Last week, I was visiting my wife’s family in a different town for Easter. At the local Catholic church, they did not recite the Nicene Creed on Sunday Mass or the Easter Vigil on Saturday. I don’t think this is normal, right?
In addition, after the Gospel Acclamation and before the read of the Gospel itself, the congregation recited the Hail Mary (the church is called St. Mary’s). I don’t know if this last one is an issue or not, I just had not seen this before. Mainly, I’m concerned about the missing Creed.
Actually, the Easter Vigil includes the renewal of Baptismal promises, thus the Creed is not used since our Baptismal promises come from the Creed. Ditto for Easter.
For such a great and glorious solemnity as Easter, things will not be “normal” in that sense of the word. Things will be slightly different.
Now, if you happen to be at a Sunday Mass where a baptism will take place, you will not recite the Creed. Ditto for those Masses where there are RCIA rituals. For the baptism, the renewal of our Baptismal promises replaces the Creed. For RCIA, the rituals replace the Creed.
As far as the Hail Mary is concerned, there is nothing in the authoritative liturgical documents of the Holy See that call for this to be done. However, after the Post-Communion prayer, but, before the final blessing, the Holy Father, during Papal Masses that end near midday, will lead the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus or the Regina Caeli. But, that is his privilege.
Give me a break. There is absolutely no way to conflate a prayer with an announcement. You are bending the texts to support your bias. You won’t allow females to have their feet washed regardless of whether 12 males have their feet washed, but you have no problem with an individual priest inserting a non-Eucharistic prayer into the Mass at a time when the only prescribed items are announcements?
I have no problem including the prayer, or not, at this point in the Mass. But please stop the legalistic equivocation that could even remotely suggest that “announcements” (as noted in the GIRM) could be equivalent to prayers such as the Regina Caeli.
You are doing the same thing that those you criticize do…adapting and interpreting the liturgical guidance to suit your own preferences, whatever they may be. Just be honest and acknowledge that.
Not quite. Just because something is not specifically prohibited does not at all mean that it’s permitted, or open to interpretation or someone’s judgment. The Church teaches very clearly that nothing is to be added to the Mass on one’s own authority (ie, without the approval of the Supreme Pontiff who has the final say in these things).
Saying that if something isn’t specifically prohibited, it’s permitted or at least open to interpretation is a fallacy, and unfortunately this erroneous idea is widespread.
The Church has already said that anything not in the liturgical directives given is forbidden, therefore any additions not specifically permitted are de facto forbidden. It’s that simple.
The Church IS God’s Kingdom on earth. And the Pope rules as the holder of the Keys of the Kingdom in God’s stead. So yes, the Pope gets to make the final decisions on things like saying a Hail Mary before the final blessing, and it IS his privilege to do so.
Maybe you ought to re-read The Spirit of the Liturgy by Pope Benedict XVI. It might actually prove enlightening for you. The Holy Father notes that such secular greetings trivialize the liturgy and make the focus on horizontal rather than on the vertical.
Archbishop Malcolm Ranjinth further makes the point in address he delivered during the November 2008 Gateway Liturgical Conference where he notes that:
One could say that virtually Wall Street moved into the sanctuary. But was that really what the Council Fathers advocated? Cardinal Ratzinger does not think so. For him, “the real ‘action’ in the liturgy in which we are all supposed to participate is the action of God Himself. This is what is new and distinctive about Christian liturgy: God Himself acts and does what is essential” (ibid, p. 173).
…And so, the correct approach to ars celebrandi of priests and even of the faithful would be to insure that they allow Christ to take over at the altar, becoming the voice, the hands and the being of Christ, or the alter Christus.
Sacramentum Caritatis affirms this very clearly when it states, “Priests should be conscious of the fact that in their ministry they must never put themselves or their personal opinions in the first place, but Jesus Christ. Any attempt to make themselves the center of the liturgical action contradicts their very identity as priests. The priest is above all a servant of others, and he must continuously work at being a sign pointing to Christ, a docile instrument in the Lord’s hands. This is seen particularly in his humility in leading the liturgical assembly, in obedience to the rite, uniting himself to it in mind and heart and avoiding anything that might give the impression of an inordinate emphasis on his own personality” (Sacr. Carit. 23).
In everything the priest does at the altar he should always let the Lord take control of his being. The words of John the Baptist are important in this matter: “He must increase and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30).
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen emphasized this when he stated: “the priest does not belong to himself; he belongs to Christ; he is not his own. He is Christ’s” (Those Mysterious Priests, Alba House, New York 2005, p. 221).
Let us face it, all of us priests, bishops, and even cardinals, are human beings and so the temptation to place ourselves at the center makes us feel good — what I call “ego pampering”.
None of us is exempt from this, and now with the Missa versus populum [Mass facing the people], that danger is even greater. Facing the people increases chances of dis-attention and distraction from what we do at the altar, and the temptation for showmanship. In a beautiful article written by a German author, the following comments were made on the subject:
While in the past, the priest functioned as the anonymous go-between, the first among the faithful, facing God and not the people, representative of all and together with them offering the sacrifice … today he is a distinct person, with personal characteristics, his personal life style, his face turned towards the people. For many priests this change is a temptation they cannot handle … to them, the level of success in their performance is a measure of their personal power and thus the indicator of their feeling of personal security and self assurance.
(K.G. Rey, Pubertaetserscheinungen in der Katholischen Kirche [Signs of Puberty in the Catholic Church] Kritische Texte, Benzinger, Vol 4, p. 25).
The priest here, as we can see, becomes the main actor playing out a drama with other actors on a platform- like place, and the more creative and dramatic they become, the more they feel a sense of ego satisfaction. But, where can Christ be in all of this?
Just before anyone would consider dismissing the good Archbishop, it should be noted that he is the Secretary to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. So, he speaks with a good deal of authority. And, just so you will know, I was in attendance at his address, sitting in the front row. He makes the same points that Fr. David made. The Mass is not about the we; it is about the “He” and the “Three”. Saying “Good Morning” is tawdry and ordinary and does not belong in the Mass.