instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, January 03, 2016

I confess

I am not particularly incensed about the state of the Liturgy. I have the luxury of living in a parish where the Mass is generally by the book (apart from a few idiosyncrasies that don't bother me, like a communal Hail Mary to conclude the Prayers of the Faithful; we also get the occasional "Folks, the Lord be with you," and I offer it up). When I see something that I happen to know is contrary to the book, I don't usually get too het up, since it's rarely done out of malice or wickedness.

As far as what's in the book itself, that's not something I concern myself too much about either. I've said for years, just tell me my lines and my blocking.

But if I had to write a post of complaint about one aspect of how the Ordinary Form is ordinarily celebrated at my parish, the complaint would center on the Confeitor. Specifically, the "Confeitor," the two words "I confess," which are often spoken only by the priest, as a signal to the congregation to join in at "to Almighty God." (Depending on the celebrant's cadence, we might hold off until, "and to you, my brothers and sisters.")

I will suggest that, on the whole, it's good for our spiritual health to say the words "I confess" out loud, to other people.

I'll go a little further and say that, while I'm American enough to appreciate the efficiency of the Ordinary Form, there is something of value in having the priest recite his Confeitor to the congregation, followed by the congregation reciting it to the priest (and the rest of the congregation). It makes it clearer that the Confeitor isn't just the prayer the book says to pray at this point, it's an actual confession, usable as evidence against us if God had a mind to. I would guess it particularly doesn't hurt a spiritually healthy priest to say it all by himself, at the beginning of a Mass he is offering.

(A similar congregational delay happens at the beginning of the Credo. Saying "I believe" out loud, to other people, is if anything more important than saying "I confess," but at least we get a few more "I believe"s later on.)