Friday, November 12, 2010

GULP Exam Answer: Where to preach

God's Undercover Liturgical Police (GULP) is getting good at this!  Apart from the overlay preaching stole over the chasuble, the point here is the priest giving his homily/sermon NOT in the ambo/pulpit.

Can you not see how inspired the people at the back are?  Aren't they cute.  Yup, I wrote that to be sarcastically funny, if there is a term.

Getting back, the pulpit was made for a purpose.

Before the liturgical brouhaha ushered in by Vatican II, pulpits were richly decorated and were elevated.  Often they can be seen in the middle of the church.  And ALL readings and sermons were done THERE, except for the case when a bishop is presiding.

Like this not well known bishop who has a thing for classic vestments:

Here he is again up close in St. Peter's with a portable chair.

Here he is when he visited a Lutheran Church.

There are no specific liturgical law that specifies where a priest must preach.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missal for the Mass of Paul VI says and I quote:

136. The priest, standing at the chair or at the ambo itself or, when appropriate, in another
suitable place, gives the homily. When the homily is completed, a period of silence may be
The Ambo
309. The dignity of the word of God requires that the church have a place that is suitable for
the proclamation of the word and toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the
faithful naturally turns during the Liturgy of the Word.

It is appropriate that this place be ordinarily a stationary ambo and not simply a movable lectern.

The ambo must be located in keeping with the design of each church in such a way that the
ordained ministers and lectors may be clearly seen and heard by the faithful

From the ambo only the readings, the responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet)
are to be proclaimed; it may be used also for giving the homily and for announcing the intentions
of the Prayer of the Faithful. The dignity of the ambo requires that only a minister of the word should go up to it.
So from what we have read, all directions point towards the priest using the Ambo aka Pulpit because that is where the Word of God is read and preached and the Homily aka Sermon is PART of the Liturgy of the Word.  The dignity of preaching in the ambo should I put it...dignified?

Once a priest or a deacon decides to preach walking around the church or the sanctuary, it gives the impression that he is Oprah on Chasuble!  The sanctuary becomes his stage, as opposed to God's dwelling.  The sense of the holy is lost as we see not a religious worship but an pseudo-Evangelical Fellowship service.

Probably one of the "wrongs" of facing the priest to the people.  Making priests talented entertainers rather than offerers of God's Sacrifice.

Here are classic examples of pulpits in the Philippines:

San Ignacio, Intramuros, Manila, destroyed by American bombs during the liberation of Manila
(Ateneo Alumni wanted to recreate the old church in all her glory.  But our faithful Jesuits wanted nothing of it.)

Her is one in the Manila Cathedral-Basilica.

You can see the massive and elevated pulpit at the right of the sanctuary.  The cathedra is on the left and right in front of it is the other pulpit.

Here is another shot.

You can see Cardinal Rosales, preaching on the other pulpit while you can see the pulpit at the back. He is leading the Mass of Sts. Peter and Paul aka Pope's Day.

There is a practical reason for pulpits.

There were no microphones before so it would make sense if the sermon is delivered from an elevated position so the priest can shout his heart out and be heard in the entire nave of the church.  This is also the reason for choir lofts.  By the way, does your church even have one?

The attitude of priests doing what they want with the liturgy is a symptom of a problem we call Priestly Narcissism.  There is a beautiful article about this which you can read here.  Priests hungry for attention and wonder we have lots on TV right now.  I know for a fact that most of these priests and even a bishop, would not even stay long in their own parish, ministry or diocese.  They spend more time OUTSIDE of their assignments and more with moonlighting, especially those that get the most attention and most enve...Ooops!

There is wisdom behind what Holy Mother Church did for thousands of years of worshipping the Lord.  And you have liturgists, telling all of us "The Church was wrong all these years  What I suggest is right."

and we have..TaDa!


Excuse me.  I need my barf bag.

1 comment:

  1. The pulpit in San Agustin is now never used. It has become a museum piece. In old churches in Europe and North America, the pulpit is used even if it is ancient!