CNP Feedback -
The "Feedback Box" on the CanticaNOVA Publications website has proven quite effective in promoting communications on a variety of subjects, and expressing concerns of liturgists and musicians.
From time to time, we'll compile a few of these questions or comments and put them in public view, with the hope that others with similar concerns may benefit from their content.
Q. Dear CNP:
Regarding liturgical abuses, our priest does not have us call to mind our sins.
After the sign of the cross, he goes immediately into the Kyrie eleison.
He does not wash his hands prior to consecration.
At the Our Father, he comes down off the altar and "holds hands" with those sitting up front.
We do not hear him pray for our Holy Father, nor our Bishop.
Are these omissions considered serious abuses?
God bless you and thank you.
Peeved in the Pews
A. Dear Peeved:
Let me answer your questions one by one:
Q. Are these omissions considered serious abuses?
A. What I consider serious liturgical abuses may vary widely from what others do (or don't).
I tend to be a legalist.
In my opinon, the rubrics, as much as the texts, are a part of the glorious liturgical legacy passed on from generation to generation by the Church in her wisdom.
They are meant to be followed, not ignored.
It's not up to any priest to choose what he will do and what he will bypass for personal reasons.
However, various bishops, chaceries and diocesan worship offices have vastly different views on what they consider accountable abuses (meaning those they might confront a priest with).
I'm sure the reality of the priest shortage bolsters the tendency to simply overlook things — "Let's not upset Fr. Loose-y.
At least he's paying the bills."
That being said, there is documentation to contradict all the oddities you mentioned:
- Our priest does not have us call to mind our sins.
Then follows the Penitential Act, to which the Priest invites the faithful, saying: "Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries." [The Roman Missal, rubric #4]
In many cases, the Missal allows the priest leeway, as in the parenthesized "brothers and sisters" above, or by explicitly saying, "In these or similar words …"
That is not the case here.
If the Missal or GIRM do not allow deviation or omission or addition, then no one may deviate or omit or add.
To do so is a prideful act of arrogance.
- After the sign of the cross, he goes immediately into the Kyrie eleison.
There are three forms of the Pentinetial Act — none of these is the "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord, have mercy") litany alone.
[The Roman Missal, rubrics #4-7]
- A) The Confiteor, the Absolution, then the Kyrie litany.
- B) The dialogue, "Have mercy on us, O Lord."
"For we have sinned against you." etc., then the Kyrie litany.
- C) A series of tropes, "You were sent to heal the contrite. Lord, have mercy …" with congregational responses.
- He does not wash his hands prior to consecration.
Then the Priest, standing at the side of the altar, washes his hands, saying quietly: "Wash me, Lord, from my iniquity …" [The Roman Missal, rubric #28]
- At the Our Father, he comes down off the altar and "holds hands" with those sitting up front.
After the chalice and the paten have been set down, the Priest, with hands joined, says: "At the Savior's command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:"
He extends his hands [in the Orans position] and, together with the people, continues: "Our Father, who art in heaven …" [The Roman Missal, rubric #124]
Obviously, if his hands are extended he cannot be holding hands with the congregation.
Further, the priest should remain in the sanctuary. For example, during the Sign of Peace, the GIRM says, "The Priest may give the Sign of Peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so that the celebration is not disrupted." [GIRM #154].
If this be the case for the Sign of Peace, which assumes some walking or other motion, how much more does it apply to the Our Father, where no walking is even slightly suggested by the rubrics.
- We do not hear him pray for our Holy Father, nor our Bishop.
- Eucharistic Prayer 1: "… together with your servant Francis our Pope and N.___ our Bishop …"
- Eucharistic Prayer 2: "… together with Francis our Pope and N.___ our Bishop …"
- Eucharistic Prayer 3: "… with your servant Francis our Pope and N.___ our Bishop, the Order of Bishops …"
- Eucharistic Prayer 4: "… espcially your servant Francis our Pope, and N.___ our Bishop, and the whole Order of Bishops …"
Does he omit these lines of the Eucharistic Prayer?
Further, the Universal Prayer [General Intercessions] should begin with a petition for the Church, perhaps including the Pope and Bishop by name.
Obviously, these rubrical quotes above are in general sight in the Roman Missal, available for anyone to see.
My guess is that your priest knows all of this and he has some personal adaptations that he deems "allowable."
Merely showing him rubrics, particularly to someone for whom rubrics apparently have little concrete significance, will do less than nothing.
I would suggest that you calmly, either in person or in a non-confrontational letter, tell him how his lack of respect for the Mass makes you feel.
He's apparently doing what he does because it makes him feel good.
Fight feelings with feelings.
If he knows he's distressing people, he may be willing to modify his behavior.
If the meeting or the letter are met with dismissal or disdain, take your calm argument to the diocese, in particular to the Vicar for Clergy.
Subsequent avenues could include the bishop, the papal nuncio or the Vatican.
Always present your case from your point of view — how the behavior affects you and your spirituality.
Priests and bishops are charged with getting souls to heaven — they should not be hindering that process.
Article written 15 August 2017