From a reader…
While out of town we attended a Redemptorist ____. They had a visiting priest from “Food for the Poor. He began the Mass as if he were a Baptist preacher making us all say “Amen” several times until we pleased him. The Homily did not apply to the gospel reading or any of the readings. During the very abbreviated Eucharistic prayer, he threw in some “ad lib” lines and just seemed to throw the consecrated hosts around. He even dropped one on the floor (which he picked up and threw in his mouth). I had so much anger in my heart and didn’t feel as if he had adequately presented the Precious Body of Christ that I did not take communion. I intend to go to confession at our local parish this week. I think my anger for him is sinful but I don’t think not receiving communion was a sin. Am I correct?
Refraining from reception of Holy Communion is not sinful, unless you do done for a sinful reason (e.g. pride: “I’m much too good to be receiving Holy Communion from Fr. X or Deacon Y, I’ll wait until we have a Monsignor or a Bishop here”).
That said, as I have said on this blog more than once, some priests do silly things.
It is easy to get angry, and sometimes that anger is justified.
When it is not justified, it is sinful.
Even if it seems justified, it is a good practice to mention it in confession, and allow Father Confessor to help with your conscience formation. For example:
YOU: “Father, I was REALLY ANGRY, 17 times, when I heard that Christians were being crucified in Syria!”
FATHER: “My child, that anger is justified. Now channel the energy of that anger into positive action, such as prayer, or helping refugees from that region, or getting oneself ready for the Crusade.”
Anger over liturgical abuse can be justified. It is important not to wallow in that anger. If you leave Mass every Sunday with clenched fists and a red face, it’s probably time to look for a different parish. I will herein presume that reasonable efforts of dialogue and letter-writing have been undertaken in vain.
In this situation, the priest was a visitor, as was the writer. It could be a good thing to confess this anger, and submit it to the priest confessor to help determine how justifiable it was (it seems pretty justified). With that level of anger, it was probably good to refrain from receiving Holy Communion, and may have even been virtuous.
In addition, you might consider making an appointment to speak to the pastor, especially if this is a parish you visit regularly visit.
“Father, we always enjoyed visiting your lovely church for Mass when we’re in town. Your homilies are inspiring, the propers are chanted so well, and the ad orientem celebration of the Mass really draws us in to prayer. However, last month when we were in town there was a visiting priest who really angered me by the way he said Mass. It made me appreciate how reverently you offer Mass. The next time we come, we’ll call ahead to make sure that visiting priest isn’t on the schedule.”