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Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Abuses during the celebration of Mass

by Catherine Frakas 12 Apr 2001

Abuses during the celebration of Mass QUESTION from Antonio Basto June 14, 2001
Dear Sir,
I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I have noted, with sadness, that many abuses in the celebration of the sacrifice of Mass have now become a habbit. I have some questions about those abuses and I feel that everybody should take notice of what is happening here. I don't know if the same abuses are common in other parts of the world but the celebration here in Rio de Janeiro is very different from the Mass we watch in the Cable TV's Italian Channel. And violations are often very popular here, sometimes the people don't even realize that something illigal just happened. Here are some examples:
1. In the last five years or so, the gravity and the number of such acts, which I regard as violations of the Roman Rite, have increased. Last month, I was hearing Mass when suddenly, during the Consacration (using Eucharistic Prayer III), the priest, after having made the elevation of the Blood of Crist, made the usual genufletion, and then, while everybody was stiil kneeling, he started reciting a song, which is popular in catholic gatherings of non-liturgical nature but which is not approved for use at the Mass (the words of the music are: Jesus is here with us/he is here with us/ this is as certain as the air I'm breathing/as certain...) And only after having finished this music he recited the formula Behold the Mystery of Faith. My question is: Can a priest add words into the Eucharistic Prayer? In that case, it was not a mere change in the words of the mass, it was a change (an addition) in the formula of the sacrament. Was the consacration valid? I was shocked by what the priest had just done but m
2. I know that, sometimes, the Roman Missal provides more than one formula for a certain part of the Mass. I have at home an Edition of the Holy Bible (with the imprimatur of the Arcbishop), and, at the end of the Bible apart from the usual maps of the Middle West are the texts approved for use during the Mass in Brazil, with the various versions of every prayer (form A, form B, form C, form for the Advent...). Yesterday night, I was watching Mass at the Catholic TV channel, using the Appendix of the Bible as my guide, and I noted that, when reciting the invitation for the people to say the Prayer of the Lord, the priest used none of the approved forms. Instead, he started his sentence with one of the forms, but the end of his sentence was not the same as the end of the approved form (Obedient to the Word of the Lord, and formed by his Divine Teaching, we dare say:) Instead of using the we dare say form, he just said, (we say, with joy:) It's no grave sin, all rigth, the spirit is the same, but if there are
3. Is it acceptable for the priest to celebrate the Holy Mass at the Solemnity of Pentecost with green clothes (I don't know how to refer to the vests used during Mass in English) and then, in the Middle of the Mass, just before the Gospel, realize that he should be dressed in white, suspend the Mass, go to the sacristy, change his clothes for the white ones and resume Mass from where it had stopped? I saw that happen with a very popular priest here in Brazil, and I was shoked. I must add that he was not the president of the celebration. He was concelebrating Mass with other priests and with the local bishop, and I was watching via the Church's Cable Channel.
4. I went to mass last sunday and I was shoked. The music performed during mass was played with eletric gitars, drums, and other rock music instruments. I had already seen Mass music played with non-eletric guitars before, but this time I was outraged. Are such instruments allowed in Mass by the autorities of the Church?
God bless. Thanks, Antonio Basto
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on June 20, 2001
Dear Mr. Basto,
It seems that some of your questions were cut off for some reason. I think I understand them well enough, though. Write back if I miss something.
1. May a priest add words into the Eucharistic Prayer? Absolutely not. Jesus is here, certain as the air I'm breathing? Sounds like watered down Theology to me. Vatican II, in Sacrosanctum Concilium, answers the question.
§3.Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. (n.22)
2. This question was cut off. Anyway, a priest may choose from four options to begin the Lord's prayer. None of them contain the test we say, with joy. It is illicit.
The four are:

A: Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our savior gave us. B: Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have he courage to say:
C: Let us ask our Father to forgive our sins and to bring us to forgive those who sin against us.
D: Let us pray for the coming of the kingdom as Jesus taught us.
3. This is an accident, and is not foreseen by an official document. My opinion is that it would be a good idea for oa concelebrant to change as long as done reasonable discreetly, and very quickly. Neither green nor white is an acceptable color for Pentecost, however, it must be red.
4. There are five documents published since 1900 that deal with sacred music, and all contain the same idea: Any instrument associated with the secular is to be AVOIDED in church.
My favorite is Tra Le Sollecitudini, becuase it is the most explicit. It is written in 1903 by Pope Saint Pius X.

19. The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy or frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like. 20. It is strictly forbidden to have bands play in church, and only in special cases with the consent of the Ordinary will it be permissible to admit wind instruments, limited in number, judiciously used, and proportioned to the size of the place-provided the composition and accompaniment be written in grave and suitable style, and conform in all respects to that proper to the organ.
Mr. Slavek
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