In Petition Update #8 and Final, we said that we will continue to speak about the minimalism that has infected St. Peter’s, but no longer in the context of the Petition. That would be like beating a dead horse.
One of our followers requested that we continue to pursue some liturgical items that we had hoped would be addressed as anticipated outcomes to the Petition. His (slightly edited) request was:
“One item that you may wish to touch upon is the lack of precision and disregard for the rubrics our pastor has in the Mass. The constant “sisters and brothers”, his gestures (hands not held in prayer but down low as is if waiting for a bus) and the myriad Eucharistic Prayers (not the typical 1-4 as prescribed), “may God bless you (note the dropping of “almighty”)”… No genuflections or acknowledgement of the tabernacle after the homily….the list goes on!”
Yes, many of the flock at St. Peter’s have noted those items. There are other things we have observed that grate on the senses and cause a distraction. For example, Father really has a tremendous distaste for the word “graciously.” Whenever it appears in the Ordinary or the Proper, you can be sure that Father will omit it. It is a deliberate and conscious act on his part.
Likewise, you seldom here the word “charity” spoken at Mass. Whenever it appears in the text, it is deliberately changed to “love.” Why? – We don’t know. It is my understanding that Greek has many words that are rendered in English as “love.” One of those words is also rendered as “charity.” The same is true when we get to Latin.
But what do I know about Greek or Latin? All I learned of Greek while in the minor seminary was something along the lines of “Εδώ έρχεται η χήνα,” which meant “Here comes the Goose.” That was a reference to our English teacher Father N, who often honked like goose.
If I’m beginning to boar you – good. Picking at individual things that Father does in his minimalistic way is a fruitless endeavor. There is a counter argument for every point we might raise. It is not the individual acts that are distracting and offensive, it is the totality of Father’s approach to reading the Mass. By the way, the term “reading” was the preferred term of Blessed Fulton Sheen. The term makes the point that, if you “read” what is on the page of the Roman Missal, the words will always be correct and the congregation will not be subjected to distractions. The Mass belongs to the Church, not to the priest.
I responded to our follower by saying, “Since I’m not a degreed liturgist or have any special credentials, my approach will be made through some analogies.” (Actually I meant to say “similes”.) And that is what we shall do here. Just as Jesus would say, “The kingdom of God is like…”, we will say:
1. The Mass of St. Gregory the Great and the Tridentine Mass are like a 1932 Rolls Royce Phantom.
2. The Mass in the Extraordinary Form is like a 1932 Rolls Royce Phantom.
3. The Mass of the Roman Missal, Third Edition is like an Audio RS4 quattro.
4. The Mass of a minimalist priest is like ….
Mass No. 4 is what we have been seeing from the pews of St. Peter’s. This is why there was a petition. There, our dead horse has been thrashed enough for this day.