Liturgical horrors
  • Spriggo
    Posts: 122
    I posted this a couple of years ago in a different thread, but it's worth repeating here:

    …The priest celebrant for the 4:00pm Mass on Christmas Eve - the dreaded “Children’s Mass” - decides that, in order to keep said children engaged, he will (with the pastor's permission) hire a magician to perform his act instead of preaching a homily. After the Gospel reading, the magician calls all of the kids to come sit on the floor in front of the Sanctuary while he performs in front of the altar. He asks for a woman to volunteer and, once she is front and center (in the Sanctuary in front of the altar), he has her help him put on a straight jacket (with some very inappropriate double-entendre humor). Then, while Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” is blaring from a boom box that has been plopped on the altar, he escapes from the straight jacket – all this while the priest is frantically snapping flash pictures and jockeying around the altar. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass meets Fellini. This actually happened about 13 years ago in my parish. Things are much better now.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,515
    I have told this story before, but here goes. My parish is blessed with ushers, who for the most part, are charitably called, "brain damaged." One year, they brought the Easter fire into the church. It was below the loft, choked the choir, and left an oily film on everything that had to be cleaned off. The next year, they made improvements. They kept the fire outside, but somehow set the mulch in the flower beds on fire. The pastor banned everything but candles after I suggested that our ushers could not be trusted with anything resembling fire.

    Let me add that a liberal parish to the south of us, which we often refer to as "The Heathen on the Hill," had a serious mishap with Easter Vigil fire a few years ago. Their fire more closely resembled a bonfire than anything reasonable, to begin with. They used an accelerant which flashed and burned several people. I remember a deacon and a kid being burned not critically, but seriously. It was an "accident" that any degree of foresight and forethought would have prevented.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    Spriggo, that’s awful.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,515
    The "contemporary" group at the cathedral a few years ago, did an interesting recessional for one of those so called, "family masses" one Christmas Eve. It was, "Joy to the World," by Three Dog Night. Those dogs and the contemporary group as well, should have been euthanized.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    Homily on All Saints' Day, 2013. The priest asked the musicians to sing this before he started speaking to illustrate "My Favorite Saints".
    Thanked by 1Reval
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,515
    Catholics are too sheep-like. They will put up with anything. If the congregations walked out a few times and withheld offerings, I promise you much of this stuff would stop.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    We had a candle incident at the Easter Vigil once, thankfully not including the Paschal candle!

    We typically lit the church's 12 consecration candles at the Easter Vigil. A little while after they were lit (at the Gloria, along with the altar candles), we heard this pinging noise... and then we heard it again. Then one of the ushers came into the sacristy looking for the candle snuffer.

    It turned out that we had somehow acquired a low quality batch of candles and when they softened, the heavy brass candle followers were causing them to bend over and the followers to eventually fall off and hit the floor with that pinging noise.

    In the future, we made sure to use high quality candles for this purpose and the problem didn't repeat itself.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,647
    Back when I lived in a country with truly impoverished liturgical standards I remember an extremely minimalist pastor getting to the back of the church for the beginning of the Easter Vigil. He saw the small bbq the ushers had prepare for him to light and he said "no, this is far too much.." Then he handed an usher a Bic lighter and began reading the prayers for the blessing of the New Fire over the Bic.
  • If the congregation walked out... and withheld offerings... would stop.
    Actually it is horror compounded when we often hear of chant being exiled, choirmasters being fired, organs being silenced, etc., all because people walked out, withheld offerings, and so on. They never seem to walk and withhold, however, over anything that is truly a horror. Weird!
    Yes, as Charles says, Catholics are sheep-like and will put up with anything - unless that anything is really admirable.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 698
    Several additions to the growing collection:

    Heard this from people who used to attend my home parish -- a priest, on Christmas day, sang Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer during Mass. He has a very good voice and he's, frankly, a ham. He loves the stage. On another occasion (not Christmas) he sang a love song to the congregation and then asked them to sing it back to him. Weird.

    In another church, the pastor was seen throwing dog treats in the sanctuary for his pet lab.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,870

    the children were invited to bring family offerings to the altar. the priest stood there smiling with a basket. after each child dropped their offering in the basket he hi fives each child. how long, o Lord, how long?
  • One time a former priest had a homily with a horrible joke:
    "You're stuck in an elevator with a Lion, a Tiger and a Lawyer. You have a gun, with 2 bullets. Which do you shoot them at? Well, of course you shoot them both at the lawyer!" He laughed, but being a wealthy congregation, everyone looked at this well-respected priest (for the most part) in horror, and then the rest of the homily was horribly awkward.
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 180

    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.

    We had a few priests in the parish that did that. It was a cute little ditty of a melody but wholly inappropriate for the circumstances. But what made it worse, they changed the words to introduce the consecration too. Note that this was in French, and translated to "When the Lord sat down at the table with his friends".

    I haven't heard it for quite a number of years so maybe they got the cease-and-desist order from above. Although I can't remember when I last went to Mass in my parish. It's not for nothing that I hang out at a local Benedictine monastery where they do a lovely OF in Gregorian chant. About once a month though, I sing in our schola in the neighbouring diocese (I live right on the border of two dioceses), in various parishes. I've seen/heard a lot of liturgical nonsense but not that one. The one that keeps recurring is that they think because the schola sings the Kyrie they don't need a penitential rite.

    Some day I hope we'll surprise them. The current missal allows troped Kyries as one of the penitential rite options, so I'll make an arrangement the old troped "Orbis Factor" from the Gradual of Eleanor of Brittany to throw at them :-)

  • Mary Ann
    Posts: 49
    Palm Sunday, 2016, the first with our new pastor of 8 mos. Palms are blessed & congregation is processing back into church waving them, singing with conviction, "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." For the first time (that I can recall in 50 yrs. of Palm Sunday's at this church), instead of coming in at the end Father is leading the procession. It usually takes all 5 verses for everyone to assume their places. I'm beginning to play Verse 5. But wait...Father has been standing at the chair for Verses 2, 3, & 4 & evidently doesn't see any reason to finish singing Verse 5. From the organ bench I see his hands waving back & forth, then a very loud (he's LOUD) voice announces, "WE'VE SUNG ENOUGH!!!" Whaaatt?? Wait a minute! What just happened here? My hands come off the keys in mid-measure & I sit there in shock, wondering if I'd heard what I thought I heard. Yes, I did!! It took me a good share of the Mass to let go of my personal feelings at this (to me) liturgical horror. Finally managed to put it in perspective by deciding to use "We've Sung Enough!" as the epitaph on my tombstone. Father, how can I ever thank you??!!
    Thanked by 2eft94530 CHGiffen
  • Mary Ann -

    How unspeakably hurtful!
    What a bull in a china shop!
    I never cease to be astounded at the sorts who actually get ordained -
    nor at the unholy callousness with which they are pawned off on the faithful.
    We have never, nor ever will have, sung enough.
    This is what you should put on your tombstone!

    One thing (one thing else!) that should be drummed and pounded into the heads of all postulants and seminarians is that one (be he priest or anyone else) never, never, never, not ever, once the ritual action has begun, inserts at any point so much as one syllable of non-ritual words into the sacred rite. This in itself would cure many of the horrors visited upon the poor people of God by their 'priests'.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    That’s a job I would like to leave quickly and would tell people not to seek to replace me.
    Thanked by 1Mary Ann
  • Mary Ann,

    Evidently you are not the same as Mary Ann Carr Wilson who inhabits these parts. Her priests would never do something so boorish.

    I had something similar (but not identical) happen decades ago. Awkwardness itself nearly ensued when parishioners and choir members asked me what I made of Father's publicly critiquing a hymn we had sung -- my memory tells me it was My Song is love unknown -- and something else which escapes my memory. I replied in as diplomatic fashion as I could: "Father and I read the same directive, but come to different interpretations."

    I'm grateful to this priest for receiving me into the Church, and I pray for the repose of his soul, but I can't pretend that this event wasn't extremely painful.

    Thanked by 1Mary Ann
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,353
    I disagree with - but can understand - why someone would think that hymns should be truncated for time (or some other reason). I cannot begin to fathom what would make a person be so rude as to simply shout out to stop a hymn in the middle of it.
    Thanked by 1Mary Ann
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    I am with Adam. It’s the rudeness that gets me.

    Chris, that’s one of my favorite hymns. I’d have been crushed to hear that.
    Thanked by 1Mary Ann
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Realizing potential pushback here...
    The music (and her musicians) is servant of the liturgy, not the master. In 4.5 decades I know of no occasion where the directing musician chooses not to observe the liturgical action no matter how it plays out.
    As our president, Mahrt, has consistently and prolifically reminded us, the entrance chant (of whatever form) is an accompaniment, an adornment of the entrance and presence of alter Christus among us. The faithful's pre-eminent role is to acknowledge and observe that entrance. Choreography trumps any didactic rationale, even the "whole cloth" defense for singing the ENTIRE hymn.
    I feel for MaryAnn's injury from the celebrant's clericalist admonition. Nobody died though, so it's not in any manner a liturgical horror; it is an embarrassment. So what do we do from such happenings, we learn.....we remember.....we observe.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,515
    So what do we do from such happenings, we learn.....we remember.....we observe.

    We get even!
    Thanked by 1Mary Ann
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    The whole hymn would be sung if you had the door ceremony still...
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    we remember.....we observe.

    We get even!

    Calls a certain sacro-pop song to mind.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 383
    As our president, Mahrt, has consistently and prolifically reminded us, the entrance chant (of whatever form) is an accompaniment, an adornment of the entrance and presence of alter Christus among us.

    I would argue that it's much more than that. Given Dei Verbum and SC's emphasis on God's presence, speaking the word of scripture in the Liturgy, I do believe that the Introit effects in a particular way, or is an integral part of the entrance of the Church into the Heavenly Sanctuary.
  • ...entrance of the Church into the Heavenly Sanctuary.

    And, I would add '...into the Sacred Mysteries (which are about to be celebrated)'.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor Mary Ann
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Y'all are quibbling, you know what I meant. Here's Mahrt's take:
    The propers, with the possible exception of the gradual and the alleluia, are not the action; the best way for the people to unite themselves with these actions is, in most cases, to observe them, unfettered by hymn books or the details
    of reading musical notation. They can see the colors of the vestments and the hierarchical order of the participants of the liturgy; they can be moved by the rhythmic quality of the actions to contemplate the order being projected, and to realize that this order is a depiction of a sacred order, “a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City Jerusalem.
    The Musical Shape of the Liturgy.
    I grant that this occasion is prefaced by the use of a hymn, but the principle remains the same. And the communion of liturgies does require an ordained hierarchy, of which the priest/celebrant is the earthly nexus.
    I grant that the cleric in MA's situo undermined his own role by his poor manner, but that doesn't authorize a conflation of the role of the hymn; that it is sung to any degree fulfills that role.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins Mary Ann
  • Mary Ann
    Posts: 49
    Your responses were deeply appreciated, each and every one of them. And no, I am a different Mary Ann, a rural Iowan. Special thanks to MJO's amended epitaph...much, much better!
    Thanked by 2melofluent CHGiffen
  • vansensei
    Posts: 127
    MatthewRoth, about that parish in Minneapolis on the first page, I have a feeling I know exactly what you're talking about. They make the Star Tribune pretty much annually for liturgical abuses.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    St. Olaf’s.
  • vansensei
    Posts: 127
    Oh. See, I thought it was St. Joan of Arc.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    I mean, I’m avoiding both of them. All Saints, Holy Family, & St. Agnes for me...