Why lightning may start striking in some churches

V.L. Jackson By V.L. Jackson, 27th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2nm-zrqq/
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Long gone are the times when Catholics went to Mass with an attitude of respect for God's house, not to mention the clergy and their fellow worshipers. Today they may as well be at a party. To complain about such goings-on is considered being judgmental, but the situation needs to be addressed. Why aren't children and even adults taught how to assist (that's Catholic-speak for "attend and participate in") Mass?

If God zaps the people eating nachos next to me, I will not be on my cell phone filming it!

For those of us who recall the “good old days” of Catholicism, even after the changes of Vatican II (see , it’s appalling how people—young and old—behave at Mass currently. Even without the nuns in habits, who once were ubiquitous, keeping students in line when they were dragged to a school liturgy, people knew what to do. Now, it seems like most Catholics make it up as they go along.

Perhaps this is (and seriously, I can only hope) a problem that primarily affects the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It may be more wide-spread, however, and could even be the case in non-Roman Catholic churches. The appalling conditions of church-goers acting more like they’re in a fast-food restaurant is a sad reflection on the overly-casual demeanor of the general public today. This is definitely not an improvement, even considering the uber-strict atmosphere of the past for Baby Boomers and their predecessors.

The norm today seems to be “show up when you feel like it.” Despite clearly-posted Mass times on parish bulletins, websites and signs on the lawn, many families, even with vehicles, arrive any time up to just prior to the end of the service. This is not only an inconvenience to those seated over whom they trip, it is a blatant showing of disrespect to not only the presiding priest but ultimately to God.

Another showing of a “who cares?” attitude is the attire that would be better suited to lounging around at home. Short shorts and skimpy tops (mainly on females) showing cleavage at both ends is more than a distraction—it’s downright scandalous in God’s house. If you wouldn’t dress like that in the workplace, it’s certainly inappropriate in church. We’ve gone a full 180 degrees from over-dressing, being concerned mostly about modeling your best threads, to showing up like you’re trying out for a wet-T-shirt contest.

Along similar lines, clothing bearing obscenities or promoting drugs and alcohol are a no-no. Most schools have bans against such outfits. Do people wearing these items think God would be more lenient? What kind of parents, by the way, would allow their children to wear something of that nature anywhere, let alone in a religious institution?

Most horrific is the practice of eating during Mass. It isn’t bad enough many parents of toddlers bring bags of candy and/or cereal, much of which gets dropped or even tossed all over the place. There are quite a few adults who race out of the church in the middle of the liturgy to the nearest fast-food establishment, returning just in time for Communion. They don’t just sit there munching on their junk food, they even eat it while lined up to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, as Catholics believe (or do these?). Have they ever been taught about the Eucharistic fast? This law of the Catholic Church stipulates that, unless you have been granted a dispensation, you must fast from all food and liquid other than water and/or medicine, for at least one hour before receiving Holy Communion (see Code of Canon Law, 919). Think that’s tough? Prior to 1964, we fasted starting at midnight! Those who have conditions such as diabetes, for example, or pregnant/nursing mothers, are exempted and have an automatic dispensation. As well, the elderly, the infirm, and those taking care of them, are also granted dispensations from the Eucharistic fast.

In some parishes in Los Angeles, however, food is prepared and sold on the church grounds, during Mass. It is common for both adults and children to leave during the service, buy some food, and return to their pews eating as if they were in a movie theater.

The list of problems could go on for quite a length, regarding issues such as lack of genuflecting on entering the church (before taking a seat) and again before leaving; no knowledge of prayers, including the “Hail Mary” (no, kids, it has nothing to do with football!), not even making the Sign of the Cross. Then there’s the almost-universal raising of hands whenever the priest does (some have complained “Don’t imitate the celebrant!”), and the incessant cell phone use. Is this the new way of sharing in the sacrifice of the Mass?

If it bothers some of us mortals to witness all the misbehaviors, the uncaring attitudes, the “don’t tell me what to do, you’re not supposed to judge me” flippancy, how does God feel? Remember, He got somewhat tough on people back in the really, really old days, when He sent a flood, fire and brimstone, zapped those who made a golden calf and worshiped it. Maybe someday people yapping away in the middle of the Gospel reading, for instance, will be hit by lightning bolts. No doubt half the congregation will film such an event on their phones.


Church, Roman Catholic, Vatican Ii

Meet the author

author avatar V.L. Jackson
Born in Detroit, MI, have also lived in Ontario, Canada (various locations), currently in Los Angeles, CA. Have certificates in Holistic Health, Clinical Nutrition, and Herbal Medicine.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Aug 2014 (#)

Yes, cell phones and food are the priorities now and good old discipline has left through the back door. I have seen the blurring of the divide in office and personal with social media taking over our lives and it is like a tsunami leaving nothing to escape in its wake - siva

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author avatar V.L. Jackson
28th Aug 2014 (#)

Please, no flames, no Catholic or other religion bashing!

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