Friday, December 22, 2006

Basil Seal's Guide for heretics planning to attend Midnight Mass

As some of you know, it is somewhat the fashion for the Prods (read heretics) to crash our party, as it were, and attend the Midnight Mass. Usually at the largest and most ornate cathedral available in the area. This is, of course, a true case of "church envy" which the Prods (read heretics) only openly admit to at Christmas. Well, if you must, and one must welcome all kinds into the house of God, one supposes, I have set forth some rules for you to follow. This will help to alleviate our pain as you drink the Holy Water or something:

Note: I personally will be at the Tridentine, or Latin Mass, but don't think for one minute that I won't be watching...

The Midnight Mass, held at the stroke of midnight as Christmas Eve ticks into Christmas Day, has its origins in the belief that Christ was born at exactly that hour.

Note: A Roman Catholic priest is addressed as 'Father X' and you will address a bishop as 'My Lord Bishop X' or 'My Lord'.

Rule 1: Arrive early and take a seat in the very back...Please leave the good seats available for the true Christians.

Rule 2: Dress appropriately, although I have personally driven shorts and t-shirt wearing supposed Catholics from the Temple myself, I would ask that you leave your Wal-Mart clothing at home and dress like Baptists. At least put on some damn socks, you piskie rabble...

Rule 3: Open your heart to the spirit and symbolism of Christmas portrayed in the Mass. There will usually be lots of sacred music, Christmas decorations, candles, scripture readings and perhaps a crèche. Unlike a mainline Prod service, the Mass is actually a worship service in which God is present.

Rule 4: This is important, so listen carefully...If you are not a Roman Catholic, do not, I repeat, do not take communion in a Roman Catholic Church. Sit quietly, pretending to pray, while the true Christians receive communion. It is considered very rude to leave during this part of the Mass, so sit tight, it will not kill you to miss part of American Idol on this occasion.

Rule 5: When everyone kneels, you kneel. When everyone stands, you stand. When everyone sits down, you sit down. There is a Missal in the rack before you, inside you will find the service, so you can follow along. Sorry, no video is available, you will actually have to read it...Oh, and if you are doing this right, it will be in Latin. If you need help, ask a Catholic. Before entering a pew, Catholics genuflect toward the alter, so do not knock some poor old blue hair down in your rush to take her seat. And while you are there, it would probably be good to genuflect and then prostate yourself before the altar and beg forgiveness.

Rule 6: If you are given a candle, hold onto it...There will be a time during the service where you will have to pull it from your nose and light it.

Rule 7: If you are at a non-Latin Mass, you will need to have washed your filthy hands...You will be asked to make the sign of peace, or some such nonsense, which means shake hands all around. I personally never do this as a protest of Vatican II, so you can stand still and glare at those around you if you like. Do not use this as an excuse to grope the women, (or men if you're a piskie). Don't give anyone germs, or worse...

There you have it...If you must go, follow these simple rules, but it would be best if you just stayed home and watched the telly like you always do. Merry Christmas.