Thursday, February 1, 2018

Catholics Prefer Ritual

The other Sunday, we had a guest priest who removed all the male pronouns from the Mass, as if acknowledging Jesus Christ as true God and True Man might be offensive to someone. I know that the Sacramentary offers lots of options, but neutering Jesus is too much creative license, I think. It made me wonder if it was even a valid Mass. From The Catholic Herald:
The summary of the Ligas’s and McCallion’s research boils down to the idea that Catholics are more apt to verbally participate in parts of the Mass that are more ritualized, such as the Our Father. The response to the general intercession had the highest rate of response and participation, while more “changeable” parts of the Mass, such as the hymns, psalms, or the pastor asking the congregation to greet one another, tended to have low rates of participation.

“From our initial responses, we found that ritual comes to form again,” McCallion said. “If people are not singing the same songs, people are less likely to sing. That’s our hypothesis that bore out in the data. Some hymns, some other parts of Mass that are constant, we found a greater rate of response.”

Ligas and McCallion did make other observations at the Masses, from how many times people check their cellphones, to what they wear at Mass, but limited their analysis to participation in singing. “We might have had a feeling the Lord’s Prayer was going to be No. 1 as far as the congregation participating,” Ligas said. “But we were shocked with just how poor the responsorial song is.” The initial analysis implies that when pastors and music directors change the pattern of the liturgy in an effort the make the Mass more accessible, it tends to have the opposite effect. (Read more.)

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