Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Children's Mass

Babs started the morning off by throwing up twice, so we decided to do the mass in shifts thing today. I trotted off to the 9:30 with the "family" choir while MrsDarwin and Noogs are currently at our usual 11:30 mass. (Babs has proceeded to eat a huge breakfast and is -- so far -- keeping it down, so perhaps she was just messing with us.)

There seems to be no excuse like "family" for bad liturgy... Not that the 11:30 at our parish is high mass or anything, but there is at least a certain seriousness to it. The 9:30 features an Alleluia with hand motions (What is it with hand motions? I hated them at least as much at age six as I do now -- perhaps more so then since my teachers back in parochial school were always of the opinion it would be 'cute' for us to learn songs with hand motions.) and a setting of the Our Father which lasts into eternity with all the tinkley shallowness of new age elevator music.

I've never understood that theory of liturgy that in order to involve children in it one must assume all the least likeable stylistic elements of childrens TV programming.

This was hardly the worst case of liturgical foolishness I've seen, but one could tell from the signs of boredom and derision among a number of the teens and older children that it was nonetheless doing damage.


Julie D. said...

There seems to be no excuse like "family" for bad liturgy ... There seems to be no excuse like "family" for bad liturgy

Brother you said a mouthful!

Anonymous said...

Some of the many reasons why I avoided that mass when we lived there... bad, bad liturgy!

Bernard Brandt said...

But don't you realize, for children's songs, the "hand jive" is indispensible. Or, on that occasion a few years back when the singer, Bobby McFerrin, was explicating the children's song, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", he said: "It's not just the music, it's the choreography."

That said, I recommend a more mature faith for those as can come to it. When those addicted to the liturgical fidgit will break the addiction and see that there is a continuity between the Tridentine Mass and the Novus Ordo, such a mature faith as expressed in liturgy will be found again in the West.

Until then, may I recommend the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom? (Sorry, I'm doing my best to avoid being triumphalist. A mature Christian faith may be found in both East and West. It seems these days, alas, that it is more difficult to find just now in the West. Again, sorry)

Darwin said...

Generally I would agree with you, Bernard, that the Eastern rites represent a safe refuge from liturgical abuse, but I've always been a tad bit suspicious of the Byzantine Catholic group that I know of here in town. They don't actually have a full time parish, but a priest comes in once a month to celebrate the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom a Byzantine community that meets at a Maronite church. The trick is, from what I'm told, the organizers go to a local bible church the other three or four Sundays out of the month -- saying that they like the people there more than at any of the Catholic churches. Which has always made me wonder about the group in general...

Now if your own parish would be interested in moving out of the LAX flight path to sunny Austin, I'm all for it!

Todd said...

Well, there is "family/children's" liturgy as executed by catechists. And there is "family/children's" liturgy as executed by liturgists. To me, that's where most of the good/bad/decent delineation happens.

When I have children function as cantors, lectors, ushers, choir members, etc., I place the same general expectations on them that I place on adults.

I've never had a problem with executing bad liturgy--I just don't permit poor quality if I can help it.

Darwin said...

I think that's an important distinction, Todd. Children can and should be encouraged to participate in the liturgy. Certainly, there may be a different level of ability in a 9-year-old lector or cantor, and so it may make sense to regulate this to a "school mass" or "children's mass" but the general purpose and dignity of the office is the same.

I think the problem comes in when someone gets it into their head to use children to make an "aw shucks, how cute" display rather than treating them with respect -- as fellow children of God.