Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You can't make it up

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."



Anonymous said...

Dear Hilary (if I may…). I’ve read your blog since you were living in England, 99% of the time without commenting, and even then not for some years. However, having read your most recent post I wish to ask your advice. The ‘American Catholic Future’ report you supplied clarified my thoughts – but not in a good way. In fact, it and all the comments thereon, which I also read, have carried me to within a few percentage points of apostasy, and your case for the pub on Sunday mornings instead seems the preferable alternative and only honest road ahead. Likewise, the state of the Church in England leads me to think that, actually, ‘they don’t really believe it’. In which case, why should I? Yet I don’t want to abandon decades of faith. Any suggestions please? Or should I just take what now seems the only honest course? By the by, thanks for all those years of reading, and permitting me to be along for your journey. Regards JW.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

JW: the only reason to believe something is that it is true, not that someone else believes it. If all the world decided to believe that water flows uphill, this would have no bearing on which direction the stream goes.

I wanted to know what was really true, so, reasoning that Catholicism is the only religion in the world that is completely comprehensive, and that some of the smartest, holiest and bravest people in human history believed it, I decided to examine what it had to say for itself. I started when I was 17, examining from original sources (official doctrinal documents, popes, saints, Doctors and Fathers of the Church) what the Church actually taught about every single thing. As I went along, I came to understand that the one attribute of Catholic doctrine that stood out was its integrity: no part of anything it taught contradicted any other part. From this study, I developed a kind of formula for determining whether a thing was true: "It does not contradict itself. It does not contradict the observable facts. It does not contradict any other thing that derives from it logically." If these three criteria are met, a thing is very likely to be reliably factual.

After 12 years of very disorganised but determined investigation, mainly conducted in public and university libraries, at the age of 29, the last domino fell, and I realised that there was nothing in Catholic teaching that contradicted anything else in Catholic teaching; everything in Catholic teaching was in perfect conformity and harmony with the externally observable phenomena; everything that came from Catholic teaching, the moral law, ethics, politics, etc. was also in conformity and harmony with the observable phenomena. Therefore, everything in Catholic teaching was true. After that fact became clear, it ceased to matter a whit what anyone else did or did not do.

I would recommend a course of instruction from primary sources.

I would also recommend an immediate cessation of whining. Find out what is true. Nothing else matters.

A Daughter of Mary said...

Thanks for this sane description of the course to follow. You are correct: it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Even at the highest levels we find believers who have not only ceased to believe (which would be sad enough), but have substituted a false belief and are teaching that.

If I strengthen MY faith by prayer for a deeper Faith I will be taught by Our Dear Lord Himself as He is Truth. I feel such a sense of relief when I read words like yours. That sense means that I no longer obsess over what Francis, or Kasper, or Marx or Dolan, or my cowardly local bishop does. And I can't care what my government does either (you know what I mean…). I care and will pray for the FAITHFUL: that they will be strengthened. This is my humble version of the Benedict Option. My parish, my priest, my fellow parishioners, my faithful friends - there is enough there to take me out of myself and my angst and into helping to save the Remnant. This is the only real good work I can do now - "Will there be faith in the world when The Son of Man returns?"

Love your blog. Thanks, Barbara

geoff kiernan said...

That fool priest.... He must look back on this effort and hang his head in shame and embarrassment. Ditto for the blue rinse set and their 70+ year old teenage husbands...