But what if some of these trappings do lift people’s minds and hearts to God? I myself prefer a pretty traditional set for mass, but what if every once in a while we got out a projector to play more contemporary hymns, and had mass where the people were? A small example of this, to me, was the video circulating a couple years ago where a Franciscan goes to the middle of a square, opens a bag and puts on a stole, pulls out a monstrance, and they have adoration and benediction right there in the square. Sometimes, we have to go to people where they are: it’s called inculturation and it’s the reason the Catholic Church can call itself truly Catholic.
I understand the knee-jerk reaction that this is irreverent or somehow degrades the Eucharistic sacrifice. But does it? The incense and chants and organ music offer an atmosphere of reverence; but in other cultures, so do drums and native hymns, dancing in the Church, or open air buildings with animals routinely present. Perhaps one of our considerations today is to look at the culture and say “we will not change everything to appease you, but let us help you to worship, let us take what is good, true, beautiful, and holy in the culture and put it to the service of God and his Church.” Maybe then we will have both reverence and couches.