One of the plaintive cries I hear and read fairly often is how many Catholic youth, adults, whatever, are leaving the Church.
I realize that, for the individuals involved, this is a really imprudent decision. But I also find it quite hard to work up any real urge to moan and groan over the situation.
That's because I don't see a problem with having fewer Catholics - on paper.
But it's not the only way for Catholic parishes to keep track of who's Catholic and who's not.
Catholics in Nigeria, for example, assume that folks who come to Mass and are involved in parish activities are members of the parish: and those who don't, aren't. (July 5, 2010)
I think Catholics living in America could learn from our fellow-Catholics in Nigeria.
I also think that what we're seeing in America is what happens when bishops start insisting that Catholic churches start acting as if they're Catholic.
Catholic teachings aren't a particularly good fit with what America's dominant culture wants.
- We believe that it's wrong to kill your children
- Even if it's legal
- We even say that it's wrong to cheat on your wife
- Even if she said it's okay
About things that matter. Apart from core beliefs, we're actually pretty - well, catholic. Lower case "c." I'll get back to that.
Maybe it's time that we find out who really wants to be Catholic, and who just wants their name on the envelope list.
I do, however, remember the trailing edge of the fifties, those "Happy Days" when Americans were proud to be seen going to church.
Provided, of course, that it was the 'right' church. They were also proud to be seen:
- Going to the 'right' country club
- Driving the 'right' car
- Throwing parties at a big house in the 'right' neighborhood
I hope that, in time, folks who didn't like the flower arrangements will reconsider their decision and get back in the Bark of Peter.WordNet)
Individual Catholics may be convinced that the only 'real' music is country, or rock, or classical, or bluegrass. Or be horrified at the sight of someone eating spaghetti. We're all over the world - and not all cultures are alike, much less all people. Personal and cultural tastes will vary.
Even in a comparatively small enclave like the United States of America, we've got quite a lot of variety. Here's how I wrapped up a discussion of why I became a Catholic:
- You want rousing music?
- We got rousing music!
- You want quiet meditation?
- We got quiet meditation!
- You want ancient rites?
- We got ancient rites!
- You want polka with your Mass?
- We got polka with your Mass!
- You name it?
- We got it!
Because I understand why I believe what I believe.
Today, I think a greater percentage of Catholics can say that.
- "Becoming Catholic for Reasons, Leaving Because of Feelings"
(August 5, 2010)
- "New on the Blogroll: FOCUS, Fellowship of Catholic University Students"
(August 1, 2010)
- "Nigeria, the 'Envelope System,' and being a Parishioner"
(July 5, 2010)
- "Parish Finances at Our Lady of the Angels Church in Sauk Centre, Minnesota"
(June 1, 2010)