Eyes Wide Open

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 13, 2004

For the most part, [Catholics] do not go to church; those who do, do not go to confession; and whether they go or not, there is little doubt that the great majority have strayed a long way from the main thrust of twenty centuries of Church teaching, together with their priests. So that "Catholic" has become more of an ethnic description, than a statement of religious faith. ...

One is conducted -- not everywhere but almost everywhere -- into a Mass which has been translated into an English that is crass, puerile, awkward, semi-literate -- which wantonly mistranslates the Latin template, and tries to dodge the most crucial doctrinal issues.

A severe, if hardly uncommon, conspectus of the state of contemporary Catholic life. Schadenfreude? Anti-papist ranting? Disillusion masking itself as weary cynicism?

Well, none of the above. The interesting, indeed touching, fact about these observations is that they belong to David Warren's explanation of why he has decided to enter the Catholic Church. In a sense, this is the first picture of his fiancée that a newly engaged man has chosen to show his alarmed parents -- of his bride, I should say, since Warren was received on December 31st. He does not anticipate a serene or protracted honeymoon:

The Sacrament of Penance, a.k.a. "Confession" is -- I did not used to believe but now do -- the mark of seriousness in both church and people. For if we are not trying to put ourselves right with God, with whom are we trying to put ourselves right?

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 15, 2004 8:41 AM ET USA

    Being a convert too, I'll add my two cents worth: It became obvious to me in RCIA (class of '96) that there were those in Church who has no idea of what they had and those who'd traded it for a lie as yet unknown even to themselves. I'm still puzzled mostly by those who consider themselves Catholic yet don't believe this and that and the other thing too! I try to aggravate them by telling them what the Church teaches to the contrary - I'm not very popular in my parish. Oi. Like I care?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 13, 2004 3:23 PM ET USA

    PS Don't fail to read the whole David Warren column by clicking on his name in the Sound Off item. It's terrific.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 13, 2004 2:54 PM ET USA

    As another convert, I can only add that the mess was evident even in my RCIA classes. However, by the time I decided to enter the Church I had already read the Catechism and the Documents of Vatican II. I had been reading St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, and others for many years. When I finally went to a Mass I need from the first that I was in the 4th & 5th chapters of Revelation. Truth will always attract no matter how some try to hide it.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 13, 2004 1:06 PM ET USA

    I'm also a convert. I was told years ago by my director that, for those serious about spiritual growth, WEEKLY confession is necessary. Sometimes I feel even that isn't enough for a tough case like me. ;-)

  • Posted by: - Jan. 13, 2004 10:41 AM ET USA

    Oh, how I wish I could put Warren's words in the ears of so many people I know. Usually I am speechless and totally nonplussed at the behavior and shallow theology of people we find in an around the Church or who blithely assert their Catholicism (often in the media). Warren's one paragraph is a virtual summary of our Church's malaise. It ought to be the preamble of a modern Restoration. Thank you David Warren !