I wanted to note here that I finally capitulated and started watching Father Robert Barron's "Catholicism" video series.
My knee-jerk reaction to all the hype and hoopla when it first came out was to avoid it. That's a very "Char" thing to do, and I'm OK with that. Also, I especially didn't want to watch it with certain groups of people that I knew were going to annoy me and gush and gush and gush. I had actually entertained the idea that I would one day end up watching it alone.
Now I'm here to gush.
I know, I'm hilarious.
Turns out that Alan's school has been showing it on Fridays once or twice a month after mass. It's a group of moms watching, and they are women I'm comfortable with.
What I like most about the series so far - I've seen only 3 or 4 episodes? - is the very obvious, though simultaneously NOT obvious emphasis on how varied and diverse Catholicism is, yet all of it IS Catholic. So many people do not get that or refuse to see it or don't want to admit it.
During one episode, Father Barron was discussing something - I wish I could remember what - and I turned to one woman (who knows how I feel about certain issues) and said to her, "This is why the Traditional Catholics are wrong." (Disclaimer: I was not saying they are wrong in a total sense. It had more to do with the nuances of how Traditional Catholicism is often presented and sold by its adherents, being an isolated thing that is the only truly true thing.)
Whatever it was that made me speak up like that, I got the sense that Christ's arms and love (and therefore the Church) are big and strong and wide open. Much bigger than many loudmouth Catholics want to accept, believe, or attest to.
Last week we saw the episode about the saints. Though I started crying during the St. Therese part (wimp alert), what really fascinated me more was the story about St. Katherine Drexel. It just blew me away! All that money, all that status, all that cultured elitism and she chucked it out to serve blacks and Indians at a time when that would have been considered insane. Talk about social justice!
Which is the point. Here was social justice in play by a holy, orthodox woman who became a saint. Social justice??!?!!! Heresy alert! Liberal alert! Sirens! Alarms!
Everything about the "Catholicism" series - what I've seen of it so far - is renewing my faith in the Catholic Church. It is giving me hope that I am not a weirdo or a heretic for my personal brand of faith. It is reminding me that Christ is bigger than the petty arguments between the liturgy police and the uber-orthodox, etc. It is confirming my sense that logic and common sense have a place in faith. (Just listening to Father Barron talk is like having "head-screwed-on-straight balm" applied to my whole being.)
I've missed an episode or two, which upset me at first, but I see now that every episode is stand alone.
If you know a Protestant that is questioning the Catholic faith/interested in it or a lukewarm Catholic, the first episode will blow their mind! It did for me. All I could think as I was watching it was so-and-so and so-and-so needs to see this. And for the precise reason that it wasn't all in-your-face or propaganda-ish or pushy or anything. It was just so sensible in its presentation of truth and mystery and majesty that my jaw was on the ground.
The sad thing is, I'll bet many Traditional Catholics have refused to watch the "Catholicism" series. I've had thoughts like this through every episode I've literally sat riveted to. I hope I'm wrong, because there is a big, beautiful wide world of Catholic faith out there, and I get the sense that some dedicated Catholics are missing it. I share these thoughts because they are just that, my thoughts and impressions, and not to enflame a liturgy/rite war.