Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Young People Are Not Embracing His Vision

February 7th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Bishop Clark offered his annual young adult Mass yesterday afternoon at Blessed Sacrament church. We have received a few e-mails from readers who attended the Mass providing accounts of their experiences. What follows is a brief recap of the youth Mass along with commentary.

>> Attendance: The estimates we received varied from 100-150 total people in attendance. According to one reader, many of the people there were regular attendees of Blessed Sacrament. Most interesting is that this young adult Mass, which was geared toward persons aged 20-40, had very few people in attendance from that targeted demographic. The estimates are that there were between 25 to 30 young adults in attendance for this Mass. If the goal was to reach out to young people, then the diocese failed miserably through this Mass. I imagine that a number of people stayed away because the bishop’s Masses usually include terrible contemporary music and liturgical dance.

>> Liturgical dance: In the weeks preceding this Mass, there were ads placed in a number of parish bulletins seeking liturgical dancers. According to reports, there was no liturgical dance at the Mass. Perhaps this was because there was a poor response to the requests for dancers? Even more interesting, one reader informs us that they didn’t even have altar servers for the Mass! The youth minister of the parish had to process with the crucifix during the open and closing processions.

>> Hand clapping: During the Alleluia, the bishop reportedly began clapping to the music. A reader tells us that nobody else in the congregation clapped along, so it was just the bishop clapping by himself. There is no reason for anyone to be clapping along to the Alleluia, so I’m glad to hear that nobody joined in.

>> A strange homily: We have an audio recording of the homily that I just listened to. My goodness… The bishop jumps around from topic to topic, and it makes no sense. For some reason around 6 minutes in, the bishop brings up accepting homosexuals! Why did he bring that up? He just goes into homosexuality clear out of the blue after beginning his homily talking about the introductory rites of the Mass! It’s crazy. The entire homily was delivered from memory, and boy does it show. It bugs me when priests, deacons and bishops try to show off by reciting their homilies off the top of their heads. Often these homilies are incoherent ramblings with little substance. I would rather have a priest read from a prepared piece of paper and deliver a rock-solid inspiring homily, than to have a priest show off his memory and deliver hollow nonsensical drivel.

>> Feigned diversity once again: In a show of diversity, the readings at the Mass were done in different languages. Reportedly the languages included Swahili and Russian (though our reader isn’t sure about the second language). What is the point in doing this? For all the diatribes the progressives make about the Latin Mass being in a language the people don’t understand, why do they so often have readings done in languages that NOBODY UNDERSTANDS? Enough with the forced diversity. Just offer the Mass reverently and you’ll make a more lasting impression than having a reading done in  Swahili, or Russian, or German.

Synopsis: The poor turnout and poor participation (namely in liturgical dance) suggests to me that the young people of this diocese do not embrace the same vision for the Church that Bishop Clark and his fellow progressives do. The young are not interested in liturgical dance, contemporary church music, and mushy preaching about homosexuality. Thank God that this is the case, because it indicates that there is a ray of hope for the future of the Church.

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15 Responses to “Young People Are Not Embracing His Vision”

  1. Abaccio says:

    I’d like to get a count of “young adults” at the next 10 AM Mass at OLV. I bet there’s more than 40!

  2. Persis says:

    I was not there, so I cannot comment on what happened during the Mass, but I have been asking myself a question since I first saw this advertised.
    I have a pretty flexible work schedule, so I pretty much can come & go as I please-
    how many other 20-40 somethings (btw- I am at the higher end of that group), can actually leave work, drive to Monroe Ave, attend a Mass and get back to work in their hour-long (if they are lucky! ;)) lunch break?

    If it were me, I would have planned the Mass @ one the area late afternoon Masses (I am pretty sure Blessed Sacrament has one Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 5:30pm and Holy Cross has on every weekday @ 5:20pm), or what about a Saturday afternoon Mass?

    I don’t know, it almost seems like some of our leaders want to fail. 🙁

  3. Dr. K says:

    The Mass was Sunday afternoon. I wrote the post last evening, so the ‘yesterday’ is referring to Sunday, not Monday. Sorry for the confusion.

  4. Gordon Barnes says:

    Why was there poor turnout at this mass? Why were those attending not engaged? In order to answer these questions, you would have to ask the people who did not attend why they did not attend, and you would have to ask those who did attend why they were not engaged. But you haven’t done that, and so you are not entitled to the conclusion that you draw here. This is mere speculation, unsupported by any empirical evidence. But what you need to support a conclusion like this is empirical evidence — you need to get responses from the relevant people. Generally speaking, you have not supplied any evidence for your conclusion that the defections from the Catholic Church in Rochester are due to the Diocese’s liberalism. Here is another possiblity. There is a widespread defection from religious belief today, because of the perceived failure of religious institutions, including the Catholic Church. How do you know that this isn’t the real cause of the defections from the Church in Rochester?

  5. Dr. K says:

    Generally speaking, you have not supplied any evidence for your conclusion that the defections from the Catholic Church in Rochester are due to the Diocese’s liberalism.

    Late last year there was a vocations rosary held in Irondequoit with chant, incense, and other traditional aspects of Catholic worship. This event, which did not fulfill one’s Sunday obligation like this bishop’s young adult Mass would have done, was well attended by young adults and youth. This Mass was not. The rosary had a small army of young altar servers, totaling over ten. This Mass reportedly had no young adult or youth altar servers. The conclusion I draw when comparing these two events is that the young people are interested in traditional Catholic worship while disinterested in the brand of Catholicism promoted by Bishop Clark and many in leadership positions in the diocese.

    There have been blog postings by youth and young adults who are turned off by the diocese’s progressive liturgy youth Masses. See posts by our staff writer Ink (here), as well as posts on the blog of an Aquinas student (here).

    If defections are the reason for the poor turnout at the Mass, then they also should have caused a poor turnout at the rosary.

  6. Matt says:

    I work with a couple of youth groups in the Diocese of Rochester. Each of the high school students who went to the National Catholic Youth Conference last Autumn said that their favourite parts were Eucharistic Adoration and the Eucharistic Procession, as well as the talks on Theology of The Body. Both of these are VERY orthodox endeavors.

  7. Persis says:

    Dr. K,

    Thanks for the clarification!
    I do remember though, (at least I think I do ;)), that Bishop Clark did have a “young adult” Mass, maybe in the fall of 2010, that was at a weekday Mass, and I asked myself the same question. I guess when I saw this advertised, I thought is was the same thing.

  8. Abaccio says:

    Ranger Gord,

    Go to these heterodox Masses. The crowds are generally over 65. Turn around and go to OLV/SJ or the EF Mass at St Stanislaus. You will see young people. The average age is much much lower. Furthermore, look around the country. Diocese after Diocese has actually seen upticks in Mass attendance in recent years, or has seen Mass attendance at least remained steady. In Lincoln, NE (Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz is the most tradition-friendly Bishop in the country), Mass attendance is at 62%. The March For Life (400,000+ individuals this year) is over 2/3 people under 30, and largely filled with Catholics. This is a very orthodox event. Orthodox seminaries are bursting at the seams with young men, while Louvain is closing its doors. Orthodox orders of nuns are growing so fast with young women that they can’t keep up with construction of larger facilities. Meanwhile, the average age of SSJ and RSM sisters here in Rochester is extremely old, and hardly any new vocations are realized. I personally know a number of orthodox fellows who were turned away from the priesthood by heterodox Bishops (including +Clark) for their traditional bend. I know a number of young men who flat-out refuse to enter into the Diocesan discernment program until a new Bishop is named, for fear that they would be rejected or put through undue hardship. Young people are not drinking the Kool-Aid, Gord.

  9. John Hall says:

    As a 23 year old young man I would never even think of attending anything with liturgical dance. The idea just makes me shudder. I’m from Canada and if that was advertised by my Bishop as a young person’s mass, you can bet I would not be there. Gordon as a young person I want the truth not some wishy washy form of religion. I’m a revert from atheism and if the Church was doing this in every parish when I came back to my faith then I never would have come back. If people think that young people like this garbage then they must really think that they’re pulling the wool over our eyes. Once you tell young people about adoration and that you can actually kneel in mass(I never even knew that people knelt in mass for 22 years of my life, now I always kneel!!) they will never go back to the drivel that is being spouted.

  10. Trad Tom says:

    OK, I haven’t been reading this blog for a while, but I do love it! However, I just have to ask: Who is this snarky, curmudgeonly Gordon Barnes? Sheesh! I have read several entries, and he’s on every one of them — criticizing, arguing, generally being obnoxious.
    Those of you who answer him, thoroughly and dispassionately, have more patience than I would.

  11. Ben Anderson says:

    Trad Tom,
    everyone once in a while, someone discovers our site and comment blasts us… not sure if he’ll return – we’ll have to see. Usually there’s nothing more to the argument than “you guys are mean and therefore must be wrong”. At least GB presented arguments (however fallacious they were). Nice to have you Trad Tom – go back through the archives – you’ll find more to love.

  12. Diamondwolf says:

    as a young person, twenty-six, I’m craving a place of revrence and where I can also worhsip worship with young
    people like myself. I’m curretnly seraching for a “church home” and am new to Rochester and am conservative in nature. I’m glad to see others share my views as far as rejecting this liberal mess of the faith. I’m so glad we’ll be reverting to the earl y early ways of the Mass by the end of this year before Vatikin II altered it. It’s time to return to our roots and get out of our comlacnecy as Christians, not thinking of the true maening of the words we speak. compmlacentsy

  13. Dr. K says:

    Diamond, the Mass is not changing, just the translation. The new translation is far more accurate to the Latin text promulgated for the Novus Ordo Mass.

    We do have a Traditional Latin Mass at St. Stanislaus church (1:30 PM each Sunday). Check it out sometime.

  14. Kenneth M. Fisher, Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc. says:

    It is great to hear from so many young members of the Church Militant, yes it still exists and is growing. I am 72 and I love to hear from young soldiers of Christ.

    I read about OLV in several comments, but only one parish St. Stanislaus, where the Mass of St. Pius V is celebrated. Is OLV a strong traditional Novus Ordo parish?

    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher, Founder & Chairman
    Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.

  15. Ben Anderson says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Kenneth.

    There is a TLM celebrated every week at St. Stanislaus @ 1:30 PM on Sunday. It is coordinated by the Latin Mass Community. I believe the only affiliation with St. Stanislaus is that the church plays host for the TLM. That said, I’ve heard of many people that treat St. Stanislaus parish (english masses) as a place of refuge, so I’m guessing their NO masses aren’t the DOR norm.

    yes, OLV is pretty traditional. In my opinion, an NO mass at OLV is more similar to the TLM than to your typical NO.

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