From a reader…
On occassion the Lector or Reader is a no-show for Mass and Father will say “We’ll just wait for someone to come do the readings.” At the Sat. evening vigil Mass many of us are older and I, for one, am petrified of getting up in front of people. Sometimes we’ve waited a good long time before someone, in anger by that point, stomps up there to read. Is it absolutely necessary to stop Mass for this or can the accolyte or priest just do the readings on these occassions?
Ridiculous. The priest should do the readings. That is, after all, his job.
Have we gotten to the point of such sclerotic clericalism? Priests won’t budge out of their chairs because they want someone to feel like she is participating by being allowed to do the priest’s work in the sanctuary? Lay people are not dignified enough on their own? No no. They have to be actualized by the priest, who condescends to let them do something he can do.
Sound harsh? That’s what happens when we turn the sock inside out on this craze to have all sorts of people doing stuff in the name of “active participation” of the laity. It’s a subtle form of clericalism. And sometimes it’s not so subtle.
I suppose most priests nowadays are deeply conditioned to give up their roles in the priestly precinct of the sanctuary, the presbyterium.
We have even gotten to the point where someone wonder if the priest is allowed to read the readings himself!
I’ll be there are priests out there who barely remember that they could do the readings themselves. It is as if they are under a foul spell, some fell enchantment.
There popped into my mind’s eye the image of King Theoden being freed from the clutches of the modernist liturgist Saruman. In this scenario I am Gandalf Priests across the land are Theoden, oppressed by modernist liturgists who, through their whispered poisons, twist the clerics into a false confirmation of lay people.
There is even a cameo appearance by Tim Kaine as Wormtongue.
“You would remember your priestly strength better, if you grasped your priestly role!”