A Non-"Abuse" that is Sure to Bother Some

I was thinking about the discussions on these forums where some attack certain liturgical practices not because they are prohibited by the Church but because they don’t personally care for them.

As I type this I’m watching the Easter Sunday Mass from Notre Dame University on-line at
catholictv.com/shows/default.aspx?seriesID=12 I’m watching it because I appreciate how they celebrate the OF Mass and I like Fr. Peter Rocca’s homilies.

In the procession and just before the reading of the Gospel they make use of “banners.” My own immediate knee-jerk reaction was one of disdain – likely because of some fairly negative remembrances of the “felt army” that used to dominate Masses at my parish.

At second look the banners are very understated and while still not my favorite they certainly are not a “liturgical abuse” because they are not specifically called-out by the Church. Take at look at the link around 19:30. Do you really find that “abusive” and why?

NB: Please don’t use the ND/Obama scandal or Fr. McBrien in your responses – we’ve all already heard far too much about both of them. Thanks.

I would simply wonder why the procession with the Gospel Book, candles, and incense sufficient.

Who suggested that it wouldn’t have been? Not the celebrant of that Mass. What about Masses that don’t use incense or candles in that situation. Is there a feeling that something is missing?

They were probably just trying to make it a bit more celebratory. They use candles and incense every Sunday…for Easter they added banners to give the gospel a bit more focus on this special day. I didn’t see it, but from what I know of Fr Peter that is probably what they did.

The reason things like this rub me the wrong way are because holding up banners tends to be a secular thing and not a sacral thing. People hold up banners at football games, political rallies, and protests. Why bring that into Divine Worship?

Now, I’m not one of these Puritans who believe that true worship involves an “escape” from all things material. Far from it. But most things used in sacred worship are very symbolic and have a rich history. They are also usually made of durable materials and express a certain ethereal, eloquent beauty. Most banners are cheap felt that is very ugly - hardly something that speaks to the timelessness of the Faith.

I know there are parishes that are poor, and maybe the felt banners are the best they can offer Our Lord as far as decor. Maybe that’s the best they can do to draw the People into the Eternal realities that unfold at the Altar of Sacrifice. However, my typical experience is that the typical parish doing felt banners can offer plenty more. They use cheap materials because 1) the people are too cheap to pay for good art, or 2) the leaders in the parish are too embarrassed to have nice art. Either way, it’s the cheap stuff for God, and then everyone drives off in their BMW’s.

To the OP: your instincts are right.

Were these banners proclaiming “Alleluja” … ???

We stop proclaiming “Alleluja” with the beginning of Lent and it is not Proclaimed until the Easter Vigil at the proclaimation of the Gospel Reading …

Our parish “buries” in a small chest that sits in front of the Ambo through out Lent an Alleluja Banner [White with Gold letters] at the Mardi Gras festival … When the Gospel is proclaimed at the easter Vigil that “Alleluja” banner is hung from the Ambo - where it will hang through the Easter Season.

Not sure what you observed - I did not watch it -

however, emphasizing the Resurrection and Proclaiming “ALLELUJA” Christ is Risen in this way would not seem to be abuse [verbally - Voices raised in proclaimation and in written - banner form]…

I really have a great deal of respect for Fr. Rocca…

I would compare it to a flag. Most people have the utmost respect for their flag and it’s only made of cloth. I think you’re missing the point if you look at how expensive something is or if it’s “ugly” or “harsh.” A wooden cross is ugly and harsh too. G. K. Chesterton often writes of this motif. We should not be afraid of those things that are low, or “humble” in latin. There is true beauty in these things. This conforms with a lot of what Christ taught. Nothing escapes the worship of God, even felt.

Why not? My initial knee-jerk was because I equated them to the horrid felt banners of the past and they were certainly not that. (I don’t like those old felt banners because instead of catechesis, catchists would often have kids “make a banner” using scraps of felt and a hot glue gun.)

Those banners actually looked mighty pricey and rather majestic/elegant as far as banners go.

The banners didn’t really add or detract from the procession or recession. Their use at the Gospel was different though. After thinking about it, it was their size/height, the number used and the precision of their motion (I am surprised no one brought up liturgical dance) and their color (white to match the vestments and to reinforce the resurrection) that added an additional layer of pageantry – and the Church goes to great lengths to allow/encourage pageantry within the Mass. I think they could grab/hold the attention of someone who was sitting 250’ away from the sanctuary in that basilica – maybe someone who would have otherwise engaged in a bit of chatting before the Gospel was read.

I think in the end I like the banners. I’m not sure they were worth all the money and time (this took practice to pull off) though.

Uh, this is an Easter Sunday Mass so it’s allowed.

Also, I don’t view the banners as secular. I’ve seen them used plenty of times in Catholic settings.

Yes. They SHOULD be using lights and incense at the Gospel!

Now that is CHEESY. It’s not an abuse. However, the only thing cheesier is the hymn “Lord of the Dance.”

I’m sure some member of the parish liturgical committee thought that the idea was brilliant.

I guess I am not sure what is ‘chessy’ …

The term “burying the Alleluja” is very old - not new … The Mardi Gras is a festival [party] event not a liturgy [not Mass] …

The Banner was brought to Mass and hung on the Ambo immediately before the Gospel was proclaimed as the community sang the “Alleluja” for the first time since the Mass before the start of Lent … The Banner is small, very pretty …

Does your parish not use any flowers, draperies or banners or other environmental elements :confused:

And that was my point …

Banners that proclaim “Alleluja” are an expression of the Easter Season … [my question was “what was on the banners?” - as I did not personnaly see what the OP did and found fault with] …

My comment was if it was the “Alleluja” it would be natural and most probrably appropriate because we ‘remove’ the use of the alleluja from the liturgy …

The banners were blank. Just some cream-colored strips of cloth.

My question then would be where were these blank pieces of cloth placed at the end if the procession… were they the Altar Linens? … Processed in to dress the Altar? …

To me the concept of a “Banner” would include either an image or letters …

Draperies, table linens, streamers … would be bare …

But I guess you could have a “blank” banner :shrug:

perhaps my thinking is too narrow :wink:

They were like streamers. They matched the white vestments of the priests and they looked good, like drapery, LOL.

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