Wednesday, July 06, 2011

in the end it was the Children's Mass that drove me away...

... I just couldn't take it anymore. My son has been singing in the Children's Choir at a local parish for close to year. If you never been to a Children's Mass at your parish then God bless your fortunate soul. If you have, then you know.

At these masses the children are called to the front of the church and sit crossed legged on the floor while they get their very own special sermon. It's ludicrous. Kids are already told every day in school their self esteem and self importance is more valued than being literate. Now they get to come to mass and have Fr. Well Meaning reinforce this narcissistic behavior too. Forget that other guy. What's his name. Oh right. Jesus.

It was so bad these masses began to embarrass my son. He sang in the choir because it gave him joy and he liked expressing his love of God in this manner. He's wanted to serve the mass since he was old enough to talk and the choir was the only way he could do so until he was old enough to be an altar server.

His, and my own, final straw was when Fr. Well Meaning made the kids stand up, before the final blessing, and receive a round of applause for their "performance".

Oh, and the parents of the other kids in the choir. Seriously folks? I can see taking pictures of your tikes first time singing. But showing up at mass every single time with a camcorder!? Performance, indeed.

Look, kids aren't stupid. They are spiritually capable of so much more than 'Jesus loves me' and 'Shine, Jesus, Shine". They are also fully capable of understanding that the mass isn't about them, but that Other Guy. Jesus. And they are happy to have the focus on Him. See....

36 comments:

The Ranter said...

What kills me is the dumbing down of the Gospel for the children's Masses. Utterly ridiculous. Kids know when they're being pandered to, and they will play the panderers like a master pianist plays a piano.

The Ranter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melanie said...

Wow, I have never experienced what you describe. Thanks for the warning! My daughter has a favorite priest from school, who in her words, always talks about the saint of the day and how we can learn from them. I agree, no need for the pandering.

Old Bob said...

We had kids' Masses, Tridentine, Latin, back in the "Pre-V2 Stone Age." The only difference I recall is that the sermon was in more kid-friendly language, but not at all dumbed down like the descriptions I see here.

HoyaGirl, said...

My parents' parish does this by having a "children's homily" during our homily. A lot of the elementary-aged children are led out in procession by a catechist carrying a children's version of the Gospels to the classroom next to the sacristy. Then they get a watered-down version of the readings and a lesson related to them "at their own level". I thank God each time we visit that my kids are now too old for that. It irritates the stuffing out of me, and I spend a lot more time during Mass praying against my own judgmentalism than praying for intentions. Sigh. It also bugs me that I usually end up needing Confession about this issue when I get home! :)

Anonymous said...

Our old parish had these silly "Family Masses." All sorts of liturgical abuses took place in an effort to make the kids feel "included," like inviting all the kids to stand around the altar like they were all priests or something.

My family never attended that foolishness and have since found a more liturgically correct Catholic Church.

Mother Crab said...

My children attended this camp last year and now sing at St. Francis de Sales Oratory (run by the Institute of Christ the King) several times throughout the year!

http://www.institute-christ-king.org/choir-camp/

And here is an example of their singing from Midnight Mass 1 1/2 years ago. Awesome!

http://www.youtube.com/user/UFamily8#p/u/4/cA8bJfd6LWw

Steve said...

"My parents' parish does this by having a "children's homily" during our homily. A lot of the elementary-aged children are led out in procession by a catechist carrying a children's version of the Gospels to the classroom next to the sacristy."

This is what a lot of Protestant churches, esp. Evangelical, do. Families should worship together.

Anonymous said...

We have this kind of pandering in our parish and I find it distasteful and so pretentious. The liturgist/catechist seems to be directing an epic of a religious rite with all the fanfare! It is so unfortunate that kids are treated like dummies; but on the other hand, that's how Fr. Condescending treat the adults, too, like they do not know anything about Scripture or the teachings of Jesus, so he gives them some kindergarten type of homilies. And, he gets surprised why his parishioners have not grown up at all, or why they leave right after communion!

But I go there out of love for the Lord and accept what I have to endure as a mortification for my sinfulness.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Evangelical Protestant hell. :-) Some of us started "children's sermons" in the 1980s... thank the Lord it was a short-lived fad. Hopefully the same goes for the Children's Mass.

Anonymous said...

Thats bad! My church,...the Pastor during the entrance procession enters a few aisles, shakes a few hands, waves to a few people. I can tolerate it! But this has rubbed off on one of his associate priests who conducts his entrance procession walking into about every aisle or every other aisle shaking as many hands as possible. The priest behaves as if he is on a parade float! Its all about him and in this parish everyones head turns away from the hymnal, they turn to the back of the Church with their eyes fixed on the priest...a bit unusual...

RB2

Kevin said...

it gets even worse when the person giving the "special sermon" for the children is some narcissitic laywoman who is nowhere near as funny or as erudite as she thinks she is. :p

Went to a Church like that. And the instruction of the kids was really sorta irrelevant. They were props for parents to go "aweee how cute" or to laugh.

The kids just become an extension of their parents (and the priests) narcissism.

Have no kids, but if this kind of thing happened when I was a father, we would promptly leave that parish and find somewhere else to fulfill our Sunday obligation..... that Sunday, not the week after.

Anonymous said...

Pandering, dumbing down and all the other descriptives in these posts can be used to assess the "adult" Mass as it relates to the rest of us. The old Mass elevated us; forced us to grow, stretch, learn and as much as we did that there was always something higher for which to strive. Our 9:30 Sunday Mass is the parish's children's Mass. I've attended it at times and I have literally looked around at all of this young ones and felt terribly knowing this is all these young souls will know. I have to wonder if there will ever again be the majesty that we knew as Mass or will we continue to form the liturgy in our likeness.

Mary said...

I thank God that the church we attended when my son was young did not have a children's mass (or children's liturgy of the word aka clow....I am not making that up).

I don't believe in dumbing down the faith for children. I try to make certain we sit near an aisle so our little one can see if we cannot sit that close to the front. We attend the TLM on Sundays and our 4 year old is doing a good job of making the congregation responses in Latin.

Marshall Mac Duncan said...

I think in this era & Pre Vatican II & think that Gregorian Chant can draw the people. Young People have even been drawn to Mass by Some Semblence of Seriousness, which Gregorian Chant is.
I had gone to Mass at St. Agnes in Manhattan on East 43rd Street((Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Place), where the Communion Antiphon is chanted in Latin & congregants KNEEL to receive Communion at The Altar Rail.
The Current Liturgy is undergoing actual TRANSLATION to make for the Solemnity, which may have been missing.
M

Anonymous said...

At my parish it’s the same thing every week. At the end of every Mass my brother priests all give the "Let’s give a round of applause to X and Y for singing and playing the organ" routine (Enter round of applause here) I refused to do this from the beginning. Gee I thought at the end of Mass after we receive we could spend at least 2-3 minutes in meditation and giving thanks for what we have received. And then after every 10 AM "Family" Mass (whatever that is), "Let us thanks to X and the children’s choir for singing ____________ and ____________." I never did this once. Needless to say my pastor never puts me on the 10 AM Mass. Fine be me. The childrens choir stinks anyway. So glad I’m moving on to a new parish in the next couple of weeks. The AmChurch is full of cancer.

joan said...

www.Chantwith.us
Buy the CD.They will be singing at WYD Madrid this August.

Anonymous said...

Our parish has a Children's Liturgy of the Word. The children who are kindegarten age through second grade are dismissed at mass for an age appropriate separate Liturgy of the Word conducted by one of the priests or deacons. They return at the beginning of Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Children's Choir sings in the choir loft (just as every choir does) and there is no applause.

Steve F. said...

Our Children's Choir sings once a month. During Mass, they are treated just like the regular choir and typically sing liturgy-appropriate hymns. We also have a separate Children's Litury of the Word. It's not all bad out there.

Greg said...

The United Methodist Church has a section in their services in which the children of the congregation are called up to the sanctuary, where either the pastor or one who ministers to the children instruct them in the scriptural readings of the day, but on their own terms. The result is that most of the youth remain in the church and continue into Youth Fellowship. They become an integral part of the church entity, and later, with their own families. You have to invest in children and their spirituality in order to make them strong in the Faith, regardless of denomination.

Mimi said...

You know (admittedly I am an Orthodox reader of this blog) the most horrific part of this is the applause in church. Wasn't it St. John Chrysostom (who was definitely pre-Schism) who admonished us that the Liturgy is not a performance and therefore we don't applaud during it?

Chris Whittle said...

What a shame! I thought there was something called an altar rail, where the sacred and the profane are supposed to be separated? Quit brainwashing these kids and teach them right from wrong. It is not okay to clap, shake, and cheer and acknowledge the one in the pew next to you. What a shame!

Don White said...

I've been to all sorts of kiddie Masses and dislike all of them; however, here in Cornelius, NC, with our great Monsigneur Bellow, we have much less discord because moves the kids to our Worship Center next to our Church and conducts the readings and preaches a meaningful, loving homily to the kids. The kids love it and Monsgr.

I think we are lucky that we have 6Masses on Sunday and dislike the disruption of all the late attendees dragging into the 9 am kids Mass (the parents' faults)so We go to our 7:30 Mass. Much less noise, but of course we still have the adults dragging in up to the Gospel and leaving from the Altar when they have received Communion.

Oh, well! I'm an old crotch. Fortunately, God blesses the elderly with diminished hearing.

Pax!

Don White

Anonymous said...

If you want your kids to grow up for a deep love for Our Lord attend the Latin Mass. Seriously. If a FSSP priest is offering it you will NEVER get any of that stupid rubbish that you get in the NO.

Give it a try.

Mary Ellen Barrett said...

Whoo hoo. I am so glad you wrote this. I wrote a similar article but due to space constraints could not address the applause issue.
http://www.licatholic.org/news/2011/05/050411/050411domesticChurch.html

David said...

On the one hand, I get the sentiments, but tone of the post and in the comments is shameful.

I'm sorry your fellow worshipers are not as sophisticated, reverent and pious as you. Perhaps they could use some loving instruction. But that's not what's on display here. Instead, this forum is filled with a bunch of pharisees more concerned with form and their own need for worship and oblivious to the fact that despite a deficit of your pious understanding of the mass, Christ nonetheless is present among them.

What is being offered at your parish's mass may be pablum to you, but perhaps pablum is what these people need right now. I returned to the church via such a parish. But God used the good in that to draw me nearer, giving me pablum until I was strong and mature enough to be nurtured as an adult.

Instead of complaining about how awful everyone else is, perhaps your energies might be better spent in helping your fellow parishioners better understand what you already know in regards to the mass and our faith. There is no better time than right now, because of the revisions to the mass that are coming in December. What an opportunity to help the faithful better understand what the mass is all about.

Clearly I'm angry about this -- I read the post around noon and I'm still worked up about it enough to post 10 hrs later. I just find it hard to fathom how people who love our Savior, our Church, and the Mass to look down their noses at others who are actually taking the time to worship. Maybe worship that is imperfect, but given that they're in the sanctuary, I'd prefer that we thank God they are there and ask for the grace of being used to draw our brethren even closer to Christ.

Paul Zummo said...

but tone of the post and in the comments is shameful.

I always love comments like this one that are followed by paragraphs and paragraphs of vicious snark and judgmentalism. Why is that the people that yelp the loudest about tone are often the angriest and the vilest?

Anonymous said...

For me it wasn't even the "life teen" mass though these were horrendous. No, for me it was simply a drum machine. An electronic drum beat that lead into "hal a, hal a, hal a looo ya, halay, halay, alay lu yahhhh! Horrendous. I went home and googled Latin mass for my city. Low and behold FSSP had just set up shop 50 miles away. That was two years ago, now every Sunday it's 50 miles to TRUTH and AWESOMENESS or two miles to "hall a, hall a, hall a, hall a, hall a luuuuu ya.."

The Crescat said...

David,

I appreciate your reply. Believe me it was not a decision I took lightly and it was several years in coming to the conclusion that it was time to finally leave. This is the parish I was converted in and where my son was baptized and received his sacraments. It was a painful decision and I still have many friends and connections at this parish.

I didn't detail my involvement in this church, I try to keep post short and sweet, but I did actively seek changes and made suggestions. 'Loving instruction' was there... and fell on deaf ears.

It is also not a matter of sophistication, Lord knows, I'm not a sophisticate. It's just a simple matter of respecting children enough to teach them, that for once, they are not the centers of their own individual universes. Christ should be our center.

You suggest I spend my energies instructing people... honestly, my energies can not extend that far. At I am not ordained. Instruction is better left to priests. At this parish there is no one willing to instruct. My only responsibilty is to instruct my son.

My son deserves better, is smart enough to recognize this and as his mother it is my duty to provide for his spiritual needs.

I know it sounds harsh... but I do not have the time, energy or desire to 'instruct' any one. Other than pray and see to my own family there is nothing more than God asks of me.

So perhaps you see why I had to leave. Maybe not agree, but at least understand. A little bit better, any way.

Linda said...

I have always thought it was wrong to separate families during the Mass. How will they acclimate themselves to the "adult" Mass if all they know if kiddie and teen masses? The family needs to worship together! We don't have enough of this these days!

Iowa Mike said...

Aaaahhhh, the Spirit of Vatican II strikes again. People seem to be awakening to what the liberal progressive, no absolute truths, social justice relative moralist crowd has done to the Church. Instead of a Christ centric mass we now get plays, children choirs, liturgical dance, bad music and people wearing beachware to receive the Eucharist. Well here is what Pope Benedict has to say about applause during mass or after the mass, "Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kine of religious entertainment." Of course our CINO's don't really care what the Holy Father thinks. Do I sound a bit cynical? Oh I completely forgot about the bad vestment contests that seem to be running through the Church....my my my.

st bosco said...

The moral of the story is..get out of that gold cup waving, costume holyman ,graven image false church. Then ask Jesus to come into your life.

jorge calderon said...

como podemos ver , asistir a misas nuevas es todo ornato, las misas pos conciliares recuerden quién la hizo y que ayudaron seis pastores protestantes por lo cúal es una misa protestantizada, con la que trataron de eliminar a la verdadera y Santa Misa, esto es simple aleja de mla fé . prestandosé a los abusos es el modernismo inquistado en Roma, solo tienen los templos y las apariencia de ser católicos, cuando en realidad han apostatado de la verdadera doctrina católica un saludo en Cristo. para que la Santa Misa vuelva a ocupar el lugar en las Yglesias y Cristo sea el centro de ellas y de Nuestros corazones

Joe in Canada said...

drove you away ... from what, or to what?

The Crescat said...

Joe, it made me finally leave the one parish I was a member for over 7 years and move my family to another Catholic church.

Lydia McGrew said...

I'm a Protestant who is (through their grace) a member of a continuing Anglican church. I'm appalled at the thought of applause during Mass (my church calls it Mass because they're high Anglican--higher than I am, actually). It gives me the willies to think of applause. Frankly, I would have been shocked at applause during the service even in the Baptist church I grew up in. I can well imagine that Catholics would be even more appalled. They should be, right? With their doctrine of Holy Communion.

Good luck finding a respectful parish, Crescat, and being the curious soul I am about other people's business, I'll look forward to hopefully hearing good news about the new (to you) parish.