Sunday, August 3, 2014

Joining the Universal Banquet

One of the stained glass windows in my parents' church included a beautifully-done image of Jesus knocking at a door: an illustration of Revelation 3:20. Today, I recognize it as very similar to Warner Sallman's "Christ at Heart’s Door."

Most of that window's glass was replaced during a major building renovation. The new glass was brighter, but I missed the old window: and still do.

It's possible that someone thought the unsubtle colors and simpler shapes would make worship seem more "relevant." "Relevance," real or imagined, was all the rage around that time.

Protestant churches, like the ones my family attended, went through liturgical ricochets in the '60s. Some rewrites of the Apostles and Nicene creeds were — odd. Meanwhile, screwball gimmicks committed 'in the spirit of Vatican II' were upsetting some Catholics.

I get nostalgic now and then: but I don't yearn for the 'good old days.' My memory's too good for that, and that's another topic.

Mass-Produced Art: Beauty and Holy Cards

(From contemporary Lithograph and Alekjds, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Miraculous Image of Adlwang, Austria (left), and Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey (right).)

The Industrial Revolution's massive economic and social changes weren't all good news, but they weren't all bad, either. When the dust settled, folks lived longer, were wealthier, and there were a lot more of us: but we're still cleaning up the mess, and that's yet another topic. Topics.

Mass production, lithography, and folks like Currier and Ives, made art available to folks who weren't the local equivalent of Lorenzo de' Medici. Some mass-produced art wasn't particularly good, from an aesthetic viewpoint: but it brought a measure of beauty within reach of a great many folks.

While Currier and Ives were producing "...Cheap and Popular Prints" in America, some European printers used the same technology to make holy cards.

Many Protestants are still skittish about "images," but holy cards have been a part of Catholic devotional life for generations. That may explain why I see so much 19th-century artwork in posts by earnest folks who don't like today's world.

I think, and hope, that folks who seem convinced that they and folks who agree with them are the only 'real' Catholics left are sincere. I'm also convinced that they're wrong.

Don't get me wrong: I'm fond of some of the 19th century's art; and am acutely aware that the world we live in needs reform.

I sympathize, a bit, with folks who warn me that I'm going to Hell — apparently because I take God's creation 'as is' — and that's almost another topic. (July 25, 2014)

Since I am in solidarity with Rome, though: I must accept what the Church teaches. That doesn't mean returning to values of the 'good old days.' I'll get back to that.

Here's what got me started on today's post:

Retiring "Cafeteria Catholic"

"I finally figured out today why I hate the term Cafeteria Catholics. Coined several decades ago at least, it means to pick and choose what you are going to believe of what the Catholic Church teaches. For example, someone may say: 'I choose to believe in the death of Jesus Christ, but I do not believe in the real presence in the Eucharist, I am not sure I believe in the resurrection and I do not believe in submission to the pope.' The cafeteria Catholic is a term referenced to going to a cafeteria where we pick and choose what we will have for lunch today....

"...Today, I finally figured it out. The problem is with the way the term is expressed. The issue is not whether or not one believes in a certain teaching, the issue is humility. When we are antagonizing people for being 'cafeteria catholics' we are judging them by the standard of what they should or should not believe. However, the problem is not in their belief, it is in their virtue. The issue is not whether or not they believe in a certain teaching, the issue is whether or not they understand the virtue of humility.

"The person who says 'I don't care what the Church teaches, I will pick and choose what I want to believe.' is someone who lacks humility. However, I may also lack humility if I condemn them instead of seeking to teach them about humility. This is the problem with the whole cafeteria Catholic term, it is not about what I believe, it is about pride verses humility...."
("It Is Time to Retire the Term 'Cafeteria Catholic'," Fr. Robert Carr, Lukewarm No More!!!! (June 25, 2014))
I recommend reading all of Fr. Carr's article. What he says about pride and humility makes sense. "Humility," by the way, isn't about smart people pretending they're stupid, or strong folks acting as if they're puny. It's acknowledging God's place in our lives. (September 1, 2013)

Instead of rehashing what Fr. Carr wrote, I'll share some reasons that I like being Catholic.

Bringing a Message of Hope and Love

More than a thousand years ago, an illustrated Bible pictured Matthew as a man, Mark as a lion, Luke as an ox, and John as an eagle.

I recognize symbols in the Book of Kells, partly because my some of my ancestors came from the same part of the world.

We know that the evangelists are human, of course. They're occasionally shown as a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle, to symbolize what aspect of my Lord their writings highlighted.

A great many folks are familiar with Christian symbols like the cross and crucifix. Others, like the staurogram, not so much: and I'm drifting off-topic.

As I've said before, the Catholic Church is ancient and literally catholic, καθολικός, universal.

I like being part of an outfit that predates my civilization's current iteration, was global before internationalism was cool, and embraces all cultures. For two millennia, we have been bringing a message of love and hope to the world. (Catechism, 758-776, 816, 1202)

Our job is not trying to drag the world back to some imagined golden age, or imposing the 'correct' kind of government or culture on everyone. We're told to work with what we have, correcting what is unjust, and supporting what is right. (Catechism, 1897-1917, 1928-1942)

Two Millennia: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Some things about Catholicism have changed over the last two millennia: like what role, if any, digital media should play in worship. (August 12, 2012)

The Code of Canon Law gets revised occasionally, which generally results in someone getting upset. I've run into folks who haven't gotten over the Council of Trent, and that's yet again another topic.

Some things haven't changed, and won't. For example, we're still told to love God, love our neighbor, and see everyone as our neighbor. (Matthew 5:43-44; Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:29-31; Luke 10:25-27, 29-37; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1822, 1825)

We're also expected to be at Mass each Sunday. This weekly worship is "at the heart of the Church's life." It's where, each week, I am with my Lord: at a "...Paschal banquet," receiving Christ in the Eucharist. (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Catechism, 1322-1405, 2174-2183)

Then there's the "wedding feast of the Lamb mentioned in Revelation 19:9. By all accounts, the Kingdom of God is not going to be boring. At all.

I've put a little background about the Eucharist and Mass at the end of this post.

I love the wonderfully rich artistic and cultural heritage of the Catholic Church, and the wisdom we've collected over the millennia. But that's not the main reason I became a Catholic.

I've been a Christian, following Jesus, for as long as I remember.

Matthew 16:18 tells us that my Lord gave Peter "the keys to the kingdom of heaven." When I found out who currently holds that authority, I didn't have much choice:
"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?'

"Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

"We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.' "
(John 6:67-69)
— and that's still another topic.

If you haven't had enough of this blog yet, there's more:

"EUCHARIST: The ritual, sacramental action of thanksgiving to God which constitutes the principal Christian liturgical celebration of and communion in the paschal mystery of Christ. The liturgical action called the Eucharist is also traditionally known as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is one of the seven sacraments of the Church; the Holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation (1322 ff.). The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life (2177). See Mass."
(Catechism, Glossary, Eucharist)

"MASS: The Eucharist or principal sacramental celebration of the Church, established by Jesus at the Last Supper, in which the mystery of our salvation through participation in the sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection of Christ is renewed and accomplished. The Mass renews the paschal sacrifice of Christ as the sacrifice offered by the Church. It is called 'Mass' (from the Latin missa) because of the 'mission' or 'sending' with which the liturgical celebration concludes (Latin: 'Ite, Missa est.') (1332; cf. 1088, 1382, 2192). See Eucharist; Paschal Mystery/Sacrifice."
(Catechism, Glossary, Mass)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.