Sunday, August 15, 2010

Am I a Liberal or a Conservative Catholic? I Rant.

Hi all.  (I did go to Mass this morning...still working on the pics.)

I met a fan of the blog today (YAY!!! I have fans!!!!)  and over the course of the conversation, he asked me if I was a liberal or a conservative Catholic.  Based on my answers to various questions, he was like so you are this or you are this.  All the way home I thought about whether or not I'm liberal or conservative Catholic.

You know what?  Why can't I be neither?  Or better yet, both?  What's wrong with being an ordinary Catholic?  You know, one that has never actually picked up a church document.....

We got to talking about Latin vs. the venacular in the liturgy as well as music used.  The world is not going to end if the Mass is said entirely in one language or the other.  The world is not going to end and we are all not going to go to hell if chant is used instead of tamborines or the other way around.  Why are we talking about extremes anyway?  What happened to compromise?  I seem to recall that compromise used to feature in Ecumenical Councils.  It also seemed to work for the US Constitution.  On the way home I was flipping through XM stations.  On the way home from Mass, I listened to grunge, heavy metal, Christian pop song, a couple current pop songs, a couple of older (~2000-2005) pop songs, some alternative, some Sting, the Beatles, a rap song, and a couple songs from the 50s.  Oh and something from the Swing Channel.  Why can't my Catholic Mass music be like this?  Why can't I have at Mass, something old school  and something new school?  Yes.  That's right.  I want chant right next to my Haugen/Hass/St. Louis Jesuit music.  Why can't the traditions be blended??  Now I'm wondering about heavy metal chant.  As for Latin, I'm of the opinion if the words don't change Mass to Mass, then it could be in Latin.  Lord knows I tune it out in English, what's it matter if it is in English or Latin if I'm not going to pay attention anyway?  (This would be why I like bells at the Consecration.  My mind wanders.)  Really I think I'm okay with main part of the Eucharistic Prayer being in Latin.  So the part essentially from the end of the Holy Holy to the Great Amen.  The Marionite Rite says this part in Syriac or Arabic and no one seems to be keeling over from Mass said in 2 languages.

Now, some of you are saying, but Tina, you are complaining about X, Y and Z and you mentioned I, J, K. That means you're this kind of Catholic.  There are many things about the Roman Catholic Church I do not like.  There are many things I think could be fixed if the Archbishops, Cardinals and Popes were dropped into typical parishes or even inner-city parishes and were reminded of what it was like to be A.  Not Ordained and B.  a simple priest.  Yes, I think the hierarchy is generally clueless at times.  But sometimes, so am I.  But here's the thing.  No one is holding me hostage to the Catholic Church.  No one is threatening me with death if I don't go to Mass.  As an adult, I have made the conscious choice to come back to the Catholic Church.  I'll be honest, I was flirting with becoming Wiccan for awhile.  But I didn't.  The thing is the Catholic Church has rules, traditions, and Traditions.  That's what makes it the Catholic Church instead of Jake's Christian Worship Space.  All I ask is that the rules be followed.  No one said anything about liking them or even agreeing with them.  I suppose, it is called being an adult and taking responsibility.  It blows.  I'd rather have things done my way.  The Roman Catholic Church is not Burger King, I can't have it my way.  Sure I can find a parish that is musically more my style or has parish activities I'd actually want to do.  They should all be following the rules however.  It's part of what makes one Catholic.  Following rules and all.  We throw hissies when rules are broken in professional sports...why can't it be the same for the Catholic Church?  We should follow the rules and at least give the appearance we like them.  Wasn't there some saint who was all about being happy about doing little things?

And know, I'm not advocating if you don't like it pack up your stuff and go find a Protestant denomination or denomination-less Church.  I'm telling you to put your big girl panties on and suck it up.  I'm pretty sure you aren't going to like Hell.  Suffering through an hour long Mass once a week that isn't your cup of tea seems rather insiginifcant compared to that.  Offer it up.   Also, it is rather sad and seems rather anti-Catholic, to loose any member of the Body of Christ.  It seems rather uncharitable to wish people to leave the Catholic Church.

I do however like my Catholic Churches to be more classically decorated and to actually oh, I dunno, look like a Church instead of a banquet hall or barn.  You know that may be one way to get people to dress more modestly for Mass...if the space didn't look like a generic room.  If we are in a "worship space" what does it matter what I wear?  Or the baptismal font is a jacuzzi.  (needs to remember to bring bubble bath...).  If I wanted to see modern art, I'd go to an art gallery or museum.  I'm all fine (I so lie...) with more culturally sensitive interpretations of Jesus and Saints.  After all, God made us in His image and likeness.  I'm positive He wears tie-dye and birks too.  (Why yes, I did really like the tie-dye vestments.  I just didn't like the shades of green..)

I think my biggest issue is when stuff like the arm-raising and the people blessing each other thing occurs it seems fake and hokey.  It doesn't seem *right*.  It smells of chedder.   I can just imagine Jesus and the 12 Apostles sending the 72 disciples off into the mission fields with a commissioning song and a Nazi-esque salute.  Actually, no I can't.  My brain won't stretch that far.

I'm not a liberal Catholic (yes, yes I am...)  and I'm not a conservative Catholic (only way you get me in a skirt is if it is tie-dye).  I'm just Catholic.  And truth be told, I'm not a very good one at that.  So instead of being liberal or conservative, I could just try being a decent Catholic.  I suppose the first step would be to stop rolling my eyes during Father's homily....and taking that meatless Friday thing seriously...or I could volunteer...or I could pray (let's not get all crazy here)...


  1. Sadly, your tie-dye vestment photo has been posted on