Liturgical horrors
  • The disrespect shown Mr. Osborn here doesn't seem very Christly. Person A cares about a subject. Person B and C don't. Ok - then person B and C shouldn't say anything at all. If he was speaking against Church teaching, that would be one thing. But he's actually right. So if you're inclined to agree or disagree with him, reply. But it doesn't seem very sufficient to shut him down, as if to say, "I hate that you care about this." That is an illegitimate use of the forum, imo.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,592
    There's a long history of belittling comments on the subject that's annoyed more folks than have spoken up. I first learned about the jubilus from one of MJO's posts and was grateful for it, but soon got sick of hearing about it, especially in contexts such as "three cute little hoopty-doo alleluyas."

    For reasons both pastoral and musical, not everyone whose end goal is to sing from the Graduale can do so at the present time. Progress in that direction is often mocked with belittling language, as if some of us are just intentionally ignoring the ideal.

    You'd think using modal Alleluias from an official source were as bad as dancing along to a praise band with projector screens, based on the oft-expressed attitude of "Person A."

    When I first discovered the Chant Cafe, nobody was mocking the Simple English Propers for not being the Gregorian Communio. They were encouraging one another in moving a little closer to the ideal, while being pragmatic about the reality in the trenches.

    That's attractive and exciting. Looking down one's nose is not. THAT is an illegitimate use of the forum. The CMAA promotes the ideal, celebrates progress in that direction, and encourages yet more progress. If it were anything else I would have never been interested.
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    eft brings up one of the true horrors of current liturgy. Spontaneous applause would be suspect enough. Applause prodded out of a captive congregation is, well, horrible.
  • Ryand, If you're sick of hearing about it, don't feed the flames any more oxygen. Father Z constantly points out the whole "Save the Liturgy, Save the World" theme. It seems silly to suggest that you should criticize him on his blog for how often he says it. Perhaps he'll take critiques that disagree with his position, and perhaps he'll accept praise in agreement. But Mr. Osburn has just as much 'ownership' here as you or I do, and I'm not to sure it's any person's right to shut him down. And it's not as if there aren't a ton of other topics or other comments one could make to other people. Give the man his due, even if it numerically doesn't jive with you.
  • Some people preach to the choir. Some people not yet fully in the choir hear the preaching and reject it. Some hear and eventually understand and come on board. People in all three categories are here on this forum.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,592
    Steve forgot the fourth category, which recognizes that there are more than five categories.

  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    So far, the thread has listed:
    - replacing psalms with an infantile refrain
    - a donkey in a procession
    - balloons in a procession
    - a re-enactment of the (near-) sacrifice of Isaac, with dancers
    - a multi-lingual babble Gospel
    - a priest's story about protecting the paschal candle with a plastic bag
    - a performance snafu on the Exsultet
    - multiple Easter Vigils, some before sunset, some nearly deserted
    - a re-enactment of the thirty pieces of silver
    - a man's ashes in a coffee pot
    - the (lawful) singing of a simple Alleluia instead of a Gregorian proper
    - a homilist showing his Christmas presents
    - applause after the Passion Gospel

    Keep the recollections coming! :-)
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    Hey, you forgot my TV Guide!!
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    Here's another one: the pastor of the cathedral is giving the Holy Thursday homily. This liturgy is loaded with quality music, professional choir, great organists, all the right texts.
    So the pastor says, "My favorite music for Holy Thursday is…" and he then proceeded to SING this favorite song. Unfortunately for the quality of this story, my crumbling brain cannot dredge up what he sang, but it would have been of the quality of Danny Boy. This priest has a lovely voice and the people loved him for many good reasons. I did not love him at that moment.

    Anybody else run into renegade singing homilists?
    Thanked by 2CCooze eft94530
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,519
    I didn't see this, but an architect acquiantance told me, with shudders, of a church he had re-ordered. At the blessing of the new altar the mensa had been wrapped in cling film to 'keep the oil from spoiling the altar'! There then came the the lengthy process of removing oily cling-film!
    Thanked by 3chonak Liam Jahaza
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,820
    If memory serves, when they were consecrating a new main altar at the cathedral in the Boston 15-20 years ago, the oil dripped ... onto the carpet (sigh) surrounding the altar ... and of course the carpet had to be cut out and properly disposed of....
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    If the oil (chrism?) didn't touch the altar, in the case a_f_hawkins describes, was it consecrated at all?
    Thanked by 2Kathy eft94530
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,820
    I would imagine not, though that doesn't affect the validity of the Sacrifice made thereon. (Were I that architect, and if the pastor of that church had since moved on, I might contact the current pastor to advise him so that he could quietly complete the ritual....)
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,088
    Here is another one:

    Holy Thursday 1990 in a better left unnamed diocese. Archbishop is to bless the oil of Chrism. He breathes on it as the rubric asks. His reading glasses that are on the end of his nose fall into the vat of oil. His microphone is on and he blurts out, " Oh sh-t"

    The commentator at the lectern quickly says, " The Archbishop has just blessed the oil in Latin."

    I am in the choir and we fall over ourselves in laughter.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,300
    Kevin:

    And WHAT is the Latin translation of that word? We would ALL like to know.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 375
    "Oscito" will be my exclamation of choice from now on.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    1999/2000 in a religious house.

    Easter Vigil First Reading.

    Suddenly a mime face appears in the darkness.
    And two gloved hands.
    One hand indicated "one" and the other hand juggled a white ball.

    Keep going.
    Thanked by 2Liam Kathy
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 737
    Anybody else run into renegade singing homilists?


    There's a priest who is chaplain at a nearby Memorial Hospital who, when he is the guest priest for one reason or another, ALWAYS sings something in his homilies. Always. Something in his homile always leads into "it's like the song..." *starts singing*.
    He also has a very thick accent, and so you often can't tell half of what he is saying, nor what he is singing. =(
    He also likes to acknowledge everyone at the end of Mass and clap for them (our lectors *claps*, our lovely cantor *claps*, your rector for inviting me *claps*, for all of you for being here *claps*).
    Thanked by 2MBW eft94530
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,107
    There was a Paulist priest in town for several years that the musicians called, "Fr. Broadway." Everything, including the consecration, turned into melodramatic song. This was the same idiot who told me that Marty Haugen had a genuine feel for Catholic liturgy. Fr. Broadway is now singing his heart out in some other city, but I know not where.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 737
    Well, to be fair, the priest I mentioned usually was breaking into a hymn .... I think. The melody was fairly easy to make out, just not the words.
    He seems like a very nice man, though. He just likes clapping and extra singing.

    He also tends to turn around a whole lot to face the people when the Mass he is celebrating is set up as ad orientem (which isn't always the case for him.. our priests are trying hard to make sure everyone is comfortable with ad orientem and give a lengthy explanation of why it's appropriate each time they have it set for the "season" (Advent+Christmas, Lent), so far.. with the eventual goal, I believe, to be always).
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,820
    O! O! O!*

    There was this Jesuit, you see, who was into ... Broadway musicals. (I know, y'all are SOOOO shocked) and that was at times his homiletic grist.... It could be hard being in a choir/schola facing the congregation....

    * [Welcome Back Mr Kotter reference for people > 45 years old.]
    Thanked by 2eft94530 Kathy
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,820
    Vilyanor

    Be sure to mention that you were once told that yawning was a form of blessing in Latin....Brings entirely new gestures to nightmarish minds (for liturgical dance) of "Come Thou, Font of Every Blessing"...
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor eft94530
  • So the pastor says, "My favorite music for Holy Thursday is…" and he then proceeded to SING this favorite song. Unfortunately for the quality of this story, my crumbling brain cannot dredge up what he sang, but it would have been of the quality of Danny Boy.


    Same situation, except that I can dredge up what he sang: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?", the theme song from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Twice.
    Thanked by 3MBW chonak Vilyanor
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,552
    Anybody else run into renegade singing homilists?


    We are part of an ordinary parish that has daily EF and NO Masses, During Lent and Advent we have visiting preachers... who will preach at all the Sunday Masses. One Year we had a dreaded singing Homilist, who burst in to some pop / folk song... Well our EF congregation are not very tolerant of this sort of thing so quite a few people stood up and walked out, they came back when the Mass restarted.
    The poor homilist did not expect this and seem quite shocked, I think he expected everybody to join in but all he got were cold stares. We in the gallery were trying not to laugh, we can't be seen but can be heard, our escape route is also almost invisible to the Preacher so it is a good place to be.
    Thanked by 1MBW
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    I can see your PP chuckling at that while simultaneously being horrified.

    I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him: I never met a priest who went out of his way to say he didn’t recognize me and ask who I was and where I was from. And he was handing out chocolates on Low Sunday. That’s the spirit!

    We had Sung Mass one Sunday when the Lenten special collection preacher came round. They weren’t thinking; this priest really did not like the TLM and was a real pain. He would not wear a cassock so he insisted on his dopey alb and stole over a tab collar and then he walked around the church giving his appeal. I was serving so I couldn’t leave. It was almost a relief that he had to leave to catch his flight.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,300
    deacon preaching during lent walks up to the ambo and breaks out singing Prepare ye the Way from Godspell. Then he proceeds to raise his hands to get the whole church singing it. also did that another time with This Little Light of Mine
  • Second-hand story from an ex-Mercedarian priest associate: he once worked at a diocesan parish where the pastor would always have a special treat at Midnight Mass. Either before or after the sermon, the priest would announce, "And now it's the time of year everyone's been waiting for - the arrival of Santa's Little Helpers!" At which cue, the pastor's two dachshunds would be released from the back of the church and run up the aisle to their master, clad in elf and reindeer attire. This act would elicit a wave of "awwwws!" from the congregation. Pastor would then pick up each of his dogs and show them off. The whole affair would end with the pastor telling the pups, "Now, say goodnight, George and Gracie!" and sending them back down the aisle to polite applause.

    In addition to liturgical horrors, I'd like to add this to Crimes Against Dachshunds, which are unforgiveable.
    Thanked by 3MBW CHGiffen Jahaza
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,107
    In addition to liturgical horrors, I'd like to add this to Crimes Against Dachshunds, which are unforgiveable.


    Sounds to me like some of the bishops have been ordaining everything but dogs. LOL
  • To veer off-topic, I knew of a (better anonymous) Episcopal seminary where a seminarian offered communion to her German Shepherd. So maybe dogs aren't far off?
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    CCooze, your description is too close to my weekly experience
    to be coincidence.

    Does anyone have a link to a magazine article
    where these behaviors are promoted?
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,574
    And ending with ...

    And you can clap for me too!
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    There was a famous incident in the Diocese of Richmond about a decade ago where a priest rode into the church for Mass on his motorcycle. He was admonished by the bishop afterwards and was retired shortly thereafter.

    The chaplain at a northeastern technical university once carried out the asperges with a super-soaker.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,107
    Asperges me not on the lone prairie.
    Where the coyotes wail and the wind blows free.
    And when I die, don't asperges me
    beneath the western sky, on the lone prairie.


    With apologies to every cowboy who ever sang the real song.



    Thanked by 1MBW
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    StimsonInRehab may be thinking of the incident at an Anglican church in Toronto in which a minister gave a dog Holy Communion.

    The priest Jahaza recalls, the Rev. Thomas Quinlan, rode a police motorcycle into the Basilica of St. Mary in Norfolk on Palm Sunday (I haven't been able to find out the year yet.) He continued in his pastorate until he retired in 2005 after 31 years of shocking Catholics in various Tidewater parishes. A year later the bishop of Richmond forbade him to engage in public ministry of the sacraments; he died in 2012.
    Thanked by 1Jahaza
  • On Mother's Day the priest conducted a contest held to see who had the most children. Then, all mothers were asked to go up to the mic, introduce themselves and tell how many children they each had. (I stayed cringing in my back pew with no intention of joining the show) Then candy bars were passed out. When all returned to their seats 15 minutes later, the Prayer After Communion was said and Mass finished. Same circus on Father's Day.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    The only reason he was shocking was because he went so far overboard. For the most part, that part of the diocese of Richmond is a wasteland.
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,747
    Anybody else run into renegade singing homilists?


    Why, sure!!

    The (thankfully) retired ex-pastor of our parish led us all in "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" one day.

    Can't recall why, but there's no excuse for it anyway.
  • JulieCollJulieColl
    Posts: 2,437
    Anybody else run into renegade singing homilists?


    This brought back unwelcome memories of two priests on different occasions belting out Irish ballads to the adoring congregation during their sermons. All I can remember is an overwhelming desire to crawl under the pew until it was all over.

    One of those priests, encouraged by his success, decided to sing the words of the Consecration to a melody of his own making. He continued this strange practice for several years, if I'm not mistaken. I later discovered the melody was from the traditional sung Compline, which made no sense at all in that context. The tragedy of it all was that he had a lovely voice and was trying very hard to inject more solemnity into the Novus Ordo, and it would have been wonderful if he could have been taught to sing the official celebrant chants of the EF and OF.


  • And some really wish that you would just move on already.


    Jackson:

    It won't make me popular around here for saying it, but I'm glad that you won't back down on your excoriation of the practice. When I used to direct the music of a parish in which the Missal of (Blessed) Paul VI was celebrated, I knew no better, and had no one to teach me otherwise. When I came to the traditional rite, I discovered different practice, but I don't think I could have articulated why it is better.

    Those who hold principled stands with charity inform (and sometimes reform) the ideas of those who are willing to listen.

    So, even if I'm a voice of just one, thank you.

    Cheers,

    Chris
  • Christmas Eve Vigil Mass (not Midnight). Large suburban Midwest parish. \
    Priest stands up to give his homily at reading the Gospel. Says, I have a present for you. He goes and sits at the piano to the side of the sanctuary....and begins to play...doesn't sound very sacred but his playing is very skilled...and then from somewhere in the middle of the crowded church a voice is heard, a singer with a hand held mike, starts singing...."Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire" and walks around the church as he sings to father's accompaniment. Now, the piano and the vocal would have been terrific in say, a fine jazz club...very talented....but anyway, singer continues to walk around the church singing until he reaches the piano for the end of the song..."and though its been said, many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you". And that my friends, was the homily. The priest stood up from the piano, skipped the creed and moved to the Prayers of the Faithful.
    Thanked by 3canadash CHGiffen MBW
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,107
    If his sense of the sacred doesn't improve, it may eventually be priest's nuts roasting over an open fire. LOL.
  • Christmas Eve Children's Mass at my parish (same one as above) has for years featured a pageant telling the Christmas story during Mass, complete with costumes, music, and a live nativity scene at the end. The past two years, this has taken the place of the reading of the Gospel - the "narrator" has been a pre-teenager and the characters (Mary, Gabriel, the shepherds) speak their own parts. Then this year, after the pageant was finished, Father proceeded to invite the children up to the sanctuary for the homily - which consisted of questions for the kids like what do you want for Christmas or what are you doing with your family for Christmas. If I were a parent of one of these children (I'm not), I would have been thoroughly embarrassed by some of the responses they came up with. There may have been a very brief concluding point about Jesus coming to us as a baby, but I hardly even remember how that point was reached. After the homily was over, Father invited the congregation to give the children a round of applause.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,592
    Christmas Eve, auxilary bishop presiding.

    Before the dismissal:
    "Today is Jesus' BIRTHDAY!!! And what do we do on birthdays?"...

    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • Clearly, these priests actually don't have anything, anything at all, to say (maybe that's because there is no evident brain); and, worse, they seem to think that their unfortunate parishoners haven't a brain to comprehend it even if they did.
    Am I mistaken?, or are Catholics the only people who are treated like idiots by their clergy, who resent it if any of them don't seem to fit the idiot mold? Why are such men pawned off on God's holy people as alter Christi when, though legalistically and theologically they, unfortunately, are, but objectively they clearly are not.

    At Walsingham this morning our cathedral rector gave an astonishing homily on the transfiguration text, weaving together with great ingenuity and intellect Augustine's City of God, Origen, Tertullian, the significance of the booths, the significance of the 'six days', the meaning of the specific prophets and patriarchs who appeared, the theophany and the admonition to 'listen to him', and the import of it all for our Lenten lives. One was blessed to hear such speech, by which one was inspired and enlightened; even ennobled. His admirable preaching could well have been given to graduate theology and philosophy students and professors. We get this sort of thing every Sunday. I think that if some of the 'priests' whose antics are spoken of here were to appear in Walsingham's pulpit they would be showered with rotten tomatoes. How can people sit through such idiocy? How do they do it with a straight face? It's incredible. Have they no self respect? (Do they think that God, too, is an idiot?)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,907
    Christmas Eve: a celebrant, a one-time member of a singing-priests act, delivered his homily while walking up and down the aisle of the church. He picked up someone's baby and sang the Johnny Mathis song "When a child is born" to him or her.

    He didn't recite the spoken-word spiel Mathis makes, which makes the song sound like a longing for a secular messiah.

    (the actual song starts 40 seconds into this video)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ6hJNGZ8vg
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    I am getting a severe headache being reminded on this thread of the horrible things I have witnessed at Christmas Eve "Family Masses". Maybe I will feel better if I enumerate a few here.

    -When the "gospel" is replaced by a cutesy pageant, and the parents (most of the congregation in our case) have just experienced the same pageant two nights before as the school Christmas program.
    -When the Christmas star slides down a guy wire from the gallery to the sanctuary, intended for the creche. It never actually gets there, of course. (Bad execution embodying worse thinking.)
    -Singing happy birthday to Jesus.
    -Homily about the evils of abortion. (I know, but not to kids on Christmas Eve.)
    -Homilies which go on for 15 minutes and are incomprehensible to the children the "Family Mass" is supposed to be designed for.
    -Masses which go so long (and are so boring) that the children (did I mention that the Mass is supposedly designed for them?) are toppling over. This, I discover, is not an aid to choral singers.
    -"Christmas Presents" or just plain toys (not even for the poor) being brought to the altar at the Offertory.
    -Anticipatory Masses which are so early that, if they were NBA players, they would be called for flopping.

    That did not work, now my headache is worse.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • This is not a horror. It really happened and was an accident that gets mentioned once in a while in the vigils of successive years. About five years ago I was the organist for the Easter Vigil at St Basil's Chapel at UST. The choir section is off to one side (liturgical south) of the sanctuary and the paschal candle was placed just across the 3 1/2 foot wall which delineates the choir. At some point during the liturgy the candle decided to fall over out of its stick, which it did, and barely missed hitting me sitting at the organ. Hot wax went everywhere and the candle follower made much clanging on the marble pavement. Needless to say, there was much excitement to replace it and continue the liturgy with dignity, all accomplished with admirable aplomb.
    Thanked by 2MBW CHGiffen
  • MBWMBW
    Posts: 175
    MJO, you reminded me of another one. Also not a horror, but a near disaster.

    Easter Vigil. Everyone, instead of blowing out their candles, was to bring them forward and place them, still lit, in holders which were placed on the communion rail. Unfortunately, the holders were very flammable with the result that a mini conflagration on the communion rail ensued. It was quickly extinguished, but many throats were full of heart for a moment.