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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Papal Liturgy

Here is the Papal Liturgy from January 1.  I really really hate concelebration.  It is the epitome of the hermeneutic of discontinuity.  If we start taking away the will for priests to celebrate their own Masses, then what is next....?  The Mass is so important that we cannot lose the importance of what happens every time a Mass is celebrated.


  1. I prefer concelebration to priests sitting in choir (and an army of children dressed up like clerics sitting in choir with them [but that's another issue..]) or dressing up like deacons, subdeacons, or acolytes. It's one thing to encourage priests to say more masses rather than concelebrate, but it's another for priests to con-celebrate with their bishop in a local (diocesan) church or for bishops to concelebrate when they gather.

    In most cases where many priests gather and do not concelebrate (i.e. they sit in choir or pretend they are deacons or in minor orders), those priests don't celebrate mass that day at all. So, I guess it's a matter of good, better, best..

    Greater possibility for concelebration was a legitimate reform of the Roman ritual. And the greater respect for the actual orders of Sacred Orders is a uniquely good feature of the OF.

    We talk about both forms of the Roman Rite informing each other and we all agree on many ways the EF enhances or re-focuses the OF, but there are instances like this where legitimate reforms of the early 20th century are expressed in the OF.

  2. I'll try to respond to each paragraph...

    The theological issue comes insofar as one Mass is treated as a celebration of many with many priests, it just doesn't follow. AND the fact that a concelebrating priest can take a stipend for it. That is a major issue as well.

    As for "dressing up" as deacons or subdeacons, I'll say this...a priest is a deacon and a subdeacon. The deaconate is part of Orders and insofar as it is, having a priest function as a deacon or subdeacon is as appropriate as him functioning as a priest. Also, sitting in choir is as old as the Church itself, so I can only assume that you don't like it because you have some sort of aversion to clericalism. As for having boys serve and other boys processing, what better way to promote vocations, other than having them serve and be close to the priest and the unbloody sacrifice at the altar?

    Priests are deacons, so they are not "pretending" to be deacons. And if you would actually check, those priests say a private Mass.

    As for it being a better possibility, just because it's allowed, doesn't mean that it is better. The Church has been developing the EF for 1500 years, so I would say that it has a level of expertise that goes far beyond the OF. AND, to make an analogy, just because you can go through a yellow light in your car, is it wise to do so? Legalism isn't always prudent.

    I can't think of one thing where the reforms of the early 20th century are legitimate. Every instance is a minimalization of the rich patrimony of the Church's liturgy.

  3. Either priests and other clerics are dressing up like altar boys or altar boys are dressing up like clerics.

    Whichever it is, it's a blurring of role and someone is cross-dressing. You would not tolerate this kind of demeaning of clerical role and dress, if it were expressed primarily in the OF.

    The fact of the matter is that we dress up boys as clerics because we gradually lost canons regular (real clerics) in major churches. People were used to seeing the actual thing, so they eventually dressed up children to play the part. That's also where we get children dressed up in red cassocks (sometimes with red mozzettas), because they look like little cathedral canons and cathedral canons look like little er.. regular sized cardinals.

    None of this is wrong in itself, but I want to point out that this is a muddling and it's just as muddly as of the muddles found in the regular practice of the OF.

    Yes, a priest is a deacon, in a sense. Should he move his stole to his left shoulder and put on a dalmatic whenvever he picks up a chalice to serve as a minister of communion? I don't think so. Nor should he when he ministers in other deaconal roles.

    My point was that while the Church does have certain liturgical ministries and functions, the Major Orders trump these liturgical roles. It's dangerous to reduce an ecclesial office to a liturgical role.

    A bishop is a bishop and should dress like a bishop. A priest is a priest and should dress like a priest. A deacon is a deacon and should dress like a deacon. An installed acolyte is an installed acolyte and should dress like an installed acolyte. An installed lector is an installed lector and should dress like an installed lector.

    If you say that a priest should dress like a deacon when doing deacon tasks, or dress like an altar boy, er, I mean a minor cleric, er like a priest in choir (cassock and surplice) and sit with the kiddies instead of acting as a priest, it diminishes the identity of the priest, especially during the liturgy.

    No, I don't see how having priests dress up like altar boys or altar boys dress up like priests and sit together in choir is an expression of the Church's theology of Holy Orders. It's something we picked up for the wrong reasons, and like St. Monica's tomb shrine libation practices, we have to accept that not every practice that becomes common is right. It's just as tacky and outdated as the later felt banners and overlay rug stoles of the 70's.

    Secular priests in the States once had the tonsure, just like religious (albiet smaller) even into the early 20th century. This fell away. Should we bring it back, or rail against those priests who don't shave a circle in the back of their head? Why not? Is our golden "ancient" age the 1940's.

    After the Wars, as servicemen came home with short hair and the style caught by the end of WWII, seminarians in this country were required to wear their hair long, so as to be different from the current style. Thus the ubiquitous parted hair from then until the late 60's. What should our current preference be? Haha, okay, I'll go with no Justin Bieber Hair.

    My point (how many "my point"s is that now?) is that things that are relatively recent we can easily see as quite old or even ancient. Do you know when the use of children as straw acolytes and straw canons regular and window dressing cathedral canons developed and when it became common? It might be a lot later than you realize. In fact, it might be a "reform" of the 20th century. In that case, I would have to agree that it (along with the dropping of the secular tonsure [real, not the clippy clippy ceremony for candidacy]) are bad novelties brought in relatively recently.

    We need to keep focused on what really is ancient and what these symbols really express, and not assume that everything that was common in 1949 was exactly as it should have been. Much was, but much wasn't.