Ran across an interesting article today, below is a quote:
In a recent interview, Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, notes the decline of Eucharistic faith in the Catholic Church. Apparently this was a matter of some discussion at the synod at Rome in October. The bishops are concerned that many Catholics no longer believe that Christ Jesus is really and truly present under the sacramental species.
A growing number of Catholics appear to be embracing “a more Protestant concept of the Eucharist, seeing it mainly as a symbol”. A proposed solution is to encourage parish priests to teach the Eucharist from the pulpit. I’m sure this would be a good thing, but I wonder if the decline in Eucharistic faith is not tied into the massive disenchantment of the liturgy that has occurred since Vatican II.
Surely it is much more difficult to believe the mystery of transubstantiation when the liturgy, as presently enacted in most congregations, appears to say just the opposite! Does the liturgy truly witness to the Eucharistic miracle when the banality, informality, irreverence, and sometimes just plain ugliness of the liturgical celebration tells us that this is just a communal meal with a religious intent?
Do not mistake me. I am not romanticizing pre-Vatican II liturgy, nor am I pleading for a return to the Latin Mass. But looking at American Catholic liturgy as it has developed over the past forty years, one simply has to wonder, What in the world were people thinking?!
I feel I have to agree with the author on this. Having studied my way into the Catholic Church I was enchanted by the mystery and beauty of the Catholic faith. However, I made the mistake of reading Pope Benedict’s “Spirit of the Liturgy” before I went to my first mass. When I went to my local parish I was totally let down, it felt more protestant than Catholic. But after some reseach I was able to find a parish that celebrates a Novus Ordo mass ad orientum, lots of Latin (not totally Latin), Gregorian Chants, incense, communion rail, etc. This liturgy filled me with reverent awe, seemed to lift me into heaven, and it felt truly Catholic.
Maybe I am just a 28 year-old ultra-traditional fuddy-duddy, but couldn’t a re-enchanting of the mass re-energize the faithful?