make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste…


… Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, on the Eucharist. [source and full quote]

Think about what sad little irreverent parish needs you most. Then stay and pray. Converts are known for being hard to please. The fault is ours. We placed unrealistic expectations on the Church and her flock and then become quickly disenchanted. One most realize the only perfect Church is the heavenly Church Triumphant.

The answer is not to “church hop-n-shop” in search of the perfect parish/priest (it doesn’t exist) or be in a perpetual state of conversion (changing religions/rites).

Stay where God has put you. Trust He knows better. Pray fervently.

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  • Thank you fot that lovely quote from a master of our language.

  • Thanks, Kat. I realized (again) last week, when attending mass (and getting annoyed) that it was NOT about me. It was about God, and if I had sense enough to look to Him and ingnore the goings-on around me, I would be doing what He wanted. Exactly what He wanted. That is, to worship Him, and love Him, and pray – hard.But my crude words and thoughts pale to that quote from JRRT!

  • Did you know that many Saints have said that the grace received from a Mass celebrated by a holy and saintly priest is far greater than one celebrated by an irreverant or worldly/carnal/sinful priest? Tolkien is not a saint and true, the Mass is about worshipping God yet/and still God choses to give and wants to EDIFY us at the Mass through graces, healings , revelations , answers,comfort, encouragement,and peace and much more. Yes, it is about God. and God loves to give edifying grace to his children. He never intended us to worship in irreverent churches…this is why St.Mary and the Saints are asking for repa ration. Isn’t it sinful to partake in such abuse to the Sacred HEART of JESUS AND MARY?

  • “Did you know that many Saints have said that the grace received from a Mass celebrated by a holy and saintly priest is far greater than one celebrated by an irreverant or worldly/carnal/sinful priest?”No I hadn’t heard that. That is something I would need to see/read for myself from a reliable source bc it seems to suggest that one mass is superior to the next (aside from liturgical differences) and that some how the Eucharist is not as effective (for lack of better word) because of some human difficeincy. I doubt that is the case as God does not rely on us, but us on Him. That sounds like evil trad propoganda used to as ‘proof’ that the N.O. mass holds no spiritual validation.

  • I would rather quote a Saint than Tolkien. I will find the Saints who have said this and send it to you. Haven’t you’ve been Blessed at a reverent Mass more than an abusive one? I certainly have. Jesus is also Blessed!Partaking in the abuse given to our Lord at these Masses can not be a good thing. Why do you think the Blessed Virgin Mary weeps along with Jesus to see such “Tolkien” described Masses?

  • These are not the quotes of the women Saints that I was thinking of, but it is a start: AND (Saints Liguori and St. Vianney) All the great Saints spoke of the importance of a Holy not worldly priest.

  • steve

    Did you know that many Saints have said that the grace received from a Mass celebrated by a holy and saintly priest is far greater than one celebrated by an irreverant or worldly/carnal/sinful priest?Sinless priest? No such thing. Wretched sinners like the rest of us.Why do you think the Blessed Virgin Mary weeps along with Jesus to see such “Tolkien” described Masses?If they are weeping as you suggest, maybe they are weeping over all the Pharisees silently nitpicking everything the priest does; or perhaps it is tears of joy that the faithful still come to Mass despite all the troubles facing the Church.Haven’t you’ve been Blessed at a reverent Mass more than an abusive one?No.I read your links and you are totally misreading them if you think that you get ‘bonus blessings’ by attending a Mass that meets the subjective standards of your feelings.“Oh, yes, the nasty thing loves to talk! She cannot shut her mouth! / bad talk, grumbling, babbling / Her one sole business!” St. Louis de Monfort

  • “Did you know that many Saints have said that the grace received from a Mass celebrated by a holy and saintly priest is far greater than one celebrated by an irreverant or worldly/carnal/sinful priest?”My dear Joan, what you have described is Donatism. The Donatists were a sect which had its heyday in the fourth and fifth centuries. They believed that the sanctity and validity of a sacrament relied on the holiness and worthiness of the priest or bishop who performed that sacrament. The Church soon denounced this as a heresy, largely through the efforts of St Augustine of Hippo. In other words, an “unworthy” or “sinful” priest could indeed provide a worthy sacrament. It is not dependent on the personal character of the priest, but on the grace of God, working through him who holds priestly or episcopal office. As others have said: We are all sinners, including the priests. In the Orthodox tradition at least, the priestly prayers which are said sotto voce during the Divine Liturgy are peppered with phrases such as “I, an unworthy priest”, and numerous references to the priest’s own sinfulness. Here is an excerpt from the long prayer read or recited by the priest while the choir sings the Cherubic Hymn:” … so I beseech You, who alone is good and quick to hear: Look down upon me, Your sinful and unprofitable servant, and cleanse my soul and heart from an evil conscience. Enable me, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, who has invested me with the grace of the priesthood, to stand at this holy Table and to consecrate Your holy and immaculate Body Your precious Blood. For to You I draw near, and, bowing down, to You I pray. Turn not Your face from me, neither cast me out from among Your children, but make me, Your sinful and unworthy servant, worthy to offer these Gifts to You….”Food for thought, friends.

  • You misread, misunderstand. Ofcourse the Mass is valid. No one ever said it was not. We are not speaking about validity. This is not the point of all the Saints! They are speaking about NOT offending JESUS WITH YOUR IRREVERENT MASSES…I feel really sorry for you, if you cannot tell the difference between Holiness, Reverence, and showing great love for our LORD JESUS. Ofcourse, NO ONE is sinless, what a ridiculous thing to write that priests are not perfect. They are not to be living WORLDLY, CARNAL,sinful lives and thus showing no fruits of holiness.They are not to be men walking by the flesh but men walking in THE SPIRIT, counter-cultural in everything the say and do. My dear Jill, this is what Jesus said. Read your Bible. Blow the dust off the teachings of JESUS so you can see them clearly.Steve too.You are both deluded, sorry. You need to quickly learn the truth about who Jesus is and what true worship and holiness really is.Clean the inside of the dish, you white washed tombs…isn’t that today’s Gospel spoken by the LORD JESUS. He would not agree with Jill or Steve.You would be offensive, neither hot or cold.That luke warm wishy washy babble of the masses that Tolkien was so fond of but not Jesus! Sorry.The Peace and the Grace is better with a Holy priest. Yes, the Mass is valid, God works miracles everywhere,,,but why if you claim to love Jesus so much, would you both want to continue offending HIM so gravely! Only someone who loves Jesus would seek the best in worship.These are not “subjective feelings”… No Bonus, just better.Real Peace, Real Grace. Real Love .Obedience that is real.

  • Joan what you are proposing is plainly heresy. There is no way that the Real Presence is “just better” when consecrated by a holy priest. The Real Presence is the Real Presence bc God wills it to be. His Most Precious Body is not subject to our human deficiencies. Again, He does not depend on us and we depend on Him.

  • Joan, a priest should be all those things, but it is not your business to worry whether they be so, unless it be to pray for them. It is your business to try to be everything you should be. Caroline, do you think that Tolkien is contemplating quite the situation in many places today, when people are told from the pulpit that Christ didn’t really multiply the loaves and fishes, it was the “miracle of sharing”? In other words, is he considering the possibility of heresy or near heresy from the pulpit? Is he considering situations in which priests change the words of the mass? I have been to masses where the priest changed the words of consecration, where sweet crumbly bread was consecrated which dropped crumbs all over the floor as people received communion. (This was in the early 80’s and I could name parish and city.) Was I wrong to find a different parish after that? I have been to masses where the priest basically ad libbed the whole mass, most recently only a few years ago. Tolkien was talking about priests who “gabble” or “snuffle” and ill dressed ill behaved people in the pews, but he was talking about what we now call the “extraordinary form,” celebrated less than beautifully, but with the priest nevertheless saying the black and doing the red. Do you think he would have said the same thing about any sort of abuse? I am pretty sure he wouldn’t. Now, when you get down to issues of vapid and tacky hymns with little content or with only vaguely and suggestively heretical content….well I suppose he might have said to endure it. But the last time I went back to my territorial parish (except for daily mass which I still occasionally do go to there) was on All Saints day, and the choir put everyone in the parish who died in the past year into the litany of the saints. “Bob Smith…pray for us…Jane Doe…pray for us.” So now everyone who died in St. X’s parish last year is a saint? They all went to heaven, with no stop in Purgatory? There is a specific canon which forbids the public veneraton of anyone but a canonized saint. Should I participate in this? It implictly teaches heresy, very serious heresy. (Whether Universalism, or salvation by faith alone….or salvation by being-a-generally-nice-person-who-usually-goes-to-mass alone, I am not sure.) So, do you think the Tolkien quote also applies to these situations?Susan Peterson