Monday, April 02, 2007

A plea to all priests during Holy Week

The Warning Sign pretty much says it all. But I have to reiterate it due to personal experience.

Due to my job situation, I end up seeing Masses in several different places in the area. It is amazing how many priests and liturgists just make things up when it comes to liturgies which are more involved, like Holy Week, for example.

Part of this is just the pervading mentality that after Vatican II, the priest can do whatever he wants for "pastoral reasons." Although I know why there are rubrics and directives, I really have gotten to see WHY there are rubics and directives. This is so that we are actually united as a Church in our worship of God. Personal prayer and devotions have their place, but when it comes to the Mass, the Church does set out the ritual that we follow, because this is the liturgy of the Church, the One Sacrifice of Christ. Thus, because we are Catholic, i.e. universal, one should be able to go to any Mass of his Rite and things should be done in a pretty similar fashion.

Several people should be able to read the Roman Missal (Sacramentary) and then a common understanding of what is to be done.

I have had to study the liturgy in planning Holy Week for our own parish, and going to another Palm Sunday Mass elsewhere, I was just completely baffled at what was going on. Yes, I know there are three options on how to do the initial part of the Mass on Palm Sunday, but whatever they did, it was not from any of those options. Nobody really knew what was next. It was just completely distracting. Which is one of the reasons why we have rubrics. Rather than being able to focus on the significance of the liturgy, one was distracted by the chaos.

So, for any priests who read this or for anyone who knows priests, please take the time to study the rite and follow the directives of the Church. It is not how I want to do it or how you want to do it, but how the Church wants it done. It is a priests duty to know how to properly celebrate the Sacraments, Mass included.

And if I may quote Canon Law:
Can. 214 The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church ...

This has been a public service announcement from your Roman Sacristan.

EDIT - Diogenes shows some proof of the slippery slope of liturgical whimsy.

Pictures from the rest of the "liturgy" can be found here (scroll to the bottom of the page). Notice how it draws such a crowd.



Ronny said...

I think it was St. John Neumann who, upon asking another priest what to preach for his first sermon, was advised "say nothing original." The corrollary for the liturgy is clearly "do nothing original."

Fr Ray Blake said...

There is a very worthwhile piece on Pertinacious Papist by Nicholas Postgate that is not unrelated to this piece.

Roman Sacristan said...

It looks interesting, but I'll have to wait until after Easter.
Thanks, though, for pointing out that article, Father.