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Thursday, November 24, 2022

CLERICALISM AND THE MODERN ORDER OF THE MASS


 The pre-Vatican II Church did instill an unquestioning respect and admiration for clergy and religious and unwittingly turned us into mini-gods, beyond reproach. We were not to question authority and always had to show deference to them and in an unquestioning way. 

I don’t know that this is clericalism or not. But it is very unhealthy and opens the vulnerable to be manipulated, used and abused by authority figures, be they religious or otherwise. 

I think clericalism also refers to the clergy alone making decisions without lay input. But, normally this regards optional things that are not mandated through Divine Law. Clergy need the laity to open a school and pay for it, thus there needs to be some consultation about that. The governance of parishes, especially its business aspects, need laity to assist, especially those with expertise. And laity can be in religious positions of administration and pastoral care as well as teaching the faith. 

But the modern Mass has inspired more true clericalism than the older form of the Mass ever could.

The TLM is a given and with few options that the priest has to decide. Will it be a low, High or Solemn High Mass is one of those choices a priest or pastor has to make with the TLM. Will there be the Asperges before Mass and some kind of devotion afterward, as there are options in the Missal for that choice. 

I think that’s it.

The Modern Order of the Mass has choices galore. The one who makes those choices is normally to always the priest (although some progressive parishes transfer this clericalism to a small elitist committee to decide). 

Here are the decision that I will make and since I am truly clerical, I alone will make:

1. Will I recite or eliminate the Introit, offertory and communion antiphons?

2. Which penitential Act will I use, A, B, or C and which option for C. Or will I bless water and sprinkle it thus avoiding the Penitential Act all together. And which blessing of the water will I use as there are options there too.

3. Will I sing or chant some parts of the Mass but not other parts. If the Gloria and Kyrie are chanted, will I say or chant the Collect but not the other prayers of the Mass?

4. Will say the offertory prayers out loud or quietly?

5. Which preface will I use?

6. Which Eucharistic Prayer. I have lost count as to the number, but there are the four main ones, two for reconciliation, four others of special needs and some for children. I will make that decision though and it will be Eucharistic Prayer II because it is the shortest and the Mass is too long as my more important 30 minute homily takes preference. 

7. Will I use the Solemn Blessing at the end of Mass and which choice of the many there are will I use.

Thus, the Modern Mass encourages, inspires and demands a corrupt form of clericalism. 

And that doesn’t include the decision of the priest to use “these or similar words!” What I have posted doesn’t delve into the desire of the priest to make the Mass his own one act Broadway Show, showcasing his actin abilities and clever, inviting, welcoming personality. 

15 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

It is not "clericalism" for a priest to make these choices.

Clericalism assumes, as you note, a sense of superiority. The cleric wrongly thinks he is superior to the laity, or the laity thinks that the cleric is, by virtue of his ordination, superior to them. Neither is necessarily the case.

The choices I and, I suspect, other priests make should be made in service to the communities in which we minister. The communities who gather this Thanksgiving Day in and around Chesapeake, VA, or Colorado Springs, CO, or Moscow, ID, where there have been multiple deaths due to violence, will be different from the needs of the people here on Wilmington Island or there on Hilton Head Island.

The choices made should reflect these needs in a truly pastoral and sensitive way. A properly prepared priest, formed not only in the liturgy of the Church but in his human formation, will not act out of a sense of superiority, but with a gentle and caring heart to make use of the generous options offered by the Church in its wisdom and compassion to be a good shepherd to his people.

That, among other reasons, is why the options are a good thing.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

FRMJK, do you feel your choices superior to those on this day choose to celebrate the TLM which has no choices for the priest to make except if it will be chanted or not, Low, High or Solemn High and if the Asperges will be celebrated? In Colorado, and near where that shooting by a deranged and binary them, a sign of serious disorder, thinking this way, there are TLM Masses. Are these Masses inferior to the Modern Missal Masses where the priest exclusively decides what the people will experience?

TJM said...

Fr K - you are a textbook case of clericalism on steroids. In violation of Vatican II you even “improve” the texts

TJM said...

Fr K - you are a textbook case of clericalism on steroids. In violation of Vatican II you even “improve” the texts

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"FRMJK, do you feel your choices superior to those on this day choose to celebrate the TLM which has no choices for the priest to make except if it will be chanted or not, Low, High or Solemn High and if the Asperges will be celebrated?"

Fr. ALLAN McDonald, depends on what you mean by "superior." Care to expand your thought?

"Are these Masses inferior to the Modern Missal Masses where the priest exclusively decides what the people will experience?"

"Exclusively"? Now, there's a loaded word, intended to cast the priest in a bad light. Unnecessary and argumentative. Objection overruled.

THM again excoriates me for making legitimate choices when it comes to the celebration of the Eucharist, but gives Fr. ALLAN McDonald a pass.

Bob said...

Father Kavanaugh, it is the height of vanity to think any vapid phrases uttered by a priest ad-libbing at a Mass near a scene of a butchering of human beings is anything but empty virtue signaling. If you want to say any heartfelt words, do them outside the Mass just like everyone else instead of abusing your microphone to show how pastoral and caring you are.

TJM said...

Father K it is a sin to change the approved texts of the Mass: “therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (22)

I am also find it unbelievable that you can you improve texts when you are not fluent in Latin. This is a textbook example of clericalism on steroids.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Bob - You seem to think the mass is about what the priest does when you say that he should not be using his microphone "to show how pastoral and caring" he is. You are wrong.

By your reasoning we should not mention the names of the recently deceased, but do it outside the mass. Or we should not ask for prayers for a parishioner who is sick, but do so after mass. We certainly should not pray for the suffering in Ukraine to end, as that would be a misuse of his microphone as a means of "virtue signaling."

You see how vapid such a comment is?

You see, the mass is about what Jesus does, not the priest. It is through the ministry of the priest that the pastoral care and solicitude, the sympathy and empathy of a parish community is made known during the mass for those who are suffering significantly. If that is "virtue signaling," then Jesus was the master whose compassion we should emulate.

So, now, jump on to your next silly complaint.

TJM said...

Bob,

It is also violates Canon Law for a priest to change the words of the Mass.

Fr K is a “Catholic” as much as Nancy Pelosi is: abortion is healthcare not killing

mark said...

Father Kavanaugh said..."A properly prepared priest, formed not only in the liturgy of the Church but in his human formation, will not act out of a sense of superiority, but with a gentle and caring heart to make use of the generous options offered by the Church in its wisdom and compassion to be a good shepherd to his people."

Father Kavanaugh, that is a beautiful, brilliant, uplifting statement. Father, I like the manner in which you presented in positive fashion the options in question.

In all Her generosity, "wisdom and compassion," Holy Mother Church entrusts said options to Her holy priests...to "good shepherds," whose hearts are "gentle and caring."

Father Kavanaugh, I will keep a copy of your holy, and profound, reply.

==========================================================================

Deo gratias that Holy Mother Church is blessed with such holy priests as Fathers McDonald and Kavanaugh.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

Thank you for presenting the leftwing, false and non Catholic view of liturgy. Because you support Father K, I assume you are pro abortion, gay marriage and the sexual grooming of minors, which the Democratic Party supports fervently.

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

Thank you for presenting the leftwing, false and non Catholic view of liturgy. Because you support Father K, I assume you are pro abortion, gay marriage and the sexual grooming of minors, which the Democratic Party supports fervently.

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

Before you come back spouting off about "rightwingers" here is an example of the company YOU keep, your political allies on the left (Democrats):

"Having aborted a child — or several — is something to be “thankful” for, according to a Thanksgiving piece in The Nation that claims many “celebrate” the experience, while slamming the “utter disregard for all Indigenous people” in the past that “fuels the same systems of white supremacy that dehumanize all of us today.”

The Thanksgiving day essay, titled “We’re Thankful for Our Abortions,” was penned by Nikiya Natale, deputy director of We Testify, a group created by the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) that advocates for women who have undergone abortions.

Her “passion” for her organization’s work “stems from her own multiple abortion experiences,” according to the group’s website.

The Thursday article claims that many of those who have had abortions “celebrate their experience” and goes on to detail the “thankfulness” of a handful of women for their abortions."

Maybe one of the Synods will recommend that the Churcheh develop a "blessing ceremony" for them.

ByzRus said...

I do not think that a priest exercising the options that the Church herself made available is reflective of clericalism.

Where the priest, even with the best of intentions, ad libs, adds to, or subtracts from what the Church expects regarding the celebration of Mass/other liturgies, that to me is clericalism. Why? The priest has become superior to the liturgy, its execution and even the responsibility for such that resides with his bishop.

Prayers for special needs, Ukraine, victims of mass shootings etc. can occur within the "Prayer of the Faithful" I believe it is called. Narration outside of what is provided would constitute clericalism I would think.

"Give them an inch, they will take a yard" with endless options has, in turn, resulted in endless deviations some of which could well be deemed clericalism. The solution is to return to a discipline similar to that which the former missal demanded and, hopefully, greater uniformity regarding the church temple itself. The days where you could go to any church and find a similar arrangement of furnishings, vestiture and the celebration of the various liturgies cannot return soon enough.

In the East, we have uniformity and other than very minor/insignificant details, there is consistency that's reassuring and enables one to enter an unfamiliar temple and instantly take their place, know what to do and be focused on prayer, not the sometimes odd and questionable whims of both the clergy and laity. For those who regularly follow this blog, reflect on the sometimes goofy/cringe/melodramatic practices of parishes spotlighted in recent postings. It's not authentic regardless of the intentions of those executing said practices, it's just awkward theatre. The younger generations yearn for authenticity in this world that at times seems beyond their control. I suspect that is why the TLM draws them in the numbers that it does. Wonderful that their pope just thinks it to be a "fad".

At some point the Church just might wake up and start to get the problem that it itself created. That will likely occur at some point when the smaller/stronger Church predicted by Benedict XVI is all that's left. I'll be long gone by then. Thank goodness!

TJM said...

ByzRus,

The problem with the options is that the priest, not the laity, decide what Mass they will be attending. Masses very radically from parish to parish, so I fail to see the unity that PF prattles on about. As a lay Catholic, I prefer to recite the Confiteor and hear the Roman Canon. My spiritual needs are not being met if I go to the typical Novus Ordo parish. The options need to be suppressed and the Roman Canon used exclusively. It is actually kind of sexist to not use the Roman Canon where, drum roll please, women saints are mentioned! I guess if liberal priests use it, they would have to acknolwedge their big lie that women are disrespected by the Church, and yes, you also have to memory hole women doctors of the Church like Catherine of Sienna.