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The fate of millions of people in this war-ravaged corner of East Africa depends on an uncertain peace agreement signed this week. A former British government minister, just back from visiting refugee projects in the area, assesses the country’s prospects
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As a 21-year-old practising Catholic, I was very interested to read Joanna Moorhead’s columnon the use of music in the Mass and the possibility of engaging more young people (The Tablet, 22 March). Ms Moorhead suggests that contemporary music should be included in the Mass to make it less “boring” for teenagers. I think this does something of a disservice to young people; we do not require constant uninterrupted entertainment! I do not have to make a decision between going to church and watching television – there is no decision to be made. I don't go to church to be entertained; I have appreciated the sacramental importance of the Mass for years. We should be careful not to underestimate the faith and understanding of children and teenagers.
Ms Moorhead also suggests that there should be more Masses led largely by teenagers. For some young people, their faith does indeed inspire them to play an active part in the Mass. For others, the teenage years are their shyest and most insecure years, so it would not be appropriate. I have been fortunate to have enough confidence to contribute to the Mass (which I have done of my own accord - I did not need to be sought out). I have been a reader and part of music groups since the age of 14. I continue to be a part of the music group at our university Mass. We play traditional hymns every week, and there is always an impressive turnout of students. Young people do not need to have faith sold to them through contemporary music. For us, as for everyone else, faith is a matter of substance and not of style.
Megan Allen, Newton Abbot, Devon
I try to dodge all forms of muzak but one cannot avoid it in this unpleasantly commercial world and the services too have become low brow, with dreadful translations to boot. Despite three weekend Masses (lucky us!) there is never a low Mass without the intrusion of any form of organ noise, singing or folk type noise. Oh for peace in church. In Belgium I did find some respite one holiday when a brass band played. It was quite pleasant. Thus I am not completely intolerant but a degree of choice for some poor souls is not too much to ask for, surely.
Harold Morris, Newark, Notts