Liturgical abuses

As I have been reading various threads over the past week, I’ve discovered that I’m much less knowledgeable than I had thought (and I never thought I knew much!). I converted at Easter Vigil 2004, but I did so in a parish that is, well, liberal to say the least. There were many things done there that I know to be wrong, but I don’t know why they are wrong. I’m going to type a brief (hopefully) list of liturical issues; if others could let me know why they are illicit and/or invalid, I would appreciate it. (BTW, I’m fairly sure that our new parish is much more “with” the Church, praise God.)

Liturgical dancers? (we had them 10-12 times a year)

Lack of kneeling? (we had no kneelers, though I did occasionally see a parishioner kneeling in the aisle.)

Host? (what is ok? what isn’t?)

Music? (again, what is ok?)

Tabernalce outside of the worship space? (it was in the chapel)

Someone other than priest/deacon doing homily?

Sign of peace (I get the sense from others that it should be limited in some way?)

Lack of holy water (I don’t recall this at my old parish, but it happened this weekend when I was out of town – I was quite confused)?

There are likely other things I’m not thinking of at the moment, but . . . I’ll add them as needed. Thank you . . . I hope to educate myself a bit so I am better armed against these abuses.

Mary Jo

Of all the things you list the only thing that can make the Mass invalid is the material of the host. If they mess with the material of the host in any way it can make it invalid. The only ingrediants are supposed to be wheat and flour. Anything else unless you are in an Eastern rite church (in some Eastern rite churches yeast is allowed) is forbidden and would make the Mass invalid.

All the other items would make the Mass illicit vs. invalid.

Liturgical dancers during Mass are prohibited in most areas, if you are from the US, Canada, or a European country then it is prohibited during Mass the only exceptions to this occur in areas of the world where dance is considered a religious function (i.e. some areas of Africa, Hawaii, etc.)

Lack of kneelers isn’t a problem in an of itself, but the fact that you do not have kneelers doesn’t remove the requirement to kneel during the consecration. Thus not having kneelers would make it very uncomfortable for those people following the proper procedures as defined in the rubrics.

Music, depends on the music but all music used within the Mass is to be approved by the local bishops conference. If your church uses music from a standard missal then there is a good chance it is approved. If it uses normal rock music and stuff like that then it probably isn’t.

Ideally the tabernacle is supposed to be visable from the main church but it is allowed to be in other areas. Depends on the layout of your church whether it is a problem.

Only the priest and deacon are allowed to give the homily. If someone else needs to speak during Mass it should be after communion.

Sign of peace is permitted, but going overboard is not suggested (i.e. priest going through the entire church, etc.)

Holy water is supposed to remain in the fonts except for during Holy week itself.

Documentation on most of the things can be found in the GIRM, RS, or the rubrics. Detailed info on many of those things can be found in their respective topics on here. Just search on holy water for quotes about that. Litergical dance for quotes on that.

AND…(drum role please!!)

heeeeere is (TA DA!!) THE GIRM!!!

Put a bookmark in your “Favorites” tab - go to each section and read at your leisure!
There are a few other documents that help and explain and emphasize - Redemptionis Sacramentum, Ecclesia De Eucharistia and (of course) the 'kneeling for communion" letter (it IS ok, no matter what anyone says, including the bishop!) and others. But the GIRM is pretty sacred as is.

Happy reading!
Blessed Lent,

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