Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | November 25, 2008

the cult of accessibility

In American society and for the most part the world as well. We have everything we need as matters of convenience

  • fast food
  • quick auto repair
  • quick classes
  • quick conversations
  • quick bill pay
  • and the list goes on

These things I say are something I’d like to call the cult of accessibility. That things should be accessed quickly and easily. This isn’t something that’s intrinsically evil of course, but this culture has crept into the most important aspect of our Catholic lives; Mass.

This is the idea of Mass must be “under an hour” or even that the Mass is “to reflect the interests of the people” This discussion was going on at the NLM comment box, and I thought I’d take up into more detail on my own blog here.

1. Mass must be under an hour

Usually the following reasons are given for such purposes.

a. Kids can’t pay attention for more than 10 min.
b. I need to go to work
c. Mass is all about me.

Let’s break these down one by one.

a. Kids can’t pay attention for more than 10 min.

As a constant theme at this blog is the lack of catechesis that is actually going on within the function of today’s society in the Church. I’ve mentioned that it’s gotten to be too much about self, and not enough about God and His Church. If people actually took the time to catechize, explain what’s going on at Mass, and teach the children HOW to behave at Mass this wouldn’t be a problem. Our Eastern Catholic brethren have Masses that Last 2 almost 3 hours at times and you hear no one complaining about it. Reason? They actually teach the kids how to behave. There’s no need for “entertainment” with them, that is to say no toys are brought, etc (not talking about newborns here)…Now I’m not for having Mass be 8 hours like some of our protestant brethren, but we MUST NOT get into this personality of things must be done quickly for Mass. It is the adoration of Almighty God that we are involved with, the Sacrifice made anamnesis for us at Mass, if anything Mass is supposed to bring us outside of time. (God is outside of time). In otherwords, teach them to appreciate Mass, and it shall be appreciate it.

b. I must go to work

Now of course we must work and our Sunday (and Holy Day) obligation is to hear Mass at least. My solution to this is simple: Go earlier, or go a little bit later in the day. It’s a bit on the disrespectful end (that’s an understatement) to leave right after Communion, PERIOD! It’s like being those thickheaded Apostles’ that slept in the Garden, or ditched Him at Calvary. (though technically they didn’t ditch because at the Last Supper, Calvary was made ananmnesis to them, so they participated in a different manner, but that’s another blog entry), but either way you get the point. We should want to stay through the entire Sacrifice and receive the blessing from the priest (acting in persona Christi) before going anywhere. Now there are some fields where this is not possible and that’s understandable, but I’m talking the majority of situations where this doesn’t occur.

c. Mass is all about me

Well, news for you, it’s not :). Are you the Son of God? I don’t think so.

2. Mass must reflect the interests of the people

As all of you should know, Liturgia is the greek word that means public work, but not in the sense that it’s by the public. It was an offering on behalf of the public by a priest. Also something I’ve spoken about on this blog is division through culture. Some of you have been to these “multi-cultural” Masses, where you end up celebrating what divides you instead of what actually brings you together. I’ve talked much about this in how in order to be truly inclusive you must have something that transcends culture. Mary and Joe Catholic don’t know much about Liturgy, so why in the world are they planning it? I’m sorry, if you’re going to assist at something, you better know what in the world you’re talking about. We don’t need glass pitchers, cool-aid, sugar cookies being used for the Eucharist (thank goodness it’s invalid). What Mass SHOULD reflect is the mysteries of Calvary being made ananmesis. The Pagans were often converted by watching the Mass being offered. The beauty, transcendence, what we believed was made present to them…The quicker we get to “say the black, do the red” as Fr. Z says, the better off we’ll be.

And while I’m on the subject.

Low Masses were NOT intended to be said publicly. The sung Mass in the West was always the Missa Normativa. Yes, I’m of the opinion that Low Masses should be abolished. But I do agree that solemnity need not be applied to everything. Our Eastern Catholic brethren have it right, Daily Masses last an hour, but they are still sung – the solemnity. The Low Mass was a modern invention, and one of the reasons Vatican II was called was because far too many Low Masses were being said on Sundays and Holy Days (which is when sung Masses should be done). So, let’s get more sung Masses being offered.

The point being…Focus on God, not upon yourself, and you will not notice the time that’s going on.

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