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NO Mass means no Mass

So, apparently the strain of offering one Mass a week was too much for the priests around here, and all the Masses at Santa Maria Rossa, the next village over, are cancelled for the summer. This leaves the 8:30 at San Andrea and the 11:30 at San Martino.

Now, normally the early mass at San Andrea is the preferred Mass, because there are no guitars or caterwauling, clapping or nonsense. “Normally.” It’s also next door to my house. So off I went this morning with a light heart in the relative cool, only to get there just in time to hear the first merry-clappy guitar-strumming. They’ve decided to expand, I guess.

I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. Not after the sublime heights of the real Mass in San Michele Arcangeli last Sunday. I felt like a magnet that had been repelled by a like-pole. It was simply not possible for me to go into that church. I think I’d be in tears by the time we were half way through. The whole “white with rage and horror” reaction is getting to be a thing, even when I can only catch about 30% of the homily.

Fortunately, I figured, the 10 am Mass at S. Maria Rossa isn’t that bad. It’s a pretty church and the choir is, by Italian standards, slightly less screechy, so off I pedaled. It’s about ten minutes away by bike and I figured I’d have a chance to stop by the shop to pick up some more cat food, and I could stop at the bar next to the church and sit in the shade and have a bottle of water and cool off while I waited.

Which I did, all according to plan, until a quarter to ten when there was still no sigh of life at the church. I went over to peer at the schedule… Nothing. All Masses cancelled for June and July. If you want a Mass at ten am, you have to go up to San Martino in Colle. Which is pretty much impossible without a powered vehicle. It’s about an hour on foot and on foot is what you have to do with a bike because it’s at the top of the hill… hence “colle”.

So, what’s left? San Martino’s clapping/guitaring/shouting Mass at 11:30.

This “parish,” which is a consolidation of about six churches, offers Masses only on Sundays. There are two priests, one older paroco and the curate from India. I have no idea what they do for the rest of the week, but when I asked the curate when the confessions were scheduled and in which church he looked at me for a moment like I’d grown a second head.

I’ve never been able to understand why we must all take the summers off being Catholic. As though the life of grace is suspended, one does not need the Sacraments, between the months of June and September. But I can’t help thinking it is because they just don’t care. They don’t believe what we believe and can’t be arsed.

It’s funny, because the people obviously want the Masses. There is usually standing room only at every Mass offered in every church I’ve ever been to in this neighbourhood. It was so this morning at the strummy-Mass at San Andrea. I’m confident it will be so at San Martino. When I was standing in front of the locked doors of the church of Santa Maria Rossa, two other people, one a middle aged man on a motorcycle and the other a housewifey-looking woman in an SUV came up to peer at it too. Both just normal people, looking to go to church on Sunday, like normal. Both seemed flabbergasted that there was no Mass offered in the village at all on a Sunday or any other day. Both of them wondered aloud what the heck these priests are doing that’s so important they can’t say Mass.

It’s not that the Faith is dying out among the people; the people are desperate for it.

It’s that the clergy don’t give a shit about it, or about the salvation of the flock. This isn’t anything to do with what’s going on in the Vatican, at least not directly. It’s not about pope Francis. It’s not about this or that latest scandal. It’s about the abandonment of the flock by the shepherds.

This is novusordoism.



Update: here’s the parish priest, preaching from his lectern in the middle behind the altar at San Martino in Campo.

If you look closely, you will see that the tabernacle is not only empty, but the door is left open to make sure you know it’s empty. I suppose just to drive home who it was that you really came to see.

I’ve been to Mass here a couple of times, and one time in the middle of the general uproar that seems normally to precede things, I saw an older guy in a suit go up to the tabernacle on the high altar, and take out the ciborium and carry it into the side chapel (which is quite nice, actually). As everyone, a big crowd, was standing around yammering, I and my friend were the only ones to kneel down as he went past.

Someone familiar with novusordoism out there? Any idea why they would routinely remove the Blessed Sacrament from the high altar tabernacle for the Mass?

I’ve gone into this church now and then in the afternoons for a quiet sit down. It’s the only one in the area that’s ever left open outside Mass times. I sit in the little chapel. Its a nice one, with a pretty good Baroque painting of some saints or other above the old altar, and the Novusordo Table has at least been made to match (more than can be said for a lot of Italian churches). On Thursday evenings, this is where the ladies say their Rosary. I know the Sacrament is reserved normally in the tabernacle in the altar in the little chapel, so I go there. I don’t know if it is normally also reserved on the high altar. Though I guess if they moved it before that Mass that evening, it must be.

Oh, I don’t know.

I just don’t understand novusordoism.

But I’m a bit worried I’m going to starve to death in this sacramental desert-wasteland.