Catholic Mass: The World’s Biggest Literature Seminar

Calling all literature students — I’ve found your new fave place.

Catholic Mass: The World’s Biggest Literature Seminar

The King James Bible is the most bought (and in all probability most read) book in the world. And to to make a slightly pathetic joke, they don’t call it The Good Book for no reason. Well written or not, believed or not, its status as the most ubiquitous tome of all time makes it important.  Especially important for literature students, given its far-reaching impact on other works of all descriptions.

Every storyline, and every emotion can be found within this book. Here is somewhere you should feel at home. After all, even if you are not a believer, Mass is merely a collection of narratives and songs; repeated and repeated and repeated. Trying, with hopeful expectation, to glean a little more out of them each time. Truly, you can draw anything out of any line of literature, and a good sermon will not only prove it but also reveal the garden path leading you there.

Written by roughly 40 people, from kings to paupers, in times of prosperity or poverty, freedom or war, and ranging over 1500 years, your opportunities for contextual exploration are boundless. As a literature student, this in itself should be enough to have you drooling at the mouth. Alongside the random occurrences of great names like Mahershalalhashbaz (when the priest will inevitably inform the congregation that the difficulty in pronunciation is necessarily akin to the struggles of Jesus Our Saviour carrying the weight of our sins). I can confidently predict that you’ll soon be lying prostrate on the floor, weeping with the realisation of the greatness of God almighty.  Of course as good Catholics we will all hasten to scorn such an outburst of emotion in the House of God. Such specific joy is to be found in such creative madness.

Therefore, I, Evangelina de Rosa, challenge all literature students to attend Mass, and see for yourselves the celebration of literature and its analysis brought to repetitive life. Collected works of prose, verse and the oral tradition and presented in one hour a week.

Naturally, I hope that in coming to Mass, you discover the truth of God’s words as interpreted for us by the Holy See. Nevertheless, until then, a good literature student will be able to wonder as the Nicene Creed is spoken if Jesus really did come down from heaven only for “men”, and if this is an anti-feminist attack from the upper echelons of the Roman Catholic Church.