July 27, 2013 by lucieromarin
A miscellany today:
So, you know this ‘spiritual motherhood of/for priests’ business, and the way it seems odd that men are not encouraged to pray for priests as women are? All of a sudden, I remembered being given a prayer card for vocations; it was given to me by a man committed to the apostolate of praying for priests, and he was part of a worldwide organisation of men and women doing the same thing. It’s called ‘Serra’; they’ve been around for ages, and they don’t need a fancy name for what they do. (Also, ‘Motherhood’ implies ownership. ‘We support priests with prayer’ doesn’t). Vocations Office – take note.
Remember how, in the 1980s and 1990s, conservative Catholics, desperate to avoid heresy and/or liturgical abuse and/or generally being patronised by Sister Peace-and-Justice and her sacerdotal sidekick, got to Mass either by going to a different parish every week or by travelling for up to four hours to get to the same parish?
It occurred to me that this became so commonplace that we forgot it was abnormal. Catholics were once obliged to worship in their local parish churches; for all I know, the obligation still exists. But forgetting that liturgical nomadism is abnormal is part of the reason we’ve forgotten that judging the activity in the sanctuary from the pew is abnormal; it’s trained us to think that constantly seeking out ‘the best’ – based upon the extent of personal education and taste – permanently overrides the duty to seek out and practise stability. It’s also trained us to forget that there’s no such thing as a perfect parish. We started by avoiding the heresy/abuse…and ended up with people thinking they should avoid/complain about a parish because the vestments are too quaint or the pastor isn’t sufficiently educated for their tastes.
I’ve written about gyrovagues in the past, and have been quick to ascribe the habit of flitting from place to place and project to project to weaknesses in the individuals themselves. Now I wonder if the young conservatives who flit thusly are really to blame for it; after all, they grew up hearing us say, “Oh, I don’t mind travelling to get here; my own parish is awful,” or “We go to St Benildus’ to support the assistant priest – he’s so good – but the priest is a complete heretic, so we don’t go when he preaches.”
Orthogals. How much am I enjoying this blog? A lot! Somehow, it’s encouraging to visit a different-yet-similar culture and to get their take on things. I loved this, and, for different reasons, this.
I think it’s the effects of greater mobility and ever easier and quicker communication. Before the Second World War, in a lot of places it would have been even more impractical to make regular trips to parishes where one found a particular tailor-made taste. Then mass communication meant that parish reputations spread through the grapevine ever quicker.
As far as I know, “your” parish in canon law is actually a geographical designation. All the parish lists are is a central database for correspondence and donations. The only way you can change your parish is by moving; nevertheless, you may assist at Mass at any church, and now with the advent of the automobile it is even easier.
It’s the ideology of consumer capitalism at work in the world. Everyone thinks that everything is some kind of product and as consumers they should have nothing but the best because they’re “worth it”. Someone else can fill the pews at the inferior churches (or not), while the carbon footprint of gourmand consumers of religion is indistinguishable from that of consumers of any other non-local product. If only the churches had not joined so whole-heartedly in the capitalist demonisation of socialism, there might be a greater sense of the collective rather than individual good… 😉
Well, the DLP wasn’t exactly a champion of Manchester liberalism, and it took the abortion debate to end the American Catholic’s inclination to the centre left both in pulpit and pew.
But I think this sort of thing was atleast partly inevitable given the advent of the personal automobile and mass communication.