Monday, July 1, 2013

The Church We Want

The Catholic Church in America has spent at least two generations giving us the Church we Want, based upon the God we Want who lets us do Whatever we Want.

And guess what?

We don't Want it!

Emily Stimpson on Catholic Vote writes An Open Letter to Our Priests and Bishops and tells them what we do and don't want (emphasis mine) ...

On Sundays, don’t tell me to be nice; tell me to be holy. Don’t tell me to trust God; tell me who God is. Don’t even tell me to be faithful; tell me what faithful means. Explain holiness. Explain sin. Be specific. Preach on what lust, gluttony, selfishness, laziness, pride, anger, and vanity are, why they’re bad for me, and how to avoid them. Preach the Creed. Preach the saints. Preach the story of salvation history. And preach it in all its fullness.
While you’re at it, let go of this idea that homilies are a separate thing from catechesis. They can’t be separate right now. The majority of Catholics sitting in the pews on Sunday don’t know the basics of the Faith. And the only place most will learn them is from a homily. Don’t waste your precious 10 minutes in front of a semi-captive audience repeating fluff we can get from Oprah. Use the Scriptures to illuminate Tradition, not obscure it.
Outside the homily, invest in catechesis. Hire DREs who believe, know, and can teach the Faith. Pay them a family wage so they don’t leave after three years. Invest in your volunteer catechists too. Help them get the training they need. Then, get involved in catechesis yourself. Talk to the kids. Teach RCIA. The more you let people know how important you think catechesis is, the more important they will think it is.

Stimpson goes on ...

Give us beauty.  The music of Marty Haugen and Dan Schutte doesn’t do that. Hastily and haphazardly performed rites don’t do that. Pedestrian speech, liturgical puppets, and felt banners don’t do it either. If you want Catholics to see the beauty of the Faith, you have to show it to us. You have to make it manifest in Church on Sunday. You have to give us something extraordinary to help us realize we’re called to something extraordinary. Feed us with beauty and truth; goodness will follow.

The whole letter is a must read, and I encourage you to read the whole thing.


Now, then, can you, dear reader, explain this to me ...

  • When we perform Adam and Eve Go to Marriage Counseling we touch upon all the unpopular issues that priests are typically too scared to mention at the pulpit - contraception, divorce, "gay marriage", adultery, pornography, etc.  The first time we did the show, I fully expected to be lynched by the audience.  Not only are we not lynched, people come up to us afterwards with tears in their eyes thanking us for doing what we're doing.  At suburban parishes.  At rural parishes.  At city parishes.  Normal people.  Normal Catholics.
  • Blog reader CK explains that she experiences the same thing when she actually presents the Faith at RCIA classes (as opposed to the insipid substitute for the Faith that we hear every Sunday, Jesus was Nice, You be Nice, Too!)  And how do people react to the True Faith as opposed to the Faith that we Want?  "People laugh, cry, and practically carry me out of the room on their shoulders - and believe me that is not the reaction I expected the first time I gave the speech."
  • When my actress Maria Romine started working for Theater of the Word, she insisted that she remain a Protestant.  But after several months of touring with us and comparing her Protestant services of banners, pop tunes and Jesus was Nice, You be Nice, Too! with the solemn Catholic liturgies we were experiencing all over the country, especially at EWTN in Birmingham, she felt a deep and serious pull to the Catholic Church.  She tells her conversion story here.

Could this all actually be what it appears to be?  

Could this be evidence that "the Baptism of John" was not of man but was of God?  That God is not a mere idol that we fashion to suit our own fancy, and re-fashion every time the fashions change?   That while we think we'd be happy with comfortable falsehoods, only the Truth will truly satisfy us?  

The only "satisfaction" is found on the Cross.  Satis est - it is enough; it is finished; it is paid.  

The great paradox of human nature is that we are filled and satisfied only by the most stark and brutal act of self-denial, God abandoned by God for our sake.  St. Paul preached "Christ and Christ crucified" and converted hearts that were sometimes harder than ours.  

However, our bishops and priests, at our prompting and in an effort to conform to the world around us, have removed the Cross from Christ and the results have been an almost complete apostasy in the Church.

Emily Stimpson has written an Open Letter to the Bishops.  May this be its Open Post-Script.  And may I simply add ...

P.S. Give us back the Cross, and we will (to our surprise and yours) embrace it as He did.

Christ embraces the Cross


Tom Leith said...

And this is also the experience of the FSSP & ICKSP communities. I can't recall hearing any sermons against pornography though -- I think the assumption is "if you cared enough to seek us out, you already know using it is a sin, and if this is your problem, you know where the confessional is." Preaching against sexual sins is usually called "sin against the sixth commandment" and sodomy is called "unnatural vice". This is done (I think) to protect the innocence of youth.

Kevin Aldrich said...

This is why for the year of faith I am providing a free service for homilists which articulates doctrinal teachings and practical applications drawn from the lectionary readings.

Tom Leith said...

This got picked-up by the National Catholic Register...