After hearing one too many appeals to the Legend of the Clown Mass from one too many Reactionaries fondling that bogeyman as an excuse for poisoning the Body of Christ with malice toward good and innocent bishops like Bp. Olson of Ft. Worth, a friend writes:
For 16 years, I have ceaselessly traveled the world in search of the mythic clown Mass. I’ve attended Mass in 9 languages on 5 continents; including St. Peter’s, and the Brompton Oratory in London and Gesu in Rome. I’ve attended Mass in great Cathedrals and small country churches up in the mountains and deserts. i’ve seen bats flying out of organs (true) but not a single clown. Mass in at least 350 different churches in 117 different dioceses. And not a clown to be found. A girl could get the impression that the clown Mass is something of an urban legend. Someone direct me to the nearest clown Mass because after all I’ve heard – I really want to see one!
Clearly I was looking in the wrong place for a clown Mass when I visited all those ordinary parishes and cathedrals in all those countries. Somehow I’d gotten the impression from the blogosphere that a clown Mass could just pop up anywhere. And that hundreds had been celebrated when in fact, they seem to be as rare as blue moons. It has been estimated that there about 350,000 Masses celebrated *every* day on this planet. Which is about 127 million Masses every year. It’s hard to know how many extras to tack on for major feast days etc. Just a rough estimate. If two clown Masses were held in 2012, that would mean that 0.00000001574% of all Masses were clown Masses in some form (they could of course, still be valid since apparently “clown” Masses vary widely. And that 99.99999998536% of all Masses celebrated were not clown Masses. Call me a heretic but If Pope Benedict could manage to live with the knowledge that a “clown Mass” of some form has taken place somewhere in the world – without despairing of God or the Church, I can live with that. But don’t expect me to take seriously the proliferation of clown Masses as an argument for or against anything again.