10 March 2007

Revert revulsion

I came to the church as a teenager. My mother loaned me her Manual of Prayers (ca. 1923) and that was that. I could not rest until I became a true member of the Catholic Church. I still have the book and cherish it. It was an excellent catechesis. Like most hand missals, it has the English translation of the Latin prayers. It explains what happens during each of the Sacraments, the meaning of the gestures, etc.

However, that was in 1970. I had no sooner got settled into the practice of my faith than the mutinous children of the Council started scheming to throw me, and those like me, overboard from the Barque of Peter, in much the same way as Ric and Rac were laying for Bébé in The Ship of Fools.

Eventually, they won. I cannot make myself set foot into an AmChurch parish any more. It's not good for my soul. I've had to "detach in love" from Mother Church. She's been on a bit of a bender, and has put forth one Roger Mahony as my putative spiritual father. I'll have none of it.

Philip Blosser writes feelingly about those like me:

When these souls discover the truth about the Catholic Church, they fall in love with her. They are thrilled when they finally come, at least on some level, to apprehend the Catholic vision of the Church and to see and and understand her glory -- "ever ancient, ever new." They love the Church that spans the ages, the
Church of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Newman, Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict XVI. They love the moral courage of the Church, which stands like an adamantine bulwark against the evils of abortion, pornography, and relativism. They love the magnificent beauty of her ancient European cathedrals, her basilicas, her paintings and sculptures, her Gregorian chant and polyphony (readily accessible in any music store). They love her theology, which they encounter in the writings of great doctors and theologians of the Church. They love her incarnational vision of life, which they encounter in the writings of numerous Catholic novelists.

But then they join a local Catholic parish ...

He ends with, "I worry whether, one day, one of these students who gets fired up and converts to Catholicism will want to take me to court and sue me -- or the Church, for that matter -- for dishonesty in advertising." Heh.

I do not darken the door of the local parish, which I'm sure is fine with them... can't have people wandering around who want to kneel to pray, after all. The Salvation Army gets my donations, because I can trust them to use it to help the poor and needy.

I am not proud about this. I am grieved and wounded and angry. I'm immune to well-meaning pleas to come back to the Church, fix it from the inside, be charitable, etc. & so forth. It doesn't work. Whether it's an alcoholic determined to have her own way, or an organization which insists on abusing its charges, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, I'm not required to participate. The Church gives me the right to use my informed conscience. It tells me to stay well away for now.

1 comment:

ukok said...

And yet the local Catholic parish is not what one joins, instead one joins the universal Catholic Church. Yes, individual experiences matter, but they should never prevent a Catholic from fulfilling their obligation to worship once a week (Sunday).

After all, there are 168 hours in a week....1 hour out of that really isn't going to kill a person and there is never an obligation to worship at a particular parish if one's experiences are such that doing so causes one emotional trauma or heightened upset.

All the things that were ever beautiful about Catholicism, remain beautiful...one just needs to get past the 'human element' that can occassionally, regrettably impinge on this. But nothing, nothing at all, should prevent one from embracing their Catholicity.

It is, after all, about more than mere feelings. God doen't call us to him, to his holy church and then say 'come when you feel like'....or, 'come when you aren't annoyed with this or that aspect of your parish community/priest'....he simply says 'come'...

God Bless