|Notre Dame University had it once but not any longer|
|No doubting his identity but appearance is only part of it|
Not so very different from their Catholic counterparts of the 50s and 60s but it was the Co-op in those days. Now we have lost something. And I'm not entirely sure what that something is.
Please do not misunderstand me, identity is something much deeper than appearances or habit; it has an almost indefinable air about it but we had something approaching it when we abstained from meat on Fridays. To decline the sausage and mash in the office cantina invariably provoked a remark, not an unkind one but, often, gently poking fun at the fact that someone would hold back from eating meat on just one day of the week. The openings it created were legion and it became a sort of game to opt for the fish and await the comments and then follow through with the killer punchline: "We do it as an act of penance and as a reminder that Christ died on the cross for us on a Friday".
Ker-booom! Game set and match to the Papists. They struggled to pick themselves up off the floor after that one!
Perhaps that has some kernel of truth about it; it was an act that required a public proclamation of one's beliefs. We don't do that today, we don't have the opportunity to do it when we don't give anything up, we don't put in a plea for time off to attend Mass on a holy day of obligation, we don't have to abstain. The end result is that we don't hold our hands up to be counted as Catholics. We don't defend the Pope, we don't walk away when a pornographic mag is passed around the office, we don't decry IVF, abortion, euthanasia - or, at least, not enough.
So perhaps we do need some outward signs that will give us the prop we need to proclaim our faith. How about these?
1. Say grace before meals in public
2. Recite the rosary (avec beads) on the metro, bus or plane
3. Cross ourselves when passing a church
4. Adorn our homes with crucifix and holy water stoup
5. Start speaking up for the faith
6. Be intolerant of moral decay (homosexuality, abortion, adultery, tax fraud,
pornography and so on)
7. Fulfil Sunday and Holy Day obligations if at all possible
8. Proclaim our faith publicly (writing to your MP on an issue etc)
9. Demand more from our Bishops - they need to know that there is a thirst for a deeper
profile to our faith. We need to invite them to step up to the mark and lead the anti
abortion rally or whatever
10. Support our priests and encourage those of them who are less adequate to become
Will all of those things help to re-create our identity? I'm still not sure. I think that much more may be needed before people will be able to nudge their colleague in the lift and whisper: "She/he's a Catholic you know".
Maybe Blessed Sacrament processions through the city streets should be added to the list....any other notions?