The Catholic church needs to dumb it down a little. Just a little. Okay, maybe a lot.
As much as I love the Mass and some of the tradition that goes along with it, the Vatican II Council made a big mistake when it opted for the vernacular to bring the Mass to the people. It should also have offered explanations.
Explanations for the readings prior to each reading, so that people would know what the readings were really about.
Take this Sunday’s second reading, from Paul to the Romans. On a difficulty scale of one to ten this reading is a twelve, with a sentence structure so foreign (read: ungrammatical) that it is impossible to decipher by just listening to it. The congregation’s eyes collectively glazed over. I should know. I was the lector reading it to them, and I studied it hard to get the inflection and oratory as meaningful as possible.
So what was the point? It would only take an additional 60 seconds to provide an explanation of the context and meaning of the reading so that the congregation would more fully grasp what the reading was about. I wanted to do this; our priest basically (but nicely) said no.
And before chiding me by claiming that if one really wanted to get more out of the reading that they would study it beforehand, I say that obligations aside, the Church teaches us to be all-embracing, not elitist. There are many, myself included, who need and want an explanation of the more difficult passages of the Bible, and Paul’s letters happen to be almost entirely of that nature.
If the Church is going to continue feeding us snippets, it needs to provide us with context for that snippet. Otherwise, we won’t fully appreciate the meaning.