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Last night I watched the final of three episodes about ‘Catholics’ , A BBC production. To say I felt disheartened by the wishy-washy Catholics interviewed by the journalist would simply be more than an understatement!!. In this final episode, Catholic women at Westminster Cathedral seemed to have been chosen at random and interviewed about their faith as Catholics, and how their faith has shaped their lives. By and large they seemed to be rather strange and rather needy, (with the exception of a mother and children), lonely individuals who have found solace in the routine of the Mass and the beautiful surrounds of the Cathedral. Not one of them seemed to be LIVING THE FAITH. Not one of them uttered anything about the importance of God’s Word in their lives and that they attended Mass in order to get closer to God through His Word and most importantly, by receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Not one of them mentioned that they have an important role to play in British Catholicism today!
Given that they were interviewed on how Catholicism has shaped their lives, they could be forgiven for not mentioning the real reasons that Catholics attend Mass. I could turn a blind eye to the lack of certainty about what the Church teaches, and excuse this with ,’well the editor chose the juiciest bits to air’…..but I felt let down as a fellow Catholic, by the unfurling and shaping of a uniquely personal type of Catholicism by these women, who seemed to have had absolutely no Catholic backbone and need to uncover the Truth, that can only be uncovered by searching, asking and searching again. This is something I continue to do every day of my life.
The viewers are introduced to the female staff, volunteers and congregation of the cathedral. Set against the busyness of cathedral life, the meetings are brief but intense encounters that describe what it is to be a Catholic woman in Britain today. To be sure, they seemed completely unhinged from true Catholicism, and seemed to have created a kind of Catholicism they can ‘live’ with. Either you accept Sacred Tradition and all that the Church teaches, or why bother to turn up at the party at all?
We meet Rose who is second-in-charge of the cathedral’s sacristy, preparing the altar for six daily Masses and making sure the priests have all they need. A convert, Rose is someone for whom Catholicism is an anchor in life, but who does not seem to be too sure of her facts.
Jennie, on the other hand, is a cradle Catholic who feels her education by nuns was repressive, with an unspoken emphasis on sex – and especially abstaining from it. She feels her Catholic ‘indoctrination’ was a cross for her generation to bear. Despite that, she staffs the cathedral’s information desk once a week and feels her Catholicism is a valued part of her identity, having developed over the years into an appreciation of the spirit of faith more than the letter of the Church.
On the steps outside the cathedral, a retired doctor who feels alienated by the Catholic Church’s teachings on Aids and contraception, makes her way through the conversation picking and choosing what takes her fancy, and then expresses her disgust in the sex scandals that have perforated the Church walls with its recent history of child abuse. No longer practising, she nonetheless feels her Catholic identity has provided her with an important moral compass for the chaos of life. No doubt, these morals will have been hand-picked, relative to her status quo.
I lifted this comment (http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/)to post at 1catholicsalmon, as it so clearly demonstrates the blatant lack of understanding about Catholic Living and Worship, displayed by many ‘Catholics’ in attendance at Mass, and it expresses my own sentiments about Catholics who are neither here nor there in their devotion to God and His expectations.
This comment was written by a visiting American Catholic who attended Mass in England:
I was in England last weekend for a family christening and attended a couple of Masses. I was horrified by, not only the lack of reverence, but the lack of basic politeness shown in the church. People talked and laughed loudly (adults more loudly than children) both before and from end of Mass, and as for the christening – many of the attendees noisily conversed throughout the ceremony! As I mentioned to someone afterwards, these people would not behave so rudely if they were at the theatre or visiting a friend’s house. The priest, who for the most part, followed the rubrics, did not tell people to be quiet. It was as if he had given up; he smiled benignly and spoke to the congregation as if the mean age were about six. If children are baptised into homes where the parents don’t practise and live immorally, if when they go to church, the priest does not demand reverence for God, and preach the fundamentals of faith and morality, especially against the most widespread sins of the day, then where are people going to learn their faith, and what is good and evil? Children ought not be baptised unless at least one of the parents is practising the faith and truly committed to raising the child in the faith. Nominal Catholics have been churned out on a large scale since the sixties, and it kills the Church, and mocks God.
Perhaps I’m being harsh, but actually what I ‘ve written comes straight from the heart. It’s time to stand up and be counted!!!!