As I often write, we are our rites.
In the new interview book with Peter Seewald, Benedict XVI was asked how the son of a Bavarian policeman became a priest. I have a measure of sympathy with Benedict’s answer. I, too, am the son of a cop and I, too, was first moved by Catholic liturgical worship.
It was in order to enter more and more into the liturgy. To recognize that that the liturgy was truly the central point and to try to comprehend it, together with the whole historical development undergirding it. . . .Because of this, then, I became generally interested in religious questions. It was the world in which I felt myself at ease.
I wonder if young Joseph Ratzinger would have had the same reaction to…
And in an ugly church?
What I first experienced the first time I walked into a Catholic Church was …
Now, as it appears after its decoration in the 1980’s.
There was never an ironing-board altar in there.
And what you hear inside …
No, wait…. that’s the High School choir!
Here is the Gloria from Haydn’s Paukenmesse, also called the “Mass in Time of War”. This is a recording from St. Agnes Church, by the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale. I am in the choir in this recording.
This is the sort of thing you hear on 30 Sundays of the Year.
Would I have entered into communion in the Catholic Church had my first experience of Catholicism been in some dreadful municipal airport with My Little Pony music and dopey preaching by Father (now Bishop) Fatty McButterpants that wouldn’t have dented my rejected Lutheran catechism? I can’t say for sure, but God brought me to St. Agnes and not to the “Engendering Togetherness Community of Welcome” and “On Eagle’s Wings.” I had been a musician for a while by the time I walked into that church, and a good one. I had Latin and Greek by then. Like I say, I don’t know for sure what a church service with “Joy Is Like The Rain” would have done for me… or “Gather Us In”, but I suspect things would have turned out differently.
We are our rites. How we pray shapes what we believe. What we believe shapes how we pray.
I wonder how many priestly vocations have been annihilated by crappy music, ugly churches, and bad preaching from feckless and dissident priests.
At St. Agnes, during the 33 years that Msgr. Schuler was pastor, there were 30 First Masses.
Not. Rocket. Science.