Confessions of a Liturgical Cop

My favorite deacon and I have been having many discussions about liturgy, or rather, bad liturgy.  After 40 years of liturgical abuse, major, minor and everything in-between, by both the progressive and orthodox fractions in the Church we have a simple request:

Cut it out!

First in the words of Father Z say the black and do the red.  Father is referring to the text of the Roman Missal which contains the words (printed in black) and gestures (printed in red) of the Mass.  Nothing should be added or subtracted from the Order of the Mass.

There are a whole litany of other abuses that take place in the majority of parishes every Sunday from the overuse of adult MC’s who turn the poor altar servers into potted plants, the overuse of  Extra ordinary ministers of communion, almost heretical songs, to the total absence of holy silence.

But no matter how respectful one is when attempting to discuss liturgy with most pastors, stony silence is the usual response. Attempts to get the liturgy committee to actually read the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), gets one dis-invited to future meetings.

In progressive parishes one is accused of belonging to the Liturgical Police.

The ranks of the liturgical cops are larger than most pastors realize. Their numbers are quite large among the young adult population. This is because the 20 and 30 something’s that actually plant their hind quarters in the pews every Sunday really love the Eucharist. They long for reverent beautiful liturgies. Young people want to be drawn into the mystery.

Me too.

But a few years ago, I decided to leave my badge and weapons (the Roman Missal and the GIRM) at home on Sundays. Ok. Sometimes they are in my handbag just in case.

Why?  I stopped because I realized that playing cop was keeping me from fully participating in the Mass.  My gaze was no longer on Christ. Keeping watch for abuse or errors prevents me from uniting myself to Christ and truly receiving him in the Eucharist.

As long as, the abuses are not so grave as to render the Mass invalid, I need to actively participate in the Mass not police it.

That is the only way that I can let Jesus Christ into my soul and into the very life of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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4 Responses to Confessions of a Liturgical Cop

  1. Very good article, Susan. Thanks.


  2. Susan Swehla says:

    I agree to some point but don’t we deserve to have a reverent Mass. Are we not called to correct error?


  3. Susan Kehoe says:

    Hi Susan,
    Yes it would be great to have a reverent Mass. We should report error. But when I spend my time at Mass looking for errors, then I am not fully participating. I am not sure what the solution is.
    God bless,


  4. Pingback: Bad Liturgical News. | A Deacon's Wife

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