Keep the Faith, Change the Church.

We've come a long way / Commonweal

"The roots of clericalism are planted deep in the training seminarians receive. 'Always the priesthood is glorified. The students must listen daily to pious discourses on the high dignity to which they aspire. From this continual preachment a peculiar psychology is developed in them.'" (By John W. Farrell, Commonweal)

Just as many Catholic traditionalists were lamenting Rome’s new restrictions on the Tridentine Mass, I came across a prescient cri de coeur written by a Catholic priest and published anonymously in the pages of the Atlantic back in 1928. To read it is to be reminded that some things never seem to change in the Catholic Church, while other things have changed a great deal, thanks be to God.

"I found the essay in Looking Back at Tomorrow: Twelve Decades of Insights from the Atlantic. Published in 1978, the collection was compiled and edited by the late Louise Desaulniers, who was a senior editor at the Atlantic in the 1970s and ’80s—and also a summertime neighbor of my family’s when I was growing up ...

"... But smack in the middle of the table of contents was a series of four essays titled “The Catholic Church and the Modern Mind,” signed Anonymous. Published in four issues of the Atlantic in 1928, these pieces were written by a Catholic priest and professor 'at a Catholic college in the West' ...

"... As bleak as things looked to the good father back in 1928, I find his words now inspiring, precisely because they come from an era that today’s reactionaries yearn to return to, blind as they are to the deficiencies of the religious formalism they idolize. This contemporaneous account of that era reminds us just how important the reforms of the past hundred years have been to ordinary Catholics."

By John W. Farrell, Commonweal -- Read more ...