The Penalty Pew

So I attended mass today and the response I heard to “The Lord be with you” was something like this:

“And also with your spirit, yo.”

I guess this is going to take a bit longer to catch on than I thought.

And that being said leads me to some further new innovations that the church can take advantage of with the advent of the not-so-new translations.

1) Install a penalty pew for anyone who messes up the new words. You have to sit there until you can say “consubstantial” 10 times fast and the entire creed by memory.

2) Place a jar at the end of every pew and for every time someone says “And also with you” they have to deposit $5. The church renovation fund would have gotten a big boost today.

3) Two words: Electroshock penalty.

4) For every stumble that the priest-presider makes, he has to do 5 push ups. Gotta keep these guys healthy. Guys over 75 can do “girl push ups”.

5) Maybe we should make this part of our everyday lexicon?

Colleague: Good Morning
Me: And with your spirit.

Relative: Merry Christmas (Or would it be Joyeux Noel?)
Me: And with your spirit.

6) When the pizza delivery guy comes we should say: “Lord (which after all is loosely translated as “Sir”), I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed” instead of the usual $5 tip.

7) This one comes from a friend: If you make a mistake you have to take a piece of gum from underneath the pew and stick it on your nose.

8) Install a buzzer on the altar for every mistake uttered the priest can slam it down and a purple whammy ala press your luck comes down the aisle and laughs at you. Little kids will root for the whammy, thus engaging them to hear all the words and follow along. After all, the family that prays together, stays together.

9) Who needs Bingo? Have pew bingo at every mass with seats assigned to a number. B16 just made a mistake. The first person to shout Bingo wins pending a check of their card after communion.

10) And finally…all congregation members who make a mistake have to do the electric slide at the end of mass. Parishioners vote for the best electric slider. We could call it Catholic Idol and have it broadcasted on FOX and added to you tube.

In all seriousness, I would add one note. We’re all struggling with this. I don’t find this to be helpful or any more beautiful than it was before. It doesn’t exactly help my prayer in any significant way thus far. And I’m finding most people could care less one way or the other. At best, it’s awkward and at worst, it’s frustrating or even ignored.

Perhaps it would have been enough, if we realized that what happens at mass should actually strike us speechless. God offers himself to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar and we all too easily want to talk about it and none of it can really capture the mystery.

We should celebrate that…and perhaps that would have been enough. After all, it’s because of this, that all of our mistakes are erased.

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4 Comments

  1. Maybe for the next translation, we should cut back on the number of liturgists that work on it and include some poets.

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  2. @Mike Erickson. They did include poets originally in 1996. Poets, linguists, translators, liturgists and theologians. Pope JP II rejected it and slowly but surely first the poets were dropped, then the linguists till all that was left were the liturgists and theologians. And you know the old joke- what is the difference between an liturgist and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist!
    @ Mike Hayes, funny article- spot on, especially your comments at the end. However, one little thing that bothers me is not knowing the correct usage- it is “could NOT care LESS” not “could care less.” The whole point of that phrase is that the “person” is beyond caring any more. Only point this out because I enjoy your writing but this is such a common error.

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  3. “Perhaps it would have been enough, if we realized that what happens at mass should actually strike us speechless. God offers himself to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar and we all too easily want to talk about it and none of it can really capture the mystery.”

    Yes!

    Of course, we could try the traditional monastic practice of prostrating yourself on the floor when you make an error…

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