Monday, July 20, 2009

From Arturo
If I disparage those who disparage “cultural Catholicism”, I do so because their idea of religion borders on Pelagianism. While effort is always to be exhorted, the strength of a faith, like the strength of many things, is based on its weakest link. “Cultural Catholicism” has historically been that link. If the only act of Faith a prostitute or a drug smuggler can muster is wearing a medal of the Virgin or St. Jude, I fail to see how this is any worse than those who would turn Christianity into the civic religion of “decent folk”. If anything, at least the person who wears such religious symbols is more likely to acknowledge that how they live is wrong. I am not so sure about those who would turn Catholicism into a culturally Calvinist ideology of the salvation of “upstanding citizens”.

But such prejudices also underestimate how powerful such symbols really are. The Virgin is powerful, her image is powerful, and even the smallest act of love towards her can save a soul. (Read Trochu’s biography of the Curé d’Ars on this one.) No, it is not ideal, but do any of us deserve to get saved in the end, really? Perhaps the slow death of “cultural Catholicism” in the developed world is thus the most tragic phenomenon of all. If we are turning Catholicism into a mature faith of churchy busy-bodies, we are going to end up with half-empty pews filled with tightly wound, unpleasant partisans. And is that how the Church is supposed to look like?

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment