The hippy-dippy rupturism of the past is finally giving way to a more settled and solemn appreciation of the intrinsic majesty of the Roman rite.
The requirement of the rite is fulfilled in the sanctuary alone.Therefore, if there is an invitation to have the people offer a sign of peace, it should be short.If something else was sung, the words were still said by the priest.And so it was in most countries from the 7th century until quite recently.Maybe it hasn’t happened in your parish but the trend is clear: better music, better vestments, better postures and rubrics.
And yet, we all know that things are not what they should be. Having experienced many of the latter, and talking with many other people about their experiences, I here list the top five ways in which the presentation of the liturgy can ruin the liturgical experience. Improvisation of the Liturgical Texts The problem of celebrants who make up their own words on the spot, in hopes of making the liturgy more chatty and familiar, continues to be a serious annoyance. Celebrants are permitted to break to explain parts of the Mass or provide other special instructions.
Most parishes today use pre-printed prayers from private publishers. The best ones are brief and stick to the formula: prayers for the Church, for public authorities and the salvation of the whole world, for those burdened, and for the local community.
The worst ones lead the whole liturgy astray in very distracting ways. Extended and Chatty Sign of the Peace The rite of peace has a long tradition in the Roman Rite dating to the earliest centuries. There are arguments and disputes about whether extending it to the congregation is a revival of a lost tradition or an innovation.
This whole practices encourages a general disrespect for the ritual and even the faith itself. Politicized and Newsy Prayer of the Faithful The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says of the prayer of the faithful: “The intentions announced should be sober, be composed with a wise liberty and in few words, and they should be expressive of the prayer of the entire community.” “Wise liberty” seems to be in short supply however.
Sometimes these prayers seem like last month’s newspaper, calling to mind events that left the 48-hour news cycle long ago.
This is truly tragic for everyone sitting in the pews.