I was talking with my husband last night after Mass. We are both converts from evangelical Protestantism. He was raised in the Assemblies of God, while I was raised General Conference Baptist.
His parents went into mourning when he started dating me because they assumed (wrongly) that all Baptists were against “speaking in tongues.” So we are accustomed to conflicts between Christians.
Now we are both Catholic. And last night, we were talking about conflicts between Catholics. Some see the new Mass as full of abuses, liberal practices, and fluffy music. Others like the new Mass and folk/rock music, welcoming the changes as “fresh air.”
We decided that some of this conflict arises from perspective.
If you grew up Catholic with the formal, traditional TLM, you will perceive the “new Mass” as an irreverent travesty and find the rock music loud and distracting, the informal “homilies” irreverent, and vernacular language ugly and not appropriate for the seriousness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
But believe it or not, if, like my husband and me, you grew up Protestant, you will perceive the “new Mass” as extremely formal. In fact, to many Protestants, even the “clown mass” would be boring and staid compared to what they are used to in their churches. And the TLM would be considered positively archaic and ritualistic.
My husband and I determined that Catholics need to practice more love and understanding toward each other when it comes to Mass preference.
Perspective. We should try to climb into the other person’s shoes and walk toward Mass the way he/she does. That way, we will understand why they think the way they think, even if we don’t agree… We won’t assume that the other person is a stuffy old antiquarian stuck in the 5th century or a clown-loving hippie who listens to too much NPR.
My husband and I have done some reading, and as far as we can interpret the writings, the Magisterium has NOT forbidden the “new Mass,” and even though chant and polyphony along with pipe organ are to be given the place of honor in Mass, the new music and instruments ARE allowed and are considered appropriate to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. All of the “day to day” of Mass is to be approved by the proper ecclesial authorities (i.e., the Bishop).
So as long as the Bishop has given the “go-ahead,” no Mass is sinful, and no one is committing sin to attend a Mass that is pleasing. We should not criticize or belittle each other for attending a Mass that is pleasing to us personally. We are Catholics–one Church, and it is by our love for each other that the world will know we are Christians.
OTOH, the Mass is not about our personal preferences, and if we cannot find a Mass that is “pleasing” to us, we should not complain or criticize what the Bishop of the Church has approved.
Does all this sound reasonable?