Thursday, May 20, 2010

Some not very serious reason for staying in front of the altar

Yesterday I had a discussion about renewal of the liturgy with a priest friend both of us are convinced that no real renewal of the liturgy in the Ordinary Form will take place until priests return to ad orientem celebration. I do it on my day off, Mass is still at 10am but when I began I pointed out it was an "extra" Mass just in case people had difficulty with it, on the whole people don't have difficulty, they actually like it.
Going back to the traditional position, every scholar sees as being the way forward but pastorally it seems to be the big glitch, no priest wants to be the first in his diocese.
Priests need a reason - so here are some reasons a priest might use:
I am not facing you because I have come to realise I am amazingly ugly and will frighten small children therefore ....
A dear little pussycat has moved in behind the altar to give birth to her kittens so I'm staying this side to avoid disturbing her, therefore....
We have dry rot the other side of the altar, it is not safe therefore....
I have become claustrophobic therefore...
I just can't bear being watched all the time, you are always looking at me! therefore...
There is a huge angel with a fiery sword behind altar, can't you see it? therefore....
I have become immensely fat and will not fit behind the altar therefore....
Someone brought me some new shoes, it would be a shame not share a sight of that lady's charity with you, therefore ....
Fr X said Mass here last night, he is so holy I want to keep the place where he stood as relic, therefore ....
Mrs X in the third row is so holy I am dazzled by her sanctity, therefore ....
A species of rare bat has moved in behind the altar going within one meter of it will be an offence under the EU Wildlife Constitution Art. 78973 subsection K/17Bats leaving me liable to 15 years imprisonment, therefore...
I am just not going there it is dark and lonely, and there are spiders, therefore...

17 comments:

Sussex Catholic said...

How about "We priests are encouraged to go to great lengths to break down the traditional barriers between priest and people in the liturgy. Hence we have done this in a staged process. First we moved the altar closer to the people, next we removed the altar rails now finally we can eliminate the ultimate barrier between priest and people-the altar itself and the priest can take his rightful but humble place as presider leading the people of God instead of surly shopkeeper selling his wares across his imposing counter.

(Oh and by the way Health & Safety legislation means we are going to have to bring the altar rails back but you can't win em all)

Mac McLernon said...

Personally, I think the Bats argument is the strongest...

pelerin said...

Love the excuses and those kittens are adorable! Fr Ray forgot to mention one excuse he had to use when he did actually have a large hole behind the altar necessitating Mass being celebrated ad orientem for a time. I almost wish the hole was still there so that he could carry on with every Mass ad Deum! Perhaps he could pretend another had just opened up overnight?!

Richard said...

... but the big dinners to make the one about being fat true would be most fun.

Is this why Fr Z keeps having cookery columns on his blog?

Sonia said...

It has been rumoured that Queen Angerboda has taken up residence there and one never turns one's back on royalty, therefore...

(Are not most if not all Masses at Brompton Oratory performed so?)

olovemj said...

Father

Why don't you take the plunge and say all your masses ad orientem? So what if members of the congrgation complain - they have two choices! Why are priests so worried what their congregations think? You will never please everyone so why not please Our Lord instead?

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

LOL!, these are funny...

Though i can't stand being stared at, so I don't think I would face the people ever if I offer Mass one day

Fr Ronan Kilgannon said...

Father Ray, why not turn the pulpit around to be 'ad orientem' as well?

Physiocrat said...

If in doubt, invoke Health and Safety or the Building Regulations.

I sure you could find a nice structural engineer to do a report on the excessive floor loading caused by the altar, which could fall through to the basement at any moment and needed to be relocated immediately to its original position.

There was also the incident of the candlestick that fell of the altar one Sunday morning, which could not have happened if the altar was in the safer position against the east wall. The candlestick could have dropped on someone' foot and caused an injury, and then there could have been an H&S investigation, a claim, the possibilities are endless. Best not to take any risks.

Laura said...

Fr Ronan - he can't turn the pulpit round - he'd be talking to himself...er...yes...I see.

Can I have one of the kittens please?

gemoftheocean said...

"I just can't bear being watched all the time, you are always looking at me! therefore..."

Oh, nuts, Father. You'[re in the wrong "business" if you can't bear to be looked at!

It's like a stripper complaining that "people are looking at me" while she works!

You always "face God" anyway...given with what you hold in your anointed hands....

EFpastor emeritus (Email: Pastoremeritus@aol.com) said...

I love those "reasons"...am still laughing ! Might even use them!

EFpastor emeritus (Email: Pastoremeritus@aol.com) said...

Father Ronan
No need to turn the pulpit round because most of us do not preach to God!

Coffee Catholic said...

P.S. Please, Father, tell us that the massive litter of kittens belongs to at leat two lady cats???

Coffee Catholic said...

You could also say mass here at the Italian Chapel where, ooops!, you have no choice but to face the altar.

:-)

+ Peter said...

Another one for you...

The cold down-draught from the east window gives me a stiff neck, therefore...

Bas van Dijk said...

You are facing the Lord on the Table, the people are facing the Lord on the Table.
Facing Him, you are not facing each other