Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Catholics have an inherent love for all customs obscure and funny-looking."

Someone was just asking about the term "POD". It is listed as "Catholic blog slang" and is an acronym for "Pious and Overly Devotional". I'm not sure when it began to be used by bloggers but I know that it orginated, or so the legend goes, in US seminaries where being labelled "Pious and Overly Devotional" was one of the things that got you kicked out of the seminaries of places like Washington, Baltimore and Chicago.

I think I saw a reference to it in Michael Rose's book Good-Bye Good Men. The appellation of POD was usually assigned by one of these be-pantsuited anti-nuns with the Masters' degrees in "pastoral psychology" hired by dioceses to be the door keepers. You had to get past them to get in and to do that you had to convince them what a progressive and forward-thinking Catholic you were. Praying the Rosary every day would get you PODstamped. Praying the labyrinth was the key that opened the door.

So, POD on the Catho-blogs is one of those "take it back" kind of backlash things. If you're interested in the Restoration of all Good Things, you're POD and will probably have a very hard time in the seminary. Or the Church in general.

What's POD?

The London Oratory is POD.
The Rosary is POD.
Incense is POD.
Benediction is POD.
Kneeling to receive Communion on the tongue is POD.
Bits of dead saints in golden caskets is POD.
Deacons and subdeacons at Mass is POD.

Baroque Masses at Mass with an orchestra: POD.
Baroque Masses at a concert held in a church: not POD.

Full length womens' religious habits with a wimple and guimpe: POD
A polyester jumper and tea-towel-perched-on-the-back-of-the-head: not POD.

Fifteen decades of the Rosary: POD
"Luminous mysteries" messing up the weekly Rosary schedule: not POD.

An alb with hand made lace from knee to ankle: POD.
The De-Luxe cotton/poly blend albuble: better not even to think about it.

Liturgical new year's eve parties held on the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent: POD. (Yes, I know people who do this).
World Youth Day: not POD.

Ember Days, Maniples, Papal tiaras and flabella: POD
Popemobile: not POD.

If you jumped up and down and screamed for joy when the name "Ratzinger" was announced, you're probably POD.

If you know where on your vestments the "orphreys" and "clavi" are supposed to go, you're POD.

If you get the Granda catalogue every year, you're probably too POD for your own good.

This on POD from the Whappsters:

A while ago, I wrote: "Catholics have an inherant love for all customs obscure and funny-looking." And actually, more thought went into that than may have appeared.

Christianity claims to be one body, set apart and sanctified by the work and teaching of Christ, given to all men of all times and places, descendant from the Apostles and following their example in continuing to reach out to the world. To wit: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

"POD" things, at least the ones which are awesome because they are "obscure" and "funny-looking," express particularly, I think, the holiness and catholicity of the Church, and even hint at its apostolicity.

Our obscure traditions are obscured, usually, by the passage of time and the remoteness of the culture(s) from which they originated. Anyone who has studied the history of the old Mass knows that it is a jumble of symbols dating from many different times and many different places; as is, for that matter, clerical vestry. This very obscureness necessarily shows forth the catholicity of the Church: seeing a medieval custom continued today demands the recognition that the Church was present in the Middle Ages and, in continuity, is present today. Seeing a Gaulic or Greek or Italian symbol demands the recognition that the Church was present in that place, and now, across cultures and continents, is present here. The living obscurities of the Church witness to her character as universal, universal to all people and through all time.


Anonymous said...

I'm POD! Our parish is mostly POD! Hurray!

Anonymous said...

Went to 2 WYDs - with a couple of Oratorians even - Phew! NOT POD! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and don't forget the Bishop of Lancaster, Patrick O'Donoghue, affectionately known as .... POD!