Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Liturgical Abuse

My wife and I seem to be adrift in the sea of rampant anti-Roman Catholicism at this time when we go to Mass almost anywhere in the United States. I can understand why the Vatican views much, but not all, of the Church in the United States as being a bit "off" (and I am being nice). The constant stream of liturgical abuses that we have to suffer through at the various churches we have attended in our area alone has become something that we can no longer be silent about. However, at this time, we shall not name names so as to afford our wayward priests and their congregations to get back in line and follow the teachings and laws of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

A) The Abuse of unauthorized persons on the altar during the Consecration (during the Eucharistic Prayer)

So often the trendy priests ask for children to wander on up to stand around the altar during the Consecration. My wife and I attended a parish (not our own) for Christmas this year where this happened. The priest was so distracted that he didn't notice that the entire Congregation stood for the entire Consecration. When I politely asked him about it after Mass, he replied," Oh, Pastor xxxx hasn't gotten in to that here... I didn't even notice that they were standing... but you can go to other parishes nearby where they do that" signalling his approval of the practice.

Previous norms do not proscribe that children should not be on the altar. However, they also do not proscribe that dancing elephants be eliminated either (as one priest told me last summer). Instruction Redemtionis Sacramentum is clear on this topic:

The proclamation of the Eucharistic Prayer, which by its very nature is the climax of the whole celebration, is proper to the Priest by virtue of his Ordination. It is therefore an abuse to proffer it in such a way that some parts of the Eucharistic Prayer are recited by a Deacon, a lay minister, or by an individual member of the faithful, or by all members of the faithful together. The Eucharistic Prayer, then, is to be recited by the Priest alone in full.[131] (emphasis added) Hello! ALONE!

He, as many others priests are, was also oblivious to the use of the orans posture by some in the pews (other parishes actively promote it!).

As can be seen On Certain Questions of Collaboration:

2. ... Neither may deacons or non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the same priest celebrant. It is a grave abuse for any member of the non-ordained faithful to "quasi preside" at the Mass while leaving only that minimal participation to the priest which is necessary to secure validity.

The relatively conservative EWTN is nicer, but still in line with Rome.

B) The use of girls as altar servers is permitted, but it is obvious that it is not the preferred practice of Rome for reasons obvoius in the latest document (March 2004):

[47.] It is altogether laudable to maintain the noble custom by which boys or youths, customarily termed servers, provide service of the altar after the manner of acolytes, and receive catechesis regarding their function in accordance with their power of comprehension.[119] Nor should it be forgotten that a great number of sacred ministers over the course of the centuries have come from among boys such as these.[120] Associations for them, including also the participation and assistance of their parents, should be established or promoted, and in such a way greater pastoral care will be provided for the ministers. Whenever such associations are international in nature, it pertains to the competence of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to establish them or to approve and revise their statutes.[121] Girls or women may also be admitted to this service of the altar, at the discretion of the diocesan Bishop and in observance of the established norms.[122]

C) Then there are priests who like to ramble on and on and then forget to say required prayers, or just skip over them (and, no I do not mean certain prayers like the Gloria or the Nicene Creed that may eliminated on certain days). The Vatican states in Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum:

58.] All of Christ’s faithful likewise have the right to a celebration of the Eucharist that has been so carefully prepared in all its parts that the word of God is properly and efficaciously proclaimed and explained in it; that the faculty for selecting the liturgical texts and rites is carried out with care according to the norms; and that their faith is duly safeguarded and nourished by the words that are sung in the celebration of the Liturgy.

D) Reverence at Holy Communion

If you are in a parish that stands, do you show reverence prior to receiving Holy Communion? Do your priests even mention it (hats off to Holy Family Parish in Glendale on this one as well as reminding its flock to bow during the correct time during the Nicene Creed... we did not even have a chance to kneel at the church we went to for Christmas). From Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[90.] “The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined”, with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. “However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms”.[176]

And when was the last time you saw a communion plate? I have been "whining" about this one for years!

[93.] The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.[180]

E) Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

This is an issue that Americans love to pretend that they know more about being Catholic than the Vatican does. However, the Americans are wrong according to the latest (see other links above):

[88.] The faithful should normally receive sacramental Communion of the Eucharist during Mass itself, at the moment laid down by the rite of celebration, that is to say, just after the Priest celebrant’s Communion.[172] It is the Priest celebrant’s responsibility to minister Communion, perhaps assisted by other Priests or Deacons; and he should not resume the Mass until after the Communion of the faithful is concluded. Only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the Priest celebrant in accordance with the norm of law.[173]

Of course the liberals will argue that "necessity" means incorporating the faithful and making sure the reception of Holy Communion does not make Mass go past an hour. BLECH! Change the Mass schedule and follow the rules!

They should read On Certain Questions on Collaboration, Article 8:

2. Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion.(99) They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion. (100) This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law...

The same article defines said persons as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and not Eucharistic Ministers or any other title. It is VERY specific about the terminology that MUST be used.

F) Conclusion

I could write a book, but I'll just keep bloggin'...

My wife and I will continue to try our best. Hopefylly, Cardinal Mahoney will see the light and let the F.S.S.P. in to the Archdiocese, or, he will copy the actions of the great Cardinal Pell of Sydney, Australia.

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