By the fruit of their labors…
I often feel torn between worlds, as it were. For the academics, I’m too Catholic. For the Catholics, a lot of the time I’m too secular. One of the tactics I picked up from studying gender theory in literature is that some things need to be taken back, whether a thought, language, or an idea. One of these is the rosary.
A lot of Catholics my age think the rosary is something irrelevant, something that doesn’t apply to them, and is old-fashioned. With as many groups that are reactionary towards their faith, I can’t blame them, which is why I feel it needs to be more visible as a popular devotion. I make mission rosaries–ones given to anyone who wants one, and won’t sell it (offer goes for anyone reading this, too. You need some, send me an email.) We need more “normal” Catholics taking back this part of their heritage–ones who don’t hang on every word out of EWTN, ones who question, ones who doubt, ones who are obedient to the Church without blindness, but ones who–above all–are as much as a part of the Body of Christ as anyone else.
It’s hard to find an online forum for rosary making that isn’t taken over by rampant commercialism. If you don’t use precious gems and sterling silver while charging four times your material cost, you don’t matter, to most of them. They wouldn’t consider making wire rosaries for missions, as I do, because it’s “too much work” for “too little profit.” Frankly, rosary making is like composing music–if you’re in it for the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. So I found the Rosary Army’s website. Their podcasts were mundane, but nothing overly questionable. I do object to their militaristic language, but they seemed to be into what they do.
Then other things became apparent–for instance how in a recent thread that they were more concerned with Wal-Mart supporting a homosexual rights group than how the company exploited their workers. (A boycott was called because of a bunch of gays…I guess the fact that someone who can’t eat, afford health insurance, or provide for a family while working at WalMart doesn’t matter.) Other threads slammed a recent DFL candidate from Minnesota, because he’s Muslim (“apostate Catholic”). How is that different than what JFK faced in the 1960’s? I was told by one member–and supported by others–that I should try to convert my non-Catholic fiancé. He’d be a lousy Catholic, honestly.
And then, in another recent thread, someone called into question the mods’ practice of subjecting any site linked to scrutiny by this website. If it doesn’t get a “green,” you can’t link to it. Guess what? I’m a Benedictine oblate (currently unaffiliated). Because the OSB’s site got a “red,” I’d be unable to link to any site of theirs, or discuss it.
Problem is, groups like this have multimedia outlets, spots on EWTN, and a lot more capital than your average Catholic does. They become “good” Catholics, while the rest of us who dare to disagree are the “bad” ones. In reality, they pick and choose from the steam table as much as anyone else. I’m sure any of the RA people possibly reading this will make sure I’m banned from their site, and that they’ll chalk any opposition up to “spiritual warfare.”
Maybe the real reason why they’re afraid to look at the OSB website is because of this passage in the Rule of St. Benedict:
We believe that the divine presence is everywhere
and that “the eyes of the Lord
are looking on the good and the evil in every place” (Prov. 15:3).
But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God.
To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet’s words,
“Serve the Lord in fear” (Ps. 2:11)
and again “Sing praises wisely” (Ps. 46:8)
and “In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You” (Ps. 137:1).
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves
in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels,
and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way
that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
Apologies for the tone. And if you need rosaries, send me email.