Sunday, February 01, 2009

A New Age

I was wondering whether to call this post "a new reformation" but I decided against that. Things are happening in the church so quickly now that I feel that the best analogy of the "barque of Peter" is that we are white water rafting, and Pope Benedict is our captain.

A couple of observations which continue from my previous post on the Church in Brisbane in 2059. On speaking to a couple of colleagues on the weekend was the observation that there are three main groupings or "demographics" that have emerged in the church today. These are:

  • the cultural Catholics
  • Catholics for tradition
  • charismatic Catholics

The first is the Catholics like my parents who were brought up in a closed Catholic community , and Catholicsm is denoted by family and parish ties. They are not all that religious, but insist on attending Mass because that is what they were brought up with (including the fact that not attending Sunday Mass is a mortal sin). They also place most emphasis on the tribal aspect of the Catholicism that they grew up with. This is interesting, because if you see sites such as Catholica, it is very strongly on the bent that the tribal aspect of the catholicism that they were brought up with (ie. Irish/Australian Catholicism) has to be preserved at all costs. All doctrine goes out the window to maintain the comfort of existing parish and community groups (ie so goes the argument that one sees on that website continually that we need married and female clergy, selected by the community (or the tribe), to maintain the Eucharist on Sunday). Rome is seen as a hostile outsider.

It is predicted that this aspect of catholicism will fade with time , and varous estimates range from 20 years (mine) to 5 years before its extinction.

This leaves the other two groups , who will determine the church's future. As i mentioned before, these two groups will be in conflict but an interesting observation on the weekend was that the traditionalist communities do get people from charismatic groups looking for that added sense of mystery, so there is some cross-over and commonality.

I was inclined to call the second group of Catholics the Latin Mass Catholics but I widened it to all Catholics who are attached to the traditions of the church. This would broadly include both the strict Extraordinary form catholics as well as the reform-of the-reform movement. The latter is not visible in Brisbane but emerges through some of the different movements in the local church. Its outward manifestations include the use of mantillas by women, traditional devotions and Holy Communion exclusively received on the tongue.

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