Friday, December 18, 2015

A Response to an Article on Fast Food Faith


I really enjoy reading articles, and then responding to them. It's like my bread and butter.

Today, an article hit the National Catholic Register titled Have You Developed a Fast Food Faith?

It was a nice article, but it brought up some feels in me that I figured I would shout into the void that is the Catholic Blogosphere.


The article, typed up by Carrie Gress, jumped right in by bemoaning the fact that the Catholic Blogosphere is bogged down in people hating on our traditions.

An article talks about mantillas? People freak out that we're heading back into the dark days of oppression.

An article suggests that we learn our basic Catholic prayers in Latin? Everyone says to slow it down there, Grandpa.

I get it. I understand it. I've seen it.

There is definitely a segment of Catholics out there who aren't interested in anything that happened before Vatican II (in their eyes), and who want to keep the Church "moving forward rather than backward."

First, though, I'd like to point out that there isn't anything wrong with that. 

Bemoaning those who bemoan the "good ol' days," surely isn't the way to evangelize those folks to the potential benefits of some of the Church's older traditions. It surely isn't the way that Pope Francis is working to get butts back in the pews.

And, it shouldn't be the way we do it, either.

Next up in the article, however, is the SMH moment for me (that's "shaking my head," for all you pre-Vatican II folks out there).

The article states that the Church knows how to make us holy, and rather than just wanting to look back on the Church's previous practices for the sake of looking back on the Church's previous practices, the author of the article insists that looking back is meant as a way of growing in holiness.

Okay...first off, duh. There is obviously a ton of stuff from before 1960 that can help us grown in holiness. 

I don't think anyone is disputing that.

Second, if the Church knows how to make us holy, as the article stated, why would the current Church be any worse at making us holy than the Church from before 1960?

If the Church has decided to do things like use the vernacular language more in Mass, ease the pre-Mass fast, move Holy Days to Sunday rather than making us rush home from work on a Thursday to celebrate the Ascension (all of which she complains about toward the end of the article), why would we assume that these things were done solely for the reason of making life easier on us? 

Making our faith more like fast food, as the author suggests?

How can you hold the idea that the Church is really good at making us holy, and then assert that She made all these changes which ended up making us less holy?

I know we Catholic are good at the both/and, but come on!

Have you ever stopped for a moment to consider that these changes actually help people become more holy? 

Have you ever considered that decreasing the use of Latin in Mass doesn't actually make the Mass any less holy or reverent, but opens it up for many (especially non-Catholics) to see the beauty of the Mass in a whole new way? 

Have you ever considered that moving the Holy Days to Sunday makes a whole heck of a lot of people able to get to Mass instead of missing Mass and potentially engaging in a mortal sin that hurts their relationship to Jesus? 

Have you ever considered that we're just really hungry before Mass, and having that long fast made us all more prone to sin and temptation?

The closing line in the article is quite true: "People are starved for spiritual nourishment..."

However, pushing people into a holiness that you prefer over another path is not the answer.

The idea that people who like the "changes" made by the Church since the 1960s are less holy, less reverent, or less Catholic is a dangerous one. 

And if we're prone to carrying around such an idea, maybe we need to stop, take a step back, and reassess where we're headed on our path to holiness.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't read the original article because I prefer your take on things! But I wonder if all of these changes aren't simply concessions to "how we live" and "keeping up with society's expectations"?

    Part of the appeal of pre-Vatican II might be that it was a simpler time where you didn't have today's pressures distracting you from what the Church asked of you (there were still pressures, but we didn't have as many channels and hobbies and non-Church outlets/entertainment as we do now).

    Personally, I'm trying to remove the influence of the world to make more room for church stuff (AKA don't stay out so late Saturday so that it's not a pain to wake up early enough to eat before 9AM mass, don't work 50 hour weeks which make it hard to go to a 7pm mass when it comes up).

    Obviously I don't want to discount the struggle that is living and coordinating schedules with working parents and kids, but I think there's something to be said for choosing to be a little less secular and a little more Church-first.

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