Tuesday, June 28, 2005

"priest voice"

I went to a noon Eucharist at the National Cathedral recently, and would have enjoyed the service, were it not for the visiting celebrant's "priest voice". You know, the tone of "I am taking this all very very seriously, as should you." It's all very well-intentioned-- they want to share their enthusiasm for God with you and/or ensure that you have a spiritual experience during this particular service, but boy, does it backfire!

Priests with "priest voice" will helpfully stress any word they find important, often in a crescendo as if they're shoving you towards God. "Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you NO SECRETS ARE HID..." At which point, I think "then it's no secret from God that I seriously need to giggle."

Chill, people. I'm not going to have a mountaintop experience if you're trying to push me uphill all the way. Just speak the prayers and blessings as you'd speak them in a serious conversation, not facetiously and not pretentiously. They'll open the doors of the heart all on their own.


At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, one of my pet-peeves: "priest voice."

It's not very far from "poet voice". It's a pain in the rear, is what it is.

Welcome to your blog. (You say hello, I say good bye).

Abdul-Walid of Acerbia

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Anna said...

First comment from Abdul-Walid! It's an honor. I'm sorry to see you go, but it's your voice and you know best what you need it to say and where.

I've been to Nigeria, but never Lagos. Maybe some day, and then I'll read your "City" entry with new eyes.

At 3:59 AM, Blogger Kathryn said...

Hi Anna! Glad to meet you, and thanks for your encouragement on my blog.
Thanks too for the timely warning, as one who has only for 4 days been entitled to a "priest voice" at all !! :-)
I have to confess, I was so overwhelmed by the words when celebrated the Eucharist for the first time on Sunday, I just didn't want to stop saying them, ever! Can see that might have emerged as a self consciously "holy" voice...but hope not, as it really wasn't.

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Anna said...

I'm sure it didn't, Kathryn! I've only heard long-established priests do it, and most of them were men. Genuine First Eucharist enthusiasm is something else entirely-- I wish I could have heard you!

At 1:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Kathryn - be yourself, you'll be great because God is with you.

If we worry too much about how we sound or look , fear of man creeps in,

that said, there is no need to whisper to God or use pious tones - but all the same a liturgy that's rattled though with no intonation either - is also not good

a priest should mean what s/he prays. That comes across loud and clear.

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Ren said...

Good evening! Found your blog from a link at Thinking Anglicans. So far, I find it a pleasure to read.
I am always glad to read of people my age who do have something to say. So do keep it up!
(I am from the Philippines, by the way, and am a Roman Catholic with Anglican leanings. The Anglican/Episcopal church here, which was founded by ECUSA, is still finding it hard to welcome people like me, who aren't either Chinese-Filipino or from any northern tribe.)


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