With the continuing threat of coronavirus pandemic, churches are reacting and changing the way they perform mass. Many in the “liberal” or progressive movement are complaining about this.
If you look at the changes that the church is making, strictly from a secular point of view, then it makes a lot of sense. The changes that have been instituted in many parishes are as follows:
- Not allowing the chalice to be used to distribute the wine to the faithful during mass.
- Eliminating the sign of peace (or kiss of peace)
- Reducing or eliminating the sacrament of confession
- Cutting out masses entirely
Many of the more “traditional” Catholics (like Bryan) see parts of these changes as not being a big deal. Heck, some of the changes are not a problem at all!
Start with the withholding of the wine. There isn’t a need for the wine to be distributed to the entire congregation. It isn’t a problem if it is, it just isn’t a requirement. The eucharist is the entire body, blood, and divinity of Jesus in that host. Adding the blood species of the sacrament is superfluous if the entirety of Jesus is contained in that host, isn’t it?
The sign of peace is another part of the mass that many traditional Catholics don’t particularly care for. Maybe it is just because they are serious introverts… 🙂
The historicity of the sign of peace is varied. It is thought that it existed in the very early church. It seems to have fallen out of favor at times during Catholic history. I don’t necessarily care whether it is in the mass or not. It seems to be out of place in mass to me. If you are trying to invite “community” in the parish there are better ways to do it. Having breakfast or donuts after mass is way more effective than the sign of peace.
Eliminating masses and/or confessions is wholly unacceptable to most of us Catholics. When things seem to be darkest shouldn’t we be depending on the church to provide the sacraments to keep our spirits healthy?
I hate to break it to you. You are going to likely get the new coronavirus infection. Cutting out mass and confession is not going to limit the spread of the disease in any discernable way. With the infection incubation period and survival rates on surfaces, it is going to spread regardless of our actions. I’m not saying to stop cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. But be aware that despite the strong actions taken in communist China, they still have had hundreds of thousands of infected people.
Hopefully, brave priests and bishops out there will continue to offer mass and confession times for the faithful. Let me know if your parish is implementing any further restrictions on the mass or services in your diocese.