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Monday, April 28, 2003

Where Everybody Knows You're Lame...

Bill Cork had the (dis)pleasure to view a Liturgy Training Publications' video, "The Roman Catholic Mass Today."

I'll disagree with Bill on one point: it's hardly "yesterday." The LTP program is the template for the Diocese of Saginaw.

I saw that of the four parishes, only one had a visible tabernacle. Only one had pews--the rest had individual chairs. Three had the oils in big jars in prominent positions.

In three of the parishes, the offertory was demonstrated as a dramatic procession involving all people moving forward to placed their envelopes in baskets. The table was bare until this point, when lay members came forward to put the cloths upon it. Non-standard bread and wine were brought forward and placed by the lay members on the altar. All used ceramic vessels.

Reference was made consistently to "the one who presides," or "the presider"--never to the "priest." None of the parishes had a deacon.

All stood for the Eucharistic Prayer. Nothing about transubstantiation.

All had a demonstrative passing of the peace, with wandering huggers.

All had lay people taking considerable time to break the large breads into little pieces. All did this before the priest's communion.

I found myself nodding along at each of these points--I've seen every single one of these, along with a few added innovations (laity raising the cup and plate during consecration, references to God as female) in mid-Michigan Catholic churches spanning the length and breadth of the Diocese.

What you don't see in the Diocese's parishes are more than a handful of worshippers between 15 and 40, nor much in the way of vocations. For example, this year Bp. Untener dusted off the Rite of Ordination for the first time in two years. The fact the priest in question was born and raised in the Archdiocese of Detroit (not exactly a vocation factory, either) was glossed over...

While you can't necessarily lay all such failures at the feet of bad liturgy, it certainly is a major factor, given the centrality of the Mass in the lives of Catholics. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

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