Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Division in Catholicism

Matthew 18: 15-17
"If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be establishes on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen to even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Fr. Barron brings up a very good point in the below piece. Catholic education is dumbed down.

My own education was spotty. My mother told me that when my brother went through CCD she paid the fee for his text book/workbook. He never got one so my mother asked the church why. They said that not everyone could afford the fee so not everyone got a text book. My mother's response was "well, we paid for ours." They never asked the parents who could afford if they would chip in some money so that all the other students could receive one.

On another occasion, I was locked out of the school room by a bunch of boys. They had brought in squirt guns. I was wearing something nice for Mass because class was before one Mass and after another. They opened the door and squirted water at me. I told the teacher. Nothing happened about it.

It was those incidents and many others that led my mother to stop sending us to CCD. She felt that if the church could not discipline the children of it's own parish or use common sense when dealing with setting up classes then we shouldn't go to CCD. I ended up working on my 1st communion stuff largely from home.

Although this was the extreme, I know that Fr. Barron's statements are true. I taught confirmation and hs youth group. In our diocese we're required at one point in the year to go over abuse with the children. For the hs group I used it as an opportunity to ask questions about any sensitive topics that they wanted to ask. I put some slips out and pencils and a box so it would be anonymous and as embarrassing free as I could make it. They asked some good questions about gay marriage and birth control. None of these topics were covered in any of the texts for youth group. And apparently, the parents don't follow church teaching or they don't discuss these topics as being not appropriate and against the church.

I'm not surprised though. Many of my Catholic friends don't practice Catholicism. Their Catholics from their families and from their culture, but as I said not in practice. Many of them use birth control and don't attend Mass. The only time they come through a church door is when they get married or baptize their children. And priests know it, but they can't force them through the door.

I think part of it has to do with we dumb down our education. We don't tell children how it is and why it is. We just talk about God and Jesus and the saints in some ethereal way, but I know that many Catholic young adults are craving more. And what's worse is that unlike our Protestant brethren, we don't have any ongoing adult education classes. Once your Confirmed it's like you're supposed to know it all or seek out the answers yourself. I will correct myself here. There are some classes. Most of which meet during the day or the in the case of the Bible study class seem to be for single Catholics. I go to a mom's group that's non-denominational as a result. Taking HB to a Bible class comprised of older adults at 10:00am on a Tuesday will not do. And that's my only other option unless I shoot for a night class, cutting away from family time. I'm not the only Catholic at the mom's group. Additionally, I've done some correspondence work too.

So what does this have to do with division? Okay. I was using the above to point out that everyone is at a different point of their faith journey and do not know everything. This goes back to my point about evangelizing each other. Instead, what I've been seeing is further and further division.

In the outside world, there is this attitude of us vs. them. You are that type of Catholic or you don't do this properly. This is coming from both the conservative Catholics and from those non-practicing Catholics. I know that many of you are seeing this too. "What you don't use birth control?" or "What is that person doing? Don't they know that their supposed to be bowing? That's Jesus for goodness sakes. Be respectful." The Biblical quote above says that if you see something offensive your supposed to take the person aside and tell them what's wrong with it. And then continue on from there. Unfortunately, that's not happening. What I've been seeing is snarkiness and downright uncharitable feelings.

The thing that has boiling my blood lately has come from the internet. I love the site Mantilla with Me because it encourages people to veil but without judgment. The blog posted a link to another blog called extra-ordinary monkeys. I won't post the link; if your curious just google it. The author of MWM suggested that it was tongue in cheek. I clicked on it and about hurled my lap top across the room. There were images of children and priests being made fun of. A priest holding up his hands and the caption reads "I'm a little teapot." I contacted the author and told them that this was entirely uncharitable. How can one know if those images or videos are from Catholic churches or what those people were thinking or knew about their faith when they committed liturgical abuses? Isn't it up to the Bishops to admonish those congregations? Sadly some don't, but I suggest to just keep following Jesus's instructions.

I also told Mantilla with Me who said that perhaps it was a bit uncharitable. The administrator of Extraordinary Monkeys has since put up links to information about liturgical abuses and for the most part it has gotten a little better. The author still refers to EM as Extraordinary Monkeys and not ministers. For the record, I've EMed once. I've never been trained for it. I was asked to do it spur of the moment because it was a huge Mass and not enough EMs. I'm sure that I screwed up royally somewhere. So I wouldn't go around judging other EMs about their faux pas. If I noticed one, I would just point it out to them and let it go. I wouldn't plaster images of people on the internet and make fun of them. It's disgusting and all the more reason people shy away from the Catholic church.

Jesus taught us to follow the spirit of the law. That's why he gleaned food and healed the sick on the Sabbath and as a result royally pissed off the scribes. Are we Catholics who are trying to get more Catholics to return? Or are we Catholics who sit in judgment? Do we condemn a person for their ignorance? Or do we try and evangelize them so that they know for the future? I, for one, will not sit in judgment. If I tell a friend that BC is wrong yet they still bring it up, then they are like a Gentile that Jesus describes. They are my friend, but not my Catholic friend.


  1. You posted this at the perfect time lol. I mentioned that class on my blog right? The first day was actually yesterday and obviously I didn't get to go. Jas said they want me there, but we have to find a sitter and made it sound like that's not gonna happen. We'll see. The next one's not until Kalila's bday so we have time.

    One thing I loved about the Parish I went to in College was that it had classes like that for adults. Unfortunately it was very liberal and several abuses going on. I've heard its gotten worse but the only friend I have left there (I guess I use that loosely) wont take my calls.

    I'm glad we're setting this one up here... I really hope I can go. From what I understand its gonna be interesting because my GIL is very conservative and the aunt who's working with him is very liberal.

    Personally I went through CCD, but... neither parent was practicing. I didn't really start until college. I went to a protestant school, learned about Islam more than anything else and became more Catholic. Go figure.

    I'm kinda like you with the stuff like BC and other topics a lot of Catholics gloss over. I'm not going to say its ok with our religion... but its not my place to go after them about it. I'll let them know why I follow the teachings if they ask but its their place to make that decision. Now I'll admit I get annoyed if they badger me about it... that's more the protestants in my life though. I may have a post about that soon too... Just a feeling I get from a visit coming up.

    I've never noticed an EM doing anything wrong. Maybe I've just unobservant... or it could be because we don't have them (isn't allowed for EC's) and I haven't been to a Parish who does in a long long time lol. That site sounds awful. I don't even think I want to google it.

    I saw the mantilla site awhile back and it intrigues me... Your pushing at me on that! No just teasing, not upset... When the weather cools down I think I'm gonna start taking the kids down to the Basilica for daily Mass, have talked to Jas about it already, because I need to teach Kalila how to behave and I'm losing the battle so far. I think the diff atmosphere there will help... and I'm leaning towards easing into covering during Mass then. We'll see.

  2. I read that you were having trouble going to a class. I don't think you're the only one in that boat. Most of them at night are around dinner time. I wished they started earlier or later, but they don't.

    Most of the blog showed things that were ridiculously nit picky. There was a picture of girl altar servers and the caption read something about priests in training? Then there was one about taking the host in the hand or on the tongue. Then there was one about children holding hands and praying or singing. It was really cruel. The only thing that I saw that could be considered bad form was there was an official receiving with one hand in his pocket. But I don't know why he did that. For all we know he could have keys in his pocket that suddenly jammed into his thigh and he was moving them. The picking on the EMs is because this person desires there to be less of them. Realistically in order for that to happen we need more priests. It's the same with all the rest of it. The author also made a comment about a quincera. That's a cultural thing, not a liturgical abuse. I'm just bewildered and at worse pissed off that this person doesn't celebrate the diversity that is the Catholic church.

    As for the Mantilla thing. I hope that I don't sound pushy. I'm not trying to. It's an option not an obligation. Last Sunday I saw a woman in Mass (the first time ever) wearing a Mantilla. I about fell out of the pew. I almost ran over to say something to her, but she was clear across the church from me and this was during communion. I thought that I would go and say something afterwards. You know a word of encouragement or ask her where hers came from. But she had darted into the chapel and was praying. HB was ready to go home so I thought that I better just leave that one alone. God was encouraging me in his own way.

    The Mantilla she wore was beautiful. It was a triangle, black, with gold trim and gold flowers. Most of the ones that I see in shops are just plain so I knew she must have bought it online, made it, or it was given to her. Made me think I need to invest in something nice myself that's a little bit more obvious. My mantilla ties and is really short. I have a kid who pulls on things so I haven't pushed myself to buy a really nice one.

    But again, not pushing it. It was just nice to think that maybe this person saw me wearing mine and got brave. I really don't know. Perhaps she does this all the time.

  3. Oh I know you're not. I was just saying that in a teasing way because I feel I should be (even if it is just an option) and when I read the posts about it that pokes at my conscience. Not a bad thing at all.

    A lot of the comments I've seen about stuff like that are nitpicky too. The Quincenera one surprises me... I grew up with them and its so normal to me that I can't see what they'd complain about lol.
    The main issues there I'm in a bit of a weird spot with. I grew up with EM's and Alter Girls and in a way see them as normal... but at the same time... after 5 years or so of not having EM's and being in a place that having Alter Girls is a very recent change both have started to seem weird too. I can't imagine how to not do EM's in the Roman Church though... we've actually had to "import" (LOL) Roman Priests for some of our Masses when there's very large numbers expected (once or twice since I've been here). As for Alter Servers.. I can tell you that my husband will strongly encourage our boys to do it... our boys. If Kalila wants to he won't prevent it, but that mentality is still very strong here.

    Funny story on the "in the hand" thing. We don't do it because we receive by Intinction... So when my husband was about 10 or so he went to a Roman Mass and when they put the Host in his hand he had no clue what to do. The priest came after him and took it away! Jas was mortified and hurt.. didn't know why. Now I see several issues here, his dad should have taught him that it was gonna be different there and what to do. And he should have taken him to the priest after Mass and explained the situation. But he didn't... and he still feels bad about it, is pretty obvious. It does make what I need to do w/ our kids pretty obvious though (upside). We already plan to do Catholic school... Second grade year (and Sophmore too but diff point there) will be interesting because we'll have to explain that our kids will receive FC at our Parish instead, but... I kinda like the idea of them taking the classes both places. Plus having a mom who was Roman = them learning more about it than he did to begin with.

    Sorry drifting off topic. This would make for a good blog post but not sure I have the guts too just yet lol.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!