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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Friday, September 2

Catechism of the Catholic Church

I was baptised in the Catholic church as a baby. I don't know much about Catholic beliefs beyond the bits my grandmother passed along to me. I remember enjoying the rituals. I liked knowing what was going to happen. I thought they meant something.

Later, I found myself more and more wary of ritual. People seemed to think it meant much more than it really did. It seemed like distraction from real understanding. It seemed silly.

I've come to think there probably is a good use for ritual. It should be done carefully so as not to be mistaken for having meaning in itself.

Some people can perform rituals and make it look dignified and serious and meaningful. I'm not one of them. Even when I'm taking something seriously, I'll trip, or mess up, or get distracted by some random unrelated thoughts.

All of this post, though, is a distraction for me. I was trying to understand more about Catholic doctrine and cutlure and got stuck thinking about the ritual. I suppose ritual is an important part of Catholicism, so perhaps it was actually on topic. (BTW, in case you can't tell, I'm trying to get multiple posts out to see if it triggers those weird bursts of hits).

1 comment:

gon4good said...

"Ritual" is probably too strong of a word for what I think you mean. The catholic church has "liturgy", for sure, which encompasses the mass, the stations of the cross, etc., but beyond the inherently fundamental pieces which make a mass a mass, like the words during the consecration of the Eucharist, much is left to the personal whims of the celebrant.
But to your point, catholicism, in general, revolves more around its liturgy than it does beliefs, except for those embodied in "dogma", which to be a true catholic, you're supposed to believe; i.e., things like the virgin birth, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection, etc. But unlike protestant religions, there isn't that much biblical interpretation. Biblical verses are interjected into the liturgy, but they aren't beaten to death for hidden meanings or abject clarifications. By having a clearly recognizable liturgy, a catholic should be able to attend a mass anywhere around the world on any given Sunday and feel like he belongs. This could be much more difficult in less liturgical religions.
As a catholic, and an ex-seminarian, I'd have to say that the average cathoicl knows scant diddly about what the catholic church teaches at its roots. They know little chunks and often have bizarre misunderstandings of what they think the catholic church teaches. It's actually quite a laid back religion, with a great deal of tolerance, by definition; more so in the USA than in Europe or the third world.