Monday, June 21, 2021

Full of sound and fury.

So this happened last week.

I will wait until autumn, after all the parts are put through the grinder and squeezed into the casings. And likely there will be a wall of text that ends with "your bishop will do as he likes."

I will spite Shakespeare above and note that there is one very significant takeaway here: 

Catholicism's fundamental, unbridgeable disunity. 

I have been paging through this slim-but-interesting volume about Catholic disaffiliation in the English-speaking world. Based on survey responses, it analyzes what might bring back those who no longer practice.

My impression thus far is a sad one: something identified as bringing back one group is also demonstrated to antagonize another, and vice versa. Or will antagonize those who are still there.

At some level, I can empathize with a shepherd who sits inert for fear of tilting the boat so as to dump people overboard. "Let's keep as many as possible close to the sacraments," he reasons. 

Then again, the reality is that people are continuing to go overboard and the trend is accelerating, thanks to the pandemic.

Here we are, and here we go.


  1. There certainly is a lack of uniformity, which many people mistake for unity. Clergy, after all, do not recite the credo, "Lord, I am not worthy ..." but only instigate it. Luke 15:28-32 comes to mind yet again. The younger son knew he was unworthy, but the father received him with rejoicing anyway. The elder is reflected in many Catholics inside the fence. They fuss and fret about who is getting into the club. The Lord's wisdom seems clear: he will leave the 99, he will wait at the town gate, he will converse with those who are deemed black sheep. I think we do well to follow that example, whether the clergy are with us or not.

  2. The reality is that when saying that belief in the empty tomb is optional doesn't separate you from communion, then Catholic unity doesn't register on those devices used on ghost hunter shows.

    But I agree a (modified) prodigal son approach is at work here.

    "They'll be back, just you wait."

    And to be fair, it is true in one sense: the number of Catholic funerals in America has declined only slightly in nominal terms over the past fifty years.


Be reasonably civil. Ire alloyed with reason is fine. But slagging the host gets you the banhammer.

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