Thursday, January 13, 2022

Irish Musings on the Rebirth of the Traditional Mass

Several people have brought this to my attention in the last couple of days, a beautiful reminiscence posted on Reddit about the collapse of religious practice in Ireland, and the writer’s reversion at a very young age through the discovery of the traditional Mass. (The New Pentecost™ has been especially harsh in Ireland; I recently read that in this past year, more bishops were ordained there than priests.) In accordance with the standards of fair use, here are a few excerpts. If the author should chance to read this: I would be very glad to repost your lovely piece in full, with your permission. If you are amenable to this, please contact me at

“I can only describe the Ireland I was born into with the cliché that the past is a different country. As a baby of the nineties, I caught the last breaths of ‘Catholic Ireland’. I remember the dread and spite at being awakened each Sunday for Mass. You had to arrive half an hour before Mass to hope to get a seat and then endure the boredom of ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ and corny jokes from Father Trendy in the pulpit. ...

When I was nine, something strange happened. ... one Sunday I appeared in the kitchen dressed for Mass only to be told to change and go outside and play. I cannot express the joy I had at that moment. It was like a snow day off school and I quickly joined about half my friends whose families had also stopped going to church. I would have sang halleluias to God for getting out of that despised rite if I had believed in him.

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2002, we went to Dublin, as we always did, to do our Christmas Shopping. ... I hated, and continue to hate, shopping with such zealotry that my Mother would allow me to wander the city’s museums and churches unattended knowing me to be wary and sensible, while she got to shopping in nearby shops. Whilst she browsed the stalls, I popped into an old, run-down, church. I always lit a candle on Immaculate Conception for my grandmother since it was her birthday and, as an 11 year old boy, playing with fire was really only acceptable if you were lighting candles for your granny.
I walked in and there I saw my first traditional Mass.
I had no idea what was going on, I had no inkling that it was even a Mass but I was in complete enchantment. Somehow, in the midst of the dust and the damp, and the spattering of grannies with headscarves and lace doilies, and the elderly man who croaked Latin chant alone in the loft above me, I knew God existed and was there in that spotless host that the old priest touched with such awe, such respect and love.”
From a post in December of 2016, an Irish priest of the Institute of Christ the King offering his first Mass at the church of St Kevin in Dublin.

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