While agreeing with Mr Galvin (March 1) and Mr Dunn (March 15) on some points concerning the reasons for decline in reverence, I should like to add that the heart of the matter Lies in the fact that the modern child is not taught how to pray.
It would appear that even in Catholic schools he hears nothing about an .intimate :relationship or private conversation with his Creator. Once a year, during the annual Retreat, is wholly inadequate.
In our restless age of feverish activity and avarice for visible results, religion is judged by merely utilitarian standards. Humanism has reared its ugly head, while contemplative silence is not considered relevant or meaningful. Our Lord went about doing good, but this was supported by whole periods of communing with his Father in Heaven.
There is no longer any room for the beautiful. symbolism or the mystical. No wonder our age produces next to no vocations, lapse from religion after school, let alone lack of reverence. So much striving for what is shallow in the present at the expense of what has depth in the past — cui bono?
Let our teenagers be guided to become men of prayer and I for one will willingly receive the Blessed Sacrament from a contemporary St Tarcisius.
Organist and Assistant Choirmaster. Farnborough Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire.
Although it is not always easy to give up habits to which we are accustomed. it is very sad when we as Catholics become upset, or quarrel among ourselves, or complain of lack of reverence in others. It is attitude of mind which matters, and although reverence should be expressed outwardly it need not he by rigid adherence to particular practices. many of which have never been constant or universal.
Holy Communion was given into the hand in the early Church: St Peter's in Rome and Many other churches have never had altar rails: in some places people have always stood for the entire Mass and for Communion: in others both priest and people remain sitting cross-legged on the floor throughout Mass.
It would be tragic if, while we are thinking how to express reverence (or even judging that others are lacking in reverence because their ways arc not ours), we forget the Person to whom we wish to give reverence. Shall we. like the Pharisees, pay more attention to outer show than to our inner state? Shall we, like Martha, be so busy about many things, even in Our Lord's service, that we allow ourselves to be distracted from thinking about Our Lord Himself?
May I please be allowed to comment on paragraph three of Miss 0. Gwynne-Jones' letter and others on the same subject (March 8). I am getting very concerned at the constant reference to the "lack of awe and mystery" in today's Mass.
Far from being something thought up by the "progressives" the Mass today surely takes us back to being nearer what the Christians of the early centuries of the Church would have known. The liturgy is a living and growing thing and cannot, of its nature, ossify.
The Mass has not always been exactly as it was in the Middle Ages or in the 16th century, but to listen to some one would thin* it was invented in 1570!
Too much ritual and pomp had crept into the Mass and, as an example, the fact that it was not the custom for the people in the 13th century to receive Holy Communion, except at Easter, speaks for itself.
I feel it cannot be a retrograde step to revert to a simpler liturgy especially as all the essentials are there.
Further, when it is said that the prayers of the Mass are ugly. we have to remember that of the four Eucharistic Prayers which may be used, three are ancient and only one is new. As most of the Mass is made up of the Scriptures. the psalms and old and familiar prayers such as the Gloria and the Creed etc. I fail to see how anyone can call this "ugly".
As for lack of reverenee. I do not think this is confined to church only, there is a general lack of reverence everywhere these days for almost everything except, perhaps, money.
The Mass today "borrows" nothing from other religions (F. Ramsey's letter) but is the real Mass of our Fathers stripped of its middle ages and 15th century additions. It pleases me greatly to see practically everyone in church going up to receive Holy Communion.
P. Pantcheff t Mrs) 12 Cholesbury,
By-The-Wood, Carpenders Park.
Always with us
Please spare your readers' feelings by exercising more care with your captions.
Opening page 4 r your paper yesterday. a spontaneous "Deo gristles" sprang to my lips on seeing the hold heading "Clerical retirement" above a photograph of Mgr Bruce Kent.
Having spread the good news to the rest of the household, just imagine our utter dismay on discovering later that the caption refers not to the Monsignore in person but merely lo his views on other people's retirement.
Alfred J. Howell 61 HighStreet,
Mgr Bruce Kent calls for "Democracy" in the Church. He has strange ideas if he imagines the Church established by Christ ought to be a democracy.
The democratic idea may be all right in politics, where we are dealing with the relations le1 human beings with one another.
But religion concerns the relations of human beings with God, and these relations cannot be on a democratic basis!
D. F. Conlon 21 Withdean Close.
Sparkh ill, Birmingham II.
Mgr Bruce Kent:
There was qn old man of Peru Who found he had nothing to do, So they got him ordained. Now as Bishop enchained He has nothing to do — with Peru.
C: K. O'Reilly "Tara", Pencoys,
Nr Redruth, Cornwall.