I’ve been looking forward to the new English translation of Mass for, oh, about forty years now. Really it isn’t quite that bad, but I have been waiting. Since coming back to the Catholic Church after thirteen years of wandering the Protestant wilderness, I’ve seen a range of good and bad Masses. Not having anything to compare the Standard Sunday Mass to until I attended a traditional Latin Mass at Holy Rosary in Indianapolis after the turn of the millennium, I had a vague sense that something was wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Let me first say, in the spirit of fairness that my initial misgivings were more focused on the fact that these Masses were seeking to be more Protestant in style. This is an undisputed fact at this point in history. The funny thing is that Catholics suck at being Protestants. If you want to hear real Protestant worship, put your ear up against the wall of a Protestant Church on Sunday morning. After Mass, of course. If you survive the exodus from the parking lot.
Anyway. Once I knew what Mass was supposed to look and feel like, very few Novus Ordo Masses since have measured up. Every liturgical abuse and poor music choice grates on my nerves. From the fake hand shakers beaming at you and refusing to let you pass until you shake their hand (obligatory welcomeness) to the last squeaky strains of the scattering hymn, over half of the Mass is a fabrication nobody ever asked for or envisioned prior to the hippie heydays.
And I’ve been to a lot of solidly good non-Novus Ordo liturgies. Lets see, Holy Rosary TLM in Indianapolis on many occasions. Several Maronite Divine Liturgies. Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio. Simple weekday ad orientem Masses at Western Illinois University’s Newman Center. I’ve gotten around the past several years.
So. I really have been looking forward to the new translation coming into force at the end of the month. Then I learned that my parish has chosen a new Mass setting from OCP’s “ex-priest living with a dude in San Francisco” Dan Schutte. It is as bad as anything he has ever written. It is hokey. It is 4/4 bubble gum pop stupidity “and on earth, peace on earth, peace to people of good will.”
Why do we have to sing in refrains? Why can’t we just chant the whole thing? If we’re going this direction, why don’t we just strike up the Wurlitzer, join in a round of “I will celebrate” and do a Conga line around the outside walls of the Church waving facial tissues in the air like pom-poms like the Charismatics?
Why can’t we just be Catholics?
If I hear one more Mass setting from Schutte, or Hagen, or Haas, or Landry I may run out the back door screaming, holding my ears so the blood doesn’t trickle out.