Thursday, January 2, 2014

On parish shopping

I was going to leave a comment over at Mark Shea's blog but as I have been banned once again (that's the third time by my count. Perhaps a record?) I'll write about it here. In an ideal world, we'd attend our geographical parish. But it's a fallen world and sometimes parish shopping is necessary. It kept me sane and possibly saved my faith, so I don't have a lot of patience for people who urge you to stay with your "home" parish no matter what. I know the arguments: good men must stay and fight, the parish will never change for the better if people don't stick around. I've been there and done that, believe me. They're just as happy to be rid of a Traditionalist crank like me as I'm happy to no longer have to leave Sunday Mass angry and depressed every week.

People wouldn't shop for parishes if there was more uniformity in the liturgy. Catholics who are involved in the life of their dioceses will readily tell you which is the progressive parish, the reform-of-the-reform parish, the conservative parish, the Trad parish, and so on. If a Protestant friend expresses interest in becoming Catholic, I guaran-damn-tee that all of us Catholics know which parish we want them to attend and which parishes we want them to avoid. We want our Protestant friend's first experience of the Mass to be a memorable one. It usually is but not for the right reasons. Eventually, our Protestant friend will begin to wonder why he has to attend this parish but not that one. Out of curiosity, he'll attend one of those other parishes and likely be appalled at the silliness. He'll walk away wondering what this strange beast called Catholicism really is.

The Novus Ordo liturgy lends itself to the priest and his lay volunteers showing off their personalities and personal tastes. The people notice that, whether good, bad, or indifferent. Traditionalists are often criticized for their ghetto mentality. Some of them are like that to be sure; I know some who are like that. But if every parish in every diocese in the world offered a weekly TLM, then the problem would vanish. Instead of criticizing the people for how they react to a problem, perhaps it would be more constructive to solve the problem instead.

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