A 40 Year Old Mistake

While attending Holy Mass at one of our local parishes, I noticed literature
in the pews for the weekly Life Teen Mass. I must admit that the first time I even heard the term Life Teen, my suspicions were aroused. That was several years ago, and my suspicions were well founded. The intentions might be good but this approach to spark some interest or devotion in young people reveals an ignorance or lack of understanding which in the end can cause more damage than good. The lack of understanding of which I speak is a lack of appreciation or knowledge of the absolute divine beauty of traditional, authentic worship in the liturgy. What we are actually saying or implying is that young people cannot or will not be profoundly affected by the Church’s ancient, traditional and dare I say – mystical order of worship. This is a gross underestimation – a selling short – of the power of traditional Catholic worship and of these young people as well.
I unknowingly attended a Life Teen Mass approximately 12 years ago and I was horrified – sickened – by loud drums, Protestant sounding music and a very casual atmosphere. So I have witnessed first hand this silly attempt to lure teenagers to Mass. It demeans them and the Mass itself. What a shame.
If we have to lure them to Mass with these gimmicks, will their faith – built on emotion – be able to survive the temptations raging all around us? Why do we lower the bar and strip the Mass of it’s mysterious, mystical power that the Holy Spirit invests it with? Do we believe that these young people are so shallow and superficial that they won’t appreciate a liturgy that is permeated with reverence, silence and awe of the miracle happening on the altar? We give them casual, silly, PROTESTANT liturgical innovations and then we wonder why they leave the Church for the same rock n roll atmosphere a short time after the Life Teen experience ends. This actually happens – I spoke to someone the other day whose friend’s FIVE children left the Catholic Church in search of the same emotional lift they THOUGHT they recieved at Life Teen liturgies. We are not edified and made holy in our emotions – we are edified and made holy in our hearts and souls – places where emotions are oftentimes never detected.
Approximately 40 years ago, the Mass of All Time, the Mass according to the missal of 1962-was discarded in favor of the Novus Ordo – New Order of Mass. This event has resulted in the creation in the minds of millions of Catholics a Protestant mind set. We are losing our Catholic identitiy and the Novus Ordo – while valid – has contributed to this sad development in the Church. More on this next time. God Bless.