Posts Tagged ‘catholic’

TJ Dygert is going to leave a legacy of life at Loyola University Maryland. And he’s not apologizing for it. But, he’s also going to do it peacefully and prayerfully and hope others begin to view opposing abortion as as a social justice issue. Check out this video interview with him at the March for Life in Washington Jan. 25.

When I tackled the ramifications of the new Roman Missal translation, I pondered what it would mean for ex-Catholics or “fallaway Catholics.”
Of course, there has been a split amongst Catholics who do attend church about the translations, which were implemented last week after months of preparations. It took a gigantic amount of effort and the kinks are still being worked out. If the people who have been hearing this for a while think it’s tough, just imagine those people who are returning will think.
A co-worker of mine said they wouldn’t notice a difference because they’ve been away for so long. I beg to differ. People raised in the church don’t forget what it’s like. It’s embedded in your psyche. I don’t have anything to back this up, but I’d imagine many former Catholics who go to other church services notice what’s not like their Catholic Mass experience, no matter how many times they attend.
So, when the Catholic Mass is different, what happens next?
Let’s talk numbers — wait, wait, don’t click away yet, this will get interesting.
America ranks in the top five countries in terms of number of Catholics. One in three Americans were raised Catholic. According to the Pew Research Center, about one-third of people raised in the Catholic Church are no longer part of the faith. When people say Hispanics are the future of the Catholic Church in America, they’re not kidding.
Forty-six percent of foreign-born Americans are Catholics. According to a 2008 Pew study, “Latinos, who already account for roughly one-in-three adult Catholics overall, may account for an even larger share of U.S. Catholics in the future. For while Latinos represent roughly one-in-eight U.S. Catholics age 70 and older (12%), they account for nearly half of all Catholics ages 18-29 (45%).”
Spanish Masses in the U.S. were unaffected by the Roman Missal translation for English speakers.
I’m not breaking new ground here, but the Catholic Church has a lot of work cut out for it in America.
Think about it: The Catholic Church has to stop people from leaving the church, retain what it currently has amidst a big shift in Roman Missal translation, attempt to bring new people to the church while integrating vital Hispanics into parish life. It’ll be a challenge to integrate many Hispanics in English-speaking Masses implementing the new translation too.
So, all of this brings me to #occupychurch. The hashtag is gaining steam on Twitter among youth ministers and ministry leaders. Of course, it’s a clever play on the Occupy Wall Street crowd, a would-be revolution, and its prevalence on social networks.
Can an #occupychurch movement really start? How does a 2000-year-old institution with unchanging truths convince people its counter-cultural enough to create a faith revolution?
As an observer and reporter, I’m watching this with interest to see if something tangible manifests itself without being ironic. How do you push past the hashtag and into the real world given all the challenges facing the American Catholic Church right now?
Is it possible for American Catholics to #occupychurch once again?

Father Matt Buening looked out on his congregation Nov. 27 as he was concluding Mass at St. Paul’s in Ellicott City and offered something he has done throughout his young priesthood.
“The Lord be with you,” he said.
What came next probably happened all across the country this weekend.
One half responded “And also with you,” while the other said, “And with your spirit.”
Father Buening smiled and offered, “Pretty good.”
It wasn’t the first time the congregation relied on what it had done for decades. Earlier in the Mass, Father Buening offered “The Lord be with you.”
The congregation responded with “And also with you.”
Father Buening looked at them and said, “One more time.”
The parish giggled a bit and said, “And also with your spirit.”
Father Buening again asked, “One more time.”
Finally, they said, “And with your spirit.”
English-speaking parishes all across the country started the new translation (third edition) of the Roman Missal this weekend during Masses. And there were “a few slip-ups” at some parishes as one Catholic Review tweet put it.
People in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who knew all of the previous responses and the Mass spent the weekend looking at pamphlet guides. The Masses lacked the sure-footedness of previous ones, as people read, rather than recited, much of their responses.
More than anything, the biggest changes happened for the priests, who prepared for the consecration in a whole new, and almost unrecognizable, way.
I think one of my biggest adjustments to the new translation will be the wordiness of it all. That’s saying something considering I’m a writer. Journalists are often told to “dumb it down” for their audience so the reader will understand the story better. The Catholic English Mass is going in the opposite direction, using wordy prose that is more faithful to the original Latin text that guided the Catholic Church for much of its 2000 years.
As a retired altar boy, I spent a lot of time looking down, rather than up, this weekend. I no longer know the Mass like the back of my hand.
I knew what I said before, I meant it and it was true.
It’s not my job to judge the decisions of Catholic leaders who know more theologically than I do. Their goal is to make the worship experience deeper and fuller. For me, there wasn’t anything deeper and fuller than the Mass as I knew it.
It might not have been close enough to the Latin for some, but, for me, Mass wasn’t about chasing a language. It was about celebrating Christ’s sacrifice and his real presence in the Eucharist. It might not have been perfect for some, but it was perfect for me and I suspect for a lot of people.
To be honest, I do worry about the large number of ex-Catholics who might entertain returning to the Holy Church one day. Fall-away Catholics make up one of the most significant portions of faiths in the country. If they return, will they recognize the Mass and will it bring them the comfort they’re seeking?
The page in the Missal has been turned. It’s my job as a Catholic newspaper reporter to turn with it. I can’t educate people in the paper if I don’t go deeper in my own Catholicism and explore what’s being said at Mass all over again. The reality is, this is going to be the Mass of my children. They won’t know anything different until it’s possibly changed down the road… and then they’ll be the ones talking about how they feel like a stranger in a familiar pew.
One of the unfortunate side effects of this change has been the online battle between those who dispute the change and those who embrace it. I’ve seen some resort to calling those faithful to the former translation “protestants.” A love of the Mass is a love of the Mass. It’s not protestant to think the Mass, as it was, was beautiful and true. A person has the right to miss that translation as much as some miss the Latin Mass proper.
We all have the same goal in the Catholic faith. As English-speakers, we’re just saying it differently now and that’s no small thing.

It’s hard to imagine that today’s middle schoolers were barely alive when the Columbine incident happened in Colorado. It was such a big cultural moment. But, St. Margaret’s Catholic School in Bel Air is incorporating lessons learned 12 years ago about bullying to today’s classrooms. Check out my story in The Catholic Review to learn more.
Take a listen to an interview I did with students Katie Sullivan and Julia Haigley below. Occasionally, guidance counselor Martha Sullivan chimes in with her thoughts as well. It’s amazing how insightful and idealistic young people are. If only us grown ups were the same way.

A week ago, I profiled Church of the Nativity’s missions work, thanks to a conversation with director Brian Crook. Brian, at 26, is a young Catholic making a big difference in Timonium and way beyond. The parish has partnerships with Nigeria and Haiti and he’s been to both with pastor Father Michael White. He’s also enabling parish volunteers to make their own big difference, inspired by Christian values. The people there are doing it with passion.

Brian was kind enough to allow me to record that conversation and there’s a large part of that interview embedded below. Enjoy, be inspired and do good work.

Archbishop O'Brien concelebrates Mass in Madrid.

Keep logged on to today for all the news on Archbishop O’Brien’s new appointment today. He’s leaving the Archdiocese of Baltimore for a huge position and The Review has all the scoops. Fellow bloggers Chris Gunty and George Matysek have the latest information. Follow their tweets on and like Catholic Review on Facebook as well. You won’t miss anything on this very important news.

Jo-Anne Rowney is young, but plays an important role in the Catholic Church in England. As communication director of the Diocese of Westminster, she helped reach people all over the world when Pope Benedict XVI visited last year. Social media made her a major player in the trip and people could follow the pope’s moves. It was a powerful moment. In the audio below, she explains how she did it and what role social media can play in the church going forward. This was captured by me, for Baltimore’s The Catholic Review, during Rowney’s presentation at a World Youth Day social media panel.