JULY 17, 2014
AT THE CATHEDRAL BASILICA NATIONAL SHRINE OF ST. THOMAS, MADRAS-MYLAPORE
Holy Mass: The Sacrifice of Calvary or a birthday party?
At the Sunday Holy Masses in the Cathedral Basilica National Shrine of St. Thomas, the seat of the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, there are so many errors, abuses and aberrations that it would take dozens of pages to record them and I have done just exactly that. An enumeration of these errors, abuses and aberrations have been communicated in a series of letters to my Archbishop, a former Apostolic Nuncio, since February 4, 2013, immediately after his installation in our archdiocese, in the hope that he would address them and admonish those responsible for them. To the best of my knowledge, every one of them is still perpetrated. A separate detailed compilation of these errors, abuses and aberrations, which will be sent to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and to Rome, is under preparation.
Instead of witnessing a reduction in or complete cessation of the errors, abuses and aberrations,
I have been threatened or intimidated
by a senior choir member and a priest who have read the letters but done nothing to correct them. This, too, has been communicated to my Archbishop. But thereafter, he himself referred disparagingly to my letters to him while speaking at a Holy Mass in another parish. Just before that incident, the parish priest of the Cathedral Basilica had done exactly the same at the Easter Vigil 2014 Holy Mass.
On both occasions, Catholics in the congregation who are aware of or receive copies of my letters to my Archbishop told me that the remarks about some people finding fault with the liturgical services could only refer to me. It also happened that I myself and/or others of my family were present at those very same Masses when these comments were made from the ambo by the priest as well as my Archbishop.
The previous Deacon at the Cathedral Basilica, now an ordained priest, had reduced the Holy Mass to a parody of it with his innovations and dramatics (read as entertainment of the congregation). His being aware of my letters of protest to the Archbishop, I was subjected to ill-treatment at his hands at the Sunday School Catechism classes and Vacation Bible School in 2013. The only one time I had approached him directly (during the tenure of the previous archbishop), he rudely dismissed me after a couple of seconds suggesting that I talk to the parish priest. I had approached the parish priest on several occasions and his response always was i) the people like the innovations at Mass, ii) I should talk to the visiting priest who was celebrating the Holy Mass that I had issues with. My meetings with the other priests of the parish and the visiting priests were equally unproductive, barring one who accepted that my concerns were genuine.
From my experience and from my interactions with lay Catholics who are ‘active’ at Holy Mass, I can safely charge, without being judgemental or generalizing, that the choir, the readers, the lectors and other categories of lay persons who assist at Mass are completely ignorant of the rubrics of the liturgy of the Mass, untrained and ‘uncatechized’. No one that I spoke to has heard of the existence of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) or of any Instruction or Pontifical Document on the liturgy or Sacred Music.
It appears to me that there is no attempt made to train or catechize these laity; and there is no one who is willing to clarify one’s genuine doubts on the rubrics of the Holy Mass (More on this, with documentation, in my letter to the CBCI/Rome). My experience of discussing these issues with such people has not been good. The reactions have ranged from a casual dismissal of my concerns to open hostility. No one immediately concerned with these errors, abuses and aberrations, including all the visiting celebrants whom I have spoken to (barring one), and the Archbishop, has appreciated my lawful (Can. 212.3) crusade to end them.
In the matter of the Holy Mass becoming a birthday party and platform to thank, appreciate and honour the celebrant or other priests, the first occasion that I wrote to my Archbishop was on May 19, 2013 (see the following page). At that time, I believed that it was the then parish priest who was responsible, or maybe it was the then deacon who thought that it was his great responsibility to inflict something new on the faithful every Sunday. But the parish priest and the deacon have been transferred — to corrupt the Sunday liturgies of other parishes (if they have not already been corrupted) — but the cutting and sharing of a birthday cake occurred again recently. So what do I conclude? That the legacy of the previous parish priest and deacon has been inherited and put to use by the same people who organise and control the “animators” and the others who assist in the Mass services? Or, these sycophants, having been introduced by the deacon to the novelty, now organize a birthday celebration in the sanctuary to ingratiate themselves with the new parish priest?
THE FIRST INCIDENT OF THE CELEBRATION WITH A BIRTHDAY CAKE IN THE SANCTUARY
An extract from my letter dated May 20, 2013 to my Archbishop, Most Rev. George Antonysamy:
Liturgical errors/abuses/aberrations at the 9:30 am Holy Mass, Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013*
My wife and I attended the Sunday 9:30 a.m. Mass on May 19, 2013. I do not know who the celebrant was, but he was assisted by Deacon Charles… After the blessing, the celebrant invited the congregation to shout three times “Praise the Lord, Hallelujah”. The Responsorial Psalm – in line with the theme of Pentecost
– was substituted with an unconnected hymn by the choir… The Deacon’s homily contained no reference to the Second Reading or the Gospel of the day. In developing on the First Reading, he spoke negatively about those Catholics who attend prayer meetings, advising us several times to understand that the Holy Mass is the supreme sacrament of the Church. There was no need for him to group the two distinct situations together. It came off as a veiled criticism of charismatics since he failed to use the occasion to warn the congregation about the real danger which comes from the Pentecostals … Some time after the Holy Communion service was over, Deacon Charles got fully into his element. Reminding us that it was the birthday of the Church, he announced that a cake would be cut and invited children [“You’ll get a cake if you come”] to come up and receive their share. While the cake was cut in what I understand to be the sanctuary, cake was fed to the mouths of some children while others walked away from the altar eating of pieces of cake held in their fingers, to the accompaniment [“Let’s all sing together ‘Happy Birthday’ for our Church”] of “Happy Birthday Mother Church” – or so it sounded to us – from the choir. The congregation was then invited to “clap your hands”, and everyone – well, almost – complied happily as the Deacon thanked them. Next, the “animators” were named and thanked by the Deacon and the audience
[I now find it difficult to regard us as a congregation]
when he once again called for applause, which he got in full measure.
Finally, the Deacon invited potential animators [for future Sunday Masses] to give their names to “Mrs. Joan”.
I have avoided including in this letter the continuance of other errors, etc. that I wrote about in my first two letters. (END)
*ARCHBISHOP OF MADRAS MYLAPORE-LETTER 05 CONCERNING LITURGICAL ABUSES
FEB/MARCH 11/19/ MAY 20/JUNE 25/AUGUST 6, 2013
(TO BE UPDATED WITH LATER UNRESPONDED-TO LETTERS)
EXTRACTS FROM MY EARLIER LETTERS TO THE ARCHBISHOP:
February 04, 2013
SUBJECT: Aberrations, errors and other problems in the Liturgies of the Sunday Holy Masses at the National Shrine of St. Thomas
Applause during Holy Mass has become standard procedure. Obviously, it is always invited by the celebrant. The reasons vary from a priest’s birthday to an appreciation of someone [like, say, the choir]. Recently, applause has been a standard feature of EVERY Sunday Mass that we attended.
March 11, 2013
SUBJECT: Aberrations, errors and other problems in the Liturgies of the Sunday Holy Masses at the National Shrine of St. Thomas, continued
The Sunday immediately following my letter to you was, if I recall correctly, the parish priest’s birthday. I was informed by a cousin of mine that the priest was felicitated and applauded during the Mass.
I am not aware if a birthday cake was cut and shared in the sanctuary. -Michael
The most recent incident of the cutting of a birthday cake in the sanctuary on an improvised table hastily erected next to the altar, the singing of “Happy Birthday” by the choir and the congregation, applause, and the sharing and eating of the cake during Mass, in celebration of the birthday of the new rector and parish priest Fr. Louis Mathias occurred a few weeks ago. I was present at the Mass.
The birthday celebration occurred after the church notices were read. But the birthday of Fr. Mathias came up three times. The first was at the beginning of the Mass; the second was during the Prayer of the Faithful* when one of the prayers was for him on his impending birthday; and the third was the actual cutting of the cake and sharing it among a select few to the singing of happy birthday by the choir and the audience.
I wonder if the birthday service was conducted at all Masses that Sunday or only the one that I attended.
I walked out of the church and did not witness what followed but I was informed that a ponnadai (shawl) was awarded to Fr. Mathias and the audience applauded. Recognition of the services of priests by draping the ponnadai over their shoulders during the Mass has been witnessed by me at other parishes too.
Priests, who are ‘alter Christus’ (another Christ), and act ‘in persona Christi’ (in the person of Christ) at Mass are being glorified and are taking the glory away from our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the Masses are not Christocentric but priest-centric. *I
don’t find that the GIRM envisages the felicitation of a priest on his birthday (General Intercessions #69-71) especially when his birthday is going to be celebrated at Mass.
If the organizers of these birthday bashes at Mass are lay persons, is it not the duty of the parish fathers to admonish and catechize them and to refuse to take part in the public desecration of the sanctuary?
In response to my many letters, my Archbishop finally summoned me to meet him after taking an appointment from his secretary, but I’m not going. The Archbishop’s acknowledgements of my letters have not expressed any appreciation of this ministry, addressed any of the many issues raised by this ministry or given any assurance that these errors, abuses and aberrations would be corrected or stopped.
OUR REPORTS AND COMPILATIONS OF INFORMATION ON LITURGY AND LITURGICAL ABUSE
APPLAUSE, JOKES, AND SAYING GOOD MORNING AT MASS
BLESSED SACRAMENT RESERVATION, EXPOSITION AND ADORATION
BOWING DURING THE PROFESSION OF FAITH-RON SMITH
CHOIR AND THE LITURGY OF THE MASS
CRITERIA FOR CHOIR MEMBERS, LECTORS, COMMENTATORS AND CATECHISM TEACHERS
COMMUNION IN THE HAND OR ON THE TONGUE AND EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION
DANCING AND BHARATANATYAM IN THE MASS
FEMALE ALTAR SERVERS
GENERAL INSTRUCTION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL
HOLDING HANDS AND ORANS POSITION DURING THE OUR FATHER
HOLY COMMUNION BY INTINCTION, SELF-COMMUNICATION AND HOLY COMMUNION UNDER BOTH SPECIES
HOLY COMMUNION FOR NON-CATHOLICS
HOLY MASS RUBRICS-FLOWER ARRANGEMENTS, THE ALTAR, NON-CATHOLIC LECTORS, ETC
HOMILY BY A LAY PERSON AND RELATED ABUSES
HOW TO FILE A LITURGICAL ABUSE-RELATED COMPLAINT WITH YOUR BISHOP 01-RON SMITH
HOW TO FILE A LITURGICAL ABUSE-RELATED COMPLAINT WITH YOUR PRIEST-RON SMITH
INCULTURATION OF THE LITURGY AND SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM-JON ANDERSON-AND MY RESPONSE
IS HOLY COMMUNION
EQUIVALENT TO PRASADAM-IS IT SAFE FOR CATHOLICS TO CONSUME PRASADAM
LITURGICAL ABUSE-BRO IGNATIUS MARY
LITURGICAL ABUSE-CATHOLIC ANSWERS
LITURGICAL ABUSE-CATHOLICS UNITED FOR THE FAITH
LITURGICAL ABUSE-OUR LADY’S WARRIORS
LITURGICAL ABUSES IN THE SYRO-MALABAR CHURCH-ORIGINS
MODESTY-AND HOW CATHOLICS MUST DRESS FOR MASS
SACRED SIGNS-POSTURES AND GESTURES IN CHURCH
SEVENTEEN MOST COMMON ERRORS IN THE LITURGY
STANDING OR KNEELING TO RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION AND ALTAR RAILS
TEN MOST COMMON LITURGICAL ABUSES
THE PAGANISATION OF THE LITURGY IN INDIA-C B ANDRADE
THE TWELVE POINTS OF ADAPTATION FOR THE INDIAN RITE MASS-WAS A FRAUD PERPETRATED ON INDIAN CATHOLICS?
USE OF THE GIFT OF TONGUES DURING HOLY MASS
VEILING-SHOULD WOMEN COVER THEIR HEADS IN CHURCH?
WASHING THE FEET OF WOMEN ON HOLY THURSDAY
WOMEN EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION
CHURCH DOCUMENTS ON LITURGY, SACRED MUSIC AND THE EUCHARIST AT OUR WEB SITE
CHIROGRAPH ON SACRED MUSIC JOHN PAUL II NOVEMBER 22, 2003
CONCERTS IN CHURCHES CDW NOVEMBER 5, 1987
DOMINICAE CENAE-ON THE MYSTERY AND WORSHIP OF THE EUCHARIST
JOHN PAUL II FEBRUARY 24, 1980
IMMENSAE CARITATIS-ON FACILITATING RECEPTION OF COMMUNION IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES
SACRED CONGREGATION OF THE SACRAMENTS JANUARY 29, 1973
INAESTIMABILE DONUM – INSTRUCTION CONCERNING WORSHIP OF THE EUCHARISTIC MYSTERY
JOHN PAUL II / CDW APRIL 17, 1980
KEYS FOR INTERPRETING LITURGICAL DOCUMENTS
LITURGIAM AUTHENTICAM AND COMPILED INFORMATION – FOR THE RIGHT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
MARCH 28, 2001
MEDIATOR DEI-ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON THE SACRED LITURGY PIUS XII
NOVEMBER 20, 1947
MEMORIALE DOMINI-INSTRUCTION ON THE MANNER OF DISTRIBUTING HOLY COMMUNION CDW
MAY 29, 1969
MUSICAE SACRAE – ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON SACRED MUSIC
DECEMBER 25, 1955
MUSICAM SACRAM AND COMPILED INFORMATION ON SACRED MUSIC –
INSTRUCTION ON MUSIC IN THE LITURGY
PAUL VI MARCH 5, 1967
http://ephesians-511.net/docs/MUSICAM_SACRAM_AND_COMPILED_INFORMATION_ON_SACRED_MUSIC.doc REDEMPTIONIS SACRAMENTUM AND COMPILED INFORMATION –
ON CERTAIN MATTERS TO BE OBSERVED OR TO BE AVOIDED REGARDING THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
APRIL 23, 2004
RULES OF THUMB FOR READING CHURCH DOCUMENTS
SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS AND COMPILED INFORMATION – ON THE EUCHARIST AS THE SOURCE AND SUMMIT OF THE CHURCH’S LIFE AND MISSION
FEBRUARY 22, 2007
SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM – CONSTITUTION ON THE SACRED LITURGY PAUL VI
DECEMBER 4, 1963
SPIRITUS ET SPONSA – ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM JOHN PAUL II
DECEMBER 4, 2003
TRA LE SOLLECITUDINI – MOTU PROPRIO OF POPE PIUS X ON SACRED MUSIC PIUS X
NOVEMBER 22, 1903
George Antonysamy; George Antonysamy
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2014 5:22 PM
Subject: HOLY MASS-THE SACRIFICE OF CALVARY OR A BIRTHDAY PARTY?
Dear Bishop George Antonysamy,
Please find attached herewith my report on the cutting, sharing and eating of “birthday cakes”, the singing of the Happy Birthday song, applause and public felicitation of a priest, in the church sanctuary and in the close proximity of the altar, on different occasions at which I was present at Holy Mass on two Sundays at the Cathedral Basilica National Shrine of St. Thomas in Santhome.
Categories: Liturgical Abuses