I have come to the conclusion that US society is reaching the point that, in general, it will not accept religion as a personal choice. Hollywood movies and TV programs are pushing the notion into our young people’s minds that religion is archaic and out dated while forcing more sexuality into their subconscious. Federal/state legislation is attempting to silence and corral religion under the name of “hate crime”. People wonder what has happened to our catholic identity? They ask, how can we make our universities and schools more “catholic”.
Since Vatican II, many, many religious people (priests, nuns, monks, etc…) have opted not to wear their clerical or religious habits. Althought in recent years, that seems to be changing among younger religious priests and nuns, it is my firm belief that the fruit born from this seemingly harmless choice has been that we have, effectively, lost one of the greatest incentives to holiness. Imagery is compelling to the human mind no matter what the context. When we see a priest wearing his cassock or the nun wearing the habit of her order, regardless of the character of the person underneath, we respect and admire the dedication that person has made to God. It is a visible and sometimes stirring image that compels us to think Godly thoughts. The more we see these images, the more we are reminded of our Creator and our responsibility to Him.
How important do you think it is to our Catholic identity that we have visible, tangible imagery such as religious habits and cassocks to serve to inspire our young people?