Someone asked me what I most enjoyed recently about being Catholic – and – what concerned me most about the future of the Church. This is how I responded? How would you respond?
Most enjoyed being Catholic? Being in the Middle East at Catholic Mass and having pilgrims tell me how much they appreciated the ritual of the Catholic Church and how comfortable they felt at Sunday Mass when the vernacular was not their own language. Because of the ritual, they could tell where they were in Mass and what was happening and was being said, even though they understood not a word of Arabic. One even noted that the priest, speaking Arabic, had the same inflection and cadence in his voice that his priest back home used when celebrating Mass in English.
Most concerned about the future? That people and priests will become more and more imbedded in opposing camps, and will fail to take the humble stance and maintain the humble attitude to listen, to learn and to realize that the church does not belong to any of them. I fear that believers will feel so strongly about what they believe that they will always see things as simple and clear, that their first thought will be to try to control and convince the others, and that thus all conversation and growth will be stifled.