Commentary: Watered Down Catholic Faith
This morning I’ll go to mass and listen to a homily I won’t remember Tuesday. It’s a rare homily I remember for more than a few days. “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” is about all I can recall by mid-week. There are sermons in Roman Churches and the definition between sermon and homily I’m told are some finer points. A sermon is instruction about how we should be leading our lives according to the Church. A homily is a “reflection” on life. Sermons are rare and I think for obvious reasons. I believe there are people in high places who fear we’ll all get up and walk out or, and this is likely a better explanation, they no longer believe it themselves. There are Catholics for whom since they were born have learned a specific set of rules. Then when they put these into practice hellfire rains down upon them from somewhere in the hierarchy. Two examples come quickly to my mind. A teacher at a Roman Catholic school in New Jersey was jettisoned after publicly proclaiming what she had learned about marriage and sex. There is a link about her odyssey here from Crisis Magazine. A respected voice of some importance offers her prior record allowed her restoration to the classroom. Of course if she knows what’s good for her she won’t any longer rock the boat on matters otherwise not often publicly backed by Rome and her local diocese. What now is the point of religious education when there is no difference from public education? The same question is being raised in San Francisco, California but from an entirely different set of circumstances. The Archbishop wants a muscular approach to faith in parochial schools. Many politicians and parents are attacking the man of God. The assailants have bought into a 1960s hippie Jesus. “Be nice to everybody,” is the mantra of liberals across the country. In other words, we wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of our lascivious, dog dissecting, baby killing, abortion providing neighbors. As the lascivious increasingly demand we participate in dissection the Church isn’t much of a defense when it insists we pick up a scalpel and be nice.
Some years ago there was a priest working at a nice parish in Maryland and after following the rules as he learned them as a child and at seminary he was yanked from ministry for denying communion to a couple who identified themselves as living in sin. Before a funeral mass they made a point of telling the priest they were violating instruction of Holy Mother Church. His archbishop, based in Washington and a man very close to the liberal gang at MSNBC, hanged the priest out to dry. There is an old link from Glenn Beck’s the Blaze with more details here.
I’m reminded of the 2010 midterm elections when a friend and devout Catholic was running for U.S. Senate in Delaware. She was under constant fire from her opponent and the media for her traditional views. One day I contacted the office of her bishop and suggested he issue a statement about what the Church believed. A woman on the telephone balked. They must think us all stupid. “We would lose tax exempt status,” she explained. No, no, no! It’s not an endorsement of a candidate. It simply states what the Church believes is true. You see, it wasn’t just Christine O’Donnell being attacked, it was the Roman Catholic faith under assault.
I’m left with a few conclusions and none of them are nice. The old codgers making the decisions don’t quite understand modern entertainment and news media. Yes, I’m aware God wins in the end but is anyone willing to fight for Him at this moment? The laity struggle when battling both cultural rot and Rome. As this link explains we aren’t doormats!
Yesterday I drove past a couple of mega-churches (one is housed in an old big box store) and realized many of the people filling those pews once were Catholics. It may not please some but I get paid to be blunt and find nuance only leads to confusion. Just because you don’t use them after ordination doesn’t mean you remove them. If you did then it’s time to grow a new set.