Just as I feared, some parishioners have downloaded the document from the internet
and are using it as the basis for a campaign of ?priest policing?. No matter how
devout and well intentioned the priest, the slightest perceived violation of any
precept in Redemptionis Sacramentum results in a stern ?please-rectify-immediately-or-else?
letter. These condemnations are totally devoid of the spirit of charity called for
by the document.
Of course, these same people do not affirm priests for their diligent observance
of those practices that are encouraged in the document. I cannot begin to understand
what motivates those who go to Mass with the sole intent, not of praying, but of
finding fault. Surely, that is a much more grave abuse of the eucharist than the
relatively minor matters about which they complain. Is it any wonder that there
is a vocations crisis?
I can’t speak for others, but I don’t go to Mass for the sole purpose of finding
a bone or two to pick with the presiding priest or the parish. Usually I go to masses
offered by the Fathers
of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. However, when I’ve visited my parents in
Levittown, my future in-laws in Erie, and my fiance in Tulsa, I’ve run into some
rather obvious abuses.
I wanted to be charitable and assume the document hadn’t “sunk in” yet.
As time passed, it seemed far more likely it was just ignored. I’ve seen glass vessels,
an army of eucharistic ministers (9!), and clutter (i.e. decorations and offering
baskets) in front of the alter, among other abuses. These are simple matters to
attend to and not doing so shows blatant disregard and disrespect for Church authority.
The author continues:
Whilst I agree that some of the practices named in Redemptionis Sacramentum are
most undesirable, my experience suggests that few, if any, presiders are guilty
of them. There are other poor practices which occur more frequently which I would
I’m glad the Oratorians aren’t the only ones who pay attention, but from what I’ve
seen and heard, it seems the majority of this country’s priests do not.
# preaching homilies that do not offer an adequate understanding and appreciation
of the scriptures or of the liturgical celebration
# ignoring opportunities provided by the Directory for Masses with Children
# giving priority to the singing of hymns rather than the singing of acclamations
and responses from the liturgy itself
While these are all regrettable and worthy of treatment in a separate document,
they are not abuses covered in RS.
# regularly using hosts from the tabernacle instead of consecrating sufficient hosts
for the community present
# not making the chalice available to the congregation
These abuses are addressed in RS. The author has every right to be offended
by them and want them addressed, just as I want other abuses addressed. I guess
we’re both liturgical vigilantes now.
# non-liturgical greetings
# using secular or popular music with superficial, sentimental words at weddings
# replacing the funeral homily with extended eulogies
# using AV technology in liturgy in a way that distracts and detracts from the celebration
# not making strangers and visitors welcome
Again, these are not eucharistic issues and should be addressed by a separate Church
document. Heck, I bet most of these are covered by the GIRM.
# cluttering the altar, both on top and underneath, with extraneous objects.
This is a relevant abuse and one that, as I mentioned, also bothers me.
The gravest abuse surely is to behave in a manner that turns the eucharist, which
should make of us one body in Christ, into a source of bitter division.
I’m afraid the offending priests and bishops have already done that. RS seeks
to repair some of the damage and prevent its continuance.