Monday, October 20, 2008

Mass Frustration

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air devotes a column today to his experience attending Mass yesterday, in light of an impending Presidential election:

Yesterday evening, we attended Mass and for a moment thought we would hear actual instruction in the fundamentals of the Catholic faith. After hearing one of my favorite passages in the Gospels, the “Render unto Caesar” confrontation between Jesus as the Pharisees, our priest broached the subject of what belongs to secular government and what belongs to God in the context of elections and choices made by voters. Unfortunately, he wound up wasting a good opportunity to clarify the Catechism to those who ignore it... If we have the choice of two unacceptable candidates, he said, why vote for either one?

In the parish where I work, I have the good fortune to hear good homilies. They acknowledge me as a spiritual child in relation to a spiritual father, without insulting my intelligence or dumbing down the message. Sometimes they actually make me feel guilty about something, enough that I think twice about whether I really should attend communion that day. Some people have a problem with this. I don't happen to be one of them. To possess human frailty is the cost of being human. And when the pastor is homilist, I am, more often than not, left with a poem or other witticism that I end up wanting to look up on the internet. It makes for great fun.

For that matter, I rarely have a problem with homilies in the middle Atlantic region, specifically the Diocese of Arlington. My trips back to Ohio are another matter. I don't even attend the church where I grew up. Something happened to those people around 1983, probably a night at the parish hall where somebody spiked the Kool-Aid and everybody got a good snort, and they haven't been the same since. Now they're all holding hands across the aisle during the Lord's Prayer, looking like a bunch of aging flower children with latent developmental issues. Some of these people were adults when I was a kid. I still want to call them "Sir" or "Ma'am." But it's like walking into a B-version of The Twilight Zone. They've probably saved that Kool-Aid recipe too.

My recommendation to guys like Ed, is that they watch EWTN on a Sunday to get a homily worth listening to. Watch Father Benedict Groeschel on "Sunday Night Live." He's always good for a decent yarn. Or read good Catholic books. Ignatius Press publishes a whole slew of them.

Ed, if you're out there, and you come to Washington, look me up. We'll have a drink (of something other than Kool-Aid). We'll go to a good Catholic bookstore. Then on Sunday, you can join me and see what being Catholic really looks like.

You know where to find me.

No comments: