Converts, Reverts, Cradles, and…

…I can’t find the post some younger blogger made describing a 4th general class of Catholics – those who, educated by goofy hippies and crabby on-their-way-out-the-door nuns (and who of us educated in the 60’s – 90’s *wasn’t*?) came to the conclusion that, no, really, *that* was the Church. It falls out from this that only stick-in-the-mud reactionaries and mean-spirited fuddy duddies thought otherwise. Then, in the mysterious workings of the Spirit, they met something like a gentle and sympathetic college professor or some pious layman who radiated love, yet didn’t buy, for example, the assertion that a choir in the choir loft is a performance and therefore unacceptable under Vatican II, but a rock band in the sanctuary is *active participation*.  For example. Or that sex is for marriage, divorce is right out, that one should attend Mass every Sunday at least, that our obligations to care for the less fortunate aren’t completely fulfilled by voting Democrat – or whatever, the particular dishes served depend somewhat on whose cafeteria you frequented.

Her (I think it is a her) flabbergasting point: all those years when she was presumably sitting cross-legged on the floor singing Kumbaya and getting in touch with her feelings in a theology- and history-free environment, she was completely and innocently *convinced* that THAT was the Church, and carried that conviction into young adulthood.

Anyway,  my apologies to the author to whom I’d love to give credit and a link if only I could find the darn thing. What was shocking about this to me is that she is clearly observing a real thing which is almost completely foreign to the way I think.

My experience: all those kids who went through grade school in the 60’s and high school in 70s with me? With almost no exceptions, they stopped going to Mass and never followed the bulk of the Church’s moral teachings. In other words, I would and did say that they had ‘left the Church’. It really never occurred to me that they would sincerely believe that, no, they were still faithful Catholics! That it would never have crossed their minds to think they’d ‘left’ anything. They sincerely believed that they were, in fact, doing a good job tying to live up to the Church’s teachings.


See, I was more concerned with what was going on in the heads of the teachers than how the other students were taking it. And the teachers were not innocent, at least not completely. Even as a young teenager, when I heard – and I heard it a lot – that this or that goofball whim was ‘in the spirit of Vatican II’ and, besides, was being done for the sake of us young people – I knew it was a lie. Can you imagine anything LESS attractive to your typical teenager than sitting on the floor talking about your feelings under the dopey gaze of Mr. Dropped Out of Seminary Because They Frowned on Drugs and Sex? Or any kid voluntary listening to, let alone singing, Carey Landry or the St. Luis Jesuits? Pull-ease! Yo, Flash-Back: Nobody 15 years old thinks music peaked out with Peter, Paul and Mary. (aside: if only the stuff was as good as Peter, Paul and Mary – that would be huge step up!)

The other experience I had that is very different than what most kids had was joining the ‘Adult’ choir at our parish. As a small child my earliest memories of Mass were of hearing this big, glorious choir – I just LOVED the polyphony, the four-part harmony on those great foot-stomping hymns. I wanted to do that! So, age 14 or so, I signed up – just as the choir was cratering under the weight of the spirit of Vatican II, as administered shillelagh-like by all those loving, gentle Fascist hippies. But, before it got kicked out of the choir loft and subjected to slow death by Hagen and Jebbie scaphism, I got to listen to and see older adults who were None Too Happy – these were people who’d sung in the choir for years, tended to be educated, and – gulp! – had actually read the V II docs.  So I cruised through those docs a little myself.  Therefore, at an early age, I was aware that, very commonly, the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ meant doing exactly the opposite of what the docs said you should do. Hermeneutic of rupture, indeed.

Anyway, self-absorbed nitwit that I was and remain, I never really made the distinction between the teachers, who were it seemed to me somewhat aware and culpable, and the poor kids, who were and are much less culpable, if at all. If they don’t happen to meet someone who is more aware of the Church’s history and teachings – yet decent and loving about it – there’s little reason for them to change their view that They (along with Pelosi and Biden etc.) are the Church.

Sorry about that.


Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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