Friday, October 24, 2008

On "Liturgy Committees"

Delivered with delightful prose, an indictment of "liturgy committees" in your typical Catholic parish.

Except for the renovation of a traditional-style church building (that rare opportunity to do permanent damage with serious money, that everybody else will be stuck with for years), the typical Catholic parish will provide no greater opportunity for the dabbling of dilettantes, than it will for people who haven't cracked open a mildly serious book on the topic of Catholic worship since the day they were born. Saying this may seem unkind or judgmental, except to the extent that it is true. I cannot for the life of me understand what goes through most pastors' minds when they convene such a group. But in my experience as a chorister, musician, lay reader, and acolyte, there is nothing more irritating than the arbitrary decrees of a group of people who don't know what the hell they're talking about, beyond the bag of gimmicks they picked up at a liturgy workshop the previous weekend. Some of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard on behalf of a parish priest, emanated from groups charged with "planning the liturgy."

The author then raises an excellent question.

"Liturgy planning" is another dumb idea. The Church has already "planned" the liturgy. They print it in books with nicely bound covers that are really hard to miss when you walk into a sacristy. Our job, at most, is to prepare the liturgy, most of which becomes routine a few weeks after a priest is ordained. When you have to reinvent it, when you have to constantly explain what is going on with it, it is no longer a ritual. You see, a ritual is SUPPOSED to be done the same way over and over again, with minimum variation, and no explanation. That's why they call it a RITUAL, you dummy!

..but that's sort of the same complaint that people have about Legislators. After all, why do we send those critters off to nicely-appointed domed buildings, if they don't DO SOMETHING??

In conclusion,

Most parishes can do without them, save for the gathering of people with genuine responsibilities associated with worship; the music director, the sacristan, the persons in charge of altar servers, readers, ushers -- yes, even the nice ladies who have arranged the flowers in the sanctuary since time immemorial.

Think of all the trees which could be saved! The gasoline! The rectory heat/light bills!!


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