Friday, November 23, 2018

Millennials, Authenticity and the Latin Mass

From Crisis:
The antiquity of the Mass contrasts with the youth of the congregation. Numerous little children filling the nave provide a background noise of crying, cooing, crawling over pews, and scuffling into laps. These sounds of family life contrast with other parishes where children depart for children’s liturgies or cry rooms, or are simply absent. The adults also present a diverse group. A majority are young families and adults under 50. Although the Catholic Church has hemorrhaged men for decades, men and women are about evenly split here. Nor is it all white people. Despite being low overall percentage of the local population, a good number of Hispanics are present. Three or four black families and some Asian couples also attend. The congregation more obviously runs the gamut from rich to poor than your typical American parish. “Here,” in Joyce’s mocking but true words, “comes everybody.”

My wife and I are Millennials. Like most of my cohort, I exclusively attended the Novus Ordo in English growing up. My wife converted from Evangelical Protestantism during college. Yet we are poised to join a puzzling trend of modern American Catholicism: the small but growing set of Millennials finding a home in the Mass of Trent.

This confuses our bishops and elders. Catholicism, they say, should make itself more understandable to the modern world. Father Thomas Reese once likened the Mass to new software versions in need of occasional upgrades—like DOS, the Extraordinary Form should be made obsolete. Some think Millennials are revolting against their Baby Boomer parents. Others see Millennials attracted to the mystery of the older form, seeing it as something new and different from their childhood. Many think Millennials have a false nostalgia for a Catholicism that never existed before Vatican II. Still others think this attraction stems from a desire for comfort, secure, belief, and ease to avoid the messiness of modernity. (Read more.)

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