Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Clapping and Hand-holding and Teaching

The point of the Open Letter to My Pastor is to discourage him from allowing hate mail to determine the rules for behavior at Mass, and to point out that if he prefers not to teach, but to be easy-going and not disturb the status quo, he should not discipline a parochial vicar who feels more strongly the call to teach the flock.

The paragraph about greeting each other, hand-holding, and the Kiss of Peace is simply there to illustrate the other points in the Mass when the congregation so clearly forgets where they are and what their purpose is.   In the combox, my friend Kathleen points out that this is not so in her case.  I would not want to hurt my dear friend, so I must point out that I am not judging anyone in the congregation for doing these things!  As a convert who has been  Catholic for almost 17 years, married to a man who grew up in the post-Vatican II church, I know that many Catholics simply do what everyone else does without any thought to it's correctness.  Some think about it and choose to do it because they like it or it has certain meaning for them.  Fine.

Here are a couple of links on the question of hand-holding, all of which say that it is fine for a family to hold hands, but that no one should ever be mandated by the priest or pressured into holding hands.  (Ever been jabbed in the shoulder by a pushy hand-holder?)  And I find it very interesting that there IS a clear instruction in the missal to bow during Creed at "and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man," yet very few people do.  That's probably a post for another day!

If I'm judging anyone---and I don't think I am because judging means that I am determining who is going to heaven or hell---it would be the priests who choose not to teach.  And I'm not deciding where they're going when they die, only acknowledging that many of them are not using that huge platform they have called the Sunday Homily to teach the faith.  It's that simple.

According to a survey I read, if you look at the top, right sidebar on the page, 72% of women rely on the homily to teach the faith.  I don't imagine the number is very different for men.  That is a large majority of the Church expecting to learn all they need to know at Sunday Mass!

My gripe with the pastor stemmed from clapping after Mass, but it has much wider implications than that, doesn't it?  It really comes down to teaching.

We are sheep.  Sheep do what all the other sheep are doing unless the shepherd leads them.  All I am asking is for the shepherds to lead.


  1. I wrote a long, long comment this morning, on my iPhone. And just before I clicked "publish" it disappeared. I almost wept. But clearly God did not want me to publish, right?

    All I want to say is I agree. We must be shepherded or the wolves will move in. It must be the truth and not happy talk. We are not Catholics for happy talk, at least not me.

    Also, I am ever grateful to be in a parish that always bows during the Creed -- the reference to the Incarnation. We should always be bowing, or genuflecting, to any reference to the Incarnation. And thanks to an on-fire young priest, many heads bow at the name of Jesus Christ.

  2. At my parish, we bow during that part of the Creed. But at most others in the area, it doesn't happen.

    I wish we still had bells at the Consecration.


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