Today, I took a break from writing my article/ calling sources to peruse through various news websites, reading articles and keeping myself up-to-date when I stumbled upon National Catholic Reporter's website. I should have been more weary, considering the endorsements by the New York Times and the Huffington Post, but I impulsively clicked through a couple articles before finding a section called “Young Voices.” It always intrigues me to read and talk to fellow young people about our shared Catholic faith and how it permeates our lives (as the post-Vatican II babies), but it did not take me long to realize this particular writer and I did not share more than our cradle Catholicism.
Within a couple grafs, she came out as gay and her bio below the article says she is on the leadership teams for a Call to Action Next Generation and the Women’s Ordination Council, which offended my Catholic sensibilities more than her homosexual inclinations, because people are going to be gay, just like people are going to be liars and lushes and lechers, but not all are going to fight the very system they voluntarily subscribe to. Another complementing article entitled “Compromised hierarchy needs relational wisdom of women” lamented the Church’s refusal to even discuss women becoming priests. Pardon my colloquialism, but DUH—no surprise there. That’s basic Church teaching. That will never change, nor should it.
Then an article on the “Catholic Club” and people judging others’ Catholicity and how it doesn’t matter if a person is a liberal, moderate or conservative Catholic. I was becoming the train wreck I had begun to read, with absolute disbelief at the way the Church was being used and abused in the articles. Perhaps I do it to myself. I read too much. Moreover, I read parts of the comments sections, home of the sometimes insightful but oftentimes ignorant comments which oftentimes do nothing to edify or expand upon the conversation prompted by the above article.
Can one be a liberal or moderate or conservative Catholic? I think the same question could extend to all Christians in general. I do not think one can. Either one lives by the Gospel teachings or one does not. People are fallen, so of course they are going to trip along the way, but do they forsake the map for their shortcut or do they continue to struggle upwards on the steep path? If you’re a Catholic, though, that means you follow God, whose vehicle is Rome. It doesn’t mean you pick and choose the parts of the Catechism or Bible to follow. Catholicism encompasses and permeates one’s whole life and will, even against resistance. As a girl I went to high school with, who told me she left the Church in college, “It’s harder to quit than smoking.”
Even in this egalitarian world, there are still people whose opinion we value higher than our own. There are still rights and wrongs, which cannot to be confused with preferences or opinions. This is the point of the Church, to lead the flock. The Church is incredibly beautiful and intellectual, appealing to simplistic minds as much as analytical ones. The Church makes decisions to help lead towards the happiness of another, better life. The Church is not as outmoded, either. Time is on the Church’s side: Truth is not another passing fancy, like pogs or wearing leggings as pants.
In other words, it’s a classic. And similar to other classics, like penny loafers and big bows on little girls, it’s the understated elegance of the Church that draws people in: the humbling of self before the alter, the moving of fingers along the rosary beads, making the sign of the cross before meals, the declaration of the Gospel and regular readings of Scripture, standing in line with other admitted sinners to confess your worst moments and the chorus of voices participating in the mass.
When you think about that-- about what the Church really stands for-- it should be easier to forgo the fad. The Catholic Church (and really Christendom, if we’re going to get down to it) can be encompassed in a favorite family maxim: “This isn’t about you.” Or perhaps more elegantly put, by Pope Benedict XVI: "The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness." I shan't be returning to that "independent news source" soon, but it makes me more sure of what I think one of my callings shall be in this life. See? Even bad things can be used for the glory of God!
Today is also the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzoga, a Jesuit priest who gave up world wealth and comfort to serve and catechize the poor. Here’s a fact about him too: he died at age 23. That cut a little close to home for me, seeing as I too shall be 23 in 9 months (or so). It certainly makes a person think about the type of life they’re living.
This song came on Pandora today and it made me smile because Bear and I used to dance around the room to it:
Happy Summer Solstice! New favorite thing: video gchat. Yay for talking to Vivian in Georgia!