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  #1  
Old Jul 13, '09, 9:43 am
jenlovesyu jenlovesyu is offline
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Default Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

I have a new vicar priest at my parish and although he seems like a very holy man, he has been doing things before and during mass that make me feel uncomfortable. I don't have the time right now to look up the "rules" so-to-speak on conducting the mass but I will later.

Before mass he comes out and greets the music director and then he speaks to the congregation almost as if the Blessed Sacrament ain't even there

His cellphone went off too at this time...I don't know if that's really an issue but yeah...
Then he asks if there are any visitors and he has the congregation clap for them as they raise their hands. I've never seen this in a Catholic church, only in all the protestant churches I have been to.

I have seen him do these things at two masses so far. During the mass, he has been very reverent for the most part. But, is it normal for a priest to ask the congregation to say a blessing for him before he does his homily? Like ask everyone to "lay their hands" upon him? He also walks around as he does his homily, he doesn't stay at the ambo(forgive me if that isn't the correct term) And then of course he uses that phrase during his homily "Can I get an AMEN?". It just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Are any of these things problematic? I just haven't seen priests behave in this way. The other thing that worries me is that my main parish priest was his mentor before and I remember my main priest suggesting I get into a "civil marriage to see if things work out" when I was in my last relationship

I am just asking an honest question, I don't want to assume the worst in anyone.

God bless
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  #2  
Old Jul 13, '09, 10:24 am
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mwscott mwscott is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Well none of these really break any liturgical rules per say however the whole blessing the priest before his homily is pretty odd. In general it is okay for a priest to bless someone however it would only be okay for a lay person to pray for God's blessing on someone. I would think if the priest asked the congregation to pray for him while he preaches it is okay but it is not quite right for the priest to ask for the congregation to bless him.

As far as the homily goes, many priest (especially in the United States) will walk around while giving the homily, this is even encouraged for Masses with children in the Masses for children Sacramentary Supplement. It generally isn't very traditional as the ambo represents the place where the Word is proclaimed and the prayers of the faithful are presented. Just as a bishop (especially the pope) preaches from the chair I would say it is just as symbolic if the priest preaches from the ambo.

Lastly, the "can I get an Amen" is very "protestant" however I really doesn't break any rules.

What I would say is to be aware of what this priest is preaching or teaching. Being charismatic and excited about the liturgy isn't necessarily a bad thing, but encouraging the things that you mentioned may be signs that this priest is teaching things that aren't compatible with Church teaching.

The best thing you can do is study and learn to know what is right and what the Church teaches. Become confident in your own knowledge of the Church and you will find your love for the Church and its teachings grow.
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"[E]ven in the church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the church."
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  #3  
Old Jul 13, '09, 10:27 am
JPUSC JPUSC is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

What was his ringtone?

Sort of reminds me of a priest who used to take camera phone pictures during Mass to put on his blog, haha.
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  #4  
Old Jul 13, '09, 10:32 am
passus passus is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenlovesyu View Post
His cellphone went off too at this time...I don't know if that's really an issue but yeah...
Sometimes parish priests and deacons are "on call" and need to have their beepers and phones on their person. Of course, that's no excuse for it having gone off during Mass because he should have silenced it beforehand, but you know how easy it is to get sidetracked or distracted by something important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenlovesyu View Post
But, is it normal for a priest to ask the congregation to say a blessing for him before he does his homily? Like ask everyone to "lay their hands" upon him?
Could you describe in more detail what's going on here? What are his exact words and at which point in the Mass does it occur. Does he invite people actually to impose their hands?

Without knowing anymore, I can say that this would certainly seem to apply:

Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, 2; can. 1169, 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
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  #5  
Old Jul 13, '09, 11:55 am
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Catholictrain Catholictrain is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

It is not ok that priests "ad-lib" or change things during Mass. The Mass does not belong to the priest... it belongs to the Catholic Church... meaning all of us. It cannot be changed around, disrespected etc by any priest who wants to be hip, be popular or whatever. I would talk to this priest and let him know that it is very distracting to have him do these things.
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  #6  
Old Jul 13, '09, 12:06 pm
Sancto Spiritu Sancto Spiritu is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Lay people are not imbued with the power to bless.

I would find a different parish.
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  #7  
Old Jul 13, '09, 12:20 pm
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mwscott mwscott is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Hopping from parish to parish because we don't like something isn't the solution. This priest has views that are most likely not correct but leaving won't help the situation. If you have feel uncomfortable with his tactics then most likely so do other parishioners. Develop a conversational relationship with him and over time begin to talk to him about your concerns. If you aren't comfortable with talking to him face to face then write him a polite and kind letter not attacking his actions but addressing your curiosity in his actions and your discomfort. Although he isn't acting the "correct" way, he seems like a very personable and kind heated person. If many parishioners feel the same as you, and do the same as you maybe all of your actions will take effect.

Too often we as lay people either get mad and complain or get mad and leave. Sometimes we even get mad and then get mean but we should really respect this man as a priest (which he is, no more than the most conservative priest) and work towards making your parish the best for the greater glory of God.
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"[E]ven in the church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the church."
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  #8  
Old Jul 13, '09, 12:27 pm
Sancto Spiritu Sancto Spiritu is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwscott View Post
Hopping from parish to parish because we don't like something isn't the solution. This priest has views that are most likely not correct but leaving won't help the situation. If you have feel uncomfortable with his tactics then most likely so do other parishioners. Develop a conversational relationship with him and over time begin to talk to him about your concerns. If you aren't comfortable with talking to him face to face then write him a polite and kind letter not attacking his actions but addressing your curiosity in his actions and your discomfort. Although he isn't acting the "correct" way, he seems like a very personable and kind heated person. If many parishioners feel the same as you, and do the same as you maybe all of your actions will take effect.

Too often we as lay people either get mad and complain or get mad and leave. Sometimes we even get mad and then get mean but we should really respect this man as a priest (which he is, no more than the most conservative priest) and work towards making your parish the best for the greater glory of God.
That sounds nice and cheery, but if the OP is having difficulty concentrating in Mass or is distracted by the outlandish things the priest is doing, then the OP should definitely find a new church for the health of his/her spirituality.
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  #9  
Old Jul 13, '09, 12:35 pm
nice2000 nice2000 is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenlovesyu View Post
I have a new vicar priest at my parish and although he seems like a very holy man, he has been doing things before and during mass that make me feel uncomfortable. I don't have the time right now to look up the "rules" so-to-speak on conducting the mass but I will later.

Before mass he comes out and greets the music director and then he speaks to the congregation almost as if the Blessed Sacrament ain't even there

His cellphone went off too at this time...I don't know if that's really an issue but yeah...
Then he asks if there are any visitors and he has the congregation clap for them as they raise their hands. I've never seen this in a Catholic church, only in all the protestant churches I have been to.

I have seen him do these things at two masses so far. During the mass, he has been very reverent for the most part. But, is it normal for a priest to ask the congregation to say a blessing for him before he does his homily? Like ask everyone to "lay their hands" upon him? He also walks around as he does his homily, he doesn't stay at the ambo(forgive me if that isn't the correct term) And then of course he uses that phrase during his homily "Can I get an AMEN?". It just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Are any of these things problematic? I just haven't seen priests behave in this way. The other thing that worries me is that my main parish priest was his mentor before and I remember my main priest suggesting I get into a "civil marriage to see if things work out" when I was in my last relationship

I am just asking an honest question, I don't want to assume the worst in anyone.

God bless
it does'nt sound normal to me. *fainting*
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  #10  
Old Jul 13, '09, 12:36 pm
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mwscott mwscott is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

True but it doesn't appear he is changing any part of the Mass other than the thing before the homily. Unless he shows really grave signs of abuse during the Eucharist you should consider leaving. Even then, I would write a letter to the Bishop.

I think that it is more beneficial to the parish as a whole and the many parishioners who may be being led to understand the Church incorrectly. If things don't work out, then you can leave but it is YOUR parish too. (In fact, you will probably be around longer than the priest. They come and go as they are assigned, you are there to stay.)
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AMDG

"[E]ven in the church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the church."
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  #11  
Old Jul 13, '09, 12:38 pm
Sancto Spiritu Sancto Spiritu is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwscott View Post
True but it doesn't appear he is changing any part of the Mass other than the thing before the homily. Unless he shows really grave signs of abuse during the Eucharist you should consider leaving. Even then, I would write a letter to the Bishop.
I complete disagree. Just because there are no grave abuses doesn't mean the Mass is perfectly well-done or even less distracting.
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  #12  
Old Jul 13, '09, 12:58 pm
Sr Sally Sr Sally is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Is this man a newly ordained priest as well as being new to your parish? If so, he hopefully is not settled in his ways and will be open to suggestion.

Coming out before Mass is not really a problem. Our priests will sometimes come out to speak to the organist/musicians and may greet or chat briefly with a few parishoners. they aren't chatting with the whole crowd though--like they are warming up a room for the next act!

If he is a new priest, he may ask for a blessing because he is nervous about his homily. You best action there may be to pick something out of each homily that you can praise and tell him so after Mass. The priest doesn't have to stay behind the ambo, but he shouldn't leave the sanctuary--that is he shouldn't be down wandering up and down between the pews.

As for his style, he may again be looking for a reaction to ease nervousness. Then again, he may be a convert who was a Protestant minister and be very comfortable with the whole asking for a blessing, chatting up the 'crowd' and 'can I have an Amen' routine.

Does your parish still have a pastor? My reaction would be to first pray for this priest, then to speak to the pastor (if you have one) about your questions. Then, get to know your new priest and as let him know kindly how uncomfortable these things are for you. There is certainly nothing wrong with a lively homily, but roaming the aisle and using protestant catch phrases are not how a Catholic homily should be.
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  #13  
Old Jul 13, '09, 1:18 pm
benedictgal benedictgal is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenlovesyu View Post
I have a new vicar priest at my parish and although he seems like a very holy man, he has been doing things before and during mass that make me feel uncomfortable. I don't have the time right now to look up the "rules" so-to-speak on conducting the mass but I will later.

Before mass he comes out and greets the music director and then he speaks to the congregation almost as if the Blessed Sacrament ain't even there

His cellphone went off too at this time...I don't know if that's really an issue but yeah...
Then he asks if there are any visitors and he has the congregation clap for them as they raise their hands. I've never seen this in a Catholic church, only in all the protestant churches I have been to.

I have seen him do these things at two masses so far. During the mass, he has been very reverent for the most part. But, is it normal for a priest to ask the congregation to say a blessing for him before he does his homily? Like ask everyone to "lay their hands" upon him? He also walks around as he does his homily, he doesn't stay at the ambo(forgive me if that isn't the correct term) And then of course he uses that phrase during his homily "Can I get an AMEN?". It just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Are any of these things problematic? I just haven't seen priests behave in this way. The other thing that worries me is that my main parish priest was his mentor before and I remember my main priest suggesting I get into a "civil marriage to see if things work out" when I was in my last relationship

I am just asking an honest question, I don't want to assume the worst in anyone.

God bless
The "meet and greet" idea, while not an abuse, per se, is, it seems to me, starting things off on the wrong foot. The Mass is not a social gathering. What happens before the Mass should set the tone for what is about to occur. We need to realize that at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, heaven and earth unite and the veil between time and space is lifted. We are entering God's time and are about to partake of something out of the ordinary.

Now, regarding the celebrant asking the people to "bless him" before he preaches, this is an ilicit practice. Please note what Ecclesia de Mysterio says:

Quote:
1. Liturgical actions must always clearly manifest the unity of the People of God as a structured communion.(89) Thus there exists a close link between the ordered exercise of liturgical action and the reflection in the liturgy of the Church's structured nature.

This happens when all participants, with faith and devotion, discharge those roles proper to them.

2. To promote the proper identity (of various roles) in this area, those abuses which are contrary to the provisions of canon 907 are to be eradicated. In eucharistic celebrations deacons and non-ordained members of the faithful may not pronounce prayers -- e.g. especially the eucharistic prayer, with its concluding doxology -- or any other parts of the liturgy reserved to the celebrant priest. 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.

...Every effort must be made to avoid even the appearance of confusion which can spring from anomalous liturgical practices.
What you describe is, unfortunately, an "anomalous" practice that should not be happening in the first place. The only one who has the faculties to impart a blessing during the course of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the celebrant, be he a priest or a bishop. Furthermore, while there are some blessings that are attached to ritual Masses like Baptism, Holy Matrimony, Confirmation, the Annointing of the Sick and Holy Orders, the only time that a blessing should be imparted by the celebrant is at the end of Mass when the final blessing is given to the faithful.
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Old Jul 13, '09, 1:26 pm
hilde the dog hilde the dog is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Here we go again...Protestant churches have several hundred types, which ones are you specifying. Not all of them act in the manner described. I'm Cathjolic, but grew up in a very conservative dutch Calvinist church in Western Michigan. There was none of that stuff in that church.
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Old Jul 13, '09, 1:51 pm
jenlovesyu jenlovesyu is offline
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Default Re: Is this normal? I feel like I'm back in a protestant church again...

Quote:
Could you describe in more detail what's going on here? What are his exact words and at which point in the Mass does it occur. Does he invite people actually to impose their hands?
I can't remember exactly what he said but I'm pretty sure "lay your hands" was a part of what he said. I may have to wait and see what he says at the next mass in the event I misunderstood.

What he does is walk down the aisle, hold one of the parishoner's hands, and has the congregation lift up their hands towards him.

Quote:
Too often we as lay people either get mad and complain or get mad and leave. Sometimes we even get mad and then get mean but we should really respect this man as a priest (which he is, no more than the most conservative priest) and work towards making your parish the best for the greater glory of God.
See, I agree with this. I don't want to just jump to conclusions and get worked up about something that may not be a serious issue or can be fixed. However, it was very distracting for me.

Quote:
Is this man a newly ordained priest as well as being new to your parish? If so, he hopefully is not settled in his ways and will be open to suggestion.

Coming out before Mass is not really a problem. Our priests will sometimes come out to speak to the organist/musicians and may greet or chat briefly with a few parishoners. they aren't chatting with the whole crowd though--like they are warming up a room for the next act!...
He said he has been a priest for 17 years.
He does seem like a very nervous guy and perhaps he is looking for a reaction. And I wouldn't doubt it if he came from a protestant church. I paid close attention to his homily and so far everything seems to be perfectly in line with Catholic teachings.

He does leave the sanctuary though while giving the homily. I don't know, I am more comfortable listening to someone as they stand in one spot than if they are moving around. I figure though, that perhaps I will attend a couple more masses and make note of everything that seems odd to me and then I will speak with my pastor.

Quote:
The "meet and greet" idea, while not an abuse, per se, is, it seems to me, starting things off on the wrong foot. The Mass is not a social gathering. What happens before the Mass should set the tone for what is about to occur. We need to realize that at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, heaven and earth unite and the veil between time and space is lifted. We are entering God's time and are about to partake of something out of the ordinary.

Now, regarding the celebrant asking the people to "bless him" before he preaches, this is an ilicit practice. Please note what Ecclesia de Mysterio says:
I totally agree with what you said (especially the bolded part). I come to Mass with a readiness to be as reverent as possible. It's hard enough when the musicians are blasting music with drums and guitars. It's even harder when the celebrant is making the Holy Mass out to be a flashy feel-good party. I'm exaggerating a little but I hope you understand what I'm getting at.
I also had a feeling that the whole blessing part was off. It did throw me off quite a bit
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