Monday, May 09, 2005

Novus Ordo Faux Pas Rosary and Visitation (part 1)

I haven't been to a lot of Catholic funerals in the 15 years since I converted to the Catholic Church. That's due mostly to the fact that everybody else in my family is a Protestant. But this past Friday and Saturday was a whole new Novus Ordo experience for me and one that I shall soon not forget.

Some minor background on this situation might be beneficial, so, to keep it short, my father's twin brother married "B." about 25 years ago. He died in 1999 from a heart attack. About 18 months after his death, "B." married a Catholic man, "J.", who was a contractor by trade, had actually constructed a whole new section of my aunt and uncle's house years ago when they were still married, and about whom my uncle made the remark, "I think that man has his eye on you." It would seem that my uncle was correct, in light of the alacrity with which my aunt took in marrying "J." so soon after my uncle's death.

In any case, cancer claimed J.'s life last week (my aunt is now a three-time widower, by the way). Knowing what I just described in the previous paragraph, you may safely assume that there is a tremendous amount of animosity between my family and my aunt's family. I suppose, technically, she's not really my aunt. But I decided I might offer some sign of peace by going to J.'s visitation and funeral. (My fiancee decided to attend as well).

That's enough digression and let's get to the meat of the matter here.

Friday night, the visitation was at the church (same church B. and J. were married in. ...uhh... no pun intended on the abbreviated names). Same priest, too --- Father "Jim". I have no idea what his last name is. Anyway, this was an odd thing for me. I've never seen a visitation in a Church... plenty at the funeral home... never at a Church. But let's move on. My fiancee and I are traditional Catholics. More specifically, we're SSPX Catholics, but no matter. We walk in, my fiancee dons her mantilla and of course the noisy mass of people crowded about in the nave of the Church was almost deafening. I look up -- sure enough, the tabernacle's candle is burning brightly. We shrug and move to a side pew. Hmmm... no kneelers. (No surprise there). So we kneel on the floor and do some prayers while everyone else continues to enjoy social hour in the nave of St. Patrick's Church in Memphis, TN. I finish reading the De Profundis and sit back. A rosary has been scheduled for 8pm, but since everyone's still visiting and chatting like a bunch of protestants at the Starbuck's stand in a megachurch, nothing gets kicked off until 8:30.

The Rosary Starts:

My fiancee and I are accustomed to praying the Rosary on our knees. While we dislike the notion that this "Catholic" church has no kneelers, we relish in the idea of offering up our discomfort for the souls in purgatory (not to exclude, perhaps, "J.").

Faux Pas #1: "Which mysteries did he say we were gonna do?!???"

Oh, that's right. The GLORIOUS Mysteries, because in the post-conciliar world, when every Catholic who dies bypasses Purgatory and finds himself shooting billiards with Christ in heaven, the Glorious Mysteries are to be said. The Sorrowful Mysteries -- being appropriate for a rosary in this circumstance -- are long gone in the post-conciliar world.

Faux Pas #2: "Hey... something's not right...."

Oh, you heard him right. Well, actually, you did not hear something right. You did not hear the 'Our Father' after the announcement of the First Glorious Mystery.

Faux Pas #3: "Hey... what kind of prayer is this...?"

Ok, while I don't like this version:
"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with YOU. Blessed are YOU among women, and blessed
is the fruit of YOUR womb, Jesus..."
...I was willing to let it slide. Now that you know my displeasure at that 'change', I'll let you imagine my displeasure at the Glory Be:
"Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever, Amen." This is apparently an accepted prayer, and some won't see it as a faux pas, but being the rad trad that I am, it just ain't right.

Faux Pas #4: "Did we skip another prayer....?"

If you're thinking ahead and wondering if I'm referring to the Fatima prayer, then you'd be right. I know it's an "optional" prayer for the rosary, even though it seems that the Blessed Virgin thought it important enough to be added, and what would be more appropriate than the Fatima Prayer for the current situation? Oh, well, I suppose it doesn't matter since, according to the priest, "Father Jim", J. is already in heaven. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Faux Pas #5: "..could this guy possibly screw this up further?"

If you're still thinking ahead to the Hail, Holy Queen, then you'd be right again. Give yourself an indulgence as a reward for just knowing where I was headed.
We start off well enough... "Hail Holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope...".
I would like to tell you the rest of what we said, but unfortunately, the priest deviated so far from the prayer that I simply cannot recreate it in writing.

Faux Pas #6: ".. what in hell are they doing up there?...."

And now, this is the granddaddy of them all. Any member of a civilized society will be able to relate to what I am about to describe. This goes far beyond the boundary of decency and is so gauche that I hesitate to write it. But... what fun would that be for me to omit that which, in some macabre fashion, appears to encapsulate how I, a Traditionalist, feel when plunked into the Novus Ordo world??

Immediately after the rosary, J.'s sons gather around the open part of the casket. The other 20 or so people who stayed for the rosary are now milling about, resuming their obnoxious coffeetalk. Fiancee and I are still sitting in our kneeler-less pew. I can no longer see J. in the casket due to the wall created by his sons and there appears to be some struggling movement going on. "What are they doing?" I ask. "Can't see," replies my fiancee. "Oh, I think they're trying to put a rosary in his hands." No response. Silence. No response. More silence. "Uhh, no. Looks like they're trying to remove his jewelry."

"Do WHAT?!??"

Oh that's quite the case. Nevermind simply telling the funeral director (who was, of course, right there at the church) to get the jewelry before closing the casket for good. Let's allow the tallest son to reach into the closed portion of the casket to physically bring the corpse's hands out and start tugging on the ring. They're tugging, they're pulling. Someone asks if any ladies might have any vaseline. (!!!!!!) And then for a brief moment, one of the sons moves to the side and for an instant, I get a glimpse inside the casket. Actually, what I see is one of the other sons holding up the arm, set, of course, with rigormortis, trying to figure out how to get this ring off the hand-which-is-as-colorless-as-you'd-expect-a-corpse's-hand-to-be.

At that point, we were LONG overdue to make our exit. And so we did. Our complexion slightly greener than when we first entered the church.


At 12:21 PM, Blogger dcs said...

I know it was common to say the Rosary during a visitation but I've never heard it myself, never having been to what one might call a traditional Catholic viewing or wake. I wouldn't know which set of Mysteries is traditional. If the Sorrowful Mysteries are traditional, then the Glorious Mysteries would be inappropriate; but at the same time I don't think the Glorious Mysteries are inappropriate per se. When I pray on the Glorious Mysteries, I usually try to offer the first Mystery for the Holy Souls.

I've heard the Novo Gloria before (on EWTN, of course), but thankfully it hasn't crept up to my diocese yet.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger MKC said...

Guess I forgot to mention what the priest said prior to the start of the rosary:

"We will be saying the Glorious Mysteries this evening. Now that J. has joined Christ in heaven, it seems appropriate that we should glorify J. along with the risen Christ."

At 12:33 PM, Blogger dcs said...


At 12:54 PM, Blogger MKC said...

Yeah. I didn't intend to leave that out. Guess I could go back and edit the post.. but I'm off to lunch instead.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

What is wrong with these people?? Tugging on the ring trying to pull it off his hand?? Dear horrible.


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