10 minutes with … Mark Massa

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(RNS) For generations, thousands of Catholics — from archbishops to people in the pews — saw the Catholic Church as eternal, timeless, and unmoved by the tides of history. But the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s unleashed a sea of changes — none more significant than the recognition that Catholicism has, and continues to […]

  • Virgilio

    Father Massa, with all due respect, the Holy Father was born in Germany, not in Austria. Benedict XVI undestands pretty well that there is a profound spiritual and doctrinal crises in the church. The church is in a state of self-demolition and in a silent apostasy. All the important parameters are in the red. And the new mass (novus ordo Missae) is not helping matters, people feel repeled by it, as they have left the church in the millions.
    Paraphrasing Forrest Gump: “The novus ordo Missae is like a box of chocolates… you never know what are you gonna get”. The Tridentine Mass is coming back strong, although most of the dinosaur bishops are not allowing it.
    In France, a former Catholic nation is almost 50% Tridentine. And that will be the trend, God Almighty helping. To the shame and horror of the enemies of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Kyrie Eleison!
    +J M J +.

  • Father Massa is stuck in the 60s.

  • Annette

    Mr. Massa,

    Could you please point specifically to the section in the Vatican II documents where it is suggested that the notion of the Church as timeless has changed?

    Mr. Massa, if you cannot follow the Church’s teachings, then why do you stay? There are upwards of 30,000 Protestant sects that peddle the same crap you do. Why not leave us alone and go join them?

    Mr. Massa, you are a disgrace and you are responsible for the loss of countless Catholic souls. I want to pray that God forgives you – but I can’t help but hope that I get to witness the slap down coming your way.

    Mr. Massa, in the photo above where is your collar?

    Mr. Massa, the fact that you (and others like you) are a head of a Theology department is 75% of the Church’s problem.

    If your readers want to read a real book describing the 60s revolution, they could start with “The Desolate City” by Anne Muggeridge.

    Lord hear our prayer: It is time for you, oh God, to remove these people from your beloved Church. We have suffered long enough.

  • Pat

    You people have completely misread and misinterpreted what Fr. Massa said. Read what he said closely (even if he mispoke about the Pope’s birthplace), and don’t put thoughts and words into his mouth. Nor suggest you know his intentions.

    He is a historian who teaches theological history, specifically that of the Roman Catholic Church, and more particularly, that of the Church since Vatican II.

    He is not denigrating the Mass in ANY form, either pre-Vatican II Tridentine Rite, nor the Vatican II local vernacular rite, nor the modern approved Novus Ordo Missae. If any of you were alive and reading prior to Vatican II, you would know that the Novus Ordo was a very close translation of the Tridentine Mass anyway. It merely put “into English” what we were saying in Latin (and very few understood or participated!) He said that Catholics had a rather mythological view of the Mass as timeless and unchangeable and that what we said and do on Sundays and Holy Days is precisely what Jesus said and did on Holy Thursday. His point is that the sum and substance of what we do is not different from the sum and substance of what occurred at the Last Supper, but that the precise wording may or may not have been exactly as written in the Bible, which is our SOURCE for the Missae. The Holy Bible has been translated and rewritten a million times. Language changes…and what he said is, so does the Church. Slowly….but it changes.

    He also suggested that a return to more reverence in the Mass with “smells and bells” (i.e. incense and sacristy bells at the Consecration, meaning a return to some of the older rites) is not bad either. He made a very poignant remark that you people missed, ‘that something went very wrong with Vatican II, that with the de-emphasis of the clerical world into a modern world and using a vernacular at Mass, we lost vocations and we are not replacing them. There is a major crisis inside the Church. But he isnt making judgments, only discussing historical events and consequences.

    Finally, may I suggest that as beautiful and enriching as the Mass and Eucharist are to practicing Catholics, our roles as Christians in society should be less about arguing the proper form of Mass, and more about how we live our faith in the community. Jesus himself railed against the legalistic Pharisees in Jerusalem/Judea. He was all about how we treat one another and spread the Good News in the community, it seems to me.

    Fr. Massa is a fine Jesuit and a credit to the Society of Jesus, and the faculty that he leads/teaches at BC and Fordham.