Dear Father: Please stop the liturgical freelancing (2016)

Priests who make it up as they go along.

If you’re a daily Mass attendant, the odds are that you’ve heard General Norm 22.3 of “Sacrosanctum concilium” violated on a weekly basis.

In all the sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council, is there any prescription more regularly violated than General Norm 22.3 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy? Which, in case you’ve forgotten, teaches that “no . . . person, not even a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority”?

The Spirit works in mysterious ways. This isn’t one of them.

If you’re a daily Mass attendant, the odds are that you hear that norm violated a dozen times a week. Sunday Mass people typically hear it violated two or three times a week, at least.

Auto-editing or flat-out rewriting the prescribed text of the Mass is virtually epidemic among priests who attended seminary in the late Sixties, Seventies, or early Eighties; it’s less obvious among the younger clergy.

But whether indulged by old, middle-aged, or young, it’s obnoxious and it’s an obstacle to prayer.

I’m with this writer, though less so since like Dr. Strangelove and the bomb, I have learned to stop worrying and love — the free-lancer.

Thing is, I can’t afford to be censorious in the matter. Talk about your obstacles to prayer. Been there, done that. No thanks.

Better to take it as part of the human comedy. Besides, currently I encounter far less of that lately: change of venue and all that, you know.

But I still encourage the writer, the eminent George Weigel, and applaud him for this.


Just in from loyal reader:

This morning during the live-streaming Mass from Green Bay’s cathedral, a retired priest filled in for the rector.

In a number of places he put in his pronoun of choice. Why would he change “he” to “Jesus” for instance?

It must gall him to say “Our Father.” This kind of stuff doesn’t usually happen at this mass.

It bugs me when a priest imposes his political/social views on me with no authority.

Or no more qualification than the guy on the next bar stool.

I feel this reader’s pain.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Bowman says:

    Reblogged this on Blithe Spirit and commented:

    Re-writing the liturgy (again) . . .


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