Devout This!

This morning, I would have been almost on time for Mass. Fortunately, yours truly got so caught up with a Darrell Issa interview on the radio that Father Flapdoodle’s homily was half-way over by the time I walked in. Listening to him tell us the story of his week made me wish I had listened to This Week a little longer.

The above is included to demonstrate, dear reader, that I am not a devout Catholic. “Devout” is an emphatic. If someone goes to daily Mass or weekly confession or prays the rosary regularly, it is an appropriate way to describe him. I do none of those things and don’t plan to start.

For a better modifier, try grudging Catholic. I go to Mass weekly, at best, and complain about it — the ugly A-frame building, the awful homilies, the awkwardly worded prayers of the faithful — and manage to not eat meat about every third Friday in Lent. The Vatican says Catholics have an obligation to go to confession once a year, and so I do.

And yet, during my recent seven-year sojourn in DC, I was often described as “Jeremy Lott, devout Catholic.”

Language shifts over time. Sometimes that works out well. The world “cool,” for instance, has no problem doing double duty describing a both a breeze and a temperament. Other times it results in unnecessary and unfortunate confusion. To call grudging Catholics “devout” robs the term of most of its meaning and usefulness.

  • Roseberry


    I hope that you weren’t described as a “devout Catholic” by any major media outlet. If so, that would mean that you are a dissenter at best, a heretic at worst. Follow any media treatment of matters Catholic, and you will find that every Catholic who attacks Church teaching, who speaks snidely and dismissively of the Holy Father, and who makes common cause with the enemies of the Church is routinely described as a “devout” Catholic.

  • mcewen

    Jeremy I am a convert and you know what we are like. I learned my faith by God’s gift of suffering, there is great wisdom in suffering if you listen. I am blessed in my Priest here in Prague, he is 79 and I have listened to him for 14 years. You are not so blessed, but in the homily is the teaching of the church and there may be a word or a sentence that speaks to your heart or a problem. But you may miss it by being put off by the messenger. I am amazed at those born into the faith are blind to the deep treasures in the church, there are the church fathers, the history of the faithful, Sir Thomas More, Bishop Fisher, Polycarp. If you are bored by your faith then find out why. I worked in a Protestant Homeless shelter where I was the only staff member from the Whore of Babylon Church and it was a blessing to learn and teach, it was a blessing to talk and listen to the homeless, it was a blessing to laugh and feed, to work and dress the naked, to teach the hungry. Here in Czech I was stopped by a 85 year old man and asked if I was a believer, and I said ‘Yes’ and he said, ‘why, I am so unhappy, I am a psychologist and my wife has not talked to me for 10 years.’ I told him I believed because I see beauty all round me and to thank God, is simply just to share my joy with another. Here in Czech we were governed by atheists and there was no beauty, where there is no God there is no beauty. Pokud Lord staví dům (Unless the lord builds the house)

  • Mary Kay Acheson

    Mr. Lott, – you are missing out! Throw in a weekly hour Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament or at least, a daily 15 min, visit. Your view will expand and not be so limited to poor homilies, ugly A-frames (try a cathedral) or poorly worded prayers of the faithful. Poor Jesus, to think that’s all He would leave us? You are missing out on a lot of joy. I am afraid, Jeremy, you could be described as a spiritual anorexic.

  • JasonFSU

    I pray for your conversion of heart, Mr. Lott. Your post reads like a fitness junkie who doesn’t exercise. As a Catholic who aspires to be, but often fails to be, devout, I find your perspective disturbing. How can you have such little regard for your Faith and your Church and then write about it? Just the act of writing about it shows some spark of passion, but of what….cynicism? If that cynicism is your schtick, why write about it on a blog about faith…as you appear to have little? I pray you eventually find more in our mutual Faith than lame A-frame buildings and boring homilies. There is so much more. I invite you to attend Mass this coming Fourth of July, where many parishes will celebrate our Faith and pray for the need to protect religious freedom. Maybe that will help rekindle your love of the Church. With warm blessings, I wish you Godspeed in your journey of faith.