November 28, 2004

A homily and a conversation

I went to the STA 7pm Mass here in Ames tonight. Among other things, I wanted to see the difference between their normal Sunday morning parish Mass and their more college-student-targetted Mass.

The chief difference I noticed was a penchant for difficult music that was confusing and hard for the congregation to tell where exactly they were supposed to sing. I'm always frustrated that these even exist; they're set up so that a good choir can perform them for an audience, which is liturgically terrible, since it discourages the congregation from actually singing. Sigh.

The homily was interesting, though. After sermonising for a while on the topic of being prepared for the end times and living like Judgement Day were tomorrow, he moved on to the topic of the greatest threats to Catholicism. They were: mobility, individualism, and the redefinition of marriage. That last one might actually have been a subtopic under "individualism", but he talked about it at least as much, so I grouped it separately.

He was making some good points on the first two, but then I about lost it on this last one. His oblique references to the marriage rights movement (I thought) served no purpose but to alienate.

After Mass, I walked up after most of the congregation had left and inquired whether he really thought that the marriage rights movement was the third most dangerous threat to the Church. This touched off a really interesting conversation in which I discover his point---which he admitted he made better in the earlier Masses---was actually more general, regarding the growing tendency to blow off sacramental marriage in favour of being married next to a favourite waterfall, blowing it off entirely in favour of living in sin, ignoring the nonsacramentality of "remarriage", as well as the more politically current topic of gay marriage.

Furthermore, he seemed much more interested in having the conversation than dictating ways of thinking. As he said, he wants to make people think about it; the conversation can be after Mass or at a discussion group on Wednesday night or some other time, but it is so much better to have the conversation than to walk out angry.

Is it a conservative position, or liberal? It's catholic. I'm glad that I didn't just walk out angry.

Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words. --St Francis of Assisi

Posted by blahedo at 9:32pm on 28 Nov 2004
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