Jimmy Fallon and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Liturgy…

… Dear Jimmy Fallon,

A few years ago you surprised and delighted us all by declaring your papist roots in an NPR interview. Only, did you know your interview has been and continues to be used by some as justification to vilify Vatican II and the Norvus Ordo mass, saying it’s a perfect illustration of why people leave the Church? I’m sure you didn’t mean for that to happen but the internet being what it is, stuff happens.

I read that you tried to go back, which is a start, but were deterred by some bad liturgy; which, by the way, would make an awesome musical parody… “Bad Liturgy ’til the day I Die.” You can’t let Conan and Colbert hold claim to all the Catholic shtick.

Also, you should totally have Cardinal Dolan on your show.

You said;

GROSS: Do you still go to church?

Mr. FALLON: I don’t go to – I tried to go back. When I was out in L.A. and I was kind of struggling for a bit. I went to church for a while, but it’s kind of, it’s gotten gigantic now for me. It’s like too… There’s a band. There’s a band there now, and you got to, you have to hold hands with people through the whole Mass now, and I don’t like doing that. You know, I mean, it used to be the shaking hands piece was the only time you touched each other.

Firstly, congratulations on the Tonight Show and being able to stay in New York City. I’m sure you’re relieved you won’t be returning to L.A., home of the bad liturgy experience. Hopefully that means we can expect to see you in the pews of any one of New York’s finest Catholics Churches some time soon, right? Because I’m sure you weren’t just using bad liturgy as an excuse not to go back to Church.

Excuses are “ew”.

I know from personal experience how cringe worthy terrible liturgy is, with it’s hand holding and awful tambourine music. Yes, it does not motivate one to want to return to that Church. “That” being the imperative word. That particular church with the terrible liturgy, not The Church.

That’s why I bet you’re thrilled to pieces to be staying in New York where beautiful liturgy abounds. I’m excited for you to experience again the glory and solemnity from your childhood altar serving days. From that time where your love of The Church had you considering the priesthood.

GROSS: So you went to Catholic school when you were young.

Mr. FALLON: Oh yeah.

GROSS: Did you have…

Mr. FALLON: I wanted to be a priest.

GROSS: Did you really?

Mr. FALLON: Yeah. I loved it.


Mr. FALLON: I just, I loved the church. I loved the idea of it. I loved the smell of the incense. I loved the feeling you get when you left church. I loved like how this priest can make people feel this good. I just thought it was – I loved the whole idea of it. My grandfather was very religious, so I used to go to Mass with him at like 6:45 in the morning, serve Mass. And then you made money, too, if you did weddings and funerals. You’d get like five bucks. And so I go ‘Okay, I can make money too.’ I go, ‘This could be a good deal for me.’ I thought I had the calling.

That’s why I am confident you won’t let a severe case of bad liturgies keep you from returning Home to Rome, or keep your daughter from having the same wonderful childhood experiences as you did. Also, congratulations on her birth. I can’t wait to see the baptism pictures you’re sure to share on your Tumblr feed.

Experiencing your children discover their family faith and prepare for their sacraments is one of the many wonderful blessings of being a parent. But you already know that, you said so yourself in Glamour this month. Well, sort of, in a roundabout way.

“She’ll see every James Cagney movie because I’m Irish and that’s what you do. “

Yes, that’s what you do. You share with your kids family history, cultivate a pride in your Irish heritage, and share things from your youth that helped shape who you are today. Like being Catholic.

So please, Mr. Fallon, my hope is that you’ll make one of these parishes in your fine city your new home. Don’t let bad liturgy, bad theology, bad homilies, bad church ornamentation or any other form of badness deter you and your family from Church.

Church of The Holy Innocents, on B’way & 37th

The Church of Our Saviour, located on Murray Hill

Church of St. Michael, 424 West 34th St

And if you never read this (which is highly likely you may not because who am I?) maybe someone else who left the Church for whatever reason or excuse will read this and consider coming Home themselves.

Whatever your past experiences with a particular parish, known that single church does not encompass the Universal Church. There’s a place for everyone. It may be harder to find for some than others, but it’s there and it’s patiently waiting for you to come Home.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Christian LeBlanc

    I love anything with specific and concrete recommendations.

  • Nancy

    No worries. I’m sure Fr. Jim Martin is on it. #publicityhound

    • Maggie Goff

      Now, now. :)

  • Rachel

    Yes! Come back home Jimmy Fallon!

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Having been born in 74, Fallon has never served as an altar boy in the Vetus Ordo liturgy, for by then it had already been extirpated from the Church. So if anyone uses his words to dis the Novus Ordo mass, one is mathematically-challenged or means ill.

    • AugustineThomas

      They may not have lost all the reverence yet and so he was confused.
      It’s clear now which is the proper Mass and which leads to heresy, even if it leads the majority of churchgoers to heresy and they have an anti-intellectual pope to cheer them on.

      • Heather

        Sorry, but the “proper Mass” is the one the Church has approved. That includes both the Vetus Ordo and the newer form, as well as various Eastern forms.

        (It doesn’t include random do it yourself liturgy, though.)

        • AugustineThomas

          The Byzantine and other Eastern rites are wonderful! (So orthodox and reverential! I love how they can last up to three hours!!) We agree on everything except Novus Ordo.
          If you look to history you’ll notice that certain popes who said (not infallibly) that something was orthodox were later rebuked after they died and actually were preaching heresy, despite being otherwise quite orthodox, obviously. (Pope Francis comes to mind. He preaches a lot of heresy but also a lot of great orthodoxy. Popes are broken men like the rest of us.)
          Of course the Holy Spirit protected the Church, but not everything one or a few popes practice for fifty years lasts forever.

          The proper Mass has lasted through all the tumult, just like the Church. (Even though this is one of the most dangerous points in history for it.)

    • Lirioroja

      I was born in ’77 and I grew up in a parish that was very reverent. Yes, it was the NO but they stood strong against the silliness for a very long time. It did succumb eventually but not until I had reached my teen years. It was only when moved to a new neighborhood right before I went to college that I discovered that my experience was unique. Perhaps Fallon was also blessed to grow up in a parish like mine was. From his description it certainly sounds like it.

  • AugustineThomas

    Yet another NO Catholic who will die for their broken liturgy no matter how the rest of the world despises it.
    If the altar looks like a display at Bed, Bath and Beyond, you know its time to go to the proper VO Mass, where people kneel for Holy Communion and don’t snatch at our Lord like a piece of trailmix.

  • Mary

    His daughter can’t be baptized in the Catholic church, since she was born via surrogate. That’s probable incentive for him not to return.

    • Jack Rackham

      His daughter can most certainly be baptized. The circumstances of her conception are irrelevant to the Church

      • tj.nelson

        Indeed. Where was Mary catechized?

    • JD

      In a sense, was not Jesus born via surrogate?

      • Romulus

        Not at all. See the Nicene Creed: the Son became incarnate of the Virgin Mary. He received his human nature from her — directly, and from no one else. We very rightly refer to our Lady as the Mother of God. In no sense is this a matter of surrogacy. This is important.

  • tj.nelson

    Who appointed you Catholic of the Year?

    You’re so cute.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I don’t know why. I can’t help feeling he’s lying about why he no longer goes to church. So let me understand. He’s so devout that he needs the Latin mass and since he can’t get it he doesn’t go to mass at all? That doesn’t jive.

    • alwr

      He was not referencing Latin Mass.

    • S. Murphy

      No, he just didn’t get the homey, nostalgic feeling he was looking for
      from the LifeTeen Mass or whatever it was he stumbled into, so he lost
      interest again. If he’s feeling a need for God, he didn’t share it with

  • Salvelinus

    Is Dolan still offering “gay friendly” masses? Sorry, Dolan, supporter of the Baby Killer in Chief is not one we Catholics should be proud of

  • Bill J

    Here’s a suggestion for an evening out in Manhattan my wife and I did:
    Saturday vigil (5:00 pm) mass at St. Malachy’s, located at 239 West 49th
    Street. Known as the “Actors Chapel” it’s a beautiful, classic, place
    to worship. They have an incredible organ and organist, the priest
    chants a great deal of the liturgy, to match the fantastic singing in
    the pews (this is the Broadway theater community’s church, after all).
    We followed mass by having dinner at one of the many great restaurants
    in the neighborhood until 7:30, when we strolled over to one of the
    Broadway theaters to catch an 8:00 pm show. Perfect night!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Noting that I deleted the duplicate comment for you.

  • gregoryvii

    May God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit consign the Novus Ordo to the dustbin of history.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Seeing as he was born in 74′, the mass he loved so much in his youth was indeed an N.O.

  • Kim Whelan

    As usual… Wonderfully put! A great come home letter for anyone!

  • echarles1

    Though 40 years ago, I can still see the bearded face of the folk singer/guitarist who led us in song. There was even an overhead projector showing the lyrics! Our altar boy robes were green or orange felt vests. My mom said that when my brother and I served we looked like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. I cringe now and thank God the mass I attend today strikes a pretty good tone for Novus Ordo.

  • Ben

    Bad liturgies are absolutely poison. My faith is all but eroded. Yes I could attend an FSSP parish, but they are just boutique parishes. I stay officially Catholic out of respect to my wife and to keep religious unity in our marriage. I don’t blame Fallon.