Is there one in your parish? The children’s Liturgy seems to be quite popular in Roman Catholic parishes. Call me a fundamentalist or legalist who is over the top if you wish, but I find this Liturgy to be a little problematic and theologically incorrect. I understand the good intention behind it and the desire to come down to a child’s level in order to teach them the truths and wonder of the Liturgy but the Mass is not the appropriate place to do this.
The Mass is a prayer and its a prayer from its beginning to its end and it’s the official Mass. Removing children from this part of the Mass is essentially removing them from the greatest prayer on earth regardless of whether or not they can understand it, that’s not the point. The point is that they are being removed from the Mass and that’s a big problem. I don’t believe theologians all get together and rub their hands with evil intent to destroy the liturgy at all and I think we need to understand that their intentions are really really genuine and good but misguided I do believe, however I do believe whilst the intent is to put children first, it does indeed do them a great disservice and puts them last by depriving them of this greatest prayer on earth. It would be a bit like starting the Lord’s Prayer in your home and asking the Children to “stand outside” in the middle of this prayer and then inviting them back in again.
The children’s Liturgy also seems to be on a mission to relieve parents of their duty at Mass of keeping their children’s attention and focus and if one were to look at it politically, makes the church look like a socialist secular nanny state in which they usurp the parental role and become a crèche system so the parents can get on with “enjoying” the Mass whilst somebody else minds their kids and their children are removed from the fundamental rubrics of the Divine Liturgy.
The children’s Liturgy is a wonderful idea but not during the Mass, and I would prefer to see a course where parents are invited to come and learn about the Liturgy themselves and how to communicate that Liturgy and learning how to teach it in a childlike way to their children at home or at a gathering in the parish where all all parents and children get together to teach their children in a fun enviroment. But at the actual Mass? NO! Not the place for it I’m not afraid to say.
Jesus said to let the little children come to me so why not implement a better idea at the Mass and have children come to Holy Communion first before the adults? If we truly want children to come first and to let the world know they do indeed come first in the church, then lets do it another way because right now the children’s liturgy is putting them last and creating the image that they are a burden too hard to bear for the parents during Mass and it seems to mimic the very attitude the apostles had when Jesus quickly rebuked them for it in the Gospel. The apostles told the children to go away but Jesus wanted them to stay. Its time we stopped telling children to leave and have them stay at the Mass in the Divine Presence of the The King Our Lord Jesus Christ.