Tuesday, July 29, 2003

A reader scolds, (and oh, how my readers love to scold me!)

I will tell you that I thought when you said yesterday that Father Perricone came from the ivory tower and the EWTN fortress, I was surprised at what seemed to be kind of a dig from you toward a holy and good priest. It seemed out of character for you, and a bit snippy. That MIGHT have set the tone for the discussion that followed in the thread.

Well..sorry, but what I intended to convey was this:

It's just a fact, one that's learned by everyone who ever leaves the confines of a circumstance in which they can preach to the choir to one in which they have to preach to the unconverted. It happens to teachers fresh out of education school. It happens to almost all priests fresh out of seminary, no matter what their ideology. It can happen to new pastors going from one kind of parish to another - say, if you lived in some parts of Florida, from a parish that's young and family-oriented and ethnically diverse to one that's populated mostly by white retirees. It's called the rude awakening, and it's the beginning of the process of learning how to apply what you've learned or experienced or believein a way that can actually be accepted by your listeners.

It is one thing to teach, write and speak about the glories of the Latin Mass to those who agree with you.

It's another thing to put such beliefs into practice into a parish in which the range of parishioners' views goes from indifferent to unaware with a few adamently opposed or adamently supportive on either end.

Further, I think what this joggles in my head is the reality that when we are engaged in activities with the like-minded, we forget that not everyone agrees with us. Sometimes I get the sense from intra-conservative (or WHATEVER)Catholic conversations that they believe that the whole entire Catholic universe is yearning for a return to the Latin Mass. News flash: it may not be. Even further, even most of whom who would like to see more prayerfulness in liturgy are, after 40 years, quite comfortable with the vernacular and would be puzzled, if not alienated by the suggestion that the only way to reverence is through Latin. It's the same with those on the "other" side - those who gather in parish or diocesan meeting rooms, believing that all Catholic women are yearning for liberation from patriarchal oppression. Well, as they find out when they try to run programs on the subject, er..no. Especially when they compare their turnout to the crowd that's gathered down the street to hear the latest on the latest Marian apparition.

We live, we learn, and it always helps to balance our learning and our convictions with constant involvement in the real world - and not just of the like-minded, either.