I'm an old lady myself, so I couldn't be more appreciative for the prayers of older women--especially daily Mass go-ers. I truly believe they provide the gas in all of our engines.
But, let us face it: some of the behaviors are obnoxious and counterproductive. Especially in parishes where a mild-mannered priest has permitted the dynamic to get out of control in every ministry in the parish. Tony describes it well...
I kneel and try to pray before Mass. I’m trying to say those preparatory prayers that used to be in the old missal, but seem to have been banished, certainly from the experience of the churchgoers, because the place is usually abuzz with conversation. Mainly I hear whispers from old ladies. It would tend to be old ladies, since as to their demographic opposites, young men, they have been wiped out in a massacre, and are nowhere to be found.
A woman ascends the pulpit. She says her name, and welcomes everybody. I do not want to know her name, and I am trying to pray. She announces the names of the readers, the Eucharistic ministers, and the altar servers. She announces the name of the priest. At one church, I am urged to get up (if I can; they make allowances for people with disabilities) and greet the people around me by name. I do not want to do this. I find it false. I do not remember the names of strangers, and I do not like to give my name out to strangers, either. It’s an act of aggressive etiquette, parading as bonhomie. I do not go to church for bonhomie. For that, if I ever wanted it, I would go to a bar and order gin and tonic.
The choir, milling about up front, finally put themselves in order. Then comes the hymn....Do finish reading his fun description, to which we can all relate!
These folks have never taken the voyage to the mystical world where Christ and His Angels and Saints are present. They have no idea what it's all about. Tony gives a perfect description for the corny clamor, heresy and worship spaces full of cartoon-like banners: painful and frustrating.
I actually wonder whether priests in these parishes have ever journeyed to the mystical world. Is his service to God limited to the recitation of a formula to Transubstantiate? I cannot fathom any priest who knows and lives in the spiritual world who would resort to the insipid cornballery in their Masses. I find it impossible to believe that they would see what we see, feel what we feel, experience what we experience and still lead their people in an hour of asshattery.
I'm blessed to be in a parish where banality and abuses are non-existent. The prayers, homily, music is rich in Catholic tradition. There are no Eucharistic Ministers at daily Mass but they do serve at Sunday Mass when the House is rocking. Yes, I'm one of those Catholics that moseys on over to the line where the priest or deacon communicates the Blessed Sacrament.
I've actually been feeling a little guilty for sneaking out of the lines of lay people in this parish. The parishioners are very traditional, devout Catholics. Several women are veiled, a lot of homeschoolers, etc. So, a few weeks back, I decided to throw caution to the wind and stay in the line where the woman was two inches away with the ciborium of the Divinity of Christ.
I approached with my hands folded and extended my tongue. She had Christ in her hand and she kept gesturing towards my hands. After Christ was hostage to a few rollercoaster dips in her hands, I sighed in exasperation and opened my hand She could detect my frustration and said "I didn't know what to do". I said "I don't receive in the hand. My hands are not consecrated." I walked away thinking "Come to think of it... neither are yours! What am I doing!!!!"
Old ladies are not doing the Church a favor when they are the face of every opportunity in the parish. Men and young people do not want to hang out with old ladies. And the dull as dishwater religious entertainment is painful. Give it a rest. Worthy is the Lamb.