USCCB To Consider Implementing Challenge Flags And Instant Replays During Masses

April 9, 2013 by  
Filed under Mass, Uncategorized

"Parishioners are challenging the orthodoxy of the homily."

“Parishioners are challenging the orthodoxy of the homily.”

Washington, D.C.–As bishops from across the country gather in Washington, D.C. this weekend for the annual USCCB Liturgical Conference, many within the Church are speculating about rumors that U.S. bishops may vote on a proposal to implement instant replay for every Mass starting in 2014. The idea of using instant replay cameras during Mass was first proposed in 2009 by then Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan. “I believe that technology could actually be an immense benefit to us,” Dolan told the New York Times in a 2009 interview. “The idea would be to give a red challenge flag to two or three parishioners to toss onto the sanctuary on behalf of the congregation should they feel something heretical, or something not in line with the rubrics of the Mass had occurred. They would not have ability to throw the flag in the case of an overtly fluffy homily. Once the Liturgy of the Eucharist had begun, all reviews could only then come from upstairs, so to speak.” But some critics of instant replays such as 47-year-old Mary Collins from New Haven, Connecticut says that implementing such a move would mean prolonged Masses. “Mass already takes so long,” Collins told reporters. “Also, there’s something just special about the human element in Mass…you never know what could happen. It’s kinda exciting.”


  • Teresa

    Just think of the abuse of this situation. I know I personally would purchase my own flag to toss and my kids might find a red flag or two in their stockings or Easter baskets. Just sayin…

  • Brother Juniper

    Think of the number of flags that will be necessary! We should all invest in liturgical-red-flag stock immediately.

  • Jeff

    Good business opportunity right here! Liturgical red flag production.

  • Sir Louis

    I am trying to imagine the hand signals that will be needed to let everyone know what the calls are. Hand on hip and other arm making like a teapot if the Precious Blood is consecrated in a pitcher and then poured out to multiple chalices? Right hand grasping the left forearm if the maniple is not laid aside for the sermon? Hand over the mouth when the celebrant mangles the words in the Missal? I suppose they’ll use specially blessed whistles.

  • Gordon

    I would have to throw the flag every time our parish priest leads us in the Nicene creed. He says, “for us and for our salvation” instead of “for us men and for our salvation”, deliberately leaving out what is in his mind the exclusive reference to the male of the species.

    • David Gerard Smith

      If the reference is to actual, you know, manly men, not mankind is the theory that Jesus died only for the salvation of males or, as wives the world over believe, only males commit offenses?

  • Pat

    This is some sort of April Fools joke, right? Surely, it has to be.

  • Antonius

    Heh. To date, while there is a court system for canonical crimes, there is absolutely no court for liturgical crimes. There is liturgical law, of course, but it’s rarely enforced and it’s confusing as what is actually the law.

    Curt Jester had a post about this a while back:

    • CumExApostolatus

      Actually, there is a ‘court’ for liturgical crimes….it’s the court of feet-in-motion-out-the-door of the neo-pagan edifice.

  • Glendon Cheshire

    I cannot fathom the potential financial losses for a lay person should they take the Magisterium into their own hands and put an eye out of the celebrant for a blatant disregard for rubrics. We could have Can you imagine the choir stall clearing brawls that could result from this? And there have to be strict rules on the weighting of the penalty flags. We could seriously be accused of Inquisitorial misconduct here.

  • Glendon Cheshire

    I cannot fathom the potential financial losses for a lay person should they take the Magisterium into their own hands and put an eye out of the celebrant for a blatant disregard for rubrics. On the other hand, the shame induced penalty could have a profound proscriptive effect on the Mass. What are the infractions? Can we toss the flag on lay EMs that approach to administer Communion in hoochy mama skirts? Does this mean priests actually have to follow the GIRM, for real now?

    I’m torn. Can you imagine the choir stall clearing brawls that could result from this? I can imagine the bench clearing seen of some irate Minister of Liturgical Arts taking offense at a penalty flag.

    There also have to be strict rules on the weighting of the penalty flags. We could be accused of serious Inquisitorial misconduct here.

  • Marcy

    Is this another one of Dolan’s ha ha belly laugh jokes? This is an absolute asinine suggestion!
    I have gone to parishes other than my home parish and heard about the pastor’s golf game during the service, a quick reference,”Today is Respect Life Sunday but no mention of abortion or same sex marriage , just the fact that today is the day. I’ve seen a young woman in a sequined strapless backless, dress that was so short that it almost showed her undies, 7 EM when there weren’t more than 70 people attending mass.Some of the EM wore capri’s and flip flops. Not more than 5 people go to confession on a Saturday at that parish yet the pews empty out to receive the body and blood of our Lord on Sunday. Either most of that parish is ready to be canonized or there are a heck of a lot of sacrilegious communions being made.
    When I was a child we had an old Irish priest who made it well known to the congregation on Easter and Christmas that in order to receive our Lord in the Eucharist that they must have made a good confession within the past year and be in a state of sanctifying grace. Oh and don’t go to Communion and walk out the door, Father Quinlan would yell, “Where do you think you’re going? The Mass isn’t over till I give the blessing and say Ite, missa est.
    Now you go to Mass at some parishes and you think you are in a Protestant church. Everyone comes in, a few genuflect, they rarely pray and then the talking and laughing starts. Cell phones ring, the song board list 11 songs . The choir consists of electric guitars, bongo drums, tambourines and this is no ethnic parish! During Communion song after song is played and you have no time or silence to give a proper devotion and thanksgiving to Jesus.
    I’d say there are plenty of reasons to throw flags, but will these result in telling the congregation why the flags were thrown and how to rectify the situation.
    Thank God I go to a traditional Catholic church that didn’t tear out the communion rail or throw out the statues to make the church look like a glorified bowling alley! Our pastor has a licentiate in Biblical studies and his homilies actually mention the word “sin”. I don’t think we will have any flag throwing unless someone foriegn to Latin Mass comes to our Tridentine Mass and thinks this is all wrong!

    • Phil Brown

      I believe the appropriate procedure in the case of a Tridentine Mass would be the more traditional smiting with the jawbone of an ass.

    • Fr-James Netusil

      You do realize this is a satire site, right?

  • Eugene Mosburg

    The Liturgy is too critical to our faith formation to be trivialized in this way. Every Mass aspires to beauty of form, whether achieved or not. Let’s maintain that aspiration, not cripple it with goofiness.

  • David Gerard Smith

    Where do I get one!?

  • Fr-James Netusil

    I would only approve of this if and only if those who flung said flags had actually gone to a series of certification classes, thus preventing extraneous or erroneous flag-flinging. They would also need to be identified by a special hat and deputy badge when seated in the congregation, so as to prevent the hospitality police from dispatching them for violation of improper or unlicensed flag usage. Those who saw fit to bring excessive amounts of flag-flinging paraphernalia into the church would be excessively incensed with the most caustic and vile blend until they learned their lesson. At all times, it will be the right of the presider at which the flag was flung to pick up the flag, attach it to a Vatican-approved trebuchet, and shoot it back at the flag-flinging pharisee with gusto appropriate for a man of his rank and dignity.

  • KJL

    Haha, the best part is
    “Once the Liturgy of the Eucharist had begun, all reviews could only then come from upstairs”

    Wonderfully done EOTT.