So, my proposal is this: I would like to ask my readers to let me know what you hear this Triduum. The hundreds of followers of One of the Few Real Catholics in America deluged me last week with the certitude that this Triduum would oblige thousands of other Real Catholics to bail on their parishes this weekend in search of a Truly True Catholic parish (or perhaps no Catholic parish at all if their diocese is not up to snuff). The basis for bailing is that Michael Voris seems certain that there are ever so many priests and bishops who will "breathe a word" about Earth Day, thereby proving (to those incapable of thinking) that their parish is celebrating "Pagan Easter".(Of course, in the comment boxes beneath Amy's most recent post, somebody accuses the Holy Father of writing something Manichean--so I wonder what sort of response Mark will actually get.)
But since, as I have just kindly pointed out, 1) there are any number of ways of mentioning Earth Day in an orthodox way; 2), we have no particular reason for supposing the Gore memo will have any impact at all and 3) even *if* the Gore memo was mentioned and somebody included a little "give a hoot, don't pollute" mention in a homily or voiced an opinion that global warming is something to take seriously, that *still* doesn't constitute "paganism" or "earth worship". In order to be actually pagan, somebody has to propose that a creature is a deity to be worshipped because that's what paganism is: exchanging the truth about God for a lie and worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! (Romans 1:25).
So tell me what actually happens in your parish this Triduum. I want to get a sense of how much the Great Voris Pagan Easter Panic in my comboxes last week was rooted in reality, and how much was hysteria. (My sense, in case you haven't figured it out, is "pretty much mostly hysteria"). But since "my sense" plus five bucks will get you a cup of Starbucks, I thought I might collect a bit of data. So I need to hear from as many of you as possible, since the Panickers will be hypersensitive to the slightest hint of Impurity, while normal people who are not inclined to comment will not, particularly if the homily is a perfectly ordinary one.
I like what Mark is proposing here. In fact, I'm going to do something similar myself. Instead of telling me what happens this week, though, I'd like to ask all my Catholic readers two specific questions:
1. What is the worst example of liturgical abuse at Mass you personally witnessed in the last five years?
2. What, if anything, did you do about it?
Note well: I'm asking you for things you personally experienced at Mass, not things your second cousin's best friend in Oklahoma read about in an underground Catholic newspaper. I'm also asking you to stick to the time limit: five years. This is because as a lifelong Catholic I could fill a book (or at least a small pamphlet) with liturgical abuses I have witnessed in my lifetime, but when I really think about it most of them occurred between twenty-five and thirty years ago, in my junior high to high school years. This doesn't mean I've never seen anything since, but anything really jarring has been rare.
That said, I'll share two things to give you an example, both of which occurred roughly in the last five years:
1. A visiting priest ad-libbed the whole Mass so much, including the prayers of consecration, that we slipped out as communion was being distributed and drove across town to attend another Mass, just in case that one was invalid. I wrote to the pastor, and got a nice letter back reminding me to be grateful for the service of all priests--but agreeing that what we'd experienced was problematic and not what the faithful had the right to expect. That particular visiting priest never returned to our parish.
2. A parish priest became agitated during a Mass for the poor souls on Nov. 2., insisted at the homily that we should be celebrating because all the deceased were in heaven, railed against the Church for insisting on purple vestments and a spirit of penitence at this Mass, and finally tore off his purple vestments and celebrated the rest of the Mass in his alb. This priest had a late vocation after his wife died, however, which should be taken into account (as lingering grief can make us do strange things). I intended to write a letter, but just three days later our beloved choir director died suddenly and unexpectedly, and I lost sight of the matter.
In five years, those are the worst things I've seen. Perhaps that means nothing other than that I'm in a halfway decent diocese, but I don't know. Certainly it makes the constant drumbeat that the Novus Ordo Mass is riddled with serious liturgical abuse everywhere it is celebrated seem like an exaggeration to me.
But now it's your turn. What's it like where you live? What is the worst liturgical abuse you've personally seen between 2006 and today? What did you do about it?