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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pop quiz for would be EMs

Say, HERE'S a about instead of Fr. Hippy just blindly appointing "nice people" whom he's converted to the faith (whom he may have taught a watered down version of the faith) or appointing "Good ole Bob, who's old enough to know better, but was never exactly boned up on the Baltimore catechism to begin with" as an EM - How about having them all go up to the diocese for a simple test - if they can't answer a few basic questions, or don't seem to understand basic concepts, let's NOT allow them to be EMs. (And perhaps a periodic review test for certain deacons and priests?)

Let's start with:

1) Can a woman be an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church?

2) If at Mass you notice there were very few Hosts left to be put in the tabernacle, can you just go in the sacristy and grab some unconsecrated altar breads and then put them in the tabernacle after Mass? Or do you have to ask Fr. first....or is there a completely different answer? No, these are not "trick" questions. Can you add them to what's in the tabernacle before Mass?

3) Explain why it's a GOOD idea to "wish we could use individual paper cups for Communion like the protestants." [Yes, this is a trick question.]

4) If the priest tells you to not bother about chasing after people who don't put the Host in their mouths (or take it out, for that matter) do you ignore the priest and chase after the person, or do you do what Father says because "Father knows best."

5) IF you're assisting with the Communion Cup, discuss whether or not it's a good idea to leave the Precious Blood Unconsummed on the Credence table until after Mass.

6) A little refresher question for the deacons when you purify the chalice, do you:

a: brush the remains of the priest's Host off the paten with your thumb into the chalice, then hold your thumbs over the chalice, have the server pour the water over your thumbs into the chalice, drink the water (and crumbs from the Hosts) then dry your fingers, and then wipe out the chalice with the purificator


do you just wave the purificator around in the chalice to save time, omitting the other steps?

For extra credit, discuss how you would make sure there weren't a zillion crumbs from the Hosts left around in the ciboriums. For extra special credit discuss if you think it's a good idea for the priest to purify at least his own thumbs, paten and chalice himself - or at least use an ablution cup or SOMETHING rather than just put his own ciborium on the altar and then take a seat with no intervening steps.

I'm sure my gentle (and not so gentle) readers can think of other questions to add, but all of these questions would be on MY quiz, due to personal observation over the years interactions with EMs and a certain Deacon and a certain priest, all from real life situations in who would fail one or more of these questions.

Better yet, have a basic quiz designed by the Vatican, because doubtless, if SOME dioceses were left to it, they would come up with the WRONG answers as the "right" answers.

[BTW, don't go off on lack of training POST Vatican II -- as 4 of the 6 offenders are old enough to be old enough to know better....and yes, one was a deacon. There were some dumber than a post PRE-Vatican II folks too.]

Color me pissed off. And yes, Ive been saving this up. I can finally type "straight" after fuming over the incident which elicited question #3 this past Sunday.


Terry Nelson said...

Wow - #2 actually has happened? I'm really shocked - no kidding. I can't believe someone would be that dumb.

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

re: #3
The idiot who would distribute the Precious Blood in a paper cup would probably be aghast at serving Dom Perignon in the same. Next time ask him which was the finer vintage....

gemoftheocean said...

Terry: Yup, quite some years ago. Good ole "Bob" was assisting Fr. K. of late and happy memory. (who WAS a stickler for proper handling of the Eucharist, BTW) And once after Mass I was lingering in front of the tabernacle, praying from a book of devotions, so I wasn't particularly focused on "Bob" I though the was just going to get the tabernacle key, etc. so I had my head down -- only to look up AS HE WAS EMPTYING A FRESH PACKAGE OF altar breads into the ciborium. I didn't say anything to him, but got up and immediately went over to the rectory, and informed Father K. who was having his ham and eggs what had transpired. To say Father almost passed an entire pig through his nose would be an understatement. I quickly got the hell out of there when Father picked up his mind off the floor, girded his loins and advanced on the sacristy to "deal." [BTW, Bob, at the time was Father K.s regular server at the time -- because Fr. K. was not keen on having women (even women who knew infinitely more than dear old "Bob"). (Although, in fairness to Fr. K. I was an EM and a lector, and didnt mind if I served the other priests---and eventually HIM when need be.)

AA: Perfect. as it was I was so aghast I felt like busting her in the mouth. [70 year old dame, means well, best left to decorating the church with flowers...] Needly to say I gritted my teeth and explained.

Ben Trovato said...

I would add:

Can you explain how the Church survived for 2000 years without layfolk prancing round the altar?...

gemoftheocean said...

Ben, so far we've managed to avoid liturgical dance. Because I fully intend to cold cock the first person who tries it! ;-D

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, and Ben #6 (deacon problem) is a regular one and the "never mind about chasing people" is a pastor problem.

So it's a wonder we've managed to survive even with just the priest and deacon "Prancing around the altar."

Is it too much to ask everyone to just pay attention and do things right?


Ben Trovato said...


My comment wasn't purely a knee-jerk. I genuinely believe that it is the abandonment of the sense of tradition (with a small 't' ie the accumulated practical wisdom of the generations of Catholics who have preceded us) which has brought about the attitude that anything goes.

A particular bugbear of mine is the loss of a sense of sacred space: the temple at Jerusalem was designed to have increasingly sacred inner sanctums, one after another. Catholic churches used to treat the sanctuary in the same way. We have lost all of that, and with it the sense of the importance of, as you put it, doing it right.

Indeed for many the idea of something being new is a positive factor in things liturgical: to wake up a dozy laity, I suppose. But it is a wholly alien concept in Catholic tradition. Hold fast to that which is good!

gemoftheocean said...

Hi Ben: I agree that it's a good idea to take into consideration what's been developed over time. I've been doing a lot of in depth reading on Jungmann as of late, and looking at various aspects of the Mass etc. I always want to take into consideration why a change was made. Sometimes for the good, sometimes because the clergy got a little overly grabby! and then you have competing ideas which are both valid. i.e. many Latin traditionalists seem to want to say that standing simply isn't a valid practice, but yet kneeling for the western rite didn't come in until relatively late. While the Byzantines still stand. Neither is "wrong" neither is "right." In the sense of "only *this way* is right."

You wouldn't have a ruling, for instance that women couldn't receive Communion in the *bare* hand - but needed to have the hand covered with a cloth, if one wasn't allowed to receive in the hand at all.

But however things are handled, letting someone walk away with the Host, or take it out of the mouth and walk away, or not seeming to care how the vessels are purified or leaving the Precious Blood to "chill" off in the corner until Mass is over are for sure abuses. Customs of how things are done, but it really frosts me when certain principles are violated out of hand. I just what WHOMEVER is up there to know what in hades they are supposed to be doing! Priest, deacon or EM or anybody. In the words of widsom from Larry, the Cable Guy, "Get 'er done!"

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Anyone who fails that quiz should be fired as an EM, period.

Ben, I'm also not a huge fan of EM's myself, but Gem's a good not power hungry type, those I make exceptions for. :)

gemoftheocean said...

Thanks Joe. The whole point of the "quiz" was to underscore the necessity for people who ARE up there to know what the heck they are supposed to do. to understand the J.O.B. and the concepts. You shouldn't have the job because "so and so's a nice person" that only takes you so far! And even people who *should* know, sometimes don't always follow through, which is even worse!

Charlotte said...

If you're against female deacons, why are you for female altar girls? Inconsistent.

gemoftheocean said...

Charlotte. It's NOT inconsistent. You see, I use my brain. Deacons and Priests are ORDAINED. If you want to pretend altar boys were ever ordained, go right ahead. I know better. It's not a sacrament to be an altar boy. Serving, ergo, has nothing, i.e. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch. BUPKIS to do with form and matter. Cleaning up around the place, locking up, etc. was traditionally a porter's job. And I don't see the trad crowd crying the blues when women do that. PArticularly the cleaning up part.

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