Tuesday, December 9, 2014
THE 88% OF CATHOLICS WHO DON'T ATTEND MASS ANY MORE: WILL THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM BRING THEM BACK?
So if every Catholic parish in the USA went exclusively to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass after a year of catechesis, what would happen with the 12% who attend in New York and the 25% who attend in Macon?
Keep in mind, no matter how low Mass attendance is, those who do attend must love what they are attending even if it is a contemporary Mass, which is casual, sloppy and folksy. If in any given diocese where the 12% who attend Mass like the casual atmosphere, the contemporary music and the praise and worship atmosphere of liturgy and architecture, what happens to that 12%, does it dwindle down more when the EF is the only Mass allowed?
Granted, we don't have the full picture why 88% of Catholics don't attend Mass. I think it basically is a loss of faith. But when they do go to a Mass that is banal, horizontal and sloppy, is it attractive? Is there reverence and any sense that those attending the Mass believe in our omnipotent God who will return to the judge the living and the dead? Do Catholics who attend Mass sometimes think that the way it is celebrated makes a joke of the Faith and thus do not and would not take it seriously?
I know for those who attend our EF Mass on occasion, who like the reverence and feel of the Mass. I think converts of yesteryear appreciated the same thing and that Catholics really seem to believe what was happening at Mass by their own personal piety and reverence and the hushed silence of our churches even when Mass was not in progress. Catholic unity and identity was clearer back in those days even to non-Catholics.
So, what to do, or what are we to do as I wring my hands in not so quiet desperation?
Celebrating the vernacular Mass with EF sensibilities will keep fewer of those already engaged in the Mass from departing and might attract those who think the modern way of celebrating Mass is a joke that produces not faith, reverence or piety and they will take a second look and revert and non Catholics will be moved to convert. Attraction that is the key!