And it came to pass Yours Truly was at Mass, and happened to be seated near a couple with a beautiful Cocker Spaniel.
The dog was extremely well, and I mean by that extremely well trained. Almost motionless, and absolutely quiet, he seemed to show a reverence for the Mass that you would look in vain in many of your gray-haired, tambourine-loving Mass attending humans.
Similarly, you noticed one obvious fact: the owner of the dog had taken responsibility for the behaviour of the one entrusted to their care, and it was very clear they had allowed to dog to Mass only when sure the dog knows how to behave. Let me stop here.
Long live the orthodox doggie. Congratulations to his owners. We live in times in which dogs surpass humans in reverence.
The Eponymous Flower has an interesting post about the “Star Wars Mass”, another pathetic attempt to interest children in the Truth by confusing them, and making it more probable they won't take the Church seriously when they grow up.
Already the use of comparisons that goes beyond, perhaps, a passing reference used to explain the difference (so that the young boys and girls do not end up believing the “Force” is the Holy Ghost) would be too much; but the use of a toy light sabre at Mass isn't funny anymore.
Children need to be told from the start that what is taught to them is by far the most important thing in their lives, and the way they learn and apply what they are taught will decide of their eternal happiness or damnation. This is no matter for jokes, or toys; not at Catechism, much less at Mass.
Dumbing down the Truth for children will cause many of these children to see Catholicism as a dumb child's play when they grow up, and already the turmoil of adolescence will take care for the light sabre & Co. to be dismissed as child's fable. How great the risk is that the child of Truth is thrown away with the dirty water of such stupid exercises, everyone can see.
I was perhaps five years old (perhaps four) when my grandmother (I had two grandmothers: the military Fascist and the soft Fascist; this was the military one) brought me in front of a crucifix, made me kneel, and told me in the sweetest voice she could muster words to the effect that I must pray Jesus to forgive me for my sins, or I will go to hell forever.
I was very, very young, and was rather terrified at the news. I started to cry, which attracted the attention of my mother, and some words ensued. I now realise my grandmother's initiative was due to her fear I would not receive sufficient instruction in the years to come; a fear which was in part unfounded but with some truth in it. She therefore probably thought she must do what she can, when she can.
I heartily agree with you it was probably too much, too abrupt, and too soon. But I would lie to you if I told you the experience was, in the balance of things, a negative one, though it certainly felt rather bad on the day. It certainly instilled in me proper, and I mean proper fear of The Lord.
Beats the light sabre every day.
Many of us have seen, either live or in the evening, the images of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. It is very clear this was supposed to be something extraordinary. The solemn beauty of the ceremony certainly did not fail to impress the viewers the world over.
Why the ceremony was so beautiful and solemn, it is very easy to say: because of the importance of the person to whom the solemnity was meant to be a tribute.
This is very easy to understand. It is, actually, ingrained in human nature. No commenter had any need to explain to his viewers why the British Government decided to go through such a complicated, expensive, meticulously planned and executed exercise.
Imagine, though, if things had gone differently. The PM steps in front of the journalists and says: “Good morning everyone! Today we celebrate the life and achievements of Margaret Thatcher. Capital gal, you know, what with one thing and the other. We’ll hop in to St. Paul now, where the archbish will say another couple of words; nothing stuffy, you know… we also have a Punch and Judy show for the children, in order for them to be introduced to politics…. it’s important, to know politics…. whatever, thanks for being here and have a nice day!”.
Not good, you would have said. No reverence, no dignity, no respect. For Cameron to have pulled something like that would have meant to show utter disregard for the deceased.
It is indicative of the times we live in that everyone understands the death of an important Prime Minister must be treated with extreme reverence, but even people who go on to become Pope (and countless priests with them; and many of those who attend their masses) treat with utter lack of reverence the Sacrifice of One infinitely more important than every Margaret Thatcher, and insult Him with all sorts of antics – up to and not excluding dancing Pinocchios – with some pretext or other (like the “Holy Ghost”, say. I fear one day the Holy Ghost will get truly, truly angry).
There were no Pinocchios around yesterday; no puppets; no stupid music; no dancing entertainers; and no “children’s funeral”. Solemnity, beauty, and reverence wherever you turned, because they are the most natural tribute to rank and greatness, even merely human one.
Most people understand these truths naturally.
Too often, our clergy – Pope certainly not excluded – don’t.
Your typical Novus Ordo church (not the Brompton Oratory, of course; or any very conservative church), ten minutes to nine on a sunny Sunday morning.
Some people are trying to pray in the pews. They are on their knees, and it is obvious to the most obtuse moron they are praying because they are in a church, before Mass.
This doesn’t interest a group of people, generally rather old, making conversation out loud as if they were in their own living room and only the scones and cream were missing. They are there in groups of two to four, and chatter like it’s going out of fashion; they do not even make any attempt to – at the very least – keep their voice a bit down.
They obviously see the people kneeling on the pews, and clearly trying to pray; they just don’t care. Much more importantly, they see the tabernacle in front of them, and do not think they should behave any differently than on the fish market.
Were they at the presence I do not say of the Queen, but of one among her more or less unworthy progeny they would be utterly intimidated at the majesty of the event, and would not dare to utter anything else than, perhaps (perhaps!) the most feeble whisper.
But they are, erm, merely at the presence of Our Lord and disturbing a handful of people praying, so they don’t care and go on with their, no doubt, extremely stupid talking until the Mass begins.
This happens, I assure you, with ugly frequency here in Blighty. There’s no saying the priests aren’t aware, because you see every now and then the one or other appearing and checking that this and that is in order whilst the salon goes on unabated. They know, they just don’t care. They seem to think it’s part of some mysteriously discovered “social atmosphere” of the mass.
If you have the patience to wait, you will often notice some of the loudest old women are “involved” in the Mass in some way. They bring the “gifts” (I will write something on this one day) to the altar, or regale us with their own dramatic rendition of the readings 9I must have written something on that), or stand at the side of the priest with the chalice, possibly wondering why you don’t see their halo but certainly peeved at the way everyone wants to receive from the priest.
They clearly think the mass and the church space belong to them. They might not even be aware of their astonishing lack of reverence, because they have forgotten what “reverence” is in the first place (only, I think they’d remember if they were invited at Court; but I digress…), but they are certainly aware that they own the place, and will show to everyone they are part of the landscape, which is why not even those kneeling and obviously praying are considered worth of the slightest consideration.