My summary of this post or the "money quote":
bishop laments how poorly catechized our young Catholics are,
especially those who he Confirms. But what is really at work in so many
is not so much poor catechesis, be that as it may, but a truly abysmal
lack of faith formation that leads to true reverence and piety, a solid
Catholic spirituality. There is no fear of the Lord, there is no piety
and there is no reverence!
were many illiterate Catholics of yesteryear but they had a profound
love for God and fear of offending Him. They would come to Holy
Communion on bloody knees if they had to do so! The problem with younger
generations since Vatican II is they think everything is a joke! That
has to be addressed and it has to be addressed in a top down fashion
starting with the Pope to every bishop in the world and then to every priest, deacon, religious and lay person!
This is a disaster for Catholic liturgical identity, reverence and piety in the post Vatican II era and this is not what Vatican II foresaw for liturgical renewal:
On a previous post I highlighted some of the things that Jesuit Father Paul Cioffi had said about the liturgy at a priestly continuing education conference I attended about 12 years ago. While he basically agreed that the actual reform of the liturgy (not so much concerning the books of the Mass, but how the Mass is celebrated) had become a train wreck, he did state positive things about the liturgical reforms that we have experienced:
He states that the unambiguous successes of
the past forty years include the restoration of the Rite of Christian
Initiation of Adults, the reform of the lectionary and Liturgy of the Word, the
development of liturgical ministries, more frequent Holy Communion at Mass and
allowing the Chalice to be given to the laity.
Now that I celebrate both forms of our one Latin Rite, I repeat what I've written before, I love both when both are celebrated properly, with reverence (in the traditional understanding Catholic reverence) piety and actual participation both interiorly (contemplatively) and externally (vocally). Let's call it the intersection of the Martha and Mary way of worshiping.
Now before anyone states that the revised three year Sunday lectionary and the two year daily Mass lectionary are not an improvement over the one year lectionary of the EF, let me stop you and say you are just plain wrong. There isn't anything intrinsically wrong with the one year or three year lectionaries since everything in these lectionaries are the Word of God! But the expansion of the use of more of the Word of God is wonderful for Catholics who prior to the Council didn't know much about the Bible since we so infrequently read it except for what we read in the one year lectionary.
The public liturgies for the RCIA are wonderful as well.
The development of liturgical ministries are to be applauded too, especially that of lector and cantor.
More frequent worthy reception of Holy Communion of the laity and allowing the chalice to be given to them should never be denigrated. Many younger Catholics don't realize that the reason for infrequent Holy Communion had little to do with being in a state of mortal sin and more to do with scrupulosity concerning the fast which up until 1958 was from midnight to Mass which changed to three hours before Mass and then in 1966 to one hour before Mass and eventually to one hour before Holy Communion. I remember not receiving Holy Communion because I swallowed by accident some toothpaste brushing my teeth!
What needs to be improved about the Mass without changing the books one bit?
1. The art of celebrating the Mass beginning with the priest. He must keep his personality out of it and stop improvising and overpowering the Mass with his personality and comments. There should be no banal or secular bantering during the Mass. I hold up as a role model, the art of celebrating the Mass of both Popes Benedict and Francis in this regard, especially Francis, who becomes a servant of the liturgy and hides his personality altogether during it.
2. The art of celebrating the Mass of the congregation. They should show common postures, enthusiasm in responding vocally both sung and spoken parts and show signs of reverence in how they carry their body. If you have ever watched televised Mass that show the congregation face on, you'd think you entered the night of the living dead zone, so glum and sourpussed do they look and casual in stance and dress!
3. Train all the liturgical ministers properly and make sure they speak well, participate well, and are choreographed properly. The choreography and participation of the EF Mass for altar servers can easily be instituted in the OF Mass but it takes time, work and repeated rehearsals. Altar servers must be reverent, well groomed and attentive to the Mass. Otherwise they destroy that reverence and mystery.
4. Make sure good music is sung and begin with chants. I am not opposed to good hymn singing, but it should be seen as "filler" accompany the actual chants of the Mass. The Introit contained in the Roman Missal could easily be chanted at every Mass as a prelude to the processional hymn or as the chant that accompanies the priest approaching the altar to kiss and incense it as he goes to his chair.
5. Eliminate instruments associated with folk music and so-called contemporary music. Electric guitars, snare drums, tambourines simply need to go and there must be the recovery of the organ, especially the pipe organ, as the normative instrument for Mass. This does not preclude other strings, brass and percussion, but these should be for more festive celebrations in terms of progressive solemnity.
6. While I am not in principle opposed to the Mass facing the congregation, I do think that ad orientem would recover the sense of mystery and reverence that is lacking today and help keep the priest's looks, personal piety and personality out of the Mass.
7. I think kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue would greatly enhance the proper reverence and piety we should have for our Eucharistic Lord. The casual way that our children receive Holy Communion will send a message to them that will last them for the rest of their lives that Holy Communion is no big deal. It is and we need to recover the big deal it is with all our Catholics and make sure awe and reverence return to this point of the Mass as well as to every point of the Mass.
Our bishop laments how poorly catechized our young Catholics are, especially those who he Confirms. But what is really at work in so many is not so much poor catechesis, be that as it may, but a truly abysmal lack of faith formation that leads to true reverence and piety, a solid Catholic spirituality. There is no fear of the Lord, there is no piety and there is no reverence!
There were many illiterate Catholics of yesteryear but they had a profound love for God and fear of offending Him. They would come to Holy Communion on bloody knees if they had to do so! The problem with younger generations since Vatican II is they think everything is a joke! That has to be addressed and it has to be addressed in a top down fashion staring with the Pope to every bishop in the world!