Thanks for the intriguing article. My favorite segment was from the comments of parishioner Tom Bomar, a convert to Catholicism, and ethnically Afro-American.
“Everyone is welcome here,” Bomar said. “Black church? White church? Those are just barriers people put up. You recognize a decent person by their character. Anything else is superficial.”
Race is no barrier between this flock and its shepherd. In Protestant churches, where congregations often pick their own pastors, skin color usually matches between pulpit and pew. But the hierarchy of the Catholic Church shuffles its priests around, and with few black ones to choose from, rotations tend to be color*blind.
“Our last priest was black,” Bomar said, “and he got sent to a white church in Petersburg. I like that. It reminds everyone that the pastor does not own the church. It gives a humble spirit.”
A famous Norman Rockwell Illustration of peoples from various cultures, races, and faiths under the banner of the scriptural quote "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I thought of this when reading Bomar’s quote here – and thought of another scriptural quote, the “Great Commission” … "Go therefore and teach all nations".
While it seems a previous white pastor coaxed his congregation away from the way some folks celebrated a Latin Mass and chided them that they weren’t “black enough” - the idea being I guess that people could still “be themselves” and worship rather than imitating a norm from “another culture” - I liked the more unitive comments of parishioner Bomar a bit better. God is Our Father and while THAT remains the priority … even over the lesser considerations of cultural expressions etc, … we will tend to meet in Jesus as brothers and sisters more easily.
BLACK AND WHITE HASN’T BEEN THE ONLY CULTURAL DIFFERENCES THE CHURCH HAS BEEN CHALLENGED WITH
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Rites_controversy < What cultural things can be accomodated in Catholic Worship … and what cannot (as in possible heresies being welcomed in on an equal footing to Church teaching) has been debated for a long time.
Catholicism in China went through its controversies A Chinese Emperor, Kangxi, impressed with a Jesuit leaders’ help in other matters welcomed Christian missionaries into the country and protected their rights of worship against all possible opposition … at first. (1692 - Edict of Christian toleration).
Later missionaries took issue with the accommodation of Confucianism (seen by some as a religion vs. a philosopy) and “ancestor worship” (as going beyond mere honor?), as well as the use of Oriental style vestments, church architecture etc. etc. - as being dangerous to the point of " … is this still the faith being taught?" and appealed to Rome for rulings.
Rome rule yea on some things, nay on others, and when its prohibitions on certain aspects of Catholic worship that had been practiced previously in China came about (in 1721), the Kangxi Emperor disagreed with Clement’s decree and banned Christian missions in China.
Pope Pius XII in 1939 relaxed some of the former prohibitions and by 1943 the Chinese government had established relations with the Vatican and Pius named a native Chinese Catholic as Archbishop of Peking.
At any rate, our time here on Earth is short. The oneness that Christ prayed for for us all is probably best achieved … or approached … when we keep our believing eyes on Him more than we keep our skeptical eyes on our brothers and sisters who come from different places and peoples. :gopray2: