How best to handle liturgical abuse?

I attend a Catholic university. At the daily mass the other day, the priest, before beginning the Eucharistic prayer, invited those in attendance to “gather around the altar”. A few did, I and a few others remained sitting. Keep in mind, those who went up the altar were not instituted acolytes or serve any liturgical function. Post-communion, the chalice and paten were left at the lavabo table, and the priest did not purify the vessels after.

The celebrant was a foreign (Indian) Jesuit, not the head of the campus ministry office.

First, is this an abuse?

Second, how should I address it?

Best choice, ignore it and focus on the beauty of the mass. Second choice, stop and talk to the priest and mention in a very charitable way that in this country, there has been some debate about inviting congregants around the altar and it is now not permitted (see issues about “Life Teen” masses in the past). Third choice, ignore it. Fourth choice, ignore it.

Offer it up. Then let it go.

Good suggestions.

  1. Yes, these are abuses.

  2. Write a politely-worded letter to his superior.

No, don’t do that. Talk to the priest first and only if he rejects your charitably worded concerns should you even think about approaching his “superior”. For gosh sakes, just talk to the guy.

Perhaps it may be easier for a deacon to “just talk to the guy”, yet for us, at least myself, approaching a priest to inquire about correcting a liturgical abuse is a place than is uncomfortable. I can easily see this priest telling me that he is the priest, and to trust that what he is doing is fine, even though I know it isn’t.

So you assume improper motive and try to get the guy in trouble rather than be a bit “uncomfortable” and simply approach him?

Grow up, really.

If you find him so unapproachable that you can’t ask him why he is doing that then perhaps you should let the matter drop. If it bothers you then perhaps you could find another Mass. Look, I suspect things aren’t always done by the rules at my parish but I don’t assume. I don’t ask why things are done a certain way because I don’t want to be an altar server. :blush::blush::blush:

Really? I honestly expected more from an ordained cleric of the Church. I asked this forum if it was an abuse. The consensus was that it was. Liturgical abuse should be addressed. It is not an easy thing for a lay person to tell a priest they are wrong on liturgy. And your advice is grow up.

Pray for our deacons.

Nooooo…Listen to Deacon Jeff…his suggestions are spot on…even a politely worded letter to a superior is rude and unclassy without first addressing it with the priest concerned.

Superiors, be they Pastors or bishops have enough on their plate not to be forced into rolling in the weeds with those with their feathers rubbed the wrong way!:eek:

Its a liturgical abuse. Not just ruffled feathers because I didn’t like the homily.

Most Jesuits I know march to their own tune. In other words, they do what they want when it comes to the Mass. The last one we had as a substitute priest made up his own Mass as he went along.

If this priest will be around for awhile, I would address the matter to him privately first. If that doesn’t resolve the matter, take it a step higher.


Pease consider that some priest do not know. Pray for them. I agree that it is not easy to talk to the priest that is why I write a letter. I try to write in non critical way asking why he is doing it the way he is doing it when according to canon law, catechism, etc. it states differently? I agree that abuse should be questioned. I know that our priest was recently challenged on what he was doing. He wasn’t doing it wrong but because it bothered the person he changed it. We have a wonderful pastor. :slight_smile:

For what it’s worth…these types of letters (even very polite and well written ones) tend to go in the round filing cabinet.
Our late Archbishop told me he never gave these kinds of letters any of his time. :shrug:
I agree, let it go. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not causing the Mass to be invalid.

My experience is quite different. I guess it depends on the Bishop. My letter effected a change in the parish. It was not my intent I was disturbed that people didn’t kneel because there was no kneelers that they didn’t bow at the consecration. The pastor had not answered my letter. I asked the Bishop if they should be bowing the next thing I knew kneelers were installed. :eek: The letter from the Bishop thanked me for my input. Even if they are just thrown away, I feel that at least I tried it is the Bishop who leads and it is up to him but as the Bishop told me he couldn’t be in every parish. BTW parishioners have a right to be heard.

Definitely talk to the priest first. If that fails you can speak to his superior. How can you pay attention to the mass if you are looking for abuses? If the matter and the words are correct, any other abuse is minor.


Sometimes the direct advice is the most effective.
It’s good advice.
The Church needs mature relationships between clergy and lay, not relationships of suspicion, doubt, and “gotcha”. If you can’t talk to a person directly about their faults, drop it. If it’s really important that you address the priest, then find some courage and do it.

Foreign priest?

I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. :slight_smile:

The deacon is trained five years and works closely with priests every day. He knows what he is talking about.

Perhaps the discomfort you feel is pride. Maybe you should ask why he did what he did and have a conversation with the man instead of “telling a priest they are wrong on liturgy”. You might gain a friend and learn something that way.

Ten people on this thread said “talk to the priest” or “forget it” or 'give him the benefit of the doubt." That’s a pretty strong consensus right there.

I’ve been to campus Mass like that. I didn’t go back. Problem solved.

If you really want to stick it to the priest then go back day after day and ask him to hear your confession until he is sick of you. :thumbsup:


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