Friday, November 09, 2012


You might remember that the last time we brought up reading through the Catechism in one year as a part of the Year of Faith, we tossed around the idea that while we Catholics use a number of formulas in our worship, it is the deeper realities those formulas express which are important. And that’s why we should get the words used during mass as correct as possible, so that those realities are represented properly. But getting the words right is only the first part of the equation. The second part comes up in the reading for Day 28 in paragraph 197 which states, “As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the "standard of teaching", let us embrace the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe.”

So what’s the Catechism getting at? Well, it’s pretty simple really. It’s the same thing old one-eyed Ragetti tries to get across to Captain Barbosa in this scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. (Sorry, the only copy I could find was from some guy who pointed his camera at his TV screen, but it’s clear enough to make the point.)

You see, what even the scruffiest of scallywags realizes is that you can recite the words of a formula as correctly as you want, but if you don’t mean them… they’re useless. It’s only if we say our Credos with faith that they allow us to enter into communion with our God. It’s an obvious truth, but probably one that it wouldn’t hurt to recall during those times at mass when we’re tempted to just roll off the responses by rote.


Anonymous said...

Do you notice what the reaction of even stupid, drunken sinners to seeing a god with the power to punish is? None of them invite her to "respectful, listening dialogue"! Even the hyper-masculine men know when to kneel.

And almost off-topic, but if you read Gene Wolfe's "Pirate Freedom", there's a point in there about the cultural context of the Church's abuse scandal I haven't seen anyone else make. I think it's much of the point of the novel.

Xena Catolica

EegahInc said...

That's an interesting point. You know, I could be wrong, but I don't think I've heard the word "hell" in a homily at my parish since I came back to the Church over a decade ago. I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Well, the feast of Christ the King is coming up, maybe you should ask your priest for some good words on the Last Four Things for that one.

Xena Catolica

romishgraffiti said...

Well now hang on there. The problem with this clip is that it is saying that a formula's efficacy is dependent on the reciter's feeeeeeeellings, and this emphasis on feelings is one of the big reasons the Church finds itself in the mess it does today.

But I suppose the clip does illustrate the modern problem well. He is not really Calypso's lover, so the rule to say it "as if to a lover" is about as reasonable as telling a tall man to learn to be a midget. But real people actually do believe that emitting emotional effluvia changes reality. So, the act of deliberately killing an innocent person who happens to be in a womb is rendered acceptable as long as the woman has done an appropriate amount of "agonizing" over the decision.

Scott W.

EegahInc said...

Well, sure, all analogies break down if you push them too far. I was only using this clip to emphasize the point the Catechism was making that the mere recitatioon of the Creed every Sunday is not enough. There has to be conviction behind the words or else the heart's not going to be open to the realities the words are conveying. But yeah, mere emotionalism is going to be just as useless as no feeling whatsoever.