An ineffable wedding experience

From a priest reader:

I [recently] presided at a wedding in my parish. I also attended the reception at which the Best Man gave the customary speech/toast.

The Best Man was the Groom’s nephew and in the course of a lengthy speech he related what a privilege and honor it was to be in the sanctuary and witness at such close range the look on the couples’ faces as they exchanged their vows.

He said, "…the love that they share was so clearly visible in their eyes as they said their vows. I was so moved at how much these two beautiful people are in love. The power of what they share was INEFFABLE".

I almost laughed out loud when he said that.

Once again, here is proof that your average run-o-the-mill American not only understands the word ineffable but he was able to use it in a sentence correctly!  Poor Bishop Trautman. He may indeed be a great intellect and he may also truly believe that he is serving the Church. That’s why he’s so sad because he is also just SO wrong, especially on this point. Yet, he insists that Americans don’t use words like ineffable. He just doesn’t get it. The ship has already sailed and yet he stands on the dock angrily demanding that the tide turn back again in his direction. Very sad, really.

Thanks for that excellent anecdote.

Yes… alas the problem is that many of our shepherds who embrace(d) the progressivist trends in liturgy, theology and catechesis think people aren’t very smart.

We think the opposite.

These days people might lack the formation they deserved over the decades and there will always be some people who are lazy or who truly have a hard time understanding things, but for the most part people are smart and have good will.  If you give them good and challenging things about their faith they will stretch to grasp them.

And words like "ineffable" just aren’t that hard.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kimberlee says:

    Ah, yes, and now I laugh out loud every time I hear Theoden say ‘gibbet’ as well.

  2. JohnK says:

    If the average guy can tell the difference between a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense in football, and the average lady can tell the difference between Manolo and Jimmy Choo, it doesn’t matter whether ‘people’ are ‘smart enough’ to already know what ‘ineffable’ means. What matters is that we can readily learn a specialized vocabulary, when it matters.

    I’d like to bring up something else about how ‘smart’ people are, or need to be.

    In his book ‘A Conflict of Visions’, Thomas Sowell says that those who have an ‘unconstrained’ vision make a core assumption that most people aren’t very smart, BUT that there exists a small enlightened core of people who ARE very smart, and who should lead the rest.

    On the other hand, people with a ‘constrained’ vision, says Sowell, believe that only rarely do people, including themselves, get it right, BUT that, in the main and over time, people do (even in spite of themselves) respond to incentives, which are expressed in history by the judgments and implications and rules of tradition and immediately by prices in a free market.

    So, in Dr. Sowell’s conception, those with the an ‘unconstrained’ vision do think that ‘people’ aren’t very smart — but they also think that THEY are very smart, and need to ‘lead’ the rest. And I think that is the implicit argument behind, well, maybe every argument Bishop Trautman has ever made.

    But the alternative to that view (again, according to Dr. Sowell), does NOT involve thinking that ‘most people’ are smart, but instead is assuming that you, and absolutely everyone most of the time, are usually going to be not that swift on the uptake. We should pay a great deal of attention to the incentives provided both by a tradition in good order, and by prices in ‘good order’; that is, within a free market in which thousands if not millions of individual judgments are summarized. And we should pay very close attention, precisely because we ourselves, no matter who we are, no matter our fame or wealth or our advanced degrees, just aren’t that smart!

    Dr. Sowell is not sympathetic to Catholicism, to say the least. But I think it would not be distorting his ideas to claim that a particular saying encapsulates much of the ‘constrained’ vision in his terms:

    “Say the Black, do the Red”.

  3. Andy K. says:

    In a sobering reminder (in my opinion, at least…) of the capabilities of humanity (for better or worse), look to Mumbai this past weekend.

    A group of young people, in their TWENTIES, were able to carry out those attacks.

    Yet Bishop Traut-person can’t seem to believe church-going Catholics can’t, at SOME POINT IN THEIR LIVES, figure out what a few words mean?

  4. TJM says:

    It’s really the height of condescension. I’m starting to believe that liberals don’t really like the “people” that they keep claiming they are
    fight for. Tom

  5. You know, it’s sad that the popular opinion in at least the United States is that you don’t have to make any real effort to live and learn your faith. Everything has to be spoon-fed to the faithful. It’s like so many shepherds have turned spiritually socialist.

  6. Cally says:

    “Ineffable” is used in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. How hard can it be?

  7. Gen X Revert says:

    I posted about a Newsweek article on the movie version of the play Doubt in which Meryl Streep plays a nun. In an interview her predictable views of religion caused my eyes to glaze over until I read this: “All the certainties that are embedded in doctrines—I understand the solace they provide, but in a way, they also, for me, form a kind of fence that divides us from each other. I am pulled toward the ineffable and I’m trying to conceive why we exist and is there a greater purpose.”

  8. Judy says:

    Gibbet is used multiple times in Michner’s Poland. If a best-selling novel can use the word, why not the Mass? I know gibbet is gone, I just wish the bishops would give us as much credit for intelligence as popular novelists.

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