I walked out of Mass on last Sunday evening, a minute before the Mass was set to begin. It was not at my home parish, but at another local parish, one that has an early evening Sunday Mass, which it dubs "the Teen Mass." It is worse than you can imagine. It is an event at which an ancient rite of profound import--one in which the sacred ought to be encountered--is transformed into a profane stage on which well-meaning adolescents, poorly dressed and poorly catechized, perform bad songs with bad lyrics and diminish the power of Christianity's most ancient creeds and prayers just by adding pop music to their recitation. It's like sowing a tattoo on the Mona Lisa.
Five minutes before Mass was to begin, the "band," which was situated to the right of the altar, and consisted of a lead singer accompanied by drummer, bassist, and two electric guitar players, sought to warm us up with, what the singer called, "an old hymn." I thought, "This is going to be nice. Perhaps they will perform something like, `A Mighty Fortress is Our God.'" But before I could complete my contemplation, the guitarist broke into a riff, emanating from the poorly-engineered sound system. The song--melodically based on The Troggs' "Wild Thing"--was the "old hymn," "Every Move I Make," which was composed in the early 1990s, the golden age of hymnology. (It was not the Police song, "Every Breath You Take," thank God [which would have actually been better], but some strange song that had "Hannah Montana" written all over it). I felt so embarrassed and out of place, as well as offended and scandalized, that I got up, genuflected, and walked out before the Mass had begun. It was that bad.
Pastors, why do you permit this abomination in your parishes? The Mass is sacred. It is not merely an occasion for your youngsters to showboat their pop skills as if you were hosting something called "American Eucharist."