EDITED: Liturgical abuses

I went to Mass today and the priest did a number of strange things:
Used a ceramic cup for the blood.
Wore an orange ‘stole’. (It didn’t have a cross in the middle and wasn’t stitched at an angle.)
Didn’t wear a chasuble.
Got mad when people wanted to receive on the tongue.

I have also seen other questionable things done, such as:
Sanctuary lights that weren’t red.
An altar set off to the side, to be symmetric with the ambo.
A priest wearing a stole on the outside of his chasuble.
The Eucharist kept in wooden tabernacles.
Altars without altar stones.
Wine glasses used for the blood.
The altar being set lower than the pews, without any steps.
A bird shaped tabernacle?
A church arranged in a circle around the altar.

Any sort of comment on these is welcome. However I am especially wondering on the canonical legality of these things and whether they make the Mass invalid as well as if I should take concerns to the Bishop.

Sadly, these are folks that know no better.

I could add: priest not elevating the host or the chalice during the Concentration or priest using only one hand to during the Concentration.

All of the things you describe are incorrect, with the exceptions listed below. However, none of them would make the Mass invalid. If Mass can be celebrated in a concentration camp with practically nothing but rudimentary bread and wine (and it can), then the positioning of the priest’s stole or the arrangement of the altar and church are not going to invalidate it.

  1. Although red is the customary color for the sanctuary lamp, there has never been any prescription for it, and in some places white has always been more common.

  2. A permanent altar ought to have an “altar stone,” though it need not technically be made of stone; for instance, “In the dioceses of the United States of America, however, wood which is worthy, solid, and well-crafted may be used, provided that the altar is structurally immobile.” With the proper cloth and corporal Mass can be celebrated on any relatively flat surface, like the hood of a Jeep on a battlefield.

  3. Bird-shaped tabernacles are an ancient tradition. A modern example, with Cardinal O’Malley of Boston celebrating, is shown below. The 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia explains: “In general, four main methods of preserving the Blessed Sacrament may be distinguished in medieval times: . . . [3] in a dove or pyx, surrounded by a cover or receptacle and generally surmounted by a small baldachino, which hung over the altar by a chain or cord.”

  4. A circular arrangement for the church is not at all my preference, but it is not “incorrect.” And the sanctuary, which is the area around the altar, “should suitably be marked off from the body of the church either by its being somewhat elevated or by a particular structure and ornamentation,” so it is not strictly required that the altar be elevated above the levels of the pews. Nevertheless, “[t]he altar should . . . be so placed as to be truly the center toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns,” so it should not be positioned off to the side to make it seem equivalent with the ambo. This was a somewhat popular fashion for a while, unfortunately.

  5. I’m not aware of any requirement that a stole have a cross on it (though it’s possible) nor that it be stitched in a particular way (this one’s not likely). Orange, however, is not a correct liturgical color.

Since you’re new, you might not be aware of some of the resources that are online for people who are interested in the documents that govern the liturgy. The big one is the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), which is printed in the front of the Sacramentary (the book the priest celebrates Mass from) and is basically an instruction manual for most aspects of the Mass. Another important document is Redemptionis Sacramentum, which was issued by the Vatican in 2004 and regulates a lot of issues concerning the Eucharist:

Welcome to the forums!

OK… I must say that I love the bird tabernacles pictured.

But I would, wouldn’t I? :smiley:

I could add: priest not elevating the host or the chalice during the Concentration or priest using only one hand to during the Concentration.

I truly do not want to ‘nitpick’ but it’s “Consecration”, not “Concentration.”

I thought the priest always elevates the host during consecration,and why would he look annoyed if you wanted to take the host on the tongue.I thought we had a choice.I have never taken the host in my hand for fear of dropping it.

I mentioned the stitching because I’m not sure it was intended to be a stole in the first place, judging by the design. The way they are normally stitched ensures that it doesn’t hang awkwardly, which this one definitely did.

All of these (with the exception of the stitching angle on the stole, and possibly the lack of the cross on the stole) are forbidden. From what you say, it did not make the Mass invalid, but I would bring them to the bishop.

I wasn’t aware there was a prescription to what kind the tabernacle is made of. Not sure in the Roman Catholic canons if there is. In my Ukrainian parish, our tabernacle is made of wood. Just last Saturday I assisted in lifting it because we had to change the altar cloth for Easter.

Spelling correction is duly noted.:blush: Thank you:thumbsup:

Today I attended Mass at the Cathedral (Archdiocese)

They just spent $17,000 on processional candles & Cross, thurible and a few other things they mentioned. Couldn’t they have spent a couple of thousand to replace the glass chalices and the glass bowls they use instead of ciboria?

During the Consecration, at the words “He took bread, broke it” the priest broke the concelebration host with great flourish, the sound amplified by his mic. I couldn’t believe I was seeing that at the Cathedral.:mad: If there’s one place you’d expect to see the Mass celebrated as it’s supposed to be…

Now, why would they want to do that? :rolleyes:

A propos, what kind of vestments were used?

Looks like yet another priest in desperate need of learning how to say Mass. Seems to be a lot of that going around these days. Kind of reminds me of a conversation I had with my bishop this past week.

He wore a simple white chasuble with, IIRC, a Chi-rho on the back.

Oh, when he elevated each specie after the Consecration he spoke out loud, “My Lord and my God.” Now, I know we were taught to say that in acknowledgment at that time, but I didn’t think the priest would actually say that aloud.

Considering the glass “chalices” and such, that sounds a bit incongruous, meaning a little on the “traditional” side. That is, of course, unless it was made of felt or polyester :wink:

Oh, that one is in very desperate need of lessons. :eek:


With regard to altar stones, the term refers not to the mensa (top) of the altar being made from stone, but to the small relic set into the mensa, which is usually made of stone and commonly called an altar stone. This practice is highly recommended but is no longer required. In some churches, the relic is placed inside the structure of the altar rather than inlayed into the mensa. Many newer churches, unfortunately, have no relic at all.

The mensa of the altar should be made of stone, but wood is permitted in the United States. Many of the elaborate high altars found in older churches are not actually made of marble but of carefully-painted wood and plaster. Go behind one and you might be surprised.

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