Sunday, November 23, 2008
O,my fellow Black Catholics, where have you gone?
Seriously, I get tired of modern theologians and liturgists who say we ave to create our own Catholicism specially suited to black people.Besides the fact that creating more tensions and divisions by arbitrarily deciding what is black, often, what is Catholic gets down played. Unfortunately, and though they will deny this, the tendency is to take whatever black protestants are doing and do that.If they have gospel music, so will we, because that's what black Christians do.* If they have dancing, we have to do it too. Churches are sometimes re-ordered to be plain, to have pulpits more prominent than the altar, stripped of images with the blessed sacrament off to the side. Terms are changed. It is'nt mass, it's "worship with communion', or simply 'church'. Not priest, but pastor, who can never be called 'father'. No parish missions, but revivals.
Worse off is parish life. Confessions are reduced to basically none. Extra liturgical and private devotions are usually discouraged. Liturgy follows the bare minimum of ceremonial, and liturgical abuses are universal. Sermons often fail to bring up the meat and bones of Catholicisms, so most black Catholics don't understand them.
Sadly, and it shouldn't be a surprise, catechesis is often terrible, consisting more of what we share with our protestant brothers than the distinctives of Catholic doctrine. What little is taut of the faith often is'nt properly explained. Most young Catholics don't stay Catholic from my experience. Hence, the dearth of vocations from black parishes.
True, many parishes have lots of groups and full churches, but a simple fact is that many of them are getting it, so many leave it. And for those who stay, they often never are taught the fullness of Catholicism. The result is Sunday Mass Catholicism.**
Now of course, it hasn't always been like this. Older black Catholics, even some traditional ones tell me of the old days. When there were yearly solemn novenas to Our Lady of Montserrat, St.Peter claver and Our Lady, Queen of Africa. Where one could find black composers writing choral music, and using their music in (the very few) solemn masses. They knew the faith, and they believed the faith. In an unexplainable way, they had their own spirituality, it was distinctively Catholic, and distinctively black without being influenced by charismatic protestantism to the detriment of the Catholic faith.
But, those days are over and gone.
It could be many, many years before anyone could begin to restore what was taken from my people by the spirit of the age. Disdain for traditional orthodoxy and orthopraxy are far to widespread to be good for the church. Unfortunately, churches like St. Sabina's, and pastors like theirs are the norm. Vatican II is rarely if ever taught or practiced as the letter of the law says, there, but it's spirit is rampant.
So basically, this is my rant about how your modern black Catholic parish needs to be reformed.