Quick and dirty background: I am a non-Catholic (non-believer, to be more accurate) who attends mass every Sunday with my Catholic wife.
We had a bit of excitement during mass last Sunday and the events that followed have left me kind of scratching my head. Our rather elderly priest was right in the middle of the consecration (he had just elevated the host) when he suddenly dropped unconscious to the floor. There was a doctor in attendance, an ambulance was called, and within 15 minutes he was on his way to the hospital. (Diagnosis - heat stroke. It was hotter than Hades in there that morning. Thankfully, he went home the following day and is expected to be fine.) Anyway, as the sound of the ambulance sirens faded into the distance, the head usher announced that he had contacted a neighboring parish and that another priest was about 45 minutes away and would coming to finish the mass. I looked at my wife and it was obvious that she wanted to stay, so I just bowed to the inevitable and settled in for the duration.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The guy sitting in front of us has a rather tight schedule on Sunday morning. He has to get to work immediately after mass, so he didn’t have 45 minutes to spare. Consequently, he got up and headed for the door - where he was met by the head usher who told him to return to his seat. (A bit more background here: The usher corps is made up of a bunch of late 50’s/early 60’s guys who consider themselves to be “hard-core Catholics.” I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with them being strong in their faith; I’m mentioning this only because their “hard-core Catholicism” is a frequent topic of conversation and a point of pride with these guys.) Anyway, when this gentleman informed the usher that he would be late for work and had to leave, the usher informed him that everyone had to wait for the priest to arrive and finish the mass. When the man tried to walk past the usher, the usher blocked the door. The “conversation” quickly became heated and volume increased significantly. The last thing I heard was the man yelling, “If you don’t get your hands off of me, you’ll be leaving in an ambulance too.” The usher finally stepped aside and the man left.
My question: Was this just an usher who was being WAY too zealous in the performance of his duties? Or did the man who left early violate some dogma of the Church?