June 3, 2012

Some of the Church’s Work

is done in smoke-filled rooms...
 Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG ;-)

15 comments:

Br. Chris said...

...and there are no seats in non-smoking!

IT said...

As shown here:

http://stpaulcathedral.blogspot.com/2011/08/thurifer-today-magazine.html

JCF said...

Well, as you know, some of us laypeople prefer to not have to look at our priest's backsides when this liturgia is being accomplished. ;-/

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Chris, so true. I recall Donald Garfield's old line to people who didn't like incense: Scripture records only two smells in the life of the world to come, and the other one is sulphur..."

Thanks, IT. I love it! Actually I do "match scents" for the season, with four different blends of resiss. I "mix my own" and order bulk supplies from Mountanroseerbs.com

True, JCF, but fortunately that odd end of the last century liturgical anomaly is falling our of vogue. The idea of the priest as Julia Child is far more dismissive of the laity, and does far more to set the priest off as "different" than having the priest joining and leading all present by facing the same way as them, together with them. It's a matter of perspective, I suppose... ;-)

John-Julian, OJN said...

Tobias:

That address should be

And the Donald Garfield line originated with Bishop Webb of Milwaukee before Donald was born.....

Jay Croft said...

Sorry, but the facing-the-people position develops a relationship between priest and congregation.

I'm a visually oriented person. I like to see people's faces. I want to know something about the celebrant; otherwise the celebrant seems, to me, a faceless robot. (Think of the money the church could save by placing programmed robots at the altar! No CPF payments, no medical insurance, just an occasional squirt of oil to keep it humming.)

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, Fr. J-J. Glad to know the source. I first heeard it from Donald, but suspected it wasn't original to him. I do think John Paul Boyer can be credited with "God speaks Hebrew to Man, but Greek amongst Himself." ;-) Ah, Smokey Mary's in the early 70s...

Well, Jay, that rather makes my point. I don't think the Holy Eucharist is about the relationship of the priest and the people, but about all of them in relationship to God. As I say, it is a matter of perspective.

But I didn't really mean to get into a discussion of the faults or benefits of Versus Populum...

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

In our theology all present are celebrating, not just the one presiding. The people are not spectators but participants. What separates the people from the one presiding (bishop of presbyter) is more distance and posture than position.

Ideally all present should surround the Table and share the same posture as the one presiding.

Having the people kneel at a distance from the Table while the one presiding stands (whether facing or not) is what really creates the idea of the people as mere spectators to the "hocus pocus" being done by the president.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks Deacon Charlie. Again not wishing to turn this into a discussion of the physical arrangements... and I would have to say that the worst arrangement, from my perspective, is the priest standing behind the altar facing a kneeling congregation. The direction the priest faces is far less important than the whole attitude of the congregation and priest together. Anything that makes the congregation feel like mere spectators is wrong -- and that includes the priest facing the people and confecting the euharist like Julia Child. The versus populum posture encourages "performance" mode because that is the norm of performance -- facing the "audience." I've said enough about this subject here. See also here for more.

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

To get back on point:

I have a low church upbringing (in the boy choir we couldn't sing anything in latin because that would have been running hell-bent for Rome). However I do like incense.

What I don't like is the charcoal. That, I beleive, is what makes people cough. Perhaps someone with a better engineering background than me could design an electric thurible. It would be ready faster and eliminate the charcoal. The battery pack could be easily concealed under the thurifer's vestments.

What do you think?

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Ah, Deacon Charlie, now your cooking ;-)

I actually had a low-church upbringing, also singing in the choir --- morning prayer every other week it seemed...

You are correct about the charcoal, at least in part. And the real problem isn't the coal itself, which is just carbon, but the "self-starter" ingredients that make it "fizz." At the venerable Smokey Mary's they use plain charcoal briquets, fired over a gas stove in the "smoke room" and then shoveled into the thurible. This cuts down on the noxious chemicals.

Another issue is the incense. I make my own from pure resins, but many commercial brands add oils and other perfumes that are actually irritating.

Pure frankincense (a redundancy, i know) on plain charcoal has a lovely aroma and is far less irritating.

Jay Croft said...

I'm sure that someone can come up with incense in a spray can. Imagine the liturgical possibilities!

After all, we have bug sprays that shoot 20 feet up in the air, to destroy wasp nests. (I always had a can handy in my previous church, but it was strictly for wasp nests. Honestly, I never used it on any member of the congregation, although there were times I was tempted to.)

WSJM said...

"You are correct about the charcoal, at least in part. And the real problem isn't the coal itself, which is just carbon, but the "self-starter" ingredients that make it "fizz.""

Quite right, Dn. Charlie & Br. Tobias. They also use(d) plain briquets fired over a gas ring at the Advent in Boston (at least Back In The Day, which for me would be the early 60's).

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Jay, I heard one low-church option was Febreze!

If someone could get the aroma of Frankincense in a can I think there would be a market for it. ;-)

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Bill, this must have been the trade secret in what Donald Garfield used to call the "sister churches." :-)