Need advice on liturgical oddities


Dear friends,

there was a visiting priest saying Holy Mass today, who comes around when the local priest is out of town (because he has about three or four other parishes to run). He never wears a chasuble, only an alb and a stole. In addition, the way he says Mass is even more odd than usually. He’s a retired priest of the diocese.

The following things occurred today:

  1. No Confiteor
  2. An improvised formula of general absolution at the beginning of Mass, but no actual absolution
  3. Songs during the homily (the priest singing alone and another with the congregation)
  4. Referring to the Eucharist as “Bread” after the Consecration
  5. Priest didn’t wear a chasuble

I don’t want to be too picky, but neither do I wish to be too lax. Can people comment on these things I mentioned? In case you need any more info, let me know. What should I do about this?



It’s not my intention to complain. I’m asking advice.


The confiteor is not required. One of the other penitential rites may be used instead, including the rite of aspersion with holy water.


None of that was done. The priest welcomed the congregation and went into the Kyrie.


I think you’re really reaching here.

  1. There are multiple permissible Penitential Acts, only one of which involves the Confiteor.
  2. If he said “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life,” that is right out of the Missal and is part of two of the approved Penitential Acts.
  3. I have heard a priest sing part of a hymn during a homily, specifically a Marian hymn, to emphasize his message. Unusual, but I don’t see a problem.
  4. FOLLOWING the Consecration, one of the approved congregational acclamations is: “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.” This is directly from the Roman Missal.
  5. Priests in our diocese are instructed to always wear a chasuble, even in hot weather in a non-air-condition church. Other bishops may have provided otherwise.

You might want to say a prayer for this elderly priest who has given his life in service to God and his Church, and continues to serve, even in retirement.

  1. I phrased it wrong. I meant there was no penitential rite at all.
  2. He didn’t say that or anything similar.
  3. OK. It was very unusual, that’s why I asked. :slight_smile:
  4. Alright
  5. It’s not hot here at all, and I am not aware of any contrary legislation.

Indeed, good advice. :slight_smile:


Tarpeian is wrong to make light of the lack of a chasuble. Of everything the OP mentions, this is the one that would concern me the most. Changing the liturgy is also no laughing matter.
From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[123.] “The vestment proper to the Priest celebrant at Mass, and in other sacred actions directly connected with Mass unless otherwise indicated, is the chasuble, worn over the alb and stole.”[213] Likewise the Priest, in putting on the chasuble according to the rubrics, is not to omit the stole. All Ordinaries should be vigilant in order that all usage to the contrary be eradicated.

The only exception I’ve heard of is in cases of extreme heat where the priest risks collapsing due to heat stroke.

Perhaps the OP could politely approach the priest about these matters, and if that isn’t fruitful, discuss with the pastor.


I wish they would sing the Homily in my parish!


Is it possible that the elderly priest was excused from wearing the chasuble because of difficulties with walking/balance? It’s hard enough for women to walk wearing a long dress (think of all the trippings in beauty competitions), let alone for a man and especially an elderly man who may have mobility limitations.

In our parish, the elderly bishop (retired) offers Mass in a chasuble, but there is an attendant who lifts it for him when he walks.


The penitential rite is optional when some other rite replaces it. Such as occurs with Conferral of Baptism, Presentation, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Wedding, or Funeral. It seems that the priest substituted the “improvised formula of general absolution at the beginning of Mass” for it. You said he was elderly; could he have forgotten the words and just winged it?


He’s retired, but not frail at all. He could do it all very well without any assistance. The priest did the same thing in another Mass he said, no chasuble, no penitential rite. The “improvised formula” didn’t include absolution though. He just said something like “God is among us and one day we will join Him in Heaven”. I was ready to make the sign of the Cross at absolution, but it never happened. That’s how I remember :wink:


Please inform me as to how I “made light” of the chasuble issue. I pointed out that in our diocese use of the chasuble is mandatory regardless of the heat, but that other bishops may have different rules. The specific circumstances I was thinking of did in fact involve heat and the possible infirmities of age, a retired priest being involved. I had no way of knowing the weather conditions at the site involved. “Other bishops may have provided otherwise” is making light? You really do owe me an explanation for your accusation.


Unless he is actually fudging his way thru the Transubstantiation, or doing something else gravely troublesome, I’d give it a rest and grin and bear it like the rest of the folks. Thank God he is only visiting. If you really cannot stand his mistakes and it causes you to sin, find out in advance when he will be presiding and go elsewhere for that day. Priests make mistakes. They are human. Or as a former Cardinal around here used to say, “They are ordinary men called to do extraordinary things,” so cut them some slack.



Was it a Mass combined with Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer or Mass with Children? In those it can be omitted.

If not, was form C used (which allows improvisation) which replaces the normal Kyrie?

Form C is a set of three invocations such as:Lord Jesus, you were sent to heal the contrite: Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are Son of God and Son of Mary: Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, you are the Way that leads to the Father: Lord, have mercy.
**Lord, have mercy.

**There are many versions provided in the Sacramentary.


My apologies for offending you. I suppose it was your opening sentence “I think you are really reaching here” that gave me that impression, but I see you didn’t mean to dismiss the matters as not being serious. I am sensitive about the chasuble because I have seen it omitted too many times without any obvious justification.


Done, thank you. I feel a genuine burden for people whose Mass experience seems so caught up with mentally noting what they think are irregularities, to the possible detriment of what should be their total experience of worship. I can understand a level of upset over some things, but when I see that an elderly retired priest - as was the case in the OP - continues to minister, I tend to respect that with the benefit of the doubt. And as you no doubt have noted, many (but certainly not all) of the questions concerning “irregularities” turn out to spring from licit options the poster is unfamiliar with.


Actually the only place that should have absolution anyway is the sacrament of penance and not the penitential rite at all.


In the penitential rite of the Mass the formula of absolution is this prayer:

[FONT=&quot]Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.



This truly confuses me and perhaps others. If we are absolved from our sins at the penitential rite, then why not just cancel confession and save the trouble? :confused:

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