Video: 1969 Elvis Presley Singing in a Mass

The video above is the from the 1969 film “Change of Habit” starring Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore who plays a nun. Please take a moment to watch the video before reading what follows below.
This liturgy is what was considered by some as “cool” and “relevant” during the late 1960s. The Mass depicted on screen here is not the 1962 Missal since it depicts lay people “carrying the gifts” to the altar.

Prior to this time, the laity did not enter past the altar rail except for one very important sacrament – matrimony. This marital entry into the inner sanctum symbolized that the couple were like a new Adam and new Eve embarking on a grace-filled union to be fruitful and multiply. Regrettably this symbolism has been lost – probably since 1965.

Ominously, this film foretells the exodus of consecrated women from the religious life in the context of liturgical changes and updates. This video pretty much says it all. I find it interesting how the presumably secular director prophetically captured the problem by showing the vocational angst of Mary Tyler Moore while interchanging scenes from traditional images of Catholicism (saint statue, crucifix, statue of Mary) with the novelties of the era (Elvis, guitars, dancing Gospel choir).

Please see the graph below which depicts the number of nuns in the United States of America from before this era and after:

The look on “Sister” Mary Tyler Moore’s face expresses so much turmoil. The verdict of history regarding the decrease of consecrated women since the 1960s makes the happy-clappy music all the more ironic. 1969 dealt the death blow to women’s vocations in America.

Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Guardian and Protector of Virgins, pray for us.

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HT: Fr Phil Wolfe for bring my attention to the video.

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