Because it is Spring (or close enough) and because in Spring all right-thinking souls turn their thoughts and hopes once again to that summa of sports, baseball, and because the Old English origin of the word “Lent”, lencten, means “Spring”, and because we are in Passiontide and rapidly approaching the end of Lent, a weekly column of His Eminence Timothy Card. Dolan caught my eye. My emphases.
Have We Lost It?
One of my favorite memories of baseball is about the pitching legend Sandy Koufax. This cherished recollection about one of the game’s greatest pitchers did not occur on the mound, however, it came in 1965, when Sandy informed the manager of the Dodgers that he would not be able to pitch on the Jewish high holyday, Yom Kippur. For Sandy, his faith was more important than even baseball.
Last week I was taking a walk in Central Park and stopped at a cart for a bottle of water. But, the attendant was not to be seen. I walked around the cart hoping to find him, and there he was, a faithful Moslem, on his knees for his duty of prayer.
How about the movie Chariots of Fire, the true story about the committed Christian Olympic runner, Eric Liddell, who would not compete on Sunday, the Sabbath? Remember?And now I understand the Jewish members of the senior class at Baruch University have asked that their late Friday afternoon graduation ceremony be rescheduled earlier so as not to interfere with Sabbath. God bless them!
What about us Catholics?
From what I can detect, instead of fidelity to communal acts of penance, we write in for “dispensations” for the measly eight days of fasting left – – Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.
We continue to schedule celebrations, parties, and fundraisers during what should be forty somber days of penance.
As for observing the Sabbath, only 25% of us attend Mass, instead of loyalty to Sunday, when we seem to prefer Starbucks and sporting events – – even sponsored by the CYO!
Our Catholic colleges will compete in “March Madness” even on Good Friday, and coaches in our parishes will complain that CYO games cannot be scheduled on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
The Bible tells us we need fasting, penance, holy days and the Sabbath.
Sociologists tell us that a religion needs what they call “markers” to flourish, external signs (like Sabbath observances and fasting) to flow from internal conviction. [Like reverent sacred worship.]
Am I exaggerating when I ask if we Catholics have lost it?
Where’s the Catholic Sandy Koufax?
The Cardinal asks a good question.
Have we lost it? It, I think, being our Catholic identity? An identity strong enough to help us take the narrow and hard path rather than comform?
To start the discussion, I remind the readers of my long-running POLLS, which are implicit requests to the US Bishops…
And what about …
I agree entirely with Card. Dolan in what he asks. I respond, “Yes, we have lost it. Our identity has been shattered through reckless liturgy and the dumbing-down or our markers.”
Please, may we have them back?
We might see a change, slowly, in the attitude of Catholics to Mass attendance, Lent, Good Friday, etc., etc., etc. We might also find that we are more respected in the public square.
The moderation queue is ON. Think before posting.
That admonishment to “think before posting” isn’t being followed by some of you, who think that this is simply an opportunity to vent or to trash the Cardinal. Look, I didn’t like what he did at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade last year either.
However, if you want to give him a piece of your mind, don’t give it to me. Go over to his blog, which has a combox of its own, and blast away to his face. Don’t sneak around.
If he doesn’t personally handle his own blog, but lets handlers do it for him, that’s his choice. As they say: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”