Friday, August 21, 2009

That Religious Guy: The Old and The New

..... *Cough cough* Jeremy Dela Cruz is finally powering up the old blog-o-sphere. [Picture some static electricity flowing through the room, smoke rising to the ceiling] At last, the Internet can be injected with some good ol' fashioned commentary on worship, devotion, and faith from the newly christened That Religious Guy.
..... As is known by a majority of these here associates of mine in The Stagg Line and indeed most of my acquaintances, I am feeling called to the priesthood. I just have a romanticized view of daily Mass, hearing confessions, and baptizing the newborn. Sigh...
..... I recently just heard or rather read an article from that paternal prince of papers, The New York Times, that there is a trend of new nuns and priests joining religious orders that are more traditional. Traditional as in wearing habits, community living, daily Mass, and praying of the Liturgy of Hours. Also, apparently the aging population of priests and religious (Predominantly white) is giving away to a more culturally diverse and ethnic group. Hopefully, one day I too will be a part of that group.
..... After Vatican II, the ecumenical council that transformed the Roman Catholic Church during the 1960s, religious orders began modernizing. Modernizing meant rejecting the uniformity of the habit, moving out of convents, earning higher educational degrees and taking up different professions in the community. Vatican II bred a generation of priests and religious that were bent on bringing the Church to the 20th century any means necessary. However, I feel that during that ecclesial soul-searching, a bit of the specialness of the Faith was lost. Many studies confirm my suspicions. Religious orders that advocate modern reforms like non-habit dress are dying, while traditional ones are gaining momentum.
..... This tendency for traditional stems from how the world is now moving too fast and people just aren't ready for it. Individuals want a stabilizing force in ever-changing environments. They turn to religion for this. But if religion is trying to match the speed of the world, how can the laity catch up? To solve this, many new priests and religious are returning to the old ways. A Catholic it seems is a conservative in a liberal's body. We enjoy the traditions and customs of our faith because it energizes and enhances our worship. Every Catholic can remember the joy of their First Communion, the nervousness associated with First Confession, and learning how to make the sign of the cross by watching their parents at that strange event called Mass. As a Catholic, 2,000 years of history belongs to you and what you do with it depends entirely on personal choice. So it makes sense that new vocations are being developed because of a craving for the traditional.
..... I too have a deep appreciation for the old, the tried, and the true and want to do my part to revive them here in the 21st century. If that means wearing a habit and joining the many who have engaged in ancient styles of worship than so be it. Sooner or later many of these practices will be forgotten but at least a few will remember. :]

- Jeremy Dela Cruz aka That Religious Guy

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