16 August 2008

Greetings from Kosovo (pt 4)

I have been to Mass in a number of countries (nine in fact) and until now the strangest mass was in Tübingen, Germany. I’d spent a few weeks in Tübingen studying and had the opportunity to attend Mass several times, however I will always remember the first one. Everything was going well right up till after the second reading when we stood for the Gospel…and a women got up to read the Gospel and went on to give the Homily. A women. I had to sit down I was so shocked and utterly horrified. In fact, eight years later I am still shocked and horrified. I think thought that the Mass I attended tonight comes close to equaling my Germany experience.

Yesterday, the celebration of the Assumption of Mary was a holy day of obligation. Mass was only in Albanian yesterday which was fine. Lauren remembered that I needed a Missal for this trip so I was able to following along with at least the readings etc. I was told that on Saturday at 7 pm was the regular weekly English Mass so I was happy to attend that (although still armed with the Missal as I am wary of so-called “English” Masses while abroad). I got to the church and that’s when all the weird crap started happening:

Weird thing number one: Dude in an Irish KFOR uniform walked up to the Alter and started setting up for Mass.

Weird thing number two: Dude formerly in a KFOR uniform walked back onto the Alter now wearing priestly vestments.

Weird thing number three: There was only one reading, the one from the Old Testament. There are supposed to be two. I don’t know what happened to the second one.

Weird thing number four: There was no Homily. THERE WAS NO HOMILY!!! Mass went from the Gospel reading right into the prayers of Intercession. What the Hell happened to the Homily?!

Mass was like 23 minutes long and as I exited the church feeling bewildered and cheated there was a huge KFOR jeep with a couple more Irish KFOR soldiers waiting for the priest. I mean, I hope he was actually a priest and not some older Irish gentleman they got to play dress up.


Seriously, I thought if anyone would know better it would be the Irish for Pete’s sake. And to top it all off this church has the absolute most uncomfortable plank o’ wood kneelers I have yet to experience. I am now a connoisseur of plank o’ wood kneelers. If I ever plan on spending a significant amount of time in Prishtina, or, you know, a weekend, I’ll remember to attend the Albanian language Mass.

Oh, by the way, Mother Theresa who is Albanian (despite what the Macedonians tried to convince everyone of during the beginning of her Beatification) is indeed Kosovar Albanian. Her parents were from Prizren.


Alice said...

i know catholicism falls into the "only men can be priests" camp, but even so, i'm still a little surprised you were horrified a woman would give the homily. i'm curious why you reacted so strongly? because tradition dictates that women can't fill that roll? or because you feel women really are less holy (or whatever the reason they're not supposed to be in any important position in the church)?

(please don't take this as an attack! i'm asking out of pure curiosity, honestly.)

Andrea said...

I am in no way and expert on Cannon Law but I believe that the rules that apply to reading the Gospel are the same as those for the Homily-that only clergy and decons are allowed to do it. This in no way reflects any masochism on the part of the Church and the belief that women are somehow less holy or important are incorrect.

Women fill very important functions within the Church-they are acolytes, lectors, cantors, music ministers, Extraordinary ministers, teachers, nuns, and ushers. Many of the most famous saints are women: Bernadette, Jean de Arc, Helen, Elizabeth, Anne, Lucy, Margaret, the various Teresas and Marys...and the most important and revered women in our world..Mary the Mother of God without whom our religion would not exist.

It is Tradition that keeps women off the pulpit, Tradition that says that priests are the earthly representative of Jesus and must be as like him in everyway: single, celebit, lacking of earthly possessions, and male.

I appreciate your curiosity and hope that this helped to answer at least my feelings on the matter :)