I am 16 years old, and for the past 11 months I have attended the traditional Latin Mass weekly, while still attending the Novus Ordo Mass during the week. Because of this, I decided to address certain points made by Carroll Sterne in the Sept. 6 edition of The Georgia Bulletin. Mr. Sterne speaks about the type of Mass that someone of a younger generation is drawn to, and I thought that a teenager’s point of view might be helpful.I don't think anyone could have said it better or more succinctly. I felt the same way about 'youth' Masses when I was his age: They were cheesy, irreverent, stripped of all sanctity and ultimately entirely useless to us as young people. It was as if those Masses were designed to turn people off. It wasn't until I was 19 that I actually encountered a reverent Novus Ordo Mass, and that was in Victoria, a diocese that was almost completely killed off by Bishop Remi de Roo.
Mr. Sterne in his letter gives voice to the opinion of many of today’s liturgists when he says that no one from a younger generation would be drawn to the Latin Mass (many take this even further and assume that we would not like a reverent Novus Ordo Mass either). This opinion causes many of those who plan modern liturgies to do veritable back flips in an attempt to draw teenagers and young adults in. Sometimes this works, but it has a side effect: by doing these things, liturgists show that they have absolutely no faith in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to change the lives of those in my generation.My generation knows about this lack of faith, we are able to see it every time we go to a “teen Mass” and experience priests ad-libbing prayers in an attempt to make them more relevant to us.
This lack of faith backfires; it sends us the message that we also should distrust the power of the liturgy, and it also can turn the Mass into something of a joke.
After experiencing this for months, I attended a Traditional Latin Mass and experienced something that I’d never seen before: Here was a priest who expected my life to be changed without adding anything to the Mass in an attempt to bring this change about. This priest had perfect faith in the power of the liturgy, and it showed. It was beautiful. The traditional Mass did more to change my life then any “relevant” teen Mass ever did.
Ethan Milukas, Peachtree City
Advertisers say that we cannot estimate just how low the public will go. I think that's correct, but it's not something that we as Catholics should ever be measuring or tailoring our liturgies by. There are ways to celebrate a Novus Ordo Mass with P/W music that do not detract from the ability of the laity to focus on Christ. The problem arises when liturgists, music directors and priests spurn traditionally Catholic forms of worship because they, at first glance, seem out of touch with modern sensibilities. They couldn't be more wrong.
Young Catholics basically have two choices in most parishes these days. Either you stick it out with sub-par liturgies, tepid homilies and lazy celebrations of Christ's Sacrifice, or you just stop going. There isn't a middle ground anymore. And when you stop and consider the pressures placed upon young Catholics by a very anti-Catholic society, you can plainly see with so many young men and women simply choose the latter.