Monday, August 20, 2012

Tired of the Conflict Between Catholics

Spiritual Consumers by Matthew Cantirino

One of my mom's friends had recounted to my mother how a priest had admonished people for being picky and choosey as to which Masses they attended.

It can be rather easy to do some amateur "psychologizing" about groups of people, in order to draw some sort of moral point. I've done it as well. But it has to be couched in terms of hypotheticals; and is it really that helpful for the intended audience? It can easily degenerate into condemnation of the "other." But it does get boring, whether it be from the right or the left, when there is a failure to grasp reality and the nature of the problem. Are both just different forms of Americanism? Do older, "left-leaning" Catholics really think institutionally? Or is their comfort level first and foremost?

Mr. Cantirino writes:
This is anecdotal, but virtually all of the youngish (say, under-35) orthodox Catholics I know, for example, don’t attend Mass at their local parish. They’ll travel long distances–sometimes, clear across cities–to certain “special” chapels or “traditionalist parishes” or order houses where a dynamic priest keeps them coming back. In many ways this is highly commendable: That someone is willing to take significant additional time out of their day to commute to church signifies a deep commitment to the liturgy and an impressive grasp of its importance. And it’s a sympathetic dilemma: Certainly, young people don’t do this to spite their canon-law pastor, but they do often find the services on offer in their bailiwick in some sense impoverished, or the preaching theologically wayward, or the architecture grossly midcentury, and for the good of their spiritual health decide they can and must find a home elsewhere.

But should this be the end goal? Might it be fruitful to encourage a way of thinking that emphasizes not only the individual’s conscious embrace of orthodoxy (key though individual response has always been in Catholicism), but which also sees this commitment as eventually settling, becoming the norm, and integrating itself into the existing framework rather than subsisting outside of or in a subculture of it? This, then, would seem to be an emerging challenge for the “movement” back towards orthodoxy. We’ve become, maybe by accident, accustomed to a sort of “remnant” mindset rather than an institutional one, to prophetic denunciations from without but with not enough “working within.” So perhaps it’s time for “self-conscious” young Catholics to start seeing themselves less as dissidents and “choosers” and more simply as part of the future of the Church, and begin working out what that means.

Traddies and conservative Catholics may put a premium on orthodoxy and good liturgical praxis and sometimes, their ability to live as a community suffers since they have to travel over long distances to their church. Many may be ignorant that this is not the idea, but even if they are aware of the problem, when looking to the good of their family, a strong parish life may not compare. Sure, some may have a mindset which is opposed to an awareness of communion with those who are ignorant. But should the burden be on them or on the priests and ultimately the bishop of the local Church?

Commonweal and the like belong to the past, even if that crowd may feel good at the moment because a SWPL Democrat occupies the White House, because it is tied to a dying, unsustainable political economy. How many go beyond an easy, painless progressivism to make real sacrifices for others that is in accordance with the order of charity (rather than following their own notions of victim classes and the "preferential option")?
Not a “Swerve,” but a “Slouch” by Anthony Esolen
Modern atheists may think they’ve found an ally in ancient Epicureanism. They’re quite mistaken.

Feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 20 August

On the Love of God