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Friday, 7 December 2012

Manners again

I have been discussing manners this week and this is the last in the series.  I do not want to highlight the negative, but a critique seems a good place to start.

Now, the problem is that the cultural group to which I am referring to do not read blogs. I have just returned from Mass where about 200 people were attending for First Friday devotions. Except for perhaps four other people, I was one of the youngest there and I am retirement age, almost.

Most of the congregation were in their seventies and eighties, my parents ages.

And, there were two things which happened, which happen daily here at Mass in Ireland.

The first is the rugby scrum to Communion. Even with the Communion rail in place, I was literally knocked into and pushed aside by a man in his eighties. This is not the first time this has happened.  It happens daily. Yesterday, two older women cut in front of me. at the rail.  The Irish do not know how to queue for Communion, as we do in the Midwest, where we go up aisle by aisle  The rush from the back is a phenomenon which even happened in the monastery in the laity nave. After two months, the two ladies behind me began to wait until I left the pew in front of them, but not the men in the back.

This is so strange to me. This group of people are all retired and not on their lunch hour, where they would be watching the clock. The priests never run out of Hosts, and Jesus is there whether one is last in line or first. I sat in the third row this morning, but, you will not believe this, I was the last to receive but one, out of those many people. Because I waited.  And, as I was taught to let old people go first, I do.

Why is this happening, this rudeness and odd behaviour among the very old? To actually knock a person physically to the side to receive seems like being out of the Spirit. I was reminded that the Feeding of the Five Thousand might not have been such an orderly affair.

Can you imagine the jostlings and pushings to get fish and bread?

The dear man who pushed me this morning would have received his bread and fish. I am patient, but now I know why the youth are rude. They have their grandparents as models.

If Catholicism does not change behavior, it is not real; and if this were a one off thing, I could understand. But in three months, I have not seen queuing, but a scramble which is unworthy of the adoration we should be experiencing before we receive. Before we receive, we should already be in adoration of Our Lord.

I do not think these people believe it is really Christ. Would they act like that in front of Him?

The second weird thing, which also happened among the laity at the monastery, and Mother Prioress tried to stop it, was that some of the men and women say the parts of the priest during Mass. I cannot believe this! The three most common places where men and women say words not appropriate to the laity are these: one, the words before the great Acclamation, the Amen, which totally undermines the entire prayer; two, the prayers of the Consecration (I kid you not); three, the blessing of the priest to the congregation at the end.

Why? I am daily amazed. The lady behind me, one about my age, said almost all the words of the Consecration. I wanted to ask her if she was a womynpriest. I did not.