- Christmas with my family in Upstate New York: It is likely as near to Currier and Ives as one can be these days. At the local Catholic church, I am reminded that Americans are nice. There’s no doubt about it. In fact, you’d better be nice with Americans. Or else they will feel uncomfortable around you. So at the Holy Eucharist, I am amazed as the number of well-dressed middle-aged couples, no doubt all very nice, confidently march to the altar and proceed to take charge of the Eucharist on the altar, all standing in a circle, all smiling. I, a priest of God, shrivel, wither, disappear in my chair against the backboard of the sanctuary. Who needs the agony of a priestly vocation, I wonder, when one need but feel good about oneself, walk confidently up an aisle, and “help yourself”?
On a personal note, my parents have expressed the desire to become Catholic, and we have been attending mass together. I have to pray each time that some liturgical abuse doesn't scare them away. Yesterday, however, they went to a Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and received communion on their knees at an altar rail. Theology aside, it's hard to compete with that.
Externals are important. The five o'clock "high mass" with its Broadway-like rendition of the Eucharistic prayers was just plain embarrassing. I guess it's high time to go whole hog and assist the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.