I recently came back to the Church after a long absence; say around 15-17 years?
I am truly shocked about some of the things I have seen change in the liturgy even in the relatively short time I have been gone. I’m sure these topics have been discussed here before but some things really concern me.
1: Communion on the hand. This used to be a rarity, now it is almost universal. When, and why, did this become common practice?
2: Tabernacle: When did it become a footnote to the mass? Placed far off to the side, away from the priest. Was there something horribly problematic about keeping it behind the alter? I mean many Churches actually had to go out of their way to make the conscious decision to MOVE it at one point, I’m not just talking about new construction Churches.
3: Eucharistic ministers: Is there some obligation that every church have 4-6 of these? Churches that I went to years ago that perhaps had the priest and a deacon handing out Communion now have Eucharistic ministers seemingly everywhere. I’m not talking about very large churches either. The other thing that bothers me is they are almost always women.
4: “Rock 'n Roll” type hymns: There is a Church near a place I frequently travel to that I have attended two Masses at, a 5pm and 12pm Sunday Mass. The “music” was very, should I say, modernistic? I can’t think of a good way to describe it, but I will sum it up by saying I do not see why a Church (band?) needs a drummer. When people start clapping during the mass I have to draw the line. I could possibly tolerate such music during the processional and recessional hymns, but not singing the Gloria, responsorial psalm, and even parts of the Eucharistic liturgy. It really breaks with the cadence of the mass and I find it tremendously distracting. I suppose they are trying to interest “younger” members but I’m only 32, and there was a younger couple (25?) behind me for the one mass and I heard them mentioning they would never return to that mass, at one point he even snickered at how silly it was. Yes, there was a projector displaying the lyrics, as well as the psalm, and most of the prayers. If the Liturgy cannot stand on its own for a parishioner I don’t think any amount of “modern” music will attract them to Church. Most people in the church appeared to be tolerating it, at best.
The biggest shame is the Pastor has a wonderful understanding of Scripture and the blessing of being a wonderful speaker. He can really convey the Scripture in a clear and engaging manor.
Sorry I know this is a lot and I am, by far, not a Saint in my life. But I have long been opposed to the changes in the Church and after being gone for a while and seeing how dominant they are it is disconcerting.