Saturday, 26 September 2009

A bout of LIS

Last weekend, I suffered a very serious bout of LIS. LIS is caused by one of those bugs that normally lives in the body, though it has perhaps been more prevalent since 1970; most Catholics seem to live with this bug and not even notice they have got it. I am not sure which is actually worse - that they have managed to pick up the bug from someone (usually a cleric or sometimes a religious), or that, having caught the bug, their awareness of things Catholic is at such a low ebb that they don't notice they have caught it. That is not to say that those of us who notice we have caught it, and therefore suffer from LIS, are more saintly than those who don't notice they have it - the reverse might well be the case.

A clear symptom of having caught the bug, but not having noticed, is replying "Good morning, Father" to the greeting "The Lord be with you" at the beginning of Mass. Another is the inability to resist talking in Church before Mass starts, even for a few moments, all in the interests of "welcome" and "community".

Some would suggest that a strong dose of "extraordinary form", taken at least weekly but perhaps more often, is the cure. The problem with this cure, though, is that biological comparators suggest the bug involved will simply mutate from its "ordinary form" into an "extraordinary form"-resistant variant fairly quickly. The business of spreading the bug is simply not going to be given up that easily! I think that a systematic adoption of "mutual enrichment" is far more likely to eliminate this bug - but, sadly, there is little sign of that so far.

In the mean time, when LIS strikes more severely than one can cope with, the answer is to travel to a parish where either the bug has not yet appeared or, if it has appeared, a cure has been applied. That's what I did earlier this evening, anticipating tomorrow. Nothing special, just a said Mass with no music (OK, alleluia sung, as per the unofficial rubric that makes it obligatory even, presumably, when there is no congregation) and a half decent homily. My LIS has abated somewhat, to my relief.

It's not rocket science: say the black, do the red, cut out all the ad libs and, Father, do not project yourself onto the Liturgy!

UPDATE: Someone after my own mind: Have alb - will travel.


Joe said...

Sorry, forgot: LIS is Liturgical Irritability Syndrome.

Mulier Fortis said...

I'm fortunate to attend a parish where a treatment has been discovered: but the infection is endemic, and, rather like shingles, lurks in the nervous system...

I find that I get the occasional outbreak when we have supply priests, for example!

I hope your recovery is swift!

Anonymous said...

zero says
I'm afraid I can find nothing in the medicine cabinet to cure your condition.
But you must be running out of places to go to Mass!

Unknown said...

Nothing for it, Joe. You'll have to nail a letter to the church door outlining your complaints and start your own breakaway church.

Oh, er, I think somebody did that before.

Joe said...



No intention of going down that road ... Just the one to nearby parishes, when needed!