Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Video Tuesday: The Old Mass vs. The New Mass

This brilliant video has been on YouTube for over two years now, though it doesn't have as many "views" as I would have expected. In a span of ten minutes it contrasts clips of a "typical" New Mass with those of a "typical" Old Mass (actually more than one Old Mass is shown).

Some would claim that the video creator stacked the deck somewhat. I'm not so sure this is true. Though I am a parishioner at a traditionalist Church, I have attended numerous New Masses for one reason or another. To me, the one shown in the video is sort of an average of what I have witnessed. There are no glaring irregularities such as liturgical dancers, puppets or clowns. It is arguably reverent in its way. And I would say it is 90% similar to the Mass my family and I attend every now and then in the Chicago Loop when we can't get the family out in time to make the 12:30 at St. John Cantius.

Similarly, the Old Masses shown are 95% similar to the Masses we assist at at St. John Cantius.

But the differences between the two experiences are stark.

No doubt some die-hard Novos Ordo partisans would say they would still prefer the first Mass. There's no "fake" pomp or pretentious glitter (which after all is not what Jesus was really about, etc., etc.). Just ordinary people gathering together for their communion meal.

But I've shown this video to some of my non-Catholic friends and they're amazed when I tell them that 98% of Catholics attend the New Mass, not the Old. "That's what you guys have to go through?" some seem to be thinking. It's certainly not what they might have seen in the movies with Montgomery Clift or Robert DeNiro presiding at the foot of a beautiful and towering alter.

Yes, that's what many of us have to go through.

Just so there's no misunderstanding. I like Ashokan Farewell. It's a lovely piece of music. Then again, I like Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin too. Just not at Mass.

Also, just so there is no misunderstanding, I have nothing against the anonymous New Mass priest. That he comes off as sort of frumpy is true but not really the point. Many of us middle-aged Catholics are probably headed in that direction, after all. I would say, though, that one of the virtues of the Old Mass is that it is much less about (or rather, not really about at all) the appearance, personality or "style" of the priest. Perhaps a New Mass with Montgomery Clift or Robert DeNiro presiding would be more riveting. Most priests don't look like that. But in the Old Mass, it doesn't matter. You're standing in your respondent vestments, at the head of, if you will, an army. A holy army, there to offer up a Sacrifice to God. And for a few moments you in a sense become Christ Himself. That's better than being any movie star.

I don't know who made the video. "Nina A"--whom I have never met--uploaded it to YouTube. But little information is posted with it, and she turned off the comments. The brief credit at the end lists the catholiclatinmass.org as a resource, but there's no sign of this video on the current site, and I'm not sure whether it might not be referring to another entity that formerly occupied the address. Perhaps a reader can enlighten me as to the video's origin. In any case, it deserves a wider audience.

Enjoy (sort of) and pray that more and more Catholics will experience the "real thing"--not a quasi-pennance that one attends partly out of duty, but "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven".


  1. The Bear is going to go with the stacked deck theory, not that it invalidates the point. If the Bear had to sit through that NO Mass there's no nail long enough to keep him in the pew.

  2. Thank you for this video comparison. The EF elict tears, it's so beautiful and moving; the NO looks pathetic and paltry, accompanied by equally pathetic and tasteless music. How can anyone prefer the tawdry NO to the majestic and heavenly EF is beyond me!

  3. I am fairly certain it comes from Novus Ordo Watch---a sedevacantist site. They have some fantastic videos and while they like to show clown/bubble/Halloween Masses, they wisely chose a fairly reverent NO Mass for comparison. Even if you're not a sede, you will love the site.

    Seattle Kim

  4. With all due respect, I would have preferred to attend the Novus Ordo Mass...I could hear the prayers, I could understand the prayers,and I would still be receiving the Body, Blood,Soul and Divinity of Our Blessed Lord !

    In addition, I have heard that particular priest deliver very orthodox and inspiring homilies on YouTube...May God bless them all, and all who celebrate with them