Young English Catholic mum Clare Short writes: THE MASS: I ate some old cheese and had a really weird dream. Of course the priest wouldn't wear a cope for the actual Mass, such as the Canon, but the rest is spot-on. (Copes at Communion are actually a high-church Anglican thing some cathedrals did; one of the only vestments they kept after the "Reformation.")
I try to level with you: not only is American Catholic life not perfect (sinless church, sinful people; we're a hospital for sinners, not a club for the self-righteous, etc.), but last Sunday our mid-sized late-Victorian exposition chapel of a parish church was only about a third filled for my Tridentine Mass. (The ice storm overnight had something to do with it. Walking outdoors, I saved my bones and my dignity by consciously doing what athletes do, keeping my center of gravity well forward of normal.) BUT... "Look who's here!" Most aren't the old whom Novus Ordo Catholics always assumed are our core. Couples in their 30s with two, three, four or more kids, a lot like Clare and her family. That plus American Catholicism's former greatness (it was so big, peaking around 1960) mean we won't fade away. But because of the recent mistakes Clare mentions, we're getting a lot smaller. We'll hit bottom with two parishes per suburban county. Upstate, the Diocese of Allentown is closing still more schools.