|Here's one of those 'silly felt banners' guaranteed to make a trad cringe. I personally like the sentiments of this one.|
One of the stories I meant to get to last week was the one about the Boy Scouts of America rejecting gay boys, scout leaders, and atheists. This decision didn't shock me at all because the Boys Scouts have skewed way to the right since it's head quarters was moved to Texas and the LDS Church and Catholic KofC became the principle funding sources. I wrote awhile back about the American Heritage Girls and their sudden rise to prominence and their designation as the girls group recognized by the Boys Scouts. I see this as a blatant attempt by conservative right wing political groups to set the 'agenda' for the indoctrination of American children in mainstream children's organizations. The Girl Scouts couldn't be bought and so they were circumvented with a new start up group, hence the AHG. The NCR covered this story and in the comments section was a very interesting exchange between a couple of orthodox folks and a handful of progressives. The following two comments from a traditional conservative are hugely instructive concerning the impasse in communication with in Catholicism and why it is so difficult for liberals to deal with conservatives and vice versa. It is difficult indeed to explain Vatican II concepts to people who don't value community or can admit their valued version of religious expression is all about their feelings and not just the presumed orthodoxy of the celebration.
This first comment is one of the clearest explanations I have ever read from a conservative which freely admits their worship and religious practice is exclusively about them--even to the point that it doesn't matter if anyone else is in attendance.
.... I do not attend Mass based on the congregation; indeed, it doesn't matter to me who is in the congregation at Mass, or even if there is a congregation. I do not attend Mass to shoot the breeze with neighbors, nor to hold hands in some false sense of togetherness at the Our Father. I attend Mass for the purpose of worshiping God, offering my prayers of thanksgiving, adoration, supplication and repentance, and being nourished by the Most Holy Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ my Savior and Lord. The presence of absence of a congregation, of other people, is entirely immaterial to me.....
In this next comment, the same person adamantly castigates the 'feel good' Vatican II Mass while utterly ignoring he uses the same language about his own experience of his beloved traditional Mass. One of the things that drives me crazy is the refusal of traditionalists to admit they have an experiential relationship with their version of the Mass. They like it because it makes them feel good.
I feel exactly the same way about Liberals...they pick and choose the teachings of the Church that they will accept, ignoring defined and definitive teachings that are to be held by all, and embracing prudential teachings that are left up to the individual conscience. Then they presume to judge others whose consciences do not accept those prudential teachings, or do not choose to implement them in the same way. (Liberals are hardly alone in the judgment arena.)
I choose the parish I attend based on the priest, to be frank. If the priest is orthodox and celebrates Mass in accord with the Church's customs and traditions; if the priest's homilies are consistent with Church teaching and dogma; if the priest is faithful to the Magisterium and faithfully hands on those teachings, then I am at home. I am not terribly interested in the make-up of the congregation; though, it has been my experience that orthodox and faithful people follow orthodox and dynamically faithful pastors. This is true of my parish; no silliness is allowed, retreats are faithful and are presented by orthodox priests, no silly felt banners to mar the sanctuary, no "feel good" songs, no guitars or bongos. Rather, perpetual adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, daily praying of the Rosary before each Mass, Tuesday evening devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help, First Friday and First Saturday devotions. The parish has a strong Ladies' Sodality, Holy Name Society, and Knights of Columbus council (to which I belong as a proud Fourth Degree Knight). There is regular confession offered (1 hour before each Mass), monthly Mass of reparation for abortion (with a very active Pro-Life committee) and a very active parish school and CCD program.
No, I do not join hands at the Pater Noster; that action has been repeatedly condemned by the Church, even no less a Liberal as Cardinal Mahoney, the retired Archbishop of Los Angeles, stated categorically that holding hands was an inappropriate gesture at the Pater. Nevertheless, many ignore this for the simple reason that they "feel" good about it (as if feelings somehow mattered in the grand scheme of things).
Thankfully, the parish I regularly attend does not engage in this liturgical abuse; neither does this parish have an army of lay extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (Communion under both kinds is only offered on solemnities and important feasts) nor does it allow the liturgical practice of girl servers. Happily, Father has put an end to these and so many other abuses since his arrival in the parish a couple of years ago.
I drive past four different Catholic parishes to attend this one and I am glad to be a part of this parish. Granted, we have our liberal parishioners as well (thankfully, they are few and far between; most attend Saturday evening Mass) and they occasionally raise an issue -- this year some objected to the multi-parish Corpus Christi procession (how anyone could object to a procession honoring Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament is beyond me, but oh well) -- but they are generally listened to and then dismissed by Father. It's good for them to appreciate how the orthodox and conservative Catholics were treated for nearly three decades after the Council.
I take great joy from the fact that the Church is returning to her roots and her tradition, that the liberal experiment in anarchy and silliness so rampant following the Council is happily coming to an end. I am pleased that in little more than 2 years, Father has purged the parish, and now it is growing dynamically. Even the parish school, which, when Father arrived was in serious danger of closing, is now thriving.
It is merely further evidence of the work of Holy Spirit alive and well in this thriving city parish.
It's not going to be easy to find common ground when conservatives are in denial about the role of emotional response in their faith journey. Especially when so much of the emotion is tied up in feelings of personal security as a bulwark against fear. I suspect the leadership of the LCWR will run into this same kind of denial in their dialogue with bishops. I have no doubt there will be allusions to the women being 'touchy feely' of the silly felt banners and 'feel good' music Catholic-lite school of things, while the men will be all about rationality, logic and the self defined righteousness of the defenders of Truth.