[quote="Elizabeth502, post:16, topic:307253"]
Ay, there's the rub, Timothy. :)
This mostly-absymally catechized generation of Catholics interprets standing around the altar in a very different way than you and your Benedictine friends interpreted it. In the typical modern parish (not a monastery Mass open to the publc), it is one more gesture of informality. It is one more gesture of apology, on the part of some misguided priests, for a distinction between the ministerial priesthood and the royal priesthood of believers. It is one more imprudent and embarrassing attempt to import secular notions of "participation," "opportunity" :rolleyes:, and "equalty" into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with its completely non-secular and apolitical paradigm.
During the times I myself have seen this done (the "invitation," the "welcoming" people forward), it is accompanied by a casual air on the part of the priest and a corresponding casual behavior on the part of those who come to the altar, whose body language mirrors what has just been modeled for them.
Look, if a priest feels apologetic for being a priest, he should never have sought ordination, and I guess he should never hear confessions or perform the other sacraments either After all, that would be setting up a "distinction" between him and his flock. (Yeah, no kidding.)
We really have to be careful about presuming to know the intentions and motivations behind what people do. Your comments seem indicate that you do know what motivates people - apologetic feeling, gesture of apology - that sort of thing. Forgive me if I misread.
I do think many read their own liturgical preference - what some mistakenly call spirituality - into any given liturgy, and then overreact when it does not meet their expectations.
My point was to point out that gathering around the altar is an ancient practice in the Catholic Church. It is not universally condemned by the Church. That was my point.