Saturday, October 21, 2006

Am I Being Over-Scrupulous When I Get Upset When I See Sloppiness or Changes in the Mass?

Early this morning, God spoke to me again through the medium of a short wave radio broadcast of Father Brian Mullahy on EWTN discussing the Mass in one of his series of programs on the Sacraments. I often get very upset at Mass when I see "extemporizing" by priests or casualness by Servers or Extraordinary Ministers when the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being celebrated.

I've wondered if I am just too scrupulous and if I should just be worshiping instead of performing my all too frequent role of "detached critic."

In short, Fr Mullahy said that the Priest is functioning differently when he administers the other Sacraments. His words are "I baptize you", "I absolve you", "I pronounce you", "I anoint you", etc.

When the Priest is celebrating the Mass, his words are "This is My Body" and "This is My Blood." This is because the Priest in the anointment of his ordination has been ontologically changed, every bit as much as the bread and wine are changed, into a new substance, “configured to the Person of Jesus Christ in his very being”, when he celebrates the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Therefore, Fr Mullahy continued, being that he is acting “in persona Christi”, the Priest has no right to add or change any of the words or rubrics of the Liturgy of the Mass. If he does, he is acting as if he is present at a performance, only reading the lines of a script.

Similarly, being that the Mass is the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Our Lord on Calvary, the Priest has no right to use non-sacred vessels (glass pitchers or goblets), permit the misuse of vessels and the Consecrated Body and Blood by Extraordinary Ministers or Servers. Similarly, a Priest should not make changes to the requirements for vesting himself by omitting items or using vestments that are designed to draw attention to himself rather than the Mass being celebrated.

Emphasizing how important the Church considers the Mass to be, Father made the point the Church's Commandments require that we receive Holy Communion only one time a year. But we are required to go to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation.

An interesting article by a seminarian that I found on the internet that covers some of these issues can be found here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the nice words, Gette.

I've been a "critic" for a very long time. But I have never gone to a priest, or the Bishop, or the Nuncio on these kind of issues.

Besides not liking to confront people and being lazy, one major reason for it is that I wasn't really knowledgeable about the requirements and why it was so important that the words and rubrics of the Mass be followed. That statement has removed all doubt on that matter.

I think that I am going to start bringing things up when I see "serious" violations. Sometimes there is forgetfulness or a tiny bit of casualness. I can criticize nobody without it getting thrown back at me ten-fold. But when you see Extraordinary Ministers scooping consecrated hosts like Doritos, it's awful. Or the day I saw a priest drop a host when giving Holy Communion. He just picked it up and put it to the side and went on without any examination of the floor.

I guess I wouldn't go to the Bishop unless things get repeated.

It would be nice if a "safe" space could be created where the priests would welcome feedback on the state of the liturgy in the parish. Maybe that would be a good way to start. Have a "public hearing" with Liturgy Committee or Staff, maybe even with the priests not present. Then the Staff or Committee wouild pass the word to the priests who then would be able to give their side of the story too.