The other religions of the West have been turned into Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. The sacrifices have ended. The altars were stripped. The incense was extinguished. The gods were packed away into the attic and the priests were pensioned off or re-trained as social workers.
But real Catholicism rejects Moral, Therapeutic Deism just as it rejects the old superstitious paganism.
The sacrifice we offer is not some vague bloody mess we hope will propitiate an angry god, but the re-presentation of the one, full, final sacrifice of Christ–not the Sun God but the Son of God.
Here the ancient paganism with its voodoo magic, its dark secrets and mystical mythologies is superseded not by a religion of nice people doing good works, but a religion with the sacrifice of praise at its heart. Here is sacrifice perpetuated and completed. Here the ancient world is overturned, but here also the modern world with its shallow philosophies of utilitarianism and idealistic ideologies is also overturned, for here is something better, stranger and more marvelous than both.
Here is a religion that brings heaven and earth together in a mystical union which both elevates the earth and humbles heaven.
The fact that this happens at the altar where I stand was suddenly overwhelmingly amazing.
It made me pause until the silence deepened and the people wondered if was lost.
They were right.
I was lost in wonder, love and praise.
And it was difficult for a moment to find my way back to that simple altar where it all takes place.