Some people argue that the Traditional Latin Mass is too hard to follow because of A, B, or C.
Let’s turn that sock inside out.
It is actually, often, too hard to follow what is going on most celebrations of the Novus Ordo because there is just too much going on.
The following is from a priest who reads this blog. He sent it by email:
For the first time in my eight years as a priest, I recently attended the holy Mass not as the presider, con-celebrant or while being vested in choir. The experience was quite illuminating, for it gave me insight to the regular obstacles many lay faithful face when attending Mass. The experience, while insightful, was also painful. The occasion was the baccalaureate Mass for my youngest brother’s graduation from high school. I purposely did not vest because I did not know what was in store, and I have a poor poker face when it comes to silly liturgy.
In all honesty, my attention was not to find any and all liturgical error or abuse, for I knew silliness was in store. That being said however, I quickly became aware of how difficult it was to enter into this busy, disoriented, error filled liturgy. Although this was a special Mass, I cannot say it was all that different from a typical Sunday Mass in my diocese. To be brief, it was near impossible to wade through the obstacles in order to pray, and the reason lay in three pieces: the music, the posture, and the manners of the ministers.
Although I routinely suffer through the gems of Break’n Bread, I am, more often than not, involved in sacred prayer at the moment allowing me to tune it out. The lay faithful do not have that choice. We have taken that away from them. This is tragically sad. The music was in no way effective in drawing the faithful out of themselves in to divine contemplation. It is like a locked door with no key. It was pure, ambient noise.
The second great obstacle lay in our diocesan norm to stand after the Agnus Dei until reception of Holy Communion, (or even after in some parishes). What I observed, as I exited the pew to let my family through, was a line similar to those at the entrance of a sporting event. Everyone was standing, and or talking, shuffling bit by bit to get to where they wanted to go, only to eventually sit down in padded pew comfort. They whole event was just like every other line they are daily in complete with background music and lines that move too slow. Again, it was in no way effective in helping the faithful to move beyond themselves into divine contemplation.
In regards to the priest, deacon and extra-ordinary ministers well, their ministry came across as task driven as opposed to worship centered. I am not trying to judge their piety, but their manners seemed to reflect they were just doing a job not ministering to God.
Let us face the facts. We are celebrating the Mass like a protestant liturgy, but we are doing it much poorer than most of them would ever dare to. If this is the environment we are constantly fostering to our faithful, it no wonder they are going somewhere else, or not at all. We are not proclaiming the truths of liturgy or fostering environments that point to these truths.
I know we are in a liturgical mess; I just forgot how poor it is until this experience. I am aware once again. After this encounter I am left with a profound respect for those faithful who routinely suffer through poor liturgy for their love of Christ and his Church.
They have the right to good, solemn liturgy, and we priests are too often failing them. I am truly, deeply sad for them, and now I am ever more resolved to fulfill my duties as a sacred minister. Lord, have mercy on us.
To steal your line Reverend Father, “Reason number 54,622 for