As one who recalls the decline in reverence at Mass immediately following the implementation of the 1970's Roman Missal and the experimentation allowed by the pope and bishops at the time, I am an eyewitness to the post-Vatican II demise of Catholicism and the Mass as the source and summit of our Catholic identity.
Kneeling for communion was deemed archaic. Hushed silence before and after Mass was discouraged. Folk choirs moved into the sanctuary, undisciplined as they were. Lay people, often unqualified and untrained were asked to be lectors and Communion Ministers. Dress became lax and casual.
I went to a Jesuit's first Mass in 1978 and he used crusty French Bread for the Eucharist, which he broke off for each communicant. the crusty parts and the soft parts were all over the floor's red carpet. I was a liberal seminarian and snickered after Mass when the rigid pious types were kneeling on the floor trying to get each particle.
And today, we wonder why so few Catholics actually believe in the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion and that this might be the reason why they no longer attend, join non-denominationals or simply become nones.
And we older Catholics, 60 and upward when exposed to the reverence of the EF Mass think it is old and outdated. We prefer the casualness and comprehensibility of the OF Mass because its like a friendly Last Supper or meal, a happy Meal. We are put out with the EF Mass because it isn't the new and improved Mass of Vatican II and we hate EF sensibilities applied to the OF Mass like kneeling and ad orientem. The 1960's crowed until about 2007 did a great job at denigrating the old Mass and its ethos, ecclesiology and reverence in order the marginalize that Mass and corrupt the faithful with the so-called "new and improved" Mass of Vatican II.
This is what Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture has to say:
Something is terribly, terribly wrong — and has been wrong for years, because the mass exodus (no pun intended) began several decades ago. It should come as no surprise that, in an institution that lost its zeal for evangelization — its enthusiasm for its central mission — other signs of corruption would eventually appear.
Where should we look for a solution to this problem, a remedy for anemic faith? Let’s look to the “source and summit of the Christian life,” the Eucharist. When we think of life in the Catholic Church, we generally think first of Sunday Mass — and so do any non-Catholics and lapsed Catholics who are watching for signs of life. Every believing Catholic recognizes the Eucharistic liturgy as the source of his spiritual life. But do we think of the Sunday Mass in our parish as the summit of our spirituality? Is this the best we can do? Really?
To be sure, the liturgy can never be beautiful enough, never reverent enough, to convey the full meaning of the Eucharist. But are we trying? Or have we slipped into a lackadaisical routine, accepting a liturgical approach that does not even attempt to convey the transcendent glory of the Mass?
Read the whole thing there.