FRIDAY-SUNDAY
May 24-26, 2002
volume 13, no. 100

The Germs of GIRM



Part Forty-seven: Ecclesiastical Egalitarianism

    "Both the change in terminology and the change in function are yet additional manifestations of ecclesiastical egalitarianism in action."

    "The Novus Ordo has introduced an entirely new office, whose institution thereby places it on a plane of superiority over that of the priest insofar as the proclamation of the readings and the psalm, should there be no 'psalmist' to 'lead' (usually with dramatic flair) the singing of the psalm. This further reduces the role of the priest, who sits facing the congregation as the readings are read. To be honest, there is a word for this: Protestantism."

    Paragraph 97 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "The faithful should serve the people of God joyfully when asked to perform some particular ministry or function in the celebration."

Comment and Analysis: It is a particular tool of Communists and their predecessors, such as the French Revolutionaries, to make constant invocation of the word "people" as a means of legitimizing their revolutionary aims. The use of the phrase "People of God" is an exercise in ecclesiastical egalitarianism. It matters not that Pope Paul VI used this phrase incessantly. After all, though Vicar of Christ, he presided over an unprecedented destruction of the Roman Rite with its replacement by a synthetically created liturgy, something that had never happened before in the entire history of the Catholic Church.

    The priest must be reduced to presider. The people must be elevated to the role of virtual concelebrants, with every effort being made to involve them actively in various parts of the "celebration." Thus, the "people" should respond joyfully if they are asked to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist or as a Lector or as an altar server or a greeter or an usher or some "minister of hospitality" or as the bearer of gifts in the "procession" before what is now called the "Preparation of the Gifts," which has replaced the traditional Offertory. To refuse to perform "some particular ministry or function" would be to act uncharitably. One might even be guilty of a sin against charity if he refused such an invitation. Who in his right mind would refuse to serve when asked?

    Well, traditionally minded priests, such as Father John Perricone, have gone out of their way to persuade good souls who have been induced to "serve" as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, for example, to cease serving as such "ministers." The proliferation of extraordinary ministers has done even more harm than the re-institution of the permanent diaconate to the integrity of the primacy of the priest, whose hands are consecrated to handle the Sacred Species. The simple answer to give when asked to perform any of these functions, including that of a lector, is an emphatic "NO!"

    "No, I will not participate in undermining the integrity of the Mass, in propping up a rite which is no rite at all, in giving any appearance whatsoever of ecclesiastical egalitarianism. Non serviam est."

Paragraph 98 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "The acolyte is instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and the deacon. In particular, it is for him to prepare the altar and the vessels, and, if it is necessary, as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, to give communion to the faithful. In the ministry of the altar, the acolyte has special duties (see nos. 187-193) which he alone ought to perform."

Comment and Analysis: Part of the liturgical revolution has involved changing the terms that have been used traditionally to refer to the steps leading to priestly ordination. The "acolyte" referred to in Paragraph 98 of GIRM used to be called the sub-deacon. However, the sub-deacon never administered Holy Communion. Now, however, the role of what used to be called the sub-deacon has been expanded to include the possible distribution of Holy Communion. Both the change in terminology and the change in function are yet additional manifestations of ecclesiastical egalitarianism in action.

Paragraph 99 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "The reader is instituted to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, with the exception of the gospel reading. He may also announce the intentions for the general intercessions and, in the absence of the psalmist, sing or read the psalm between the readings. In the celebration of the Eucharist, the reader has specific duties which he alone ought to perform, even though ordained ministers may be present."

Comment and Analysis: More ecclesiastical egalitarianism. A novel office has been created for seminarians aspiring for the priesthood. Although there are occasions in some Solemn High Masses or the Traditional Roman Rite were the Epistle is sung by the sub-deacon or deacon and the Gospel sung by the deacon (as occurs during the Easter Vigil Mass, for example), it is the priest in most High Masses and in all Low Masses who does the reading in Latin at the Epistle side of the altar and thence does the reading of the Gospel in Latin from the Gospel side of the altar. Yes, the 1962 Missal permitted a Commentator to read the Epistle and the Gospel while they were being read by the priest. However, that was not the norm in most parishes - and is not the norm today where indult Masses are offered.

    The Novus Ordo has introduced an entirely new office, whose institution thereby places it on a plane of superiority over that of the priest insofar as the proclamation of the readings and the psalm, should there be no "psalmist" to "lead" (usually with dramatic flair) the singing of the psalm. This further reduces the role of the priest, who sits facing the congregation as the readings are read. To be honest, there is a word for this: Protestantism.

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives



May 24-26, 2002
volume 13, no. 101
CHRIST or chaos
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