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.

About Jeremy Lott