High Mass

The only constants in life are death and taxes. Or so it’s been said.

However, one could also say the only constant in life is change. And it’s that constant change that can get very wearying – especially when it affects things that are best left unchanged (like one’s faith and traditions). In my opinion (and yes, I’ll agree that opinions are like bung holes: everybody has one and they all stink), there are some things that just should not change. Just like the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

There are some things we just don’t have control over that will always, and inevitably, changed. For instance, some years ago, I used to have “Pecs” … now I have Moobs (man-boobs). Some years ago, I used to have a six-pack … now I have a whole keg. Those are physical evolutions which are part of that dichotomy we call life – a constant of change. We grow up, we grow old; and no one has ever changed that fact.

But with so much change going on in life, it’s always nice to have certain things that remain without change. There’s a comfort to what is so well known, to habbit, to tradition. These are the things that don’t (and shouldn’t) change, because they are the refuge we need in a complicated and hectic world; the pause, where we catch our breath again, be it mental, spiritual, emotional, or (quite literally) physical.

For me, one area of Unchange was faith and traidition. It was something, as a child, in which I felt a sense of comfort – even if I didn’t know what it was. Even though the church wasn’t broken, people felt a need to change it so that it mirrored the world. “The church needs to move into the modern world,” is the battle-cry I often hear from modernists, but never a good reason why the church’s traditions need to do so.

I quite agree that the church’s thinking should change and grow with the new understandings and epiphanies she receives through the years – and she does change, though at a slow rate – but I could never see a reason why the traditional worship needed to change to a modern form. No longer is God worshipped in the best we have to offer; instead we tell Him He has to be happy with what we want to eek out to Him. Once-flowing movements of clergy and servers at a Solemn High Mass instead became halting and awkward sing-alongs without form or reason.

Though there was never anything “broken” about liturgical traditions – those same traditions that, to see them, were like watching poetry in motion – the modernists set out to “fix” them and change them. And as that happened, and time continued to trudge on with my body growing older (… to the age of 29, that is…), and things beginning to sag that never sagged before, or jiggle that never jiggled before, the one thing that people were able to go to for that breath they needed was slowly being taken away. It was replaced with some tragic form of constant changing disharmony under the guise of “worship.”

If only there was a way to bring it back. The one, last, strong-hold that I knew of changed (slowly, at first) nearly 2 years ago, and continues to change at an alarming rate today to something more “modern” (I believe the word “modern” comes from the Greek meaning “lazy-ass clergy, who only want to cash their hefty paychecks for doing as little work as possible,” if you ask me). At least there are one or two options left in and around Philadelphia for those like-minded traditionalists, but they’re not quite the same as what some of us were used to. The same options we had, no longer exist. And that’s the sad thing. It’s amazing what those clergy have been allowed to get away with, these past few years. Those who didn’t agree with their “modernist” changes have been – quite literally – expelled from their church, and now have no where to go.

But at least the clergy there are happy. That appears to be the most important thing to the “modern” church.

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