Monday 18 June 2012

Bad language at the Eucharistic Congress?

Following on from the post by Fr Dickson, my impression of the I.E.C. was not good. To my mind the singing has been like little ditties. Friday’s Mass for example, gave us

“Come bring your burdens to God, Jesus will never say no”.

This sounds like the things I was singing in primary school twenty years ago –hasn’t anyone moved on? Actually, it strikes me that in fact, this is the congregation addressing itself, as do so many of today’s hymns. How ironic is that at Divine Worship?

Then came the Creed which was split up into several languages interrupted by  “Credo...Credo, I believe!”. There were four lines I understood from the whole of the Credo. I could have been saying “I believe” to anything had I been there. How exclusive is that? This is the moment when we are to publicly profess our belief, but you have to trust that what is said is what you believe, since you cannot recognise the familiar Latin words such as ‘Credo in unum Deum...Deum de Deo...consubstantialem incarnatus est...ex Maria Virgine...Et in Spiritum sanctum....Patre Filióque procédit....Et unam, Sanctam catholicam, et apostolicam ecclessiam... Et expecto resurrectionem . These are central words familiar to Catholics the world over -just listen to how they sing with gusto at Lourdes in the candlelight procession! I cannot help but think that use of many languages at international Masses is reminiscent of Babel when God confused their languages for the every purpose of stopping their attempt to reach Heaven...can we not learn from this and return to the use of the sacred language?

Then there are the altar girls. Universally, these are accommodated for reasons of political correctness and not, as far as I can tell, authentic theology. After all, the Lord was served at table by His Apostles; it was Peter and John whom He sent to make the preparations for their Last Supper (Luke 22:8); and though it might be assumed to be the case, the Gospels do not say the women who followed Our Lord were there.

Service at the altar has often attuned a boys mind to a priestly vocation, which women cannot undertake, so allowing females to serve at the altar only gives girls false hope and at the same time, provides a seedbed for grumbles against the Lord’s Church later in life when radical feminism gets to them. I know having girls to serve has been allowed, but isn’t that just something to do with a Latin word in Canon Law not being specifically male?
I can say that in my own experience, when we had girls serving (my sister included) the boys did not sign up –except in the school where it didn’t seem to matter who served “as long as it was one of the children”. There was no theological ideal being held to, only the ‘get the children involved by doing things’ ideal. As Father once put it, “it is as though the Mass were here as a setting for showcasing of our gifts and talents –no wonder applause is so common in such Masses”.

We have had several boys sign up for serving since the girls left and Father chose not to replace them with more girls. To me, allowing girls to serve is like allowing Extraordinary Ministers; it’s not the ideal, but can be permitted in exceptional circumstances (see Redemptionis sacramentum 47 & 156-160).


  1. Well said Andrew. Unless we have (as in the traditional Latin missal) a translation of everything being said then, as you rightly say, we could be saying that we agree with anything. I applaud Fr Gary for replacing altar girl servers with boys & wish many other priests would do likewise.
    How is Holy Communion received at Thornley? Even in EF Masses we have 1 old lady who insists on receiving in the hand & she is allowed to rather than cause upset. I am hoping that this will change when the priest spells it out from the pulpit that this is no longer allowed in the EF.

    1. Do you mean received at the EF? If so, it is received kneeling and on the tongue. Those who have hip and knee problems or who have suffered a major stroke making kneeling all but impossible receive standing at the rail, but on the tongue.
      In the OF most receive standing and in the hand, but there are several who receive kneeling and on the tongue. This includes several children.

  2. It sounds like Father upholds the norms in his Parish: thank goodness for that. I do wish our other clergy (God Bless them) would find the courage to guide the faithful in the right way; ensuring authentic spiritual growth. Surely we laity – as members of Christ’s Body – ‘deserve’ to be nourished not only with Christ Himself in the Holy Eucharist, but also by the beauty of Liturgy celebrated according to the mind of His Church?

  3. Your remarks are fundamentally flawed. Re languages, think Pentecost, not Babel. Re altar servers, think ministry not gender. That women and girls are treated by (Father) Gary in the way you describe only shows his own ignorance and intolerance. As for your theological reflection, I suggest further reading and some time away from such vitriolic narrow mindedness.

    1. Father Dickson has agreed to me replacing his reply with my own since it is on my post that you leave your comment.
      To be honest, I’m not sure where you are coming from. First, to repeat what Father said in his now deleted reply: Pentecost is evangelisation, not worship; second, performing a task is not the same as ministry, which comes only with the Sacrament of Ordination (Christifidelis laici 23). I am better informed on other views than you might imagine. Having taken RE in a Catholic School up until sixth form I only ever knew liberal Catholicism. As you might suspect, I know Father personally, and I do not hear vitriolic statements nor observe intolerance in regard to female service. I do see a sincere faithfulness to the Church put into practice and reasoning clearly -gently- expounded. As it happens, and despite the fact that the altar girls left service on leaving primary school, we have seen a growth in the number of female readers and extraordinary ministers since Father’s arrival.

  4. I do hope that the writer of the above treats her or his GP with more respect than they have chosen when addressing you Father, as I am sure your training at Ushaw for 6 years and your ordination deserves as much respect in the use of your title as does a doctor whom I am sure the writer would
    Never address as Tom, Harry or indeed Sarah

  5. Best wishes to both of you. Keep up the good work.

  6. Anonymous - my guess is that you are a middle-aged woman, possibly even a "nun".
    When you speak of "gender" I assume you mean "sex", since "gender" is merely a grammatical term.
    I don't like to address a priest by his Christian name, but since there are two priests in the diocese with similar-sounding surnames I suppose we have to involve their Christian name...!

    Can you please explain your "ignorance and intolerence" stuff?

  7. O Frank, I'm none of these. I did mean gender. I did mean ministry. I do find all this rather fun.

  8. Anonymous fun isn't good fun at least put a name of some kind to ur comments it's like a blank cheque worth nothing


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