What appeal does the old Mass have for the young? It’s no secret that the intention of Ecclesia Dei offered in 1988 was to appease those “previously” attached to the 1962 Missal or the Latin Mass. It was thought that if this is reluctantly tolerated then opposition to the New Mass will subside. The activists would quietly go away, eventually die off and the criticisms of the deficiencies of the new Mass would be silenced.
However, it didn’t quite work out that way. Strangely, mysteriously, inexplicably even, the appeal of the Mass immediately attracted the youth. Why does the Latin Mass appeal to youth? Why isn’t it dying out? If it really is an anachronism why does it gain strength?
First I believe it is because the youth do not like to be condescended to. They want challenge, sacrifice, idealism. They want to worship God and have become awfully tired of worshipping themselves and their friends. Being your own god is the quickest path to atheism I know.
The liturgical pirates who have fashioned the “new worship took the Mass to the level of the comic book. The illustrations in the Missalette (because those Missals were so big and heavy and the print so small) do not even rise to the level of a comic book illustration.
Because if there is one overriding theme it is that everything is way too much trouble. Art. Worship. Singing. Real Music. Actually knowing prayers. Learning about the Faith. Pursuing a vocation. Serving others. Keeping the Ten Commandmants. Marriage. Family life.
The only thing the modern Catholic yearns for is a new video game. Another movie channel on their cable station. Brand name clothes. A really nice vacation.
Holiness? Piety? Sanctity? Generosity? To pursue those things is to be elitist. Triumphalist. Holier than thou. Hypocritical.
When we did away with the concept of sin, mortal and venial, sins of commission and sins of ommission a complete vacuum was not created. There is still one thing that is a terrible sin. That would be the sin of hypocrisy. Secondly to be just as rigorously condemned is the sin of being judgmental. If you persist in clinging to your antiquated views of right and wrong naturally you have become judgmental. This automatically makes you worse than the sinner who commits the sins of abortion, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, apostasy, heresy, or apathy.
Instead of saying, “Go and sin no more” what Our Lord really meant was “Go and know that I really love you no matter what.”
The Latin Mass elevates the senses, transcends the mind from the immediate, the social, the physical limitations of this earthly world and challenges the mind to confront the future with optimism, eagerness, courage in the face of daunting odds, impossible tasks, awesome challenges, and the hope of heaven. Heaven not as an automatic default, a rut that everyone falls into, a place where Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Judas are holding hands and singing Kumbaya.
Hope for heaven. Use all the weapons in the arsenal of the Faith. The Rosary, the Mass, the lives of the Saints, knowledge of the Faith, seeking the examples of like minded Catholics. Don't let the criticisms of the narrowminded, the anti-intellectual, the fearful keep you from worshipping God, reverently, mysteriously, and wholeheartedly.
Ne is the earth the lesse, or loseth ought,
For whatsoeuer from one place doth fall,
Is with the tide vnto an other brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.
The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser