Some Catholics are the priest on the south side of Chicago who went up to a crack house at midnight, knocked on the door and told the people inside to shut it down and leave his parish. Some Catholics are the military couple who recently ushered their seven sons and daughters into the middle of a bright cafeteria of retired missionaries and cued them to sing for the old men. Some Catholics are the spiritually obstructed man who was advised by a priest to stop wringing his hands in agitation while he prayed for his kids. Some are the grad student who on a stroll through a sunny campus shared his frustration that the “Catholic right” usually wins debates in Rome over sexual morality. The “Catholic left” should be more organized and better equipped to fight for what it wants. It should not be passive and fearful, as malleable as a volleyball player’s scrunchie. Some go to a Latin mass for the first time and watch as the priest at the altar stands with his back to them. With that simple turn they realize that the celebrant at this point in the liturgy is not addressing them. For the first time in their lives perhaps, they realize he is actually talking to God. He is praying.
The Church has sometimes been described as “here comes everybody” — over at the main TJP site, Joe Hoover, SJ, takes up the challenge of describing some of everybody.
Some Catholics, who hear and take in breath after breath after breath of the Annunciation story over the four weeks of Advent, maybe every Catholic listed above, ultimately will find its opening sentence, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary,” the sentence that kicked everything off, that in its rhythm, density and simplicity, its tumbling faultless use of prepositional phrases and the way it distantly gives birth to the helpless infant’s body of all these loves, angers, judgments, singing, unfairness, sin, courage, pandybats, salvation and goats, they will find it to be the most quietly devastating sentence in the history of sentences.
Sometimes an ounce of description is worth a pound of argument. Read the whole thing.
P.S. If you liked that, you’ll probably also enjoy Joe’s “You Will Become Catholic.”