From the comment box from my recent post about the antics of visiting priest:
I'm intrigued by the notion that the best way we can show support for the church is to ignore liturgical abuses. Why?
I don't believe this and didn't say it. Here's more detail to clarify.
Overall, I think there's some people that exhibit such anxiety about liturgical abuses and other quirky things that happen at Mass that it borders on sinfulness. I have a friend of mine who says if there's any latin at Mass, it ruins his day. Forget about a Novus Ordo Mass - he gets upset if you chant the Angus Dei. He fumes. He fusses. And it does ruin his day.
The flip side of it is the folks that go nuts when there's any deviation from the norm. These people have dog-eared copies of Mass Confusion at the ready. The appendix of that book is very helpful if you want to tally the score at any given Mass.
So here's point number one: if you are really focused on tallying the score one way or another, you are probably not having effective prayer time, and you are less disposed to receive the grace of the Eucharist. I say "focused" because it's the liturgical gladiators that go to Mass in order to critique it. And anyone who is as involved in the liturgy as I am (in my capacity as a choir director) is in danger of becoming a liturgical gladiator.
The gladiator lives for the fight. Either the GIRM is at the ready, or Environment and Art in Catholic Worship has been committed to memory. Toe to toe, the traditionalist doesn't want hands held during the Our Father and "When's Vatican III?" person gets all upset that a gaggle of ladies from the parish isn't carrying rainbow banners in the procession. This focus makes the liturgy an ocassion of division. I could list many, many things that annoy me at liturgies. That could be fun, but if I'm focused on that at Mass, it's not good prayer time.
I know a music director and liturgist who lives by this rule: don't say anything about the liturgy or the music for a given Mass for at least 30 minutes after. If it's still important to you after that, go ahead and have the discussion. It's a good rule that keeps people from being at each other's throats.
I'm not saying that problems shouldn't be pointed out, discussed, and resolved or it's ok for some parishes to differ from the GIRM. I am saying that the liturgy can be the golden calf of the folks who want to have it their way. The reason I didn't complain too much about the visiting priest was I wasn't willing to walk up to him after Mass and say - "Hey, Father. The GIRM specifically states that the Orans position is reserved for the priest. Teaching small children to do that during the Our Father is ill-advised and something we don't do at this parish." or "Father - we don't even let the extraordinary ministers of the eucharist enter the sanctuary until communion time. So it's odd that you'd have all the children come up for the entire Eucharistic prayer." He's a visiting priest. He'll be gone in a week or so and we'll be back to the norm.
And maybe I should have said something. I was angry but also knew it would be over for us when he gets on a plane to go home. I would have approached the situation in a totally different way had it been a priest that was here to stay (that's why we have monthly Worship Commission and Liturgy Committee meetings.) And at those meetings I need to choose my battles depending on how severe the situation is.
Related topic: Parish Shopping. More on that another time.