Small post today. Just a few observations related to church and Christianity in general.
- I passed by a church a few days back and noticed that there was a single spot near the front that wasn’t handicapped parking, yet had some sort of writing on the asphalt. Curious, I went over to see what it said. The message? “Reserved for Pastor’s Wife.” Ah, those little status symbols, can’t forget them, can we? Hypergamy, like greed, never sleeps.
- I attend both Latin and non-Latin Masses in several different Catholic churches, depending on what my schedule permits. The most striking difference is age- the median age at the Latin Mass Parish that I attend is probably a third that of the Novus Ordo parish I usually attend.
- On a similar vein, that same church proves the importance of having lots of kids. When I attended Mass there last, I was one of the youngest people there (second or third youngest, and I’m no spring chicken). Looking around, I realized that any church which doesn’t encourage large families is a church that is doomed to die. The standard 2-3 kids of most Catholic families these days just doesn’t cut it. Given the low retention rate these days, plus general population stability numbers, that kind of family size means a church will die out over time. And that is exactly what I see when I attend that church- at least, at the non-Spanish masses. Those are very different, at least for the moment. But of course it should be mentioned that their family size is much higher.
- I’ve attended good services and bad services at Latin and NO Masses. The whole gamut? I’ve seen that. And however bad a Latin Mass turns out, it isn’t nearly so bad as an awful NO Mass. Worst case scenario for a Latin Mass is the priest stumbles over the words at points. But for an NO mass, the worst is unbearable: a butchering of Amazing Grace by the choir, off-key and tone-deaf parishioners trying to sing along, a long-winded homily that not only repeats itself but also is devoid of substance, and a dress code that wouldn’t be acceptable at a Mad Max audition.
- Very few Catholic churches make real efforts to be inviting to newcomers. Over my lifetime I’ve attended Mass at many, many parishes. And only a few have ever been truly inviting. I’ve heard the same from others as well. Most churches don’t seem to care, whether we are talking about the clergy or the laity. Part of this is the utter lack of community at most of these churches. Some were better, but even those with a sense of community never seemed all that inviting to newcomers. Or at least newcomers who were single men.
That’s enough for now. If anyone has any observations of their own, feel free to contribute.