Who Can You Trust? (3)
There was a day when the priest was merely trusted by the laity; and 99% of the time when it came to the liturgy you were safe to do so. That day is long past, and now it seems the opposite is true. In fact, I heard once about a Catholic who visited Mass in every parish in his local diocese and did not find one where at least one (and sometimes more) rules were broken. Another Catholic tells the story about counting liturgical abuses during a Sunday Mass at his home parish; he stopped counting when he got to 25 (and he is not in the diocese of Chicago!). I once saw an article online that tells visitors to a Catholic Mass how to participate in the Mass. I stopped reading about half way through because I had already counted eleven things that broke the rules of the Mass. I was worried how far it was going to go.
This means that in order to overcome the problem we must, once again, turn to the faithful to stand fast and (humbly and gently) encourage their clergy to be faithful. Down through history it is usually the faithful who encourage renewal (and the clergy realize through the beautiful humility of their spiritual children that they blew it again!). Do not tolerate abuse (of any form). Ask for explanations of something that seems out of the ordinary. Call the Bishop and report disobedience (we do this with sexual abuse; we also need a hotline for liturgical abuse [which has far more eternal consequences]).
One of my favorite passages of Scripture is where it refers to God's mercy being "new every morning". There is such grace in that truth -- God brings us new and amazing blessings every single day. Many clergy today seem to think that they are responsible to twist that. For them, their errors "are new every morning". Some seem to come up with startling new ways to disobey the clear rules of the Church. I wish that it were so that the faithful could just go to a Catholic parish and know that they were getting a valid Mass and that the priest was teaching the Catholic faith, but that is not where we are. This calls for extra diligence and harder work on the part of God's people. Do your part, and we will overcome this time of confusion and error.