End Abuses -- Get Involved?

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Reading through the thread on liturgical abuses has caused me to reflect on how these abuses became instituted as part of the Mass in certain parishes. Yes, bishops and individual priests share a great deal, if not most of the responsibility. However, it also seems to me that the laity also shares in the responsibility. Particularly active members such as pastoral associates, liturgy “coordinators”, EMHCs, readers, sacristans, altar servers, etc. etc. etc.

Why can’t orthodox members of the laity slowly and quietly take over all these liturgical lay ministries? That’s exactly what the abusers have done in many cases…

Yes it will be slow and difficult going, but it can be done. As long as we stay true to what the Church teaches I cannot see any harm in implementing such a plan. The key would to remain orthodox. “Traditional” abuses from the other extreme are just as bad as the garden variety liturgical abuses we see today…

Any thoughts?
Good ideas Crusader, but sadly, the buck stops at the Pastors desk, and if a parish Pastor feels the need to be “Pastoral”, and give the laity things like EMHC and allows the altar server corps to become mostly female, there is little that orthodox parishoners can do. What I did rather than face these situations week after week, I decided to go to a parish that is reverent, where none of the abuses, even abuses that are now technically allowed, to happen. It drains one quite badly if they have to put up with liturgical and theological warfare every Sunday.
Sooooo…What exactly is an “abuse that is now technically allowed”?

Do you mean a practice was once forbidden but is now allowed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments?

So, who has the authority to determine what constitutes abuse, you or the Vatican?
It drains one quite badly if they have to put up with liturgical and theological warfare every Sunday.
sigh I wonder how drained St. Polycarp was through his trials? Drained of every once of his earthly being, I think.

God bless,

I called in to CA Live and recommended coming up with a Redemptoris Sacramentum Compliance Form.
There’d be a place to list: diocese, parish, pastor etc.

You could have check off boxes and places to detail the specific abuse

Chalice is made from
  1. Gold
  2. Crystal
  3. Tin
  4. Wood
  5. Other ____
You could have a place to draw a floorplan and put a red X over by the piano to show the location of the Tabernacle.

When completed, the form could be mailed off to Rome
Sooooo…What exactly is an “abuse that is now technically allowed”?

Do you mean a practice was once forbidden but is now allowed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments?

So, who has the authority to determine what constitutes abuse, you or the Vatican?
Good point, Ham1. We must not be ‘above’ the Magisterium! We might have our preferences, but if Rome allows, we must accept.

A good friend who happens to be a good and holy priest regularly says how it hurts him (for example) to administer the Blessed Sacrament in the hand, but the Church has allowed it so he must comply. Now, the way he complies is to be very vigilant in seeing to it that those who receive in the hand do consume, don’t walk away with the Host, etc.

I think we do have to fight the true abuses as best we can, however I have also taken the route of seeking out the most orthodox parish I can to attend Sunday Mass. It’s true that it is terribly draining (not to mention a near occasion of sin) to attend Mass where there are illicit abuses or even heretical teachings. And it does hurt, in an almost physical way.
I think it would be useful if we all familiarise ourselves with the Code of Canon Law, the GIRM, (both available online), Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite by Msgr Peter Elliott and Mass Confusion by James (as he was then) Akin. I understand a revised version of the latter is coming soon.

We should also read Redemptionis Sacramentum.

Informed by the above we would know what should be happening at Mass.

We must remember however that no matter how bad the homily, how theologically empty the songs, how badly the Mass is said as long as the words of consecration are said correctly Christ is still present body, blood, soul and divinity for us to receive.

I say this prayer for priests every day.

Prayer for Priests

O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests;
for Your unfaithful and tepid priests;
for Your priests labouring at home or abroard in distant
mission fields;
for Your tempted priests;
for Your lonely and desolate priests;
for Your young priests;
for Your dying priests;
for the souls of Your priests in purgatory.
O Jesus, keep them close to Your heart, and bless them
abundantly in time and eternity.
I believe in getting involved. Rare is the Saint or Hero of the Church that simply walked away from problems. We are reminded to ‘be not afraid’ when confronting all falsehood, especially religious falsehood and persecution. It is true that the ‘buck’ stops at the pastor, but when the pastor says ‘screw you’ to Rome, where does he get his ‘authority’ from? If he divorces the Church, why must the laity just sit back and allow him to lead people away form the Church? The very reason that Catholic Answers exists is because Mr. Keating ‘had enough’ of all the lies and propaganda against the Church and found that very little was actually being done about it, at least at a common level. I believe that if anyone is informed enough to spot a deliberate abuse in the liturgy or even in the doctrine of the Church, they should address the problem with the pastor AND notify their bishop. If priests had to put up with that everyday, they wouldn’t do what they do.

I don’t believe in insubordination or chaos, however, I do believe we must speak. And if the occation arises, debate until the truth prevails.
Okay - so how involved should we get?

Here’s an example: A friend of mine, who attends our former parish, says one of the priests there recently told them in a Sunday homily that there was no Hell (because a loving God would not create such a horrible place and send people there), and that all the “fire and brimstone” in the Bible were just symbolic (of what, I don’t know). Obviously, this is heresy.

I suggested that she, and everyone else she knows who attended that Mass, write a letter to the pastor with copies to the bishop (as the pastor will probably “File 13” it). However, my dh, who is on fire from recently attending a Catholic Resource Center Conference, says he would have stood up and told the priest he was wrong and would he kindly stop preaching such heresy. Whoa! This from a mild-mannered CPA! I asked him if he was serious, and he said, well somebody has to say something. I know he would have definitely said something to the priest after Mass, and followed up with the letters (he’s done this before when there were liturgical abuses); however, I know he is frustrated with these talks and letters falling on deaf ears. Still, interrupting Mass seems a bit extreme…

So, what would you do? Would you stand up and say something? Would you get up and walk out? My friend was inclined somewhat to do the latter, esp. after her children looked to her questioningly after hearing what this priest had to say. Her children are only 7 & 4; even they knew this was wrong!
It is strange really, but in my experience, those that abuse the liturgy are often very defensive about it - almost like a child getting his hand stuck in the cookie jar. It takes some tact, I’ve learned, for if you are forthright about it, like doing something as extreme as interrupting a homily, it wouldn’t matter how convincing your stand was, you would immediately be percieved as a trouble-maker.

I haven’t figured out the ‘best way’, however, I would suggest being extremely kind about it at first. If it continues, write a well-informed letter, that is, a letter that has some real fact and substance behind your claim (in this case, demonstrate that the doctrine of Hell is a result mainly of freewill and that God doesn’t ‘send’ anyone there, they go there by themselves(sic)), reference the Catechism, the Bible, the Fathers, and even protestant writers if necessary to show your claim has long and wide support (as most doctrine does). If that still does not help any, write the Bishop of your concern and make sure you have a well documented case, not just a ‘complaint’ (whitnesses, dates, etc).

I have been taking this a step further. In addition to all the above, I also become a terrible pest. I evangelize the community by distributing Catholic literature like ‘Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth’ and send my priest Church docments and other letters. They wish war, they get one with me. 🙂
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