If two professional hockey teams decided to throw away the rulebook and play a game with a beach ball and snowshoes, their game would not be called professional hockey.

Why?

Because professional hockey has certain standards, defined in a book, outlining the rules by which people must follow to call their game professional hockey.

I recently attended a Mass at a large parish in Edmonton where the Offertory Rite was changed. After the Apostle’s Creed and before the priest received the gifts, every single child in the church lined up to give the priest a hug.

Who seriously comes up with these things?

Not only is this practice found nowhere in the Sacramentary or anywhere in the history of the Church, but 60+ kids hugging a priest during Mass takes forever and disrupts the flow of the Mass.

Though some may see this as “cute,” this innovation is absolutely unnecessary and dangerous.

Is this the image we should be portraying in the wake of the worst sexual scandals in the Church yet?

“But, but,” some will undoubtedly say, “Jesus said ‘Let the children come to me.’”

Yes, Jesus did say that and assuredly children’s prayers are of great value to our Father.

That’s why we should encourage children to offer their prayers in the pews at the time of offering, rather than create a distracting circus of mayhem which detracts from the integrity of the Mass and the true participation in the hearts of all the faithful, children included.

The liturgy is Christ’s gift to us, to be handed on intact, not tampered with. No hockey league would tolerate additions or subtractions to the actual play of the game. Why do we treat the Mass as if it’s ours to change?

Joseph Shodway
Edmonton

Letter to the Editor - 12/12/11