An Instance of Liturgical Abuse(s)

This past Sunday, I attended Mass at a parish I have attended in the past that typically conducted Mass with great reverence and followed the norms of the Ordinary Form. Yet, this particular Mass threw me off quite a bit. First, during the reading of the Gospel, the priest encouraged laity participation in the aspect that the priest read particular parts, then stopped, and the laity then proceeded to read other specified parts. Secondly, the priest let a layman speak in place of him for the homily, which entailed much secular tidbits and his thoughts on the Gospel piece read. Overall, it was an interesting morning and not particularly orthodox.

I know how you feel. I recently attended a church I haven’t attended in a long time that is usually orthodox, and there was a baptism. So, I thought to myself, that it would be done with great reverence. But, when the children were called up for the Children’s Liturgy (I was also shocked to see that he did CL. It is very unorthodox), he also asked the lay leader to bring the children out in 8 minutes to witness the baptism. When they came out, he (the priest) invited them to gather around in the sanctuary. I said to myself, “good grief”. It truly saddened me, because the priest (usually orthodox) wasn’t wearing a stole either :frowning: . I’m thinking that he was having a “bad liturgical day”, because the “gather around the altar” is becoming a very clichè liturgical abuse. I know how you feel. I much, much rather the TLM. I visit this parish every now and then, to see how they are doing.
Pray for this parish. May I ask one question though: Was this a different priest than usual.?

Thank you for your input. It certainly is a terrible feeling to witness such transgressions. I believe it was the same priest that is present at the Ordinary Form in Latin with Gregorian Chant, but it has been a while since I have attended that particular Mass. In addition, for the week day Masses, a different priest was present when I was in attendance. And lastly, the Mass I attended was geared toward the Elect in RCIA, and I greatly believe that the priest is doing a disservice to those entering the Church by making the Mass his “own.” By the way, Msgr. Marc Aillet and Bishop of Bayonne in a talk on “The Wondered Liturgy” states:

The liturgy is wounded when the faithful are left to the arbitrariness of the celebrant, his quirks, his personal ideas or opinions, to his own wounds.

Certainly a pertinent quote.

This is only permissible during the reading of the Lord’s Passion on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, where the congregation speaks the parts of the “crowd”. Otherwise, the active participation of the congregation during the Gospel is the same for during the other readings: prayerful, attentive listening.

ONLY an ordained minister – bishop, priest, or deacon – may give the homily. The Church has made this point repeatedly.

These are serious abuses. To agument what japhy wrote, here is what Redemptionis Sacramentum states:

[63.] Within the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, the reading of the Gospel, which is “the high point of the Liturgy of the Word”,139 is reserved by the Church’s tradition to an ordained minister.140 Thus it is not permitted for a layperson, even a religious, to proclaim the Gospel reading in the celebration of Holy Mass, nor in other cases in which the norms do not explicitly permit it.141

[64.] The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass and is a part of the Liturgy itself,142 “should ordinarily be given by the Priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a Deacon, but never to a layperson.143 In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a Priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate”.144

[65.] It should be borne in mind that any previous norm that may have admitted non-ordained faithful to give the homily during the Eucharistic celebration is to be considered abrogated by the norm of canon 767 §1.145 This practice is reprobated, so that it cannot be permitted to attain the force of custom.

Unfortunately, some parishes seem to think that Lent and Holy Week are prime time for a free form exercise in creativity. This is wrong. You might want to write a letter to the priest and tell him that this is a very troubling and serious issue. Even though you are not a parishioner, you still have the right to a licitly celebrated Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If he does not respond, then, a letter to the bishop is in order.

A caveat: I am going to venture on uncharted territory (and yes, before Benedictgal quotes from the Moto Propio, I know that priests aren’t supposed to cut and paste the EF and the OF onto each other. I don’t need to be lectured on that.)

Wasn’t this last Sunday what would have been Passion Sunday in the old calendar? Is it possible that this priest was trying to graft the reading of the Passion unto the date it would have been read on the EF calendar?

Yes it was Passion Sunday, but in the EF, the Passion is read on:

Palm Sunday (Matthew)
Tuesday of Holy Week (Mark)
Wednesday of Holy Week (Luke)
Good Friday (John)

The Passion is not read on Passion Sunday, and the Passion is the only Gospel that has “parts” for different readers. So, while this could have been a misguided attempt to “cut-and-paste,” that would seem to be highly doubtful. What was noted in the the OP appears to be more of an “innovation” than anything else.

Was the priest who was celebrating Mass also the one celebrating the Baptism? If so, not seeing a stole should be the norm: properly vesting means putting on the alb, the stole and then the chasuble. We should not see the stole.

Thank you for the information, benedictgal. I’ll look in to sending a letter.

That is definitley not an orthodox means of holding a mass. I used to attend a parish that did the same thing. Being a former Lutheran/Episcopal in belief, I always had an affinity for a liturgical form of worship. It is a shame that some churches allow this type of abuse to creep in the name of the “sprit” of Vatican II. I have been going to a Maronite church which has a grandeur that is a blessing within itself. I have been to a TDLM,and that was absolutely beautiful as well. I being a canonical Latin Rite Catholic, but an easterner at heart :slight_smile: has found the Maronite churche’s liturgy and theology to appeal to me greatly. I have seen Episcopal and Lutheran churches that havve more reverence than some Catholic churches. I pray the Holy Father will slowly move the church towards the older traditions again. JPII said that the eastern churches were supposed to basically abandon the Novus Ordo typologies in their Qurbono’s and Divine Liturgies, but that has been slow to come. Do not lose hope although, if a particular parish does not suit you, find one that does. I hopped around for awhile until coming to the Maronite tradition. God Bless.

Hold on here…I thought Passion Sunday is Palm Sunday now?

Since V2, the two observances have been merged (“Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion” is the official name for it now).

And BTW, this year both Gospels for Palm Sunday are from Luke…

The “hootenanny” Masses (as I like to call them) are waaay out of bounds. It was never the intention of the Second Council to allow ANY of that - and during the Gospel of all things!! As a PP said, it wasn’t Palm Sunday/Good Friday. The laity have no business participating in the Gospel or Homily, and they should (I stress should) know that.

Honestly, if I were at a Mass where that occurred, I’d walk out. Jesus would understand…

Yes, it was Passion Sunday. Our Church still refers to it as such - but the Passion was not the reading…

I’ve seen much worse Liturgical abuses, but they all get under my skin.


I was speaking of the EF.

After sitting through a peculiar lay homily about destiny, I then chose to walk out.

As usual, my only response to your post is :thumbsup:.

Complete. Succinct. Correct. Charitable.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit