Mass, the Musical, has its own music. It is very much a musical, and like all great musicals it must be presented with complete faithfulness to the score and script, otherwise it becomes a weak adaptation destined to play off-off-off Broadway.
The secret to a healthy parish—though no trite gnosticism is intended by the use of the term 'secret'—is not spiffy social programs or hip devotions or praise and worship music. No, the secret to a healthy parish is the simple affirmation that Jesus is Lord.
We are not lords of the Mass; Jesus is the principal actor in the Mass. So then, why do parishes continually and wrongly assume that they can play loosely with the Mass by not presenting the Propers (Introit, Offertory and Communion chants)?
Why do priests assume they can play loosely with the prayers of the Mass?
Why is music that is foreign to the Mass—remember, chant has the first place in the Mass... so saith Sacrosanctum Concilium—permitted any place in the Mass?Dear priests, stop monkeying about with the Mass and learn how to say Mass with a full knowledge of the rubrics and a competent exercise of the ars celebrandi. The Mass can be a beautiful, true and good drama. Or, if treated like a cheap B Movie, it will drive away people who find such liturgies crass, banal and insulting. Certainly, young men who want to invest in the priesthood are more inclined these days to commit to a vocation which understands and keeps the beautiful celebration of the Mass as the proper exercise of Holy Orders. The Sacrament of Holy Orders was established with Jesus' institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in the Upper Room.
Mass, the Musical, is not a drama subject to the whims of man. Mass is the action of Jesus Christ in our midst. We have an obligation to provide to the Lord the most beautiful, true and good gifts we can offer so that He may be clearly seen and heard and touched through those opportunities for encounter. Half-hearted attempts, felt banners, cheap music and tacky vestments that are common to lazy liturgy are hardly the symbols of our love and devotion that we, in our gratitude for having been rescued from sin and death should, offer to God.