Monday, July 17, 2006

Recovering Catholics

We had our first-ever (and probably last-ever) wedding at the monastery on Saturday, and I permitted the community to attend the dinner portion of the reception [no chicken dance or hokie pokie for monks, thank you]. It was a beautiful celebration, and for me a great privilege to be a part of it, as the bride and groom are both long-time friends of mine and of the monastery.

As is the case with many weddings in our present climate, there were those attending who couldn't quite make out the religious angle. One woman introduced herself to me at the reception as a 'recovering Catholic'. Were I the witty sort, I would have liked to rejoinder, "I was once also, and now I am fully recovered."

Using the line about recovering from Catholicism is a bit like getting a tattoo. Once upon a time, it was risky to get a tattoo. Now it is, I fear, a cliche. Similarly, one gets the impression often enough when speaking to 'recovering' Catholics that they really don't understand the Church at all. Rather, they have adopted the shallow and malfeasant version of the Church as caricatured in the media.

Still I found it quite telling that someone could say this to me, as I stood there in habit, having two hours earlier offered Holy Mass, and chirp it out as if I would surely agree that it was a good thing. The clear assumption is that if there is truth (and there probably is not, but it is impolite to say that too clearly), it is not in any way binding on us. I find it most difficult to get my mind around this concept, perhaps because it is not a concept at all, only a vague impression that cannot withstand even the smallest scrutiny. I realize that the Richard Rortys and Jacque Derridas of the world have attempted defenses of this idea, and have sophisticated arguments, but again I fear that in everyday life, this is just a convenient rationale to avoid having to curb one's passions. More to come...

God's blessings on you!

No comments:


This blog is published with ecclesiastical approval.

If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
Locations of visitors to this page