Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Justin Frato wrote an article concerning Catholics and their dwindling attendance at weekly Mass. This is a subject I have seen debated on the internet and in committee meetings at our parish and in the diocese. Frato cites as a major reason for the deline in the lack of a relationship with Jesus, the center of our worship. He does not break a lot of new ground in his article but DOES provide an interesting allegorical way of looking at the issue:
Why is this happening? Many theories can be postulated. One of the CARA researchers involved with the report, Dr. Mark M. Gray, attributes the generational decrease to less of an emphasis on missing Sunday Mass being a mortal sin. Others speculate that the Mass simply does not engage the modern person. Some say that modern Americans are simply too busy to make time for Mass. While these theories certainly may contribute in part to the decrease, there is one overarching factor that may be forgotten. It is the same reason why so many young Catholic couples live together before marriage and so many young people in religious education are bored at class. Far too many Catholics simply do not have a relationship with the One who is the very center of Catholicism, Jesus Christ. Decreased Mass attendance is just one symptom of a greater problem.

Let’s look at this from another perspective. What if I told you that the only reason I married my wife was because I was afraid of how much she and her family would hate me if I didn’t do this and I then went on to tell you how boring my wedding day was. When you asked me how our relationship has been since our marriage, I mentioned that I am too busy to make my wife a priority and I don’t care to get to know her more anyway. You would probably think I was one of the most unromantic, dispassionate, self-centered people you ever met. What if I then went on to tell you that I come from a culture where there is a very strong tradition of young couples being betrothed to one another? You would probably be more sympathetic to me after hearing about the pressures that culture and tradition put upon my feelings toward my wife. Now let’s put this in the context on Catholics and their relationships with Christ.

Is it any wonder that there is little enthusiasm about going to Mass and learning more about the Catholic Faith when so many do not have a loving relationship with our divine bridegroom, Jesus? Just as a person who is forced into marriage is not passionately in love with his or her spouse, so people who are Catholic merely because it is part of their culture will struggle to be passionate about Jesus and the Church He has given us. In both cases the individual needs to fall in love with his spouse before he lives out all of the responsibilities and privileges of marriage.


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