Friday, June 15, 2007

Out With the New, In With the Old?

I'm a reader of several Catholic blogs, including but not limited to Amy Welborn's Open Book. Right now a favorite topic of conversation on several different blogs is a document the Pope is expected to issue which will, allegedly, allow any priest to say the old Latin mass--the one where he faces the altar on the back wall rather than the congregation--to do so whenever he so desires, whereas now special permission has to be obtained from the bishop to do so. Personally I think that if and when such a document is issued it will cause far more discussion and activity in the blog world than in the real world. I just have a hard time believing there is a lot of unmet demand among the faithful for such a mass. In a parish such as mine that has multiple masses on the weekend, people would adjust if one mass was changed to Latin--but does my pastor, who will be the sole priest in our parish starting this summer need the extra work of preparing two homilies rather than one each weekend, since the masses have different readings? Does the pastor of a rural parish who says three different masses each Sunday in three different places use one of them for a mass that many may actively dislike?

Many of these blog writers don't want the 10 am mass to have Gregorian Chant and the 6 pm mass to be the Lifeteen mass-they want chant or other classical-type musica at all the masses. They think bringing back more of a sense of the sacred and beautiful will keep people in the Church. I have my doubts. People aren't leaving the Catholic church for the formality of the Orthodox faith in any great numbers, but they are heading down the street to the "Christian" churches with their contemporary music and informal worship services. I think that if you don't like loud guitar music, don't go to the Lifeteen mass. My son hates it, he covers his ears when forced to go (and I suspect his autism makes that loud music almost painful for him). My daughter loves it and loves to manipulate her weekend schedule so that she "has" to go then rather than to the more mainstream mass we usually attend. Some would say that it isn't about what they like--but if they don't like it there is less chance they'll go once Mom doesn't make them anymore.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:37 AM

    I would hate to see the option be open. What happens if my, already dry and difficult to attend, parish mass becomes entirely Latin? My priest says two masses in town and one 30 miles away in the next town on Sundays. He is OLD- there is no other word. The mass is fairly lifeless. I force myself to go. If it is in Latin- I would drive the extra 50 miles on Sunday and go to the next town- that has a priest (the same age) that is alive and young- singing loudly (a bit off key) and packing the church at every mass (to the point of standing and video screens in the parish hall).
    So much for saving gas- that will be a 120 mile round trip every Sunday for me. God is worth it though- to be intimate with Him is worth it.
    Rereading this post to myself- I am thinking I should just begin driving with or without the Latin mass....


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