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Suggestion Box

posted by awelborn

Former Anglican, new Roman Catholic Al Kimel has some liturgical suggestions…

A word to celebrants: Stick to the script! I doubt that you have the authority to ad lib at the liturgy anyway, but few priests have the gift to do it well anyway. Say the words that are given to you, exactly as they are given to you. Don’t add, don’t subtract. Please don’t start the liturgy by saying “Good morning.” Please don’t tell us in your own words why we have gathered together for Mass. Just start the Mass and get on with it. The liturgy has its own logic, its own rhythm and cadence. It is one musical composition in the Spirit. Every time you depart from the rite, you disrupt the flow of the liturgy and simply draw attention to yourself and away from the Lord. Preach away at the sermon, with as much enthusiasm and energy you can muster. That is your time. But for the rest of the liturgy, slip back into the role and hide behind your chasuble. The liturgy will carry itself, especially if it is conducted reverently, graciously, prayerfully, beautifully.

The constant, fervent plea of Open Book. The problem that makes us sympathetic to a liturgy that’s heavily Latin – if it’s in Latin, they can’t get extemporaneous. The primary symptom of the fundamental problem with liturgy: ego. Everyone’s ego. The presider’s ego, the musician’s ego, the congregation’s ego, the blog commenter’s ego. Agendas and ego: the death of the liturgy.

The end result of forty years of liturgical reform in this country, at least, is a Church with absolutely no idea of what they’re supposed be doing when they attend Mass, with most thinking it has something, vaguely, to do with building community and maybe doing something that gives a nice kick-start to the week. I’m not looking for extremely precise rubrics or ecstatic, glorious music when I go to Mass. I simply want to immerse myself in the prayer of the Church, with the Church, present and past and future. Get the operative word: prayer.

The Open Book liturgical motto: Pray, sing and then get out of the way.

An excellent book on that very topic from someone I know. Read the reader reviews to get a sense of it.



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cs

posted September 30, 2005 at 9:47 am


Thank you, Amy; well said.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:03 am


“The constant, fervent plea of Open Book. The problem that makes us sympathetic to a liturgy that’s heavily Latin – if it’s in Latin, they can’t get extemporaneous.”
Usually that’s true. But, there was once an associate pastor at St. Matthew’s Cathedral – a member of “Priests for Equality” who substituted the word “amici” for “fratres” in the Latin mass to make it more “inclusive.”



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Craig Martin

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:13 am


Well said–there are far to many priests, EMHC, lectors, etc., who still don’t get that it’s not about them–it’s about HIM (along with the universality of the Church).



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Lynn

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:13 am


Thanks, Amy; my sentiments exactly.
I strongly recommend that book!



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Paul Pfaffenberger

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:18 am


Nicely said.
My current pet peeve – our associate, after the Agnus/Lamb of God, elevates the host and says …
“This is God’s holy food for God’s holy people. This is Jesus, the Lamb …” (back to script)
… and I’m distracted. Not really, its not. This is so much more than God’s “holy food” and we are so much less than His holy people.
Stick to the script. Gotta love it.



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Pat Gonzalez

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:24 am


Amen, Amy! This is one of my pet liturgical peeves — people who won’t shut up! Our PP pretty well sticks to the script, but our “greeter” (you know, the one who says “Good morning, and welcome to St. Blog’s Parish on this [whatever]“, always has to throw in his .02 worth (CDN) in what amounts to a mini-sermon. This pompous jackass is supposed to be a liturgical “expert”, but doesn’t seem to realize that preaching belongs exclusively to the priest! Sigh … I just keep my own mouth shut, play, and offer it up. Pretty sad — but I suppose opportunity for spiritual growth. I always think of the Little Flower who sat in front of an elderly nun whose bead-rattling drove Therese batty. She was tempted to turn around and glare at the old dear, but instead offered it up to the Lord. So when this blowhard starts in, I just focus on the music I have to play and really try to keep my mind on Jesus. As Craig Martin put it so well: “It’s all about HIM!” Couldn’t agree more.



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TNP

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:24 am


Thank you, thank you, thank you.



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Roberto

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:38 am


It is interesting that a new member, who comes from a denomination that has become infamous for its use of “variations” is reminding us of this. Good for Al!
A suggestion: why not educate both priests and laity about the importance of sticking to the rubrics? (Duh!) For instance, the “good morning” that is used in so many places as a gesture of courtesy is actually redundant, since right after the sign of the Cross, we do exchange greetings: “The Lord be with you”, “And also with you” is a much reacher mutual wish than a simple “good morning”.



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Richard

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:58 am


“Please don’t start the liturgy by saying “Good morning.””
YES! YES! YES!



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Art

posted September 30, 2005 at 11:02 am


In the year 422 A.D. Pope St. Celestine enunciated an axiom in sacred theology. “Legem credendi statuit lex orandi.” From the Latin, translated literally it means “the rule of prayer determines the rule of faith.” In other words, “the way we pray, shows what we believe.”
So, let the Mass be the Mass. No wonder so many have lost their belief in the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and the real presence of Jesus. The emphasis has been on Father so and so’s innovative and creative “worship space” appointed with no end of aesthetically appealing sights and sounds, warm and fuzzy/huggy feelings, and above all the rule: do not offend.



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CMick

posted September 30, 2005 at 11:06 am


I once saw priest elevate the host and say
“Behold the lamb of God. See what you are and be what you see.”
Talk about distracting. I spent the rest of the Mass thinking “What the hell did that mean?”



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Noah Nehm

posted September 30, 2005 at 11:07 am


The primary symptom of the fundamental problem with liturgy: ego. Everyone’s ego. The presider’s ego, the musician’s ego, the congregation’s ego, the blog commenter’s ego. Agendas and ego: the death of the liturgy.
Don’t forget: the Liturgist’s ego. A Benedicting monk once commented to me, “What’s the difference between a terrorist and a liturgist? Answer: you can negotiate with a terrorist.”



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Dan Crawford

posted September 30, 2005 at 11:16 am


Al’s already disgruntled as a Roman Catholic – where will he head to next?



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David Athey

posted September 30, 2005 at 11:17 am


In our diocese, priests will sometimes elevate the host and say, as if auditioning for a TV law show: “I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is…”
Anyone else seen this?



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Roberto

posted September 30, 2005 at 11:49 am


Dan, are you sure he is disgruntled, as opposed to trying to make a positive contribution to his new family? Most catholics are unhappy about something in the Church, but they don’t all go church shopping.



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Redactrice

posted September 30, 2005 at 11:57 am


What’s the problem with “good morning”? I’m not trying to be difficult, but how can three syllables ruin a Mass experience (or a mass experience)? It’s entirely possible before the rubrics were set, the celebrant said “good morning” to people as they began the celebration. The Mass isn’t “magic.” It’s not an incantation that must be said word for word without deviation for “magic” to happen. We don’t want people creating their own liturgies, but two words of greeting? Offer it up if it is that distracting to you.
As for the words “holy food for holy people” I believe those come from the liturgical rite of the Episcopal Church. It’s been awhile since I attended a high Episcopal service, but I recall something like that–or very close–said at the “consecration.”



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Tom Kelty

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:10 pm


Hey Greg, I saw your note above about your excommunication from Mark Shea’s blog. I felt his lash way back in the time of the Schiavo furor. I had questioned his reasoning. Let’s start a blog for those rejected by Mark Shea. I will bet there are more than two of us. Mark is an adult convert and he may not realize that he has adopted the Inquisitorial Style.



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Chris Jones

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:23 pm


Redactrice,
The phrase in the (execrable) 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer is The Gifts of God for the People of God. This is a more or less conscious echo of the priest’s proclamation at the corresponding point in the liturgy of St John Chrysostom: ?? ???? ???? ??????. – Holy things for the holy ones. (to which the faithful respond: One is Holy; One is Lord: Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father).
Note how the original (particularly with the people’s response) highlights the awesome sanctity of the Mass, while the derivative Episcopal version of it “democratizes” the moment and empties it of numinosity.



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WRY

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:27 pm


The problem with “good morning” is that it is not sacral.
We are in the presence of God, and soon to be in the literal presence of God on the altar. So the proper way to begin this awesome experience is “In the name of the Father ….”
To say “good morning” reduces the experience to an equivalent of the monthly Kiwanis Club meeting (and I suspect even the Kiwanians have something more elaborate, but dunno).
That said, I don’t let it spoil my Mass. In fact, almost nothing can! Although once in the Diocese of Richmond …. let’s not go there!



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Dan Gallaugher

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:27 pm


Unfortunately, I know of at least one middle-aged monsignor who will extemporize the Latin! He is one who would rather not be celebrating in Latin anyway… but when he has to, he will false-inclusive by changing “fratres” to “fratres et sorores.” Ugh.



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Lynn

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:28 pm


Thre’s a priest in this diocese who says, (before, “This is the Lamb of God…”) “We believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is…” I try to avoid Mass at that parish. It always startles me, and I find myself wondering WHY he feels the need to put his personal stamp on this most sacred part of the Mass. Another priest says that there is nothing wrong with a celebrant editorializing a bit like this, but I wish he would stick to the script.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:29 pm


‘if it’s in Latin, they can’t get extemporaneous’
An extension of this rule: you’re only allowed to perform ‘On Eagles’ Wings’ if you can translate it into Latin.



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Lynn

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:31 pm


One parish had a priest who started Mass with a remark about the football game of the previous day. AARG!



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Roberto

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:38 pm


Redactrix and Lynn:
It is entirely appropriate for the priest to say good morning and comment about football (one of our priests does the same) PROVIDED it is not done during Mass! If they want to do that, they can do it before Mass or after, provided the congregation welcomes such chat. But let us keep the Mass for God.
As I said earlier, there is a greeting at the beginning of the Mass, let us stick to it! Just because it is not written in contemporary style and it is not limited to wishing us a good morning, but the much better hope that the Lord be with us, it is no reason to ignore it.



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Kale

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:43 pm


Amy, at your suggestion, I bought the book. I have been struggling with this for several years now. I am on the liturgy committee and trying to make a difference, but usually, it just serves to iritate me. Lately I have been trying to adopt the approach of the book (read the exerpt on Amazon) and it helps. I also find confession helps alot too.
But we also need to speak up about the issues that can be remedied, like our choir leader opening with the weather or repeating, “Good Morning” if we don’t respond heartily enough.



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Tennessee Tuxedo

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:49 pm


A few prefatory remarks to tell us that the Mass is being celebrated for a particular person or purpose is not the problem. The problem is the cantor or other person giving stage directions or explanatory color commentary during Mass.



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Chris-2-4

posted September 30, 2005 at 12:57 pm


You know what’s almost as annoying as priests and liturgists ad libbing during Mass?
Noting for some odd reason in this thread that you’ve been banned by Mark Shea.
Just say, “Good Morning” and complain about Mark somewhere else thank you.
(Amy, sorry if this is out of line…)



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Jeff

posted September 30, 2005 at 1:02 pm


We had a priest in Chapel Hill years ago who decided that the Feast of the Assumption should be recreated as the “Feast of High Summer.” He composed his own Preface with lovely descriptions of the pumpkins and the apples and the leaves coloring and falling. A fellow parishioner remarked: “He’s not a Catholic; he’s a Druid.”



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Mary Jane

posted September 30, 2005 at 1:03 pm


From the time I’ve spent working around churches, I realize that most “church professionals” – priests, choir directors, etc. – firmly believe that their little additions are going to add “life and spontaneity to the celebration.” Their posture is almost one of apologizing for the Mass being dull. They’ll pep it up with a cheery “Good morning and welcome to _____” – that’s in case you don’t know where you are. Then the celebrant often wishes you a good morning. Little explanations and sentences are tucked around the various sections of the liturgy. Specific music is chosen for its heartwarming qualities and we all want to go out to an upbeat tune that will lift out spirits. None of this is done (I think) with ill-will. At the same time, it drives lots of folks nuts – and as an on-and-off-again church musician (more “on” than “off”) I hear about it from friends and family all the time. “Couldn’t you just tell Father …? Couldn’t you just tell Louise the pianist…?” To which I always say “Tell him/her/them yourself – nicely, but tell them.” “Oh no, I couldn’t do that. It would hurt someone’s feelings.” Sigh.



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john c

posted September 30, 2005 at 1:07 pm


I, for one, am sick of people coming on Amy’s blog to complain about guys who gripe at being kicked off Mark’s Blog!! I know I’m not alone here.



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scotch meg

posted September 30, 2005 at 1:43 pm


A now-deceased friend once told me that she got more out of Mass on weekdays than on Sundays. At the time, I thought she was nuts. Now I understand — at weekday Mass, there’s less monkeying around because there’s no time for the silly stuff. Everyone is there on business — the business of worship. Even with a little kid, the kid behaves better because the adults behave better.
But at least at my parish there are still too many EMHC (did I get the acronym right?), even at the 6:50 AM Mass…



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Mike Walsh, MM

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:06 pm


On the few opportunities I have had to train seminarians, I have tried to inculcate two basic insights:
1 The liturgy is not about you. Vanity has no place here.
2 Adding words does not add meaning. If there is not enough meaning for you there, the problem is yours.
Regards



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meteorologist

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:21 pm


Meg,
Who can do silly stuff at 6:50 AM?



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Fr. Brian Stanley

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:24 pm


If the comments [football and otherwise] are before the processional hymn, then it is not during Mass. This is preferable to comments made during the liturgy, where they have no real place. I suppose a football reference is tolerated during the homily, if only as a metaphor.
There are only four places that I know of during the Mass where the priest may [note: may] “use these or similar words”:
+ introducing the penitential rite
+ introducing “Pray, brethren”
+ introducing the Lord’s Prayer
+ inviting the people to share a sign of peace
In none of these instances is it envisioned in the general instruction that some additional homiletic material is to be used; it says “in these or similar words.” It does not invite the celebrant to wax nostalgic, poetic, etc.
After the post-communion prayer, some announcements may be given. I think it is the intention to have these as brief as possible, as in that particular spot in the liturgy, the congregation remains standing from the post-communion prayer.
If announcements are long, it is best to give them before Mass, before the processional hymn.
The only “ad libs” I give are at weddings and funerals, when there are a lot of non-Catholics [or lapsed Catholics, who have forgotten what to do], and I will add, “Please stand,” “Please kneel,” “Please be seated.” Otherwise, I stick religiously to the text of the liturgy.
I welcome the prospect of celebrating Mass ad orientem. The Holy Father has written about this, and he has stated it as his preference, but I do not think that there will be any time soon an amendment of the rite which would allow ad orientem.



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Chris-2-4

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:24 pm


I, for one, am sick of people coming on Amy’s blog to complain about guys who gripe at being kicked off Mark’s Blog!! I know I’m not alone here.
Okay, we could go round and round with that. I’ll just say, “touche” and leave it at that…



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Rich Leonardi

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:24 pm


Mark is an adult convert and he may not realize that he has adopted the Inquisitorial Style.
Perhaps what he doesn’t like is a cranky dissident Catholic polluting his ‘blog with pro-euthanasia propaganda. It’s possible.
Well said, Amy and Fr. Kimel.
In Evelyn Waugh’s exchanges with Cardinal Heenan, he foresaw early on what would happen once those energized by a new, excessively horizontal spirit took hold of liturgical reforms:
‘The Mass is no longer the Holy Sacrifice but the Meal at which the priest is the waiter. The bishop, I suppose, is the head waiter.’



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Charles

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:32 pm


Good morning!
I’ve never been kicked off Mark Shea’s blog, but Amy did discipline me recently. (She was right; I was wrong.)
Offering Mass ad orientem is a good way to remind everybody, including the priest (who’s in the position to do the most damage), just Who the focus should be on at Mass. (Hint: it ain’t us.)



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Patrick Rothwell

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:37 pm


“but when he has to, he will false-inclusive by changing “fratres” to “fratres et sorores.” Ugh.”
That is annoying, but there is some historical justification for this. The Sarum liturgy used “fratres et sorores” and I think the Domincian Rite did also.



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brendon

posted September 30, 2005 at 2:52 pm


The Holy Father has written about this, and he has stated it as his preference, but I do not think that there will be any time soon an amendment of the rite which would allow ad orientem.
Would any amendment be needed? I thought that the CDW&DS has already answered that celebrating the Mass ad orientem (versus absidem) is allowed? See this.



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Charles

posted September 30, 2005 at 3:07 pm


Brendon,
I don’t think any amendment would be needed, although I vaguely remember that the language of post-Vatican II GIRMs, ie Novus Ordo or Pauline GIRMs, assumed that Mass was being offered ad orientem, but then that changed and I think now versus populorum is encouraged in the GIRM. But I think Rome has said it is okay and priests don’t need their bishops’ permission. But bishops can say no in certain cases. Eg- EWTN’s bishop said no to ad orientem for EWTN’s televised Mass, which is why the one on TV is at their old place. I hear they offer Mass ad orientem in the new digs.
The problem is not just allowing it. There is plenty that is technically allowed but that would get a priest punished and harrassed by the bishop and/or his minions, eg-saying the Novus Ordo in Latin, refusing to use women or girls as EMEs or altar servers, &c. The problem, in other words, is the bishops.



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John Lilburne

posted September 30, 2005 at 3:33 pm


I disagree with Al Kimel: “Please don’t tell us in your own words why we have gathered together for Mass.”
The script is the Roman Missal. Its General Instruction permits an introduction in n. 31:
“In addition, he may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Act of Penitence)….”.
These are precise rubrics. Lots of the comments above highlight the need for them to be precise. It makes clear what is right and wrong, reducing the chances of false condemnations.
Here is the whole paragraph from 2002 GIRM n. 31:
“31. It is also up to the priest, in the exercise of his office of presiding over the gathered assembly, to offer certain explanations that are foreseen in the rite itself. Where it is indicated in the rubrics, the celebrant is permitted to adapt them somewhat in order that they respond to the understanding of those participating. However, he should always take care to keep to the sense of the text given in the Missal and to express them succinctly. The presiding priest is also to direct the word of God and to impart the final blessing. In addition, he may give the faithful a very brief introduction to the Mass of the day (after the initial Greeting and before the Act of Penitence), to the Liturgy of the Word (before the readings), and to the Eucharistic Prayer (before the Preface), though never during the Eucharistic Prayer itself; he may also make concluding comments to the entire sacred action before the dismissal.”



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Patrick Rothwell

posted September 30, 2005 at 3:36 pm


“I disagree with Al Kimel: “Please don’t tell us in your own words why we have gathered together for Mass.”
The script is the Roman Missal. Its General Instruction permits an introduction in n. 31:”
“May” does not equal “should.” Nine times out of ten, those introductions are lame and detract from the liturgy itself. In practice, it ought to be avoided.



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NAB

posted September 30, 2005 at 3:56 pm


Amy,
Michael’s book is a MUST read for people frustrated with their local liturgy. It changed my attitude toward the offenses (and the offenders) and helped me refocus my energy during the Mass. I’ve made a few personal changes during the Mass (for example, I simply don’t watch others receive for fear of seeing irreverence toward the Eucharist). The acronym of SACRIFICE is easy to remember, and reminds me of what my personal approach should be during Mass. I’ve even introduced this acronym to our priest during our discussions on Stewardship. When people ask for a good book about the Mass and “getting more out of it,” I recommend Michael’s book with joy.



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 30, 2005 at 4:06 pm


I decided that the very best way to get the most out of Mass is very simple:
I close my eyes.



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Yootikus

posted September 30, 2005 at 4:15 pm


Zhou,
I think i’ve seen you at Mass! Do you sit between one guy covering his ears and another covering his mouth?
:-))



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Ken

posted September 30, 2005 at 4:25 pm


Because of the large Mexican and Vietnamese ethnic communities in my town (Anaheim, California), my parish holds Mass in three languages — English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. So far, no problem; on Sundays they hold English Masses, Spanish Masses, and a Viet Mass, alternating between the various Masses for the day.
But on major holy days like Easter Vigil, they have one Mass in all three languages at once, rotating the language for each part — Gloria in English, Collect in Spanish, First Reading in Viet, Psalm in English, Second Reading in Spanish, Gospel Reading in Viet, Homily in English, etc. Very confusing.
I’ve always figured if they did it all in Latin, it’d at least sound consistent. And then we’d all be even, because none of us speak Latin and a lot of the tri-lingual Mass is incomprehensible anyway.



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MercyMe

posted September 30, 2005 at 4:27 pm


May I say how petty and griping a lot of this sounds? Worse yet that the pettiness and griping is justified by a “love” of Jesus and the Eucharist?
I read posts like these and wonder which parishes you’re going to where such pagan practices are going on. I’ve been to a few clunker Masses in my time, but on the most part, I’ve been part of celebrations of the Eucharist all over the US and abroad that have been reverent, well done, participatory and prayerful. I have never doubted that Christ is the heart and center and focus of these celebrations.
Reading more closely, I then realize that what is termed beyond the pale are petty critiques–the priest saying “Good morning,” female altar servers, using the language of the people to say Mass? My, Jesus would just be aghast!
How about working to make the parishes you are in better? Is it malice or a vast conspiracy behind mediocre worship, or a lack of people willing to make it better? How about using the energy spent on griping about the placement of the thurifer on something more close to the heart of Christ’s mission?



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Richard

posted September 30, 2005 at 5:15 pm


Hello Fr. Brian,
The Holy Father has written about this, and he has stated it as his preference, but I do not think that there will be any time soon an amendment of the rite which would allow ad orientem. ,/i>
Actually, the Congregation for Divine Worship under Cardinal Medina issued at least two letters reaffirming that ad orientem is permissible. Cardinal Medina Estévez, in a letter dated February 7 2000, responded to an inquiry from Bishop David Foley of Birmingham concerning the matter. In that letter (Prot. No. 2321/99/I), the Cardinal stated:
“As regards the position of the celebrating priest at the altar during Holy Mass, it is true as Your Excellency indicates that the rubrics of the Roman Missal, and in particular the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, foresee that the priest will face the body of people in the nave while leaving open the possibility of his celebrating towards the apse. These two options carry with them no theological or disciplinary stigma of any kind”.
Of course, as you know, certain bishops dislike this orientation intensely, and make life uncomfortable for priests resorting to it.
What is needed is at least a strong directive from the CDW that such harrassment will not be tolerated. Better yet would be an apostolic letter on the liturgy (and a revised GIRM) actually mandating ad orientem as preferred. Of course, a few of the bishops’ conferences would howl.



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Richard

posted September 30, 2005 at 5:20 pm


italics off.



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Richard

posted September 30, 2005 at 5:20 pm


italics off



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Patrick O'Hannigan

posted September 30, 2005 at 5:36 pm


I linked to this and took it in a theological direction. Thanks for the inspiration, Amy.



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Anne-Marie

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:09 pm


“The problem that makes us sympathetic to a liturgy that’s heavily Latin – if it’s in Latin, they can’t get extemporaneous. ”
Also, because Latin feels (well, is) foreign to most people, the general attitude is more attentive. This applies to the congregation as well as to the priest. You have to read, and keep track of where you are, so you’re less likely to float off into la-la land.
A visiting priest at our parish a few weeks ago expressed amazement at and a degree of scorn for “those young people who want the Mass to be in Latin.” I’m almost forty, but that’s a generation younger than he, so after Mass I made the above point to him. He looked at me and said, “Oh. I never thought of that.”



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Venerable Aussie

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:10 pm


I would NEVER EVER do this (or EVER recommend it) but…
… if you could just imagine a scene where an habitual ad-libbing priest copped a dose of his own medicine. All it would take would be a whole bunch of people at different parts of the Church ad-libbing their responses. All using slightly different words, some adding, some subtracting, others slipping in a little mini-anecdote…
I said this to an ad-libbing priest after Mass a few weeks ago (everytime the word “sacrifice” appeared he changed it to “sacrament”), and suggested that he would be FURIOUS if parishioners just ad-libbed their responses, or, wanting to inject some informality and creativity into the liturgy, stood up and commented on what they’d just heard in the sermon.
Now there’s a Monty Python sketch someone.
BTW, one of the other problems with the “Good Morning” bit is that it ends up as a grade school “Good Morning Mrs Crabapple” type sing-song. So forced, so unnecessary.



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Anne-Marie

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:11 pm


In the linked article, Al also said, “Amplification is the death of good liturgy.”
to which I can only say,
Hear, hear!



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Todd

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:17 pm


Good to see conservative St Blog’s has caught up with the liturgical progressives on this issue. Even GIA began issuing buttons on this topic years ago. Around the time Mother A began inserting her own translation on “pro multis.”
I’ve known many “improvising” presiders–both prog and tradi. Their fault: not trusting God to do what they think they themselves can engineer.
Good post and thread, all.



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Venerable Aussie

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:39 pm


Todd, a message for you (and for many, oops, I mean for all)…
I don’t recall Mother A claiming to have ever said Mass (I’ve just read her biography, and it’s certainly not in there). If she used it in other contexts, so what. And I have EWTN’s encore of today’s Mass on, and 1 minute ago the priest said “shed for all” not “shed for many”. So we can get rid of that red herring.
Now, on to to the fact that some orthodox Catholic priests ad-lib, sure it can happen. It is almost ALWAYS to change a word or two back to be closer to the original Latin, and to a form which most likely will be adopted in the new official translations.
Do I like it when they do this? No I don’t. End of story.



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LadyHatton

posted September 30, 2005 at 6:48 pm


CMick–was he an Augustinian?
Our otherwise quite correct pastor (an Augustinian) does the same thing “Behold the Lamb of God. Believe what you are , then become what you believe”. Wha?
Perhaps it is a quote from St. Augustine.
I have always meant to call him on this (OK ask him nicely about it) but he is deaf in one ear so it is hard to discuss things with him.



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Nerina

posted September 30, 2005 at 7:14 pm


“How about working to make the parishes you are in better?”
MercyMe, I would bet that most of the readers of this blog already work to make their respective parishes better. Generally people who are knowledgeable about the liturgy are pretty involved parishioners. That’s been my experience.



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hellofromregina

posted September 30, 2005 at 7:20 pm


I think the St. Augustine quote is “Receive what you are, become what you receive.” He’s supposed to have said that while distributing communion.
Regina



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 30, 2005 at 7:28 pm


What Augustine said
was in a homily:


So now, if you want to understand the body of Christ,
listen to the Apostle Paul speaking to the faithful:
“You are the body of Christ, member for member.” [1 Cor 12.27]
If you, therefore, are Christ’s body and members,
it is your own mystery that is placed on the Lord’s table!
It is your own mystery that you are receiving!
You are saying “Amen” to what you are­
your response is a personal signature, affirming your faith.
When you hear “The body of Christ”­you reply “Amen.”
Be a member of Christ’s body, then,
so that your “Amen” may ring true!
But what role does the bread play?
We have no theory of our own to propose here;
listen, instead, to what Paul says about this sacrament:
“The bread is one, and we, though many, are one body.” [1 Cor 10.17]
Understand and rejoice­unity, truth, faithfulness, love.
“One bread,” he says. What is this one bread?
Is it not the “one body,” formed from many?
Remember: bread doesn’t come from a single grain, but from many.
When you received exorcism, you were “ground.”
When you were baptized, you were “leavened.”
When you received the fire of the Holy Spirit, you were “baked.”
Be what you see; receive what you are.
This is what Paul is saying about the bread.

It was not part of the Eucharistic Prayer, nor used by the minister of communion.
I find it kind of creepy if a EMHC says,
“Be what you see;
receive what you are.”
or something like that.
I’d much prefer a simple, “Body of Christ.”



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Sandra Miesel

posted September 30, 2005 at 7:41 pm


While that phrase is objectionable enough used at distribution of Communion, how about “This is not the Body of Christ. You are the Body of Christ”? A priest told me he’d heard that one used–by a celebrant who dismissed the congregation by throwing white frisbies at them!



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cecilia

posted September 30, 2005 at 7:44 pm


I can do without the stand-up comedy show by Father, even if he really is funny. If he wants to do comedy, he should put on a show in the parish hall, and charge admission to be donated for a good cause. But please, no comedy during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.



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Eileen R

posted September 30, 2005 at 7:45 pm


MercyMe, Amy once surveyed the regulars on this blog as to what they do. It turned out most are very involved in helping out at their parishes.
Me, I’ve just been drafted to help run the youth group, God protect me.
Anyway, everyone develops a huge set of annoyances, some petty some big. Discussing them on a thread doesn’t actually mean that’s what we spend our time talking about all the time.
Besides, some of this is *funny* to us, in a pathetic way.
I want to nominate in this category Fr. Groovy who came up with a really brilliant idea to make “Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of
rising again” more inclusive.
He changed it to “Remember our brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again.”
As well as being something of a mouthful, it did rather *shrink* the meaning of the prayer from all our brothers and sisters in Christ, to our own immediate family.



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Eileen R

posted September 30, 2005 at 7:47 pm


Fr. Groovy also ends the Gospel by saying “The good news of Jesus Christ to you this Sunday morning.”
And then everyone stands there gaping for a second trying to remember what they’re supposed to say next.



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Rich Leonardi

posted September 30, 2005 at 8:29 pm


I’ve known many “improvising” presiders–both prog and tradi. Their fault: not trusting God to do what they think they themselves can engineer.
R-i-i-i-ght. All that improvisational Latin during “tradi” Tridentine lituriges is so distracting.



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LadyHatton

posted September 30, 2005 at 9:01 pm


Well, St. Augustine is my favorite saint for many reasons, so I appreciate the reference to his homily. Thanks Zhou. But I still don’t think Father should be quoting from him during the communion rite….perhaps the Dominicans have a nice quote from St. Dominic, or the Franciscans from St. Francis. Where would it end?



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dcs

posted September 30, 2005 at 9:24 pm


R-i-i-i-ght. All that improvisational Latin during “tradi” Tridentine lituriges is so distracting.
I once saw a conservative Novus Ordo where the celebrant genuflected twice at each consecration! Amazingly offensive! Then he gave the final blessing in Latin, and, after the dismissal, said the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and asked the congregation to join him! Very rude! In a resort town of all places! And then he sat in the confessional and encouraged people to receive the Sacrament of Penance!



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dcs

posted September 30, 2005 at 9:27 pm


I welcome the prospect of celebrating Mass ad orientem. The Holy Father has written about this, and he has stated it as his preference, but I do not think that there will be any time soon an amendment of the rite which would allow ad orientem.
No amendment is necessary, it is the right of every priest to offer Mass ad orientem. Card. Medina wrote an instruction on this soon after the new edition of the GIRM was issued.



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Aristotle A. Esguerra

posted September 30, 2005 at 10:49 pm


The issue of fidelity to the liturgy is not a political issue. To employ labels like “conservative” and “progressive” when the liturgy is concerned is lazy, akin to fingernails on chalkboard, and serves to pigeonhole people who just might surprise with their views.
It’s not hard to wean oneself off those terms when addressing the liturgy. May I politely suggest that we do so as a group.
Thanks.



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Fr. Brian Stanley

posted October 1, 2005 at 7:13 am


Concerning the celebration of Mass ad orientem, I am very pleased to learn of the instruction from Cardinal Medina at the Congregation for Divine Worship. I admit to having major hesitation about celebrating ad orientem. I am fairly certain that my bishop would not approve; and yes, I know that he has no authority to overturn an instruction from the CDW.
I would point out that a great amount of catechesis would and should precede the change to ad orientem. Along those lines, would it be appropriate to have some Masses celebrated versus populo, and some celebrated ad orientem? The Holy Father continues to celebrate [televised] Masses versus populo. I would feel a lot more confident taking cues from the Pope in this matter, if yaknowwhadimean.



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sarah

posted October 1, 2005 at 9:33 am


Our pastor feels he MUST start each homily by discussing the weather. For 5 minutes. Each week I think he is trying to top last week’s record of “how many minutes into the homily before I actually mention Jesus (or anything from the readings).”
Yesterday, I attended a funeral Mass. Father’s homily mentioned that the Gospel chosen by the family was a good one, but he never actually mentioned anything in any of the readings. We got 5 minutes about how someone had moved the ribbons in the Lectionary so he lost his place. Then we heard about how God called him to the priesthood. Eventually, he remembered that there were cremains of a dead person sitting there on the table at the front of the main aisle and managed to squeeze in a few words about the deceased.
Father is giving our middle schoolers a “Teaching Mass” at CCD this week. Should be interesting.
I think I need to buy Michael’s book!



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MercyMe

posted October 1, 2005 at 9:34 am


OK so what have people done to address said egregious liturgical abuse such as the priest saying “Good morning?” How many people have, in charity, had a discussion with said priest/cantor/music minister about their liturgical choices and your problems with those choices? Or, do people just go to web sites to gripe and complain and advocate for Masses said in a language that is no one’s native tongue facing the back wall?
The conflation between 1) this is what bugs me at Mass and 2) x esoteric solution would solve this and all problems doesn’t seem grounded in reality to me.
Bad taste is all around us in US culture–we’re a people who opt for what is easy and cheap and what we can readily get (fast food, Walmart, housing that is bigger and uglier). We’re not that great at focusing on beauty or good design or restraint
So, if this society and parishes need a leaven–who will be it? I think it is both an individual and collective undertaking. If you have ideas about how Mass and your parish could be better–get involved and implement them. Want to train lectors or altar servers, do enrichment for the parish, lead adult ed? Do it! One person can do a lot to help increase the knowledge base of a parish and better the liturgy.
Also, I don’t buy the “I’m oppressed and put down because I want better liturgy” argument. Again, is it malice and a grand conspiracy that drives lower liturgical standards or a lack of involved and knowledgeable people and the collective will to improve things? Want better music? Pay for some professional musicians and music leaders to lead the choir and congregation. Advocate that your diocese conduct free workshops for musicians and choir members, training them in the vast riches of liturgical music. There are a 1000 ways to make liturgy better. Sniping about your local priest online might not be the best way to achieve that goal.



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sarah

posted October 1, 2005 at 9:54 am


“Sniping about your local priest online might not be the best way to achieve that goal.”
Yeah, MercyMe, but it makes me feel better! I just don’t see this particular twenty-something (me)approaching Father and, with all humility and charity, telling him he needs to get over himself and stick to the rubrics and preach the Gospel.
I try to teach my 7th graders (CCD) about the wonder and beauty of the Mass, but they must think I am from Mars as they sit through the same Masses that I do. One of my students, a server, told me how Father scared her last week at Mass when he asked the congregation for a show of hands if they’d donated to the Katrina relief effort. A few raised their hands, but then he yelled at everyone (at length) and told them they ought to be ashamed of themselves. “It was the worst Mass ever,” said my student.
MercyMe, what words do you think I should use to approach my priest?



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Todd

posted October 1, 2005 at 10:00 am


Aristotle, MercyMe and I share the true sense of this situation.
“To employ labels like “conservative” and “progressive” when the liturgy is concerned is lazy …”
Indeed.
And the priests or other folks who persist in mediocrity might also be more lazy than malicious with regard to liturgy. Clergy and most volunteer musicians are busy people. They often have other things on their front burners. As a liturgist, it is easy for me to criticize that; my professional front burner is liturgy. For many commenters here, their hot-button issue is clearly the liturgy. Priorities are different.
“I don’t buy the ‘I’m oppressed and put down because I want better liturgy” argument.’”
Me either.
Some might be oppressed and put down because they can’t articulate their argument in a knowledgeable, non-threatening, or familiar way. Some might be oppressed and put down because the recipients of criticism are asking themselves, “Where in the heck did these people come from?” in the sense that they only surface to complain about stuff, rather than, as MM suggests, actually rolling up one’s sleeves and doing something about it. Few pastors I know take their marching orders from laity, even if the priest is wrong and the lay people right. “Oppressed” complainers might be 100% correct, but they lack serious credibility with the people who are responsible for the changes.



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Todd

posted October 1, 2005 at 10:57 am


Sarah, you asked, “… what words do you think I should use to approach my priest?”
Get to know him first. Allow him to get to know you. Then be realistic about what you hope to accomplish. And remember that God can work in the most horrid of situations, even the human weaknesses of your pastor.
And yes, Michael’s book will help greatly.



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Jon

posted October 1, 2005 at 11:47 am


This problem is born of the outrageous optionality of the Novus Ordo, something totally alien to the 2,000 year history of the Roman rite.
If the NO is to be kept, however, we need a new GIRM with stricter rubrics. These rubrics, like those of the Traditional Mass, would be all-encompassing and precise. To enforce them, for the next fifty years they should bind under pain of mortal sin for any priest who willfully departs from them. Problem solved.
PS – Amy, please try to jettison the odious words “presider” and “presides” from your lexicon when referring to the priest offering Mass. The term, as used in all recent documents, e.g. Redemptionis Sacramentum, is “celebrant” and “celebrates.” Father Bozo “presides,” Pope Benedict, “celebrates.”
Words, as you know, make all the difference.



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Charles

posted October 1, 2005 at 12:09 pm


Fr. Stanley,
Actually, the Holy Father celebrates Mass ad orientem at St. Peter’s and the other 3 Roman Basilicas. It just happens that those churches are not oriented, that is, they do not face east. That St. Peter’s does not face east is an argument for the authenticity of the bones found there a few years ago as really being St. Peter’s. The Basilica was built into a hill and could not be built facing east. Even though churches then were built facing east, building over St. Peter’s remains was important enough for them to not orient the church. The other Roman Basilicas also face west because they were aligned with St. Peter’s. So the Pope offers Mass ad orientem, it just so happens that in this case ad orientem is also versus populum. I’ve read that in olden times the congregation also turned and faced east, so the congregation’s backs were to the Pope as he offered Mass! I’ve also been told that JPII offered Mass ad orientem (or at lest ad apsidem) in his private chapel.
Sorry for the rambling post. Someone is running a forest through a woodchipper outside my back door. I’ve read all the stuff I mentioned in different places. I welcome any corrections or clarifications.



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Rich Leonardi

posted October 1, 2005 at 1:44 pm


Get to know him first. Allow him to get to know you. Then be realistic about what you hope to accomplish. And remember that God can work in the most horrid of situations, even the human weaknesses of your pastor.
Perhaps the truest, most smug-free thing Todd has written on St. Blog’s.
It certainly works in our parish. But doesn’t that suggest change requires an outgoing, persuasive personality? Lots of people aren’t wired that way.
Regarding the “conservative” vs. “progressive” bit, the problems the Church is having now by and large come from those in the latter camp. I don’t know of any Feeneyite DREs and liturgists putting the faithful through hell.



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Eileen R

posted October 1, 2005 at 2:27 pm


Well, on the traditional side of things, I do remember that one priest who decided to bring back the Eucharistic Procession on Corpus Christi, but then decided that it’d be best if everyone went *ahead* of the Blessed Sacrament, because the People of God were announcing the coming of Jesus.



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Todd

posted October 1, 2005 at 2:43 pm


Rich, thanks for your kind words. Complainers in general tend to be extroverts. But I’ve known more reserved people to have significant influence on priests and even bishops, mainly because their thoughtfulness was more reasoned, more easily taken by clergy who have more than enough of confrontation.
You are, however, wrong about the Church’s problems. More problems come from people who care little one way or the other and spread that apathy into the nooks and crannies of the Church. Impassioned people can be difficult, but at least they take a stand and give us something to work with.
Jon, actually, the GIRM says priest-celebrant, recognizing, presumably, that when people participate actively and fully, they too are celebrants.



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Rich Leonardi

posted October 1, 2005 at 4:04 pm


But I’ve known more reserved people to have significant influence on priests and even bishops, mainly because their thoughtfulness was more reasoned, more easily taken by clergy who have more than enough of confrontation.
True enough.
You are, however, wrong about the Church’s problems. More problems come from people who care little one way or the other and spread that apathy into the nooks and crannies of the Church.
The apathy is the product of 30+ years of off-putting liturgical and catechetical nuttiness.



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Kevin Miller

posted October 1, 2005 at 4:39 pm


Todd, you’re reading too much into the GIRM’s “priest-celebrant.” As RS clarifies:
==begin quote==
[42.] It must be acknowledged that the Church has not come together by human volition; rather, she has been called together by God in the Holy Spirit, and she responds through faith to his free calling (thus the word ekklesia is related to klesis, or “calling”). Nor is the Eucharistic Sacrifice to be considered a “concelebration”, in the univocal sense, of the Priest along with the people who are present. On the contrary, the Eucharist celebrated by the Priests “is a gift which radically transcends the power of the community. … The community that gathers for the celebration of the Eucharist absolutely requires an ordained Priest, who presides over it so that it may truly be a eucharistic convocation. On the other hand, the community is by itself incapable of providing an ordained minister”. There is pressing need of a concerted will to avoid all ambiguity in this matter and to remedy the difficulties of recent years. Accordingly, terms such as “celebrating community” or “celebrating assembly” (in other languages “asamblea celebrante”, “assemblée célébrante”, assemblea celebrante”) and similar terms should not be used injudiciously.
==end quote==
The GIRM’s terminology needs to be interpreted in that light.



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Todd

posted October 1, 2005 at 10:59 pm


“The apathy is the product of 30+ years of off-putting liturgical and catechetical nuttiness.”
Rather, the apathy has its roots in the utilitarian approach to liturgy before Vatican II. Strangely, Catholics feel strongly for their nuttiness, and apathy would hardly be the word I would use to describe the extremes of Catholic expression on the extreme ends of the ideological spectrum.
Kevin, thanks for the quote, for it says, ” …. an ordained Priest, who presides …” “Preside” is a perfectly appropriate verb to use. And it concedes that the word “celebrants” may indeed be judiciously applied to the laity.
No problem whatsoever with your RS quote. I think it’s safe to say much of St Blog’s and I are on the same page on this puppy.



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Rich Leonardi

posted October 2, 2005 at 8:24 am


Rather, the apathy has its roots in the utilitarian approach to liturgy before Vatican II.
Nonsense. That approach kept Mass attendance rates somewhere near 75%.
And no, you may not call yourself a celebrant, as clearly stated in R.S.
But should any of us be surprised that St. Blog’s house dissenter disregards a clear instruction?



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Todd

posted October 2, 2005 at 12:08 pm


Rich, my suggestion is you get over yourself. You’re little better than a heckler. I have no problem with you banning me from your blog, but if I ask you to cease e-mailing me, I expect the request to be honored in kind. Don’t kid yourself about the reasons either. If I’m hetero-anything, about the only sin I commit on Ten Reasons is being heterorich, and you can’t stand being contradicted.
We can all read RS. Kevin’s quote was helpful, at least for those who understand the written word in English. I’d never refer to myself as a celebrant, but I do belong to a community of active celebrants when I worship at Mass. A judicious use of the term, as Kevin suggested, is well within the bounds of acceptability, at least as Rome defines it.



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Kevin Miller

posted October 2, 2005 at 12:16 pm


Todd: The problem with your reading is that most uses of the term for the laity aren’t, in fact, judicious. And specifically, if you simply say that the laity “too are celebrants,” without qualification, then you’re evidently applying the term univocally, which RS expressly says isn’t acceptable/judicious. Furthermore, you’re not getting what it means by “presides” if you thus fudge the meaning of “celebrates.” The priest “presides” precisely because he – in a unique sense, which can’t be applied univocally to the laity – “celebrates.” Most uses of “presides” these days likewise deny that, and hence are, also, injudicious.



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Charles

posted October 2, 2005 at 2:55 pm


I like it when priests “offer” Mass and we laity “assist.”



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Todd

posted October 2, 2005 at 3:35 pm


Kevin, thanks for your clarification. In my post, I used it once. I also clarified my use of it in the sense of the connected use in Sacrosanctum Concilium 14:
“Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.”
It seems to me that if I were attempting to exhort a deeper “participation” in a “celebration” from someone, I’d underscore said participation made them a celebrant.
It’s not the only way to describe the role of the laity at liturgy, but your quote from RS concedes it is a valid approach. Like RS, I wouldn’t hammer away at it all the time; in certain contexts, it would suggest lay people have the same role as the priest, and even echo chamber members would be very hard-pressed to find when I’ve said that.
I agree with the RS quote you posted. I agree with the Open Book motto. Where you disagree seems to be in insisting “you can never use those terms” versus my suggestion (backed up by Roman documents) that such terms are actually reflected in the Church’s teaching on liturgy.



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Kevin Miller

posted October 2, 2005 at 3:43 pm


Todd:
I didn’t say you could never use those terms.
What I’m saying is that RS states very clearly that you can only speak of the lay faithful at Mass as “celebrants” in a non-”univocal” manner – i.e., with qualification.
If you simply say they’re participating in the celebration, hence they’re also celebrants, you’re not qualifying the manner in which the participation makes them “celebrants.”
Hence, you’re not doing what RS implies could be a valid approach. You’re doing what it flatly rejects.



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Todd

posted October 2, 2005 at 6:11 pm


Kevin, we’re likely quibbling over trivial items, as we each concede we’re speaking of “implications” in written Roman texts. Neither you nor I are likely to be in the position of giving an authoritative answer from Rome itself, nor is either of us likely to be hauled into ecclesiastical court for the words we use.
We might also be tripping over the various sub-definitions of “celebrate” as used in the English language. See if it’s clearer on my own blog and let’s go from there.



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Kevin Miller

posted October 2, 2005 at 6:53 pm


Todd: The text doesn’t “imply” that the word isn’t to be used univocally of the lay faithful (as of the priest) – it explicitly says so. I don’t think pointing that out is “quibbling.” And I don’t think we should hold ourselves responsible to the Church’s authority only when Church courts will do so otherwise.



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