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The Holy Catholic Church is unholy us, and wholly the Holy Spirit

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Catholic writer Evelyn Waugh once wrote to his friend Edith Sitwell, upon her reception into the Catholic Church:

"Should I as Godfather warn you of probable shocks in the human aspect of Catholicism? Not all priests are clever and kind as Father D'Arcy and Father Caraman...But I am sure you know the world well enough to expect Catholic boors and prigs and crooks and cads. I always think to myself: 'I know I am awful. But how much more awful I should be without the Faith.' One of the joys of Catholic life is to recognize the little sparks of good everywhere, as well as the fire of the saints."

Sometimes the paradox of the Catholic life is to find it easier to confess my sins on Saturday than it is to receive Jesus in the Eucharist on Sunday. How could this be? Saturday, in confession, it is between me, Jesus, and the Priest. Only two of us can screw things up!

On Sunday that can be multiplied by hundreds.

Gandhi expressed his inspiration at the gospel, and his abhorrence of the behavior of Christians. Chesterton once expressed the triumph of Catholicism, but the perennial failure of the Catholic. It sometimes seems as if it wasn't for Catholics, the whole world would embrace Catholicism.

Saints are more fantastic than we think. They not only overcome the devil, and the world, but the mediocrity and the lukewarmness of the Catholic--whether cafeteria, progressive, Rad-Trad, or seemingly mainstream-faithful. Every Sunday Mass (yes, even in the Charismatic and Spanish edition) is only one step away from purely human performance art. No matter how hard we try, we like to shine in front of others, better our competition, mark our territory, gain a bit of vengeance, and gossip ungodly.

If you doubt me, enter the Church as the Publican, and you will see many a Pharisee--liberal and conservative.

If it wasn't for the Holy Spirit, we would be just another social community, throwing a few bucks toward the poor. If it wasn't for the Eucharist, the best among us wouldn't be worthy to commune with God.

So, the next time you to to Holy Mass, look around carefully. For there's always a few Publicans pushed to the periphery, either forgotten, mocked, or fodder for gossip. And, in view of Jesus' Priestly Prayer for Unity, that's not holy.