I read with dismay Mr Aloysius Cheong’s letter, Of Flip Flops, Latin and Kneeling at Mass.
I may not be the best Catholic, nor do I claim to be a very good one. In fact, I may be what many call a “Sunday Catholic”. But at least I know that when one goes to God’s house, one dresses the best he or she can.
You don’t go sloppily dressed to a funeral, wedding or any other function that requires a dress code. You don’t disrespect the host of the function by dressing down, you dress up.
Mr Cheong’s criticism over Latin is unfounded. Many murmur not because they are insincere in reciting the Lord’s Prayer, but because they are unfamiliar with the text which is in a different language.
Over time, as the congregation becomes used to it, I believe that people will be more willing to recite it loudly. Saying that murmuring and the text being in a different language make one less sincere in worshipping the Lord is actually quite worrying.
Even if the whole Mass were to be conducted in a different language, one should not feel distant from the Lord. Honouring and worshipping God sincerely should be done in any language.
Finally, I am most outraged at the words that not kneeling should be “their own account with God”. We might as well not try and instruct people what to do! That’s a slippery slope that we face.
If the Church does not give directions on how to honour God, how to dress properly when attending Church, how to respect the rules and canon law, we might as well say why be Catholic in the first place?
There is no element of force, but there is always the need to be respectful of how one should behave in Church.
I see no wrong in the priest compelling the congregation to kneel. The shepherd guides the flock and brings them back to the fold when they wander. The shepherd directs the flock.
Why should the priest not then show the congregation the right way to behave at Mass?