Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

serendipity

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 22, 2008

Here's a curiously cheering photo. Jeff Miller steers us to a blog entry by a Catholic from South Bend who posted some jpegs of a Eucharistic Procession held last Sunday on the campus of Notre Dame. In addition to several shots of the clergy and monstrance, we're shown glimpses of the participants and even some passers-by, including those pictured above.

As we'd expect, most of those who encountered the procession by accident appear bewildered or amused or mildly annoyed. But not all. What's encouraging about the pair shown kneeling in silence is that they clearly were not part of the crowd that had assembled with the intention of venerating the Eucharist. They were going about other business when their path happened to intersect the worshipers'.

Is their genuflection merely a pious reflex on the order of removing one's hat for a passing flag or funeral? Sixty years ago that might have been the case. Today, the situation is very nearly the opposite. The pieties of the academy demand ironic aloofness from religion, and to be seen bending the knee before the Eucharist is to flout those pieties -- even at the University of Notre Dame.

Many observers of American Catholicism think that, while the old secularist etiquette generally remains in force, the willingness to defy this etiquette is on the rise. That too is a good sign. Devotion acquired in counter-cultural circumstances is more likely to thrive than devotion acquired as an act of conformity, and it is less likely to weaken in the face of hostility or contempt. As to the random photo of the on-lookers, the reverence displayed is heartening precisely because of its spontaneity: no posters or banners or lapel buttons; no premeditated affectation of defiance. In spite of the unremitting efforts of Catholic educators, one finds, very occasionally ... Catholics.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our September expenses ($33,416 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,584.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Apr. 23, 2008 12:38 PM ET USA

    Someone did a good teaching job! "By their fruits you shall know them."

  • Posted by: - Apr. 22, 2008 12:04 PM ET USA

    Man if that isn't inspirational...

  • Posted by: - Apr. 22, 2008 11:20 AM ET USA

    ...thinking Fr. Richard McBrien's going to have a lot of explaining to do when this photo makes the rounds...

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO 11 hours ago
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29
Frustrating the Moral Law August 29
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8