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Credo wrote in another thread:
Quote: It's because of this kind of legalism that I think the whole concept of "holy days of obligation" should be chucked. It serves to make the devout paranoid about how much their worship "counted." The only people who care about such holy days are amongst the pious anyway, so why cause complexes amongst the faithful?

I agree that legalism does creep in. That's been a problem with religion since Biblical days, it's nothing new. Jesus wasn't able to eradicate it, how are we to?

But that's not the topic. I'd like to discuss the pros and cons of increasing the demands of our faith.

What's the Hollywood image of Catholics, well, Hollywood until 20 years ago? Rosary Beads, Fish on Friday, Ashes on the forehead, nuns and priests in habits, always fasting for something. We're all familiar with the stereotypes. So how come they don't match the reality at all?

What's the stereotype of Mormons? Big families, Boys in polyester suits, family home evening on Mondays, no cola, no coffee. Still fits.

Stereotype of Baptists? Bible-toting, wear a suit to church, no booze. Still fits.

Stereotype of Sikhs? Turban. Beard. Still fits. And it must be no fun getting mistaken for a muslim by ignorant bigots, either.

We've lost our identity.

One of my favorite books is called About Face, by David Hackworth. One of his maxims as an infantry officer was, "The harder they train, the more they brag." It's true!

Look at the Marines. They demand a little more, they brag a lot, and I've never met a Marine that wasn't proud of being a Marine. Look at the high school football team. "The coach made us do 100 pushups on red-hot blacktop then run 3 miles in 110 degree weather before we started practice." That's not complaining, that's bragging! 

We need to return to real - not this token stuff with snacks that don't equal a full meal - fasting , abstinence every Friday, and Holy Days of Obligation on the Holy Day of Obligation. No moves. No dispensations. Make some demands and people will take pride in meeting the challenge. Sure, they'll crab at work that they can't go somewhere tonight because they have to go to Mass, or they can't eat that because it's Friday. But then there's a certain amount of self-satisfaction from acting Catholic. And that will make one a better Catholic. The whole point of the discipline of fasting and abstinence is that if you can overcome this small weakness, you can overcome others.

Discuss.
I find it is better to give people something to reach for rather than to lower things to their standards. 
We should inspire people to rise up to the heavens, rather than try to drag God down to earth.  Christ came to sanctify our humanity, and now we have the graces to rise to the heights.
As I said in another thread, I'd rather raise the bar.

Obligations and disciplines are opportunities for humility and grace.

But the goal is to obey out of love, not out of fear.
Very well said SoCal!

I agree. To me saying that this is too hard for the laity or that's too hard for the laity is just a cop out and makes our religious belief turn into lip service instead of a lifestyle.
Sure, there always has been and always will be those who don't care, and that's fine...we've all got free will and we can't be forced into holiness. I'd say that legalism is safer for the soul than lukewarm half-heartedness anyday. If a person attends mass or abstains for fear of violating the law of the church that is much better for him than if he were to simply hopoe that the idea of mass or abstinance might creep into his head.

What has been said regarding changing standards is very true. When I was in RCIA our priest said the very same thing. He told us that the church has always tried to elevate man by high standards and mortification. Jesus Himself taught that those who are humble will be exalted. Father went on the say that doing away with many of the traditional mortifications over the last several decades and disregarding the ones that are still around is cause for alarm and we should return to them, not get rid of them completely.

I agree with Father. I think we need to reclaim these things not just depend on peoples personal promptings to aspire to holiness. The church's role is to encourage and foster holiness among Her members, not abandon them to call the shots for themselves through dispensations and accommodation. That's what I think anyway.
there's a reason Fr. Corapi is so popular among many who attend the NO, although of course some want 'kumbaya' and he ain't singing it.  he gave a lecture or two at our archdiocese's Eucharistic Congress a couple of years ago, an event which in itself is proof many people want more of old-time Catholicism, even if they can't attend a TLM or just aren't ready to do so.  attendance at the Eucharistic Congress has grown by leaps and bounds since it began.  until they started this one, the last Eucharistic Congress i knew of was in the Fifties.

i understand what Credo is saying but think that 'complexes among the faithful' are caused by scruples, not by high expectations the Church makes of Catholics.  

everyone should know that we are excused from Mass obligations under various conditions beyond our control, and excused from fasting if we are ill.  we may also be excused from abstinence if a priest gives us a dispensation.   if we ignore our obligations, we should feel guilt and confess the sin, knowing we are forgiven and striving to do better in the future.  if we become guilt-ridden, despite having confessed and striving to do better, we have scruples, and need the advice of a priest.



(01-11-2010, 01:27 AM)SoCalLocal Wrote: [ -> ]What's the Hollywood image of Catholics, well, Hollywood until 20 years ago? Rosary Beads, Fish on Friday, Ashes on the forehead, nuns and priests in habits, always fasting for something. We're all familiar with the stereotypes. So how come they don't match the reality at all?
...
We've lost our identity.

The proper sentence would be: we lost our Hollywood created (fake) identity.

- Since St Pius X the Church somewhat disapproved the Rosary during the Mass

- Most Catholics ate fish when they fished it (outside of the Western world even now). The real Catholic identity was vegetable (beans, pees, lentil) on Fridays and on other days too except may be Sunday

- Ashes can be seen in foreheads on Ash Wednesdays, to move the ash distribution to Sundays was temporary change in the fifties

- and fortunately recently more and more nuns and priests can be seen  in habit

Moral: distrust the media, be vigilant against the news.
(01-11-2010, 01:38 AM)Louis_Martin Wrote: [ -> ]I find it is better to give people something to reach for rather than to lower things to their standards. 
We should inspire people to rise up to the heavens, rather than try to drag God down to earth.  Christ came to sanctify our humanity, and now we have the graces to rise to the heights.

Well said!
(01-11-2010, 09:48 AM)glgas Wrote: [ -> ]The proper sentence would be: we lost our Hollywood created (fake) identity.

- Since St Pius X the Church somewhat disapproved the Rosary during the Mass

do you have a movie or movies in mind?  i don't recall ever seeing a movie in which people were fingering their rosaries during Mass, though it certainly happened in real life.  i recall movies in which people were praying Rosaries after confession [Moonstruck, for example, which is an Eighties movie] and of course nuns/sisters and monks/brothers in full habits wearing rosaries around their waists, funeral scenes of the deceased with rosary wrapped around hands and of mourners telling their beads.

- Most Catholics ate fish when they fished it (outside of the Western world even now). The real Catholic identity was vegetable (beans, pees, lentil) on Fridays and on other days too except may be Sunday

you're right that people usually eat fish when they catch them, but public schools have served fish on fridays from at least the Fifties to the present, not having gotten the memo after vatican II, and it seemed to me that most Catholics did eat fish on fridays back in the day, though of course macaroni and cheese was another option besides beans and rice, etc.

- Ashes can be seen in foreheads on Ash Wednesdays, to move the ash distribution to Sundays was temporary change in the fifties

- and fortunately recently more and more nuns and priests can be seen  in habit

true about habits and ashes -- last year people were wondering what was wrong with VP Biden's forehead on Ash Wednesday.  :laughing:

Moral: distrust the media, be vigilant against the news.



it's a curious thing how, although some people in hollywood have always disliked Catholicism, they've loved to show the rituals and customs in movies, and have usually done so accurately, pre-damn brown.  er, dan brown.  and it wasn't only Catholics who went to see Song of Bernadette, The Nun's Story, The Cardinal, The Bells of St. Mary's, The Sound of Music, etc. 

(01-11-2010, 01:27 AM)SoCalLocal Wrote: [ -> ]I agree that legalism does creep in. That's been a problem with religion since Biblical days, it's nothing new. Jesus wasn't able to eradicate it, how are we to?
God knows our weaknesses therefore, the structure and rules. Jesus did not intend to eradicate it; the legalism was just a negative reaction to the gifts given to us.

Quote:What's the Hollywood image of Catholics, well, Hollywood until 20 years ago? Rosary Beads, Fish on Friday, Ashes on the forehead, nuns and priests in habits, always fasting for something. We're all familiar with the stereotypes. So how come they don't match the reality at all?
Well, Hollywood does that because it is recognisable. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Ma...IsCatholic

Quote:We've lost our identity.
No, you are in the middle. All those groups you mentioned have problems. Sikh boys are cutting their hair. Baptists are become "liberal", some are becoming more fundamentalist in reaction, etc. It all changes; the stereotypes don't, as you noticed, giving the impression to outsiders that they do not change.

Quote:We need to return to real - not this token stuff with snacks that don't equal a full meal - fasting , abstinence every Friday, and Holy Days of Obligation on the Holy Day of Obligation. No moves. No dispensations. Make some demands and people will take pride in meeting the challenge. Sure, they'll crab at work that they can't go somewhere tonight because they have to go to Mass, or they can't eat that because it's Friday. But then there's a certain amount of self-satisfaction from acting Catholic. And that will make one a better Catholic. The whole point of the discipline of fasting and abstinence is that if you can overcome this small weakness, you can overcome others.

It is also about doing it in private, and not bragging.
Not being a smart guy, but who gains more merit; one that abstains from meat on Friday on his /her own or one who does so under penalty of sin? Obeying laws is mandatory and not laudatory, the way I see it. Am I wrong???
tim
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