Monday, February 22, 2010

On repentance

 Strangely enough, Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation for Catholics. Even fifty years ago (as far as I can tell), when observation by Mass attendance was near-universal, it wasn’t required although it was strongly urged. Nowadays it seems bearing the Sign as a dark smudge on your forehead sets you apart not just as a Catholic but as that most exotic of birds, a traditionalist (or “trad”) Catholic.

Well, not really, since even Vice-President Joe Biden, held to be a “cafeteria Catholic” because of his pro-choice voting record, sported a thumbprint-like mark on TV this week. And observance isn’t strictly limited to Catholics, though it isn’t common at all among free-church Protestants. But it’s safe to say that Ash Wednesday observance is notably absent to those who have any memory predating the death of Paul VI.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Evangelizing the workplace?

I recently got a text message from a high-school acquaintance I reconnected with on Facebook. I'm not much of a texter myself, as it's often simpler (and cheaper) just to call the person and talk rather than spend the time and money on text messages. But occasionally it serves a purpose, so I prefer to have the function; my new phone has a full QWERTY keyboard, since I don't have the hang of abbreviations.

Kurt is a born-again Evangelical who likes to "thrash Scripture". His message read: how r u coming w/ ur witness @ work?

I didn't have an answer for him.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The closing of the cafeteria

I’ve said before—in fact, I said it last March—that it seems nowadays the only debates religious issues hang on have to do with sex and reproduction. Yes, it gets tiresome. I for one am not so obsessed with abortion, gay marriage and celibacy that I can’t talk about anything else. For instance, I was going to embark on a series of counterarguments to common atheist attacks … until life intervened.

But because the Catholic Church takes such a prominent position against gay marriage, and because that particular issue is cropping up in the news more often, it creates interesting ripples and reflections that bear comment. More to the point, the fact that gay marriage does take up more talking-heads time in the culture factories means that it can springboard sidebar discussions of other topics.