Wednesday, May 10, 2017

More Thoughts On Empty Pews

As I said last week, I've always had the wrong attitude, and by now, I'm used to catching flak for it. But I'm still musing on the difference between what I saw in the toddler photo from yesterday's post and what the church ladies seem to think I should have seen. I saw empty pews in a tiny venue, incomplete families, some lady taking baby pictures in the middle of mass, and a chapel veil reminiscent of the oppressively church-lady culture that's been reported to me at OLA and OLW. Somebody else thought the toddlers were cute. I wondered if we haven't quite made it to 2017.

I spent some part of last evening thinking about what my wife and I find at our diocesan parish several times a week. This includes traffic jams in the large parking lot (people are remarkably courteous), intact family units with many children, the nave so full you've got to get there 20 minutes early, a reverent atmosphere, confession several times a week with several priests in the booths and lines a dozen people long. There are definitely toddlers, but they often have their six-year-old sister managing them, quite well. Dad is there, too. As I said yesterday, a nave full of people has marvelous effects on dampening toddler noise.

Why on earth would anyone want to set foot in that coldly forlorn Canadian chapel? Just to hear some faux Shakespearean English? One thing I'm coming to realize as a Catholic is what an active parish life really looks like. One ingredient of our successful diocesan parish is the number of Filipino and Latin American families. We frequently celebrate Filipino and Mexican traditions, and for holidays Filipinos and Mexicans sell their delicacies at coffee hour. I'm starting to think going to a Spanish language mass would do wonders for my Spanish. Heck, the Latin that's in our OF mass has been bringing back my Latin.

Something's wrong -- and I would say not quite Catholic -- with how this whole Anglicanorum coetibus project is being implemented, and I think those who are currently cheerleading for it are seriously misguided. Why are the pews empty in all but a few OCSP parishes? Why do visitors to this blog report such unpleasant experiences at some that are (relatively) successful? Why are cute toddler pictures showing them as onesie-twosies? Shouldn't they be there with three or four siblings? (I think I know, to tell the truth.) And one more time, where's Dad?

Who's shepherding this sparse flock?