Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

'Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.' ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

Monday, 22 June 2015

Eulogy for Catalonia



There are fireworks here for the birthday of St John the Baptist. That will be nice. However, I have noticed one or two things about Catholic Spain which are more than worrying.

Firstly, on Sunday I went to Mass in a Church in Begur, lovely Church it was too. However, I was quite shocked by the almost total absence of any kneeling during the Mass. And I mean none. The priest did not seem to mind, but I assume that not that long ago, every lay person would be down on the knees at the sound of the bell. I have been to liberal parishes in England and seen nothing like it. The vast majority of the congregation did not kneel at any point. At the Eucharistic prayer, through the consecration and beyond the Agnus Dei. I have no idea what the priest preached other than the fact that he informed his flock that there would no longer be a midday Mass on Sundays, only one on Saturday night, because he serves too many churches in the region, so it has been moved to 9pm. No vocations you see. There are no weekday Masses at that Church.

This was related to me by an English speaking lay person after Mass. I could tell the news was bad because the sound of chatter after the priest said it was even louder than the sound of chatter 3 seconds before the Mass started. There were about two young people at the Mass, there were mostly old women and a handful of elderly gents. Organ music played O Come all Ye Faithful and other hymns on a CD player that began before Mass continued throughout the Mass on a lower setting. Please recall that this is a 'Catholic' country. It was as if some devil had decided that in this church there would be times of silence whatsoever.

The one young man present was a reader. He looked like he was visiting a retirement home in his pink shorts, or going to the beach. For the homily the priest sat enthroned in the centre of the Sanctuary where once the Blessed Sacrament had been. There were no altar servers and therefore nobody to hold a Communion plate. The person who could have done that was an EMHC who stood by the priest giving out the Lord.

As if to echo this catastrophic lliturgical landslide, today I saw two Spanish men next to us cavorting with each other on the beach, kissing etc. Well, I guess that's everyday activity in Brighton but did not expect it in Spain. I felt I should go and say something like, "For Heaven's sake, think of the children", but they would have been justified in replying that every other Spanish woman has her tits out so what's the problem? I guess that not that long ago a Spanish lady would go over to them and shake her fist while making the Sign of the Cross and put them straight on a few matters. The kind of public modesty you might find in Bournemouth is simply not here. I was reminded of His Holiness's recent ecological remark, which would make a great opener for an Evelyn Waugh novel...

'As he looked out at the world he saw nothing before him but a scene that resembled more and more an immense pile of filth...'

We haven't heard much about filth since the days of Benedict XVI. Lovely beaches here though and the food is nice. We should definitely conserve the environment as best we can but here in Spain the environment does in no way resemble an immense pile of filth. The Church is nearly dead in Catalonia on the knees on which it refuses to use to worship God and public morals thought of as innate for every generation previous to this one have been utterly abandoned but the natural scenery is really quite stunning in Costa Brava. Perhaps His Holiness could do with a break somewhere where the air is clean and the beaches are too, as long as he does not mind being witness to the most irreverent liturgy in Europe. I hope that Pope Francis feels as passionately, as passionately as to proselytise even, about conserving the Faith of our fathers as he does about conserving the fragile eco-system of earth for future generation.

I suppose that we could say 'future generation or two' if current Western societal trends concerning natural marriages and birthrates continue, and vocations dry up as much as they have here in Catalonia. You would think such issues would be important to the Pope, more important, even than the environmental sorrows we are told we will experience should no agreement be made for a planetary climate regime in 2015. His Holiness is very keen, so keen as to address his encyclical to every person on the face of the earth, to warn us of the ecological doom facing humanity unless 'something is done'. I guess His Holiness understands that that sacred faith in Europe passed down to us, and the values it gave us has all but disappeared, except perhaps in certain parts.

The Church is as fragile, if not more so, than the environment. Men can plunder, rape and pillage the Church of God as well. The Faith, and the Holy Eucharist, souls, need protection and care as well as the family and the unborn, the poor and the elderly.  May God inspire His Holiness to preserve that Holy Faith that nurtured and nourished men like St Thomas More and St John Fisher and may they pray for us. All the Saints knew that within themselves, in the pure light of God, there was little clean and pure about themselves, but today's Saints washed themselves in the Blood of the Lamb, even shedding their own blood to preserve and bear witness to the saving faith they had received. May we who claim the name of Christian, make it known by our words and deeds. May God give long life and years to the Pope, so that he may make it known, so that Europe and the formerly Catholic continents may not sit in darkness, but know the light of Christ.

21 comments:

Jacobi said...

The Church won't disappear. A few Recusants will keep it going in Spain and elsewhere. See article by Fr. Lucie-Smith, C.H.

But it will as Benedict has predicted, be a much smaller Church for a while, two or three hundred years perhaps, provided Islam doesn't wipe it out. And, it will resume from the Traditional orders and the Mass of Ages.

Left-footer said...

Well said. Reflects my own experience in Barcelona 10 years ago.

God bless!

trespinos said...

Thank you. Your thoughts regarding fixing the sorry state of the parish in Begur and far too many other parishes in the Western world not apparently ranking high enough in the Holy Father's bucket list to prompt him to corrective action yet, echo my own. He does need some intensive prayer by us for a better sense of priorities.

Long-Skirts said...

You are so right.

Oakes Spalding said...

Re: No kneeling at Mass, etc. Why do those people still go? That's not even a critical question, just a curious one.

viterbo said...

Interesting (and sad) observations. The 'No vocations' belongs, it would seem, to something the preservation of which, is not particularly high on any Vaticanista's list.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I saw people standing through the Mass in France in 1951 so it is not exactly a new phenomenon. I pass through Northern Spain on my way to and from Portugal and the experience is very mixed. Often very disappointing but at other times very uplifting. I even heard a priest in Oviedo giving a homily against abortion - never heard that in the UK!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to former south european Catholic countries, in Italy there are no more bells, no kneeling, aged priests and aged people, mostly old women.....Catalunya is a commie country, with 240 masonic lodges, Barcelona is a real paradise for every addicted, lgbt supporter and follower, so what are we talking about? That's the sad reality, the awful truth, we've just to pray and pray, times are a changing. BTW Spain is always a beautiful country for holidays.

Global WarNing said...

If all the attendees are elderly could be that's why they weren't kneeling - did they stand (usually I have found those who stand are the ones making a statement about kneeling (in U.S.) but go to traditional Latin mass where many elderly only kneel at the consecration or intermittently. Not sure about the guy in pink shorts/young people. Seems to me the climate of Spain is very much what it was in the 50s, but the social "climate" is where one finds the big "warming". Same w/Rome--there's been a climate change in the Church all right--could be called a global warming that's put us all right at the gates of hell. St John the Evangelist might say the high priest is prophesying and doesn't know it. St John the Baptist might just say, "Who told you to flee from the wrath of God?" Count yourself blessed indeed!

Chloe said...

I went to a NO requiem a couple of years ago in England. Normally I go to a Latin Mass (I'm lucky). The first half was unrecognisable as a Mass at all (to me.) A long series of funny stories about the deceased and what a wonderful woman she was, interspersed by inappropriate hymns. Then the priest said "please be seated for the Canon of the Mass". I couldn't believe my ears. I knelt down. I was the only person in the church to do so. After communion (which I couldn't go to as I was, quite frankly, in a rage, the priest said "please sit or kneel. Whichever you feel comfortable with". I came out straight after communion because I was sick to death of it. I thought it would finish in a few minutes but it went on for another half hour. I could hear from outside more funny stories about the deceased and more hymns. I will not go to another NO requiem. No matter who's it is. It would be an occasion of sin.

Cettis Warbler said...

I'm afraid your experiences match mine. In the summer I attend mass at my late mother's parish church just south of Barcelona. The atmosphere is beleagured and the echoing church typically contains my friend and I, a couple of old ladies and a gaggle of Peruvians. The homilies are apologetic and the liturgy so lacklustre it makes my English parish look almost traddie in comparison. There are exceptions of course but other than two of my cousins the rest of my family find me eccentric in the extreme - as they say: "She's a (pause) practising Catholic".

Robert said...

What you describe is sad. Still there are some lovely churches in Barcelona. Enjoy your hols!

Lynda said...

Sounds like South Portugal, where the wreckovated Churches reflect the apostasy of the bishops, priests and people - no kneelers, no confessionals, no stations of the cross, no sanctuary - and the Blessed Sacrament hidden away and ignored. St Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle . . .

BJC said...

Coincidentally, I've just come back from Barcelona and seen the same thing. Mind you, people were standing up all the way from the start of the eucharistic prayer right through to the communion rite. No one batted an eyelid and I got the impression that this had got to the point it was custom, although I can't see any special permission being given for it - at least not on the internet. It does seem to be though it's the norm for Eastern Catholics.

I have to say I've seen this same phenomenon in quite a lot of churches in Spain over the years, but also Portugal and I'm pretty sure Italy as well. I've also noticed in the Brompton Oratory in London, during both the Old Rite and NO, Latin looking tourists (Spanish?) resolutely standing during the consecration. They almost looked bemused we're kneeling.

To be fair, on Sunday, the whole congregation were 60+ so this might be some kind of explanation, but I've seen relatively fit looking people do it as well. Over here, people who can't kneel will sit, so it all looks very odd.

The congregation at my mass was even more elderly than yours. Everyone was 60+ and there were no families, yet alone young families, in sight. The mass was sloppily done, but the priest didn't seem to mind or even notice. A man dressed in a suit processed on to the altar carrying the bible arms-high, and this isn't the first time I've seen this in a Spanish mass.

In Lisbon last year, in the Italian church, I saw four lay people process on to the altar dressed in suits and normal dress, carrying the bible again arms high, as if this was the most normal thing to do. It made the most liberal UK parishes seem like traddies. I'm getting the impression, when the Spanish/Italian/Portuguese come here on holiday and go to mass, they can't believe the formality.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Lynda: Interesting that you say South Portugal. My experience in the North and Centre is very different which reflects the fact that North and South of the Tagus are almost two different countries. As to standing the custom seems to be that they kneel during the consecration but stand immediately afterwards whereas we would kneel until the end of the Canon. There are many interesting touches. Whenever anyone enters the Church they immediately kneel and bless themselves three times. Whenever the tabernacles is opened they stand and bless themselves. Generally speaking there is no talking in Church either before or after Mass. Most take communion on the tongue. All in all very inspiring.

Unknown said...

Looks like the only SSPX chapel (your safest Mass) is in Madrid .

I vacationed in Estartit, Catalunya many many years ago, but I wasn't Catholic then.
Unfortunately I was one of the naughty topless ladies on the beach.

Seattle kim

simple-sword said...

I feel sorry for you that you were aghast to find your ideas of "Catholic" Spain at variance with the reality. As a long-time convert I know the discouraging feeling of trying to live the Catholic life - not always successfully, mind you - while most of my fellow-Catholics seem to be marching to a very different beat. It only goes to show, we're in a war now. The past is dead. Pope Benedict's smaller, more genuine Church is shaping itself.

One word of criticism: you seem to be obsessed by the issue of kneeling. People will follow a trend, like not bowing during the Creed but holding hands up at the Our Father. More important is the devotion, or otherwise, of the people.

BTW, a couple of years ago I went on a day excursion to Naples Museum, this was on a Sunday morning and I went to Mass in the church opposite. There must have been all of six of us there.

DJR said...

Oakes Spalding said... Re: No kneeling at Mass, etc. Why do those people still go? That's not even a critical question, just a curious one.

My parish doesn't kneel either, but we are Byzantine, so it's not our tradition to kneel.

Standing for prayer is an ancient practice. Kneeling is ancient, too, but standing is an older practice, as it comes to us from the Jews. I would venture a guess that many Catholics down through the ages never knelt during Mass/Liturgy. It just wasn't a practice during various times, and in various places, in the Church.

That said, the loss of faith in the Real Presence would seem to indicate that Roman Rite Catholics should kneel at the proper times during the Mass. Greek Catholics don't have that problem, so there's no problem standing.

Jacobi said...

ps

I believe that the Church in Scotland has just been declared by some orders to be a "missionary territory"

Oh we do live in interesting times!

Anonymous said...

From USA Thanks for the report. I know things are pretty bleak all over. Hang in there and God Bless you for caring about Our Lord and reverence.

Thomas of Fatima said...

Is there no place to go for a Catholic? I live in a pagan nation full of corruption and evil and I often hope of living in a Christian country, or at least a country that has a Christian heritage. I wasn't born here or raised here but came here when I was a teenager. All the politically correct ideas how all religions are good and teach the same thing collapses when you live among a people who have never been Christianized. It's hopeless here. And yet even Western countries are throwing away their Christian heritage and embracing the same hopeless and self-serving values that is going to end up making these countries unbearable. If the Romans and the Greeks gave you great knowledge and wealth, it is Christianity that gave you a soul. Take it from me, a convert who is always asking why societies are the way they are. So far my answer is culture, founded upon religious beliefs. If a place is rotten, it is because of rotten values in a culture.

And yet I don't seem to have any place to call home.

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