If Priests and Parishes Care About the Church’s Teachings, Why Don’t they Hold Up Catholics Who Exemplify Them?

This is one of those periodic “Older Brother on the Porch” rants. I see it over and over again: in parish council elections, biographies of Church employees, people who win parish or diocesan awards, etc.:

“X is a proud father of 2, military veteran, with a long history of volunteerism with various civic groups.” If you’re lucky, the person in question is a Knight of Columbus.

Then, on the flip side, your average liberal or “run of the mill” Catholic will say something like, “Do you think saying the Rosary every day makes you a better Catholic?” “Do you think having seven kids makes you a better Catholic?” “Do you think being in a Third Order makes you a better Catholic?”
Uh, yes, objectively, a person who prays daily, doesn’t use birth control or is a member of a Third Order is a better Catholic (especially the latter, since it involves scrutiny and evaluation. It doesn’t make one automatically a saint or “holy” or whatever, but it *does* make one objectively a better Catholic.

“But we’re not supposed to judge.”

Then why are you telling me that I should judge someone to be a “good person” because he’s a military retiree, Rotary Club member, successful worldly professional, etc.??

Conversions and reversions are great, but when we hold up secularly successful people as the models of parish life–because they’re the ones with the money, of course–it really enforces the idea that the other things don’t matter.

Just once I’d like to be told that I should support someone for parish council, or support some parish employee, because he or she is doctrinally sound and a person of great prayer.

Otherwise, it just sends the message that a) Catholic doctrine doesn’t matter and b) Money is all that matters.

4 responses to “If Priests and Parishes Care About the Church’s Teachings, Why Don’t they Hold Up Catholics Who Exemplify Them?

  1. Part of why I want to start my own council- and I’m within 3 Knights of Columbus of doing it.

    I consider the Knights of Columbus a 3rd Order- and so does the Church. The new revision of the Third Degree reflects this;

    • The difference between a lay association and an Order is confusing, esp. when there’s no First or Second Order. A big issue, though, is whether one can be a Knight *and* a member of an Order.

  2. Many are. I know several Knights who are third order Franciscians *as well*- the Franciscians being rather obvious in my area. Nothing in either order’s bylaws prevent it though- I know for you that isn’t as easy, as the Discalced Carmelites *do* have bylaws and rules about their members joining other orders.

    However, I would like to point out that the lesson of Fraternity, in the last year or so, has now been linked to the Eucharist and is much less confrontational than it used to be. If anything- it’s so non-confrontational that for anybody who already believes in transubstantiation and the communion of saints, it’s downright sleep-inducing.

    • I really don’t see how anyone can be a member of two “Orders.” Now, an Order and an Association, yes. The OCDS *does* require members to have apostolates–preferably, the local community is supposed to have its own apostolate that the members collaborate on. Part of the wisdom of the OCDS statutes, both in terms of prayer and “what you can belong to,” is to avoid laity overburdening themselves with “church stuff”. The general rule of thumb is: 1 devotion, Divine Office, 1/2 hour of contemplative prayer, and Mass if possible (weekdays), 1 spirituality (Carmel) and one apostolate (preferably associated with the Community)–and *no more*, because that’s already maxing out the time most laity can afford. It’s just as much about restricting the tendency to be self-destructively overzealous as it is about a “higher standard.”

      Ironically, I’ve often used KofC as an example of an “Apostolate,” figuring that KofC’s mission is more apostolic than spiritual. OTOH, the newer Statutes and Constitutions both expand and define the “no other Orders” rule by saying, “nothing that involves a vow.”

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