Monday, March 26, 2007


In a recent story in "The Sun", Mary Kenyon says she was looking for a friend just like her; a mother of many children who breast-fed and home-schooled, but always seemed to find breast-feeding mothers who didn't home-school or home-schooling mothers who didn't breast feed. Her close friends however ended up being the ones who were different, accepting, and taught her to be open to others. "If I had ever met my twin friend," she said, "I probably would have found her annoyingly self-righteous."

In a similar way I sometimes daydream about being in a parish where everybody believes and thinks quite the same as I with the same taste in music and art. Such will never be the case. That is part of the richness of being the Catholic (or universal) Church - all peoples, all times, all places.

And really, that is not all that bad. I, too, as much a I hate to admit it, learn a tremendous amount from those with whom there is a differencing of opinion.

Fr. Robert Hilkert (RIP) my first pastor had to deal with a house full of priests who were just about as differently tempered as you could imagine. It is a testament to him as a pastor that we made it all those years with nobody ending up bleeding. His basic premise was that we were all priests and as long as we stayed on the Catholic playing field all was well.

The danger in identifying too closely with being liberal or conservative or whatever in the Church, is in becoming holier than she and limiting the legitimate expression of others (assuming that it is truly a legitimate option.) Rob said it well, our goal is orthodoxy - living the life that Christ calls us to in the manner it has developed within His church and as the Church allows.

That is not to say that we cannot have a vision or preferences and promote them - even strongly. Which I do. (Ask any of my friends.) But there is a big roof on this Church and it covers a lot of people with whom we are called to pray, not pray like. And sometimes that means breaking out of our private wedge of the Catholic pie. (AS PAINFUL AS THAT MAY BE AT TIMES.)
“I used to be a liberal, if liberal means concern for the other guy,” Father Groeschel said. “Now I consider myself a conservative-liberal-traditional-radical-confused person.” - (Taken completely out of context, but funny here I believe. For the scoop on what he was talking about, take a gander at the Curt Jester.)


Rob said...

-But there is a big roof on this Church and it covers a lot of people with whom we are called to pray, not pray like.-

The real trick is recognizing that one person is 'different' but within the bounds of orthodoxy while another person is different as well as being a heretic.

I am beginning to think that it is too big a job for us regular joes because theology can be so complex. If only there were some really vigorous, loud-voiced theologians to set an example for us.

Adoro te Devote said...

It's really hard to criticize people or condemn them when you are outside of church involvement.

I say this because as I was finding my way back of course I was all about orthodoxy. Certainly that has not changed, however, my understanding has changed.

I am the only "neo-Cath" involved on the RCIA team. Most of my fellow "neo-Caths" are involved more in prayer (this is a good thing), sports, and camping. I am called to a different expression of my faith and I WISH they would get more involved in the parish itself. But I digress.

Anyway, those I teach with are baby-boomers, and I even MENTIONED a Latin Mass at our parish, a one-time thing, and nearly got my head bitten off. I couldn't believe the response. Yet for all their rebellion against all things seemingly-traditional, they are faithful Catholics to the best of their understanding and I have learned a great deal from them.

I think had I stood back and simply chose to disregard them by virtue of the fact they seem more "liberal" than I, I would have missed out on a great deal.

There is an entire generation or so of people who experienced very bad catechesis, and survived in spite of it. That's God at work.

P.S. ~ I'm still trying to do my best to lesson the Social Justice - Moral Theology ratio and increase a sense of Sacred Tradition versus "Spirit of Vatican II" stuff.

We can only do what we can do! :-)