As a returning Catholic, I am determined to practice my faith with knowledge and awareness. I have chosen to fully assert myself to “do it right” this time.
While purchasing the catechism and other source material, I have also purchased several historical references. I intend to make my return one of dedication while adhering to church law.
However, I do have a dilemma. It is one of disenchantment and disbelief. And shamefully, I think I’m reacting with conflict due to a “judgmental” opinion.
I returned to Christianity through Protestantism about 1 year ago. After realizing that I never gave Catholicism the fair shake that I gave to Protestantism, I decided to reinvestigate my Catholic roots and return to my faith of birth. Part of the reason was a desire to return to the reverence and piety that Catholicism seemed to offer; or, that’s how I remembered it anyway.
But upon my return, I must admit that I’m experiencing a bit of culture shock.
I was encouraged along the way by Catholic radio and EWTN television broadcasts. However, the church that I saw portrayed to me isn’t necessarily the church I’ve actually returned to.
After studying Pope Gregory VII’s attitude toward corrupt, wayward, and lackadaisical clergy and lay people, I sometimes wonder if we aren’t in need of a Pope G7 type of reformation.
There is something to be said for Catholicism’s history of humility and lessons of submitting to church law and to God’s authority. Catholicism’s heritage of reverence towards all things sacred and the Church’s fostering of virtue are things I remember as major factors in the make up of one’s “Catholic bearing“.
Not that I’m completely opposed to live rock bands thumping away prior to an Evangelical church service, but that’s just not for me.
I seldom rely on Hollywood to provide lessons in humility, but I hearken back to a mindset that was portrayed in the movie, The Mission. While I can sympathize with Deniro’s character (Capt. Mendoza) during his state of sin and repentance, I am even more attracted to the attitude encouraged by Iron’s character (the Jesuit missionary) that demanded full submission and servitude from Deniro’s Capt. Mendoza.
I gotta’ tell you, I have observed more of an unforeseen laid-back/lax attitude than I cared to encounter upon my return to Catholicism. I believe I am witnessing an intentional “facelift” that is meant to keep pace with that of the currently “hip” Evangelical Protestant movement that I left; partly because I was disenchanted with such a style.
I’m not coming back as a hard-core traditionalist and, in fact, I am very fond of many Vatican II changes. It’s mainly this perceived disregard for good old fashioned Catholic reverence and humility and the Church’s desire to keep in step with contemporary appeal that has struck me as odd. Admittedly, it may simply be the churches and parishes I’m attending.
Again, I admit that I’m probably coming off as judgmental. That’s because I am, in fact, judging the church that I have returned to.
I think I can get used to the extinction of nuns and the appearance of parish priests who don the “off duty” civvies instead of the black shirt and collar….(that’s a lie, forgive me, I don’t think I can actually get used to either one of those scenarios)….but I do see a change in “seriousness” that concerns me.
I know that I can’t change the Church, and if I must change instead, than so be it. But I think I’m looking for a little assurance that the Church has not adopted a personality that taunts the legacy of dedication that was formerly encouraged by some of its forefathers, such as Pope Gregory VII.
I know that my stint (very brief stint) with Protestantism has probably made me paranoid of all things “progressive” and that I am possibly reading waaaaaay too much into all this (after all, I’m the one who left the Church and became detached, not the other way around).
I am just curious, has anyone else who has recently returned to Catholicism experienced this “culture shock”, or am I being unfair and possibly ignorant of the Church’s intent? I am open to criticism (which I expect is forthcoming).
*Also, as a “rookie”, let me know if this is the wrong forum for this post…thanks.