Thursday, September 20, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Sometimes I’m surprised at what my daughter tells me of her conversations she has had with her boyfriend about our Faith.

She’s not exactly a “baby”, of course; she’s almost 19. Still, although my husband and I have tried hard to both live our faith and teach it to her, it’s not always easy to tell what has “stuck”.

Yesterday, she and I talked a little about the fact that her boyfriend is not Catholic, and what that means for the future of their relationship, which is moving toward marriage. I told her that I pray daily for him to come into the Catholic Church, but I am at a loss as to how that will happen. I related to her a little about the Vortex episode the other day, wherein Michael Voris expressed the frustration many of us feel with the bishops, who:

…will not stridently fight the evil in their midst; they allow enemies of the Faith to prosper and flourish under their watch; and they act as though everything is fine. You cannot preside over a body that comprises with and participates in evil and not expect evil consequences will follow.

Which makes all these highly touted efforts at a New Evangelization so almost laughable. What exactly is the Bishops’ Conference and all their little minions and legions of professional Catholics hoping to draw people to? A church that mouths everything Rome wants to hear, but in practice operates quite differently?

Who wants to join a church like that?

My daughter does not follow all the ins and outs of the things discussed on the Vortex or this blog, but she absorbs some of it here and there, and she is well aware of problems with the liturgy from my ranting and raving. Mostly, though, she identifies two sources of irritation at Mass: the music, and the homilies she is subjected to each Sunday morning.  

And in our discussion yesterday, she said something quite telling about the prospect of bringing her boyfriend to Mass: “I’m just afraid he’ll listen to Father and think what he says is right.”

Now, to be fair, Father does have some essential elements right – he’s solid on the moral evils of abortion and homosexual “marriage”.  But his homilies don’t reflect that, and generally just add some feel-good fluff to the liturgy.

My daughter also told me that her boyfriend often asks her, “How was church?” and all she can find to say is, “It was okay.”

He asked recently if she learned anything; she explained the basic structure of the Mass to him, and noted that usually the priest preaches about the Gospel reading. She told her boyfriend that she had “not learned anything new at Mass in years”. He was surprised and asked why not. She said, “Because the priest doesn’t want to talk about anything meaningful. He just talks about the things that will make people feel good.”

Fr. Feelgood
She told him about the time when the Gospel reading was about feeding the multitude with the loaves and fishes, and Father preached about how this is a lesson to us to recycle! Even her barely Christian, non-Catholic boyfriend raised an eyebrow at that description.

This is not the introduction she wants him to have to our Faith.

I bought Fr. Robert Barron’s DVD set on “Catholicism”, hoping it would be a way to introducing the faith to this young man. Then I watched some of it. What can I say? The photography is beautiful; there are incredible artistic and architectural treasures of the Church shown there…mixed in with liturgical abuses and some questionable theology. When ChurchMilitant.TV is asked about the series, their response includes this comment:

The "Catholicism" series is, without question, a celebration of Catholic art and history and, to a degree, an education in "what Catholics believe and why." Fr. Barron's overall approach, however, seems to lack any sense of urgency about whether one ought to be Catholic at all. In that sense, the series is very "ecumenical" and very unlikely to move anyone who is not already Catholic to consider entering the Catholic Church.

There are, however, many excellent shows on ChurchMilitant.TV.  I’m happy about that prospect.

But isn’t it sad that we can learn much more about our Faith from a lay organization that isn’t even permitted to use the name “Catholic” in its title, than we are from the pulpit, RE classes, or RCIA program of the nearest Catholic church?


  1. The Church has made the same mistake society in general has. It has watered down matters of substance and gone out of its way not to "offend" anyone, has put its emphasis on social justice and "inclusiveness". Yet studies have shown that people, young people in particular, thirst for structure and the truth and they are not getting it in school, in society as a whole or in Church. Pity that the approach the Church is taking and has been for decades is just the opposite of what would really work in terms of evangelization and retention of its members.

  2. I so agree with the above comment. Thanks so much!
    The "watered" down version of The Catholic Church and The Faith is very very sad!
    Thanks be to God for the Traditional Latin Mass and the beauty and reverence that is holds and teaches us .
    Why would anyone be attracted to what is displayed today ...with all the liturgucal abuses ...and a "feel good" homily from Fr. Nice who does not want to "offend" anyone in the pews .
    Let us return to TRADITION and all that it holds and teaches us.

  3. Amen, Jeanne! (And the comment above yours was from my husband. He often just leaves the signature as "anonymous", but I know who he is!)I do wish our daughter was more attracted to the TLM, but her experience of that has not been ideal, either. And she is a child of her age, and has asked me, "Why to they have to drag out every syllable in Gregorian chant?"!!

  4. Two suggestions, although they might not work. From MilitantChurchTV I ordered Fr. Nicholson's little dvd God First. I bought that when I was catechising my daughter for her First Communion, and as someone who came to the Church as an adult, I found it had some interesting teachings in it.

    Another thought is the book Know Your Mass. A friend from my church gave me that to read. It was ostensibly for my girl, but I think I got more out of it.

    I'm understand about the chants, but they do grow on you. And start with the High Mass, not the Low. :D

  5. Thanks, Nilk. Someone else mentioned Fr. Nicholson's "God First" programs, and I watched a few on CMTV; even though they are for kids, I enjoyed them! I'll check out "Know Your Mass". My daughter has actually only experienced a high Mass; I'm pretty sure she's never been to a low Mass. And I agree with your priorities - ideally everyone would start with the High Mass.

  6. I find the High Mass is more interactive, but they can be very confusing if you've never been to one before.

    Especially when you are chopping and changing between sections in the missal, you don't know Latin and you've not even been to a NO Mass for years.

    The first few months of our attending came with much whining about being bored, about it not making sense, about wanting to go to the other church (*cough*baptist *cough*)

    Now I'm gearing up to catechise her for her Confirmation. I didn't think she was ready this year, but some of the discussions we've had, the questions she's asking make me think that next year will be good for that.

    I think you have to plunge in, kind of like the immersion theory for learning a language.


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