Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Back to the Pews

 

In honor of this special day, I thought I’d write a brief (edit: I tried to keep it brief, I really did!) response to a post @westernchauvinist put together some time ago. Here, she asked the Ricochetti what it would take to bring them back to church. Though it elicited many thoughts at the time, I’m finally getting back to you, WC.

Excepting the funeral masses I’ve worked this year, this has been the first I attended all year – before I’m accused of being one of those who steals the seats of you regular attendees during the holidays, I’ll admit that I haven’t gone to a Christmas Mass in years. I wasn’t raised in the Catholic Church, but I’ve known for some time that the church of my mother’s family is the one I belong to, and that any return to a hospital for sinners would be to a Catholic hospital.

But, oddly enough, the Pope has undermined my better intentions.

A millennial, I’ve always had a large buffet of superfluous clubs devoted to inclusivity. Perhaps I ought to have put that last word in quotations, because that word these people keep saying: I don’t think it means what they think it means. I’d say the correct definition entails allowing anyone to be a member, but to belong to a membership, an institution is required – and an institution requires a creed. I do not believe the Church has lost its creed, but its leader has put individuals like myself in the difficult position of feeling that our first action within the Church would be to tell a fib. And I really hate telling fibs!

“Papa”

Today was easy, though. I knew a dedication would be made to my late grandfather. The man is among the most important people to me, and my biggest regret was that I didn’t go through the confirmation process while he was alive. While I was sitting there this morning, I thought of WC’s opening question, and it occurred to me that it is the faithful who have shepherded me back home – this includes many of you on Ricochet.

So as this special new year approaches, one which reminds us of clear vision, I’m resolving to plant my rear in the pews on a more regular basis. (I’m a single man, under the age of 30, so I probably shouldn’t promise to make it every week, see my fibbing policy above.) Which, P.S., if you know of any parishes with some lovely young ladies, I don’t think that would hurt!

Thanks for all of you who’ve helped. And Merry Christmas to everyone!

There are 15 comments.

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  1. Unsk Member

    Samuel, Well I don’t know the best way to bring the people back to the pews, but I do know what is driving them away – the ridiculous utterances of our Commie Pope Francis.

    From Eric Lendrum at American Greatness:

    “On Saturday, Pope Francis claimed that a ‘rigidity’ in Christian lifestyle is causing the religion’s global decline amidst a “minefield of misunderstanding and hatred,” ABC Newsreports.

    Pope Francis claimed that Christians are “no longer the only ones that produce culture, no longer the first nor the most listened to.” As a result, he says, Christians are turning to rigidity in order to cover for their own issues, with “rigidity and imbalance [fueling] one another in a vicious cycle…and these days, the temptation to rigidity has become so apparent.”

    This “rigidity,” Francis claims, “is born of fear from change and ends up disseminating stakes and obstacles in the ground of the common good, turning it into a minefield of misunderstanding and hatred.”

    “The pope’s statements further reflect the growing divides within the Catholic Church as opposition grows to his more liberal and secular approach to faith. Francis has criticized the idea of tradition, saying that it “is not static, it’s dynamic.” This outlook has manifested in his attempts to soften the church’s stances on such issues as divorce, as well as other hot-button political issues such as immigration, to the point that he has clashed with several other world leaders, including President Donald Trump.”

    This morning I went to Christmas mass at my local church in Toluca Lake ,CA. A very beautiful church of Spanish Baroque design paid for by Bob Hope’s wife Dolores , Loretta Young and Ann Blythe in the 1950’s. The choir was Cathedral Worthy today with soaring Christmas song renditions and a service that was wonderful, but for the first time the pews were not filled to the brim with a unusual scattering of empty pews. On Christmas and Easter for as long as I can remember Christmas and Easter services have been standing room only affairs with the older 1920’s church on site, now used as a parish hall, also filled to the brim with the overflow crowd that did not come early enough to get into the main church. But not today. I can only guess that it was the Pope’s callous remarks that caused that lack of attendance.

    • #1
    • December 25, 2019, at 11:46 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. Scott Wilmot Member

    Samuel Block: I’m resolving to plant my rear in the pews on a more regular basis.

    I’ll be praying you attend every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation and set an example for the other young men and women in your parish. I know it is very difficult, but don’t let Pope Francis get you down – it is not his Church – it is Christ’s. And no matter how hard he tries, Francis can’t destroy the Church. It is quite ironic that the TLM has grown under Francis.

    • #2
    • December 25, 2019, at 12:26 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  3. Patrick McClure Coolidge

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Samuel Block: I’m resolving to plant my rear in the pews on a more regular basis.

    I’ll be praying you attend every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation and set an example for the other young men and women in your parish. I know it is very difficult, but don’t let Pope Francis get you down – it is not his Church – it is Christ’s. And no matter how hard he tries, Francis can’t destroy the Church. It is quite ironic that the TLM has grown under Francis.

    I second this. 

    • #3
    • December 25, 2019, at 1:32 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Samuel Block: I’m resolving to plant my rear in the pews on a more regular basis.

    I’ll be praying you attend every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation and set an example for the other young men and women in your parish. I know it is very difficult, but don’t let Pope Francis get you down – it is not his Church – it is Christ’s. And no matter how hard he tries, Francis can’t destroy the Church. It is quite ironic that the TLM has grown under Francis.

    I really will try! I just don’t want to promise… yet.

    When I went back to school, I met a handful of incredibly impressive youngsters in the same boat as I. It really is a welcome irony. There’s a lot to be hopeful for!

    Merry Christmas, Scott!

    • #4
    • December 25, 2019, at 1:39 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block

    Unsk (View Comment):

    Samuel, Well I don’t know the best way to bring the people back to the pews, but I do know what is driving them away – the ridiculous utterances of our Commie Pope Francis.

    From Eric Lendrum at American Greatness:

    “On Saturday, Pope Francis claimed that a ‘rigidity’ in Christian lifestyle is causing the religion’s global decline amidst a “minefield of misunderstanding and hatred,” ABC Newsreports.

    Pope Francis claimed that Christians are “no longer the only ones that produce culture, no longer the first nor the most listened to.” As a result, he says, Christians are turning to rigidity in order to cover for their own issues, with “rigidity and imbalance [fueling] one another in a vicious cycle…and these days, the temptation to rigidity has become so apparent.”

    This “rigidity,” Francis claims, “is born of fear from change and ends up disseminating stakes and obstacles in the ground of the common good, turning it into a minefield of misunderstanding and hatred.”

    “The pope’s statements further reflect the growing divides within the Catholic Church as opposition grows to his more liberal and secular approach to faith. Francis has criticized the idea of tradition, saying that it “is not static, it’s dynamic.” This outlook has manifested in his attempts to soften the church’s stances on such issues as divorce, as well as other hot-button political issues such as immigration, to the point that he has clashed with several other world leaders, including President Donald Trump.”

    This morning I went to Christmas mass at my local church in Toluca Lake ,CA. A very beautiful church of Spanish Baroque design paid for by Bob Hope’s wife Dolores , Loretta Young and Ann Blythe in the 1950’s. The choir was Cathedral Worthy today with soaring Christmas song renditions and a service that was wonderful, but for the first time the pews were not filled to the brim with a unusual scattering of empty pews. On Christmas and Easter for as long as I can remember Christmas and Easter services have been standing room only affairs with the older 1920’s church on site, now used as a parish hall, also filled to the brim with the overflow crowd that did not come early enough to get into the main church. But not today. I can only guess that it was the Pope’s callous remarks that caused that lack of attendance.

    It’s really something, ain’t it. That’s what’s so strange. That I’ve got a complaint with the Pope for being to lax shows how much I’ve journeyed during the last half decade…. I used to be a mess!

    • #5
    • December 25, 2019, at 3:15 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Old Buckeye Inactive

    Samuel, I will also pray for your regular attendance! You might try checking online for parishes within driving distance that seem to have what you are wanting in a parish. Look at Masstimes.org and then parish’s websites for their bulletin. It’s sometimes obvious which ones are vibrant, which ones are not. You might also check for a daily Mass that you could hit before work or on your way home from work that would help build on your attendance habit. Or stop in at a parish that has adoration when you’re on your way to or from work. Once you make some friends in a parish, you will find a home. 

    • #6
    • December 25, 2019, at 3:57 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. RightAngles Member

    Francis has criticized the idea of tradition, saying that it “is not static, it’s dynamic.”

    I’m afraid the Pope has it exactly backwards. Of all people to be criticizing tradition! The Church should be a bastion of tradition. Tradition connects us to those who came before us. Jesus said to Peter, “On this rock I build my church.” He didn’t say “On this shifting sand of trendy social fads.” It’s why he named him Peter. It means “Rock” (the French version of the name “Peter” is Pierre, and the word for “rock” is “la pierre”).

    He was conveying the unchanging stalwart nature of His church. Instead of seeing the unchanging-ness as a comforting anchor in the turbulence of the modern world, leftists choose to see it as being stodgy. We aren’t “afraid of change,” Francis. We just recognize when it’s not necessarily a good thing. People need a solid foundation they can count on, especially now when men are in the ladies’ room, people don’t seem to know which sex they are, nobody is allowed to call things what they are.

    • #7
    • December 25, 2019, at 7:13 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  8. Juliana Member

    Welcome and Merry Christmas! It may take a little time to find a church that feels right, but that will encourage your more regular attendance. I would suggest volunteering at the parish in order to meet some like minded individuals like yourself. Volunteering as a lector or usher will make sure you get there regularly. Volunteering at a parish festival will introduce you to a wide range of parishioners, and possibly the young ladies you are seeking. May God grant you the grace to find what you are looking for.

    There is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God… Luke 15:7

    • #8
    • December 25, 2019, at 7:35 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Prayers, Samuel.

    • #9
    • December 25, 2019, at 7:51 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Francis has criticized the idea of tradition, saying that it “is not static, it’s dynamic.”

    I’m afraid the Pope has it exactly backwards. Of all people to be criticizing tradition! The Church should be a bastion of tradition. Tradition connects us to those who came before us. Jesus said to Peter, “On this rock I build my church.” He didn’t say “On this shifting sand of trendy social fads.” It’s why he named him Peter. It means “Rock” (the French version of the name “Peter” is Pierre, and the word for “rock” is “la pierre”).

    He was conveying the unchanging stalwart nature of His church. Instead of seeing the unchanging-ness as a comforting anchor in the turbulence of the modern world, leftists choose to see it as being stodgy. We aren’t “afraid of change,” Francis. We just recognize when it’s not necessarily a good thing. People need a solid foundation they can count on, especially now when men are in the ladies’ room, people don’t seem to know which sex they are, nobody is allowed to call things what they are.

    There really is no shortage of madness these days!

    • #10
    • December 25, 2019, at 9:57 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block

    Thanks guys! 

    So the trouble is that I’m not exactly in a single location at the moment. My goal is to break into filmmaking, and at the moment I’m trying to help my brother get a record label off the ground. (I figure it’s time our side took a shot at breaking into their institutions.) It’s likely that I’ll be bouncing around a bit, and spending a lot of my time in the places that the sinners go. 

    That works okay for me, I grew up around those places. In fact, I suspect the reason so many in the church have succumbed to popular who-am-I-to-judge attitude is that they haven’t spent any time on the streets – they’re where it’s nice and comfy. 

    Of course this doesn’t negate the point @scottwilmot and @oldbuckeye make – it probably reinforces it, I ought to be in church as often as I can! But being ungrounded the way I’m used to, it makes it a little tough to settle down in all kinds of ways… including any kind of regular attendance to anything. 

    I’ll be sure to keep you guys in Ricochet Catholics posted on this. ( It’ll probably help me keep my eye on what’s important too.) 

    • #11
    • December 25, 2019, at 11:26 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block

    Percival (View Comment):

    Prayers, Samuel.

    Thank you!

    I hear people complain about thoughts and prayers, and I always think: man, I can’t get enough of those!

    • #12
    • December 25, 2019, at 11:37 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    So the trouble is that I’m not exactly in a single location at the moment. My goal is to break into filmmaking, and at the moment I’m trying to help my brother get a record label off the ground. (I figure it’s time our side took a shot at breaking into their institutions.) It’s likely that I’ll be bouncing around a bit, and spending a lot of my time in the places that the sinners go.

    I travel a lot for business, including the ocassional week-end away. Finding the local parish for mass is a delight, not a chore, once you realize that it’s the same liturgy everywhere. (Yeah, there are variations, but within the bounds of the GIRM.)

    • #13
    • December 26, 2019, at 5:55 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Doug Watt Moderator

    There are a lot of distractions in this world that makes the journey home difficult at times. I would suggest slipping into the pews when the occasion allows not just for Mass, but for some quiet reflection as well.

    • #14
    • December 26, 2019, at 6:16 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Patrick McClure Coolidge

    http://ricochet.com/708250/the-worker-in-sandalwood/

    Samuel, every year @spacemanspiff gives us this gift at Christmas. While you are going through your search remember this story. G-d heard the cry of the poor.

    • #15
    • December 26, 2019, at 6:37 AM PST
    • 1 like

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