Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An Open Letter to Jimmy Fallon

Liturgical abuses are no excuse to leave the Church. I have seen about every abuse there is but I don't let it keep me from going to Mass. Not ever. I came of age during the height of the nuttiness, when priests would mock the teachings of the church as well as the liturgy. I have walked out of Masses when I just couldn't take it. I have lived through it all. And yet wherever I have lived I have always found a church where there was reverent and traditional worship. Is it a hard time to be a Catholic? Yes, but my ancestors lived through tougher times and persevered. Where there is a will there is a way. You have to be tough. Sometimes you have to drive hours to go to Mass. Is it fair? No. But to be a Christian is to be a martyr. From The Crescat:
Firstly, congratulations on the Tonight Show and being able to stay in New York City. I’m sure you’re relieved you won’t be returning to L.A., home of the bad liturgy experience. Hopefully that means we can expect to see you in the pews of any one of New York’s finest Catholics Churches some time soon, right? Because I’m sure you weren’t just using bad liturgy as an excuse not to go back to Church.

Excuses are “ew”.

I know from personal experience how cringe worthy terrible liturgy is, with it’s hand holding and awful tambourine music. Yes, it does not motivate one to want to return to that Church. “That” being the imperative word. That particular church with the terrible liturgy, not The Church.

That’s why I bet you’re thrilled to pieces to be staying in New York where beautiful liturgy abounds. I’m excited for you to experience again the glory and solemnity from your childhood altar serving days. From that time where your love of The Church had you considering the priesthood. (Read more.)


Jodie Wise said...

While I do agree that it shouldn't be used as an excuse to avoid attending church, I do sympathize with Jimmy Fallon's being less than thrilled with what has happened to the Mass. From the perspective of a non-Catholic, I will always wonder why the Church decided against staying true to her history and traditions. I grew up in evangelical/baptist traditions. In my early 20s, I gravitated to the complete opposite end of the spectrum and converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. It does not get more "high church" and traditional than an Orthodox Liturgy. I have a vague knowledge of the changes made during Vatican II, but have had limited experiences of the Catholic Mass outside of weddings that included it. My concept of (non-Eastern Rite) Mass was that it would be similar in tone to the Orthodox services, except with different hymnography and organ music rather than the a cappella style of the eastern church. I attend a church about 30 miles from my home with my children; my husband, though baptized Orthodox and Greek in heritage, is never the less unenthusiastic about the Orthodox Church. He finds it too exotic and ethnocentric (which is not all in all an incorrect assessment; you do have to get past those things). So, for Christmas this year, rather than dragging him to Liturgy 30 miles away in the snow, we opted to attend Mass at the local Catholic Church. I have to say that I did not correctly anticipate what it would be like. Aside from the basic structure of the service and the readings (which are identical to the Orthodox ones), it felt much more like the somewhat corny (if sincere) Protestant services I had grown up with. Tambourines, hippy-dippy music, hand-holding. The dignity I had always associated with the Catholic Church was absent. My husband liked it (as he seems to prefer non-traditional worship in general); I did not. There were three Masses that evening, and I like to think that one of the others was more traditional. My husband would like to start attending the Catholic Church regularly, switching off with the Orthodox services as a compromise (again, not because he wants to be Catholic as much as that he doesn't want to be Orthodox and knows I will not return to Protestantism, but that's another issue entirely). I don't have a problem with this in theory as the core beliefs and practices are similar(in fact, our Orthodox priest sent his sons to Catholic schools), but I do not want to attend another Mass like this. Again, it puzzles me as to why the Church seemed to sacrifice some of its beauty and dignity to cater to "modern" tastes, which was something that always bothered me about Protestant services with their rock bands, etc. That is one thing about the Orthodox church - when it comes to these sorts of things, they are steadfast in their ancient ways. It is admittedly difficult in America to find people that value that - my husband and most of my family, save my Catholic sister-in-law who attends non-traditional Mass every other week to cater to my non-denominational-leaning brother, do not understand why I wouldn't want to attend a church that's modern and "relatable". I suppose I wonder why they would want to sacrifice millennia-old Christian belief and practice for a rock band. They see "worship style" as a superficial issue, and not one crucial to being authentically Christian. I don't know. I would be curious to know how many American Catholics under age 60 prefer the traditional masses, or are even familiar enough with them to make an educated choice for or against them when deciding which to attend. I suppose I just think it's sad that they've lost some of their centuries-old heritage, sacrificed on the altar of modernity as so much is, and may not even recognize that they have.

May said...

Our ancestors definitely endured worse times in terms of physical hardship and persecution, but the level of apostasy and sacrilege on the part of professed Catholics since Vatican II is something without precedent.

elena maria vidal said...

I certainly agree with both of you. It is just that, as Katrina says in her article, there are wonderful traditional Catholic churches in NYC that Mr. Fallon could go to if he really wanted.