Sunday, December 11, 2005

What's The Rush?!

In the two months since my wife and I have decided to leave the Anglican Church for Catholicism, we have been to three different Catholic Churches. In these three churches I have seen the same thing happen. Something that, in my opinion, is cause for great concern. As the mass is nearing completion and the priest says the post-communion blessing, he then says that the mass has ended and to go in peace to love and serve the Lord. The people respond, "Thanks be to God!" And then we sing the closing hymn.

So far I have no problems.

My problem is, that before the hymn is even finished, people are rushing out the door in a hurry to leave church. Sometimes they leave as soon as the hymn starts playing!

Why the rush to get away from worshipping God? Will two minutes more of worshipping the Almighty God who created you really interfere with whatever you have to do on Sunday? Because if it does, then I suggest rethinking your priorities!

As messed up as the Anglican Church has become, at least they stay until the last hymn is completed. They aren't in a hurry to leave church as the Catholics I have seen are.

Are all Catholic Churches like this?

Why doesn't the priest put a stop to it?

Or better yet, why doesn't the priest say that the mass has ended after the hymn, when the mass has actually ended?!


franksta said...


As a former RC, now Anglican, I feel your pain. The most heinous thing is when people get in line (women, sometimes, blatantly with purses in tow) to receive communion, then keep walking out the door!

Technically, hymns (like the recessional) are extra-liturgical. So there isn't a lot of significance to the dismissal being before or after the recessional hymn, though I prefer the Anglican way (after the recessional).


Danny Garland Jr. said...

Thanks for the explanation. I much prefer the Anglican way as well.
My wife was wondering about the women who bring their purses to communion as well. She has resolved to never do that!


Scranton Priest said...

"My wife was wondering about the women who bring their purses to communion as well. She has resolved to never do that!"


One should never create an occasion of sin for another (that is why we should dress modestly). No one knows the weakness of others; she might be sitting in front or next to a recovering thief. Your wife should be prudent and take her bag with her to communion. Remember the virtue of prudence is the king-pin of the natural virtues.

Steve Cavanaugh said...


Yes, in most churches I've been to, the Catholics leave well before the end of the recessional hymn. I (often to my children's consternation) never leave before the hymn is finished (although it is a rare Catholic parish that plays an entire hymn), but more out of consideration for the organist and choir who have put in the work and effort.

In fact, as Frank pointed out, the recessional is extra-liturgical in the Roman Mass. There is no provision for it in the Missal. The Mass is so designed that there should rarely be any hymns; instead the Introit, Offertory and Communion verses with psalm verses should be chanted or sung, along with singing the other parts of the Mass. The only hymn proper to the Mass is the Gloria in excelsis. In the Roman liturgy, hymns are part of the Divine Office.

However, the Roman Gradual and the Simple Gradual have never been translated into English (officially) and so the use of hymns at Mass (which had been a German and Polish custom) has grown to be ubiquitous.

But you can hardly blame people when they take the priest at his word when he calls out "The Mass is ended, go in peace."

Mike L said...


I've been a Catholic all my baby-boomer life. I've found that the only Catholic churches which aren't like that are those which are too small and intimate to cause their members to worry about getting out of the parking lot alive.

That's right, Danny. The most dangerous place in the world after Iraq is the parking lot of a Catholic church after Mass. People have discharged their duty and are desperate to get back to the really important business, like football or brunch. If you don't want to negotiate the resulting chaos, all you have to do is beat everybody else out the door. What else do you expect from a Church that James Joyce called "here comes everybody"?

I admit I've slipped out early myself on more than one occasion—but not for the reason given above. I usually leave early when I can't stand the recessional hymn. I'd love it if they'd use, say, a 1940s-era Anglican hymnal. Great stuff. But many Catholic parishes today use warmed-over pop tunes written in the 1970s and 80s by the likes of Marty Haugen,David Haas, and others. If you become Catholic, you will become all too familiar with such rubbish. It might even tempt you, if nothing else does, to make a mad dash for the parking lot!