Saturday, 11 October 2008

a good day in Wessex

A beautiful day today, warm Autumn sunshine, breezy enough to dry two full loads from the washing machine...a day for simple domesticity.

The following conversation was had between DH and myself, he was ironing and I was cleaning:

DH: I wonder if those women will be singing the Mass tomorrow?
Me: Well it's not the week for the folk Mass is it...it could be anything. I'm sorry but it drives me nuts, all these different flavours of Mass. What is it all about? You remember before Vatican II, this is all new isn't it?
DH: Not exactly, you have to remember, there were Masses to suit all types each Sunday. the 6:30 am for the workers and yours truly as server, then there was the 8:30 which was a little grander. Then there was the kiddies Mass at 10am.
Me: What!
DH: That is the one the children went to. Heaven help you if you weren't there. You were made to stand up in class on Monday and say why you weren't there. You didn't sit with your family, you were with your teacher, you sat in your classes.....After that Mass was the solemn sung high Mass if that was more your bag then there was the Sunday evening Mass, I'm not quite sure who that was for...But there were lots of priests so they were able to accommodate all these different tastes and needs. Now, there is just one priest and he is trying to please everyone...folk Mass one week, squeaky high female choir the next, organ the next and so on. Maybe it isn't as different from the past as we think.
Me: What do you think has been the biggest change?
DH: Lent. It used to be really, really hard. I was away from the Church for a few years and came back and all the old lenten hymns had gone, there was no talk of suffering, there was no blood, no wounding...the symbolism, imagery and meditation were all missing. This was worse for me than the change from Latin to English, though we lost so many as a result of that.
Me: Was it worth it?
DH: We never really understood the Latin so I suppose it had to happen. It was just too quick, too wholesale and too radical, overnight the Latin Mass was considered wrong. That was in the days when people put priests on a pedestal, they believed them. They believed the Latin Mass was wrong because their priest/Bishop said so...
Me: Come off it. You might not have understood all the words in the Mass, but you knew you had to be properly prepared for it and you knew what was happening at the Consecration.
DH: Oh yes! The bells were so important then....The sixties have so much to answer for, you can not divorce what was happening in the world from what was happening in the Church... my generation have a lot to answer for.
Me: Your generation were not pulling the strings....

DH starts singing bits of the Missa De Angelis whilst he irons my shirts. Nice.

4 comments:

mum6kids said...

Interesting memories. I don't remember what is was like before the '70s (I was born in '64). Those bloomin' awful yoof songs though...how I loved singing Ave Verum and Panis Angelicas and the St Cecilia Mass in school choir. Ah so long ago.
btw I am glad your husband irons. I have decided it is simply no job for a woman. (hehehe)

Joe said...

An interesting post. Though I must have served my first Mass before "the changes" - I have a memory of grumpy priest stamping his foot because I had forgotten to ring the bell - I haven't really got any substantial memories of the process of change. Moving around in a military family probably caused that ...

Singledom forces me to be a "new man" and do the ironing ... and the cooking (real equality brownie points when I take my own baking into school on my birthday) ...

Irene said...

I'm glad someone else can still remember "before the changes". I'm glad he too remembers that it was not so different. Oh, people did dress up more for the later masses. And the ladies always had their doilies on their heads (remember I'm American and have no idea what you called them in Wessex).

But the switch from Latin never made much of an impression on me. Perhaps that was because I had taken some Latin in school and always could understand most of what was being said. I certainly am glad that those who were less fortunate than I are able to understand now.

Kirk said...

An interesting post Rita. I was born weeks before the changes took place so I don't remember how it was 'before' but I do recall a remarkable event at our parish in the late 70s. We were living in Australia at the time and the priest announced that there was to be a vote on the reintroduction of Latin! My Mum voted with a big yes on her ballot but nothing came of it so perhaps she was the only one. . .