With All Due Respect…

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2014/01/24 at 12:00 AM

One of the seldom-mentioned causes or contributors to a society’s decline is the loss of civility, of politeness, of good manners.  Civility is one of those uniquely human traits that animals do not have. Civility is the lubricant of a society because it makes human interaction easier and more pleasant – and often more effective.

Part of the concept of civility or politeness is the idea of respect and reverence due to individuals or situations. Some people have earned respect because of what they have done in the past (war heroes). Some are accorded respect by virtue of their role in society (medical doctors). Reverence, however, really cannot be earned; it is offered to someone who deserves even more than respect because of the nature of the being involved (God).

Reverence and respect are  in decline in this country. The U.S. Senate calls itself the “greatest deliberative body in the world,” but its members are quite content to be known by nicknames . . . Chuck, Bill, Tom, Joe, Fred. This is true of all levels of government officials. I suspect it  makes them think they will be be perceived as just a “good ol’ boy.”  The approval rate for Congress and government, in general, does not seem to support that idea.

Another notable example of loss of respect has been perpetrated by feminists who demanded that women been seen as equal to men.  Since they were already superior in the important things concerning the human race, (marriage, family, nurture, compassion) they had to lower themselves to achieve this “equality.”  One of the sad effects of this is the diminution of the sense of chivalry toward women by many men. God did not make women equal to men, but then, God did not check in with Gloria Steinem.  Respect for both men and women is in serious decline in the US.

Worse than all those ill-conceived practices and others like them,  the greatest irreverence of all is the attitude which too many Catholics have when attending weekend Masses. The external practices of the Church have for many decades  indicated what some see as a clergy-approved loss of reverence for  worship . . . Holy Communion in the hand, standing to receive It, altar girls, the Blessed Sacrament shunted off to the side and not reverenced by the clergy.

The result of these practices is that too many Catholics do not know how to conduct themselves within the church building . . . or, worse, don’t care.

Thus, we have men at weekend Masses wearing T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops, children distracting the congregation all through the Mass with crying and noise, parents who refuse to use cry rooms, bulletin-reading during Mass, able-bodied people failing to genuflect upon reaching the pew. When I was child, the rule was silence in the church because you were in the presence of God, and He should be your entire focus (still true today).  Since 63% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence (of God in the Eucharist), there is little incentive to show reverence to a God who may or may not be there.

There is an attitude among some that just being in the church (no matter how you behave) is sufficient to be able to claim that you attended Mass.

What’s the big deal? Is not the church my father’s house.  No, your father’s house is where you live or lived. The Church is THE Father’s house . . . God THE Father. God is THE Creator.  He does not need a single thing that he has created, including us. The lesser owes reverence to the higher. We OWE as much reverence as we can show to God.  As creatures we OUGHT to reverence God, and the very “oughtness” of something creates an obligation. Failure to show reverence to God is a serious failure in faith.  One writer has said that missing Sunday Mass is worse than murder because murder rejects a fellow human while irreverence rejects God Himself.  If we refuse due worship to God, it will be that much easier to disrespect persons with whom we come into contact.

Thus, we, as creatures, have a need to show reverence to God as His creatures. It is a duty, not an option. To refuse due reverence is tantamount to declaring ourselves equal to God which is a hopelessly demented idea. It is better to know and acknowledge our place in relation to God and act accordingly. If nothing else, it is at least awareness of reality.

This failure of due reverence for God and the things of God has logical consequences. It was the Catholic vote that elected Clinton and Obama, neither one noted for respecting Catholic moral principles; many Catholics are pro-abortion; many are still demanding women’s ordination (more of the feminists’ equality chant) even though Blessed John Paul II declared once and for all it could not be done for doctrinal reasons.

Active persecution is going on all over the world. The form it takes here is the ACLU suing any government entity that dares mention religion in CHRISTIAN form; the assault on Christmas Nativity scenes; the silly use of “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” The US culture, the education establishment, the media and Federal government are all, in practice, anti-God.

We are already losing freedom because of government rules and regulations. These come when the society has lost its grip on truth and reality as ours has done. A society and/or leaders who disrespect truth tend to declare themselves to be omniscient and act accordingly, while heading for ultimate disaster.

Reverence for God while in the church building is pleasing to God; “reverence” for other people or things in place of God is not.  We should strive to make the better choice.

  1. Wonder how Pope Francis would respond… Food for thought..looking forward to other opinions.

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