Several weeks ago, the pastor at my "second" parish began using his "From the Pastor's Desk" column in the Sunday Bulletin to address the issue of reverence at mass and the behavior of the congregation. Not in a chastising or nasty way at all, but in the sense of simply laying out what the proper way to behave. Each week he addresses a different topic.
Amazingly enough (at least to me) it already seems to be working. Last Sunday night, the church filled up more quietly that I ever remember. No chit-chat, no loud greetings, etc. People just filed in, prayed, and waited for mass to start. Now keep in mind that this church is usually reasonably reverent, but this was an improvement over the usual.
It makes me think about catechesis, human nature, and how to progress to ad-orientem and the TLM.
People generally WANT to behave properly. They want to fit in, and they want to understand. If a priest, ANY priest, want to lead his flock toward a more reverent, more traditional mass, given proper instruction, they will follow. Small steps, followed with plenty of guidance, and it can be done. Obviously, this will be a much tougher task in some parishes and places, but still doable. There will be bitchers, of course, but there always are. But most people will go along with it. As evidence of this I look to Father Fox, who has been doing this with his two churches in Ohio, and his gradual progression to a much more traditionally Catholic mass celebration.
I have a feeling that this latest trend that the pastor is taking is just the beginning. I still think it's a shame that the most beautiful church in the South, with the most beautiful high altar in the south, has a table-altar in front, leaving the high altar forlornly in the background. Someday... Someday...