A church refreshed: A dispatch from an American Catholic future.
"Song leader Sophia Santiago stood to the right of the altar of St. Gertrude Church in Chicago and invited those in the crowded pews and in folding chairs to greet their neighbors. 'All are welcome,' she proclaimed.
"To the simple notes of a single piano, the parish choir and the congregation sang a sweet, lilting version of "Come to the Water" as liturgical dancers, altar servers, ministers of the word, parish chancellor Emma Okere and pastor Fr. Antonio Fitzgerald processed up the center aisle. The song filled the soaring interior of the 131-year-old structure. On a banner high behind the altar, in large, easily readable lettering, was a quotation from Pope Francis: 'Who am I to judge?'
"This was one of thousands of celebrations across the globe marking 50 years of rejuvenation and renewal dating from the election of Pope Francis in 2013, popularly called 'refreshment of the faith.'"
At first I thought it was a parody, and then I noticed that it was NCR, and had to laugh. These are the people forever locked in the bleak mid-winter of 1978. Patrick Reardon, apparently stung a little by the fact that the commbox instantly filled up with real Catholics laughing at him, instead of the usual NCR crowd of the greying-dreadlocked, said that he doesn't see what's wrong with it, the Chicago archdiocese, after all, is going broke and there's no one in the pews.
How it has managed, all through the last five decades, to fail to cross the minds of these people that it is precisely the kind of feminized marshmallow rubbish they have offered that has driven Catholics out of their Churches. Think about it for a second, Pat. What is the average age of the only people left in the world who still go to stuff like this?
Need some help working it out?
Good thing we got iPhones and Youtube, huh?
I've never been able to understand the inability of these ambered 70s "progressives" to see the evidence right in front of their faces. The polyester pant-suited anti-nuns who keep pouring more money into newer and shinier "formation programmes" for their orders, concocted by the very most up-to-date psychological experts, and who can't understand why no one comes. The Patrick Reardons who are incapable of seeing the plain fact that the parishes (the ones that are allowed to flourish without being stamped out by their so very loving and merciful bishops) that have retained even a modicum of traditional Catholicity are jammed with people, (young people, mostly married and often crawling with babies).
Dude, the reason the AD of Chi is broke, the reason there's no one in the pews, is because of this crap. The thing is, and obviously I'm not alone here, if you want me to get out of bed on a Sunday morning for this ridiculous chick-centered, nursery-school nanny-fest - and you've already abolished all the moral law - why shouldn't I go to the pub instead? I'll get a lot better music, there's beer and it'll be more fun, and I don't have to get out of bed before noon. And I don't have to be lectured on my failure to comply by a pinch-faced, beta-male feminist in a chasuble.
If all it's about is friendly warmth and "welcome" and togetherness, as Flannery O'Connor is rumoured to have said, "then to hell with it."