sick and tired of visiting "missionary priests" who make the Mass their personal playground...
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Every year we have to have two different missionary priests come and preach to us for a weekend each and try to raise money for whatever missionary charitable organization they represent. I believe the diocesan office of missions requires this. I'm not sure, but I think they might assign us one of the priests, and we have to pick the other one, but I don't know what sort of guidelines there are.

    But I'm sick and tired of these retired priests who come in and have no clue about following the words in the Missal, who ad lib their way through the Mass, and make it into their own personal playground. We've had everything from, "The Lord is with you." ("and also with you.") to a priest who wouldn't give Communion on the tongue (he claimed he had a medical condition causing his hand to shake too much,) and who sang a Broadway piece (from Les Miserables) in the choir loft at the end of his homily.

    I'm sure these priests are all very nice, well-intentioned people, and the organizations which they represent are very good charities, but I think everyone would agree that the problem is that the kind of priest who is attracted to this kind of ministry is quite a bit on the "peace and social justice" end of Catholicism, which isn't bad in itself, but (combined with their age: think recently retired...) as a result of that they have no CLUE about following what the Church teaches about worship and liturgy. I'm no theologian, but to these missionary priests we have had, the Mass is only about US, coming together as a community, and NOTHING about worship!

    People come to my parish in order to *get away* from this kind of priest!

    Enough complaining...

    How do other good parishes deal with this problem? Our pastor NEEDS these two weekends away a year, (although he did come back once, the other priest was so awful!) so I don't think he really wants to stay and preside and just let the other priest do the preaching.

    Even better, has anyone had experience with a specific *good* priest (like one who just doesn't take so many liberties with the Liturgy and doesn't give a homily that borders on heretical...) who represents a particular missionary organization?
  • This isn't a direct answer to your question, but in February 2006, there was an article in Adoremus (here) by a Jesuit discussing the problem of liturgical abuse in religious orders. (You didn't mention whether the missionary priest was from a religious order.) At the time, I thought this was a very courageous article, yet it seemed to generate little or no commentary or discussion. Perhaps the article has some insights relevant to your situation.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Preach on! We know this situation all too well.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    As I said (and a bit more) on Facebook, make a report to your pastor over exactly what the priest did. He can then decide what action is appropriate given the nature of the offense.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Well, this is something of a delicate situation, isn't it? They might be good friends (who knows?) or the pastor might find it a burden to discover that he can't leave town and be able to trust the visitor to not wreck things. And in any case, the best that doing this can accomplish is to prevent this one priest from returning but it won't stop someone else from doing the same. However, i do see the point.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    "And in any case, the best that doing this can accomplish is to prevent this one priest from returning but it won't stop someone else from doing the same."

    Would there be any way to get bishops or someone who might actually do something about it to look at specific wrongdoing priests? If you could get ONE outta the sanctuary permanently, or at least until he had liturgical sense knocked into him, that would be a good thing, no?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,331
    There's a good guide on liturgical abuses at the Catholic Answers site.

    The faithful have the right to report abuses; EWTN has a nice summary of the subject.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Jeffrey -

    We face the situation far more often due to the dire shortage of priests in the diocese, and the large number of visiting and/or retired priests who help out. Each seems to have his own "flavor" for the Mass and its underlying theology. One has taken to de-genderize God, referring in his sermon to "God the Father, God the Mother ... God has no sex" and then in the Canon deleting all references he possibly can to "the Father".

    Each year our pastor invites a pastor from North Ireland to come give a sermon, which would be fine if he were Catholic, but alas, no.

    My least favorite is a priest who changes the Consecration to "whenever you do this, do it in memory of me" which seems to change the emphasis of command from "do" so "remember".

    And then there's the parish - oops, I mean "Catholic community" - at which the associate pastor told me a while back "a lot of folks don't really think we're particularly Catholic". And with no kneelers, no statuary, altar in the middle of the room, liturgical dancers, clay jugs for the Precious Blood, and their own music books whose rich musical heritage have one song from the 60s and nothing else before the 80s ... I think I agree with him. Don't forget that in a diocese with a supposed 6-year term for a priest at a parish the pastor there has stayed 13 years so far.

    Tag. You're it.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    One thing that pastors might actually like about this: everyone is so grateful with Father returns!
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I don't think there's really a cure for this. The missionaries are usually parceled out by the local Society for the Propagation of the Faith. And as the summer sets in, the vacation-replacement priests make the rounds. Apart from listening to the sound of your own teeth grinding, you can be grateful that you only have this a few Sundays out of the year. Many live with it permanently.

    This is the advantage of a choir loft for church musicians. When it's really hard is sitting at the up-front, on the side console with a fixed expression of interest.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,518
    There are orders, such as the Fathers of Mercy from Kentucky, that give orthodox retreats. If you pastor has any control over who visits, he could choose from such an order.
  • Hopefully this is dying out (or will, eventually), but during the 70s and 80s, newly ordained priests were known for their "style" and "flair". It's just not a visiting missionary priest problem. Too many diocesan priests consider the printed word in the Sacramentary to be only but a suggestion.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I should reinforce my recommendation by saying that I was in this same situation a few years ago. A priest came to visit from a charitable organization (which I'd be glad to name the organization and priest, but not in a public forum) and, among MANY other things:

    - Began Mass with "Good morning!" (at the second Mass he did this, I said, in a loud voice, "AMEN! Oops...")
    - Removed EVERY masculine pronoun from the Mass, which was fun watching him mess up - "and if a man... err... a person..."
    - His sermon was less about his organization and more about how terrible W was, including blaming him for Hurricane Katrina
    - He did a "blessing of the mothers" which was the most bizarre and un-gentlemanly thing I've ever seen (including the "Hitler salute blessing") and I'll leave it at that...
    - He said in his sermon that "Catholics don't care about the resurrection unlike some non-Catholics in Brazil", by which he referred to Pentecostals.

    The next day, I called my boss, the pastor, and told him everything I could remember. His immediate response was "I will do three things based on your report. I will ensure that this organization is never supported by this parish again, I will tell them why that is, and I will encourage my brother priests to not support this organization." That was it. I didn't have to single-handedly save the Roman liturgy, I didn't have to make a case why what he was doing was wrong, I just told the priest and let him decide what to do. It's their job, not ours.

    I recognize that some of you don't have the awesome priests that I had and that Mara has. Maybe they'd respond by saying "wow, that's pretty great, I'll have to try that!" In that case, just say "He chanted something in Latin, it was great!" You'll never have the guy back again.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Joseph: There's a reason for that. A recently ordained priest once told me of the liturgics school (which actually still exists today, even in his famously orthodox seminary) where priests are told, as he was, that the point of the Mass is for the priest to put his own personal "touch" on the Mass to give the people an exposure to his personality. No joke, and again there are still some of these guys at every seminary, although they're being replaced and most seminarians now won't listen to them.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Yesterday after the Mass, I heard a funny but sad story from a mother who takes children to Traditional mass. Last summer, the family went to a church nearby the farm they just purchased (I think it was out in the country side in Main.) They really didn't know what to expect. The guitarists and singers were singing in the front and all. After awhile her boy asked her mom, "when does the Mass start?"
    She said they even had the homily by a teen girl. I didn't really want to know the rest of the Mass.
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    Consider yourself lucky. For you they are visiting priests, for others pastors and parish priests.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,518
    "In that case, just say "He chanted something in Latin, it was great!" You'll never have the guy back again."

    ROFL :-)
  • Charles in CenCA
    Posts: 2,416
    "And my face shall not blush with shame."
    I dunno why, but with all of the minor symptomatic glitches that we deal with in our four parish conglomerate, I thank God these scenarios are not among them! And we host, at least, about four/five missioners per annum. Two of them are annual visitors with relationships to the pastor and parish well-established. Others that have come and gone have done so without disturbing any liturgical sensibilities. If I had to guess, I'd say that is a result of their being told, or sensing that we have practiced those sensibilites with continuity among the 9 Masses at one church, 6 at the the other, etc. for the six years of the current pastorate. The first Vigil Mass is at the mother parish which must somehow provide a missioner, whether celebrant and/or homilist, a clear picture that "innovation" is not part of our worship equation. That congregation also exemplifies participatio actuosa strongly, which might provide these missioners with the reality check that "the cult of personality" doesn't need amplification from their part.
    Continuity, as I've oft repeated, among the liturgical leadership both lay and clerical, seems to be a positive factor in checking "liturgical aggression and transgression."
  • I try not to be consumed with uncharitable thoughts when the deacon says (always) 'My brothers and sisters, the Lord be with all of you."
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,192
    Daniel, that's the kind of nonsense that riles me, the "spontaneous" speech or personal touch of flair that was invented and memorized in 1972 and hasn't changed since.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Whenever the bishop visited, the last place I lived, he used to ad lib the Mass. He would insert mini-homilies in various places, such as right after "This is the lamb of God" ...
  • rogue63
    Posts: 410
    Hear hear! for the Fathers of Mercy. I'm a Kentucky native, and we were blessed to have these fine priests come for missions at my (already fairly orthodox) home parish. If you can get them for a mission, I think anyone on these forums would be quite happy. No improvisation during the Canon, no Broadway songs during homily, or any of that kind of foolishness at all. Good priests.
  • I live within easy walking distance of 3 Catholic parishes. Based on experience, I can assume that the celebrant at any of them will ad-lib or routinely change the texts of the Mass. Additionally, one tries to make you come and stand around the altar. Another prints screeds against the Holy Father on the front page of its bulletin. Something profoundly wrong happened to the Church in the 1960s and '70s and is only beginning to heal.
  • " Broadway songs..." Yesterday, before the dismissal, our associate decided that he needed/wanted to sing a pop song about heroes etc..... After he finished, and after he changed keys at least four times, thunderous applause was given. (Happy clappy!) Somehow, after all that, I had no energy or inspiration or desire to play the introduction of "Crown Him With Many Crowns". Oh, the damage that is done.
  • Mark M.Mark M.
    Posts: 632
    Chonak, I took a look at that "Redemptionis Sacramentum" page on the link you provided above… thanks for sharing that.

    I find it interesting that for all the various kinds of liturgical abuses mentioned, music is hardly mentioned… the only example given is the prohibition of music during the Eucharistic Prayer.

    Why, I wonder? The document was from 2004. Did the Holy See realize that this would be a "hot button" sort of issue?
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    Gosh, we have never had a Bishop insert 'mini-sermons' anywhere. I have had a Bishop sing, but that was for the Children's Christmas Pageant when he was playing the part of St. Nicholas. He had a gorgeous voice. Never was 'O Come, little Children' sung so beautifully!! :)
  • Bruce E. Ford
    Posts: 412
    Why doesn't "the rector of the church" (so identified in GIRM) prepare a written customary, indicating unambiguously what is done at each of the regularly scheduled masses on Sundays, send copies to the visiting priests before their arrival, and instruct them to follow it "in letter and in spirit."

    The behavior you describe is symptomatic of clerical arrogance at its worst. The mass does not belong to the "celebrant."
  • There is a great reluctance among Catholic parish priests to regulate or direct the liturgical actions of their brothers, for reasons I'm not very sure of. Also, most parish priests only rarely witness what others on staff do during the liturgy, since typically only the one assigned celebrant is present.
  • Phipps
    Posts: 15
    Having been in the Sacristy to assist visiting priests I find some ask what the traditional way of doing things is and those who don't stick to the norms for the most part. My former Pastor did lay down some guidelines for liturgy and we toed the GIRM line but the current incumbent is of the 80's school but that is mainly in his lack of Latin. Our visiting priest for the last 38 years is a Crosier father and Professor from Mt St Mary's Seminary. He is undergoing cancer treatment and we are praying for a good outcome. He is 87 or 88 years old now. He would be happy if we sang Marian hymns but does insist the Responsorial be the one in the Lectionary as he starts his homily with the refrain.

    Knowing what goes on in the Archdiocese of Washington liturgically makes me wonder at times. One Pastor was known in my area for a lot of the common liturgical abuse we know off and amazingly his resignation was accepted at 65, just months before the new church he was building was completed. It's still the theater in the round with cast concrete walls though.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    ok, ok, let's get this back on track...
    so no one has a NAME of a priest, who represents an actual missionary organization (I'm not talking Fathers of Mercy, I'm talking like missionaries to Africa and feeding the hungry there and stuff!) who simply follows the rubrics when he says/prays Mass?