Search This Blog

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Catholic Family....

I was reading a blog post by Shawn Tribe over at The New Liturgical Movement and I started reflecting on the Catholic is what my thoughts are;

I think that by and large the Catholic family from the 1920s-1950s in America got it, from a Catholic point of view.  They had large families, they were devotional, they went to Mass and they understood that giving a child to the Church, as either a priest or religious (or sometimes both) was not only a duty, but desirable.

I  think that this is one of the great acts of charity that a family can give.  I also think that it could not have happened if families during this time were not "liturgical" in their daily lives.  Families prayed together, went to Mass together and went to devotions together.  All of these things led to vocations.

Parents encouraged things like altar boy corps for their sons and sodalities for their daughters.  Fathers were part of the Men's Club (which often times were ushers) or KofC and mothers were part of the Legion of Mary or the Altar and Rosary Society.  The lives of Catholics revolved around being Catholic.

In my humble opinion (even though it may not seem so), I think that this is what we need to be promoting for the family.  This idea of the liturgical life of the family extends way beyond just praying Grace and going to Mass on Saturday night or Sunday morning.  It also means adding a rosary weekly (or daily) to the routine.  It means adding the Angelus to mealtime prayers (it's the easiest way to make sure it gets done).  It means holding fast to being active in the parish from an early age.

I think that there are three things which really undermined the whole "liturgical life" of the family since the 1960s;

1.  Birth Control/Abortion  --  When the family unit shrunk, the idea of giving a child to the priesthood or religious life went away.  Parents want to be grandparents.  That can't happen when there is only 1 boy and 1 girl in the family.  They expect the kids to both marry and give them grandchildren.

2.  The reductionist view of the Mass (via the Novus Ordo reforms)  --  The sad fact is that during the heyday of the Novus Ordo reforms, people quit going to Mass.  It ceased to be, for a majority of people what it once was.  And with a deficient catechetical model, the Novus Ordo has never come close to any sort of authentic and innate understanding in the way that the TLM had.  Even today, many people comment that their first experience with the TLM is Catholic.  How many say that about the Novus Ordo the first time they assist there?  It isn't nearly the same.

3.  The admittance of female altar servers  --  When boys are taken out of the sanctuary,  they stop thinking about becoming a priest or religious.  How many seminarians count being an altar boy as one of their main reasons for trying their vocation?  How many girls who have  left for the the convent say the same thing?  It's interesting...the vast majority of seminarians do list being an altar boy as an influence, but very few girls do.  What kind of a message is that sending?  Boys need to be put back into the sanctuary, so they can be put back into the seminary.  Sodalities are set up to give girls a view of what community life is like and that fosters vocations to the religious life.  It's really sad that we've lost that perspective.

I think that if we as Catholics are looking at how to recover the liturgical life in our Church, we'd be well served to not only re-evaluate these three issues, but also to get involved with the parish in the traditional roles to which we are best served and which allow us to best serve.  This comes first with an understanding that gender roles are not hermaphroditic.  Women are called to a different role in the Church than men.  This isn't sexist or limiting, but rather, this is empowering one to live their Catholic life to the fullest in the most authentic way.  Authenticity, by the way, isn't a subjective thing.  It is in it's truest Catholic sense objective.  Knowing and embracing this will lead to an inner freedom and clarity of purpose that has not been seen since the mid 1960s, in both the Catholic family and the larger Catholic community.

Obviously, this is presented from an American point of view, the European model may be different, but I can say this with all honesty....if we follow a model close to this, we'll be in a much better place liturgically and vocationally.

There was a heyday for Catholic life in America and this is how it was done, by and large.

No comments:

Post a Comment