Saturday, September 8, 2007

Vatican II

When I was a kid growing up, the mass was said in Latin, the priest faced away from the public, and kids were afraid of the nuns, who were allowed to use corporeal punishment. Not going to a Catholic school, I only got a small dosage of Catholic learning in Cathechism on Sunday mornings. There we learned that Hell was a place where devils put hot spears in the sinners' livers and spleens.

Missing Church on Sunday was enough to plunge one into the depths of Hell. There was also a middle place, called Purgatory, where people with venial sins sat around and waited (sometimes for centuries) for entrance into Heaven. Life had its rules and all Catholics were happy and content with their faiths.

Then came Vatican II. Now the mass was said in English. They introduced that business where people shook hands during service. The missiles were thrown out with their translations. We were told that from now on, the Church was about love, " I mean Luv l-u-v"
At grade seven, Sunday school ended and was replaced with the Confraternity of Christian doctrine. This took place on Monday nights and accounts for the fact that I never watched the Monkees as a kid. Post confirmation, most young families felt that no more Catholic education was required, so the classes were always small. The students all smoked before class.

Being taught by laymen (or laywomen) the topic of these classes was often muddled. My favorite one occurred when a young lady brought in her record player and we played and analysed Simon and Garfunkel records. I wonder if she knew if they were Jewish.

Today a revolutionary idea has been brought to the Catholic church. Latin masses have been reintroduced with the priests facing the front of the church. What goes around comes around.

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