Thursday, December 27, 2012
SHOULD THE PRIEST BE PRE-OCCUPIED BY WHAT THE CONGREGATION IS OR ISN'T DOING?
After Vatican II with the emphasis on a narrow interpretation of what "full, conscious, active participation" meant, and the priest now facing the congregation which made it possible for him to see what was happening out there in front of him, the priest and deacons now acting as policemen would chastise the congregation if they weren't in lockstep with a narrow, sterile view of full conscious, active participation. And on top of that the priest introduced his own peculiarities into the liturgy, such as asking everyone to hold hands at the Lord's Prayer, turn and greet everyone at the beginning of Mass and the like.
Now, since I am more of a traditional minded priest, even when celebrating the OF Mass facing the Congregation, I do get disturbed by what I see happening in the congregation if I find it distracting or not in lockstep with what the books tell the people to do. I use to go ballistic when I saw people holding hands at the Lord's prayer, or the charismatics holding hands high at the singing of hymns or at the Gloria and Sanctus or the congregation motioning back to me when I extended my arms to greet them and they did the same when responding, "and also with you."
I did not particularly like the orans position for the congregation when praying the Lord's Prayer which has become very common place around the world.
But when I celebrate Mass ad orientem, I don't feel like a policeman, I am non-plussed by what is happening behind me, although sometimes I worry no one is back there, all have left or are making faces toward my back or someone is coming up to stab me in the back. But these are my psychological issues of course. :)
So should priests give a flip over what the congregation is or isn't doing, such as standing at the Eucharistic Prayer when everyone else is kneeling, or kneeling when the reading are read when everyone else is sitting, or raising their hands in ectasy like charismatics are prone to do which is clearly not prescribed by "read the black and do the red."