20 April 2009

Vicepresbyters

Having coined 'Monoliturgy' in my last post, I now have another new coinage for you. By Vicepresbyters, I mean individuals who substitute for a priest because there is a shortage of priests. For example: deacons; (in the Cof E) readers; catechists; religious women ... Now: all of these could be part of a corporate ministry at a corporate Eucharist under the presidency of a (presbyteral or episcopal) priest. I would not then designate them Vicepresbyters. But in fact, such ministies largely exist to perform whatever functions a priest would perform if there were one present - except for those specifically sacerdotal functions which only a priest can do: largely consecrating the Eucharistic Elements, Absolution, Unction. Everything else ... reading Scripture, preaching, administering Communion from the Tabernacle, doing Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals ... is done by these Vicepresbyters in the absence of a real presbyter.

Putting my two neologisms together, I would say that we see the worst of every world in the modern liturgical scene in the combined corruption of the vicepresbyteral monoliturgist. We see the fruits of this corruption in the Church of England, when Readers, who will do Evensong or a 'Family Service', are actually preferred to a priest offering the Adorable Sacrifice by worshippers who dislike and resent sacramental worship; and, in the Roman Catholic Church, when feminist nuns, so I have been told, may welcome the absence of a priest because the vacuum enables them to substitute for one.

Next time I will discern some Green Shoots of Recovery.

1 comment:

rev'd up said...

"Readers, who will do Evensong or a 'Family Service', are actually preferred to a priest offering the Adorable Sacrifice by worshippers who dislike and resent sacramental worship"

The same-old same-old can really get boring. The post-modern "mind" loves it sloppy but "sincere."

Certainly he wasn't alone but I recall Clive Lewis had some pithy things to say about repetitive liturgical activities vis-a-vis the increasingly neandertal penchent for thrills. Can somebody help me out?