Friday, September 12, 2008

“Where the mind is perhaps rather unwilling to be convinced, it will always find something to support its doubts.”
Jane Austen

The other day I read about the group “Call to Action,” which exists to bemoan the lack of priestesses in the Catholic Church. They have gone so far as to perform their own “ordinations.” I read their literature and even watched some priestess-performed “masses” online. They are so old, and so sad! They have the pinched, haunted look of those who are always searching for something to support their mistakes, to make them true. They are a dying breed and they must see it, when they look around and see only old faces, the same faces they’ve been looking at for years, while the old, sunken-eyed academic who is Pope has the love and joyful obedience of millions.

The churches too, that continue to abuse the liturgy with liturgical dance, costumes, skits, and other tackiness are dying. Their congregations are old, the children leave as soon as they’re grown; there is nothing to hold them to the Church, having never really experienced Catholicism they don’t know what they’re leaving behind. It is sad, but its hopeful as well, because the people coming into the Church are coming for Catholicism.

There was a wave of extreme liturgical abuses after Vatican II that - despite all the issues still worrying our Church – seems at last to be on its death-bed. I am not saying that the Church is free of liturgical abuses, we need only assist at mass to hear the inappropriate add-ons: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord and each other;” to see the lack of reverence when priests forget to bow during the creed when we proclaim our belief in the Incarnation. But these are remnants the overall trend is towards the holy, the good, and the reverently celebrated mass.

This optimistic view is somewhat new to me. I look at the attendees at parish, which generally keeps within the churches norms; we are a parish of young families - families that chose the parish for its beauty, its reverence, its orthodox-leanings. They are also families who would welcome a more traditional mass and who are working slowing and respectfully to bring this about. I look at the young priests I know, intelligent, artistic, passionately faithful young men devoted to Christ, to the Blessed Virgin, and the Pope. They are men who were born and raised under John Paul II, the poet-pope who reminded them simply by existing that the priesthood is a passionate pursuit of beauty, a love-affair of eternal proportions.

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