Unexpected and Uplifting
Re “Seeking Signs of a Catholic Revival in France,” by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry (4/17): I concur with Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry’s opinion of a resurgence in the urban French church. I recently attended a vigil Mass at the parish of Notre-Dame de Bonne Nouvelle in Paris, expecting it to be full of older Catholics and sparsely attended. The church was mostly full and attended by a wide range of ages and families. Apparently, they are following the new evangelization liturgy. I was impressed with Mass and the parish. This was something unexpected and uplifting to experience.
Christian or Not
Re “The Vague Christianity of Folk Rock,” by Teresa Donnellan (4/17): What’s great about art is that it can’t be boxed. What’s great about Jesus is he doesn’t just belong to Christians.
I’m a poet and a lyricist, and I left Catholicism ages ago, yet my work cites Christian, even Catholic themes. It is the work and what is taken from the work that matters. Jesus’ message holds up whether the artist identifies as Christian or not. Artists are merely vehicles.
Re “An Interview With Rod Dreher,” by Bill McCormick, S.J. (4/17): I have not read Mr. Dreher’s work, but from what he says here, I would say he conflates faith and belief. Whatever one believes, one finds oneself engaged in and integral to this thing we might call life or reality or creation. Faith is a way of engaging that thing, one that is open and trusting as opposed to closed and self-concerned. So whether one is brought to believe something through argument or assertion really isn’t the important distinction.
Faith is open engagement with the mysterium. It is a form of active humility and has nothing to do with believing the “right” things, let alone opposing those who believe the “wrong” things.
What Challenges, Confronts
Re “Can Catholics Dissent From Pope Francis’ Teaching on the Family? Wrong Question,” by Peter Folan, S.J. (4/17): Wonderful piece. In humility, I may see things as “challenging”; in ego, things revert to subjective “right” or “wrong.” We are invited to the effort of deeper understanding of what challenges, confronts and even comforts us.
Regardless of Agreement
This article by Father Folan is a good one. In my opinion, it is important to educate oneself thoroughly about a particular teaching, especially if at first we might respectfully disagree with it. By this I mean that one should research, understand and learn the teaching and its underlying principles and philosophy. This applies whether one agrees or disagrees with it, and this means seeking competent spiritual and moral advice.
Re “Opposition to Óscar Romero’s Canonization Was Political,” by José Dueño, S.J. (4/17): This is powerful stuff. One wonders why some can classify the murders of bishops as religious and Romero’s as political—perhaps it is politics itself that shapes their perceptions? This story provides good evidence to U.S. Catholics that the half million undocumented immigrants in this country who came here from El Salvador are fleeing a remarkably tragic country.
A Great Evil
Re “Confessions of a Porn-Addicted Priest,” by Father John Smith (4/3): I appreciated what another priest said: “It makes me angry to see someone as gifted as you are fall victim to such a great evil.” That’s the kind of human connection we need, not the fake promises in porn.