I read Andrew Mountain’s brief reflection here on PrayTell. It’s somewhat personally relevant, as the mid-morning Mass at my new parish exemplifies this quality.
After reading friend Charles’ comment, I noticed the CMAA echo chamber is in full reverb over it. Sort of like how these discussions are envisioned: take thirty seconds to rant about what’s wrong with other people.
Mr Mountain explains a personal revelation when he served as a liturgist in a chatty community:
I started to recognize why I didn’t feel a connection to that congregation. It was because I chose not to. Because it didn’t fit my own preferences, I was willing to remain a stranger, or at best a guest, within the community. Although at first I thought of their forward and social approach to liturgy as silly, I began to realize that by walling myself off from the community, I was the silly one.
As that realization slowly dawned on me, I began to focus less on what I did or didn’t get out of the liturgy, and more on what everyone else got out of it.
It is a laudable stance for a minister to recognize her or his own preferences and how they color attitude.
On a practical level, if chatter before and after Mass precludes some kinds of prayer, it would be my responsibility to give it a chance during Mass (when its most important for the Sunday assembly). Or at other times.
A few of my parishioners have asked what we should do about this. I’m disinclined to two extreme stances: that we should encourage it at the other four weekend Masses or that it’s time to clamp down on the 9:45 Mass.
Remember, this is the Catholic church. There’s always more than one way to holiness.