Monday, January 14, 2013

Denying the Incarnation while Going to Church

What is the Catholic Ghetto?

It is producers producing bad art for consumers who won't pay for good art.  It's hard to say which came first.  But the effect is bad Catholic novels, bad Catholic drama, bad Catholic audio CDs, bad Catholic videos - with nobody making any money off of any of it.  Which of course is not the point; the point is the glory of God, not making money, but economics can not be left out of the question.  Because money measures the seriousness with which we take things - including things we do for the greater glory of God.

For, as George Bernard Shaw said, you can tell when people are really serious about something.  When people are really serious about something, they will

  1. pay for it
  2. kill for it
and I would add

     3. die for it.

Are we serious about our Faith?  Are we serious enough to die for it?  Are we serious enough to live for it?

We're not serious enough to pay for it, at least not to pay for bad artistic expressions of it - and rightly so.

But again, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  


My contention is the Catholic Ghetto exists only because of Unreality.

Yes, Unreality, that odd little thing that is really just Idolatry applied to lifestyle.

You see, I've tried hard to explain the Catholic Ghetto before and I've tried hard to explain Unreality before. It's only now that I assert clearly that the two are related to one another.  They spring from the same root.  And that root is lack of faith; or at least lack of courage when it comes to applying the faith; lack of Incarnational faith.

We don't really believe God will get us there.  We can't imagine He's real enough to deal with real people and real sins.  "God-with-us", Immanuel?  No way.  God up there, maybe, but not down here.  No way.

God may be many things, but He's not real enough to be en-fleshed, in-carnate.  He's not real enough to be real.


A young evangelical actress once said to me, "I don't think dating a lot of guys before marriage is important.  God will send me the man He wants me to marry."

And I (an atheist at the time) replied, "What?  Just like that?  Down a heavenly water slide?  Out of the blue?  Without you trying?  Without you dating enough guys to be able to spot a loser from a player?  Without you getting your heart broken once or twice? Without the muss and the fuss of breaking up and making up and all the ups and downs of interpersonal relations?"

"Yes," she replied, "Just like that."

O ye of little faith!

We all think we're Pilate.  We all think we're washing our hands of the mess that's all around us.  What we don't realize is that Christ is in the mess.  And we renounce Him - and His reality - as we wipe the unseemly grit from our mitts.


When something stops seeming to be related to real life and the way real people live, it becomes artificial.  It becomes contrived.  It begins to attract dilettantes and "gays".  Dilettantes and "gays" devote their lives to the artificial.  It's safe and it's fun.  But so do old ladies watching Hallmark movies and sensitive teenagers anxious about dating and so do all of us when the stress is mounting.  Make-believe worlds of our own choosing are more comfortable than the real world because we can control the house of cards we build ourselves - though we may have some anxiety when it begins to totter.  Our Father's house, which has many mansions, is a bit overwhelming by comparison.

And when we're not sure if our Father's house is really there ... well, then let's make church-going a game.  Let's make the music fruit, the architecture boring, the homilies bland and inoffensive and insipid.  Let's get that religious feeling without that Old Time Religion.  

  • Let's not read Catholic novels like Flannery O'Connor's, which are disturbing and are about the reality of sin.  Let's read novels where everyone goes to church and prays devotions, regardless of how poorly written these novels are.

  • Let's fund raise for Ed's Catholic "ministry", which consists of making a really bad movie that no one will ever see, but he'll never make money at it, so he needs us to sponsor him.

  • Let's indulge this Unreality and pretend as if everything's just fine in here, while the heathens out there are not our worry - after all, they're so much more spirited than we are, something must be wrong with them.

In short ... 

Let's idolize the great Unreal.
Reality we must evade.
Let's focus now on how we feel.
Let's idolize the great Unreal,
Let us pray and let us kneel
Before the Falsehood, so man-made.
Let's idolize the great Unreal.
Reality we must evade.


And this, my friends, is simply a denial of the Incarnation, of Christ coming in the flesh.  Which, as St. John tells us, is nothing other than the spirit of the antichrist at work.

1 comment:

Joey Higgins said...

They might live for it too (if they really cared about it).