Putting Catholic Men on Ritalin
SIT DOWN & SHUT UP
The lady cantor, in her polite intercom voice, intoned the dread phrase as she an-nounced the final “song” of the Mass: “Please turn to song number 117 in your Breaking Bread hymnal. We will be using the alternate lyrics.”
Ah, yes: “Joy to the World.” Instead of “Let men their songs employ,” we have “Let us our songs employ.” The cantor had done the same with “Let There Be Peace on Earth”: from “Brothers all are we” to “We are a family.” I had to keep from laughing out loud as the voice of Barney singing those alternate lyrics resonated in my head.
This episode, and it was hardly the first, got me thinking: What exactly does the American Catholic mindset offer to its laymen?
To be blunt, it offers this: the opportunity to sit down and shut up.
Think about it. Unless your parish is unusual, the ratio skews female on Sundays and other holy days of obligation. Why is that?
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The willful suppression of the sacraments by Catholic leaders could portend the diminution of the Church in both numbers and influence.
What options does a parish that currently offers celebrations of the Mass in the extraordinary form have if it finds itself unable to continue doing so?
We need a clearer understanding of the Church’s relationship with her past and her tradition that will help guide us along the uncharted road ahead.