Thursday, April 13, 2006

Yay! Rubrics!

I'm as much a cheerleader for good liturgy, following the rubrics, etc. as anybody. But I think given the reality of the Church and the variety of liturgical practice I witness on a regular basis, I think undue obsession with liturgical abuses can be unhealthy, not to mention drive you crazy!

So, at the risk of angering a few friends of mine (you know who you are), I just have to say:

Who cares how many liturgical abuses there were at a certain Mass on the West Coast last week??!!

Aren't there more important things for us to be worried about?

(and don't accuse me of saying mass/rubrics/liturgy/eucharist are not important, because I didn't say that!)


Blogger ShadowMayhem said...

you HERITIC you :)

5:59 PM  
Anonymous A said...

This about-to-be Catholic is with you. Here's to voices of balance and moderation. May there be more in this Church I have come to love.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Sister Mary Hasta said...

Straight word up, yo.

(I'm about to miss Maunday Thursday 'cause I'm on the way to the hospital, my friend just had a baby! Little human being! I can't get over it. I can't wait to meet him.)

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Hahaha! Oh, you wouldn't believe the fight I had with myself internally today. "Put the GIRM back on the shelf! Don't read it! You don't want to know! .... Oh just a little bit" Take a peek! "Argggggggggh!!!!!"


10:53 PM  
Blogger mamagiglio said...

Urgh. As long as the Eucharist is consecrated, I say suck it up and offer your personal frustration for thr priest(s) offering Mass.

Posted by a woman whose good friend is a liturgical dancer and will be covering her head in Church from this triduum on.

Off to bed. Thanks for the post Mark. A Blessed Easter to you.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Amen! Yes Mark, I totally agree. Balance and moderation are essential, as is a focus on mission.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Claire Joy said...

Reminds me of a conversation I overheard last year when a priest and deacon were critiquing the bishop's blessing of the elements... He didn't even touch the cup! It was a sister's life profession and they were collecting should-have-dones at communion. Give me a break.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Crusader Coyote said...

Thank you!

Perspective is a thing often lacking in the world today. As much as things at Mass sometimes irritate me (that whole attempt at "greeting your neighbors" at the beginning of Mass, making the sign of peace kinda redundant comes to mind, personally), and as much as that irritation interferes with the uplifting-ness of the Mass, it's still something that, when they happen, I realize are not the end of the world. They're something that some well-meaning person thought would *add* meaning for people, and maybe it does. I mean, I don't mind a little liturgical dance now and then, although all the time might strain even me . . .

But the point is, we've got bigger problems than a priest missing a few lines or not quite holding his hand right or. . . etc . . .

Maybe, when innocents are no longer being slaughtered in the name of choice or religion, we'll be able to address these picayune matters . . .

11:39 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Are you picking a fight with me during the High Holy days? Who says you can't care about all of the above, or that I care less about hideous things in the world because I get so upset about you know who on the West coast. And I'm not talking about "missing a few words" ... you need to go out there for, oh, about 26 years and see what it's like. You won't see anything that looks like "moderation." But I love you. So I won't say "stop acting like a Jesuit." xxoo

12:19 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...


Not picking a fight, just venting.

And, hey, you live in Florida now. And wasn't it a relief to get away from all that!

Pick on the Bishop of Orlando if you must! :)

And I know you don't really want me to stop "acting like a Jesuit," because that's precisely why you like me! ;)

12:27 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

I'm not sure people understand that the arena Masses at the Religious Ed Congress take place in an ARENA. It's not a church, there's nothing inherently special about the space.

I'm no fan of liturgical dance. But I've been in that arena when they come in dancing with incense. And it has a way of making that very secular space seem holy.

In some ways those Masses have to be "done large" because there are many thousands of people in the arena.

My personal preference is for the intimacy I experience at daily Mass. But there's also something special about hearing 10,000 people praying together. It gives you a small sense of what a great, wonderful church we're part of and what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It wouldn't be an issue at all if the presiders and the musicians would just leave their egos at the door and give the people what they deserve - the Mass, as laid out in the books. It's important because what's at work there is massive pride run amok.

And I bet you know that re-creating the liturgy week after week takes *alot* of time - time that could be spent perhaps tending to the poor.

Take up your beef with the innovators who won't let the people simply pray and be nourished by the Lord through the liturgy and have to throw themselves in it front and center.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I don't care what happens at that circus in Orange County, I never went to that anyway. But the liturgical dancers completely ruined my sister's confirmation for me, because they were comical. And that was not in an arena, that was at Saint Monica's in Santa Monica. Then I took several members of the cast of Judging Amy to a Mahony Mass, which was just lunacy. One of them said to me, "So THIS is a Catholic Mass?" I said, "No, this is NOT a Catholic Mass." It's not about what goes on at the Orange County fiasco. It's constant, invasive, insidious, purposefully designed to take the focus away from where it should be -- which is why "Gather Faithfully Together" keeps reminding us that "the people" are the Eucharist. Yes, I'm out of it for now. I do not trust that it won't spread. And I'll save the rest of the venting until after Easter.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the heck is Karen talking about? I've lived in Los Angeles all my life, and can't say I ever saw any program of liturgical practice that was "constant, invasive, insidious, purposefully designed to take the focus away from where it should be." Maybe we need to spend less time telling our friends "this is NOT a Catholic mass" and more time worshiping together?

12:19 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

The Mass where I said "this is not a Catholic Mass" was held in the same room where I'd attended the Golden Globes a few years before. I assumed it would be set up for Mass, but no. It was set up exactly as it was for the Golden Globes -- lots of round tables already set for the lunch that would follow. (I'd assumed there would be two different rooms.) Needless to say, there was no kneeling to be had. The "choir" was...well, many things...all over-powered by the bongo drums. The liturgical dancers danced all over the stage, and in and out between tables. In their skimpy low-cut very tight leotards. The Sign of Peace, which lasted a looong time, looked more like a cocktail party. Everyone ran all over the room to hobnob. There is probably more that I have forgotten. Details don't stick with me. But for my friend, who'd never been to Mass, I didn't think it was a good representation. At the banquet that followed, my table was astounded when the Cardinal told a racist joke. As was I. And I was not talking about any one Mass when I said "constant, invasive, insidious, purposefully designed to take the focus away from where it should be." I mean what is going on in L.A. Read "Gather Faithfully Together."

10:32 PM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

I suppose that you can make allowances for the audience, and the size of the space etc.

I attend a parish where the priest who is nearing retirement(and I love him dearly) totally desecrates a mass every Friday for the school children because he feels he is "bringing it down to their level".

He reads the Gospel sitting on the altar steps with the class that is in charge of the liturgy sitting around him, and then he proceeds to joke with them through the worst Q and A homilies I have ever heard.

Then he invites them to all stand around the Altar for the Consecration. He allows the children to hold the elements aloft for him at the elevations.

He stumbles through the wording of the prayer, I am assuming because he has so many people at the altar that he can't see the Sacramentary.

I used to grumble, and get very upset counting all the abuses, now I just don't go to that Mass. I can't stand it, the kids seem to really love it, and him.

I still love him, just not the way he presides at Children's Masses.


8:03 AM  
Blogger Joe said...


I care.

(I now return to sitting in the back of the classroom in an immoderate slouch.)



4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At the banquet that followed, my table was astounded when the Cardinal told a racist joke. As was I."

Ah yes, Cardinal Mahony, that noted racist bigot. ?????

4:21 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

And yet ..... we're all Catholic.

How come we seem to forget about this teeny little detail whenever we try to debate things like this?

Jesus' disciples weren't all that great at following the rules laid out by their church, either, and Jesus still let them play with him.

We've got enough going on on the outside; do we really have to put our energies into fighting ourselves?

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to bet that those of you who claim to have better things to worry about than the liturgy would change your tunes if you walked into your parish of choice one Sunday and found:

1)The entire liturgy chanted in Latin

2) The "songs" replaced by chant

3) The Eucharistic ministers gone (they don't have to be used you know - they're called extraordinary)

4) The decision made by the pastor to only use male altar servers

All of these choices are permitted by the rubrics today. Be honest. If you had a new pastor come in who instituted these elements...would you be all "Oh, it's the liturgy, let's not fight about little things?"

I doubt it.

12:27 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

No, I wouldn't say "oh it's the liturgy, let's not fight about little things." What I would say is that this is clearly not a parish that's going to fill me up spiritually so I'll look for another one that will.

I'm all for a wide range of worship styles. I know that what is meaningful to me may not have the same meaning to someone else. If one Mass is done in Latin with Gregorian chant, that's long as there's another one in English with contemporary hymns. It's a big tent.

And I think Steph is right. Why do we put so much effort into fighting among ourselves instead of being thankful that we're all part of this Church?

2:15 PM  

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