Thursday, August 24, 2006

Liturgical Nightmares

I often have the chance to go to various Masses around the diocese. Today I went to Mass at my Alma Mater and must say it was rather disappointing. Strangely, I did not get angry, but I could only feel pity for the priest as he plodded through the Mass doing whatever he just felt was right.

The first sign it was going to be a penitential Mass (for me, not as a Mass) was when Father walked in wearing just his habit and his stole. I don't think his order has the permission to wear the habit in lieu of an alb, but I am not certain. I do know that he should have been wearing a chasuble though. I also thought his tennis shoes really didn't seem appropriate attire for celebrating Mass.

Then there was the "good afternoon" and a small homily (Mass still hasn't "started" yet). I really don't know what he babbled on about, but it was rather annoying. After a few minutes of talking, he finally started the Mass with the Sign of the Cross. Then he started making things up, "The Lord IS with you," followed by people either just saying "and also with you" in knee-jerk reaction or "um ... with you" as people were confused as to what he just said.

In the penitential rite, rather than being called to remember our sins, we were called to be thankful for our "church community" and the Apostle we celebrate today. The only mention of sin was, "Christ, you forgive all sinners, Christ have mercy." Then we had an odd intro to the Gloria.
He did have a new invitation to the usual "Let us pray." I have heard "we are praying in other places," but he went with "We pray." which I found rather odd and awkward (even for just making things up).

Thankfully, the homily wasn't heretical, but I had just heard the Gospel, so I really didn't need a summary of it again.

The liturgy of the Eucharist was a bit more awkward. I am not sure why they no longer use a chalice at this chapel, rather the priest just uses one of the Communion Cups (no chalice veil of course). He then proceeds to pour the water into the wine cruet, then pour the wine into the Communion Cups, then wash his hands, THEN offer the bread and wine AT THE SAME TIME, "Blessed are You, Lord, God of all creation, through your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer ..."
The words of Consecration were thankfully unchanged, although several other parts of the Canon were.

He also ended every prayer with an odd thing about the name and power of Christ, but I can't remember what exactly.

Then, I actually had to stifle a laugh (thankfully I was sitting in the back). At the sign of peace, the priest suddenly looks like he has won a championship, holding his hand up and slowly turning to practically everyone in the room, raising his hands, waving, if you had had a crowd cheering it would have seemed appropriate. But in the context of a Mass it looked absolutely ridiculous, so I had to choke back my laughter and just shake my head.

Anyway, by the end, I found myself replying with vigor and fervor when he said "the Mass has ended, go in peace." THANKS BE TO GOD!

The last time I had to endure a Mass this odd was with some Franciscans in Saint Louis (everything was inclusive language and that was where I heard the "we are praying" line).

I do admit that I am liturgically spoiled, but shouldn't all Catholics be? Canon law says the faithful have a right to the Liturgy done properly.

All I can say is that at least I haven't had to experience this:
The Rocky Horror Creative Liturgy. (it's a farce, but, in all honesty, I know someone, somewhere would look at it and say to themselves, "this is a good idea!").

(This is the first picture that comes up if you do an image search on Google for "clown mass." Thankfully they are not Catholic.)

Let us pray that under Pope Benedict, the "reform of the reform" will come about quickly.


Henry said...

Would this priest not have been instructed to obey the GIRM and Redemptionis Sacramentum?

Roman Sacristan said...

I honestly don't know. The attitude seems to be that they just don't have time for that "legalistic" stuff.

Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

No religious order has permission to use its habit as a liturgical alb.

Every priest must wear an alb, stole and chasuble is he is the presiding celebrant at Mass.

If he is a concelebrant, not the presiding celebrant, then a priest must wear both an alb and a stole. He does not have to wear a chasuble if he is not the presiding celebrant.

Roman Sacristan said...

Well, this priest was going solo, so ...

Ronny said...

True story -- we were receiving proposals in response to a call for papers for an academic conference at my workplace, and one of them was from a Protestant (Episcopalean, I think) minister who wanted to do a presentation on clown liturgy, an area in which he actually claimed particular expertise. His schtick is that he promised to dress in his clown garb and apply the makeup for it at the same time that he would deliver his talk. I still can't decide if I would want to laugh derisively at the guy or scratch out my eyeballs if I saw him performing.

Then again, maybe a game I play sums up the essence of and only proper response to clown liturgists:

You're fighting a scary clown.

This is a scary clown. All clowns are pretty scary, but this one is especially scary.

Roman Sacristan said...

LOL @ Ronny (you never miss an opportunity to reference KoL. :P)

A friend of mine said he saw a church bus that had "Clowns for Christ" on the side (thankfully it was not from a Catholic church).
That seems oxymoronic to me, since we all know that all clowns are evil.
Reminds me of that '80's campaign that didn't fool anyone: "Rock Against Drugs" aka RAD.