Rubrical Olympics

A reader offered this:

A light hearted proposal in the Olympic Spirit…
The Inaugural Rubrical Olympics would be held at the Blackfen Minor Basilica and accept teams of clergy and servers from any Rite, Form, or Use approved by the Holy See. Priests with bi-ritual faculties or taking advantage of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum may enter multiple events.
Individual events to include Censing (chain clinks a key judging point) and Blessing (Byzantine priests should pay particular attention to finger positions).
Team events would, of course, revolve around Masses and Divine Liturgies with marks awarded for sychronicity and reverence. Post Consecration thumb-forefinger action would be an important skill. Innovation, creativity, or artistic license would result in point deductions. The use of guitars would result in disqualification.
Periodic testing for banned substances (i.e. polyester, felt, ceramic) would see any offending priests sent to rehab with Msgr. Marini, the Master of Papal Ceremonies.
The Holy and Ancient Order of Rubricarians would, of course, act as judges for all events.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. B.C.M. says:

    Team Steubenville (TLM Crew), checking in.

  2. revs96 says:

    Brilliant! Wonder if NBC has the stones to broadcast this? I can already picture this on EWTN…Crossing the Goal would get involved…funniest thing I’ve heard in a while.

  3. An American Mother says:

    I’d put a good Anglican Use Rite team up against almost anybody.

    I’ve seen a DVD of the Mass at O.L. of the Atonement in San Antonio (a friend who’s a parishioner sent it to me). It’s on line in a somewhat grainy version here:

    Extremely well coordinated, and the altar servers are dab hands with the thurible. Chanting the Ordinary, chanted Gospel, Anglican psalm chant, and excellent hymns too. And the whole congregation is singing.

    Sets a high bar, in my (completely biased) opinion.

  4. Brian Day says:


    The only thing that I would change would be,
    From: Periodic testing for banned substances (i.e. polyester, felt, ceramic)…
    To: Mandatory testing for banned substances (i.e. polyester, felt, ceramic)…

    Of course I would eagerly await the biretta competition. I don’t know if i could stand the drama. :)

  5. An American Mother says:

    Check out the Atonement video for some amazing coordinated biretta moves at the roodscreen.

    I’d give ’em a 9.3, only because I suspect they are counting under their breath.

  6. adeoamata says:

    Awesome :-)

  7. cuaguy says:

    I should be able to get a team together :)

  8. Symeon says:

    I would actually encourage creativity – if by that is meant being able to conceal any mistakes. I would make such instances result in less point reduction for the actual mistake made.

  9. edwardo3 says:

    Actually this is a great idea. I’ve heard tales of days long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away when schools entered their children in chant competitions. Just think of the networking and learning oportunities that could come of something like this.

  10. The Egyptian says:


    sorry edwardo3 I just had a flash of some Lib parish trying to insert chant with a rap beat. Oh my ears, my bleeding ears

  11. Carolina Geo says:

    I couldn’t help but think that Novus Ordo priests would be somewhat akin to the Jamaican bobsled team. :)

  12. Egyptian: chant with a rap beat.

    Zuhlio could perform at the closing ceremony!

  13. MAJ Tony says:

    Missed a banned substance or two: use of candles not made of beeswax or, even worse, “electric candles” is a disqualifier, and major points lost for using a butane or other gas- or liquid-fueled lighter in the sanctuary.

  14. edwardo3 says:

    Carolina Geo: The Jamaican bobsled team was great entertainment along with Eddie the Eagle.
    Egyptian: So sorry to have caused such a thought, though I did start off with long, long ago…
    Fr. Z: How does one enter The Holy and Ancient Order of Rubricarians?

  15. edwardo3 says:

    MAJ Tony: How about extra points if all fire is struck from flint?

  16. idatom says:

    Fr. Z;

    I was going to weigh in here with some pithy and humorous comments, after all sarcasm is my middle name. I love it, but then I had second thoughts. This is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we are speaking of here and I can’t do it.

    Tom Lanter

  17. MAJ Tony says:

    edwardo3, “fire struck from flint” that’s FTW (for the win) right there!

    On another note, point deductions for being “out of uniform” (not wearing proper shoes underneath, for example). Black dress shoes (GI low quarters with a good spit-shine) are “Standard, Type A” and it goes down from there.

    Type footwear
    Work shoes -5 points
    Athletic shoes -10 points
    Sandals -15 points
    Flipflops -20 points
    Lack of Uniformity -15 points
    All altar boys wearing Spit-shined 10″ Corcoran Jump Boots +20 (only applies if said altar boys are part of a military chaplaincy team), substitute Tanker boots if the team is Armor or Cavalry. No green jungle boots! (-20) NOTE: Cav spurs–all wear them, or nobody wears them.

    Footwear Coloration
    -5 points for dark brown shoes
    -10 points for other colors
    -15 points for not uniform color
    -20 points if your shoes look like they were shined with a Hershey bar

    BTW, this is sounding more and more like a military drill meet, and less like an olympic event. Hey, where’s my AR 670-1 (uniform regs), and FM 22-5 Drill & Ceremonies manual (or whatever it’s called now)?

  18. edwardo3 says:

    Would there be divisions such as EF and OF with varying degrees of dfficulty ranging from Low to Solemn Pontifical High to allow the younger and/or less experienced to take part? Do you have a Deanry competition, and the top three go to the Diocesan competition, then the top three go to the Provincial competition, then the top three go to the National Conference competition finally the top three from each National Conference go on to the Olympics?

  19. david andrew says:

    Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press . . .

    Dateline: Vatican City.

    Word is out that application has been made for a “Sarum Rite” team to execute a “dry Mass” for exhibition purposes during the upcoming Liturgical Olympics, in the hopes that the Rite will be officially sanctioned for regular use by the Holy See by the next Liturgical Olympics. Scholars, priests and dicastery officials are remaining silent on the issue which is considered a rumor started by certain quarters of the Anglican Use. The USCCB could not be reached for comment.

  20. edwardo3 says:

    Wouldn’t it be necessary for the Liturgical Olympics to have competition in all of the Western Rites and Uses, at least according to the 200 year rule set forth by the Council of Trent? The Sarum Use wouldn’t have to be an exhibition sport, since the Missal of Salisbury was in use longer than 200 years before the Council of Trent.

Comments are closed.