Substituting smudging for penitential rite at Mass

I attended a Mass recently in which the penitential rite was replaced by a Native American smudging ceremony. I understand that smudging is a purifying ceremony, but is it legitimate to substitute this for a part of the Mass?

Not under any circumstances, this is a serious liturgical abuse and should be repoted to the Bishop.

No, it is not. There are some valid substitutions for the penetential rite. The only one I know of that actually substitutes for the penetential rite is the asperges/springkling. Smudging is definately not on the list of valid occurances during Mass.

If it were a diocesan celebration, which often these are, the bishop was probably the celebrant; therefore he would know.

I have served as acolyte and now as deacon in these type celebrations and it is always with the bishop and on a non feast day. I believe the last one I served was a Friday evening; smudging was done just before we processed in, I kind of got nervous when they went into the sanctuary and all around the altar smudging. Bishop and the MC didn’t seem surprised, so I guess it was the norm.

There are several option for the penetintial rite in the missal as you know as a deacon, there is not on that allows to substitution a non catholic ritual. Incencing is done before this point and there is no mention of smudging in the red. My brother in service to the Liturgy, it might be time to ask some questions.

Notice where i said the smudging was, before we processed in. In other words, before the mass began. However, the penetential rite can be ommited in celebrations of lessor significance, and on certain days, such as Ash Wednesday. Thats all I meant. Some could mistakenly believe the PR is replaced by the smudging it may not.

Even before mass I might have problems with a non liturgical ceremony. If it were an ecumenical celebration, then I could see a place for it.
The original poster indicated that this ceremony had been put in place of the penitential rite, I was assuming this meant after mass had started.

Even if technically “allowed” since it was outside of Mass, being in close proximity to the start of Mass creates the impression that it is “allowed” and more, something that is accepted.

I would be less put off it it was done as part of an ecumenical prayer service or cultural heritage program outside of the church building.

P.S. - don’t make me Google, it - what simply is “smudging”?

Smudging is a Native American purification ceremony. They use the smoke from sage and some other plants, and an eagle feather is used to move the smoke over and around each person to drive away evil spirits. This was done at the beginning of a Sunday Mass, in place of the penitential rite as I mentioned. In researching this practice, I found that Archbishop Chaput of Denver, and even Pope Benedict during his visit to some place in the US southwest, have participated in this rite. I’m not clear whether this was during a Mass, however. In reading the GIRM, this would seem to be a liturgical abuse, but I don’t want to be “holier than the Pope”!

Pope Benedict has not visited the southwestern part of the United States. The closest he came, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was Dallas, if I remember correctly.

It’s not that you are being “holier than the Pope”; what you witnessed was ilicit. We do not, on our own authority (and this includes the celebrant) add things to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This violates both Sacrosanctum Concilium and Redemptionis Sacramentum.

Are you talking of this kind of interfaith ceremony

or something different, maybe just an extended form of the regular entrance to the church with incense

Who made the smudging? How was it distributed? Was it a well advertised interfaith mass, or a regular Sunday Mass?

The only thing I could find was this was done at an interfaith ceremony, not as part of or prelude to the sacred liturgy.

These abuses Don’t occur in the TLM so go there so that you don’t get upset.

There’s a patent violation going on here! That rite belongs to Earth-centered traditions and there’s no licensing agreement with the RCC! Our attorneys will be in touch!:smiley:

The “holier than the Pope” line is misused in some situations. Some of the past popes were pretty notorious sinners (having mistresses and illegitimate children, selling ecclesiastical offices, etc.). I don’t know if Pope Benedict participated in a “smudging” ceremony or not, but whatever sins he has committed are not an excuse for anyone to feel comfortable sinning the same way!

Don’t worry about being “holier than the Pope” or not. Worry about being perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

That sounds out of place to me. I’m sorry but I just don’t think things like that belong in the Mass. Why would they need to have it? The Mass is for everyone, for all people, so people should be able to ‘place themselves’ within it, and not need to add or graft anything else onto it. “I am the Lord your God, you shall not have strange gods before me.” Seems pretty clear. I don’t think it’s right for people to add things to the Mass as if they were tinkering with a recipe. You shouldn’t see a different thing every time you go.

I do not intend to defend the rite, but we all, including the native Americans with their ceremonies are the children of God. Our responsibility is not to distance ourselves from the but to show them that their Superior Spirit is the same as our God. There is a delicate balance but we shall see and consider both sides.

However, if there were very few Native Americans there at the Mass, then inculturation really does not apply here. Furthermore, such ceremonies only breed confusion among the faithful. Novelty is never a good thing.

There is often a certain romantic notion when it comes to Native American and how they are somehow are close to the “spirits of the earth”. even though I might agree that the Great Spirit and God are one in the same, it doesn’t then follow that I would agree to worshiping all the other spirits. we are to lead all people to Christ, it causes confusion when there is a sense of equality given to beliefs that clearly are not.

Yes. This is the reason I asked for, and we should consider the circumstances. It may be appropriate in Canada, once a year, and inappropriate in Chicago or LA often.

The confusion of the faithful could be eliminated and should be eliminated by appropriate catechesis.

I formed my opinion searching tor the topic, and finding that it is done in Maine as yearly ecumenical celebration, and allegedly the Jesuits are rejecting claiming that this is the desecration of their martyrs. If this is true then we need such ecumenical services once a year, to show that we are Christians, and we believe that we will be forgiven only if we learn to forgive.

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