Antics in the Pews . . .

Some people rejoiced in the ‘freedom’ Vatican II gave us in how we worship at Church. Most people don’t seem to realize that Rubrics are still important and many have been abandoned or added to by Catholics who either aren’t aware of the Rubrics or chose to worship ‘like everyone else’ or their own way. Freedom was claimed but a lot of the ‘universality’ of the church went by the wayside.  Yes, we are still one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church but every Church seems to be adding some tweaks aka unnecessary distractions.

One is preparing themselves to receive Holy Communion. The whole Mass has been preparing for this moment and you don’t want anything in your heart and mind but the fact that in minutes you will receive our Lord. Then a sort of chaos strikes when the Our Father is started and there is an instant break in the God-person moment as everyone struggles to insure that everyone has a hand to hold. It isn’t in the Rubrics so could be considered an illicit gesture. Suddenly we go from God as the center of our attention to a group of happy hand holders. We are reaching for each other rather then concentrating on our connection with God.

Then we go almost immediately into the Sign of Peace/Lamb of God combo. It is like everyone has a ‘spiritual dance card’ they have to fill out with as many shaken hands as they can reach. And, if they can’t reach enough people, they travel and if they can’t scamper across the aisle or climb over a pew, they flash the peace sign, wave, and blow kisses. I call it the Sign of Peace/Lamb of God combo because there just isn’t enough time for some of these greetings and I’ve often experienced people poking me in the back mid-Lamb of God to get in one, final handshake to mark on their dance card.

The Rubrics are also pretty clear on prayer positions and there are some that are supposed to be done only by the priest. More and more people have taken to raising up their hands when the priest does, sort of a ‘Father is waving at me, I’ll raise up my hands in reply’.

Hardly anyone does a complete genuflection coming into the church or leaving after Mass. We are supposed to do so coming in and leaving with a profound bow the rest of the time when we go past the altar.

No mention in the Rubrics about grinning Eucharistic ministers, however.


2 thoughts on “Antics in the Pews . . .

  1. Spot-On. I CRINGE at the thought of the handshakes and receiving communion from “Eucharistic ministers”… I can still remember our septuagenarian Spanish parish priest at Our Lady Of Guadalupe in Los Angeles (Rose Hill), who handled two daily Masses and SIX Sunday Masses by himself for many years.

    No nuns handling out Communion.No lay people at the altar except for altar boys.No “ministers” giving Last Rites or Baptisms. It lasted that way until the 1970’s when he became ill and had to retire. The replacement priest tried to maintain order, but the nuns and Bishop Mahoney fought him tooth and nail and forced his retirement.


    1. I had a Eucharistic minister bring me Communion after I had one of my babies and I swear he was carrying it in a plastic butter container! As you can imagine, it was an awesome, inspiring experience! I love (not!) the Hitler salute when everyone joins in any and every blessing offered by the priest.


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