Monday, March 22, 2004
Look for number one or "My main reservation about the modern Catholic apologetics trend." Liturgy and prayer are number one. When young Catholics are studied for churchgoing and other indicative trends of their faith, the single most common factor in an active faith life is the reinforcement of prayer with family, especially parents. Catholics school without Sunday Mass as a family? You're better off saving your money and buying a large screen tv or some other creature comfort. (Not to mention giving it to the poor.) Kids without the benefit of prayer time with their parents (either at home or at the parish church) are just as likely to be ignorant and apathetic about their faith whether they attend Catholic school, RE, or nothing at all. A public challenge to pro-apologists: get to Mass and take your kids with you. While I suspect that most apologists do do this, the effort at engaging the human intellect as a means of combating DaVinci Code heresy will not alone suffice to energize the Catholic Church. In fact, the real danger is that right teaching and right conduct will be the foremost of many approaches to faith. Faith must be lived. Faith must be celebrated and taught by example. A child does not know what goes on inside of the parent's head. The child sees what the parent does from an early age. An older child incisively registers the hypocrisy we engage in. But a parent who can make and keep a commitment of prayer: that will be the best single path to holier children, not to mention a holier Church. The mind will often fail, and eventually it will fail totally. But the path of prayer can always be a constant.