PopeWatch: Belloc




One of the distressing aspects of the changes in the Mass is how little time in it there is simply to pray silently.  Everyone is expected to be doing something with one’s attention riveted to every banal word and sentiment that comes from the direction of the communion table altar.  Pope Francis thinks this is just grand:


The liturgy is not something strange, there, distant, and while it is being celebrated I am thinking of many things, or I pray the Rosary. No, no. There is a correspondence between the liturgical celebration, which I then carry into my life; and on this more progress must be made, there is such a long way yet to go.

The Pope also makes clear that there will be no change in the Mass as a theater in the round:

Thank you so much, thank you so much for your hospitality, for the prayer with me in the Mass; and we thank the Lord for what He has done in the Church in these 50 years of liturgical reform. It was in fact a courageous gesture of the Church to draw close to the People of God, so that they could understand well what she does, and this is important for us, to follow the Mass in this way. And we cannot go back; we must always go forward, always forward and whoever goes back is mistaken. We go forward on this way.


Frank Sheed used to tell the below story which sums up what used to be glorious about the Mass:


Hilaire Belloc was kneeling at Mass in Westminster
Cathedral.  A sacristan whispered to him, ‘Excuse me, sir, we stand
        Belloc: ‘Go to hell.’
        Sacristan: ‘I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t know you were Catholic.’


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  1. One of the most annoying developments is the incessant need for noise. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the organist who just has to vamp when the communion hymn ends and yet the Priest is still cleansing the chalice. Oh, what a tragedy it would be if we had just one minute of silence in a Church. Can’t have that.

    It’s distressing, but not surprising, that our Pope is not bothered by this.

  2. By the way, it’s good to see that Pope Francis is now relying on Kodos for homily inspirations.

    And we cannot go back; we must always go forward, always forward and whoever goes back is mistaken

  3. Who else has as his slogan “FORWARD”?
    Could it possibly be that abortionist and sanctifier of homosexual relations occupying the Oval Office?
    And didn’t both Stalin and Mao use the slogan “Forward”?

  4. I love the Belloc story.

    “Go to hell.”

    Someone once tried that with me at Mass. “We STAND at this church!” was the irate mumble shot at me when I wanted to kneel after Communion. if I had Belloc’s presence of mind……

  5. Paul W Primavera on Wednesday, March 11, A.D. 2015 at 1:56pm: Well done correlating.
    Our LORD: “I have just come to you in the Holy Eucharist. Could you not speak with me for just a few minutes in silence?

  6. As the Church moves forward on its undefined, wobbly way, are there scouts ahead to demarcate terrain (‘n stuff) for its people since the ways they know are now mistaken?

  7. This really bugs me about the liturgy changes ” so that they could understand” as if our parents and grandparents and great grandparents could not understand well what the Church offered them just because the mass was Latin. There have been more Spirit V2 changes than just the language and the changes have obscured the meaning. People in the pews in the old days knew what Holy Communion was and would have been Horrifierd at the sight of desecration of Holy Communion at the mass in the Philippines..

    The “courageous gesture” comment reveals a dichotomy in the populist pope’s thinking– see:..the “Church” is separate from the “”People of God” I am sure he disavows clericalism but he thinks like an elitist. Talks about “smell of the people”! The superiority and elitist attitude irks me because he and priests like him are acting like they are all about he needs of the people, but they are really about their own ideas about what is good for the people. People want their pious traditions, people want to kneel, to receive on the tongue and are told “no” but others are told “Yes!” come to communion.. help yourself.

    The update he is trumpeting (V2) was 50 years into the 100 year history of CU Argentina “which was an update, a re-reading of the Gospel in the perspective of contemporary culture” … Waal..it’s been 50 years again..maybe it’s time for an update- another look at the reform and what it’s fruits have been

  8. Here is Lent 2015 more than halfway gone. Last Lent, I took to heart a prayer from the 7th station meditation of Joseph Ratzinger – a prayer to lay low the power of ideology so that the web of lies becomes known. This version of the Stations of the Cross bears repeated listening for reasons of clarifying Christianity, enhancing prayer, and sensing or learning of the depth of God’s Word for us. Tonight, the 8th (women of Jerusalem) and 9th (third fall) Stations are appropriate for this post and Hillaire Belloc. The link has four choices … – hope it works and results in an hour well-spent.


  9. Jay Anderson- I read your link.

    Oh. My. Goodness. That Parish needs a lot of prayers, and urgent addressing by the local bishop.

    The former parish Priest at our local Church- who still says mass but is too old to fulfil the duties of Parish priest- used to hate anyone receiving the Holy Eucharist on their tongue.

    His solution- slam it in the persons mouth, so it hurt. Mum used to be at the receiving end of his aggression, and always came back from taking the Eucharist in a far less state of peace. It always upset me.

    If I ever encounter a hostile priest that refuses to give it to me on the tongue (which I prefer)- I take the Eucharist in my hand and walk over to the holy water and put some water in my palms so that the particles that remain on my hands are dissolved by the water. It’s a compulsion for me.

    To the hostility of some commenters that I have encountered on this blog, I will mention that the Opus Dei priests are brilliant at washing the vessels after the Holy Eucharist has been distributed. They are so careful at making sure no particles remain on the Altar (maybe this is where my compulsion to put water on my hands stems from).
    The ritual itself reminds me of how sacred the Holy Eucharist is and gives me time for silent prayer. Everyone stays kneeling till the priest says the final blessing at the end of Mass.

    The way it should be.

  10. There can be such a sense of community in a time of silence that is shared and honored in a parish. In one of my two parishes after Father processes out, everyone kneels and remains in silent prayer for a minute or two- I would say it is about the time it would take one to privately say the St Michael prayer. What a delight!
    As I said a great sense of community in that! No one is following direction written in red 🙂 today but an old practice which began at that parish in days of yore— but we all just know we are together in that little pious practice…

  11. “One of the distressing aspects of the changes in the Mass is how little time in it there is simply to pray silently”.

    I think this is a genuine concern for many and I like many need to be in church before mass starts, in order to get some silent prayer. Even allowing one minute of silent prayer during mass, would not make that much difference.

  12. “Belloc: ‘Go to hell.’ ”
    Belloc exorcised the demon in the sacristan.
    Jesus is on the altar and the people are demanding one’s attention “for peace”. All people are in the heart of Jesus. So, if you are not loving Jesus on the altar, you are not loving me.
    The Catholic Church is God’s house.
    When the people clap for themselves and each other, they are like the Pharisee, already repaid. No heaven for them.
    In Belloc’s words: “Go to hell”
    Let us all speak Jesus’ vernacular at the Vatican II Mass.

  13. Perhaps we’re lucky to be up in the North Woods far removed from the comforts of global warming, the discomforts of rampant liberalism, and observing neither histrionics nor rigidity in Masses celebrated here. We follow the progress of the miraculous repetition of the Last Supper in our missal, receive either in hand or on tongue (and which sins more?), as we are moved, and gratefully commune and repose with Christ whom we have consumed, as we are moved.

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