A family member called the other night, shaken by a recent exchange with a stranger in an airport. This relative was raised Catholic, loves his Catholicism, but chooses to attend a Presbyterian church out of love for his wife and respect for her religious traditions. When he mentioned that he was returning home for his daughter’s confirmation to the airport stranger, the stranger asked with interest if he was Catholic. “Actually,” my relative replied, “we go to a Presbyterian church.” The stranger scoffed. “Oh, I get it,” he said, “you go to fake church.” He went on to belittle my relative’s choice to worship with his wife and daughters and to openly deride and insult their Presbyterian tradition.
“What should I have said?” my relative asked me. “I was so upset, I couldn’t think of anything.” At first, so was I. Admittedly, my usual approach to belligerent, triumphal people is not to approach them at all. But sometimes they find us, and when they do, it’s good to keep a few ideas in mind. Continue reading “A Christ the King appeal for religious sensitivity”
“Brothers and sisters: In this instruction I do not praise the fact that your meetings are doing more harm than good.” (1 Cor. 11:17)
I have always loved the first reading for Mass today, from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. First, it demonstrates Paul’s fiery spirit; one can hear the passion of the Apostle to the Gentiles coming through clearly (maybe a little too clearly for those whose behavior he speaks against).
Secondly, and more importantly for me, he’s fired up about the liturgy, about getting the way we do liturgy right. I think of this passage, and hope I’m standing with St. Paul when I advocate for or against some seemingly insignificant liturgical observance or practice. Too often, eyes glaze in response. “Surely it doesn’t matter that much,” many argue. “If our hearts are in the right place, if we’re participating with gusto, who cares about the details?”
This is an argument I’ve heard a lot lately with regard to the music we use in liturgy. Why can’t we sing more songs from this or that Christian radio station, or from this or than experience of charismatic youth camp? The young folks love them! And isn’t that the point, to evangelize? To engage the youth, to get them excited about Mass? Continue reading “Now Is the Time”