Cultural Catholicism: Means What, and Does it Matter?

Today has seen an excellent exchange of ideas in the Catholic blogosphere on cultural Catholicism, starting first with Sherry Weddell’s “The Collapse of Cultural Catholicism” over at International Disciples.  Sherry’s article and comments highlight some extensive data showing the drop off of Church attendance by young adults and thus Sherry strongly suggests Catholics today end intra squabbles and become ‘true disciples.’  This is, indeed, a noble goal.  Plus there were many, many comments opining as to the reasons for the poor Catholic culture, which really don’t matter.  Lessons learned are to be remembers, but the point of fact is that there is little to no Catholic influence on our Western culture today.

Fr. Dwight Longnecker over at Standing on My Head took that data and asks, “What will it take for us to wake up?” He then points the finger at a key issue, that resonates with Cowboy Papist for its accuracy at our homestead:

” . . . for the last forty years Catholics themselves have not taught Catholicism to their children.  They’ve taught ‘American Catholicism’ which is a watered down blend of sentiementalism, political correctness, community activism and utilitarianism.  In other words, “Catholicism is about feeling good about yourself, being just to others and trying to change the world.”  The next generation have drawn the obvious conclusion that you don’t need to go to Mass to do all that.  You can feel good about yourself much more effectively with a good book from the self help shelf, or by attending a personal development seminar. You can be involved in making the world a better place without going to church.

Herself and I had a good discussion on this very point, easily highlighting the potential mistakes taken on our homestead with our buckaroos, who sadly don’t practice their faith today.

Fr. Z takes up the mantle, and offers this gem:

“Pope Benedict had as a project for his pontificate the revitalization of Catholic identity.  The West is losing its soul because Christianity; we must return to teaching and demonstrating that there is a supernatural dimension to our lives.  We must take people beyond their immanentism-lite, (the belief that God is subjective – CP).  This is why the Holy Father has been trying to point us toward, in small steps, a new approach to liturgical worship.   It is precisely in worship that we can make great strides quickly.”

Cowboy Papist can certainly concur with Fr. Z here; our faith grew immeasurably after a pilgrimage to Italy where we worshiped regularly and very reverently in English and Latin Novus Ordo liturgies.  Our approach today is more orthodox, with limited tolerance, with any words or actions taken by the celebrant outside of Fr. Z’s directive, “Say the Black – Do the Red.”

Finally, some excellent input from Sister Lisa at Nunspeak, who advised that any changes in Catholic culture must be based fundamentally upon prayer:

“in order to properly evangelize the uncatechized Catholic, and to embrace the liturgical reforms and the truths held within them, prayer must be the foundation of this holy work. . . Many of the Saints were uneducated, yet they were able to understand Truth easily, and to recognize folly just as easily.  So too, like the Saints of past centuries, we must begin here, at the font of prayer, through which God fortifies our hearts to Love Him and desire to do all we can to Serve the Church, and bring souls back to Her.”

Personally, what strengthens our Catholic faith today is prayer.  We believe this is the best way to love and worship our Lord Christ in His fullness for Holy Mother Church.  Without prayer, our day is incomplete.

A Catholic family today can be better disciples by being Catholic in private, at home.  While Cowboy Papist and Herself did this as directed by our parish, our buckaroos today, grown men in their own right, do not actively practice our Faith.  This is a difficult circumstance to accept and is part of our daily prayer life.  Perhaps the rare Mass we attend with our sons and daughter in law helps; we pray this is so. It is heavy on our hearts that, despite our efforts, decisions, time and energy, we haven’t offered all we could to our children.

This situation today requires that we set an example for our family of Catholic discipleship lived daily.  It is a small thing, only our family will be exposed to it, but if all Catholic parents and grandparents did this today, firmly and with love, our Catholicism will again become a positive and driving influence of our culture.  

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One Response to Cultural Catholicism: Means What, and Does it Matter?

  1. Pingback: What Will it Take for Us to Wake Up? « nunspeak

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