What are VALID pastoral reasons?

this phrase seems to be a catch-all to justify doing something in the liturgy that might not be appropriate

case in point… when i assisted at the Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord, i noticed that while we recited the Gloria (which surprised me since it was Lent), we omitted the recitation of the creed…

when i emailed Father about this, he let me know he did not forget the creed, but omitted it for “pastoral reasons”

usually at our parish when things are done for “pastoral reasons”, it is to save time so the liturgy will not run too long…

since this Solemnity was celebrated on a monday this year, and we began at 9 AM, i can’t imagine time being an issue…

so let’s assume Fr did have a good reason for his omission… what exactly would be a valid “pastoral reason” to remove a required part of the liturgy :ehh: :hmmm: :whistle:

Gunfire, hurricane, nuclear holocaust… you get the drift.

Maybe he felt like he was going to throw up and needed to speed things along . . . .

With regard to the Gloria, the Feast of the Annunciation is one exception where the Gloria is sung during Lent. As for the Creed, this would normally be done on any solemnity or Sunday. As I am not a member of your parish, it would be impossible to judge whether the pastor’s decision was based on good pastoral reasons, but if the parish has multiple Masses with little time in between, or if that Mass is frequented by people who would be late for work if it lasts too long, I could see why the Creed might have been omitted.

The Gloria and Credo would also be recited or sung on the solemnity of St. Joseph, which also falls during Lent, on 19 March.

Someone who must be at work would be dispensed from staying 'til the very last minute of the Mass, anyway, and I while you might be able to sell me on the idea that a parish using every single minute of Sunday and every space in the pews could consider asking for permission to omit a mandatory part of the Mass, I highly doubt you’d be able to show me this pastor has already taken every licit step to achieve the goal of speeding up the Mass.

Has he eliminated any hymnody that would make him wait before continuing?
Has he chosen the shortest of the canons?
Has he shaved the homily by a minute or two (the Creed does not take that long, after all)?
Has he shifted any EMHCs administering chalices to only the required species in order to speed distribution of Holy Communion?
Has he recited instead of sung the Kyria, Gloria, Sanctus, Mysterium Fidei, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, etc.?
Has he entered from a nearby sanctuary instead of processing the full length of the church?
Has he omitted the sign of peace (which can licitly be omitted for a good reason)?

Any one of those strategies would be something foreseen by the liturgical books and each is probably capable of freeing up on its own or in conjunction with only one other option plenty of time to recite the Creed. So once extenuating circumstances has driven him to use every single one of those non-ideal options I start to consider whether he might have pastoral reasons for omitting the Creed related to time.

Yup! It covers just about anything the Pastor wants to do or not do.

and therein lies the problem no?:frowning:

Although I will deign to use the adjective “pastoral” among friends known to be level-headed, I am automatically suspect of a priest who uses it to justify his liturgical practice. In 99.9% of cases I’ve encountered the “pastoral reasons” meant “I’m obviously not allowed to do this but I’m smarter than the Church so I’ll do things my way.” It’s a shame that a very legitimate concern has been hijacked and put into such disrepute.

Next thing we know you’ll be promoting rubricism!!:smiley:

Judge not, lest ye be judged. or… You shall be measured by the stick with which you measure.

One post-er brings up some other ways to “shave” time off of Mass, but perhaps the pastor had an impending appointment that he found out about right before Mass - a parishioner fell ill or was on his/her deathbed?

Who are you to judge/question the priest about omitting the Creed at Mass once? Is this something he does often? If so, then I can understand your questioning your pastor, but certainly not in an e-mail.

If it is not an habitual act or something he has done often, then why ask him about it? Are you looking to trip him up and “catch” him doing the wrong thing?

I know the answer to your question, but I cannot tell you… for pastoral reasons. Sorry! :smiley:

4 of my 7 suggestions require no advance planning or warning to the congregation, and the crucial difference remains that all 7 are licit while his solution - omitting a mandatory part of the Mass - was not. I don’t know the state of the man’s soul, but I do know that unless he had already made use of every licit option for shortening or hurrying the Mass, there is simply no “pastoral reason” to break the law. Even if following the law meant telling the choir a minute before Mass that, “I know you’ve worked hard on the hymns for this week, but circumstances have arisen such that we don’t have time for them,” this on-the-face inconsideration action, being licit, takes precedence over omitting the Creed.

Regarding “catching up” a priest, this sort of action is something obvious for anyone to see. Not “catching up” the priest would require closing one’s eyes and plugging one’s ears. It actually seems the OP inquired, out of genuine confusion, as to whether Father happened to *forget *the Creed (presuming innocence) or whether there might not be some law related to that particular liturgy. The situation only became truly fishy when the pastor gave an already suspect answer.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.