Improper Liturgy @ Georgetown University Easter Mass


#1

I’m a student at Georgetown University. There are many parts of attending the university that are distressing to me, not least of which being the heterodox nature of not only the laity but indeed many of the Jesuits at the University. (They even have a Protestant as head of the Theology department now. Were they really founded for this? :frowning: )

There were several unusual things at the liturgy that I am not used to coming from my home parish in New Jersey, which I will list to the best of my recollection below. I’d like to know which of the following things are heresy or otherwise improper in occurring at the Mass.

  1. After the second reading, a poem (the source of which is unknown to me) was read from the lectern by one of the several lectors. I thought this was jarringly unliturgical, but I’m not sure about its propriety in the context of the Mass. I know that one of the primary purposes of compiling the Canon was determining what is and is not appropriate to be read at Mass, so I thought this was concerning at the least.
  2. The baptismal vows that we “renewed” were not the Baptismal vows I am not familiar with, not including an explicit renunciation of Satan and his works, and referring to God only as God rather than God the Father (prior to expressing belief in Jesus Christ). These are only two of the differences in the baptismal vows used by the Jesuit priest and those that I know should be used. How serious is this?
  3. There were maracas used during the hymn “Resuscito” during holy Communion.
  4. The bread used during the consecration was indeed unleavened bread, but it was a dark flat bread that was later ripped into pieces after consecration.

While not part of the liturgy subject to stringent guidelines, the Homily also focused on the deaths that supposedly come about as a result of the Second Amendment and war while completely neglecting to mention the horrors of abortion in this country. :frowning:

I know for a fact that this priest was politically motivated which is one thing, but this liturgy was so impious off-putting to me that I felt guilty after attending. Unfortunately, the only other church I had access to at the time was another nearby church which I believe is staffed by the same Jesuits.

If any of these issues is serious, I don’t know who to contact, since it is my understanding that the Jesuits are independent of their local dioceses. Is this correct? If it is, then I’m discouraged by the fact that the Jesuits tend to be so heterodox all-around in the United States, and any sort of impropriety in the liturgy is unlikely to be addressed in a satisfactory manner by his superiors.


#2

Without out more details, it is hard to tell if the Mass was simply different than what you are used to or if any of the differences were actually illicit or invalid. If the bread really had ingredients in it other than wheat flour and water, that would be the most serious.

You should speak to the priest about the differences and ask him to explain where the translation of the creed and the ‘poem’ came from. Just because you aren’t familiar with them, doesn’t mean they are heterodox.

If you still aren’t comfortable with his answers, speak to another priest there or to the priest in charge of the chapel. I know several of the priests at Georgetown personally and have never seen them celebrate an invalid or abusive Mass.

You can also walk down to Mass at St Stephen on the other end of Georgetown.


#3

Regarding the first item, it is entirely possible that what you heard as a poem is the SEQUENCE (which is indeed proper for Easter Sunday). Victimae Pasquale is the Latin but it was probably done in English. This is supposed to be said after the second reading and before the gospel for this Mass.


#4

[quote="Johwo84, post:1, topic:281209"]
I'm a student at Georgetown University.

[/quote]

I'm sorry.

There are many parts of attending the university that are distressing to me, not least of which being the heterodox nature of not only the laity but indeed many of the Jesuits at the University. (They even have a Protestant as head of the Theology department now. Were they really founded for this? :( )

(snip).

You're absolutely correct in being outraged by this. And while Cardinal Wuerl would not have any influence necessarily, the provincial superior should.

And, if worse comes to worse, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments definitely does.

From their instruction Redempionis Sacramentum:

  1. Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters

[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.

[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff.[290] It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.

Also from that same instruction:

[57.] It is the right of the community of Christ’s faithful that especially in the Sunday celebration there should customarily be true and suitable sacred music, and that there should always be an altar, vestments and sacred linens that are dignified, proper, and clean, in accordance with the norms.

[58.] All of Christ’s faithful likewise have the right to a celebration of the Eucharist that has been so carefully prepared in all its parts that the word of God is properly and efficaciously proclaimed and explained in it; that the faculty for selecting the liturgical texts and rites is carried out with care according to the norms; and that their faith is duly safeguarded and nourished by the words that are sung in the celebration of the Liturgy.

[59.] The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy.

(read the rest of the document...it's absolutely liberating)

You have rights. And your rights were egregiously violated, per what you said in your post. And you have redress.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf (of WDTPRS) has some really good tips for writing to Vatican dicasteries. You can read them here.

Final word: consider moving from NW DC to NE DC and go to CUA. You'll save a whole ton of money and will definitely get a more orthodox education.


#5

[quote="Tantum_ergo, post:3, topic:281209"]
Regarding the first item, it is entirely possible that what you heard as a poem is the SEQUENCE (which is indeed proper for Easter Sunday). Victimae Pasquale is the Latin but it was probably done in English. This is supposed to be said after the second reading and before the gospel for this Mass.

[/quote]

Thank you. I hadn't heard of it before.

My main concern is with the issue of the baptismal vows. That was what really gnawed at my conscience after leaving Mass.


#6

I assume you mean the Easter Sunday Mass.

  1. This poem was probably the Easter Sequence (though I can’t speak to the authenticity of the translation). There are four liturgical feasts which have a poetic hymn which is, ideally sung, proclaimed before the Alleluia. These are Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and the Feast of the Sorrowful Mother. If you look up the text Victimae paschali laudes, which is the Easter Sequence, you can see if it was the correct one.

  2. As far as I know, there is no official text for the renunciations which does not include sin, Satan, etc. (There is a rubric which says, ‘If the situation warrants, this second formula may be adapted by Conferences of Bishops according to local needs." I don’t think our bishops have done this.) The question about God should contain Father, since it is basically the Apostles’ creed. This is improper, and sounds like the priest trying to edit out ‘unsavory’ things.

  3. This is a cultural issue. You are allowed to not like it, but they are, strictly speaking, allowed to do it, even if it doesn’t fit in with whatever culture the liturgy is being celebrated in.

  4. The bread just has to be unleavened wheat bread. It doesn’t have to be in the traditional ‘host’ form. The fraction rite is called what it is because the bread, which traditionally (Patristic age) was in loaves, needed to be broken up for giving out communion.


#7

Chances are that the poem was “Christians, to the Paschal Victim”, which is called the Easter Sequence and is always read on Easter Sunday. You may have heard the original or a variation. My parish sings the hymn of the sequence “Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today”.

Christ, the Lord, is risen today; Christians haste
your vows to pay…


#8

If you are not aware, Georgetown is like the Mecca for liberal dissent. You are on the right track. Make sure you do not grow weak while attending school there. I recommend mass at a place more orthodox too.


#9

It doesn’t sound like there was too much that was “improper” in the Liturgy other than you aren’t familiar with some things and didn’t like it. Also, calling an order of priests “heterodox” and accusing one of political motives during Mass isn’t exactly fair to them, and is the sort of thing Mods frown upon on these forums. There needs to be a little more respect shown to these priests, who have given their lives over to God, whether you like them or not.


#10

I’m sorry but the Jesuits in the US have definitely been heterodox in many cases, whether or not this particular priest actually is. This is one of the reasons I didn’t include his name.

Attacking the Second Amendment in your homily is clearly political, considering bearing arms for self-defense has never been considered a sin to my knowledge of Church history.

I didn’t come here to attack the priest, but to seek clarification on matters very important to me.


#11

Are you sure it wasn’t the Easter Sequence?

  1. The baptismal vows that we “renewed” were not the Baptismal vows I am not familiar with, not including an explicit renunciation of Satan and his works, and referring to God only as God rather than God the Father (prior to expressing belief in Jesus Christ). These are only two of the differences in the baptismal vows used by the Jesuit priest and those that I know should be used. How serious is this?

As you note, there were some omissions made that should not have been.

  1. There were maracas used during the hymn “Resuscito” during holy Communion.

I’m unaware of a ban on maracas.

  1. The bread used during the consecration was indeed unleavened bread, but it was a dark flat bread that was later ripped into pieces after consecration.

And this violates what?

While not part of the liturgy subject to stringent guidelines, the Homily also focused on the deaths that supposedly come about as a result of the Second Amendment and war while completely neglecting to mention the horrors of abortion in this country. :frowning:

Not every homily covers every topic.


#12

It always blows my mind how it is allowed to rip apart the hosts (or one of the giant ones) before Holy Communion. I just wanted to say that.


#13

Why? Christ broke his body for us and the priest does the same at the fraction rite.


#14

Because crumbs and bits (which are clearly identifiable in most cases as bread, and thus contain the Real Presence) always fall off. The fraction rite is very nondescript and is done over a chalice, with the host going back on to a paten afterwards which will be purified. The floor, altar cloth, etc., aren’t purified and so those bits of the hosts just get to be walked on I guess.


#15

I’ve never been to a Mass where the Host/Consecrated Bread was broken anywhere but over the corporal. There should be no crumbs on the floor.


#16

[quote="Phemie, post:15, topic:281209"]
I've never been to a Mass where the Host/Consecrated Bread was broken anywhere but over the corporal. There should be no crumbs on the floor.

[/quote]

But it still leaves "unsealed" edges, so to speak. Most hosts are manufactured with the edges done very finely without any rough edges so that no bit of it will snag. I just have a high degree of preventative thinking about this, I guess.


#17

I find it very sad that there are Catholics who go to worship and end up being liturgical critics instead. G’town liturgies are geared to the young adult population at the school. They always have been. I have family members who have grown in their faith because of the liturgies at G’town. You are in a minority if you are not happy. Complain all you want, maybe the Jesuits will listen, but I doubt that you will get anywhere. My advice…get yourself over to the Basilica for Sunday Mass. You will be happier. Perhaps, if you go there,(which is not perfect either in other ways) you wont find yourself being so scrupulous.

One question…your coming to the end of the school year and you’re just noticing this?


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