Monday, March 08, 2010

From WDTPRS: Priest constantly ad libs

From Fr. Z of WDTPRS:

From a reader. You can make your own comments.

I have just returned from Mass. As usual, during the Mass I was constantly distracted by the consistent ad libbing by the priest celebrant. Permit me to offer a sample:

Before the Sign of the Cross: Father reads a snippet from a "liturgical cheat sheet" that introduces the "theme" of the Mass.

Introduction to the Penitential Rite: Father gives a introductory monologue that gives the weather report and welcomes our visitors, who we are always happy to have with us. He then calls us to recall "the times when we have been too much to ourselves and loved each other less."

The Prayers of the Faithful: After the banal intercessions from the "liturgical cheat sheet," Father improvises prayers for the suffering in Haiti, announcing how much money was collected and thanking the parishioners for their generosity; for those serving in the military—living and deceased—their "parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and surrogates" (I’m NOT making this up); and on and on and on. The Prayers of the Faithful went on for 5 minutes! I realize that, in the great scheme of things, 5 minutes doesn’t seem long, but it is an eternity at Mass.

The "Orate Fratres": "Let us pray that this our sacrifice and all that we do will become acceptable to God the Almighty Father."

The "Mysterium Fidei": "In song, let us proclaim this great mystery of our faith."

The "Per ipsum et cum ipso": "For it is through Him, and with Him and in Him…."

The Invitation to the Our Father: "Let us with faith and love, in union with God our Father and as one family, we proclaim that prayer which Jesus taught us."

The "Ecce Agnus Dei": This is Jesus Christ, our hope and our peace, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. How happy and blessed are we to be called to supper."

This said, my question is this: after over 35 years of priesthood and over 35 years of "doing his own thing" at Mass, will he, all of a sudden with the new translations, actually start to "say the black and do the red"? Will bishops and those entrusted with implementing the new translations, actually INSIST that priests not do what this man has been doing Sunday after Sunday for years and years since his first Mass? And who is going to hold them accountable? Bishops? The laity? In fairness to the bishops, bishops can’t be everywhere. As to the laity, priests often resent, no matter how tactfully, respectfully, and charitably states, any constructive criticism about the way a priest celebrates Mass.

My great fear is that, despite the new translations, priests will continue to do whatever they wish with their parts in the Mass simply because no one is going to hold them accountable for otherwise.

Thanks for listening

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