I know that many people go to Church on days like this, so I figured I’d scribble a tad on the Mass.
The homily in the mass serves an important function for Catholics (especially Catholic men who are masters at this): it trains you to completely shut down as someone else is speaking. Catholic men call on this skill especially when their wives or mothers start talking, particularly about dumb things like emotions. I was astonished during today’s thirty-minute sermon (which had no topic) to survey the crowd and find almost every person’s face locked into rigid and even hostile apathy. You could feel the hatred bubbling up from the back of the church.
What do bishops think these homilies are good for? It’s not a useful mode of communicating anything. It is felt by many, many people in the pews as a mere power trip by the speaker which they must submit to (at least externally). When the bishops next meet to discuss falling attendance, here is an idea for them (my readers, please pass it on next time you speak to your caring bishop): promise to make all homilies 120 seconds or less for two years. I bet such an approach would work.
As a general rule, it’s harder and harder to escape the feeling that the complete destruction of the clergy which we are witnessing in our time is a gift from God. Let us hope they take priestcraft and clericalism with them as they go.
Otherwise, a good Christmas. I tried to talk to relatives I was, in past years, merely in the same room with.