Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Protecting the Eucharist from Distortion - A Sacred Duty for All

Excerpts in red italic.
My responses in black normal.

Abuses of liturgical prayers:
• Eucharistic prayers are recited by a lay person or a deacon (RS 52).
• Eucharistic prayers are said which are not found in the Roman missal or approved by the Apostolic See (RS 51).
This second one reminds me so much of a couple of priests I've seen make the visiting rounds that have pretty much either paraphrased one of the Eucharistic Prayers already given to us by Holy Mother Church, or simply making one up on the fly.
• The text of the Sacred Liturgy is altered (RS 59).
An unfortunate common practice by a few I've run into.

Abuses by lay people:
• A lay person proclaims the Gospel (RS 63).
• A lay person gives a homily (RS 64).
• For no serious reason, and as a regular practice, the preferred time for a lay person to give instruction or a testimony is within the Mass (RS 74).
Examples would include the couple who is running a mission out in some third world country pulpit-pounding for money, another couple who is chairing the Catholic Charities drive, another guy proclaiming the "good news" of the parish carnival and beer fest, and the largest offender: EULOGIES!!!

Abuses during distribution of Communion:
• Extraordinary ministers of Communion are called upon when a priest is able to distribute Communion (RS 158).
Way too common almost everywhere I go!
• A brief prolongation of Mass is used as a reason to call upon extraordinary ministers of Communion (RS 158).
One of many excuses, I'm sure.
• The Communion plate is omitted (RS 93).
My boss is an exception. He brought the Paten back to the parish, and catechized on it.
• People are denied Communion because they are kneeling (RS 91).
Sounds like Mean Tod Brown and similar ilk have some reading to do.

Miscellaneous abuses:
• The sign of peace is given to people other than those “who are nearest” and in a non-sober fashion (RS 72).
Some of the worst offenders are priests. I've worked with many who go halfway up the nave like a politician.
• Sacred Ministers celebrate Mass without sacred vestments (RS 126).
• Children are given first Communion without first penances (RS 87).
I can recall making my First Communion at one parish in the city. Of course, we made our First Penance the day before. That was in first grade. The parish school closed down after that year. I landed up going to another parish school in the city for second grade. Many were making First Communion in second grade. However, many never even heard of confession until fourth grade (major OUCH!). So, when I got into the confessional, the priest was in a bit of shock because while the vast majority of the class (30 students) waltzed into the confessional saying, Bless me, Father, for I have sinned; this is MY FIRST Confession, I walked in, knelt, and said, Bless me, Father, for I have sinned; it has been TWO WEEKS SINCE MY LAST Confession. Of course, when praying the Hail Mary, it suddenly became The Lord is with YOU, blessed are YOU. Poor Mary!
• The Sunday celebration customarily excludes “true and…sacred music” (RS 57).
And in some parishes, sacred music seems to be forbidden. Sad but true.

The Mass is not the property of any person (RS 18). It belongs to the Church. No one has the right to meddle with it or make it his own property by deviating from what liturgical laws have prescribed. There is room for “creativity” in the Mass. But this is a controlled creativity within the confines of the options outlined by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) and the norms of the Magisterium.
BAM! I've been trying to say that for eons. We're given plenty of options. But for some reason many still think that they have to go beyond those options. They're so mistaken. Even Anglicans and Lutherans have fixed liturgies (with their options in place). But yet a good chunk of Catholics still prefer a completely made-up "service" like (for example) the Baptists and the UCC. Now, this isn't to knock the Baptists and the UCC. I know many. They're good people. The made-up service is how it's done in that denomination, which I respect in their denomination. What goes up my behind is when Catholics try to bring that style of worship to a Church that has had two thousand years of fixed liturgies. Sure they've evolved over the years, but still fixed.

Hat tip to Sandy at Cantare Amantis Est (and welcome to the Christus Vincit Definitive Blogroll).



Argent said...

Hey, Brian. Have you seen this yet: What the Bishops said? Found in July/August Adoremus.

Brian Michael Page said...

Just gave it a looksee now. I'll be gathering some thoughts on it between tonight and tomorrow (most likely after I watch Big Brother tonight), before giving my blog take on it. Thanks much for the link.

Dad29 said...

re: "..the Mass is not the property of any one person..."

One apropos quote, seemingly unrelated, is that of Augustine on peace: "...is the tranquility of order."

And come to think of it, an ordered Mass DOES bring peace, at least to me...