Protestantism tends to emphasize individualism and individualism is often used to describe the American experience.
Thus, I wonder just how horrible, how bad, how mortally sinful individualism is. In fact, I don’t believe that at all unless it causes people pain, suffering and death, such as abortion does. The abortion debate is an exercise in the worst case scenario of individualism, “my body, my choice!”
But, liturgically speaking, does it cause pain, suffering and death to the worshipping people of God?
The liturgy most associated with individualism isn’t the Mass now called “Antecedent” but the one that is called the normative Modern or novel Mass of the Latin Rite. This Mass can be used, abused and manipulated to the various tastes of individuals, of parishes, and of dioceses, not to mention nations or regions of the world, like the Amazon.
As it regards the priest, unless a liturgy committee makes the decisions, he can choose this, that or the other option based upon his individualism and individual preferences. Which ad libbing, which greeting, which form of the penitential act or replacing it with the Asperges, which Eucharistic prayer, which acclamation to the Eucharistic prayer. You get the picture.
And then the whole debacle of inculturation raises individualism to a high art. Who decides inculturation? The priest, the bishop, the congregation or the individuals at Mass?
The modern Missal promotes individualism to a high art, indeed. Is that any worse than the individualism that having two forms of the one Latin Rite has created where there are those who prefer the Mass of the Ages and those who prefer the more individualized Modern Mass what some call, “the Mass of Individualism?”
Oh, did I mention styles of music that individuals can choose for the modern Mass?
Individualism isn’t so bad as long as the choice isn’t the Mass of the Ages as an individual’s personal preference.
Here’s a good secular article on the value of individualism: