Catholicism in America, and possibly in other parts of the Western world, is, unfortunately, a community life built upon customs and habits eerily similar to (in fashion and practice) the prevailing popular culture. Catholicism, in its weakening influence on a dying Western morality, has lost its 'salt' and 'light' precisely because it is too afraid to be countercultural in carrying its cross.
It (she) prefers pop comfort.
That is why these Christian facts will surely shock complacent Catholics.
"When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the LORD’s glory had filled the temple of the LORD. Then Solomon said, 'The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud...'" 1 Kings 8:1-7, 9-13
A sad Christian fact in the Western world, especially prevalent in America, is the unbalanced perspective we have toward our bishops, priests, deacons, and consecrated religious. Instead of perceiving their holy obligations, and necessary functions, balanced with their real humanity, we, on the one hand, tend to divinize them in gala social functions, dining with the rich, treating them like royalty, and earthly conquerors. As a result, all too many bishops, pastors, and religious sisters have gone rogue.
We see bishops who are politically correct or, at least, silent. We see a body of bishops who support immigrant 'amnesty,' without the balance of abiding by a Just law. We see bishops silent while Pro-Choice advocates receive communion. We see pastors keeping alive the smoldering torch of the progressive 'spirit' of the misinterpretation of Vatican II. We see nuns (on the bus) promoting abortion-producing-politicians. We see Catholics in public-political-life leading 'the culture of death' and the culture of anti-Christian persecution.
On the other hand we have the priest bashers. Those who see the 99% of the faithful clergy as the 1% who are guilty of sexual abuse. This is a view heavily skewed by the lens of progressive ideology.
And then Solomon said 'The Lord intends to dwell in a dark cloud.' Catholics, for the large part, receive a failing grade (F) in perceiving the presence of Jesus Christ. Either they see Him in the Eucharist, and miss him in the fellow struggling parishioner, or they don't believe in His Eucharistic presence, but rally to help the poor...especially the poor from 'exotic' foreign countries.
Jesus' presence is no longer understood on His terms. Cafeteria perception reigns!
"Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
Let us enter into his dwelling,
let us worship at his footstool." Psalm 132:6-10
Catholics love holy places.
How about going to Mass on Sunday?
Medjugorje may be viewed as a holy place to some, but the Holy Catholic Mass, in our own backyard, is the Holiest of Holies! The pilgrimage site of saints may be viewed as blessed, but our bedrooms, with our spouse, in a prayerful presence with Jesus, is just as blessed. The fancy Cathedral on our tourist checklist may be bathed in the supernatural, but we must not forget that our dinner table, with our family gathered around, is equally bathed in the supernatural when we thank God for each other.
We seek for relics, but all we really need to do is offer a healing touch to the poverty in the person next to us, and we truly touch holy ground.
"...they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak..." Mark 6:53-56
All too many Catholics seek miracles from the sky. And when the sky remains unmoved they shout accusations against God Almighty! I know, for I have been this blind.
Yet, Catholic miracles abound!
The Eucharist is the greatest miracle...the greatest miracle we take for granted! Sacramental confession is a miracle of life saving mercy. Do we participate, and receive/perceive this amazing phenomenon of God? The gospel, moreover, is a miracle of simple clarity in a world inundated with complicated muddle. Do we 'taste and see?'
Fact: Catholicism is bathed in the miraculous power of the Father's Love, in the Life of His One Begotten Son, in the Holy Spirit, which makes miracles, in saints, out of ordinary sinners.
Yes! Our Catholic faith, in its fullness, is shocking to all too many Catholics.
Thoughts? Complaints? Suggestions? firstname.lastname@example.org