Liturgical Abuses at Mass


I am pretty concerned and worried about possible liturgical abuses. When is a priest ‘allowed’ to do something? My concerns are as follows:

At my parish, there are many extraordinary ministers of holy communion, even though I’m pretty sure they are ‘extraordinary’ for a reason according to the missal.

At another parish I went to Mass at, the priest omitted the homily and read out a message from the President of the Bishops Conference when the rubrics state that on Sunday the priest must say a homily even if he also wishes to read an announcement. There were also no kneelers at this parish.

Also, are guitar masses allowed every Sunday, or is this an abuse? I am very confused about what constitutes an abuse, or whether the mentioned things are even allowed. Is a ‘charismatic Mass’ with hand waving and lively music allowed? What should I do if these are abuses? What is allowed, and what is not. Perhaps Father @edward_george1 could chime in?Of course, no obligation if you rather wouldn’t, father.

I am confused so would appreciate responses. Thank you.

God Bless.

This is not an abuse. Many parishes lack kneelers. The congregation either stands or, at some places, people kneel on the floor. I go regularly to Mass at a place where most of the attendees kneel on the floor.

The pastor has discretion to allow this and it’s not an abuse. I’ve been to many parishes where the guitar, or guitar and piano, are the only instruments of Mass music and are used at every Mass every week.

Yes. Not an abuse. The Vatican permits and endorses the Catholic Charismatic movement for some years now.

I’m curious as to how you thought these things were abuses? They are extremely common and have all been around since Vatican II. To me, they’re quite normal.

If you have some question about how things are done at a particular parish, you should talk to the pastor about it.


Nothing you’ve listed is an “abuse”.

If you are going around “worrying” about abuse everywhere, something is off with you—not the Church. Scruples perhaps, or anxiety? Or reading too many Catholic Answers posts about “liturgical abuse”.


It is technically up to the parish priest when extraordinary ministers are needed.

It IS however an abuse to use extraordinary ministers to further “lay involvement” in the liturgy. Which is how it’s used in almost every parish I’ve been to.


I read that omitting a homily was an abuse? I also read that extraordinary ministers are only to be used when it is completely necessary.

Thank you very much for clarifying some of my concerns and God Bless.

How so?

10 char

Are a large number of extraordinary ministers allowed?

1 Like

There is no written rule on what constitutes too many. It is a matter of prudential judgement. It is the priest’s decision to make. If you feel differently, then he’s right and you’re wrong, because he has that authority, not you, and his bishop is the only one with authority over him.

If it is a point of irritation for you, offer it up.


Thank you. I’m still young so still learning. I thought you were right but just wanted to check.

Asked and answered.


Not an abuse.

You are overly fixated on this. Why?


Why would this count as a “liturgical abuse”? In some countries kneelers are unknown. Everyone kneels on the floor.


For me the issue is why do we rely so heavily on EMHCs, especially in smaller parishes. I’ve been to parishes with 40 people at Mass, a priest and deacon, and 3 EMHCs. Yeah, it’s up to the priest’s discretion, but still seems excessive.


And I attend a parish of about 70-80 at mass on a weekend and we have either one or no EMHC.

Both of these examples are anecdotal, but illustrate that you can’t say “we”. As if it’s a universal thing. It’s not.

It’s a question to be asked at the individual parish of the pastor if someone feels there are “too many” EMHCs.

1 Like

But not the one you think.

Extraordinary here means only that they do not distribute communion by virtue of their office (bishop, priest, deacon) but by appointment.


Redemptionis Sacramentum is explicitly vague, but surely seems to imply that extraordinary ministers should not be multiplied unnecessarily.

[157.] If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.

What circumstances constitute “usually” and “a sufficient number”? Who knows?


The bishop and the pastor know. It is their job to regulate that not yours.


That seems rather harsh and condescending. Just because the poster is asking questions about what constitutes liturgical abuse, doesn’t mean something is “off” with them.

The questions are valid, especially if they are coming from an intent to learn and understand why some parishes celebrate the Novus Ordo with many different practices and habits.


If the bishop or a bishop´s conference, sends a letter to the faithful in his/their diocese/dioceses to be read instead of the ordinary homily, the priest/deacon better read it! It replaces the priest´s/deacon´s homily. The priests and deacons are the bishop´s local representatives. It normally happens two/three times per year in every diocese.

1 Like

(Yes, I’d meant to include: We must submit to our pastors in this respect)

1 Like

You are fine to ask these questions.
They have been answered now. I just have a suggestion.
In my parish the guitar mass is the earlier mass say 930 and the later mass at 1130 is more traditional ie organ music and a bit more sombre. Perhaps you should check if it is so with your parish? then you could go to the later mass and miss the guitar mass if it is not to your taste?
It’s not to mine either. Otherwise many churches have a quiet mass much earlier on or the Saturday vigil (which still meets the Sunday obligation) and you can miss out the music all together. The guitar mass is usually called a ‘family mass’ and the later mass ‘sung mass’, or at least in UK. If you are in US perhaps someone could chime in and say there.
Changing which mass you go to can help. Often the later mass is more sedate.
God bless

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit