Thursday, February 09, 2012

Predictions about Catholic Americans
Photo from here

25+ years ago I was fairly sure, as a smart friend then explained, that the liberalized Roman Catholic Americans would go into schism (‘the American Catholic Church’), which American Protestants have always wanted. (‘Cut your apron strings to Rome and be real Americans like us.’) Didn’t happen. (Just more little vagante fringe churches, which have been around for about 100 years and nobody has heard of.) From the self-inflicted wounds of the priestly underage gay sex scandal (but that hurt the real Catholics in Protestant America too: ‘Maria Monk’ revisited) and the same demographic suicide and theological contradictions as the mainline Protestants putting themselves out of business (the kids: ‘We don’t need your crappy “Christian community”; if this religion isn’t really true, cut out the middleman and stay home!’), that is, assimilation (not the good 1900-1950s kind that kept Catholic teachings and practices, which got other Americans’ respect, like in The Bells of St Mary’s etc.), AmChurch is slowly dying off, going out with a whimper of parish and school closings. (If you think that’s bad now, wait ’til the boomers, the last generation of habitual churchgoers, start dying.) Sad of course because, often, real Catholics built those institutions 50-100 years ago. Pope Benedict’s smaller, sound church, real Catholics (of course I hope not sanctimonious or a cult like the trads at their worst), has a fighting chance (small is beautiful: little diocesan religious orders for a vocations boomlet as the the big old liberalized dinosaur orders die) but watch it. Jesus’ promises to the church, ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ and ‘I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world’, meant on earth, not necessarily in Philadelphia. How many of St Paul’s New Testament churches are still around and not the stomping grounds of Mohammed?

Ron Paul on the feds’ latest attack on the church: ‘You Catholics need to unite and listen to your Pope.’

Rome, particularly in America, is what you make of it. I’ve never seen anything approaching a unified conception of “American Catholicism,” though I suppose it’s possible to distill some idea of “normative Catholicism” in these lands (though such enterprises run the risk of selection bias).

That can be bad or good of course. There’s the protestantized liberals’ ‘it’s whatever I say it is and no celibate old man’s gonna tell me no’. (Falling in step with the larger culture, like Komen caved to Planned Parenthood; very brave, kemosabe.) Good in that it’s so big that you can keep your nose in your missal and breviary, show up for roll call once a week, say your prayers and, thanks to Pope Benedict and the late Archbishop Lefebvre, live in a Novus Ordo-free world*, staying out of diocesan/parish politics and away from Modernism and minding your own business. The freedom of the laity. (Interestingly like Bad Catholics and lots of ethnic Orthodox: there’s only one church; we don’t want to reform it; it’s for certain events; otherwise stay out.) *Now that Pope B’s fixed English Novus, being in communion with it isn’t a problem anymore. He won the worship war for real Catholics.

Jesus saves. Mary prays. Ratz is Pope. Carry on.

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