Father Z has some very fine words to say about blogs, bloggers and those who comment on blogs. Listen to what he has to say above. It is important. We as Catholics must take the high road and be charitable. We attract others to the Church whether fallen away Catholics, non-Catholics or the unchurched by making the Catholic Faith attractive not ugly. By attractive, I don't mean accoutrements, I mean how we act and treat one another. The Golden Rule still applies today!
I recognize that Pope Francis' papacy has disoriented many people but I think needlessly so. This is why I think so.
In many ways, certainly not all though, Pope Francis is pre-Vatican II or wants to return the Church to some pre-Vatican II ways, but not all of course! But this is a start!
1. He doesn't want us to proselytize. My dad in the 1950's told me when I was a small child and decided to wear by rosary outside my shirt around my neck that Catholics don't do that. We don't show off or offend others by our religious symbols. He said we don't as Catholics wear our religion on our sleeves. The way we live as Catholics should speak loud enough and speak well of our Catholicism. What attracts others to the Catholic Faith are Catholics who live their faith in simple ordinary ways without protesting, without ideologies and without words.
In fact my father didn't even send religious Christmas Cards because he didn't want to proselytize is friends in this regard. Interesting, no?
What has happened since Vatican II in this regard. Catholic laity became militant and through false ecumenism borrowed the tactics of Protestant Evangelicals and fundamentalists their form of proselytizing. Like Westborough Baptist Church, we protest today and make Catholicism an in-your-face religion. I prefer the pre-Vatican II ways that was passive but effective. The Catholic Church prior to Vatican II has many, many converts.
2. In pre-Vatican II times, at least in parishes, there were not liturgical wars. The liturgy was set and parishes went about celebrating the sacraments as these were prescribed with the various options allowed. Some parishes had more resources to do thing in an elaborate and rich way, others did things quite simply.
After Vatican II one would think that the only thing that Vatican II focused on was rearranging the furniture, changing the architecture of the Church and coming up with new music to sing each week at Mass. The Liturgy wars ensued in a self-referential way and turned many, many Catholics off. In the northeast about 88% of Catholics were turned off and no longer attend Mass.
Prior to Vatican II the Mass was not a battlefield! We need to return to this pre-Vatican II mentality.
3. Prior to Vatican II popular devotions were extremely popular. These were practiced privately by Catholics and in their homes. Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, novenas, and 40 Hours devotions and public recitation of the Holy Rosary would see Churches filling on a Sunday night or during the week.
After Vatican II popular devotions were denigrated by the academic elite in the Church and many rank and file clergy who listened to their drivel. We need to recover the pre-Vatican II mentality concerning devotions, especially those of the various cultures of the Catholic Church.
4. Prior to Vatican II Catholics were not interested in airing the dirty laundry of their families or gossiping publicly about the sins of others. We recognized that sin was a matter of confession and under the seal of confession. Gossiping, detraction and calumny when it occurred was roundly condemned as a sin and everyone knew it was a sin. We did not judge those who did not go to Holy Communion and wonder what they did that prevented them from doing so and we didn't judge those who did go to communion. We gave everyone the respectful benefit of the doubt.
5. After Vatican II most parishes heard in homilies and religious education only about Vatican II as though this ecumenical council was god. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit took a backseat to Vatican II. Vatican II was mentioned more often than the Most Holy Name of Jesus Christ!
We need to return to the pre-Vatican II focus on Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the angels and saints! Ecumenical Councils should not be the focus of homilies. Jesus Christ must be!
We need to return to these pre-Vatican II sensibilities and Pope Francis is leading the way!