Thursday, March 12, 2015

Saving our outrage for real liturgical abuse

I know I’m late to this, but I wanted to write about it anyway: what happened to Katrina Fernandez (a.k.a. The Crescat) at her grandmother’s funeral was outrageous:
What this priest did was totally inexcusable.
Not only did he consecrate a wheat pita but when I went up to receive on the tongue he forcefully tried to pry open my hands to put the Eucharist in my palm. When I remained in front of him with my mouth open, holds folded closed, to receive on the tongue he grabbed my hand and took the Body of Christ, wedged it between my fingers and said, “Just take it. It’s easier this way.”
Easier for what or whom?! There were not even 50 people in that church! How was me receiving on the tongue going to disrupt the communion line? It made absolutely no sense. Just take it, it’s easier this way? And at my grandmother’s funeral is where you decide to make your little anti-trad point?
And while he was busy making a show out of denying me communion on the tongue in front of my family at my dead grandmother’s funeral, he was hap-happily giving out consecrated wheat pita to the rest of my non-Catholic family without a moment of instruction or notice in the program on why they shouldn’t receive.
Sacrilege schmacrilege.
Outrageous.  And while the comments over there currently stand at 570 and there’s no way I plan to read them all at this point, this rather recent one caught my eye:
I told my wife about this. She is a pastoral associate with a master's in Theology from Loyola University in New Orleans. She said that SHE had done the very same thing when some kid dropped to his knees in a communion line at the Church where she works(not our home parish where NO ONE since 1968 when the new church was built). She passed him by and he later told her that she had embarassed him. HER response? "You did to your self. YOU KNEW that we don't do it that way here and you chose to behave otherwise". I think this whole thing is silly. As I was told as a little boy in Catholic school in the late 50's early 60's, when in Rome, do as the Roman's do”.
If the gentleman in question posted under his real name (alas, he does not appear to) I would be sending a letter to the unfortunate parish which employs his wife, because if she is in fact the rude and ignorant bully her husband portrays her to be then she needs training immediately in the right of the laity to receive communion in traditional postures, a right which they retain in spite of pushy ill-educated pastoral associates (and I cannot tell you how tempted I was to abbreviate “associates” incorrectly just now).

One of the reasons I was so hard on Rachel Lu’s recent blog posts about her terrible experience at a parish that had (gasp) female altar servers! and EMHCs! and unfortunate music! is because when we get all het up about things that are liturgically permitted (however less-than-optimal we might personally think them) it tends to diminish our ability to complain about real, actual liturgical abuse.  From Katrina Fernandez’ blog post it seems clear that there are serious problems at the parish she mentions, problems which ought to be addressed by the local ordinary, preferably at once so that the faithful do not any longer suffer under such serious problems at Mass.

We should save our outrage for real liturgical abuse.  And then we should use it, as politely and civilly as possible, but without undue deference to error (however kind we may be to the erroneous, which is a different matter).


John InEastTX said...

Yes, the Lu scenario and the Crescat scenario are clearly differences in kind, not degree.

John Jensen said...

If I understand the canon law about valid matter, if the 'pita' had anything but wheat flour and water, the person didn't receive the Body of Christ in any case.

Our parish used to have a priest who enjoyed, for Holy Thursday Mass, having some sort of what he thought were like matzos made up and using them for part of the Mass. When I received one of them, it was chewy and slightly sweet, so I doubt it was valid matter. I made a spiritual Communion and trust that God would take care of the rest. But this sort of thing is very unfortunate.


Robyn Dolan said...

It's very sad when these things happen. Especially in the middle of Mass. Yes, I have my little beefs, not on the scale of what's happened above, but I realize that some of them are just my personal preferences and not liturgical abuses.

In the end, we as a church need to demonstrate love. The love of Jesus for us and all.