An excessive need for admiration and praise and with this comes an equally excessive need to avoid criticism. Often this is associated with obvious attention seeking behavior. These narcissistic traits are frequently found in those who introduce and participate in liturgical innovations.
If I had the power and the authority to change things, I would abolish the Novus Ordo from Catholic parishes and demand a return to the Tridentine Mass. I did not always feel this way or even care. Then, my parish got a narcissist for a pastor, and my views on the Novus Ordo changed dramatically and permanently. This is because the Novus Ordo allows the narcissistic excesses of priests to be on full display.
We already know this. There was the priest who rode a hoverboard into the sanctuary at the beginning of the Mass. There was the priest that offered the Super Bowl Mass. Then, there was the use of a drone to elevate a monstrance with a consecrated host through the sanctuary. I wish I was making that last one up. Like it or not, liturgical abuses are the norm and not the exception in the Novus Ordo.
The fundamental problem with the Novus Ordo is that it brings the attention and focus from the sacrifice to the celebration of the community to the final celebration of the priest himself. This is sickening stuff. Now, not every priest who celebrates the NO is a narcissist. Many of them probably hate the Novus Ordo, but they are not given the option to abandon it. But the narcissist priest loves the Novus Ordo. It becomes his time to shine.
My priest is one of those narcissists. He parks his presider’s chair directly in front of the Cranmer table altar where he sits like a king and presides over his court. His homilies are just warm ups before going into long talks about himself and what sorts of television programs he likes to watch. When this becomes boring, he will launch into song which brings applause from the idiot herd in the pews. Or, he will have a quiz show where he gives away prizes for correct answers. I am not making any of this up.
This weekly spectacle is nauseating for me. I feel physically ill when this narcissist takes the stage for his clown show spectacle. To negate the scandal, I now attend the Spanish Mass where he presides but has to tamp down his ego because of his tenth grade Spanish language skills. My own comprehension of Spanish is less than this, so his homilies and antics disappear into a gibberish I do not understand. I also sit to the side of the sanctuary where I don’t have to look at him directly.
This narcissist priest noticed that we were doing this and stopped in the middle of his Spanish homily to declare in English his displeasure at Anglos attending the Spanish Mass. He had become wise to our trick, and his ego could not let it go. We still go to the Spanish Mass, so he punished us by nixing one of the English masses and moving the Spanish Mass to that time. He does these passive-aggressive type moves constantly.
When people hear of our travails with this awful priest, they ask the obvious questions. Have you written to the bishop? Yes, I have done this. Others have done this. Have you considered attending a Latin Mass? The nearest one is a two hour trip from us. What about some other parish with a priest who isn’t a narcissistic jerk? That would be a thirty minute drive where the Novus Ordo is only marginally less offensive with a priest who turns his homilies into a social justice diatribe. I think half of our parish already goes there now.
This priest who I refer to as “Father Jerk” essentially wants his parishioners to love, adore, and worship him instead of Jesus Christ. As for his parishioners, he holds them all in disdain. Many men in my parish have expressed a desire to punch him in the face. One fellow had to go outside and get some air before losing his cool with this clown after some dreadful comments Father Jerk made to his wife.
This guy doesn’t belong in the priesthood. This is a given. Yet, what drew him to this vocation? I highly doubt he was called. I think the reason is obvious. He saw in the Novus Ordo his chance to be in the spotlight. He was drawn to it like some fat moth to a bug zapper on some redneck’s back porch. He might have made a fine lounge singer or an actor, but most people who opt for these careers become nobodies. But the Novus Ordo allowed him to receive the adulation he sought while also making use of those singing and acting talents.
Would the Latin Mass have prevented this? I think so. Narcissists aren’t attracted to tradition. They want to break the rules. The Latin Mass is about Jesus Christ. The Novus Ordo is about the priest.
The only upside I can see with Father Jerk is that he has made a traditionalist out of me. I probably wouldn’t have cared about the liturgical issues, but Father Jerk has made me care. His spiritual director recommend to Father Jerk the Litany of Humility. Father Jerk’s response to this was to assign it as penance to his parishioners who confessed that week. Apparently, pride is everyone else’s problem but his own.