"Let us say to the immigrant not that we hope he will learn English, but that he has got to learn it. Let the immigrant who does not learn it go back. He has got to consider the interest of the United States or he should not stay here. He must be made to see that his opportunities in this country depend upon his knowing English and observing American standards. The employer cannot be permitted to regard him only as an industrial asset.
"We must in every way possible encourage the immigrant to rise, help him up, give him a chance to help himself. If we try to carry him he may well prove not well worth carrying. We must in turn insist upon his showing the same standard of fealty to this country and to join with us in raising the level of our common American citizenship."and
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here does in good faith become an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with every one else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed or birthplace or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American and nothing but an American.
"If he tries to keep segregated with men of his own origin and separated from the rest of America, then he isn't doing his part as an American.
"We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, and American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house; and we have room for but one soul [sic] loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people."
Source: SnopesA copy of this letter, obtained from the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress, can be viewed here.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Hat tip to the Lair of the Catholic Caveman (thanks, Vir Speluncae Catholicus!) for letting us know about the video below. It highlights the cold-hearted (and misnamed) Joy Behar discussing the controversial Super Bowl ad which will show college football Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, and his mother. The ad is sponsored by Focus on the Family and reveals that Tim's mother, experiencing a difficult pregnancy, was encouraged by her doctor to abort the baby, which ended up becoming one of the greatest college quarterbacks and the first sophomore to win the coveted Heisman. (Image by Miralle/Getty)
Here is how the reasoning works: If the person escaped abortion but ended up becoming a pedophile rapist, then the mother obviously didn't make such a great decision. It just was lucky her son became one of the country's most talented football players.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
A parent's attitude and consistent training of their children cannot be overestimated. Parents are preparing their children for their future and those who are wise will help their children overcome obstacles and learn how to handle failure and disappointment. Both of Sarah's parents did this. But what has struck me is the depth of faith Sarah has cultivated in her life, even recently admitting in an interview with Glenn Beck, “There is nothing more important in my life than my relationship with God and my faith.” She added:
“In this past year especially -- past year and a half -- I have been so driven to my knees to pray for His guidance, for His wisdom, for His grace and for His Strength.”
The former Alaska governor called on fellow Americans to embrace Christianity, while pointing out its importance to America's foundation. “I sure would like to see more Americans give it a try,” she said, “and seek the guidance that our Founding Fathers sought and were able to [then] craft documents that allowed America to become the greatest, strongest, healthiest, most prosperous nation on earth.”
“I believe that there are eternal ramifications based on what we do here,” she said, further. “It allows me to know that what I do, it's not about me, it's not even about my children's future; it's longer lasting than that.”Sarah Palin: Relationship with God is Most Important
I remember when I started working in my new job, my boss made a few negative comments about Sarah Palin. He said he just didn't like anyone who was a "Creationist." (He is a die-hard "Evolutionist.") I quickly said, "Can you be both?" It seemed to take him by surprise and he impatiently shrugged his shoulders, saying, "I guess." But I could tell the thought of Sarah Palin bothered him.
Since then, it has astounded me the level of hatred aimed at this woman. It's not that people just disagree with her. They loathe her with a vengeance that borders on psychosis. I've been intrigued and like many others, have developed my own theories. One is that leftists (especially radical leftist women) often seem to hate a conservative woman - especially a beautiful conservative woman. (Some radical feminists have been known to attack beauty as a tool of oppression. Yes, really.)
I chalk all of that negativity as pure jealousy. Sarah Palin was a high-school athelete and an avid runner. She's worked hard to keep herself fit. But instead of lauding such dedication (as the press often does with Obama's exercise regime), she gets bashed.
Many people point to Sarah Palin's relinquishing of her Governor's seat as proof that she's not cut out to be the President. First, I doubt she'll be tapped by the GOP for the position. (She simply isn't a blue-blood, country club type.) However, even before that she was "dumb," "ill-informed," "lacks political mojo," etc., etc. Even when she proved her knowledge on energy or her "take-no-prisoners" approach to Big Oil, it was shuffled under the rug as though it didn't matter.
I've been around enough devout Christians to recognize a serious contender for the faith when I see one. Palin is the real deal. In my opinion, only someone who has died to their own sense of self and embraced Christ, could enter into the highly competitive arena of politics and not be beholden to the political power machine. Someone has to have a rock-solid inner fortitude to do it and Sarah has done it.
Which brings me back to my ponder: Could it be that Sarah's faith in God is the true reason some people hate her with a passion? She isn't courting anyone's opinion. Her point of reference isn't The New York Times, Katie Couric, Chris Matthews, Andrew Sullivan, Joy Behar, or Oprah. It's God. She doesn't try to manipulate the press to her advantage because she isn't trying to connect to the press first. She's focused on connecting with the electorate.
Another accusation I've heard is that Palin doesn't "sound professional." They're absolutely right. She doesn't sound like a smooth-talking snake-oil salesman. She doesn't try to prove herself as the smartest person in the room. (And I know her detractors would say that would be impossible, anyway...) In fact, she doesn't come across to me as trying to "prove" anything except that she loves God, her family, and her country. It's a refreshingly simple approach to life that in reality was the backbone of building this country centuries ago. In fact, Sarah's approach hearkens back to the pre-politically correct days when people weren't so much focused on who they offended but rather, who they loved. And those of us who are Christian know what happens when people make love their aim. You get clobbered.
We live in a world that is increasingly hostile to faith, especially if that faith excludes anyone. Sarah Palin's faith is as much a part of her as her skin. She walks with the humility and grace that only a woman who has consistently been on her knees can exemplify. Those who have an irrational hatred toward her need to step back and ask themselves this question.
If Sarah Palin was not a Christian and did not publicly express her faith, would you hate her as much?
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Okay, let’s grant Cameron this: Everyone’s entitled to his own definition of what is and is not anti-American. You can set the bar wherever you want. Why? Because thanks to the military Cameron smeared in his blockbuster where around the world, and maybe for the first time, audiences are wildly cheering the death of American Marines (NOTE to leftist hair-splitters: former Marines), this is a free country. As far as my personal definition of anti-Amer– wait.What? What did Cameron say…?What is this supposed to mean?“I’ve heard people say this film is un-American, while part of being an American is having the freedom to have dissenting ideas,” Cameron said, prompting loud applause from a capacity crowd at the ArcLight Hollywood.Of course the audience applauded. Someone went after conservatives during an industry screening at the ArcLight. That’s the kind of environment where you could get a standing ovation while holding a puppy under water as long as you’re sticking it to the right. But what does this nonsense mean?“…part of being an American is having the freedom to have dissenting ideas.”
The argument is that his film is stridently anti-American and savagely anti-military. But does he answer those charges? Does he explain away his artistic decision to have genocide-happy U.S. Marines (NOTE for leftist hair-splitters: former Marines) on behalf of an American corporation (come on Cameron apologists, it’s not like “Avatar” had a rainbow coalition of evildoers. I didn’t even hear an Australian accent) commit a terrorist atrocity against innocents?
But it’s worse than that…
These Marines are in uniform and you leftist hair-splitters who excuse Cameron’s trashing of our best and brightest because one line of exposition tells us they’re former Marines, had best remember that Quaritch, the top genocide-happy psycho, is referred to throughout the film as “Colonel” — and not because he’s selling chicken.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
First, I note that this has more to do with what his preferences and likes are concerned than perhaps about what the Church’s liturgy requires. It is perfectly okay to like some things more than others. But out liturgical choices are not to be grounded solely in our likes, which are not only subjective, but shifting. Thus, it is nice that he is "okay" with chants. The Church says that Gregorian chant has pride of place.
It is great that the writer "likes" the current liturgy. His liking it, however, is not our standard of measure. There are those who don’t like it, to one degree or another.
I have finally discovered that becoming involved in these matters becomes a real danger to a person's spiritual life.
When we realized that all we did on the drive home after Mass was to b*tch, it was time to move on.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
#Catholic Women Who Love the Magisterium: 2010 Investiture of Four Women to the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles
When I see these beautiful women, filled with such love for our Saviour and Lord, I cannot help but think of the differences between such women and those who are in dissent with Rome. But when it comes down to it, it really boils down to one thing.
Those who embrace the traditions, who wear the habit and who desire to submit themselves on a daily basis to a greater calling - are filled with love and seek to give it generously. There is a softness about them. A pliant, willingness that reaches out with open arms, drawing people in. These are clear, pure channels - which our heavenly Father can so completely pour His Holy Spirit, touching the world with His love and mercy.
Can anyone look at such women and not be drawn to them?
I think you know what I think of the opposite choice. Those who seek power and control, who desire nothing less than a capitulation to their demands and who constantly confront and struggle with those who have authority over them - leave coldness in their path. Even in disagreements, we can disagree in love.
However, it occurred to me how little love there is with dissenters. On the other hand, we have these faces to look upon, who remind us of the holy relationship we are called to pursue. God bless them! To read more about this happy event, and to see more photographs, please visit Kansas Catholic.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I read the first installment and was completely flummoxed. Just astonished. Below is an excerpt and my comments are in red, emphasis mine.
Little by little pressure from a variety of sources seems to have uncovered the answers to those two questions. The “charges” are that LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious)-type Congregations (the vast majority of Religious in the country) have implemented in their lives and in their ministries changes called for by Vatican II to the detriment (manifested in the decline in numbers of vocations) of religious life itself. (First, I don't agree with the approach Sr. Schneiders is taking. To frame this investigation as "criminal" misses the point. The Vatican is concerned about declining numbers of women religious. They want to evaluate the situation. How anyone can deny the fact that these communities are not receiving new vocations as a valid concern, is beyond me. It seems as though some women religious are looking at the issue from only one perspective. Is it because the Vatican is backward or hasn't allowed women to be priests? But if that is the case, how is it that the more traditional communities are increasing?) Cardinal Rodé (the highest officer in Rome on religious life) believes, in his own words, that the council precipitated the first “world-wide crisis” in the history of the church and women religious, in his view, are primary promoters of that crisis in the United States.The “accusers” are a small group of extremely conservative women religious who, in September 2008, held a conference at Stonehill College in Massachusetts on consecrated life as they understand it, to which they invited Cardinal Rodé. (From everything I've read, this does not seem to be true. There are many Catholics who have been concerned.) At this conference, which included no presentation of positions at variance with their own, they put contemporary ministerial religious Life on trial in absentia, found it seriously wanting, and raised the cry, “Investigate them!”
Cardinal Rodé, having heard what he apparently thought was a widely held consensus that U.S. women’s apostolic religious life was in serious decline concluded, (Again, numbers do not lie. Losing 49% of women religious within 30 years obviously is going to send up a red flag.) “We have no further need of witnesses.” (Does anyone read statistics?) Unfortunately, he failed to consult the many thousands of Catholic laity who have received from women religious their formation in the faith, ongoing spiritual support, pastoral care in times of need, and colleagueship in ministry and who are now expressing their solidarity with the sisters by petitions and personal letters of protest to the Cardinal, the Visitator, the Apostolic Delegate, and local ordinaries as well as by individual and collective testimonies to and about the sisters (see, e.g., U.S. Catholic, “Entered into Evidence [75:1, Jan. 2010]).
He failed to consult moderate bishops, like those in California, who have publicly testified that without women religious their dioceses would not have become what they are and would not be functioning as well as they are today. (I could be really snarky here, but I'll refrain. Proof is in the pudding.) He failed to consult significant groups of religious outside the United States, such as AMOR (conference of women Religious in Asia and Oceania) and UISG (International Union of Superiors General in Rome), which have expressed in public statements their appreciation of, support for, and solidarity with U.S. religious. (Wasn't this investigation about the communities within the U.S.? If so, how would it make any difference to consult with those overseas? Makes no sense unless she's angling for a defense team, which she is.) He failed to consult the sisters themselves who could have enlightened him on the size and ideological commitments of the one small group of religious he did consult and the few rightist bishops, in this country and in Rome, to whom he listened.
Many people, including many religious, think this investigation is an unprecedented assault on religious. ("Assault" - Here we go again with the criminal language. This is a sly tactic of the left. Frame an argument by using certain language and you can change someone's perspective in time. Her choice of comparative language only gets better, as you'll soon see.) Its scope may be unprecedented but its content certainly is not. Many, perhaps most, religious congregations in this country have in their archives documents and correspondence chronicling equally or even more serious confrontations between their order and the local ecclesiastical authorities. (Confrontation seems to be common with them. Is this the role of women religious?)
These records, going back decades or even centuries, tell of threats and intimidation to enforce conscience-violating policies or practices (such as racial discrimination) instigated by members of the hierarchy, drastic sanctions for non-subordination to clergy in matters over which the clerics had no jurisdiction, demotion and even permanent exile without due process of lawfully elected and even revered superiors (including founders), appointment without election of compliant puppet governments, interference in appointments of sisters, unilateral closing of institutions, forced acceptance of apostolates not appropriate to the congregation, and even outright theft of financial assets, to name only the most egregious examples. (I am not saying that the Catholic hierarchy has been 100% fair or perfect. I don't have all the facts. But Sr. Schneiders is trotting all this out as though not one circumstance of an investigation was warranted. So the hierarchy is painted as "The Big Bad Wolf" and the women religious were nothing more than Little Red Riding Hood on her way to her grandmother's house. Nice victimization zing. By the way, Sister - I don't know if you really want to go down the road of "outright theft of financial assets" when a small group of women religious effectively left the Catholic Church but managed to steal the property.)
Many sisters, until very recently, did not know this part of their congregational histories. These often protracted and traumatic struggles were dark pages that, like many abuse victims, (See how sly she was with this? Now the women religious are "abuse victims" because they were confronted. How is asking questions or calling someone into accountability, "abuse?" Note: feminists cannot have it both ways. If you want to say you're strong, fine. But you can't be "strong" and then claim that you're an "abuse victim.") the corporate victims (the congregations) tried to bury or forget. (Forget? Are you kidding me? Even as someone who has just returned to the Church has noticed a consistent call for justice regarding the sexual abuse cases. And I think that the National Catholic Reporter did its share of exposing this evil, which was right.) Even when the abused know rationally that they are not to blame for what happened to them there is often a sense of deep shame, of being somehow responsible for inciting the abuse, of being “damaged goods” because of what one has undergone (especially if there is wide disparity of power and/or status between abuser and abused), of just wanting it to go away in hopes it will never happen again. (Who is the abused? According to Sister, the women religious. How can there be a "sense of deep shame" when many of these women, according to Sister, were unaware of their past, full of what she claims were "traumatic struggles?")Of course, it is still happening. The forced dispensation from vows of most of the members of the Los Angeles IHMs in the late 1960’s by a furious Cardinal James F. McIntyre, who could not force these women to submit to his will; (Big Bad Wolf, again. Although I am loathe to reference Wikipedia, in this case, it was the quickest sketch I could find of his Eminence. It was no surprise to find Cardinal McIntyre was a staunch conservative, a promoter of Pope Paul VI's re-emphasization of the Church's stance on contraception [Humanae Vitae], and warned about the ramifications of a liturgical free-for-all from Vatican II. I'm sure the liberal women religious couldn't stand this man.) the years of struggle by superiors who refused to violate the consciences of the twenty-four women Religious who, in 1984, signed a New York Times statement asking for honest discussion (not a change of doctrine or even practice) of the issue of abortion that was seriously dividing the country and the church; (Then why discuss it? The Catholic Church abhors abortion and rightly names it as evil. What's to discuss?) attempts, some successful and some not, to force the dismissal of Sisters legitimately appointed by their superiors to certain ministries, and so on, are within the memory of most religious alive today. In other words, there is nothing new (except perhaps the comprehensive scope of the present investigation) in the struggle between some elements of the hierarchy and women Religious. (Nothing new? So Rome shouldn't be concerned about a bunch of women religious who want "to discuss" abortion? Really?)One of the most pernicious and characteristic aspects of these episodes is the pervasive appeal to a supposed obligation to “blind obedience to hierarchical authority” as the legitimation for clerical control, and even abuse, of women Religious. (Ah, geez. The "abuse" word, again. I'd also like to point out something. I have not capitalized "religious" as in "women religious" because I'm not sure this is proper. But I find it interesting that Sr. Schneiders capitalizes this word but yet cannot bring herself to capitalize the pronoun "he" for Jesus Christ.) This neuralgic (??) issue of the meaning of obedience is central to the current investigation and it is important to realize that it is not new, not precipitated by late 20th century developments in American society or the post-conciliar church, and not likely to be settled by heavy-handed exercises of coercive power. (The issue of obedience is now compared to Master/Slave. If I'm not mistaken, no women religious was kept in the dark about which Church had authority. It's not like someone put a blindfold on them and told them they were joining the Ladies Garden Club.) The issue goes back to the Gospel and the life of Jesus in his religious and social setting and it will only be clarified by faithful meditation on the Scriptures, prayer, and courageous action.
There is an instructive parallel between the questions religious are asking about the Vatican investigation (and which they have asked before, many times, in similar situations) and the questions scholars (and many ordinary believers) ask about the trial and execution of Jesus. There is a tendency to ask and to stop with, the questions “Who is responsible for the death of Jesus?” and “Why was Jesus executed?” (Like who is responsible for this investigation and what are the charges?)(This next section is simply breathtaking.)
At one level the answers are fairly easily available to a careful study of the Gospel texts. Jesus was executed by the collusion of the political (Roman Empire) and religious (Jerusalem hierarchy) power elites in first century Palestine. He was executed because his ministry threatened to cause an uprising of the Palestinian peasantry. This would have been fatal to the career of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor whose job was to keep the Jewish province under control. It would have been even more disastrous for the Jewish leadership who retained what little authority they had over their own religious affairs and population only as long as the Jewish populace did not become problematic for the Empire.
But this basically political-religious motivation is only a first level answer to the questions of “who” and “why”. It does not get at what we really need to know about Jesus and his mission if we want to understand the human predicament from which he came to save us and the radicality of the solution to that predicament that God offered us in Jesus. Until we realize that it is really the human race, including me/us, rather than a few historical figures in first century Palestine, who crucified Jesus we do not yet “get it.” Until we realize that the reason for his execution is anthropological, theological, soteriological, rather than merely regionally political or religious, and that those factors permeate the experience of the whole human race, we have not begun to plumb the real meaning of the paschal mystery or our own implication in it.
Jesus’ prophetic ministry of word and work was not merely a threat to the particular domination systems of Rome and Jerusalem. It was a fundamental subversion of domination itself as the demonic structure operative in human history. (Wow. I am almost speechless. Where is sin mentioned here? If any "demonic structure" exists, it is the one that holds mankind in the bondage of sin. If there is any domination, it is the Original Sin born in the Garden of Eden when the devil convinced Eve that she didn't need God and could figure out life without Him. The domination of the flesh is the most cunning type of domination and the devil excels at encouraging it.) The incarnation was God’s revelation in Jesus that God is not a supreme power controlling humanity through fear of damnation or extinction, (Does not the justice of God have a place within our faith?) nor the legitimator of human domination systems, (What exactly is she talking about? What is a "human domination system?" Political ideology? Or the Catholic Church?) but One who has chosen loving solidarity unto death with us to free us from all fear and bring us into the “liberty of the children of God.”In this new creation those who held power, Rome and Jerusalem, males and masters, strong and rich, were finished. (If that's not a clear indictment of the Vatican, I don't know what is.) This is why he had to be killed. The historical reasons were real. But they were the local, even surface, manifestation of the deeper reason which involved the re-orientation of the entirety of human history. (Hoo, boy. Nothing said here about the punitive demand of sin. Nothing said about man being unable to save himself and never being able to meet the requirements for absolution. Redemption through the sacrificial blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice of our Blessed Mother, seem to have no place within this perspective.)
Analogously, it is not very complicated, or illuminating, to figure out that women’s religious Life is being used as a symbolic scapegoat in the power struggle in the contemporary church between the promoters of the renewal initiated by Vatican II and a program of tridentine restoration. (Guess she's referring to the Traditional Latin Mass. Oh, the humanity!) Nor is it difficult to identify who have vested interests in the outcome of that struggle. (This is not to suggest that the stakes in this struggle are not very high or that we should be naïve about the extent of damage that could result.) (Want to know who will benefit from the outcome? The future of our Bride, the Church of Jesus Christ. Our children will benefit when they are blessed to have women religious who love the Church, support the Magisterium, and yes, submit to the high calling of being Catholic. Praise God.)
As empire and temple were threatened by the growing sense of empowerment among the oppressed in Palestine, so the absolutist power structure of the institutional church is threatened by the growing consciousness of the People of God of their identity and mission as the Body of Christ. As Jesus was an agent of empowerment (I must have missed this title in the Bible. I keep thinking of Him as being my Lord and Messiah.) who had to be eliminated before he “stirred up the people” and brought down the wrath of the empire on the nation, so those in the church, lay leaders, pastors, bishops, or others -- but especially sisters -- who are fostering the conciliar renewal must be brought under control lest the “crisis” Cardinal Rodé has named explode and bring about a radical claiming of their identity as the People of God and their mission to and in solidarity with the world God so loved.
But why the sisters? We must not overlook the crushing of lay initiatives, the banning of progressive bishops from traditionalist bishops’ dioceses, the brandishing of excommunications, refusal of the sacraments or Christian burial, and public condemnations of Catholic politicians and theologians, etc. as we examine the investigation of Religious. (This really goes beyond the pale. Who is she kidding? I think it's the other way around. There has been a systematic purging from seminaries, dioceses, and Catholic institutions of traditional Catholics and it's been going on for decades. I have heard of Catholic instructors being fired from their positions at a Catholic school for being pro-life or attending the Traditional Latin Mass.) This is not a historically unique occurrence and Religious women are not alone as its objects.
But sisters are a particularly important target for several reasons. First, their sheer numbers and influence. (which Deo Gratias, are waning...) Women religious are not only people who are voluntarily engaged in the life they lead because they are passionately committed to its spiritual and ministerial goals and to Jesus Christ who called them to this life. They are also the largest, best organized, most geographically ubiquitous, most ministerially diversified, and therefore probably most effective promoters of the vision of Vatican II. In some eyes, of course, this means that, as so many lay Catholics have testified, religious are the greatest source of hope for the contemporary church. In other eyes, this means that they are the most serious danger to the “real (that is, pre-conciliar) Church” which these people are trying to restore.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Hope you like it. I'm on the lookout for others who would like to share their story. If this sounds like something you'd like to do, contact me at zinkpoe"at"gmail"dot"com. Many blessings to you!
Because the embeddable player from Podbean was not working, here is a direct link to the recording:
Treasures: Stories of the Traditional Latin Mass
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Not for the first time did I ponder the transient state of modern-day relationships. Of all the churches I have been a member of, and the various leadership positions I have held - no one continued their friendship with me after I left that church. From the Vineyard, I was "sent" to become a part of a church plant. Since it was in the same town, I still saw several members of the larger congregation when we'd visit each other's church. From the church plant, I moved to another state to attend a ministry school. Again, some kept in touch with me for a few months and then disappeared over time.
When I moved from North Carolina to my hometown, again, a few kept in touch with me but within months, were non-existent. Although I experienced disappointment, I reminded myself that church was a very focused community and if I was no longer part of that community, it only made sense for the relationship to end. But because I'm a sentimental sap, I admitted there was always a part of me that wanted relationships to last forever.
As I looked at the postcard today, it dawned on me that what I hungered for - and what I believe many people desire - is connection. I love that feeling of "belonging." I am currently experiencing an upheaval in my life as I realize family members do not remain with us forever and things are constantly changing. Uncles die. Cousins marry and move away. Sons and daughters develop their own circle of friends and bonds that seemed to have been set in stone are suddenly fluid and uncertain.
It is why friendships are even more precious to us as we age. We know that life becomes more uncertain as time takes its toll. Just today, my husband found out a good friend of his passed away in his sleep on December 26. Somewhere between Christmas Day and the day after, his soul left this world. He was only 50 years old.
He helped us move to our current home. He was quiet, a bit of a loner. Unmarried, he found his connection through visiting us on occasion with another one of my husband's high school friend. Of course when someone you know passes away, it causes you to re-examine things.
These thoughts led me to the Catholic Church and its wonderful liturgy. I also thought about our more progressive brethren who seek to "modernize" the Church by changing the liturgy. If I could gather the lot of them into a big room, I'd say this: "I have been to the mountain you seek and the other side. Guess what? It's really a brick wall."
I find it amazing that many Catholics are seeking what non-denominational churches have; but yet the non-denoms lack the connectivity that Catholics already possess.
Is there freedom in a non-denominational church's worship service? Yes. But is there connectivity? If so, what is one being connected to? For most non-denominational churches, each Sunday is a solo act of singing and then listening to someone talk. Within the Catholic Church, something more profound occurs. Those who attend Mass are in the same moment, connected with one another as they behold the consecration of the Eucharist. The sacraments of the Church also connect us, as does the teachings and the continuity of papal leadership.
There is much that connects us together as Catholics. Since I've been "on the other side," I can truthfully say that the connectivity I've sought for so many years in the non-denominational church, simply doesn't exist. I don't think it exists for anyone. If you attend a non-denom church and then move to another one, the general pattern of a worship service may remain but its ability to satisfy the yearning for connection is very shallow. However, within the Catholic Church, there are traditions that not only satisfy, but sustain one's soul. It is during trials and sufferings that the riches of these traditions shine the brightest. Faced with the fading glory of this world, a Catholic understands that far greater glories await through God's provision and protection.
The connection I am speaking of goes far beyond human friendship. It is a connection to God, who holds all things together. I believe that when we, as a community, connect to God through the liturgy of the Church, we are bonded together and strengthened as Christians. The liturgy of the Church is a gift to us on so many levels. I can go anywhere in the world, attend a Mass, and instantly feel connected to both my fellow Catholics and the history of my faith as a Christian. It is a consistent, dependable occurrence whereas within the non-denominational church, I rarely felt such continuity.
Today I praise God for the liturgy that has sustained the saints and now sustains me, who is seeking to become one. No matter what anyone says, no man can be an island for long. We need each other but truly, we need God even more. The Catholic liturgy gives us both.