The Extraordinary Form “raises the bar”

At the National Catholic Register there is an interview with the head of Juventutem, Bertalan Kiss, about young people, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and how progressive they and it are.   He spoke with Ed Pentin in Rome during the pre-Synodal meetup with young people.

Among other things, Kiss said that for young people, the traditional Roman Rite “raises the bar”.  I was struck by that, because in essence it is what I argued HERE.

KISS: It raises the bar. I’ve asked myself what’s happening when I hear that a lot of young people are attracted to the extraordinary form. I usually get asked: “Yes, but young people are also attracted by the charismatics.” I say, well, thank God we have something that attracts young people. My experience is that it’s not just about the form, though that is important, but that it raises the bar, because when you’re not part of the mainstream, you don’t have the required infrastructure, and you have to work and have to really want it. If you really want the community to work and be alive, then you really have to work day by day to do it, so it raises the bar and this attracts young people.

PENTIN: It challenges them.

KISS: Yes, it’s a challenge, and you have to give challenges to young people. This concept of dumbing down or sugar coating everything in the hope that it will be more accessible to young people — I don’t see the fruits of that. If you raise the bar, there are only about 2 out of 10 people who will accept the challenge, but they really accept it and start working towards it. No matter what kind of community or liturgy they prefer, they really accept the challenge, then others will come. But you have to be patient. We are only planting the seeds but the growth is coming from God, so we have to patient. You shouldn’t push for anything. If it becomes a self-centered thing, it doesn’t leave space for the Holy Spirit to work.

Have a look at the whole piece over there.

¡Hagan lío!

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  1. mthel says:

    The mention of the charismatics reminded me of a story about a priest friend of mine. My priest friend is 35 and spent many years of college falling in love with the EF, but during seminary, encountered and also fell in love with the charismatic wing of the Church. When I learned of his new found love for the charismatics, I was stunned and considered his dual devotions a bit paradoxical. But when I discussed it with him, he said simply, “What the EF and the charismatic movement do is let you be yourself at Mass. In the OF, you are expected to rigidly conform for the entire Mass with little chance for personal reflection or experience with the mystery of God. In the EF, you can quietly pray and reflect, while at a charismatic Mass, if the Spirit moves you, no one is disturbed by your desire to shout your love for the Lord.” While I am still not sold on the charismatic movement, I could not agree with him more about what is missing from the OF.

  2. rhhenry says:

    Why can’t we have events that appeal both to the charismatics and to the “Traddies”? For example, why not hold a youth rally in the parish hall, with Christian rock music, and inspirational speakers, and all the felt banners you please? Then, quietly, everyone makes their way over to the church for Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The quiet in the church before Mass begins lets you know that Something Different is about to take place, and the quiet allows you to focus on what’s to come.

    For a bad analogy, think of a boxing match — there’s loud music, and light shows, and loud announcers, and all the rest as the boxers make their way to the ring. But just before the fight starts, both fighters go to their corners and get real quiet and real intense in anticipation of the main event.

  3. David says:

    I will be very interested to see what if any voice Juventutem or FOCUS missionaries will have in the upcoming Youth Synod. I would not be surprised in the least if things were manipulated so that all we hear about is similar to that teenager who recently stood in front of the Roman Pontiff and lectured him about the “oppressive patriarchal Church”.

  4. PTK_70 says:

    @rhhenry….The curious analogy notwithstanding, your insight is spot on. Do guitar strumming and Bible study and Christian karaoke and all manner of wholesome fellowship over here…..and render reverent, solemn, focused, beautiful worship over there.

  5. Mike says:

    Sometime around 1960 it began to be deemed more expedient to confuse people with novelties than to challenge them to follow Christ in the eternal Truth. The result: countless millions of souls have drifted away, a drift that is sure to increase with the innovations and confusion that have poured forth in the past five years. Thank God there are still youth who recognize the value of our patrimony and are willing to make the sacrifices needed to restore it for the salvation of souls.

  6. Is Bertalan Kiss is a son or relation of the late Dr Laszlo Kiss, requiescat in pace, who was responsible for I’d guess that the chances are pretty high but perhaps someone knows.

  7. Thorfinn says:

    It would be a mistake to cede the fellowship ground to the guitar strummers and practitioners of “Christian karaoke” and Christian rock. These things appeal to certain segments but by no means have broad appeal outside a niche.

  8. PTK_70 says:

    @Thorfinn…..Just as is the case with popular expressions of piety, I have a notion that Christian fellowship can take a variety of different forms, depending on circumstances, such as location, climate, culture, age demographic, etc. By giving the guitar strummers a venue for strumming guitars outside of Mass, two things are accomplished:

    – they have an outlet for expressing their hope and their joy as Christians and for sharing that hope and joy with others;
    – the way is now cleared to cleanse and beautify the celebration of Mass insofar as it no longer be adulterated with guitar strumming.

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