Another media outlet flunks a religious-literacy test

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 19, 2018

On an otherwise serious day, let’s have a little fun, at the expense of Maine Public Radio, at whose web site you will find this headline:

Diocese Changes Traditional Mass To Avoid Spreading Flu

The story explains that, in order avoid spreading disease:

The diocese announced Thursday that it’s suspending the sharing of consecrated wine during communion and holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer. The diocese is also discouraging parishioners from shaking hands while greeting each other during the passing of the peace.

People familiar with Catholicism (unlike the headline writer here) know that “Traditional Mass” means something specific: the Extraordinary Form, in which there is no sharing of the Precious Blood and no holding or shaking of hands. But take an extra moment and ask yourself: where are those practices mandated in the Ordinary Form? And if they are not mandated, how is the Mass—T/traditional or otherwise—being changed?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: miked.doc6394 - Jan. 25, 2018 11:37 AM ET USA

    Passing of the peace?

  • Posted by: MWCooney - Jan. 19, 2018 1:20 PM ET USA

    I agree that this article describes the ignorance of the media with regard to anything Catholic, but I believe that one thing you said, "But take an extra moment and ask yourself: where are those practices mandated in the Ordinary Form?" is a bit unfair, since most practicing Catholics who attend the "Ordinary" form of the Mass believe that these practices are, indeed, mandatory. And you can't blame them, since those instituting them do whatever they can to suggest and confirm this mistake.