I saw a great post about the motives of liturgical abuse at the blog Waiting For Godot To Leave (fun title).
Here is some of it. See the rest there. My emphases and comments:
The Precision of Abuse – Liturgical and Otherwise
Yesterday, on the road again, my actress and I attended a Vigil Mass somewhere in America. It was definitely America, though it may not have been a Mass.
The priest was a 70-something soft-spoken slow moving effeminate fellow, and the music was all the Bad Stuff, about a dozen of the worst “hymns” played over and over again on piano before Mass even started, kind of like an episode of The Twilight Zone where you’re trapped in an elevator with horrible “muzak” and nobody else trapped with you seems to mind or even notice.
The priest assured us in the homily that when Moses lifted his arms and God’s staff before the Israelites battling Amalek (Ex. 17:8-13), he was “giving them instructions on the battle,” showing them where to attack and where to draw back, and so forth. Far from being miraculous (which the text implies, the strength of Israel growing when the staff of God was raised and faltering when it was lowered), this was merely a natural event. Moses’ arms being held up in a cruciform manner by Aaron and Hur was not a foreshadowing of Christ (as I’ve heard) but just an example of people helping people, which is why we’re all here at Mass. Oh, and don’t forget to pray.
He talked a lot about prayer, eviscerating the rather shocking parable of the Importunate Widow and domesticating it so that we all understood the message: “Pray. And come to Mass to be with one another.”
Then, when the Liturgy of the Eucharist began, he not only improvised the “Pray, brothers and sisters” part (#29 here), but made up something that was wildly and strangely unrelated to anything I’d ever heard from the altar. No mention of “sacrifice” of course, but a totally ad-libbed thing that made no sense. So I figured I’d better follow along in the missal. And here’s what I noticed.
[NB] His liturgical abuse was not accidental and merely an expression of a kind of misplaced enthusiasm, but it was, like the sexual abuse scandal in the Church, very deliberate, specific and precise. [Get that? It is, in some – many? – cases calculated. It is predatory. It preys on innocence and trust. It twists what is good and true and beautiful. It is psychologically unstable and immature. It is probably not curable. It must be extirpated.]
For despite his homily’s mundane emphasis on the need for prayer, every time the words “we pray” came up in the text, he deliberately skipped them. Every time Jesus was called the Son, he refused to say “son” and either skipped the words or made up something of his own. There were other patterns I noticed, and each was the result of a kind of careful forethought and deliberate planning: for he skipped only certain words and said only certain others. This man was no simple fool, carried away with a kind of “Spirit of Vatican II” sense of innovation. Soft spoken, harmless and dull as this priest seemed to be, he had an agenda and was exercising it.
Then we came to the words of consecration, almost nothing that came from his lips matched what was printed on the page.
A post like this makes me wonder about something. Wouldn’t it be interesting to take a look at dioceses were liturgical abuse abounds unchecked over decades by bishops and then match that up with instances of other kinds of abuse? I don’t know how one would go about studying such a thing, how one would collect statistics that are other than anecdotal. But I have an inkling that something is there.
Putting that connection aside now, this post provides food for thought for the next time you hear some priest screwing around with the texts of Mass. Sirens and flags should go off in your head.
Why is he screwing around with the texts? Really, why? What is his agenda? What is he deliberately or systematically changing and why?