Young People on Liturgical Reform

[Editor’s note: Given the interest in generational differences on liturgical reform, we thought it would be fun to ask people 35 and under what they think.]

Stephanie Budwey – Age 29 – on Liturgical Reform
Michael Wurtz CSC – Age 32 – on Liturgical Reform
Derek Olsen – Age 35 – on Liturgical Reform
Chris Ángel – Age 33 – on Liturgical Reform


  1. The students represented here…3 pursuing studies in Theology and liturgy and one who is has spent 20 years as a liturgical musician, don’t seem to really present a “man in the pews” type of view. They would seem to belong more to the “liturgical establishment”.

    I would be interested in hearing the views of some 20 and 30 year olds who simply attend church on Sundays regarding the need for liturgical reforms.

    1. Mr. Herbert seems to believe that theology students and liturgical musicians are members of a “liturgical establishment” and, consequently, disconnected from the everyday liturgical life of the Church as experienced by a “man in the pews.” Aside from the fact that I find Mr. Herbert’s terminology rather vague and opaque, I would like to caution him from assuming that theology students have no prior experience as non-degree seeking members of the worshipping assembly. In other words, they have no prior experience as “men and women in the pews.”

      Before I entered theological studies, I had a decade-long career in the United States Senate and civil service. My job allowed me only limited contact with my parish: Sunday Eucharist and singing in a contemporary choir. Many of my fellow peers in theological studies (peers of all ages) also come from diverse professional backgrounds. When we approach issues concerning the liturgy, we approach them with BOTH are present and past experiences in mind.

  2. RE: Young People on Liturgical Reform. The title of this entry is a bit misleading. At least three of the four write about going back to “pre-Vatican II days.” We’re talking reform not return, right? I think for most young people paying attention, the issue is the lack of sobriety, reverence and dignity in the liturgy. Should we look to the liturgy before the post-VII changes as a guide? Of course we should. The Catholic Church wasn’t founded or reinvented during the Second Vatican Council.

    I don’t think the pope or anyone else seriously thinks we can roll back the clock to the “good old days,” but I believe Pope Benedict’s goal of having the older form and the newer form side-by-side is liturgical continuity. One should resemble the other.

    Would my great-grandparents recognize the current liturgy as a Catholic Mass even if it wasn’t completely in Latin? I am fortunate enough to belong to a parish in which I can answer “yes” to that question, but many Catholics today might not be able to say the same. Continuity is the key issue in any reform of the reform discussion.

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