This past Christmas morning at midnight, I had the dubious honor of assisting at Holy Mass at my parents parish. Before I go on any sort of rant, I want to take a moment to wish everyone a wonderful and happy Christmas. It is a joyful time of year and I hope that all Christmas wishes were fulfilled, both spritually and temporally!
However, a couple of things....first, the liturgical action was terrible. Father decided that it would be best to have a single lamp (that's right, lamp) burning on the center of the altar. He did this, because as you know the altar is simply a pedestal by which he is able to showcase those things which are important to the parish! Uh, NO. The altar is the most sacred space in the parish church. It is where God is called down from heaven and it is where the sacred action takes place. Not so at Midnight Mass this year. This year, the altar was a pedestal for a lamp; the flame burning in that lamp came from the Holy Land. It came from Bethlehem. It made it's way to Jerusalem, then to Kennedy airport (we must mention the Kennedy name, they are the uber-Catholics in the USA) and finally to Des Moines, where a couple from Humboldt (who knows if they were Catholic, it was never spelled out) retrieved the flame, as it presumably made it's way around the world? IDK? That was never expounded upon either.
Now, all of this would have been fine, had Father placed this on a table or a stand away from the altar and told the same story. He didn't. he removed the candles from the altar and we, in effect had two sanctuary lamps. This was his gift to the parish, so he claimed.
The altar is not, I repeat, not a table on which "things" can be set. Father reduced the altar to the profane. He took that thing which is to be the focal point of the Mass and he made it into a side table, so that he could tell his story during the homily.
I was saddened by this.
I was also saddened by the pride by which Father made his next statement. He said that he was honored that he could celebrate Holy Mass with us. What???? I can no more celebrate Mass than Mrs. Johnson in the next pew. This is a clear theological error and one that I will bang the drum on until my dying breath. The faithful are NOT ministerial priests. The faithful HAVE A SHARE IN the royal priesthood, but that does not mean that the faithful are priests. NO!!!! The blurring of the line between the share in the royal priesthood and the ministerial priesthood must be corrected at all costs. I will say this again and again and again....the priest celebrates the Mass, the faithful worship. Let me say this again, the priest celebrates the Mass, the faithful worship. Once more, the priest celebrates the Mass the faithful worship!
In short, this is not unique. We must pray for our priests! They need them. Second, we must talk to our priests! They need to know we care. This isn't your mamma's Church, well it is, but if the liberals are hi-jacking it, we need to take it back. We cannot sit idly by and allow this stuff to happen. If you experienced something similar, you have recourse. Start with your pastor. If he won't listen, approach your bishop. He is the supreme legislator of the liturgy. He should be compelled to act. If he won't listen, go to Rome. You have recourse. It is your Church as much as it is those who are hi-jacking it. Stand firm, pray hard, and do what is necessary to defend 2000 years of orthodoxy.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.