Here’s the thing:
I went to Mass. Not here in the ‘Ham. Somewhere else.
When I go to Mass I try very hard to leave any Critic Hat I might be harboring at the door.
Often unsuccessfully of course.
(I say that as a caveat. As an attempt to divert the Giant Internet Hand of Spanking/Catholic Edition. Remember my late husband wrote the book on leaving the Critic behind at Mass. So I have awareness, people.)
So anyway (!) – this Mass was a great example of how the purported intentions of the post-V2 reforms went horribly wrong because they failed to take Ego into account. Years of tradition and development and more organic-like stuff know about the Ego. Quick fixes forget.
Which means quite simply: When you declare that “the local community” should in some way shape the liturgy, what will often happen is that the only “community” shaping the liturgy will be the musicians and the priest. Ipso facto, untethered from rubric or the specter of sin and set loose by the fateful phrase “in these or similar words” – the liturgy will reflect the egos of both.
So at the beginning we were instructed to “turn and greet Father with our opening song.”
The celebrant ad-libbed much of the Mass (not the Eucharistic prayer, though) and spoke for five minutes after the Greeting – about Hosea, which was the source of the (Weston Priory, of course) processional hymn, but not the First Reading (which was from Ezekiel), preached a thirty-minute terrifically disjointed homily that barely alluded to any of the three Scripture readings (but did make ample reference to Hosea) , and then spent another five minutes at the end of Mass selling the parish golf tournament.
The priest became the center of the Mass – and not in the alter Christus offering sacrifice mode he’s supposed to – and for the rest of us, there was no escaping him.
But I’ve gone over that before in this space. Here’s what struck me this time.
The parish has a special intention for which they are praying to the Virgin.
So after Mass the priest led the people in this prayer to the Virgin for this special intention.
He turned around. Away from the congregation. With them.
He recited the words of this prayer to the Virgin, on his knees facing her statue – which stood in the sanctuary.
He turned , he faced the statue, he prayed.
I could not help but wonder why embracing this stance and this mode of praying which did not deviate from the given, “rote,” prayer one bit – leading us, but in the same direction – was acceptable now, but not during Mass.