Saturday, January 07, 2012

Restless, hungry hearts in the pews

I've noticed something and been  trying to find a way to adequately describe it. A lot of ordinary people just do not seem to be happy with the Mass or their parish. They must jazz the liturgy up with insipid Protestant praise songs to make it bearable. I know of a local parish where long time parishioners got angry and left because the new priest wanted to have something other than the four hymn folk choir week after week.  That folk music and their ties to the powerful choir director was more important to them than anything else.

So many people chase after fads to liven things up; they smile at the girls and middle aged women leaping down the aisle in their liturgical dance clothes .  They think it's adorable when the priest calls all the kids up to stand around the altar during the Consecration. They get mad, on occasion glaring and cursing mad  if you don't want to hold their hands during the Our Father.

Other people choose a somewhat different route. They run to the New Movements. The Neo Cats, Cursillo, Opus Dei, Focolare, Miles Jesu, and in their prime, the Legion of Christ offered people things they could not get in their parishes : certainty, a priest who unequivocally  said yes or no, tight personal bonds, intense devotion, a mission in life and passion.  Still other people deal with the spiritual hunger by not  joining anything. They shuffle in at the very last minute, do their close to a whole hour at church and explode out of the pew as soon as Communion is over. 

 And then there are the folks who had to go to other Rites to find peace. They seek refuge in the beautiful liturgies of  the Eastern Rite parishes such as the Maronite or Byzantine. If these are not available they look wistfully  at photos and video of the Orthodox or the Anglican service.  I've read a number of comments from people who are excited about the Anglican Ordinariate because now
they will be able to go an Ordinariate Mass and leave their old parish for good.

And of course there are the people who out of curiosity walked into a TLM one day and fell in love. They go when they can or they found a parish that is completely Tridentine and have finally found pure joy.

 There are a lot of restless, hungry hearts in many pews across this nation.

* I originally forgot one large group of people. The folks who either had a crisis and left the Chruch altogether or the individuals who never had an argument with the Church they just drifted away and only come back for Ash Wenesday, Christmas, Easter, weddings and funerals because the Faith as presented in their parishes just wasn't enough to hold them. No priest or layperson ever showed them what Archbishop Sheen called :

...a virile Christ and a leader worth following in these terrible times; One Who will step into the breach of death, crushing sin, gloom and despair; a leader to Whom we can make totalitarian sacrifice without losing, but gaining freedom, and Whom we can love even unto death. We need a Christ today Who will make cords and drive the buyers and sellers from our new temples; Who will blast the unfruitful fig-trees; Who will talk of crosses and sacrifices and Whose voice will be like the voice of the raging sea. But He will not allow us to pick and choose among His words, discarding the hard ones, and accepting the ones that please our fancy. We need a Christ Who will restore moral indignation, Who will make us hate evil with a passionate intensity, and love goodness to a point where we can drink death like water.


Adrienne said...

You missed the group that just leave the Church altogether. There's way more than you my think.

P.S. Fix your title. Hungry not hunry (don't you hate it when that happens - ;-)

Dymphna said...

Darn. I can type fast but as my old teacher Sr. Lydia could tell you, my typo count is spectacular.

And you're right, I did forget about the ones who give up and leave.

Elizabeth said...

Great article, but I honestly cannot read the blue type on black, so sadly could not read the last part. (the red was tough, too)
Blessings, E

Dymphna said...

Thanks Elizabeth. I'll change it.

newguy40 said...

This seems to be the same conversation I have with my wife after every Sunday Mass.

After ~3 years in a parish that has kinds of shenanigans from the bad (non ordained laymen preaching the homily.... errrr.... reflection and a Dominican Nun sans habit reading the Gospel during a Sunday lenten Mass) to the ugly with the use of "Colors of the Wind" from Disney Pocahontas movie as the entrance and offering of the gifts and communion "hymns"), we have an EF Mass that moved within driving distance in July last.

The EF rite is so beautiful. I wish I could better express how much closer I feel to Christ. How much more in touch I am with the Church. What a grace it is to have a priest who preaches authentic Catholic teaching on the family, the magesterium, the communion of Saints and ESPECIALLY devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

I think, and I may be horribly wrong, that many pastors are under some pressure to insure that the collection plates are full and the Ordinary gets him annual $. Rather than teaching and leading, the pastors are more concerned about offending those in pews. Frankly, I think most Catholics whether or not they are ignorant of church doctrine are hungry for the God

Joe Potillor said...

Beautiful thoughts....