Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Liturgeist: How To Recognize Them

OxFiles' creator is, ah, creative, and observant. So here are excerpts of his post on Liturgeists:

Name: Modern Liturgy Director (Liturgus Disruptus) [AKA "Liturgeist" contraction fr. "lit-A" (praise, Gr.) and "Geist" (spirit, German) and abbr "Poltergeist" Hollywood): a troublesome creature usually found disrupting liturgy by imposition of lower-world values]

Age: Varies, but usually between 40 and 55 years of age

Gender: Usually female, but not always

Traits: They always prefer a keyboard over an organ, and they will never ever be seen near a pipe organ (it is unknown if the modern liturgy director has a natural and instinctive aversion to pipe organs) [Competency may have something to do with this.]


Usually wears a large scarf ...Researchers believe that the scarf is a sign of liturgical hierarchy and is designed to compete with the priestly [stole]. Several scientists have observed that creatures that are subservient to the modern liturgy director, such as cantors and liturgical dancers usually never wear scarves.

Modern liturgy directors also have extremely large bags that they carry everywhere with them. These bags are usually stuffed beyond capacity with music books and guides to making rainbow banners, etc. [Such stuffings may also include passes to "Call to Action" conferences, reading material such as the National Catholic Reporter, and lipstick-covered pix of Haugen, Haas, and various St. Louis Jesuits, as well as Britney Spears and Peter, Paul and Mary.]

These bags never contain Vatican issued documents about liturgy, and they never contain musical scores that date back beyond 1970.

Dr Carl Rivers, a liturgy specialist from Ohio, believes that the modern liturgy director’s bag may even contain some sort of worm hole/ time travel device that allows the modern liturgy director to traverse back to the 1960’s and 70’s to gather ideas for the liturgies they direct.

Usually wears a full length coat, no matter what season it is. Some speculate that the coat may actually be a subconscious reflection of the modern liturgy director’s desire to be the one in the parish who gets to wear the priestly vestments.

It is widely known that modern liturgy directors have key chains that contain more keys than any other keychain known to man. The modern liturgy director usually caries keys to all of the doors in the Church, the piano (and the padlock for the organ), the parish centre, the parish cleaning cupboard, etc, etc.

Modern liturgy directors are a creature of habit and control; and these keys enable them to keep tabs on all aspects of the parish life, even those that have nothing to do with the liturgy. They will often appear unannounced during parish meetings, etc and many have even worked their way onto parish councils by simply being first to arrive and open up the parish meeting room every month, until it gets to the point that everyone on the council just presumes that they are actually meant to be there.

How to remove a modern liturgy director from your parish…

This is an area of research that is still in its infancy, and unfortunately we can only offer limited advice in regards to the best methods for removing modern liturgy directors from your parish.

[Silver cross and Holy Water, perhaps?]


Brian Michael Page said...

Under traits, guitar would be a possibility as well.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you seem so willing to generalize.

Brian Michael Page said...

Anonymous? Is that you Anne? LOL

Anonymous said...


Al said...

I still think my idea I posted on Oxfiles' blog my work just as well, waving a copy of Cardinal Arinze's book "Celebrating the Holy Eucharist" in front of them. His laying on the line the proper way for everyone to exercise their role would shine light on the abuses those Liturgus Disruptus have put into practice. & that light should have the same effect that sunlight has on a vampire, destroys them. :)

I think Cardinal Arinze's book should be required reading for every bishop, priest, deacon, lirugist, music director & layperson in the Church. Esp laypeople who want things done right. His book is a wonderful weapon to use to counter the abuses.

Dad29 said...

Al, I think Cdl. Arinze's book is great, too.

You presume:

1) That liturgeists can read for meaning ANY document issued in Rome; and

2) That liturgeists, if they CAN read Roman documents, actually CARE. (Does Sacrosanctum Consilium ring a bell? How about Paragraphs 36 and 54?)

Anony: There is NO GOOD REASON WHATSOEVER for a Parish to have a "Liturgeist." None. The Roman Missal, a faithful priest, and a competent musician will suffice.

Suggested Official Titles: Priest/Celebrant and Church Musician.

Anonymous said...

New "anonymous". . .but let me ask: how important do you consider good liturgy to be? My experience at many different parishes seems to point to a higher value for and opinion of liturgy when a full-time LITURGIST is employed.

Dad29 said...

Well, anonyII, that's an interesting way to make your preference, ah, the ONLY preference.

Do you mean to say that the Mass is somehow less valid or efficacious if there's no liturgeist? Or that the priest's prayers are less audible, or TOO audible? Or that the faithful raise their minds and hearts to God less? That the sermon is worse?

And how do you KNOW this, anonyII? Do you have metrics? Similar to EKG's? Voting? Polls?

It's clear that your experience is very limited, if that's what your "experience" tells you.

Note: I specifically said that the priest should be faithful and the musician should be competent. I didn't use those words lightly.

The Roman liturgy, as written, celebrated by a priest who believes in what he's doing, aided by a competent church musician, is all the "liturgeisting" one needs.

All else is additional money down the drain, and/or titles which are meaningless.

Al said...

Have a couple of thoughts to add to the comments of both dad29 & anonymous II.


1) A true liturgist would take what Cardinal Arinze said because he/she would want to see things done right.

2) My bigger presumption is that many of the bishops & priests would read let alone heed what the Cardinal had to say. How many of them are paying attention to Sacrosanctum Consilium, let alone following it? & don't get me started on their claim of following the spirit of Vatican II to justify their going beyond what it says. My response (which I got off of Web of Faith on EWTN) to that line is "The Spirit of Vatican II is found in the words of Vatican II."

3) As for Liturgeists go back to my fantasy of the Cardinal's book being like a crucifix or stake or silver bullet or wolfbane to a vampire or werewolf. At the least it would drive them away, at the best it would kill them off. (I can dream can't I?) I know how most of them react in reality, because I go through dealing with it at my parish regularly.

Anonymous II

The fact is that the best liturgist is the priest. As a priest friend (only ordained 4 yrs ago)of mine once said he saw no need for a seperate liturgist as that was part of the training to be a priest, to be the liturgist. A competent musician is needed to lead the music. But that is it.

I will grant that over the years not every parish has had a priest who has celebrated the Mass as well as he should, nor have the musicians always been the best (even though many who weren't were sincere in their desire to do their best to worship God.) But even when not at the best, doing the best you can to fullfil your responsibilities as priest, deacon, musician or lay person at Mass is more important in the end. Besides, for how many centuries did we have good liturgies with just the priest & musicians & no professional Litugeists?

Too often, what is called a good liturgy today isn't one that is sincere, devout & focused on worshiping God. Instead a good liturgy is defined as 1 that the people in the pews have been entertained by &/or made to merely feel good about themselves. Liturgeists have changed from centering on God to centering on the laity in the pews & putting them in God's place.

In the end a liturgy isn't defined as good by what we get out, rather we make it good by putting our whole self to the best of our abilities into the act of worshiping God that the liturgy is.

Redemptionis Sacramentum said...

Bottom line? (Brace yourselves, because this isn't going to be pretty...)

The REAL reason most parishes have a "liturgist" is because the priest(s) is too freakin' lazy (and, in some cases, too freakin' incompetent) to do this work himself. My experience: The priests with whom I work want to walk into the sacristy about 60 seconds before show time and have EVERYTHING laid out for them, and I mean EVERYTHING. Chances are pretty good that, if it's not from a "service", the homily's not very well prepared, either.

If there's confusion between the sacerdotal priesthood and the "priesthood of the laity" (and, believe me, there is); if there's a blurring of roles, it's pretty much because priests have abdicated the responsibilities proper to their ordination to others. Again, this is often a function of sheer laziness, but experience also tells me that it also occasionallty arises out of a misplaced sense of "empowering" others. The "others" are very often aggressive women with not-so-cryptic agendas. And the priests cave, because the last thing in the world they want pinned on them is the misogynist label—God forbid they continue to propogate that oppressive male hierarchical hegemony! You know how it goes...

And so, a lot of very incompetent, very vocal people get jobs as "liturgists", all because Father would rather be doing... well, I'm not exactly sure what, given his hours and the incredible paucity of visible output or results.

Dad29 said...

Yah, RS, ain't it ironic...

Back when each Parish had 3 or more priests, one priest was assigned (and happily carried out) the duty of laying out the vestments for ALL of them before the first Mass.

ALL of them would be present to assist with Communion, and usually 2 or 3 were hovering in the sacristy or a church anteroom during all the Masses.

ALL of them would hear Confessions for 3-4 hours on Saturdays.

Now, with only 1 priest around, he does damn near nothing.

By the way: what self-respecting "liturgeist" would actually lay out vestments? That's "women's work..." right?