Monday, March 12, 2007

I am NOT a priest! (or, what part of "inaudible" is so difficult to understand?)

Sometimes I think that some priests (and you know who you are) tend to carry the term "priestly people" a tad too far.

In the Missal, it's pretty well spelled out which prayers are to be said inaudibly by the priest. (For the edification of certain celebrants, the term "inaudible" means "I can't hear you.") There are good theological reasons for these prayers and if you don't know them, I suggest you find out. In any case, I think I have a right not to hear what's supposed to be...not heard.

Take a Mass I attended a couple weeks ago.

At the Preparation of the Wine rite, my heart should have heard the priest say to God:

"By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity."

However, I heard -- LOUDLY -- something like this:

"By mixing this water and wine, may we all come to share in the divinity of Christ!"

(To which many of the fuddled faithful pronounced: "AMEN!")

There's more.

At the washing of hands -- actually, the priest for some reason did not wash his hands at all -- I should have heard, again in my heart:

"Lord, wash away my iniquity, cleanse me of my sin."

Instead, I heard -- LOUDLY:

"God, wash away ALL of our sins, cleanse us of ALL of our guilt."


Introducing the prayers before Communion, the Missal states: "We pray in silence and then voice words of humility and hope as our final preparation before meeting Christ in the Eucharist."

My priest, prior to receiving Communion, LOUDLY proclaimed:

"May the body and Blood of Christ bring all of us -- all of us! -- to everlasting life."

Dutifully, the congregation responded with a lusty "AMEN!"

Something's wrong here.

I'm no mind-reader, but sometimes I think that certain celebrants are...I don't know...lonely? Embarrassed to act Ad Persona Christi? Whatever it is, their "inclusive" mucking around with the Mass leads to stuff like -- well, for example, am I the only one who has heard members of the congregation blithely join in the end of the Eucharistic Prayer: "Through Him, with Him, in Him..."? I doubt it.

One thing leads to another.

By blurring the distinction between priest and faithful, we end up with "Eucharistic Ministers" rushing up to the altar to grab the ciboria and chalice. We end up with lay people self-communicating.

We end up with what makes a Unitarian liturgy (okay, I've never seen a Unitarian liturgy and don't even know if one exists) look positively Roman!

Priests. Please. Do us all a favor.

You have been called by God to be set apart from others; to represent His Son in the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. You didn't choose this -- He did.

Your flock has the right to participate correctly, and in our own roles (not yours!) in this liturgy.

Do your part and do it right. We'll do ours. (And if we don't...teach us by example!)

May God bless you.