Latin Weapon 5

Jason Shellen
20 years ago · 4 min read

From - Gibson's film 'Passion' inflames tempers - Aug. 13, 2003:
'Gibson, a devout follower of a Roman Catholic splinter group that believes in a Latin Mass and rejects changes made in the Church by Vatican II, has poured up to $30 million of his own money to produce the film, according to The Associated Press.'

I'm blown away. I know that this kind of splinter group exists but why? I think that is the exact opposite kind of Catholic I consider myself to be. I certainly don't believe in a celebration that can't be understood by any of the participants. Rejecting changes made during Vatican II? They haven't even implemented many of the changes agreed upon during Vatican II. Furthermore, this whole Anglican/Episcopalian debacle over the gay bishop has caused people to wonder whether there should be a split between the American church and the one based in Europe. I'm all for that in Catholicism too! Not that anyone would care to do so but it's time for a break from the norm.

I know I don't talk about this kind of stuff normally but my faith is very important to me. I still find value in Catholicism. It's been a bit of a let down recently to be a member of the church. Lies, cover-ups, deceipt all kinds of things that one wouldn't want themselves associated with. It's similar to the way I feel about politics though. If you let the lying liars and deceiptful deceivers run the show for long enough... that's all you will end up with. What about the politicians and church members who do want to make a difference, who believe in something more than rules and tradition? How about some forward motion rather than wishing it were like the good old days? A few suggestions for the Church:

  1. Recognize gay marriage - funny that in a time when people are bitching about divorce that we want to deny people willing to make a commitment this sacrament
  2. Lift Saint Francis of Assisi's suggestion that those who take on 'holy orders' commit to a celibate life - a priest that molests children is many magnitudes worse for the church than the distraction a married priest would bring
  3. Allow women to have equal footing in the church - a nun is not a priest, furthermore the country is populated with women who are allowed to go to seminary and are theological experts, make use of their talents
  4. No more high school seminary - You want kids at the age of 14 to make long-term choices about their sexuality? C'mon, see #2.
  5. Drop the 'Roman' Catholic moniker - I live in California. Also when I run for president people are going to ask me if the Pope controls the White House. Looks bad for both of us really.
  6. How about a young Pope from a non-European nation? - I'm thinking of a globe traveling, uniter, Howard Dean type Pope.
  7. Focus on the core - Catholics are Christians. Christians aren't all Catholics. However, almost all Christians agree on the Nicene Creed, there is probably a good reason. It's important and should serve common ground for reconciling differences between denominations. In fact, the Church should take a role in educating other churches about what we have learned in our 2000 years of existence.
  8. Stop instilling Catholic guilt - perhaps we can work with the Jewish leadership on this one. Of course now I feel guilty for having mentioned that one (see what I mean!)

A while ago, I was sitting next to Halley Suitt at the Business Blog conference in June. She asked me if I went to church, I said 'Yes' and waited expectantly to hear what would come next (it's Halley after all). She said 'I started going to church again recently, it adds something nice. It just gives you something extra, you know? ' The fact is I do know. I can't say that I can explain it but it's very personal and probably why I haven't shared nearly as much in detail before. If you are Catholic or grew up Catholic, I'm guessing that many of these things would have changed your feelings about the state of the church. Perhaps changes like I mentioned above aren't too far off.

In closing, I should mention that Allison, Drew and I are active members of a great Catholic church in the Bay Area that feeds the needs of our faith life. In fact, I am challenged by the content of the sermons on a weekly basis. I also think that the priests at this church (and many more that I know) would agree with almost every one of the suggestions I have made above. It is a progressive environment and I don't know if I would still be able to consider myself Catholic without such a wonderful place.