September 19, 2010

Money Talks, Ecclesiology Walks

In one of my classes this past week we were studying the moment when (in the Roman church) it became necessary to begin to multiply Sunday Masses. Of course the liturgical and ecclesiological value--'as we have always taught'--is not to multiply Masses, but (ideally) to have one Mass on one altar in one cathedral in one local church on a Sunday.

In making his point against the abuses that have attended the normalization of multiplication of Masses in the western Churches, the professor gave the illustration of a parish in which "there's a 7:15 Mass for just ten people." How could such a thing be maintained, asked the professor, rhetorically.

Because I enjoy being a pain the classroom and because I enjoy answering rhetorical questions at inappropriate moments, I said, "It depends on the envelopes from the 7:15 Mass."

What I meant was that a pastor, even if we could see the absurdity of having a whole other early Mass for just ten people, (though in some cases his objections might have less to do with liturgy and more to do with how early he had to get up or how early the heat would have to go on) would be unlikely to cancel such a celebration if it happened to be that it was the material contributions of the 7:15 massgoers that allowed him to pay the light bill.

"You were in the parish too long, Charles. Don't let reality intrude on this," responded my professor, with a mixture of amusement and annoyance.

7 comments:

Rachel Gray said...

This is interesting, Father. When *did* the Roman rite move to celebrating more than one Sunday Mass in a church?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is relevant,but most daily Masses I go to in the morning and some in the afternoon; don't have much more than ten people per Mass, and some fewer:and they don't have any collection.The multiplication of Masses is interesting though, especially when compared against the practices of the Orthodox churches:Is it true they still only have one Mass per week?

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

LOL. I think you're right.

pennyante said...

But what about devout people who wish to go to a daily Mass? Are they not taken into consideration?

Those folks (even though a small number) cannot go to Mass and receive their Lord on a daily basis without a priest willing to celebrate that Mass for them.

This has always troubled me since I see this care of his parishioners as a major reason for his vocation.

This Mass needn't be celebrated in the parish church... could even be held in a rectory chapel area...

Brother Charles said...

I think the point is made mostly with respect to Sunday Masses; daily Masses are rarely multiplied unless there is a genuine need.

pennyante said...

Fr. Charles said:"I think the point is made mostly with respect to Sunday Masses;"

O I see. I missed that point. I agree in respect to Sunday Masses...

Barb, sfo said...

My uncle is pastor (and the only priest) at a small city parish. He has an early Mass on Sunday with 10 or 20 people. Most of those are people who are required to work Sundays for their jobs, many in hospital work, and if they didn't get to that early Mass they wouldn't be able to get to any Mass at all. They are grateful that he keeps that Mass for their small number, and he is grateful that they are there!