John asks some good questions below.
Do you really think that Vatican II’s call for greater active participation in the Mass was a call to turn every Mass attendent into a performer?
I get squeamish about the word “performer.” “Participant” is more to my liking and to what I would see as the object of Sacrosanctum Concilium. For those who lean heavily on the Mass as a vehicle for the praise of God, I suppose “performance” applies, in the sense that people strive to add their part to the overall effort.
What of the faithful Catholic who can’t sing, and/or doesn’t care to sing the songs on offer? He has no place at the Mass as you imagine it, it seems.
I hope not. Faithful Catholics who are unable to sing because they are mute have the option of praying the text while the people around them sing. As for a faithful Catholic who doesn’t care to sing a particular song is nevertheless obligated to pray during the time allotted during liturgy for a communal expression of prayer. Folding one’s arms and pouting would be an extreme example of disengaging from liturgy for one’s own choice. But I’d have no problem with a parishioner who detested a particular song to turn to another hymn in the book or to a prayer or other text and join in the common prayer of everyone else.
I think everyone has a place at Mass, but not every attitude is a welcome one, even the most heartfelt ones.