion against all tradition is that generations X, Y, the Millennials, and Z have been systematically robbed of the framework that helped their forebears make sense of the world. As a result, they are starving for ritual, tradition, mystery, and consistency.

The Church's hierarchy has only to put away the guitars, break out the incense, and stop beclowning ancient liturgy if they want to succeed in the new evangelization.

a way out of the filth and nihilism that seems to plague so much of modern fiction


  1. Replies
    1. Nrian

      You echo FAthee Z's observations
      wdtrs.com is his website. He's a proponent of the Tridentian mass.
      I enjoy reading him despite my reservation about some position on the Tridentian mass


  2. My wife and I are currently in the process of joining the Roman Catholic Church. We both come from heavily anti-catholic protestant backgrounds. The biggest thing that drew both of us to the Church is its consistency throughout the centuries. Attending a Traditional Latin Mass was a breath of fresh air, even though we have no idea what was going on. The reverence exhibited by everyone there was something we'd never really experienced before.

    Those who wish the Catholic Church to "get with the times" are either malicious and wish to destroy the church or so ignorant as to what draws some people to the church (i.e. a strict adherence to traditions and christian doctrine throughout the centuries) as to be negligent.

    1. First, allow me to joyously welcome you and your wife into full communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

      Second, in my experience, everyone who says the Church should "get with the times" is exhibiting malice.

    2. Thanks for the welcome. Though, We haven't joined officially yet. We're still in RCIA. Luckily our teacher seems to be pretty good and sincere about Catholic Faith and Tradition.

      I'm starting to believe that may be the case far more than simple negligence as well.

  3. The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest does the Extraordinary Form about a 1/2 hr drive from home - we make it out about once a month. They have confession before Mass, too. Families with children make up half or more of the congregation.

    The good news: a typical Sunday Mass will have a dozen acolytes up in the sanctuary. It is from these that the next batch of priests will come.

  4. MegaBusterShepard here....

    Of course today's youth want the Latin Mass, we are the ROMAN Catholic Church are we not? Also individualism should never enter into the mouths of the clergy. God is the Authority, what you want doesn't matter. Too often do I see weak willed Catholics apologizing for the Church's position or even worse, backpedal on their beliefs for the sake of peer pressure or political correctness.

    This Church has stood for over 2000 years, it is doing something right. We have survived heresy, religious strife, muslim invasions, the rise of communism and the spread of degeneracy.

    Never back down, never apologize and never go back on your beliefs. We are the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the heir to St. Peter. We should be proud of our history and heritage, the Latin Mass is beautiful. We do no good pretending to be another Church with faux pop songs in place of hymns.


    1. My ecclesiology professor--a learned, no-nonsense Dominican (but I repeat myself)--told me this story:

      Shortly after ascending the throne, Napoleon received a papal legate to discuss the appointment of bishops in the empire.

      "I must name the bishops!" the Emperor said.

      "You know, Your Majesty," the Cardinal replied, "that the Holy Father will never agree to those terms."

      "Then I shall destroy the Church!" Declared the Emperor.

      The Cardinal legate bowed but calmly stood his ground. "Your Majesty, if eighteen centuries of bad clergy could not destroy the Church, I doubt that even you could accomplish so prodigious a task."

    2. Brian,

      I've heard that one. Aleays makes me smile. It's also a great riposte to the Dan Browns of the woekd.
      If the Church sucks so badly why has it survived for 2 millennia, and thecrest want to corrupt it mock it ignore it and control it?

      So i'll stick with the church as it's true and the surest way to see the Beatific vision

    3. MegaBusterShepard here....

      Fitting analogy considering my fathers family fled France during the reign of blood. We were loyal to Louis XVI or so I'm told.

  5. “In the new evangelisation, there is a stress on having a personal relationship with Jesus, but the Mass stresses you are supposed to have a communal relationship with Jesus,”

    I’ll have t read the original article, but McCallion here seems to not realize, along with many other Catholics, that a “personal relationship with Christ” is Protestant theology and is not Catholic. The secular has not only penetrated the sacred, the Protestant has broken into the Catholic sanctuary. This kind of thinking needs to be cleaned up and clarified if the stench of individualism is to be cleansed from the air.

    1. Yes, they do raise that point.

      Replying to Xavier as well, the Catholic relational model resembles the Cross, running vertically between me and Jesus and horizontally between the individual and the whole Body of Christ.

  6. Durandi
    I myself see the personal relationship as complementary to the communal. Youv still have to say yes but once you do you have both the parish and the community of saont to help you.
    In sum they're a block to the Protestant tendency to overextend heroism towards Pelaganism.
    I'm the capitain of my soul

    1. I must respectively disagree. The whole "do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" is a very modern, recent, Protestant laden question. It is not asking "do you believe in Jesus Christ and in His words and in His Church?" If it were, the results of the mindset behind the question would bear different fruit than what we see today among the Protestants.

      "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?" is asking the person if they have a subjective, individual, emotional linking to Jesus Christ. For starters, the question was developed during a time period in the West when the concept of relationships went from loyalty and honoring promises despite our emotional states to being dictated by the emotional winds of our hearts.

      The "personal" part is predicated on the modernist sense of individualism, that the relationship is dictated on your personal terms. Modernists don't get that the individual can only be understood by it's interaction within the corporate. The internal forum exists and matters, but an individual cannot understand themselves alone...they'll just run around in circles in their mind. It's by God's grace that one can see their sins, let alone evaluate themselves. Even a desert cloistered monk shuns human community to better understand himself by communing with the Trinity.

      The whole personal relationship thing in Protestantism has led the the developments of the rock concert with a saccrine message on Sundays (Hillsong et. al.), to "church hopping" to find a church that fulfills their ego, or when that fails, the "home church" movement.

      Since allegory and stories always better highlight the message, I'll say the above as such:

      I'm a private in the military (Church Militant). I know the history of my military. I've read what the General and his immediate subordinates have said about our mission and the enemy. My conscience has been formed by the above to know when a good order is given by my immediate superiors and when it is a bad order.

      Now, say I get a good order from my direct superior, do you think I'll be found insubordinate if I demand that I will only follow an order given to be directly from the General?

      Let's take it further. Say said General comes by every day and offers a blood brotherhood handshake, slicing his palm and asking each of us to do the same and shake on it. If I participate in this commingling of our blood, is the action more intimate than me getting to chitchat with him everyday over crumpets and tea?

      I can love my God by availing myself of the sacraments and following as best I can to do his Will in all things, and do it all while emotionally being angry or upset with Him. "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?" is emotional, syruppy garbage that confuses true worship and true love.

      As to Pelagianism, I'm not sure you have the right heresy. Many protestants are anti-Pelagian to the extreme, as they embrace "once saved, always saved" and thus excuse themselves from having to do any good works despite James 2:17.