Friday, June 27, 2008

What I Love About Catholicism: Accomplished Catholics Are Some of the Nicest Folks

I may be guilty of oversimplifying things, but from my experience over the past two months with Catholics who could be considered "well-known" or even famous, I have found them all to be consistently polite, helpful, and overall very charitable.

I cannot help but compare this to the experiences I had within the non-Catholic churches. I do believe it is due to the "cult of personality" which exists in non-Catholic churches; and the reason it exists is because there is no liturgy. Specifically, there is no Mass. When no liturgy exists, something must fill the one to one and a half-hour time on a Sunday morning. And so, personality then becomes the focus.

When personality becomes the focus, there is the very real temptation to believe people are attending church to see you, not worship God. The pressure is heavy as pastors and associate pastors try to "razzle and dazzle" their audiences as much as possible.

The last ministry I served within was and is a worldwide global ministry. Since it has a certain level of recognition within the at-large Christian church, there is an accompanying attitude of "Oooh....who is he?" as special guest speakers would visit. If you approached some of these speakers, there was the polite acknowledgment, but really no connection. Talking with one of these teachers was usually a shallow exercise in an attempt to engage a fellow brother or sister in Christ.

Catholics are a different breed. Again, I truly believe it's because when we enter into a church to attend Mass, we are all on the same playing field. There is no "cult of personality" because it is implicitly understood that we are all sinners standing before the foot of the Cross, asking for forgiveness. Liturgy is such a grounding force for us and oh, how we desperately need it! It helps us keep on track as our focus is on He who most richly and completely deserves it - our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Out of the blue, I received a very nice email from Donna-Marie Cooper O'Doyle, who is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. She simply wanted to tell me she read my blog and liked it. After I checked her many websites, I was humbled. Not only did this lovely Catholic lady read my blog, she took the time out of what I know is a very busy schedule for her to let me know she read it and liked it. (With five children, a husband, and her traveling speaking engagements, it's amazing to think she found time to even surf the internet!)

I have never heard of such a contact happen before within all of the non-Catholic churches and ministries I have been involved with. It's one thing to write a letter to a Christian author you admire. It's quite another to have one contact you first.

Just one more reason why I love Catholics!


Anonymous said...

Good point! I have found that to be true in many "contemporary" or "seeker sensitive" settings, but not so much in traditional settings. Traditional or even liturgical Prot churches have one agenda -- the worship of the living God. Gotta love that! There's an order of worship and purpose and familiarity each week. I do like some of the contemporary settings I've been in, but yes, they're full of entertainment and whatever reaches the masses the quickest. I admire your observations. Thanks for stopping by my post. Most of my readers are Baptists, I think, thus the disclaimer at the top of the post.

Jeff Miller said...

I totally agree with you. I have gotten plenty of emails from other Catholics that quite humbled me in that they took the time to write something nice.

I even got a real nice email from Peggy Noonan once.

Mary Rose said...

Mel, amen! I came from one of the largest types of "seeker sensitive" churches and then the global ministry church. After I saw this constant pursuit of having the most "hip and trendy" approach to reaching "seekers," I started to get tired. It was a constant barrage of visuals and sound. I admit I liked it more when I was younger. (sheepish smile) God bless you and God bless the Baptists. :-)

And Jeff..Peggy Noonan! So that's how to get a response from her. I had to come back to the Catholic church! (gentle laughter)

I've written before to Peggy Noonan, not really expecting a reply because she's so crazybusy. But she is definitely one of my role models for writing.