Joys and Trials in South ‘Murica

Something which can unhinge me is a practice prevalent in most of the larger churches I’ve visited, and some of smaller ones in South America. I’m guessing it’s put out by the Conference of Bishops in either Peru or Bolivia, or both. It’s the practice of having a narrator.

If you’ve ever watched large Papal Masses on EWTN, you’ll notice there is a commentator describing things that are going on. For the longest time it was a woman with a lovely English accent.

“And now, the gifts are being brought to the Holy Father in preparation for the Eucharist.”

“Before the closing prayer, the Holy Father takes some time for quiet meditation.”

And such.

However, the narrator in some of the South American churches in which I’ve been -And I say “some” because I know. Believe me – I know. I don’t know everything about South America. I haven’t actually lived here. I haven’t been to all the countries. How would I know? What gives me the right to say? I haven’t been a priest there; I haven’t ministered there.

Rigid perfectionsists! Neo-pelagian critics of practitioners of the Faith!

I’ve been there seven times averaging about two weeks a pop and an at least relay my experience of practicing the Faith here.

And part of that experience is the narrator. I don’t like the role of the narrator; it’s not necessary and distracts from what is going on by forcing us to pay attention to absolutely everything at every moment and never having a moment of silence in which to contemplate the Sacred Mysteries, or simply pray to God in thanksgiving and supplication for whatever is going on.

I wouldn’t even call it the role of the narrator per se. It’s more a constant distraction.

“…through Christ our Lord, Amen. Sit down, please!

“Allelulia… Stand up, please!

“The Gospel of the Lord. Sit down, please!

“Santo Santo Santo! … Please kneel.

“Amen. Stand up!

And prior to every reading – including the Gospel – is a lengthy catechetical treatise explaining the reading and everything about it, which is often longer than the reading itself. By the time you get to the reading, you’ve tuned out the noise and have missed the actual reading completely if you’re not careful.

It’s an exercise in holiness and sanctity, I tell you.

But I love South America, even though I’ve only visited two countries and of course – I don’t know everything about South America. I haven’t actually lived here. I haven’t been to all the countries. How would I know? What gives me the right to say? I haven’t been a priest there; I haven’t ministered there.

I don’t care. I still love it.

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