Does even Pope Francis hanker after sitting quietly at the back instead of running to the front to "participate"?
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. As Dom Alcuin Reid asserts:
"these past 50 years have not been the universal liturgical or ecclesial springtime for which many hoped. The ongoing decline in numbers attending Mass may have many causes, but the modern liturgy is not to the forefront in arresting it." Dom Alcuin adds: "(I)n marking the 50th anniversary of the Constitution an examination of conscience is in order."
Just one or two little thoughts struck me from what seems common anecdotal experience among priests of all liturgical hues that would seem to belie the alleged longing for "participation". Despite decades of "education" telling ordinary Catholics they must outwardly actively participate, the popular vote would seem to indicate that they are not really comfortable with this outward participation.
* In most Masses people still fill up from the back of the church. They don't want to sit at the front (let alone the horror of being invited up onto the sanctuary during some quiet weekday Mass.
* In many years of supplying in quite a few parishes (particularly some years ago when I was a full-time schools chaplain and visiting parishes to say Mass most Sundays) I couldn't help but notice that while many music groups were letting rip, more than a few in the congregation did not pick up a hymn book and did not join in the singing. For all the "active" participation, it might as well have been Palestrina (O happy thought).
Perhaps many would prefer to be actually praying to God instead of actively participating in community activities.