Saturday, September 03, 2011

Thank you, Pope Benedict!

Recently the Holy Father made some strong comments about the generations of cradle Catholics who didn't evangelize.. Except for Fr. Z., the response in most Catholic blogs both liberal and conservative was silence. On Fr. Z's blog there were quite a few huffy "He doesn't mean me," comments. It's easy to jeer other people's ugliness but it hurts like hell when you realize that you aren't so cute yourself. And this issue isn't esoteric. It's not a matter of two guys arguing over how much lace on an alb is too much, it isn't a matter of mocking  the show off cantor for her horrible music. The pope's comments stung because it's many of us, the pewsitters that are in the wrong.

I know of one old couple who have two children.  One had his kids baptized and hasn't set foot in a church since. His parents are afraid to say anything to him. The other child got married in the Church, attends Mass but is against many Church teachings.  The parents again, are too afraid to say anything. Many decent parents tried to raise their children in the Faith in the 70s and 80s but they were back-stabbed by the prevailing culture, the weakness of the religious education in their own parishes, the liberalism and feminism of their nuns, and the wishy washiness of their priests. I feel sorry for those people.

I have no pity however, for the people that the Pope was really talking about. We've had a problem with people who wanted their parishes to be  private ethnic or social class clubs. Years ago Rocky and I visited Our Lady of Hope in Potomac Falls and while the pastor was pleasant, and the church is beautiful, the parishioners were not either one of these traits. We encountered surprising rudeness and won't go back.  I know of a church in Baltimore that has security guards. This is partially because the neighborhood is so bad it's like something out of a gangsta rap video and partially because the parishioners refused to have anything to do with the black people who moved into the neighborhood in the late 60s.  They do make an effort to welcome everyone now and it's a joy to visit  but the damage was done. Just think, if Catholics at that parish had not ignored the changing populations that neighborhood might not be the pest hole it is now.
And the Church has had a problem with another large group of  people: the sophisticates who downplayed their Catholicism to fit in with the crowd. "Well yeah, I'm Catholic," they say with a blush of shame, "But it's not a big deal." They kept their Faith so down low that it became like a forgotten prisoner in a dungeon. One famous person who fit into this group was JFK but we've all seen folks like this: The Catholic woman who's obsessed with the homosexual subculture and is the token straight female at all her friend's gatherings. She's also the one who's forever asking where all the marriageable men are. If you tell her that straight men don't go where she and her friends go she'll have none of it.  We've all seen and heard the Catholic casual fornicator who brags to one and all  about his weekend adventures every Monday morning, there's the rosary as a necklace wearing chick who won't eat meat but thinks abortion is okay. We've all seen these people and so have the atheist, the unchurched, and the Protestants who nod and think 'hypocrite,' as they turn and walk away, maybe forever.  So many of us are unaware that all eyes really are on us and what we do and don't do reflects on the Faith. 

God bless Pope Benedict.