A local cultural observation, just to break up the campaign coverage for a minute…
The Latin Mass can pack a room, and it ain’t all about nostalgia. (Or, as friend used to spell it, “naustalgia,” which I always took to mean the past making you sick.) One of the old ethnic churches in my New England city has just been re-opened after being shuttered for 15 years. Our bishop asked an order of priests dedicated to the Tridentine Mass to set up shop, and the order obliged. The first Sunday Mass was held recently, and it was an eye-opener.
First of all, the number of young families was staggering. They’re looking to the future. Talking with them after Mass was like a tonic.
The church was packed, people standing in the back, even 40 or so standing on the steps outside when the church filled up. It’s possible some were there for the novelty, or to see what a Latin Mass was like. There were a few folks who had been parishioners back in the days when it was “the Polish parish.” There were certainly some pre-Vatican II Catholics who wanted the liturgy of their youth. Most of the attendees, though, looked like they’d been born well after the mid-1960s.
Second, the bumper stickers out in the parking lot indicated a lot of politically-engaged people in attendance. There were humorous (not to say barbed) slogans and serious ones, many explicitly pro-life, few explicitly partisan, yet all designed to give a Democratic nominee the vapors.
I’ll tell you what this looks like to me: these people praying together are not cultural refugees. They’re not wringing their hands. They’re looking past the next election. They’re steeped less in tradition per se than in faith in God. And they’re bringing that faith with them as they raise their kids, go about their daily business, and prepare to vote.
If the Republican nominee prevails, these are people who will keep him on his toes. If the Democratic nominee prevails – and she won’t, if these folks have their way – these are people who have the makings of resistance, if not outright defiance. People who take their religious faith and their American citizenship seriously are a force to reckoned with, with or without a “win” in November. Let others talk (without a constitutional basis) about separation of church and state – just don’t expect separation of faith and daily life.
Am I giving too much credit to one event in one small city? Maybe. Still, there’s something about that church full of savvy young families that shook up my pessimism about the upcoming election. I needed the reality check.
Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at LeavenForTheLoaf.com. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire. See her earlier posts for DaTechGuyBlog: Ethics and PP’s Campaign Cash, Putting a Know-Nothing in His Place, Ads Say the Darnedest Things, and Worried About the Court? Then Worry About the Senate.
A note to readers: I’m still one of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Prospects, striving to earn your thumbs-up. DTG will be judging the entries in Da Magnificent Tryouts by hits-per-post and hits to DaTipJar. If you hit DaTipJar after reading one of my posts, please mention my name so Da Boss knows I’m earning my keep – and thank you! (Look for a tip jar link at the right side of the page if it’s not visible below.)
Please consider Subscribing. Right now our subscribers consist of 1/50 of 1% of our total unique visitors based on last years numbers.
If we can get another 150 subscribers at $10 a month (another 1/10 of 1% of those who have visited this year) We can meet our annual goals with no trouble, with the same number of subscribers at $20 a month I could afford to cover the presidential campaign outside of New England firsthand.
And of course at that price you get the Da Magnificent Seven plus those we hope to add on and all subscribers get my weekly podcast emailed directly to you before it goes up anywhere else.