I got to thinking about this because the more I troll the Catholic blogosphere, the more complaints I hear about the Mass post-Vatican II. How horrible it is to have female alter servers, how there are too many Eucharistic ministers, how terrible the NAB translation is, and especially how trite, banal, and soul-crushingly bad the music is. Lately, I've been seeing the Mass through their eyes and they are right. I have no knowledge of what the Church was like before Vatican II. My mother was a little girl when the changes happened. I, myself, was born under John Paul the Great. But I have grown up in this Church. I have heard the same readings and sang the same songs all my life. I know all the words to most of the songs in the Glory and Praise hymnal. I've always held hands during the Our Father and served as an alter server until I was into college.We don't call it Holy Mother Church for nothing, Catholicism does have a lot of the peculiar dynamics of a family, one of them being that (at least for me) I feel at liberty to complain about things like liturgy, yet get all defensive when I hear the same criticisms from people who aren't Catholic.
The complaints against the Mass feel like attacks on my tradition. It forces me to look at my Church and feel ashamed of it. When my husband finally started to go to Mass with me, I felt that I had to apologize a lot of the liturgy. But I love the Church, and it hurts when people don't see her beauty and love her like family. I know that "Ashes" is a dumb song, but I have to sing it for it to feel like Ash Wednesday.
Additionally, I think there's a danger for those of us who complain about liturgy to get too caught up in the details and find almost every liturgy an occasion of sin. On the one hand, a liturgy that properly follows the rubrics and reflections the underlying action of the mass with sight and sound is a powerful tool for evangelization. On the other hand, the best mass is the one you're at. No degree of abstract love for the mass can make up for being tiresome to be around at every particular mass you attend.
Ah the difficulties of the golden mean...