Something that has become an increasingly asked question around the Catholic traps is “What is your Mass Preference?”, "What kind of Mass do you go to?" or some other varient.
I have a problem with this. It really doesn’t sit all that comfortably with me. Why? I’m not overly sure. However, I’ll try and give some kind of reason.
Firstly you are talking about MASS here. You know, Christ, transubstantiating Himself into the form of bread and wine, the most incredible and wondrous mystery that we have been given by God. So when asking what is your Mass preference it can seem a little like they are saying, “So how do YOU like YOUR Jesus?” Whether they mean to or not.
Secondly, whether it is meant or not, this kind of question seems to me to breed a kind of snobbery. A “My Mass is better then your Mass” kind of mentality. Now I have been accused myself of being a liturgical snob. In some of my most formative years I was lucky enough to have as a Parish Priest Fr William Fitzgerald, who is an incredible liturgist and who now resides in the States. Because of this kind of formation, I cringe every time I see a glass/wooden/clay/ “insert other obnoxious material here” chalice/pattern/ect. Or when women, who don’t understand their own feminine genius, get up and perform various roles and tasks of a priest. The other day I saw a women exposing the Blessed Sacrament while THE PRIEST WAS ON THE SANCTUARY Ahh!!!! It nearly killed me!
Yes liturgical abuses make me cry. But this is because the liturgy has been fomed in oder to link back to salvation history and to our faith. The Church has guidelines on it because if you do something wrong, then it can be like preaching a heresy in action rather than in words.
The snobbery I can’t stand is where if you say that you like the Novus Ordo, done well, and without a navel gazing focus, there is the danger that some will either see you as a liturgical fool who knows nothing, or as some kind of psycho-conservative who doesn’t understand the “ebb and flow of the spirit of Vatican II”.
Sheesh… I just can’t win!!!! You know what? I am not a “Traditional Catholic” but I don’t mind going to an Old Rite Mass every now and again. I am not a “Charismatic” by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been to “Charismatic Masses” which don’t abuse the liturgy. I am not a “Liberal Catholic”, I am not a “We are Church” Catholic, I am not a conservative Catholic, I am not a Feminist Catholic, or a “Neo-‘insert favourite phrase here’ Catholic”. Do you want to know what I am? I am a Catholic. That it! Just that. I have no Mass preference so long as it is in the truth, beauty, goodness and oneness of the Church.
Hmmm this is starting to sound like a rant. I might post part two of this later… hey!! At least it will mean that I have to post again! That will keep Shannon happy.