Where in the name of God and all that is holy did the once powerful Catholic sense of reverence and awe and mystery when it came to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass go?
I just learned that a number of our parishioners who are seniors graduating from our Catholic High School while attending their Baccalaureate Mass with our Bishop, were acting up throughout the Mass (sitting on front rows) and creating such a distraction that it was noticeable to some of the con-celebrants and to our deacon who coordinated the Mass. I was completely oblivious and did not see it, but it occurred throughout the Mass and while the bishop was preaching. These are Catholic kids, who have gone through Catholic school all their lives.
What could be the cause of the less serious offense, although a mortal sin nonetheless, of complete disrespect for the bishop who celebrated the Mass and the more serious mortal sin of sacrilege during Mass, irreverence for Christ in the bishop and in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? One of the seniors in cap and gown was seen popping something in his mouth to eat as the Mass was in progress.
I am flabbergasted at this whole scenario and praise God that His grace prevented me from seeing it. These kids are seniors, in their cap and gown, with family and friends present and in the solemn place of the Church and during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and completely disinterested in what is happening and even more disinterested in showing common decency and respect for others, bishop or not, priest or not, not to mention Almighty God.
These are what I think are the reasons for such contempt from young people who should know better:
1. They are extremely immature for their age and completely self-absorbed and care little about the money their parents have spent to send them to a fine Catholic High School and the time and effort that the school put into their education
2. They have a completely casual approach to God and I can't help but think it revolves around the manner in which the post-Vatican II Mass is celebrated, which is more horizontal than vertical in its ethos and thus tends to diminish reverence (just my most humble opinion).
3. Coupled with this is the casual handling of sacred things such as receiving Holy Communion in the hand , on the run and popping the Sacred Host into one's mouth with little or no contemplation or acknowledgement of the sacredness of this event. It boils down to a loss of Catholic faith, Catholic spirituality and Catholic devotion and the sense of unworthiness we should have before the awesome presence of God. I wonder how these kids will act at their personal judgement before the throne of God? As disinterested as they were during Mass?
4. The emphasis on the Mass as a Sacred Meal, which it is, to the diminished awareness of the sacrificial nature of this somber Sacred Meal much of which is created by the enclosed circle of Mass facing the people. Do we realize that the Mass is the memorial of Good Friday and the suffering and pain our sins inflicted upon our Lord's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity as he was judged, scourged, crown of thrones placed on His Holy Head, nailed to a cross, left to hang in agony and then died? Does this mean nothing to Catholics anymore? Are we numb to what happened to our Lord during His Sacred Passion which the Mass makes present and which our personal sins, offenses and sacrileges caused our Savior to suffer so cruelly?
These are just my humble thoughts and opinions and I could certainly be wrong but what happened at this Mass (which again I did not notice because I wasn't looking at the congregation, but others are livid about who did see it) must have to do with something that is broken in the Church and our revised Mass and our spirituality and devotional life that needs desperately to be fixed. My solution is ad orientem, kneeling for Holy Communion and music that directs us to God, especially the propers of the Mass and even Latin!