Warning: enter Part 2 of this rant at your own risk. There'll be more liturgical and Catholic jargon, but hopefully some useful stuff as well.
On the plus side, our visiting knowledgeable person gave us some good reminders:
At the opening prayer at Mass (otherwise known as the Collect) after the 'Let us pray' there is a short pause for us to add in our own intentions silently before the priest goes on with the prayer – having gathered all those intentions in and transforming them into a united prayer. It is a good reminder, but most of us have shopping list lengths of intentions and there's really only time to remember one of them at the opening prayer. Practically, if you've got a long list, it has to be offered either before Mass starts, or while the gifts are being prepared (while all the to-ing and fro-ing with the bread, water and wine is going on), or both.
Are we really listening to the prayers we are saying Amen to? Because many of them promise that we will keep various commitments. How intentional are our Amen's?
During the Creed, whether we are praying the Nicene or Apostles versions, at the words that recall the Incarnation of Jesus we are to bow. At the solemnities of Christmas and at the Annunciation that bow becomes a genuflection. It is a good reminder. Remembering to bow at the right place is the hard part, but doing the bow transforms that long prayer of the Creed into something intentional and wonderful and away from rote and routine.
Now onto the less cut and dried stuff:
The renewed words of the Confiteor have 'through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault' with the action 'all strike their breast'. You can interpret this rubric as one strike of the breast, but I don't think it precludes the three times that fits with the words which most people are doing. Three times helps focus my soul much better than once, and I hope they will one day knock enough sense into me to view sin in its true ugly light and do more to avoid it. For someone who loves, a single action of contrition is never enough.
Who or what do we bow to, especially if you are a reader coming up to proclaim the scriptures? Our knowledgeable person said forget the priest, bow to the altar. I've got a problem with that, and yet it isn't a simple black and white situation. How do we balance "Christ is present in the liturgy in four unique ways: These ways are: • especially, in the Eucharist broken and shared; • in the person of the minister; • in the Word of God; and • in the assembled people of God (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, CSL #7)" with the words from the 5th preface of Easter, "Christ …showed Himself the Priest, the Altar and the Lamb of sacrifice". Note that those four unique ways do not include the altar, and yet when the incense is in use, the priest, the altar, the people, the paschal candle (if lit), the gifts, the Gospel and the cross all get incensed. On the other hand, outside the liturgy we reverence the tabernacle. For me, if the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says that Jesus is uniquely present in the priest, then the priest gets the bow. Doing both altar and priest, or altar only, is a confusion that we don't need. All of the four unique ways either move or are moved during the liturgy, they are active presences not passive ones.
Our knowledgeable person also had a narrative for the priestly actions: at the presentation of the gifts: set them aside; at the consecration: show them, at the doxology; offer them. Low…medium…high. For centuries upon centuries the action of the priest during the consecration has been called the elevation. The newly consecrated bread and the newly consecrated wine are to be lifted up high enough for all of us to see and to adore. So no, this idea doesn't sit right at all.
The purification rites after communion are where there is a lot of grey and difference from one place to another. In a perfect world it probably should take place at the credence table rather than at the altar (like in the kitchen rather than at the dining table). But that doesn't take much account of the degree of mobility (and health) the priest has, nor the amount of confidence he has that it will be done correctly out of his direct line of sight.
Another thing our knowledgeable person had to say was that when the last people have been to communion, those dispensing the precious blood should minister the remaining consecrated wine to each other. Yes, I agree that it is much better for the remains to be consumed standing still near the credence table, than while walking back to the credence table. No argument there. But there is an argument to say that the precious blood was ministered to the 'extraordinary ministers of holy communion' at the time the cup was entrusted to them (part 1) and that any remains are just a part 2 of that original action. The former definitely looks better, and may reinforce that we don't take but receive the Eucharist, the latter is usually a matter of practicality. For example: What if the other cup bearers were already empty and sitting down, and you are the only one left. This is not an unusual situation. Do you go seeking one of them and making a fuss to get them to minister the remainder of the precious blood to you, or to coax them to have the rest of it?
Our knowledgeable person told us off for having both a brazier of incense as well as a thurible during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction. On closer inspection the thurible was there to incense the monstrance at the beginning of exposition and then it went out in procession, only to return to incense the monstrance at benediction. It was active. The brazier was a passive presence of incense throughout the whole time, indicative that our prayers were rising the whole time. Maybe that wasn't as obvious because the Mass that day had extra solemnity and length and the time of exposition was shorter as a result.
Also getting a pasting was hymn choice. The green hymn books we have for exposition only contain a small selection of hymns, and an even smaller selection of them do we actually know how to sing. The green books are purpose designed for exposition/benediction. It was a day of major parish thanksgiving, so the sung version of the Te Deum (Holy God we praise Thy Name…) was appropriate, and more appropriate at the beginning than at the end so that more people could join in that thanksgiving. Tell me how the Church's official prayer of high thanksgiving (Te Deum) is inappropriate at Exposition/Benediction when 'Eucharist' translates as 'Thanksgiving'. Is it more or less Eucharist-y than 'Jesus, my Lord my God my all'?
'Go the Mass is ended'. Our knowledgeable person's take on this is, 'If I said go, then Go!'. Jesus said 'Go' to the ten lepers He healed, but only the one who stopped to thank Him before 'going' was the one Jesus held up as an example we should follow. The Saints tell us that lingering with Him in prayer after Mass ends is the most fruitful time of prayer, and are we to be flung straight out into the secular car park after an encounter with the Lord? It doesn't quite work, does it? Yes, I know, a lot of people have already exited before during and after the 'Go', and for reasons of various validity, but that doesn't make it the most blessed or most perfect thing to do. We all eventually 'Go', but a recessional hymn of thanksgiving sung in unity beats an instrumental solo played during a mad scramble for the exit door. I want to be one of the ones who stopped to thank Him, don't you? And to do it in unity.
End of rant.
Moral of story: Don't be hasty in making liturgical judgements. You normally don't have the full story and there are often very good counter arguments for why things have been done in a way that seems imperfect or lacking to you. Put love in first place because the essence of liturgy is love and not the liturgical correctness that brow beats a brother or sister in Christ.