Sunday, October 07, 2007

What's wrong with the Mass...

A 16 year old Catholic from Baltimore addresses people within his own parish who scoff at the Old Rite (h/t to The Cafeteria is Closed):
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.

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
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.

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.


Anonymous said...

Yes, there was always a place to go in Victoria, and one always ended up seeing the same people, whichever reverent parish one attended. Therefore, I cannot be 100% negative of His Excellency's tenure. We should pray very hard that he gets away from that Enneagram stuff, while we're at it.

As an illustration of your entry concerning the Liturgy--I was able to attend an Ecumenical conference here in rural AB. There was an Anglican Bishop, both a Ukrainian Orthodox, a Lutheran minister, and perhaps one other Protestant denomination. A certain brother from the neighboring Archdiocese represented the RC Faith.

The talks these gentlemen gave were focused on the various religions' interpretation/understanding of the Sacraments. I am sorry to say that of all the speakers, the one that came off worst was the RC brother. His talks were shallow, laced with inappropriate humour (not in the vulgar sense, but just not suited for the occasion--and probably not helping relations w the Orthodox faith any), and also contained the various vague, banal confusing concepts that are/were all the rage. Such as the "there are more than 7 sacraments" stuff, the "we are sacraments stuff, and various other squirmy items. Why is it those in authority do not understand that the Truth has its own atractiveness, and doesn't need dressing up or down? We Catholics are so afraid to cause offense--our Protestant brethren have no such problem, and we all respect them for it!

As a friend and I commented to the good Ukrainian Catholic priest afterwards, we could've sworn we were Ukrainian Catholics, his talk was so strong, clear, and compelling.

Indeed, all the other speakers were very interesting, which made it even more embarrassing to have someone like that represent the RCs--who I *think* was in a teaching capacity at the time. He asked me what I thought, and trying not to be rude, I commented that I felt he was trying to "dumb down" the Faith too much. Among other things. It seems to be the fad nowadays, and I am soooo tired of it. Or maybe I'm just getting crankier with age:) As a footnote, 3 or 4 years after this, a fellow parishioner was enthusiastically praising a brother who was providing Marriage Prep for her daughter and future SIL. In fact she wished that this brother could have taught the RCIA for the fiance, because he was so entertaining, and the RCIA instructor was so boring! You can probably guess who the brother was.

God Bless,


Anonymous said...


What with getting up on my soapbox and all, I forgot to ask,

Will the Extraordinary Rite be offered anywhere in the Victoria diocese???? Or is there a group in the area that is trying to encourage it??? We will be coming down soon, spending the winter there, and I really don't want to give up the kids' being able to attend/serve at least once a month. I suppose we could go to the SPPX, but I really would rather NOT.

God Bless,


Anonymous said...

actually, there is indeed a 3rd option: persons young & old can canvas their respective faith community, with the aim of petitioning their parish priest or even their bishop for the liturgical celebration of the 1963 version of the Latin Rite.