Universal Signal to object to abuse?

In the last month I've been subjected to all kinds of liturgical abuse. In one parish the pastor dneounced a parishioner from the pulpit. In another the priest's prayer of consecration at a funeral was accompanied by musical instruments. At another, the homilist spoke in support of the ordination of women. At another, a funeral, the presider said "everyone is welcome to come up to communion" when it was clear that at least 80%of the church didn't even know when to stand or sit, and at another church little cookie thingies were distributed at communion which tasted sweet and couldn't possibly be licit, perhaps not even valid matter. Yes, it is driving me crazy, and of course every story has more details. Not all are of the same level of abuse, but involve a variety of priests and parishes. I can't believe this is only happening to me; I am overjoyed when I find a priest faithfully celebrating the liturgy. I try not to watch for errors, but they just jump out at me. I walked out of the Mass with the homilist calling for women priests, but I don't want to have to do that every time.

So I am thinking we need some universally understood respectful sign of concern about liturgical abuses. What about kneeling down when this happens and just burying our face in our hands? Do you think it could be a quiet, respectful but clear signal that something is wrong? Would others want to know and become better catechized? So many don't even notice the most egregious lapses. I'd really like to hear opinions, because just the last week could keep me busy for a day speaking to priests, writing letters to a bishop who clearly doesn't care anyway. Ideas?

I think that you have no business making a show of yourself at Mass as a layperson, just because other people are doing bad things while celebrating Mass. You can always walk out if it's too bad; but even then, if you're too showy about it, you'd have to worry about committing sacrilege yourself. Nothing like making bad worse.

If you run across the really horrible stuff, you can always jot down a complaint note and stick it in the rectory door or mail it to the church. Heck, you can even have your camera phone ready, and send the footage to the bishop or to a congregation in Rome, if you don't get good response from those closer to the problem. But first, you really should just ask politely, and provide citations from the GIRM or other canon law. There are probably many more badly catechized priests out there than there are deliberately disobedient ones.

Just leave. Go somewhere else.

You seem to be quite the connsieur of churches, don't you, going here and there. Do you usually go looking for things to cause offence? Screwtape talks about this kind of thing with admiration.

\In the last month I've been subjected to all kinds of liturgical abuse. In one parish the pastor dneounced a parishioner from the pulpit\

**Once when the Empress went to Liturgy with her face full of cosmetics, St. John Chrysostom looked right at her and preaced about Jezebel painting her face and how her life ended.

The Empress was not amused.**

Prayer, education, and holiness.

[quote="bpbasilphx, post:4, topic:178865"]
You seem to be quite the connsieur of churches, don't you, going here and there. Do you usually go looking for things to cause offence? Screwtape talks about this kind of thing with admiration.

**When a person knows how the Church requires the Mass to be celebrated and that no one has the authority to add to or remove from the Mass anything, it is not necessary to "go looking for things to cause offense", these abuses are like slaps in the face. **I get very, very tired of people being pounced upon and criticized for their desire for the liturgy to be celebrated exactly as the Church has laid down. We have the right to this.

\In the last month I've been subjected to all kinds of liturgical abuse. In one parish the pastor dneounced a parishioner from the pulpit\

**Once when the Empress went to Liturgy with her face full of cosmetics, St. John Chrysostom looked right at her and preaced about Jezebel painting her face and how her life ended.

The Empress was not amused.**

[/quote]

While it may, at times, be appropriate for a priest to denounce a parishioner from the pulpit (are pulpits still used?), it is only used when the parishioner has previously been spoken to, privately, at least once, by the priest. It may be that the OP was not aware of the history - it would also be likely that the reason for denouncing the parishioner was well known in the parish.

I didn't think that anyone was allowed to add a posture or gesture to the liturgy, because that in itself is abuse. It's OK to yawn or stretch or cry, but to deliberately add a posture or gesture--I don't think that's allowed. Am I correct or not? Thank you for letting me know one way or the other.

I agree with several other posters, especially shin (hey, isn't that a miracle?!) Excellent comment, shin, one that I will remember and try to practice.

A public protest of abuse will not correct abuse. You have to do things the old-fashioned, slow-but-steady, BIBLICAL way--go to the priest privately and speak to him first, and if that doesn't work, try to find a few other people who are in agreement with you and go to the priest again, and then bring it to the attention of the Church (the bishop) probably through a letter and possibly through a personal appointment, and if this doesn't bring about the change, then leave and do not return.

If you are just travelling and visiting a church, it will be difficult to seek out a group of like-minded people who feel the same way you do. It might be best to just drop it, especially if you will never be back in that church again. As shin said, pray for that parish, that others will do their duty and step forward and work with the priest to correct any liturgical abuses.

I also agree with Mintaka who said to do some research and find the specific places in the GIRM that spell out the abuse. E.g., I don't think ??? that condemning a parishioner in a homily is technically a liturgical abuse. I think ??? it might be considered libel or slander, but I'm not sure if that's abuse. It's low class and mean-spirited, perhaps, but OTOH, if the parishioner is causing scandal, doing harm, teaching heresy, practicing blatant sin, and is dangerous to the bodies and souls of the parishioners, a wise shepherd WILL warn his sheep, right? (I think it would be best if he didn't mention names.)

Another example is "speaking in favor of the ordination of women." This isn't really a liturgical abuse, is it? It's incorrect teaching, but that's not a liturgical abuse, right? (?? I'm honestly not sure here.) It's a theological abuse, but that's different than a liturgical abuse, right? (Talk to me, everyone--tell me if I'm on the right track here!) I realize that I'm being picky over the semantics, but the fact is, if a person is willing to organize/start up an international gesture or protest consisting of kneeling and burying their head in their hands and make a public spectacle of themselves in the Holy Mass and take the attention away from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament over "liturgical abuse," they had better be darn sure that what they are protesting is truly a liturgical abuse!

And make darn sure that the priest was truly talking about ordination of women to the priesthood, not just involvement of women in parish life and ministries. Sometimes we hear things wrong. Check with others who heard the same homily. Or again, make an appointment and speak with the priest. Maybe he just phrased his homily very badly or got his words mixed up, and it came out confusing. Plenty of times, I've heard priests, pastors, and laypeople stumble over words and if we took them literally, they would be preaching devilish stuff; e.g., "Thou shalt commit adultery." (They forgot the "not"--just clumsy reading.)

[quote="bpbasilphx, post:4, topic:178865"]
You seem to be quite the connsieur of churches, don't you, going here and there. Do you usually go looking for things to cause offence? Screwtape talks about this kind of thing with admiration.

Let me clarify for the sake of others the conclusion bpetc. unfortunately jumped to. No, I don't go "looking for things to cause offence". I am simply a Catholic with a very busy schedule who tries very hard to get to daily Mass. I am blessed to have many options, but my parish is not one. It has no weekday Masses. So I plan my days in advance to be sure I can get to Mass, sometimes as early as 6:45AM and sometimes -- the latest--at 5:30 PM. If I have to go to an occasional funeral of someone I don't know, then that's what I do. There were additional "abuses" or pseudo-abuses or just not by the rubrics that I didn't even mentione, partly because they've become so widespread, like priests giving communion to the laity before consuming the host themselves, etc.

It isn't Christian to ascribe such a motive, bpetc. I am a victim, not a perp. The abuses (or misbehaviors) I mentioned all happened over a little more than two weeks at 4 different churches and with 5 different priests. When I ask others, most "didn't notice." And it seems to me to be inappropriate to ask much of other attendees since it seems like fomenting disunity. Yet I also feel a responsibility not to just ignore what is happening. I hope others "get it" and can offer some advice that is both practical, spiritually sound, and obedient to church norms.

Hopefull

[/quote]

the proper response is never to do anything to disrupt Mass, to publicly criticize a priest or to call undue attention to oneself during Mass. There is a lay witness protocol with the proper method to address such things–not all of which are abuses, by the way. You may access it at Catholics United for the Faith cuf.org or I believe there is a sticky above on this topic.

\When a person knows how the Church requires the Mass to be celebrated and that no one has the authority to add to or remove from the Mass anything, it is not necessary to "go looking for things to cause offense", these abuses are like slaps in the face. I get very, very tired of people being pounced upon and criticized for their desire for the liturgy to be celebrated exactly as the Church has laid down. We have the right to this.\

**And how many people actually KNOW the full rubrics of the Mass as given in the Roman Missal/Sacramentary, GIRM, similar documents, or much about teleturgics generally?

Too often, people see something they are not used to and automatically label it "liturgical abuse." I've seen it happen here on these fora.

We have no right to ANYTHING except the promised daily wage of a penny, and then to say, "We are unprofitable servants; we have simply done what we were told."**

[quote="Cat, post:7, topic:178865"]
I didn't think that anyone was allowed to add a posture or gesture to the liturgy, because that in itself is abuse. It's OK to yawn or stretch or cry, but to deliberately add a posture or gesture--I don't think that's allowed. Am I correct or not? Thank you for letting me know one way or the other.

[/quote]

One example that comes to my mind with this type of question -- nowhere in the GIRM or Missal (Sacramentary) does it direct us (the assembly) to fold our hands in prayer (nor cross our arms, leave our arms at our side, etc.). So if someone routinely folds their hands in prayer (at their waist? at their chest?)... is this "adding something to the GIRM"?

I don't think so. This specific posture is nowhere directed but certainly not disallowed. It's certainly my observation and experience that most people do adopt some standard "postures" regarding the position of their arms/hands during parts of the Mass. I don't see this as a liturgical abuse or alteration to the GIRM/Missal/Sacramentary. Agreed?

Playing the martyr is very bad form...

If your lack the grace from God to ignore the problems how about focusing your time and energy on praying for the parish and the pastor or at least talking to him outside of Mass about the perceived problems?

The local Melkite priest is truly a Christ-loving and zealous pastor, who celebrates the Liturgy very smoothly and reverently.

On occasion, he will stop and address the congregation about intetions and meanings of this or that prayer in the Liturgy.

Now, this is NOWHERE directed by the various rubrics.

But is this "liturgical abuse"? I think not, but rather I believe he has serious pastoral reason for this extraordinary action.

[quote="bpbasilphx, post:10, topic:178865"]
And how many people actually KNOW the full rubrics of the Mass as given in the Roman Missal/Sacramentary, GIRM, similar documents, or much about teleturgics generally?

Too often, people see something they are not used to and automatically label it "liturgical abuse." I've seen it happen here on these fora.

We have no right to ANYTHING except the promised daily wage of a penny, and then to say, "We are unprofitable servants; we have simply done what we were told."

[/quote]

The same demands of humility and charity would ask that we fail from judging the intentions of another based on a single post. It would be better to offer advice in fraternal charity that helps everyone draw closer to God; if one couldn't do that, it would be holier to keep one's mouth shut.

Establish a relationship with the Priest first before bringing attention to the problems. It's much easier to brush off someone you don't know, than if the Priest knows the Petitioner personally. If that doesn't work, I find that writing politely to the Bishop of the diocese can be useful. Don't expect a single letter to work wonders (none of us are that persuasive in our words), but don't keep harping on the issue like a broken recorder (that's the sure way to get yourself pigeon-holed in some political category). It is useful not simply to iterate the rubrics (Bishops are generally quite aware of the rubrics they don't enforce), but explain how the liturgical abuse affects you and fellow Catholics. Plead and share, rather than preach and command (a lay person is not a Bishop, and Bishops don't take scoldings well better than a rebellious teenager, unless he's a Saint to start off with). Pragmatically, pick your issues to raise with the Bishop: no one likes to be told everything is wrong in his family. Most importantly, pray, fast, and pray.

Simply let the Bishop know if any Priest is blatently teaching heresy from the pulpit. You've done your job. Pray for Priests.

We all have a right to a properly said liturgy, are called upon to defend the Church, must first pray for anyone causing abuse, and maintain charity and respect in our actions.

Here are some tips:adoremus.org/1295Bruno.html

I stand corrected by all your good advice that I won't condone (or introduce) a universal signal for displeasure at liturgical abuse. Indeed, it does seem like one more "abuse" and that's the last thing I want. It just isn't possible for me to meet with every priest and have a discussion. I will also say that the words in this thread "slap in the face" most accurately describes the situation. Being in prayer, wanting to worship as the Lord calls us to do, NOT looking for any abuse (not even thinking about it) and then WHAM! Due to the widespread nature of what I've been encountering, I am thinking I'll just write directly to the bishop as being a diocesan issue that is getting worse not better. Here's the latest, and I am still at a loss how to just sit there impassively when this goes on as if I weren't reacting at all. If it were something funny I couldn't keep a straight face, so....how can I look like it doesn't matter? I'm working on that.

Yesterday I went to Mass in a church where I had not attended Mass before. It's one of those churches where the Blessed Sacrament isn't even to be seen in the church, but rather in a little chapel-y room behind the sanctuary. Any how, I went for a memorial service for an acquaintance. There were two priests and two deacons. The deacon read the gospel (as he should) but then with no "intro", the homily was a combination: 1/2 homily and 1/2 eulogy for by a woman for her mother. She managed to cover bombings in Baghdad, to give you an idea of the homily part.

Well, as if that weren't bad enough, the piano played and the choir sang straight through from the Sanctus to the Great Amen, EVEN BETWEEN THE CONSECRATION OF THE BREAD AND THE CONSECRATION OF THE WINE. The specific words at that point were "Good and Gracious God, remember us," etc. Over and over again. It was like a counterpoint between priest and choir, without letup from start to finish, without a discernable acclamation. The priest was much more like a performer, and it was quite distasteful. I would NEVER go to a Mass there again while he is pastor. Sadly, the other priest is a recent ordinand who looked a bit distressed but clearly could do nothing about the pastor's performing.

I am still distressed today about it. How can I not care about this? Any comments?

View this as an opportunity to practice one of the spiritual works of mercy, namely to bear wrongs patiently. Pray before taking any action. Be respectful at all times while taking said action. And don't lose heart if it takes months or even years for things to be corrected.

[quote="hopefull, post:16, topic:178865"]
I stand corrected by all your good advice that I won't condone (or introduce) a universal signal for displeasure at liturgical abuse. Indeed, it does seem like one more "abuse" and that's the last thing I want. It just isn't possible for me to meet with every priest and have a discussion. I will also say that the words in this thread "slap in the face" most accurately describes the situation. Being in prayer, wanting to worship as the Lord calls us to do, NOT looking for any abuse (not even thinking about it) and then WHAM! Due to the widespread nature of what I've been encountering, I am thinking I'll just write directly to the bishop as being a diocesan issue that is getting worse not better. Here's the latest, and I am still at a loss how to just sit there impassively when this goes on as if I weren't reacting at all. If it were something funny I couldn't keep a straight face, so....how can I look like it doesn't matter? I'm working on that.

Yesterday I went to Mass in a church where I had not attended Mass before. It's one of those churches where the Blessed Sacrament isn't even to be seen in the church, but rather in a little chapel-y room behind the sanctuary. Any how, I went for a memorial service for an acquaintance. There were two priests and two deacons. The deacon read the gospel (as he should) but then with no "intro", the homily was a combination: 1/2 homily and 1/2 eulogy for by a woman for her mother. She managed to cover bombings in Baghdad, to give you an idea of the homily part.

Well, as if that weren't bad enough, the piano played and the choir sang straight through from the Sanctus to the Great Amen, EVEN BETWEEN THE CONSECRATION OF THE BREAD AND THE CONSECRATION OF THE WINE. The specific words at that point were "Good and Gracious God, remember us," etc. Over and over again. It was like a counterpoint between priest and choir, without letup from start to finish, without a discernable acclamation. The priest was much more like a performer, and it was quite distasteful. I would NEVER go to a Mass there again while he is pastor. Sadly, the other priest is a recent ordinand who looked a bit distressed but clearly could do nothing about the pastor's performing.

I am still distressed today about it. How can I not care about this? Any comments?

[/quote]

With the kind of abuses you are seeing I would suggest a letter to the bishop. He seems to have lost some control over his clergy. Be polite, yet firm and document the cases and church's that they happened. Unless you have an extremely liberal ordinary. he will be receptive to your concerns.
Peace,
FAB

[quote="diggerdomer, post:11, topic:178865"]
One example that comes to my mind with this type of question -- nowhere in the GIRM or Missal (Sacramentary) does it direct us (the assembly) to fold our hands in prayer (nor cross our arms, leave our arms at our side, etc.). So if someone routinely folds their hands in prayer (at their waist? at their chest?)... is this "adding something to the GIRM"?

I don't think so. This specific posture is nowhere directed but certainly not disallowed. It's certainly my observation and experience that most people do adopt some standard "postures" regarding the position of their arms/hands during parts of the Mass. I don't see this as a liturgical abuse or alteration to the GIRM/Missal/Sacramentary. Agreed?

[/quote]

Agreed, but that's not what the OP was asking. The OP was asking if it would be appropriate to establish a "universal signal to object to abuse."

To me, this means that it would be something that many people would get involved in, either as participants or as viewers.

And that's what I think would be a form of liturgical abuse--establishing something that all the people in the Mass would participate in. Certainly it's fine for an individual to be overcome by emotion and bow their heads during a time when no one else is bowing their head, or perhaps raise hands in praise during a hymn even though no one else is doing it. But establishing a practice that is done by many people--that's what I was referring to.

And it sounds to me like the OP has decided not to pursue this, for which I am grateful. I think that approach that the OP has decided upon makes more sense and hopefully will bring about the corrections in the liturgy.

\The deacon read the gospel (as he should) but then with no "intro", \

**Are you saying that the Deacon didn't say first, "The Reading of the Holy Gospel according to _____" or similar words?

That could have been a simple accident on his part. **

\Well, as if that weren't bad enough, the piano played and the choir sang straight through from the Sanctus to the Great Amen, EVEN BETWEEN THE CONSECRATION OF THE BREAD AND THE CONSECRATION OF THE WINE. The specific words at that point were "Good and Gracious God, remember us," etc.\

**There are some permitted Eucharistic Prayers (other than the usual 4) that permit acclamations from the Congregation at various points. Could this have been the one used?

What you describe is NOT without precedent. In the Liturgy of St. James, the Choir/faithful softly repeat, "Remember us, O Lord," during a certain point of the Anaphora.

It has never been unheard of in the Western tradition to have a separate Chapel of Reservation.**

\I would NEVER go to a Mass there again while he is pastor.\

** I'm sure the pastor would be relieved to hear of your decision.

Tell us. Do you ever go to Mass simply to pray, rejoice with the angels and saints in the Liturgy, and receive the Eucharist?

Or has the role of liturgical policeman become your default practice?**

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