The Catholic Generation Gap

This wonderfully insightful video explains why young people are often drawn to richer forms of liturgical expression.

19 Replies to “The Catholic Generation Gap”

  1. Last month I attended a retreat for young Catholic adults which used the older forms (Mass, Vespers, Compline) as I was part of the Gregorian chant schola. Since I am superannuated enough to remember the Old Mass as being normative, it was interesting to talk to them about why they were drawn to the Usus Antiquior which in many cases their parents rejected (it's two generations now since the liturgical revolution). I had to point out that when I was their age young Catholic groups sat on beanbags and strummed guitars so I was never inclined to be associated with them.

  2. Even Bugnini predicted the Novus Ordo would last only 40 yrs or so….For those of us who grew up with the Tridentine Mass, it is truly a disapointment, the reverence, THE SILENCE, the SACREDNESS, is not there.

    Young Catholics are attending Mass in the E.F. because they are searching, and find it in the Mass in the E.F.
    I am a true believer that the N.O. is NOT what Blessed John XXIII had in mind when he called the council…..Latin was banished and we were made to believe we were heretics if we even mentioned Latin in the Liturgy or used a Latin Hymn…….

    Praise GOD FOR BENEDICT XVI…..he started the reform of the reform, but did so slowly…..and with suggestions, vs. the RUPTURE after the N.O. was sent in place.

    I have been a Catholic all my life….the Sunday Mass are More than one can bare….all the noise, talking before and after Mass…..all the secular "CHURCH"Music… just a bit much…….

    If we had the Society of FSSP in our area I would be there weekly if not sometimes daily……

    The reform must move forward…..I pray it does, as with Benedict no longer Pope….who knows what will happen……I do not question the validity of the N.O. just wish that a deep revision of it would take place as Pope Benedict often spoke of……

    Keep Praying and God Bless the FSSP and the Society of Christ the King…(hope I got there name correct)

  3. This is a good point and I am glad someone is talking about it. That generation of clerics who came of age in the 1960's are now in their 70's (and 80's). Pope Francis is one of these. They had a very different history which they were reacting against than today's young Catholics. Beginning with the generation born right after Vatican II, things start to change. Catholics who are now in their 40's and 50's, IF they didn't lapse, apostasize, or go charismatic, tend to be more open to tradition – because it was not "baggage" that they grew up with. Bishops Boyea, Sample, Connelly are examples of this generation. Catholic priests in their 30's and even more so in their 20's tend to be even more traditional. They often grew up with tradition (i.e. the Indult Mass), but in a positive way. When these two generations increasingly enter the episcopate (and even become papabile) in the coming decades, I am convinced that things will change for the better.

  4. Remember "The Graduate", where the Dustin Hoffman character Ben's dismaying introduction to adult life is the advice to get involved with "plastics"? Fr. Kramer's youth was one in which institutions were more respected and regarded as trustworthy. That has not been the experience of the last two generations, who are somewhat embittered and disappointed by authority and institutions which, in their view, have let them down, not least by failing to be true to themselves. The reaction, now 40 years in evidence, is a rejection of artifice and a search for what's original, authentic, organic, and un-tampered-with. Every person standing in supermarket lines today paying premium prices for "organic" food on some level can be approached with the idea that liturgy made by hand and lovingly aged by master craftsmen is better than liturgical velveeta crammed with alien substances and mass produced for debauched appetites jaded from fakery and abuse. In short, the hippies-and-granola people had a point.

    What're the youngsters looking for? Authenticity.

  5. I could pull a decade out of a hat better than the 1960s. I lived through the liturgical wars and it was the adults then that clearly were at fault. Sake for the sake of change. Replacing quality with the ersatz. I lived in a parish imbued with the spirit of the liturgical movement where the Missa Cantata was the normative Mass. Unfortunately, Father Destructo came and took over, and as they say, the rest is history. I am so gratified to see the young today gravitating towards tradition, or authenticity as one commentator put it.

  6. TJM

    Pretty Much described it as it happened….what a disaster……Yes our Beautiful High Masses were replaced with Hootanay music,…..todays music has calmed down a bit, but most of OCP's Music leaves a lot to be desired…..
    i.e. "Rain Down", Lord of the dance…."

  7. lol

    "… why young people are often drawn to richer forms of liturgical expression."

    Like it was for our elders when they were kids? Seems like a justification in search of evidence.


  8. This morning I came across the following from Dr Joseph Shaw, as part of a commentary on statistics relating to the Church in England and Wales over the last hundred years:

    "Reformers and dissidents were aware of the damage they were doing, to the perception of the Church's continuity and universality, and to the devotions of the older generation, but they were convinced a new wave of younger people would be attracted by a less hide-bound Church.
    Sadly, the new wave never arrived.
    The numbers just carried on going down."

  9. Part I – The 'wreck-ovation" imposed on the liturgy of The Mass in the 1960's/1970's was the ideology zeitgeist. As such, it contains the seed of its own decay, which we have witnessed unfold in our lifetime, not only in liturgical abuse, but also in politicization of the faith, and the use of the Mass as propaganda.

    I believe that one of the misunderstandings that "contemporary-ism" holds about human nature is that young people by their nature are searching for something new, and that "progress" is the fruit of this youthful engine.

    The question logically arises – if the changes imposed 50 years ago came from this ideology, then the time has come for abandoning those changes and confecting the next "new form," because change is the metric of "progress."

  10. Part II – The great schism of "contemporary-ism" is now unfolding in the US Church establishment. A new form of "Catholicism" has raised its head, bred by such "Catholics" such as Melinda Gates – it is the "Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative." That's right – you heard it – "Catholic Identity." A new identity for "today's" Catholic children – confected by the so-called "National Catholic Education Association." It's God is "Gaia" – as you can see when you go to the web site of the so-called "sisters" listed as sponsors.

  11. Robert, it is the method of CMAA and many of its followers to react so strongly.

    I just pointed out the fallacy of the suggestion that all young people of the current generation somehow have developed a sense of richness in liturgical expression. Clearly, the young people who attend TLM High Mass regularly do have a heightened sense of richness and a fondness for the music and ritual. Just as they did in the 60's and 70's.

    The point is not that TLM's favorite young people have a superior taste in music. The question is broadly evangelical. What appeals to the lost children as well as the faithful few who pout on the front porch when the fatted calf is feasted upon.


  12. Another Sunday and another Novus Ordo Mass…..Music contemporary…..Hard to accept even after 45 yrs…..
    THANK YOU GOD for us having Mass and are able to attend without persecution …..BUT PLEASE GOD…..CONTINUE WITH THE REFORM OF THE REFORM…..AND SEND US A PRIEST TO SAY A LATIN HIGH MASS

  13. You're most welcome. It is a pleasure to report on these many positive developments.

    There used to be a rallying cry, "Read the signs of the times!" Well, the signs of the times are the kinds of trends expressed in the video. Are we reading?

  14. and Todd and the Prayer Sniff crowd are sooooooooooo tolerant of others' views. LOL to borrow a phrase from Todd

  15. The novus order can be celebrated with dignity and sacredness; it can be celebrated in Latin and with full Gregorian propers and ordinary, as the Mass for which my choir sings. It is essential that this form be celebrated, so that the potential for a sacred celebration of the novus ordo be experienced.

  16. Reading the comments here, can you imagine what it is like tolive in a country and a Culture where the mere understanding of the vocabulay CHOIR IS NON EXISTENT. In the mind of parishioners as well as among clergy. Most churches-and I am talking of rather big Towns and cities- don´t even have a piano, an organ in a Church is sth of a sensation. And in a parish of 2.000-3.000 not ONE single person can play the piano or any other instrument. Oh yes, with one exception; I am of course talking about the guitar, made holy in some countries, at Mass.

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