- Dear Lord! This is the sexiest congregation in NYC. While it may seem sacrilegious to say it, the 7 p.m. Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Nolita is as sexy as church gets. The always-packed service has been drawing attractive young professionals since Old St. Pat’s added the evening liturgy six years ago. “There’s a cachet of cool. A lot of people have remarked to me about it particularly being a good-looking Mass,” says Ciolli, 37, who works in admissions at Fordham but looks like he was plucked from a Ralph Lauren ad. “It’s a good-looking bunch,” says Ashley Marchetta, a 28-year-old congregant with a career in finance. “You know you are going to see people you might want to get to know.” In fact, she’s even dated some of her fellow churchgoers. “Beyond that, being able to be around people with like-minded values is refreshing,” Marchetta adds.
Anyway. First off, of course beautiful women are wonderful (but lay off the compliments; they take them for granted). Evening Masses have been an option since Pius XII; sometimes I go to a Saturday-night Tridentine Mass in New Jersey. So an evening Mass where attractive singles meet is in itself great. High-church it or make it traditional to make it even better.
Now, what's wrong with it. This being a mainstream newspaper article, it's big on tiresome stuff such as the mention of how nice Pope Francis is, because he seems to prefer the ruling liberals to the church, and how clergy should pepper sermons with pop culture, which I'd think smart "young professionals" would find condescending, like a "teen Mass." It's OK but only up to a point. I mean, mainliners and I think evangelicals joke about how it doesn't really work. (By the way, the ruling American liberalism is repackaged New England Congregationalism, Presbyterianism's English cousin.)
When I was young, decades ago, I actually found a liberal high-church Catholic parish in America, in a city of course. Boomer/yuppie Catholicism by people with taste who got along well in mainstream society. Tempting. Of course that's not good Catholicism. It's imitating Episcopalianism in the wrong way. Figured that out soon enough and no, nothing bad happened to me there. It's not really a parish, where neighborhood Catholics, for example, go for the good of their souls; it's a private club (albeit one you can join), a boutique for "my set," bourgeois liberal culture congratulating itself. We have cultural (national) parishes, even separate rites with their own dioceses (the various Eastern Catholics), but this is different, dangerous.
As the American Catholic Church recovers from the mistake of Vatican II (I accept the strict-constructionist reading of the council), as those who don't believe drop out, as the old liberals die, and as the remaining young at church want more and more traditional things, this "sexy Mass" has potential. But be careful.