What is meant by "abuses"?

I’ve read several posts regarding liturgical abuses & other abuses pertaining to Mass. What do you mean by that? Would you give some examples?

Usually it is meant departures from the liturgical rubrics. An example would be in the middle ages, a priest in mortal sin who was afraid to receive the Eucharist, would omit the words of consecration (they were said softly and were inaudible anyway to the people back then–know one knew when they were ommitted :eek: ) and give the people bread to adore:eek: :eek: :eek: . Pope Innocent III had to really crack down on that.

Occasionally abuses stem from ignorance by the priest, but often they are done deliberately. Some examples include changing the words of the prayers at Mass, carelessness when handling the Holy Eucharist, irreverent music, liturgical dance (in North America anyway), and so forth.

First off, you are right to ask what “abuse” means because not everyone here uses the word to mean the same thing.

In general, an abuse is one or more deliberate actions taken by one or more of those in attendance at a liturgy (usually a Mass) which is contrary to the rules set out by the Church for such liturgies. (Now by ‘deliberate’ I don’t mean the person necessarily intended to do anything wrong but he/she purposely did something which is objectively against the rules.)

Examples would be changing the words for prayers, assuming an incorrect posture, leaving out required parts of the liturgy, or performing actions that properly belong to another person.

People also use the word abuse to mean more subjective things that they think violate the more artistic aspects of a liturgy. These might include choices of songs or musical instruments.

Some people would say that even some permitted options are objectionable and therefore abuses.

Abuse? Heck this is an example of an invalid Mass period.

However maybe the better question would be to ask which act or omission is sinful within the scope of the Mass. Adding words to the Consecration may fall into this category. Scandal such as giving communion to abortionists or those living in sin would be other examples. How about unnecessary talk in Church?

All deliberate additions or omissions are sinful in the absence of extenuating circumstances because every individual is bound by obedience not to add or subtract anything from the rite.

This forum is so very helpful as a way to find out from others what is an abuse or not. I would just say to be persistent once an abuse is identified in asking the priest (graciously, seriously and persistently) to change to the approved way of doing things, and if he doesn’t, don’t be afraid to send a written complaint to the diocese.

In my parish the priest refused to add a tiny piece of the consecrated host to the chalice because he said “it looks disgusting.” It took two years, but my complaint finally got to the Chancellor who is now requiring him to obey the GIRM. This really shouldn’t be necessary once an abuse is called to a priest’s attention, but sometimes the ego gets in the way.

Another priest in a different parish changes the words of consecration to keep saying “He said…He said…He said” instead of being “in persona Christi.” I spoke to him about it and he immediately got angry and said “In persona Christi was invented by feminists who want to be priests.” In that case, I just stopped going there to Mass. He doesn’t even say hello to me when he sees me.

Two years ago on Holy Thursday I visited some other churches after the Mass and at one, there was a closed ciborium and a loaf of bread and a glass of wine on the altar…or was it the Body and Blood of Christ? I couldn’t adore, not knowing if I was adoring God or a loaf of bread, and even felt sick to my stomach. I immediately left.

I could list a dozen more things, but my point is that the better we know the Mass, the more likely we are to recognize an abuse when it occurs. If it is in our own parish then I think we definitely need to pursue it. And that shouldn’t take anything away from approved variety (like the homily itself is different every day.) But, to me, we should honor God by obedience to the Church’s liturgy and presiders shouldn’t try to be entertainers or Masters of Ceremonies. A faithfully performed liturgy is the most we could ever desire, and the least we should ever expect.

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.