Catholics don’t ask why enough.
To some — for instance, those who have the run-of-the-mill dissenter in mind — this might seem to be prima facie false, given that plenty of Catholics seem to question Church teaching. But I’m not talking about questioning Church teaching in the sense of doubting it; yes, dissenters do that aplenty, but what they don’t do is ask “Why?” with sufficient depth, with the goal of truly seeking to understand what the Church teaches on topic X and why she teaches that. In the case of most dissenters I’ve encountered, their “why?” is really “Well, that’s silly, I don’t believe that,” without any substantial engagement with the Church’s teaching, without any grappling with the inner rationale of the doctrine. For the most part, dissenters don’t really ask “why?”.
But they should. And so should the rest of us.
As we enter into the Holy Triduum, I’d like to invite a reading of Pope Benedict’s catechesis given during yesterday’s general audience, appropriately deemed by Sandro Magister “A Handbook for Holy Week”:
Dear brothers and sisters, Holy Week, which for us Christians is the most important week of the year, offers us the opportunity to be immersed in the central events of Redemption, to relive the Paschal Mystery, the great mystery of the faith. Beginning tomorrow afternoon, with the Mass “In Coena Domini,” the solemn liturgical rites will help us to meditate in a more lively manner on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord in the days of the Holy Paschal Triduum, fulcrum of the entire liturgical year. May divine grace open our hearts to comprehend the inestimable gift that salvation is, obtained for us by Christ’s sacrifice. [Read the rest]
(The homilies of Pope Benedict XVI for Holy Week 2009 will be made available here, on the Vatican website).
Salvete AC readers!
OK, I junked the whole Latin title since I figured it wasn’t coming across that well as to what I wanted to do with this bit. So now I’m calling this particular column ‘News & Notes’ (for now). Here is today’s Top Seven picks in the Catholic world:
1. A great new blog by Pat McNamara about Catholic history titled appropriately enough, McNamara’s Blog. I’ve been thinking of starting something like this for the past three years, but never got around to it. I’m happy to say that McNamara’s Blog has great short stories on famous and little known figures in Catholicism as well as stories on non-Catholics and how they interacted and viewed our beautiful Catholic faith. Here is the link to McNamara’s Blog: http://irishcatholichumanist.blogspot.com/
Cardinal Ratzinger once said in an interview that the Church may have to shrink, but it would be a purer more faithful Church if this were to happen (1). I’ve been reflecting on these words since Election Day, especially in reference to the many Catholics that voted for the most unabashedly pro-choice (pro-abortion) candidate in memory. A vote for Obama by a Catholic says something about the Catholic, meaning they were poorly catechized. Why then are these Catholics still in the Church if they don’t believe even the basic tenets of faith?
Well it’s a complicated issue to tackle and one that I have been muddling through recently. But first I want to make it clear to my readers that I don’t want a smaller Church. Though I do want the majority, if not all, Catholics to love their faith and practice it. Yet we don’t have that in the American Church. Whose responsibility, and/or blame, should this be assigned to? How do we respond to this predicament?
I wish I had the answers and unfortunately I have more questions. Is it our parents that failed to pass along the faith along with the parish priest and school? Or does it reside with the bishop? What I do have is some analysis and commentary, and it isn’t pretty.