No Habla! Americano!

Your diarist was a sluggard getting to church this morning and thus had to go to the Spanish language Mass in Bellingham. Very few Anglos were in attendance: the priest with his fluent but imperfect Spanish and yours truly (“no habla… what’s that other word?”) and that was about it.

I have been christened an honorary Mexican by my actually Mexican cousins due to my general demeanor and my tolerance for extremely hot food, so you’d think I could do a better job at least understanding the language. Put Spanish journalism in front of me and I can hack my way through much of it, with a little help from a dictionary. But I’ve never developed an ear for it.

There were moments during Mass today when I was pretty sure I caught the gist of it (“El cuerpo es importante, muy importante!”) yet they were pretty brief. Maybe one of these days, when I get some free time, I’ll buy the Rosetta Stone’s Spanish lessons and bone up. That would make it muy easier to sleep in on Sunday mornings.

Why I Would Make an Awful Priest

Four words: the sacrament of reconciliation.


You did what!?

Our Father, Who Messes With Protestants

Through Facebook, in response to my last post about the new translation of the Mass, reader Matthew Hogan gives us a couple of pitch-perfect paragraphs:

You young’un/convert, Mr. Lott. When I, and so many others, was a mere Roman-rite tyke, just after de-Latinization post Vatican 2, the new English mass was exactly pretty much the “new” one of today. “And with your spirti”, “under my roof”– a paraphrase of the centurion’s statement – etc. Though I don’t recall the the creed’s words exactly. Then about 1970ish it became the more moderny “Lord be with you”/”Right back atcha”.

The real fun of course is to attend a funeral or wedding with non-/never-Catholic Protestant who are confused by the dance and wait til they sorta relax a bit with the well-recognized Our Father and they start getting into it. Then at the crucial moment, “deliver us from evil”, the Catholics go quiet and the intruders continue with “for thine is the, uh, um, oh excuse me”. Then to really mess them up, the Catholics recite that en masse in Mass a few seconds later.

Catholic Mass Questionaire

How’s that new Mass translation working out for you — and your parish?

In the two parishes that I attend with some regularity, it was bumpy for a few weeks or even months. Yet by now even some of the more drastic changes have been swallowed.

For instance, in that bit where we used to say–

Lord I am not worthy to receive you. But only say the word and I shall be healed.

–and we now say the more ungainly, but distinctly more biblical–

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof. But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

–I sense that the new translation is slipping into common, instinctive usage. Fewer people, including yours truly, are heard accidentally blurting out the old version.

The changes in the translation of the creed are also starting to take. I’ve got most of them down but found myself grabbing the printed card and reading along today precisely because fewer others are mucking it up and I didn’t want to stand out as that guy.

So that’s my experience. What’s yours?

My Church Is All Wet

You know what’s great about going to a Catholic church on a hot day?

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Suffer the Little Collection Basket

Your diarist was dreading going to Mass at the home parish today after a few weeks in Bellingham but — you know what? — not so bad. Father Flapdoodle’s* homily on the loaves and the fishes was short and not awful, though it did arguably veer a little too close to Steven Spielberg’s Theology of the Infallible Child for comfort. Then again, some slack should be cut because the children were what really made Mass worth it this morning.

The church has started undertaking taking two simultaneous offerings, one for the adults and the other for the kids. The adult offering is collected in the usual way. Ushers pass collection baskets, dump them into a larger basket and take the monies forward with the hosts and co.

The children’s offering, for the 6-and-under set approximately, is collected by direct donation. Another basket is placed on the base of the altar. While the adult baskets are making the rounds, parents give children money that they then walk, skip or run up to the front. It’s a bit happy-clappy, sure, but you’d have to have a heart of the hardest metal ore to object.

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Trinities and Tooth Fairies

Last week, I did double duty because Real Clear Religion deputy Nick Hahn was having his wisdom teeth yanked out. I explained to him that he wasn’t allowed near the website and even ordered him off the Internet for several days because we didn’t want him inventing some new “Vicodin-based religion.”

That was a joke, of course, but it turned out to be a whole lot closer to the mark than I could have guessed. When he came to after the operation, Nick was extremely loopy and loquacious. He saw that one of the teeth that had been extracted had three prongs or three points or somesuch and decided to delve into the theological significance of the numeral.

Nick said, “Look at that, three! I could tell you a lot about the Trinity! I’m a theologian!” and continued on in that vein for quite some time.