When I enter an American Catholic church, even the one today, I'm frankly appalled. I love little dark stone parish Churches; or gorgeous Gothic - rich, deep, warm interiors. Instead, I'm assaulted with those gaudy, porcelain "figurine" statues. It feels a bit like a nightmare. Everything is way too bright. Too many gaudy primary colors. LOL...I sound like a gay interior decorator. It has a worldly, cheap feel and look to it. I don't get a sense of holiness - I get a sense of...ummm,....yuck. It feels more like a mausoleum. Anyone ever been to the Baltimore Cathedral? That’s what I mean.
Are you referring to the Baltimore Basilica? That building was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the same guy who did the U.S. Capitol. It's neoclassical, but it's not that bad.
Nevertheless, I know what you mean. Not all Catholics, even trads, like the gaudy "Mexican religious goods store" look either.
But then there is the delivery of the Priest: perfunctory, uninspired, almost bored, as if he's merely a train conductor announcing stations and not a priest who is quite literally approaching the blessed kingdom.
I've seen this from time to time. I sang at a wedding Mass in the Tridentine use a little over a week ago, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say the priest sounded bored, the droning of the Latin at the recited parts of the rite was a little painful. This was a priest of the FSSP, so I think he should have known better than that, but.... oh, well.
Straining the best I can (and I have excellent hearing) I couldn’t hear a thing that was going on. What really bothered me, however, is that this didn’t appear to matter all that much to anyone else. No one seemed to be participating, in a responsorial manner or otherwise. Everyone seemed in their own world - even the priest. And frankly bored. The “celebration” droned on and on until suddenly everyone made a visible sign - genuflect, kneel, sign of the cross - merely out of a kind of automaton habit (rather than those visible signs being done in a mindful way.)
Why isn’t the Traditional Mass responsorial? I don’t understand why. Can someone explain this to me? The funny thing is - the complaint about post-Vatican II rites was that it became a performance, rather than a Mass. But this Traditional Mass seemed exactly like a performance - where, rather than particpating, we are there to merely listen.
I agree. Fortunately, verbal responses at the Tridentine Mass is perfectly allowable; it's just that most American trads don't seem to like it. My Gregorian schola has a hard time encouraging people to sing them at sung Mass at the local Tridentine Mass that I assist at. But ideally, everyone in the congregation sings the responses and the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei).
No wine during Communion (which, of course, I didn’t participate in) - now, this is more than I can take. LOL. I mean, nearly my whole life, I've had that taste on my tongue for an hour or so afterwards, lingering. It is connected with so much meaning for me. Moreover, I am used to hearing during Communion the following: "Bread of Heaven, Cup of Salvation," said over and over again, like a litany. It is part of my reality - and, I'm not sure I can live without it. During Communion, those words seep into me like the wine itself; after communion they echo in my mind and body; and there they linger for hours and sometimes days. I would miss that.
I feel a certain connection to the Chalice, which is part of the reason I'd like to become a deacon. So I know what you mean. Fortunately at my parish, Communion is administered by intinction (dipping the Host into the Precious Blood) while kneeling at the rood screen. Yeah, I said rood screen (there's not actually a grille, though).
So I'm pretty similar to you in aesthetic preferences, I think. But I've come to realise there are more important things to worry about. The main thing is: are we doing what Christ wants us to do? At the risk of sounding like a Protestant, I don't think Jesus really cares whether clerics wear Gothic or Roman vestments, as much as I'd like to think He does. He's going to ask whether we lived according to His teachings or not first. One of those is participating in the sacraments through the Church He established while here on earth. I believe that's the Catholic Church, and while it's pretty torturous to attend any church that's not my own, I have my marching orders, so I have to do it.