Yes, it’s frustrating for the Catholic intellectual to attend Masses that they feel are beneath them. But that’s the way much of life is for the intellectual. Everything feels dumbed down, including the 6th grade-level newspaper. They just have to find alternatives that match their intellect. (High TLM.) Expecting everyone else to rise up to their level is unrealistic and petty. If they are truly intellectual, they should understand that.
I certainly agree with you that the U.S. is an ignorant nation when it comes to literature and use of language, and Catholics are woefully ignorant when it comes to the Bible
I would say that most Catholics don’t even know what John 3:16 is or where to find it in the Bible without use of the Table of Contents. Do you honestly think that most Catholics, especially children, know about the passage where Jesus tells the woman that dogs shouldn’t eat the children’s food? If you do, you’re kidding yourself. Sorry.
Our saying that people are ignorant is not going to make it change, though.
And I do not believe that continuing to use archaic language and phrases which no longer are appropriate for modern culture will somehow make children and teenagers say, “Hmmm, I really need to vamp up my language comprehension and add to my vocabulary.”
As for disciplining teenagers who chuckle when they say “breast” in church–well, that isn’t going to happen, is it?
Or seeing references in hymns to incomprehensible references is not going to make most Catholics say, “Hmmm, I really need to study my Bible.” (They are more likely say, “I’ll Google that when I get home.”)
My daughter spent the summer working with Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusettes. One of her projects was working with “at risk” children. They wrote plays that were produced by the professionals. She was describing the plays to us, and although they were clever and funny and very well-plotted, the language was street vernacular, very difficult for someone like me to understand because that’s not my language.
And that’s the way it is in the U.S. in 2009. We have to reach people where they are, not use language that they don’t understand. This is not a question of “dumbing down.” It’s a question of making something clear and understandable. People’s souls are at stake here. People should not go to hell because we insist upon using thees and thous.
When Catholic missionaries travel to a foreign field to evangelize, they learn the language of the people. They don’t walk around speaking the Gospel in Latin or their own language , and expect the people to get curious and seek to learn another language to hear the Gospel. They start out by ministering to the people where they are.
Of course, as Catholics do become more knowledgeable about their faith (and the Bible), many of them probably do get interested in the history and traditions, including language, of their Church and that’s great. But that’s not where a lot of Catholics start out or are right now.