Catholic Liturgical Indifference
Religious indifference is one thing; bad enough in its own right. Liturgical indifference is another and, although maybe not as serious, it still ranks highly as an offense against the honor of God due to Him in the Sacred Liturgy. Should we not have a zealous desire to worship God in the grandest fashion possible? Should we not think it a grievous transgression against the honor of God that we do not expend every means available to provide liturgical worship that saves no expense or effort to return (in our little ways) for His majesty and bountiful mercy and plentitude? But what transpires in the liturgical “celebration”, at least locally, falls far short of what we are capable of and is a sad commentary on our liturgical and religious priorities.
The first and usually the most obvious indication of liturgical sensibilities is the music. The blatant disregard for the Church’s direction in selection and presentation of liturgical music are immediately obvious. Gregorian chant is preferred by the Church but is totally and absolutely ignored. The organ as the only instrument suitable for liturgical worship is totally ignored. For reference, Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, sets forth these guidelines. Latin, once again, is totally ignored. The mass settings, at least locally, are from collections by contemporary music publishers composed with absolutely no attention to Church guidelines which stipulate new music in conformity with chant structure. A performance mentality is predominate and, with musicians and choir located near the altar, visual distractions are unavoidable. “Presentation” songs and pre-Mass concerts abound conveying an obvious lack of the understanding of the essence of liturgy as theocentric and, once again, pushing the anthropocentric theme pervasive in the post conciliar church. Song selections are mostly pop style tunes selected from contemporary resources egregious for their lack of sound theological content and borderline heretical in what they do present. Think “The Supper of the Lord” or “At This Table” or “Sing a New Church”. Plodding melodies, no appreciable dynamics and a general lack of musicianship contribute to the mediocrity.
And the congregation, for the most part, expects nothing more. Mouthing the words to the songs, laughing at the occasional homiletic joke and visiting with their fellow pew sitters, they seem to be generally oblivious to the great mystery being reenacted before their very eyes.