In praise of religious mediocrity

11 03 2010

Just a couple of things:

The first is from the American Catholic blog. The basic “o tempora, o mores” stuff. One quote cited in the essay was from a Catholic Worker priest from 1947:

It is customary for some to take a rosy view [of American Catholic life]….basing their optimism on tables of statistics concerning the growth of the Catholic population, the income and resources of the Church, the number of communions, etc. But such a method of computation is very unreliable where spiritual realities are concerned. Were it of any value, we could compute the degree of religious fervor from the quantities of grease burnt in votive stands, and our optimism would soar to the very skies…[But] even in the case of those who are wholly faithful to the external obligations of religion, there is often little evidence, aside from their devotions, that they are living Christian lives. Large areas of their lives are wholly unilluminated by their faith. Their ideas, their attitudes, their views, on current affairs, their pleasure and recreations, their tastes in reading and entertainment, their love of luxury, comfort and bodily ease, their devotion to success, their desire of money, their social snobbishness, racial consciousness, nationalistic narrowness and prejudice, their bourgeois complacency and contempt of the poor: In all these things they are indistinguishable from the huge sickly mass of paganism which surrounds them.
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