From a reader:
Do you think it would be a good idea to give a parish priest and the curates a copy each of Redemptionis Sacramentum for Christmas or as a random gift? [Does that mean "anonymous" gift, or a gift outside the usual gift giving circumstances such as birthday, Christmas, anniversary of ordination, Father's Day, etc. Not sure.]
I honestly don’t think most priests would have even heard of this document. In light of your recent post, I am thinking that with the current mindset, the new translation may not make any difference to priests who just do their own thing anyway. They need to be educated and (in)formed
I really want to do something to bring them round to the correct way of saying Mass.
Are there any really good books you know of which could be given to priests?
There are several factors here that must be considered.
First, the writer’s motive is to effect a change in the way the priests say Mass. Apparently there are some liturgical abuses there.
Second, if the priest in question doesn’t seem to care what the Church’s laws or texts are, what difference will it make to give him Redemptionis Sacramentum?
Perhaps you and others need to work on him from the pews with the laser beam of prayer, especially involving the priest’s Guardian Angel. Pray for the priest all through Mass. If he continues with liturgical abuses, add fasting and almsgiving to your “correction” of the priest.
That said, assuming there is a reasonable chance that the priest can be reached by more human strategies….
People are within their rights to make known their concerns about liturgical abuses. That is made clear in the aforementioned Redemptionis Sacramentum. RS also says that, while people have the right always to address their concerns directly to the Holy See, they really ought to try to address them first at a lower lever. Thus, putting RS into the hands of the local priests who are not entirely precise in their celebration of Holy Mass may be a good thing.
But how to do this without giving offense, which will undermine the purpose of giving it?
Giving such a “gift” would require real tact and the right moment. Giving just RS would send a very strong message indeed. You have to ask yourself: would that message be well-received? Perhaps RS could be included with several other things concerning liturgy. Perhaps along with Joseph Ratzinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy and Feast of Faith and A New Song For The Lord. There is Athanasius Schneider’s Dominus Est. You might also include John Paul II’s Ecclesia de Eucharistia and Benedict XVI’s Sacramentum caritatis.
If RS is in large part about correcting liturgical abuses, Sacramentum caritatis is useful for instilling in a positive way a new “ars celebrandi… art of celebrating”, a new view, attitude, approach.
Otherwise, there are all sorts of good books priests could find useful. I am sure some priest readers here could chime in about them. It could also be possible that the priest in question could create a reading list/wishlist you and others could work from. He might appreciate your interest and you could supplement the list with offerings of your own.
But do be careful about giving a “gift” intended to fix or correct a priest, or anyone else for that matter.
Gifts with agendas can backfire.