I WOULD like to comment on the column Youth View by Mark MacDonald entitled Old Mass threat to the young November 30. As a 20 year old student, I too certainly find it tragic to see so many of my fellow convent school pupils lapsing from the Faith. However, Mark MacDonald failed to point out that it was the Novus Ordo, and not the old Mass, from which they have lapsed. Since the old Mass was suppressed after Vatican II any Catholic who lapsed from the old Mass would have to be well into their thirties — hardly "young"! — my generation have never had the chance to go to the old Mass. Mark MacDonald claims that young people don't go to Mass because they find it uninteresting. But whether people are interested or not is incidental. The Mass is primarily a sacred duty and should have mystery — something in which the Novus Ordo is utterly lacking. Perhaps it is rather this lack of mystery which accounts for the tragic loss of faith by young people.
On a personal note, my • Mark MacDonald (Youth View, November 30) repeats that young people are leaving the church because they find the Mass boring and meaningless. I too generally find my Sunday Mass uninspiring, but I think I would find the "liberal" liturgy he mentions worse than boring: I would find it distracting and detracting from the Mass. It is a common fallacy that to appeal to the young one must be trendy. The young are as diverse a group as "the middle-aged" or "the elderly" and are no more homogeneous in their liturgical tastes than, say, their political views. To me, the greatest richness of the liturgy lies in the largely neglected wealth of Latin plainsong and polyphony, which could have as much place in the new rite as it had in the old. Indeed, we have been told by Chinese sister-in-law, who was a pagan in her early twenties, was left totally unmoved by the Novus Ordo. It was only when she experienced the old Roman rite that she had any desire to embrace Catholicism and subsequently converted in March of this year. It may interest readers to know that a group of young people, aged 15-25, inspired by several youth movements in Europe, have recently formed a similar movement in this country called the Young Roman Catholics (YRC). This movement is loyal to the old Mass — the Mass for which the English Martyrs died — and members, who meet fortnightly in London, come from as far afield as Somerset and Cheshire. Our hope is what Mark MacDonald fears, namely that the recent papal initiatives do indeed herald the end of "modernism" and a return to the "old ways".
Julia Grimer (Miss) President of the YRC 105 Draycott Avenue,
Kenton, Harrow, Middx. popes and bishops that it is to be encouraged, with little sign of this at parish level.
If Mr MacDonald only discovered liturgical richness at a University Chaplaincy Mass, perhaps he has never had the Opportunity to attend a sung Latin Mass. Why can't we select the best of our traditional heritage, which is fully compatible with the New Order, and use it to enhance the celebration of the Mass?
These riches of the past, loved not for their age but their beauty, are too valuable to rot away in forgotten cupboards, or be relegated to the concert hall. Let the young and not-so-young have the chance to experience them at Sunday Mass.
Janet O'Boyle 58 WhiteIands Road,
High Wycombe, Bucks.