Abuse by priests

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?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Clerical Sexual Abuse, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Bosco says:

    There was an account of the demonic possession and subsequent exorcism of a priest related in Malachi Martin’s book “Hostage to the Devil” which is reminiscent of this account. I wonder.

  2. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Fr. Z asks: “Why is he screwing around with the texts? Really, why? What is his agenda? What is is deliberately or systematically changing and why?”

    Okay, I’ll take a stab at it (and this is purely from a pew sitting catechist who’s been studying *a lot* about these type of things for the last 15 years or so – IOW, I’m *no* expert but I’ve read the folks who are [like our gracious host!]).

    In my opinion this man *does not* believe in the sacrificial nature of Holy Mass. He’s rendering the Mass solely celebratory, with no connection to Christ being represented on the Cross in an unbloody manner, to purely Christ the *Risen Lord* in and among the community.

    Bear with me because this can be involved.

    I doubt very much that this man believes there was an Adam and Eve. They were merely mythical and legend. Non existant.

    Since this is the case (in his mind) this is what follows:

    No Adam and Eve no Original sin. No Original sin no reason for the redemption of man. No need for the redemption of man no need for the Second Person of the Holy Trinity to become man. No need for the incarnation of God the Son, no need for Him to go through His Passion, death and resurrection. No need for our Lord’s death on the cross then there is no connection to the Last Supper (First Mass). No need for this connection with the Last Supper then there *is no* sacrificial nature of the Mass… it is simply a fraternal banquet or meal at which *anyone* can “preside.” (which, as I understand it, was much of the problem with many Anglican Holy Orders way back when – and this was one of many reasons that led Pope Leo XII to render all Anglican holy orders null and void in Apostolicae Curae)

    It follows, then, if there is a blatant denial of the sacrificial nature of the Mass (and there is no need for the redemtpion of man) there is no need for Confession, much less Baptism. There is no need for “Holy Orders” in the context that it is reserved for men alone (hey, anyone can be a toastmaster!). Confirmation? That’s just a “right of passage.”

    No need for Baptism, no need for Confession, no need for the sacrificial aspect of the Mass, no need for Holy Orders reserved for men (much less those with different “orientations”)… and all of this leads this man to *do whatever he wants* with (what he understands) the “Mass” because he has taken on Lucifer’s “Non Serviam” mantra towards the authentic authority that Christ established on earth – the Church.

    Is this a stretch? Maybe. I makes one wonder, though.


  3. Midwest St. Michael says:


    “It” makes one wonder.


  4. Bosco says:

    @Midwest St. Michael,
    Many thanks for the lesson on camels and gnats. [sigh]

  5. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Sorry, Bosco. It was just a theory.

    I did not mean to get so involved.

  6. Bosco says:

    @Midwest St. Michael,
    No no no! I was just being empathetic with you for your angst over the one little typo you made. Your substantive observation was well worth the read of it. Peace friend.

  7. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Oh! Thanke mucho, Bosco.

    (man, I am *really* obtuse when I am up at 04:30) [snort!]

  8. GOR says:

    The manipulation of the Mass texts by some priests is another reason to have a Daily Missal and follow it. I try to ‘tune out’ the aberrations I find at Mass – concentrating on why I am here and the real meaning of what I am witnessing, despite the distractions.

    In one sense it is reminiscent of when I was young and hadn’t yet learned Latin. I followed the words of the Mass in English in my Missal. So when I hear a priest speaking in a ‘different language’ today, I still have the real text in front of me – but in Latin!

  9. friarpark says:

    Good idea, GOR. I have been trying to tune out the abuses at our parish but it is hard to do. The people who help at Mass had a ‘training session’ where we were told to do things we are not allowed to do, but when I pointed these things out was told “That’s how Fr. wants it done”. I emailed the person in charge of Worship at the diocese to get confirmation that what they were asking us to do was not what we should be doing, and after confirming that was told that I should have a talk with Fr. My wife asked me, why is that my job rather than theirs? The people at the Diocese knows what is going on here. But nothing is done. So disheartening. I keep thinking that this is how Fr. was formed as a priest, perhaps not all his fault. But as the original story says, most of what he does at Mass and asks us to do seems calculated. Lord, have mercy.

  10. Since ordination I have concelebrated at Masses where we wondered whether the consecration was valid because so much water was added to the wine, where I did not recognize the Eucahristic prayer being used (liberation theology stuff, a ‘Franciscan’ one – we were told that was approved, etc) and even where the priest free-flowed through the Eucharistic Prayer (either for reconciliation or for children). Recently at a funeral they were still using the old translation! I very reluctantly concelebrate now precisely because of the uncertainty around what one’s fellow priests might do.

    I myself wonder ‘Why do they do this?’

    For some it is a loss of or a drifting from the Faith.
    For some it is because they have been formed to believe that they must be relevant and interact with the people – that the more people like what they do the better.
    For some it is self-expression.

    I wonder if some of it is due to poor theological formation and an impoverished spirituality. That they hold to the principle that as long as they say ‘this is my Body’ and ‘this is my Blood’ then all the rest is just decoration and that can be personalised, adapted, experimented with. That has become such a habit over the years that priests do not question it in any way and are offended if any one else does. In addition the Novus Ordo gives so much less direction in the area of rubrics (and some of the directions do not seem to make sense e.g. bowing to the altar instead of genuflecting to the Tabernacle) that priests have been allowed to float free. This was supposed to make liturgy come alive but instead it often collapses into self-referential banality and even at times, God forbid, the sacrilegious.

  11. Woody says:

    Re “extirpation”, good luck with that during this pontificate. In hear the Neo cats are off the hook as to their “Masses”.

  12. James C says:

    Yep, there’s an agenda all right. My parish priest has an annoying habit of removing male references in the mass texts and always saying “my sisters and brothers”. And he always fills his sanctuary with albed altar girls (with one token boy). Most of the EMHC are also women.

    I thought Father was just being “inclusive” until I popped into church last month to pray and saw an infant baptism going on. On my way to the side chapel, I overheard Father explaining to the parents the anointing with oil: “If she grows up to become a priest, she’ll go through the same anointing.”

    Yes, indeed. An agenda you may not hear spoken clearly in the homily, but an agenda nonetheless.

  13. msc says:

    I’m not sure what the “soft-spoken slow moving effeminate fellow,” has to do with anything. He’s old, so his voice is probably not strong, and he’s probably not healthy. So what? And as for “effeminate”, are you trying to imply he’s homosexual? Far more “effeminate” men aren’t than are, and effeminacy is usually in the eye of the beholder. I’m tall, strong, and healthy but have been thought to be insufficiently masculine because I’m not macho, I’m not into sports (I exercise by myself), I love opera, ballet, and good food and wine, and I dress well. I’d hate to hear what some people today would have to say about St. Sebastian.

  14. Magash says:

    There are, according to the USCCB thirteen Eucharistic prayers approved for use in the United States. They include the 4 universal Eucharistic Prayers (the Roman Canon and the 3 others), 3 Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children, 2 Eucharistic Prayers for Masses of Reconciliation and four others called in various places the Church on the Way to Unity, God Guides the Church on the Way of Salvation, Jesus, Way to the Father, and Jesus, the Compassion of God. I have been told they have all been revised in accordance with the new translation, though I believe that I read somewhere that the 3 Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children have not been. I have never heard of a Eucharistic prayer approved specifically for use by Franciscans.

  15. Father, I have thought the same thing as you – what if there is a parallel between liturgical abuse and sexual abuse? – and wrote this article late last year:

    ‘Reaping the Whirlwind’, Quadrant, December 2012.


  16. donato2 says:

    I know of a priest who says “God” instead of “Father” throughout the liturgy of the Eucharist. This priest runs an AIDS ministry. Ya got to wonder what he’s preaching. (MSC, Fr. Z was just setting the scene. You’re the one who is making inferences.)

    In the diocese of Los Angeles, and no doubt in many other dioceses, it is very common for priests to say “Sisters and Brothers.” This supremely irritates me. It is gratuitously disobedient and, at the same time, communicates to me: “I worship at the altar of Gloria Steinem.”

    Also irritating is when the priest drops “men” from the Nicene creed: “for us….and our salvation.” (Although I must say that it is ironic that it took feminists to notice that Jesus came only for us guys. I had never noticed it myself but the feminists are right. It’s right there in the creed, Jesus came for us men — sorry ladies, you’re out of luck.)

  17. Amy Giglio says:

    Reminds me of a Mass I attended in the outer reaches of my diocese last year. ugh.

    “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?”
    My anecdotal evidence: I grew up in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia under John Cardinal Krol. I can’t speak for all of the parishes in the diocese, but in the two parishes in which I lived as a child we were spared much liturgical nonsense during Cardinal Krol’s tenure (Strict rules about hymns sung at Mass, we knelt at the altar rail for communion and had male only altar servers until 1989 or so). We used the Baltimore Catechism to prepare for Confirmation. When he retired, his successor permitted standing for communion, female altar servers, new music, etc. Much of the blame for the latest priest scandals outlined in the DA report from the City of Philadelphia can be laid at the feet of the late Cardinal Archbishop who succeeded Krol. Also, my old neighborhood, which had been the largest parish in the diocese, experienced a steep decline after Cardinal Krol’s tenure. I also wonder if these things are related as well. Again, this is anecdotal, but it does make one wonder.

  18. yatzer says:

    I am always initially suspicious when at a parish where there are no missalettes or something similar because I have noticed that those are the ones where there is much ad-libbing by the priest. I figure they don’t want people to notice the altered language.

  19. benedetta says:

    My anecdotal experiences support this completely. The parishes in my area which have been decimated were led by homosexual abusers. Overtly, they dismantled sanctuaries, tampered with the Holy Sacrifice, eliminated sacraments, punished innocent youth with cotton candy or fatuous catechism, pushed votes for specific political party at all costs, partied publicly, organized with others like them to bully and harm anyone who questioned even “nicely” their agendas, spent money like it was going out of style, and, covertly, were abusing adolescent males and cruising as part of the gay scene. In their wake, the first generations after centuries to abandon the faith are lost and broken, without comfort of sacraments or community to help them through the wasteland that is our culture. The rationalization, promotion, and organization behind sexual immorality goes hand in hand with the notion the demolition of the sacred liturgy. It was an agenda, and, the results that we now survey were indeed fully intended and designed.

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  21. mamajen says:

    I’m not doubting the link, but I’ve known of abusers who appeared very strict and orthodox. It makes it all the more shocking when it’s uncovered.

    I agree with Midwest St. Michael. I came to that troubling conclusion myself recently–some of our priests and bishops simply do not believe what they’re supposed to be teaching the rest of us.

  22. Philippa Martyr,

    Thanks for the link to your excellent article “Reaping the Whirlwind”, in effect a comprehensive but brief “letter to confused Catholics” providing a believable and well-reasoned explanation of what has happened to the Church, and why and how. Your general description of the situation in Australia surely applies in the U.S. and Canada as well.

  23. Peter Damian says:

    I would not correlate clergy abuse with liturgical abuse. If that were the case, there would be hundreds, if not thousands, more clergy sexual abusers.

    I do suspect, however, that clergy abusers advocated for a relaxation, if not a wholesale revocation, of most rules, including the discipline of the ars celebrandi. If one wants to have sex with young men, then one must destroy the entire system of rules so that the rule that prevents him from having sex with young men would disappear.

    All this having been said, a particularly savvy commentator observed that the clergy abuse scandal and failure of bishops to take action against sex abusers was not a surprise to traditional Catholics – because they had complained about liturgical abuses for decades and were entirely ignored. Why then should they think that any other church discipline would be enforced.

  24. av8er says:

    I travel for work and I’ve been there … “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.”
    Since my return to the Church, due to an orthodox priest and laity, I have wondered why there is so much difference in the Mass. As a military aviator, there is a standardization department for not only the squadron, but also for the fleet for each aircraft (P-3, F/A-18, H-60 etc). This way a pilot can transfer to another squadron and expect to run the same checklists and follow the same emergency procedures as his/her last squadron. There are many reasons we do this but the primary is safety. To save lives. Every year a pilot is to take a written test and checkride to make sure they know and perform the procedures the appropriate way. I wish this was the same case for priests. Now, I realize that the vatican has an office to investigate abuses and that it is tiny compared to the dioceses around the globe. Wouldn’t it be better to be proactive rather than reactive? Could a bishop make an office to keep his diocesan priests “saying the black and doing the red?” They may have this authority already for all I know but I have never heard a case where a priest or bishop has been corrected. Is it not a matter of life and death? Heaven or hell?
    Last question, what does one say to a priest who is greeting people after Mass? I typically avoid the priest because I’m afraid to loose my composure.

  25. Maynardus says:

    Wow, you may be touching a “third rail” with this! A couple of years ago I wrote a concise and non-polemical letter to the local diocesan weekly and referred to “liturgical abuses” in the context of the washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday. I did not have to draw any connection between the two types of abuses, the screaming hoards did it for me. Letters from the tolerant, Christian ladies of the “pantsuit sisterhood” and their polyester-clad, rainbow-stole-wearing clerical allies were printed for weeks, castigating me for daring to equate in any way (I hadn’t, at least not in my letter…) liturgical malpractice with the horrors of sexual abuse! “Pastoral!” they cried… “Feelings”, etc. Not much of a leap really, both types of abuses seem to step from replacement of a Catholic, priestly, identity with a distorted and narcissistic one and a seeming abandonment of any acceptance of the Church’s authority… So keep your head down, you may take some flak on this one!

  26. LA says:

    But, according to many of you, it is better to go to this priest’s Mass, Communion, and Confession than to the SSPX. Talk about diabolical disorientation!

  27. benedetta says:

    Applying the terms “liberal” or “orthodox” priest in this situation as a priest who abuses cannot really be accurately termed anything. However there does seem to be a real distinction between the priest who abuses and yet is not also interested in advocating his sin as a legitimate lifestyle, promoting and organizing for it, celebrating it openly with others and then even changing or dismantling that which is and always has been sacral in order to justify his issues. By wrecking liturgy these people also manipulate it to teach something foreign to the Gospel. They insrumentalized the faithful to prop up their own sinful choices. It should also be noted that the crap foisted on the Church at the expense of the sacred now raises a red flag that the priest who is pushing it also wants to exploit innocent people to achieve their own selfish needs. The first time around under the cover of Second Vatican the people payed prayed and obeyed in response to their juvenile tirades. That won’t work again.

  28. Sonshine135 says:

    Yikes! All to often have I witnessed this in my own church. I am becoming more and more certain that there is a deliberate demon within the church that is changing the thinking of humanity to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass being nothing more than a typical, communal, thanksgiving dinner. This plays out in the “joining of hands” during the Our Father where the misplaced communion occurs. It harkens back to the “here we are, all together as we sing as one…joyfully” crowd. It happens because the music minister is a Protestant. It happens because of the “come one, come all” approach of aloof Priests to the reception of the sacrificial lamb so that a scene isn’t created. If your church is like this, run far and fast!

  29. keithp says:

    I’m not sure why it happens. Bro Tom’s list is as good as any. But, I am also convinced that there is a diabolical aspect to it as well. Satan hates the Mass and will do anything to draw people away from it’s graces.

    My observation is that people continue to parish shop to find the liturgy that most fits with what they are looking for… After attending a local men’s religious shrine for 3 years, there was a change in the shrine director and provincial. Within 3 weeks, the Orates Fratres was being changed. “Pray my friends that our….” to homilies away from the ambo. And, finally, a paul simon song played post commmunio “welcoming” the new asst shrine director. How fast this went off the rails! Now, I hear good things about another parish with a recently installed Fr from S. Africa. Oh, how I long for the EF!

  30. Charlotte Allen says:

    We shouldn’t be too hard on old liberal priests who thought they were the cat’s meow during the immediate post-Vatican II period. They are, after all, old, and thus often frail and pathetic. Also, the tag “effeminate” may be unfair. Men of a certain physical type tend to look like old women as they age. Case in point: Paul McCartney, who now looks like his own mother.

    When I was in California, epicenter of bad liturgy, last month, my hotel was just a few blocks from a Catholic church, so I decided to go to early Mass every morning. I experienced Masses said by two old priests and two fairly young ones.

    The two old priests were classic Vatican II types. One was so frail that he couldn’t stand up to say the Mass, so he sat at a little table that had been specially set up as an altar. He was also suffering from a respiratory ailment, so he coughed constantly. He cracked little jokes throughout the Mass, veered often from the new ICEL translation, and he emphatically said “poured out for ALL” during the consecration of the wine (“I’ll show them!”). He had one redeeming feature: He sang–and led us in singing–the “Agnus Dei” in Latin–what a pleasant surprise in the middle of this English-language travesty! It was as though he’d temporarily been mentally back in the pre-Vatican II world of his youth and had forgotten for a few minutes that he was supposed to be a post-Vatican II rebel.

    The other old priest was in apparent perfect health but led one of the most bizarre Masses I’ve ever attended in my life. He made it a “9/11 Mass,” even though it was actually Sunday, 9/15, four days after the actual anniversary. He had apparently picked that day because Sunday, 9/8 had been pre-empted by his “Yom Kippur Mass” (I’d always thought the Christian Yom Kippur was Good Friday, but no matter).

    At any rate, this priest not only thought little of the new ICEL translation (he skipped all the parts of the Mass–Confiteor, Gloria, Creed–where the congregation uses the new ICEL, made up his own 9/11-theme eucharistic prayer–with a “for ALL,” natch–and generally used the old ICEL, even though the congregation was sticking to the new), but he replaced all the scriptural readings with his own selection of 9/11-theme readings. One of them was a ghastly poem called “Leap,” about the people who jumped off the World Trade Towers just before they were incinerated and collapsed. The poem celebrated the jumpers as people filled with “love” and “hope”–something I couldn’t quite get because all I could think of was the insane fear and despair that those people must have experienced as they realized there was no hope for them in this world at any rate. I would rather celebrate the courage of those who bravely stayed up there until they were turned into ash at 1,000 degrees F. Then, instead of intercessions after the non-Creed, we were supposed to respond, “We remember them,” as the lector recalled victims, firefighters, etc. Why weren’t we praying for them instead? During this entire travesty, we were treated to recorded patriotic songs–no hymns–blasted over a loudspeaker, including Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” as we walked up for communion. I”d wanted to flee the church from the get-go–but this was my only chance to fulfill my Sunday Mass obligation, as I had a plane to catch later that morning.

    By contrast, the two younger priests–one Vietnamese, the other Latino–said sober, dignified, reverent Masses that comported with both the new ICEL translation and the solemnity that should always accompany the Mass.

    My main reaction to the two old priests was pity, especially for the frail and sick one. The other priest was clearly more willful–but who knows whether he was half-railroaded into that awful liturgy by dumb people on the parish liturgy committee? There was something ineffably sad about those old liberal priests who once thought they were on the cutting edge of momentous change and then discovered that time had passed them by.

    [You are very nice. I say: Be hard on them. Hasta la vista.]

  31. benedetta says:

    Save the liturgy, save the world. When the demolition of the faith began, people were scolded and dictated to using the worst sort of sinful clericalism. Although, instead of in a cassock, while wearing a pink sweater and loafers. There was no groundwell or grassroots support for it, just as there aren’t hordes of people swarming the pews because they love the beige, the banal and the Haugen. Since it all went down, the people who remain are sort of in a trance at Mass and most just waiting for it to be over. With respect to the “effeminate” point the blogger made about the celebrant at the Mass he attended and suffered through, if it can be called a Mass at all, I took it to mean that this was a priest who had no professional filter and is keen to be proudly “himself” in all his glory, likely he plays favorites and gives big smiles at communion and starts things off with a hearty joke, and quotes Chittester in his homilies. It’s one thing to be yourself, and to have a personality, and be natural among friends. It’s quite another to ham it up on what one decides to use as one’s own personal “stage” and “soapbox” and “campaign platform” all during the time of sacred communion of the faithful. What’s amazing is that these same clerics will toughen up, give the stern dressing down and wield “the authority” of their clerical position when the issue suits. Otherwise, it’s here I am, love me warts and all, and I’m the only show in town. These guys should get the hint. No one cares for your dumb jokes, and that’s not why people come to church. No one is edified by your letting it all hang out approach. People are there to assist at the Holy Sacrifice in which your role is none other than alter Christus. No ones is clamoring for this kind of “worship”. People are there to worship God, not you. And, people have left the parishes in droves precisely because your “me, me me” schtick has turned them off. If people want a good story and a joke, hang out with their friends, hear a bible story and get politically energized on Sunday morning, they will do that at the strip mall on Sunday morning at the local non denominational “fellowship”. No one asked for this pseudo liturgy which has arisen in the first place, and no one is pushing it now.

  32. tonyfernandez says:

    I’ll get the statistics for you Fr. Z. Just pay me the salary of an Obama staffer and I’m all yours.

  33. philstudent13 says:

    After 4 years of Masses at Jesuit universities, I tend to be relieved now if all that goes wrong with the Mass is a “sisters and brothers”. I’ve heard that so many times from priests who are otherwise good and generally orthodox that if that is all they do wrong, I tend to just give them the benefit of the doubt that they aren’t necessarily trying to make some ideological point, but that this is just the way they learned how to do things and either never really stopped to consider whether it was wrong or don’t see it as very important as long as they get the rest of the Mass right.
    I have of course also seen my share of more systematic liturgical abuse of an ideological bent. Of course, the university setting only exacerbates this, with priests who clearly think they know better than the rubrics. This is most evident in the de-masculinization of the language. Father and Son are used only when absolutely necessary, ‘for us men’ is removed from the Creed, after the Agnus Dei we hear “Behold “the one” who takes away the sins of the world.” Probably the worst I have seen was one priest in particular, a law professor who considered a good homilist by many in the school (His homilies always seemed to end up on the point that you should follow your conscience no matter what, with the sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant suggestion that this can justify going against Church teaching. Because, you know, Vatican II and all that). I had to serve at Mass with him one time, and in addition to the usual issues, he also omitted the word ‘virgin’ referring to Mary in the Creed, and for the blessing at the end, literally said the exact opposite of what he was supposed to (“lift up your face and receive God’s blessing” rather than “bow your head”). And before Communion, when all he had left to do was give Communion to two of the EMHCs, he decided this would be too much trouble and just handed them the ciboria and went to start distributing Communion to the congregation. Whereupon, the two EMHCs self-communicated because no one had ever told them this was wrong. I did notify the liturgy director of this, and he agreed that it was wrong, but simply told me that this priest always did this, and since he had no control over actually scheduling which priests celebrated Mass, there was nothing he could do about it.

  34. Hank Igitur says:

    Lex credendi lex orandi: if you do not believe then you will not pray well. Some priests are non believers in the teachings of Holy Mother Church and this is reflected in their actions, including on the sanctuary.

  35. wmeyer says:

    In my own limited experience of parishes, I have observed that where a priest is lax in his approach to the liturgy, he has also been lax in other areas, such as religious education, and even in the confessional. This goes to the extent (unsurprising, I suppose) that they find that “the Church needs an updated and nuanced approach to some areas” which have previously been very clearly taught. Again, unsurprisingly, this “need” extends to Church teaching on ordination of women, homosexuality, and sexual matters in general.

  36. Priam1184 says:

    Just out of curiosity, is the Consecration valid if the old translation is used?


  37. The Cobbler says:

    On topic and serious, mamajen and Peter Damian make good points.

    @LA: “But, according to many of you, it is better to go to this priest’s Mass, Communion, and Confession than to the SSPX. Talk about diabolical disorientation!”
    Most of us, as far as I’m aware, would prefer to get as far away as possible from both (except in danger of death, anyway). Don’t be trollin’.

    @tonyfernandez: LOL. (Literally.)

  38. Priam1184 says:

    Thank you Father.

  39. jaykay says:

    donato2: “Also irritating is when the priest drops “men” from the Nicene creed: “for us….and our salvation.”

    In my parish the only priest who doesn’t do this is one on loan, who is African. He also enunciates slowly, not because his English isn’t up to par (it’s excellent) but because, well… ummm… he believes, or something? One of the others has not been unknown to leave out the Creed entirely, and sometimes the Gloria, so we can have a few extra minutes for his words of wisdom in what passes for a homily. I have actually heard the view expressed concerning the African priest along the lines of: “oh well, they’re more conservative than us…”. Which being translated means: “What can you expect because ‘they’re’ backward”. This from a paragon of middle class liberalism. I had good fun taking her up on this. No coherent answer emerged, as expected, but she did storm off in a huff. Which is what passes for argument with these people, I suppose.

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