November 14, 2007

Gratuitous Swimming the Tiber Posting

As is usually the case on Wednesdays, I have RCIA class tonight. This makes me very happy.

To give you an idea of how things are coming along, we are nominally scheduled for an hour's discussion each week. Typically, however, we run much longer than this, as nobody really wants to leave, but instead to stay and discuss (or argue) not just the topic of the evening, but all kinds of tangental issues as well.

What impresses me about this course the most is an overwhelming sense of the Church's eagerness to make sure that I know not just what She believes, but why. ""Look," She says via our moderator, "Here's the Catechism. It's heavily annotated with both Biblical and Church Father references. Go read them and understand."

I mentioned all this to Mom the other day and it seemed to quite surprise her. The Catholicism she turned away from in her youth was evidently not nearly so, ah, encouraging of independant reflexion, but was much more of the rote shut-up-and-do-what-the-Father-says school of thought. Of course, this was working-class Cleveland of 60-odd years ago. It would seem that times have changed.

Posted by Robert at November 14, 2007 01:25 PM | TrackBack

See? Vatican II wasn't all bad.

Posted by: Kathy at November 14, 2007 01:36 PM

I think there were a lot of good fruits of Vatican II; I'm a practitioner of the Liturgy of the Hours, which are the old monastic hours/breviary opened up to the general public, in a way thst pre-Vatican II, they simply weren't. The potential for both cathechesis and evangelization unleashed by the council were good things.

I think a lot of things were lost -- or rather, put aside for a time -- by people who misinterpreted the Council to give free license to any creative impulse, no matter how banal. But I think the pendulum is swinging back to somewhere in the middle -- the old lefties of the 60s are retiring, and the church is beginning to restore those aspects of what we conservatives think was lost in the faith. I'm perfectly happy, for instance, with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum -- the Tridentine mass made widely available without prejudice, but not mandatory.

I think technology helps, too. If I want to read conciliar documents, papal encyclicals, policy statements by the bishops, etc., I can do that -- there isn't that bottleneck of the local priest who, concerned about where my inquiries might lead, would simply give me three sentences of the Baltimore Catechism and send me on my way. If I want to answer questions that are particularly opaque to me, I can "google the Summa", so to speak, and find what different people thought about it, or think about it. While I am building a pretty big Catholic library in my home, I'm also able to leverage the web for stuff that I can't afford, or don't need the whole book on.

Because there's nothing more expensive than Catholic religious books. The problem is they are all big, and the market for them is unfortunately small. I'm currently saving my pennies for a 1962 Dessain Breviarum Romanum at Aquinasandmore-dot-com (spam filter rejected the link).

Pre-interwebs, I wouldn't even know how to find such a thing, never mind covet it. And pre-Vatican II, if I asked a priest, he'd say "what do you want one of those for?"

Posted by: The Colossus at November 14, 2007 05:21 PM

Good news: Ecclesia Dei may soon issue a directive requesting that seminaries instruct future priests on how to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 rite. Almost too good to be true...

Posted by: Christine at November 17, 2007 03:14 PM