Yesterday I stopped by a "private" Mass of a dozen or so silver jubilarian priests on the day of their anniversary in the major [regional] seminary of this prominent and reputedly conservative north eastern diocese of the USA.
The "homilist" (who happens to be the diocese' executive director of priest personnel [in charge of assignments for the hundreds of priests in the diocese]) says that instead of him giving the homily he and the main celebrant of that con-celebrated mass (who happens to be the rector of that seminary) decided (presumably with the collusion of another of the jubilarians who is a decades long member and associate professor of that same seminary faculty) that each of the jubilarians (them included) should give a short spontaneous reflection on his past twenty five years as a priest.
So, the "homilist" from the pulpit gave his short reflection on his unworthiness and God's reiterated kindness and mercy in putting up with him despite his failures in joy, piety and availability to which he is called as a priest. Then, the presiding main celebrant follows suit, seated on his cathedra. The faculty member priest followed suit from his place. And, likewise, each of the jubilarians (with the exception of two or three who abstained), gave, from his place in the pews around the altar, an informal assessment of his twenty-five years. It was such a banal exercise of psychological naval-gazing that I thought the only element that was lacking from the tragically comical scene, as one after another tried in a few short minutes to say how joyful and grateful and happy he was to be here, was that they should have held hands during that type of emotive sharing session!
It reminded me of the awful non-formation of my seminary days at that same seminary decades ago. (N.B. I left that seminary and went to Mount Saint Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland, where I had more freedom to be unabashedly Catholic, and from there graduated). What is unbelievable is that the same failed ideas at "do-it-yourself", bastardized liturgies are still the fashion of the day: one of the "fruits" of "the Ordinary Form" - Novus Ordo. What is even more unbelievable than the leaders pulling this type of stunt on their confreres, at that venerable stage and moment of priestly life, is the fact that the confreres all tolerated it!!! Someone should have clearly said right then and there that such an exercise is completely out of place in the liturgy and that, if they must do that, it should be saved for the restaurant afterwards. Just one more reason against con-celebration (you are then a less captive audience and you can just get up and leave when things get out of hand).
Is it any wonder our young traditional priest candidates are scared or chased away, and the ones who remain and become priests are so malformed and disoriented in so many ways. Perverted liturgy is an image of perverse ministers!
Some may say, "what's wrong with that?", "they are all priests and have faculties to preach at Mass." Answer: There are at least three reasonable objections: 1) priests are to preach from the pulpit [not from their chairs: an honor reserved to bishops] and 2) they are to preach the Catholic faith, not themselves and 3) casual spontaneity is out of place in the liturgy.
Etenim si incertam vocem det tuba quis parabit se ad bellum? 1 Cor:14:8.