"Yes, Virginia, this is the Ordinary Form of the Roman Missal at St. Joseph Church in the Year of our Lord, 2012!"
Sometimes, Catholics, meaning clergy and laity, think we must bend over backwards to keep our young and not so young in the parish, when in fact, free will means we have to let them make their decisions for or against Christ and His Church when they come of age which also means that they have to accept the consequences, good or bad, for the decisions they make out of free will. Do they want salvation or damnation, grace or evil?
Ultimately, the priest can only remind parents of their grave responsibility to live up to the promises they made at the baptism of their child to rear them in the practice of the Faith. That means, the practice of the Faith as Holy Mother Church understands that and makes it explicit. The minimal requirement is to follow the precepts of the Church, the most important to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, and to follow the 10 commandments and support the Church. It really is quite simple isn't it?
Yet, when parents fail to come to Church and see to it that their children are properly formed in the practice of the faith and teach them that a sense of obligation and duty is required with our holy Faith when feelings and emotions dissipate, what do the authorities of the Church do? Well, sometimes we flagellate ourselves thinking if we were more modern and hip we'd have all the Catholics in the pews every Sunday. Then we start sinking to the lowest common denominator liturgically and otherwise and forsake our Catholic patrimony and identity as it concerns the faith, morals and discipline of the Church, not to mention our Catholic spirituality, liturgical sensibilities and grand tradition of solid sacred chant and Catholic singing, to keep everyone in the Church.
Is a smaller but purer Catholic Church something we should intentionally cultivate? Should we have a very high standard of practice for our Catholic faith and corporate identity,not to mention personal morality and spirituality, or do we water our Catholic Faith down and accept the most outrageous of faux spirituality thrust upon the Mass and parish life, not to mention immorality and immodesty?
I read somewhere recently, but cannot find the source now, that a South American town that had been nominally Catholic had a great number of converts to Evangelical Protestantism and in being converted to this denomination, the town's people had become more modest in dress and behavior. What does that say about how they were or were not living their Catholic faith which has a strong sense of modesty too? But how many in modern Catholicism hear homilies or teachings on modesty and immorality and the difference between salvation and damnation and that the latter two are what awaits every soul?
Most priests today would not touch these topics with a ten foot pole! Why? What are we afraid of? We're afraid of pushing the immodest out of the Church, that's what we are afraid of and also of being accused of sending them packing, that it is our fault that we didn't bend over backwards to keep them in by offering tacit approval of the most outrageous of behavior and fierce individualism.
But shouldn't we have high standards or not for Catholics and high expectations and simply say, Catholics don't do this, that or the other and when they do they are on the wide road that leads to eternal damnation?
At St. Joseph Church we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council as well as the Year of Faith, by making our 12:10 PM Sunday Mass more traditional in appearance, which simply means that the Liturgy of the Eucharist will be celebrated ad orientem but everything else about the Introductory Rite, the Liturgy of the Word and the Concluding Rite will remain as is currently as well as the current style of singing, music and English, except that on the third Sunday of the month, our men's schola will chant the Latin parts of the Mass including the Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons. But the congregation will be expected to join in singing the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.
We're doing this not to bring in the young or keep the old or to revolutionize the parish. We're doing it out of fidelity to the principle of the hermeneutic of continuity that Pope Benedict has been espousing and using the legitimate options for the Liturgy that the revised English Roman Missal of 2003 allows. It is simple as that. If that creates an appreciation for continuity and that Vatican II never intended to turn the apple cart upside down but simply desired the very robust Church of the late 1950's and early 60's to become even more robust, then so be it.