The letter from Robert H. Wardein regarding changes in the Catholic Church does a great disservice to the vast majority of Catholics by presenting a picture that we no longer give sanctify God by the "new" worship practices.
It is true that we can now understand and participate in the Mass and other rites via use of optional prayers in certain parts of the Mass rather than reciting the same prayers week after week. Lay persons are encouraged to assist the priest in many ways including planning the liturgy. Parishioners with musical talents other than the ability to play an organ are encouraged to use these special gifts.
These changes have provided for a revitalization in, and a closer bond with, our faith. We can now become an integral participant at each service.
Wardein speaks about the secularization of the music. He and his group apparently have not perceived the joy and enthusiasm displayed by parishioners singing traditional music accompanied by musicians playing flutes, guitars, pianos, mandolins, and/or accordions, all with reverence and dignity. Perhaps they should attend a Mass at San Xavier Mission south of Tucson or a 5:30 p.m. Saturday Mass at St. Philip's here in Payson.
We have been to thousands of Masses in hundreds of churches throughout the United States and Europe without once having witnessed a priest wearing Mickey Mouse ears (or anything similar) or doing the limbo. We doubt that very few Catholics have witnessed such acts. This is not to say that such displays may have occurred, but to give the impression that this is standard or acceptable practice is completely misleading.
Pope John XXIII was an exceptional visionary in bringing the laity into a much greater voice and participatory role within the Church as well as eliminating much of what many people (Catholics and non-Catholics alike) considered mystical rites and practices. He did this without losing prayerful meaning of the Mass and other rituals.
My parents, who lived into their 80s and attended daily Mass, often remarked how beautiful it was to: participate in the Mass in English; sing new music; sing as a congregation; plus be able to see what and how the priest said Mass rather than looking at his back and unable to understand the Latin verses. It gave them an entirely new love and appreciation for their faith and beliefs.
So, Mr. Wardein, in our opinion, the changes the Catholic Church has undergone have energized, revitalized and enhanced knowledge, understanding, participation and spirituality. To us, that's not all bad.
Don and Norma Jorgensen, Payson