Sunday, November 27, 2011

That Latin Mass


This is a picture of me in 1957 in front of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Albuquerque.  It is located at the intersection of Lomas and Morningside in Albuquerque.  At the time it was under construction and really was the nicest church in the city once it was completed.  At that time I was an altar boy.  We had to undergo instruction in rote memorization of the Latin responses to the priest during mass.  Also, a lot of training in the rituals of the Mass.  It was all pretty easy except for the meaningless latin recitations which most of us never really mastered.  Especially on cold winter mornings when we had to get  up at 5:45AM to bicycle over to the church for 6:30 mass.

Pretty soon the mass was changed to english  and it became more understandable even though we didn't pay much attention at that point.  My doubts on religion all started when we were celebrating May Day in our school, known as Heights Catholic School.  The class 'princess' was crowning the Virgin Mary statue when the ribbons and garland ignited into a conflagration after brushing one of the candles.  Some holy water was used to suppress the fire and the ritual proceeded though the crown looked pretty crummy.  I wondered how an all omnipotent god could let that happen.  The rest of my religious up bringing just started peeling off in onion like layers.  In fact the other day a friend and I started reading through an old Baltimore Catechism and were astounded we ever bought any of that stuff.  Go online and read it.  It is pretty funny.

Now I see that the church is retranslating the english verses in the mass to more closely follow the original Latin scripts.  Not so dramatic in the scheme of things the church has done.  Like the changing of the mortal sin of eating meat on Fridays or the admittance that there is no Limbo for little babies who die before being baptized.

Although I am not a believer any longer I will admit that the Catholic education, aside front the god stuff, did good for me in that I try to follow most of the acts of mercy that were enunciated by the church.  I liked Heights Catholic School and St. Pius X High School.  The one thing they did for me was teach me to read and I was a champion speller.  They pretty much failed to instruct me in anything more than simple arithmetic.

However, they inadvertently molded me into a progressive political person.  Now, they may regret that.

1 comment:

Bubba Muntzer said...

You look kind of like DiMaggio. It doesn't look like any low outside curve balls will get by you with that bat, or that stance.

Were you a DiMaggio fan? My stance was modeled after Ernie Banks. A lot alike, he and me. The only difference, he's in the hall of fame, and I drive a truck. That's the only difference.

All cultures seem to have had religion of some kind so it might not go away soon, but like with the Catholic Church, the extent to which it still has relevance seems to be in the extent to which it has reacted to people like you who have left it.

These bishops and even the Vatican will come out with these statements that offend everyone but right wing Protestants, but on the street it's a little different. At least in, for instance, what I've read about churches in inner city Detroit, where they've adapted the service, and the services they provide to what people want in an attempt to keep the doors open.