Monday, April 07, 2008

The "Presider"

One of the most annoying aspects of the modern liturgy is the term "presider" which is often used to denigrate the uniqueness of the priesthood and turn the emphasis onto the congregation offering up the Mass.

I was going to do a blog on this matter until I came upon an excellent blog by Michael Sternbeck (as many of you know the vestment maker) titled Lord, to whom shall we turn?. This highlights the extent to which the "Introductory Prayers" and where they are supposed to be recited are a distinct break with tradition, particularly when it is a priest and not a bishop celebrating.

The earliest that I have seen "president" used is in the account of St Justin Martyr in his account of the Eucharist. He uses the term praestes meaning a president or guardian. However, I have seen similar words used which mean chief or ruler. However after that it seems to disappear, until the 1969 GIRM. Presumably, the 1960s reformers were trying to emulate the early liturgy. Since then, the term has gone out of control; particularly from those who do not want a priesthood.

Of course many churches are laid out to emphasise the priest (oops presider) as the talk show host. See below.


Anonymous said...

Oh man, I know what you mean! I HATE the word "presider" in reference to the celebrant of the Mass (be he priest, bishop, etc.)! Another word I can't stand is "assembly" instead of "congregation!"

Raelred said...

How right anonymous is. These terms have only one object - the abolition of the sacred.