Thursday, August 25, 2005

College Days
Yet again, it's been quite a while since my last post. I'll try from now on to post on a more frequent basis. This post, I'd like to focus on something totally unrelated to either Catholicism or monarchy: college. I'm currently in a college level program (to keep a semblance of anonymity--in other words, to protect my own butt from any negative action relating to school because of my views-- I'll not say what kind or where) at a college in Washington state. Here's what I've got to say.
I cannot stand college. In America in the 21st century, it's hard to get a good-paying career without at least a bachelor's degree--but with the proliferation of students in college getting four year degrees a bachelor's degree doesn't amount to a whole lot these days. Because of this, many young people need (or feel the need) to go to college. So you spend four or more years getting a degree in a field you have no idea if you will ever--or can--use in the real world. Many students spend their first 2-3 years just trying to decide on a major. At the end of four or five years, you've racked up anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. For what? A degree that you can't use and make it hard to find a career-track job. So then what do you do? Go back to school for a graduate degree. More money and time for another degree. But what if you find out that you don't like that field either?
Then there's the issue of college textbooks. Call me a conspiracy-theorist, but I believe that college professors must have some sort of financial agreement with textbook publishers. Just about any given textbook has already gone through several editions by the time you buy it, and then at the end of the semester you try to sell it but find that none of the campus or online book sellers will buy it because the book will have a new edition for the next session. So now you're left with an $80 book that you have no use for and will only collect dust on your bookshelf. Might as well throw the book away, or better yet, burn it--it'll make you feel better.
Then there's the professors. Most are extremely liberal, if not outright Communists. They like to preach the modern religion of diversity and multiculturalism, but all that amounts to is a philosophy of "all things are relative" except traditional Christian (especially Catholic) values and beliefs. Multiculturalism means accept, celebrate, and value all cultures as long as they're not of European origin--to them European means white and white means bad. I'm definitely no white supremacist, but I'm not ashamed to be white. Far too many college professors--let's admit it, most professors are white--are ashamed to be white. From white man's burden to white man's guilt. Not much progress, huh? Then there's the arrogance factor: college professors are better than you. Why? Because they have three characters in front of their names: Dr. Why spending six or more years in college makes a person better than others I'll never know.
Sometimes I look at life in the past and envy those who are long dead. Sure, their lives were far less comfortable than ours today, but does comfort make a life better? I'd answer with an emphatic NO! Before the modern age, people entered their "profession" at an early age. Many required a lot of physical activity (lower rates of obesity and hear disease). They got to be outside a lot (I love the woods, mountains, rivers, lakes). The average man didn't have to go into debt up to his proverbial eyeballs (with scandalously high interest rates) for school, house, car, boat, lake-place, etc. Life was simpler, not easier, and perhaps more fulfilling and meaningful. The average man was concerned with saving his own soul and providing for his family. The modern man worries about the mortgage, insurance, children's college funds, his 401K plan, the cost of gas, the war in Iraq, his teenage daughter getting pregnant, his teenage son getting someone else pregnant, his other teenager using drugs or alcohol, school violence, etc., etc., und so weiter, und so weiter. Life in the distant past may not have been easier, but it was a whole lot simpler. Well, that's my vent for the day. Thank you for helping me keep my sanity!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I know it’s been a while since I posted last. Sorry for that. Today’s post I would like to focus on religion. As I mentioned, I attend a Latin Mass parish. Actually it’s a Latin Mass community within a parish—we share, or rather they share with us, the parish with the Novus Ordo crowd. Why do I prefer the Latin Mass? My reasons are many.

I am a convert to the Catholic faith. I entered the Church when I was 14 in a Novus Ordo parish. I stayed there for a few years, but was tired of the liberal trend growing in the parish. The last straw was when the priest had a layman come up during Mass and give the sermon. I then moved to another parish in town, where liturgically speaking it was more conservative—although the parish had a “pastoral associate”, a woman, who claimed that she personally felt to desire to become a priestess but did believe in the ordination of women. While I attended this parish, I went to the neighboring diocese about once a month to attend a Latin Mass—our bishop repeatedly refused to allow the Latin Mass in his diocese, for reasons that changed based upon to whom he was speaking. After about two years of this, I moved permanently to the Latin Mass parish.

Since I’m only 24, I don’t love the Latin Mass for its nostalgia—I was born decades after Vatican II. I chose the Latin Mass because I felt a greater sense of heaven when I attended it. The Mass was said reverently, uniformly from one priest to the next—not differing from one priest to the next—the people were dressed and acted more reverently than in the Novus Ordo Mass. Perhaps the most that drew me to the Latin Mass was that it was authentically Catholic. I was tired of the touchy-feely Catholic Masses I was accustomed to that appeared more Protestant than Catholic. Protestant services are okay for Protestants, but we’re not Protestants, we’re Catholics!! The music (guitars, pianos, drums), the vestments (drab, ugly, multicolored, even rainbow—does that mean the priest is gay?), even the altar (nothing more than a table brought close to the middle of the church to give the feeling of community) seemed to me to be nothing more than a Protestant service with authentic Sacraments thrown in to keep in Catholic.

Then there’s the emphasis on the Mass itself. Liberal Catholics will tell you that the Mass is a community meal. We in the “faith community” gather together for fellowship to praise the resurrected Lord. Sorry folks, but that’s not what the Mass is all about. The Mass is an un-bloody reenactment of our Lord’s crucifixion. We do not gather together for fellowship and community, but we gather to assist the priest as he offers up Jesus Christ, physically present on the altar, as an offering for our sins and the sins of the world. Oh yeah, liberal Catholics don’t like to talk about sin, if they even believe that sin exists.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a heretic or schismatic. I accept the Novus Ordo Mass as sacramentally valid and perfectly licit, but I do find that it can be quite irreverent, at least how it is said most places in America. Watch our new Holy Father say Mass in Rome—now that’s a reverent Novus Ordo Mass. But I still long for the day when the traditional Latin Mass is restored in all of its glory to the entire Latin Rite. I hope and pray that this day will not be long off.