Help! Backlash on trying to restore order in liturgy!

Hello fellow CAF members. While I appreciate that a lot of people will not like what I say, I’ll post it anyway and hope for some responses. Anyway, in the Mass at my Church now, I have placed myself on the liturgy committee because frankly there are a lot of abuses and I am trying to sort them. I sent out a general email, which I will post, to the members. I got an interesting response, which shocked me - and in a bad way. I had a bad feeling that people were taking liberties with the Church and making it their own little shindig and now… anyway, here is what I sent out.

Most quotes are from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

Regarding the Kyrie:

“52. After the Act of Penitence, the Kyrie is always begun, unless it has already been included as part of the Act of Penitence. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy, it is ordinarily done by all, that is, by the people and with the choir or cantor having a part in it.”

I highlight the words to bring to attention the fact that the Kyrie should be done by all; in our services the language barrier hinders this, and the exclusivity of the choir does the same.

Regarding the Gloria:

“53. The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text. The Gloria is intoned by the priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by all together or by two parts of the congregation responding one to the other.”

Our services have a mixed bag and the Gloria is not entirely clear; language and choir confusion. I am not opposed to a different language, but the faithful and the collective unity of the congregation as a whole should be placed above choir exclusivity. The words of the Gloria may not be replaced or changed – and until due permission is given, I think we need to stick with the words as given to us in the New Translation.

Regarding singing/choir functioning

“39. The Christian faithful who gather together as one to await the Lord’s coming are instructed by the Apostle Paul to sing together psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (cf. Col 3:16). Singing is the sign of the heart’s joy (cf. Acts 2:46). Thus Saint Augustine says rightly, "Singing is for one who loves."48 There is also the ancient proverb: “One who sings well prays twice.”

  1. Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of the people and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are of themselves meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people is not absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on holy days of obligation.

In the choosing of the parts actually to be sung, however, preference should be given to those that are of greater importance and especially to those to be sung by the priest or the deacon or the lector, with the people responding, or by the priest and people together.

  1. All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.”

Sacred music should be given preference, and other types of music are not allowed unless deemed to be sacred. When choosing music, and music style, we need to consider whether or not we are participating with this in mind. Possibly our Bishops could be more clear on this; but I am not convinced that we are entirely in line with this instruction.
Participation of the faithful is once again emphasised.
In addition to this:

‘Musicam Sacram’ says regarding musical instruments:

  1. In permitting and using musical instruments, the culture and traditions of individual peoples must be taken into account. However, those instruments which are, by common opinion and use, suitable for secular music only, are to be altogether prohibited from every liturgical celebration and from popular devotions.

  2. The use of musical instruments to accompany the singing can act as a support to the voices, render participation easier, and achieve a deeper union in the assembly. However, their sound should not so overwhelm the voices that it is difficult to make out the text; and when some part is proclaimed aloud by the priest or a minister by virtue of his role, they should be silent.

Some clarity from the Bishops would be nice, but I wonder about our drums and how they fit in with a Western mass. And the occasional solo guitar from some members of our congregation is obviously a no-no that does happen!

Regarding singing in general, and the responses, etc:

“16. One cannot find anything more religious and more joyful in sacred celebrations than a whole congregation expressing its faith and devotion in song. Therefore the active participation of the whole people, which is shown in singing, is to be carefully promoted as follows:
(a) It should first of all include acclamations, responses to the greetings of the priest and ministers and to the prayers of litany form, and also antiphons and psalms, refrains or repeated responses, hymns and canticles.16
(b) Through suitable instruction and practices, the people should be gradually led to a fuller – indeed, to a complete – participation in those parts of the singing which pertain to them.
© Some of the people’s song, however, especially if the faithful have not yet been sufficiently instructed, or if musical settings for several voices are used, can be handed over to the choir alone, provided that the people are not excluded from those parts that concern them. But the usage of entrusting to the choir alone the entire singing of the whole Proper and of the whole Ordinary, to the complete exclusion of the people’s participation in the singing, is to be deprecated.

17 Through it the faithful are not only not considered as extraneous or dumb spectators at the liturgical service, but are associated more intimately in the mystery that is being celebrated, thanks to that interior disposition which derives from the word of God that they have heard, from the songs and prayers that have been uttered, and from spiritual union with the priest in the parts that he says or sings himself.”

Regarding sacred silence, before, during and after mass:
From the GIRM:
“45. Sacred silence also, as part of the celebration, is to be observed at the designated times.54 Its purpose, however, depends on the time it occurs in each part of the celebration. Thus within the Act of Penitence and again after the invitation to pray, all recollect themselves; but at the conclusion of a reading or the homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, they praise and pray to God in their hearts.

Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner.”
Regarding extraordinary ministers and/or role of laity during mass

From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[45.] To be avoided is the danger of obscuring the complementary relationship between the action of clerics and that of laypersons, in such a way that the ministry of laypersons undergoes what might be called a certain “clericalization”, while the sacred ministers inappropriately assume those things that are proper to the life and activity of the lay faithful
[88.] The faithful should normally receive sacramental Communion of the Eucharist during Mass itself, at the moment laid down by the rite of celebration, that is to say, just after the Priest celebrant’s Communion.It is the Priest celebrant’s responsibility to minister Communion, perhaps assisted by other Priests or Deacons; and he should not resume the Mass until after the Communion of the faithful is concluded. Only when there is a necessity may extraordinary ministers assist the Priest celebrant in accordance with the norm of law.
Here comes the good parts!
[154.] As has already been recalled, “the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest”. Hence the name “minister of the Eucharist” belongs properly to the Priest alone. Moreover, also by reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon, to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christ’s faithful during the celebration of Mass. In this way their ministerial office in the Church is fully and accurately brought to light, and the sign value of the Sacrament is made complete.
[158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.

Additionally, from the Instruction “On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful”:
Article 8
§ 2. Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion. They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion.
This function is supplementary and extraordinary and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law….
To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:
— extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants;
— association with the renewal of promises made by priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion;
— the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of “a great number of the faithful”.

Holding hands during the Our Father:

The official publication of the Sacred Congregation for the Sacrament sand Divine Worship, Notitiae (11 [1975] 226), states the practice “must be repudiated . . . it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on a personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics.” And anything not in the rubrics is unlawful, again because “no other person . . . may add . . . anything [to] the liturgy on his own authority” (ibid).

Clarifications and Interpretations of the GIRM “Notitiae” Vol. XI (1975) p. 226] explains:
“. . .holding hands is a sign of intimacy and not reconciliation, and as such disrupts the flow of the Sacramental signs in the Mass which leads to the Sacramental sign of intimacy with Christ and our neighbor, Holy Communion.”

And I also quoted from… I cannot remember which document, which forbids the use of projectors, because some in the committee think its appropriate to start using projectors now all of a sudden.

Here was the reply:

I would like to point out that while you think that you may be right with this quote, you should look at the bigger picture.

• Firstly, a quibbling remark. The projectors back in the mentioned time frame were vastly different than they are today and a noisy whirring machine that could only really display film, pales in comparison and function to projectors today.
• This ‘rule’ happened before Vatican 2, a council which paved the way for major reforms in the Catholic church. For one, they stopped blaming the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus, the mass was changed into languages besides Latin and so on.
• Since then other things have changed, the concept of Limbo has been abandoned and the liturgy has been revised many times over.
• Your statement comes from a time pre-dating the modern Catholic world.
• I should also probably add that in that period Pope John XIII proposed that all masses were to stay in Latin, an idea which was shot down.
• Also the Vatican also proposed for extraordinary ministers to help out with masses, to help cope with increasing crowds and decreasing priests. Another idea that was disapproved of by Pope John XIII.
• Given the significant reforms made by Vatican 2, it is quite evident to see that there would be a lot that ‘just wasn’t done’ back in the 1950s.
• The church has changed, as must you.
• So yes, Rome has spoken. Your archaic idea of Rome, much like many of the ideas it endorsed, has spoken. If you wish to follow these, then I feel you were indeed born in the wrong time
• The churches ways have changed, Tom, you must accept it. If we live by rules and regulations while losing sight of benefitting those who need it, we are no better than the Pharisees.
• To maintain the ‘beauty’ of the mass by keeping the mass in Latin or having hymns in your language, at the expense of the communities own needs is both unrealistic and hideously selfish. Trying to ride such a feel good wave is a ridiculous idea. Our true happiness in the mass should come from worshipping God as a united community and what other way to recognise this fully than to include all.
• And yes, that includes technology.

I am kind of left… well, shocked. To be honest, I only want what is best for our Church as a whole. So if I am wrong, I will admit to it. But I am afraid that the mentality is that the Mass is our little shindig meant for our waving of hands and fun times. When it should be a solemn, beautiful, reverent thing.

Thoughts?

Here is the reply I intend to send back… I didnt want to sound too harsh or uncharitable, so let me know.

Let me begin by saying that your points were uncharitably made – which shows just where you are coming from. All too often the Church warns us not to think with our emotions, but use our God given reason. You are obviously and intelligent guy who has thought about it, but let us not be petty, an intellectual argument isn’t what this is. Nor is it an agenda, nor is it the time to do anything other than what we are instructed to do. Furthermore, it is interesting that in your response to me you quote no Church documents. I do not want to make any quick judgements, but does this not strike you as odd? That you are speaking out against Rome itself? Now, to your points.
• Firstly, a quibbling remark. The projectors back in the mentioned time frame were vastly different than they are today and a noisy whirring machine that could only really display film, pales in comparison and function to projectors today.

This is no argument. Just because projectors have improved, does not mean the Truth has become old or defunct. The Truth remains the Truth.
• This ‘rule’ happened before Vatican 2, a council which paved the way for major reforms in the Catholic church. For one, they stopped blaming the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus, the mass was changed into languages besides Latin and so on.

Firstly, the hostility towards pre-Vatican II in this point is frankly quite astounding. That last sentence shows a juvenile understanding of Vatican II and of our Church. Secondly, this is no argument again. The Church never changes her teaching; because the Truth remains the Truth. Things are just made clear.
• Since then other things have changed, the concept of Limbo has been abandoned and the liturgy has been revised many times over.

Limbo was never an official doctrine of the Church. It was, and always has been, theological speculation. The Liturgy has not been revised many times over, either. Again, a point that has not much to say except speculation – “other things have changed”.
• Your statement comes from a time pre-dating the modern Catholic world.

Truth never changes. With this line of reasoning I could claim many heresies, and out-date the Word of God and say things like – “Well, Jesus said that in a time pre-dating the modern Catholic world”. If this is purely about the projector, I see nothing official or anything real in your statement. Consider that you are not a member of the College of Cardinals.
• I should also probably add that in that period Pope John XIII proposed that all masses were to stay in Latin, an idea which was shot down.

A straw man argument. What has this to do with anything? Do you understand how the Papacy works. Had John XIII believed that it was the entirely correct thing to do – he could have made sure the Mass stayed in Latin. His idea was not “shot down” like a school yard idea.

Continued…

• Also the Vatican also proposed for extraordinary ministers to help out with masses, to help cope with increasing crowds and decreasing priests. Another idea that was disapproved of by Pope John XIII.
Again, what has the Pope got to do with this? You seem to be countering your own argument in some sense – unless you are actually saying that Pope John XIII is somehow inferior? Again, no official documents here. Nor have you said anything substantial. Please look back on the documents and see what the role of the Extraordinary Minister is.
• Given the significant reforms made by Vatican 2, it is quite evident to see that there would be a lot that ‘just wasn’t done’ back in the 1950s.

I don’t see your point here; though I think I know what you are trying to say, but this is an opinion without relevant facts or approval.
• The church has changed, as must you.

I hazard to say this, but you do not know how the Church has changed. The Church has changed, yes, but we must not change it by doing things as we would like them to be done. The abuses are called abuses for a reason. I believe, instead, you need to change for the Church, in order for the changes that were misinterpreted post-VII to be rectified.
• So yes, Rome has spoken. Your archaic idea of Rome, much like many of the ideas it endorsed, has spoken. If you wish to follow these, then I feel you were indeed born in the wrong time

Nice ad hominen. Remember, our Church is archaic. It is 2000 years old. You are bordering on claiming a higher status to Rome here. Your Church history is wrong.
• The churches ways have changed, Tom, you must accept it. If we live by rules and regulations while losing sight of benefitting those who need it, we are no better than the Pharisees.
Your understanding of the Pharisees and Jesus’ comments on their behaviour is misguided. We MUST live by the rules because they ultimately DO benefit us. But do not lose site either, that this is not YOUR Church. It is the mystical body of Christ, which we hold dear and obey.
• To maintain the ‘beauty’ of the mass by keeping the mass in Latin or having hymns in your language, at the expense of the communities own needs is both unrealistic and hideously selfish. Trying to ride such a feel good wave is a ridiculous idea. Our true happiness in the mass should come from worshipping God as a united community and what other way to recognise this fully than to include all.

So you are agreeing with me then? A united community, yes, not just the Choir having their songs done as if they are performing? I don’t really see your point here. If you read what I sent out, you will see that I am not opposed to having other languages, as long as it is liturgically appropriate and as long as it is inclusive.
• And yes, that includes technology.

We are a Church, not a technological review magazine. I do not understand what you are getting at here.

Look, it is a shame that we have to even debate this. I wish we didn’t have to, but there has been a giant misunderstanding that occurred 40 years ago. Our current objective now, is to get the Mass and the Liturgy back to what it was meant to be. These “changes” you speak about – I don’t think you know exactly what you mean. The documents I quoted are not archaic, they are relatively new instructions. If you do not wish to follow them, you need to look at what the liturgy and what the celebration of the Mass is all about in the first place.

I think that the letter itself could have benefited from having a clearer structure and tighter drafting. Presumably, the liturgy committee implicitly has a better understanding of the situation that we do at this remove, but I think that in these situations, identifying specific problems, relatnig them to the specific instructions at issue, and supplying suggested (even if tentative) proposals for resolution would help. Instead, the reader is deluged with rather flabby blockquotes and expected to infer your exact complaint.

That said, their response is as lazy as it is predictable. It seems to rest largely on the so-called “spirit of Vatican II” without connecting that spirit to your particular points or recognizing that the documents you cite postdate the council. You might want to ask them, by the way, why it is that if nothing from before Vatican II is relevant, they twice cite actions of John XIII, whose reign ended nearly a thousand years before John XXIII convoked Vatican II. To get it wrong once is a typo; to get it wrong twice within there paragraphs is innumeracy.

We are told that “[t]he churches [sic.] ways have changed, Tom, you must accept it.” Nope. What you must do, Tom, is get better people on the liturgy committee, and get better at picking, delineating, fighting, and winning battles on specific points. This isn’t an overnight process. Justice Rehnquist spent a decade as the solitary conservative voice on the Supreme Court. Be friendly and approachable, be willing to do grunt work, and be someone people want to agree with. (You may be this already, of course.)

Moving forward, my suggestion (this brings us full circle) is as follows. Draft a memorandum that specifically, concisely, and carefully identifies exactly what you think is happening on a routine basis that you think is wrong. Discard the points that are non-starters—the stuff on which you might be right, but common sense tells you are lost causes. Glass chalices are a viable battle; replacing David Haas with gregorian chant is not. Once you have your concerns, connect them to clearly-identified provisions in Vatican and USCCB documents. Quote concisely, and don’t shoehorn. Again, discard weaker points; if you don’t like X but there’s no on-point document, you’re just going to have to duke that out with the liturgy committee as a matter of personal preference. Your goal here is to identify specific problems that can be resolved.

Once you have that, take it to the liturgy committee and ask them to respond to your points specifically. From that point onward, you can move up to your pastor, your diocese, and beyond.

I’m sure others can offer you more help than I can, but I’ll help on the writing if you like.

Thanks for your response!

Let me clarify, I should have done in the beginning. It is not exactly a committee on the liturgy. I am on the commitee for the catholic student group, and we deal with many different things, among them the liturgy for our Parish. There is no real committee, basically, we just speak about “problems” once a year and then when nobody has said anything we move on. This year I spoke out, and everybody ignored me saying I have no authority, so I sent out that “letter”.

But your post is helpful. What do you think are the non-starter points? It is difficult to distinguish that from my own point of view. Sometimes I wish an official would look over our Mass, because often I think to myself hey this is not allowed. But again, I don’t want my own preferences to be the guiding light. Not so. My preference is for what is the most reverant and what Rome instructs in order to better celebrate the Mass.

I agree. Unfortunately, your response as written will win you no friends and not advance your ideas. This may take a great deal of time to resolve as it sounds like an entrenched committee… you have to decide if you’re in it for the long haul. I do disagree that Gregorian chant MUST replace the music, however, I do agree that propriety must also be maintained. And, above all, proceed with charity, but proceed.

This is where the first paragraph of my comment above starts to bite. Frankly, it’s not actually that clear to me what your points are, because your original letter throws concerns, commentary, and Vatican documents into a blender. The result is a mush that is very difficult to follow. As I said, perhaps the concerns you’re addressing are so familiar to the people you’re addressing that they understand without elaboration. But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, as you effectively did in your original letter.

Now, I don’t want to sound unduly critical. You’re doing good work. But I think we can help improve on your effectiveness.

If you’re game, perhaps we can start fixing that right here. Can you can tell us—in numbered points, and without commentary—what exactly is happening that you object to?

I’ll give you an example. If I wanted to write a letter to my parish outlining my liturgical concerns, I would start by writing out a list of numbered points, without commentary, that I want to address in the letter. These will later form the section headings of your letter. And if this was my parish, it might look like this:

  1. We routinely use an excessive number of EMHCs.
  2. We use crystal chalices for the precious blood.
  3. I would like us to have six candles on the high altar for high Masses.
  4. I don’t like that we sometimes have guitars accompanying the piano at Mass.
  5. I’d like us to have a latin Mass offered routinely.
  6. I don’t like the setting we use at Mass in the summer.
  7. Three Sundays ago, Father made a mistake in the wording of the Eucharistic Prayer.

Now, the next step is going to be to strike out those matters that are not apt to resolution in this process:

  1. We routinely use an excessive number of EMHCs.
  2. We use crystal chalices for the precious blood.
    -]3. I would like us to have six candles on the high altar for high Masses.
  3. I don’t like that we sometimes have guitars accompanying the piano at Mass.
  4. I’d like us to have a latin Mass offered routinely.
  5. I don’t like the setting we use at Mass in the summer.
  6. Three Sundays ago, Father made a mistake in the wording of the Eucharistic Prayer./-]

Five of my concerns fall at the first hurdle. Here’s why. Points three, four, and six are simply a matter of personal taste, and the parish is acting within the applicable guidelines; you may certainly pursue those issues, but not in this context. This letter is about correcting liturgical errors. Likewise, point five: it may be a valid point, but it isn’t an abuse or error in how liturgy is being done, so throw it out and address it separately. And point seven addresses a simple mistake; an occasional mistake is not abuse.

So in fact, from my original seven points, we’re down to two that we need to write about in this letter. We can get into how to write about those later.

If you’re willing, can you try setting out for us, in a straightforward, unadorned, commentary-free numbered list (like the one above) the concerns that you have? Don’t worry about giving any detail yet, we’ll get to that; just give us a list of your areas of concern at a similar level of generality and detail to the example I gave above.

You are trying to do to much at once. I understand your sense of urgency but as you need to persuade others you need concentrate on one or two issues and start of a conversation about them. Once the conversation starts then you start mentioned documents etc.

I don’t think I would respond well togetting a long mishmash of quotations from documents such as was posted on the first few messages of this thread.

If you are a new member of the committee I can see where you would be gung ho about making things happen. But you can’t bring up every last thing that is happening in the parish and think that it can all be dealt with at once. Even if you are right in every case – unlikely since some things are a matter of preference and some people have different preferences – you can’t make wholesale changes without alienating lots of people.

What one or two things truly matter to you?

Hqve you spoken with your pastor? Is he on board with all of this or are you trying to do this on your own? Have you spoken with – had a dialog with other members of the committee? Again, are you trying to do this on your own or are you enlisting others to join your cause?

Have you spoken with your pastor? Is he on board with all of this or are you trying to do this on your own? Have you spoken with – had a dialog with other members of the committee? Again, are you trying to do this on your own or are you enlisting others to join your cause?

:thumbsup: It usually isolates other committee members and the pastor when anyone tries the Lone Ranger approach. The pastor should have approved your letter before you sent it to everyone without authorization and backing from him.

I think you will lure more flies with honey than with vinegar. Your first letter was rather ambiguous and didn’t actually address issues – it just listed citations from various documents about what should and shouldn’t happen in the Mass. People aren’t mind readers and may not realize what you are trying to change and why. The tone of your reply is rather off-putting – 'nuf said. I also think you are trying to change too much too fast.

I agree with SimonDodd about making a list of things you would like to see changed, cross out those that are a matter of personal taste instead of true issues, and work to change those errors that are most grievous first. And maybe meditate on the following:

**God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. **

I agree. We had a similar situation with a new member of a committee and it ended up dividing the committee and causing all kinds of bad feelings and they ended up disbanding the committee all together. When the committee was reorganized they made sure the person who sent the letter was not on it. The person had some good points but the way he went about getting his point across did more harm than goodl

Just to be clear, I’m saying that making a list is step 1. I have more to say about the steps after that, but I think we should start there.

I agree with this. You were way over the top. Completely overwhelming.

I would have started with just one small thing and worked with the pastor and the entire committee in person, not through a letter, to try to bring about the change.

I’m also wondering what your qualifications are to make criticisms of the liturgy. Are you a canon lawyer? A seminary student? Have you taken courses in liturgy and the Church documents? Do you have an older, experienced mentor and have you sat at his feet to learn about liturgy and what the Church documents say? Have you consulted with other liturgical experts, preferably older and more experienced liturgical experts, to make sure that your interpretation of the Church documents is correct?

You said something about being a student. Are you young (younger than 25?)? I have a hard time with a very young person trying to tell a priest what to do. I know it seems to you that you are correct, just like to a five-year-old, it makes perfect sense that he/she should be allowed to eat as much candy as he/she can eat. But just because it seems correct to you, it may not be correct.

Your “go-for-broke-deal-with-everything-all-at-once” approach is flawed–perhaps some of your complaints are flawed, too. E.g., I think that your idea of replacing all liturgical music with Gregorian chant is not at all what the Church documents say. I think most bishops would agree that “pride of place” does not mean “completely replace.”

Here’s my suggestion: Humbly apologize to the liturgical committee and to the pastor for your approach. Ask for their forgiveness and tolerance of you as you are trying to learn. Ask them to please allow you to continue to serve them and the parish on the liturgy committee. And then back away from the zealous approach, lose the “reformer” mindset and instead, take NO ACTION for an entire year other than listen to all the others on the committee and get to know them as people and as Christians. Ask your pastor to teach you about liturgy, or to refer you to someone in your diocese who can teach you. And pray for a humble servant’s heart.

Reading this objectively and not as a traditionalist:
Ok, my first reading of this, this person is clearly very threatened, either that their place could be usurped, that their voice and vision may not be heard or translated and clearly because you have more knowledge than they do.

One of the first things this person had to do was discredit and disempower you. The best way to do that for him/her was to claim you are clinging to antiquated ideas, then he/she realized that you might have a point, so threw in his/her opinion that you will be neglecting the needs of many people. Which would have actually been the best starting point for them as a basis and continued basis of attack.

You have a lonnnnnnnng road ahead of you, my friend. I just hope and pray you don’t get eaten alive or sucked in to a sort of Stockholm Syndrome, where you come to see their views as normal.

I have been in similar situations, the worst was being stuck on an RCIA committee where the director taught there is no devil, no real entity of evil and that the Church was coming to see that we humans are becoming so enlightened we will become our own messiahs and build Jesus’ vision of “the Kingdom” on Earth without the necessity of a second coming.

The pastor told me that I was being like the Pharisees for being concerned and discussing these issues with him, so I gave up.

God bless all your efforts in advance!:dts:

Change is coming…:thumbsup:

Simon - thanks for your response, I will type out a list of my concerns hopefully by the end of today. For now I just want to respond to a few others.

First off - I am sorry again that I didn’t make it clear. I called it a “liturgical commitee” for the sake of brevity. There is in fact, no commitee on the liturgy. None what so ever. The only commitee is a bunch of students who basically deal with all things Catholic around town - because this is a student town. The committee deals with things like helping out at the Mass, organizing events, fundraising. It consists of 5 students including me, and I am the most senior student in the group.

We hold a meeting every year. Usually, I do not attend, for some reason or another. This year I attended in order to sort out my issues. When the topic of liturgy was brought up, I stood up and said well yes these are my issues, lets change them. As I mentioned before, everybody kind of said “Ya right” / “Traditionalist idiot” / “Give us proof” and the meeting quickly moved on. So I decided that I would quickly make a document just citing things to back up my claims. It was made in haste, for students by a student, who just needed to show that it is important. I am on the outside of this committee, because I am slightly more traditional. Actually, a lot more traditional. And a lot better Catechised and well researched. The majority of South Africa is evangelical, and many Catholics are now coming from that background and being influenced by it, and together with a lack of understanding about what the Mass is, I believe people think it is their personal little worship session to wave hands and have as they like.

I have one girl who is with me on this, but she is leaving the committee at the end of the year. I sense a lot of frustration (from this board more than anything) over the fact that I am young and somewhat alone on this. I don’t understand it - and the objections are rather poor if its about my age or numbers. Excuse the attitude, but you would think that at twenty I wouldn’t still be getting these little talks about how I am too young to do anything about important things.

Anyway, as for asking or speaking to the Pastor (we dont use that word here; Pastor is reserved for Protestant groups here). You must understand that here in South Africa it’s a free for all. You ever heard that saying, “This is Africa”? Well, this is Africa. It is with a heavy heart that I say, Priests don’t care AND they don’t know any better. I have spoken with a member of the Parish who is much older than I am, and he says he tried speaking to our Priest about a certain abuse, and even went to the Bishop because nothing was done, but absolutely nothing was done. Here, you have to take things into your own hands. It’s not about going over the heads of others, its about initiative and doing the right thing because others lack the motivation or knowledge. If I spoke to my Priest, he would most likely be flippant at the idea of some liturgical reform. God bless him, I really do like him, but it took us two years to set up 2 hours of Adoration a week - getting the liturgy more correct is going to take a lot more time and it shouldn’t be that way.

Cat as for your own response. It is somewhat patronizing, to be completely honest. Are you saying that because I am not a Canon Lawyer, a seminary student or older than 25 that I cannot even begin to make such changes. These are rather arbitrary standards when we are speaking about the liturgy. I have had no training, no. I would certainly like some. But it takes no training to see that certain things are wrong, or should be rectified. You see, my letter - which was actually a quick email to 5 people - was never meant to be such a big deal. I was merely pointing out what and why I thought certain things needed changing. But I do understand your point, that maybe I am not entirely correct.

Can I just say that I never ever suggested replacing music with Gregorian Chant. The response I got implied that I suggested as such, but I never did. Maybe it was careless of me to quote the documents - although, in my original letter I bolded the parts which I was talking about. In any case, I just wanted to highlight, in some sense, that music is meant to be sacred, and not the wild music we have at Mass at times.

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