I've been reading a lot on here about how people from the States are concerned about perceived liturgical abuses in their parishes, such the use of Extraordinary Ministers on a permanent basis, the conferring of blessings in the communion line, etc. What I'm curious about is whether this is particularly an American thing.
Not being Catholic, but being one who is attending masses off and on and considering enrolling in RCIA, I obviously don't have the breadth of experience as those who have been Catholic for many years. So feel free to take my observations with a grain of salt.
The reason for my asking about whether the many perceived liturgical abuses enumerated on these forums are specifically American stems from my anecdotal observations from having attended masses in both the US and Canada. I've attended several Catholic churches in both countries, both "low" masses, traditional extraordinary masses, and high, albeit modern, English, masses. Here are some of the striking differences I found in parishes in the Canada compared to the US, the exception being an extraordinary form mass I attended at a small monastery in a rural area:
*]In Canada, even in large churches that are the 'mother ship' for the Archdiocese, there are no EMHCs and everyone goes up to the front. Smaller suburban parishes in the States seem to have EMHCs even though there are fewer people in attendance
*]There are altar rails in the Canadian churches I've attended
*]The priests in the Canadian churches I've attended make it very clear, right before giving communion, that only Catholics who are properly prepared and disposed may receive it, and that everyone else should remain seated. In the American ones, people go up for the 'communion blessing' that people often row about on here
*]Even though the Canadian churches I attended were in a large metropolitan city and the American churches I attended were in the suburbs, parishioners in the Canadian churches seemed more properly dressed (no shorts or flip flops, no tank tops or t-shirts, but no suits and ties either). I'd have expected a more secular, multicultural city to be the opposite of a suburb in the US
Are the differences I've experienced due to the prevalence of "Americanism" that the Pope cautioned against back in the day, or is it merely the difference in how local parishes are run? Does anyone on here have a better explanation besides the fact that we're dealing with two separate countries? Why would an apparently 'heathen' city, with 'Gay Pride' parades, open use of drugs, etc., have what appear to be more traditional parishes than places in the States that don't even have a Starbucks and have more Churches per square kilometre than trees?