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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Does "Catholic" mean "Universal" or not?

What does it mean to be "Catholic", according to this blog's regulars? It has seemed to me that "traditional Catholicism" as put forth here disparages some nonessential elements that we associate with the practice of the Faith. Recent posts here confirm at least an animus against the Charismatic movement (elements of which have been seen throughout history, starting with Pentecost and as recently as the movement which resurfaced in the USA in the early 70's at a prayer meeting in Pittsburgh), and against anything that smacks of a "sop to modernism", including (but not limited to): any liturgical music written since 1900, any expression of faith/worship that involves anything more emotional than quiet, reverent contemplation while kneeling and reciting the beads, and any effort to reach beyond the traditionally established norms in order to speak to different people.

To wit: African-Americans tend to be more emotional and exuberant than whites of European descent (and even among Europeans, the Southern, Mediterranean cultures are more passionate than the more stoic Anglo-Saxons of the north). Is it any wonder that there are so few black Catholics in America, if there is an undercurrent of disdain for exuberant praise among "true" Catholics?

Of course I'm being hyperbolic, but you get my gist. Is there no room for personal preference? Must our praxis continue to be in only one type of vein, without regard for individual personalities and spiritualities? Do we expect that everyone must not only believe the essential, universal truths taught by the Magisterium, but should also conform their personalities and spritualities to one particular type of practice/worship?

Must we all prefer chant to "On Eagle's Wings" to be truly Catholic?