An interesting article that describes the latest fad among a subset of young-ish people in NYC and likely in other major cities. Such people exist in every generation: rootless, fundamentally belief-less, bored while waiting for the next shiny thing. They’re Seinfeld minus the humor (although unintended irony abounds).
Meanwhile, back in the mundane, real world, Roman Catholicism grinds on. It’s a tainted brand for the time being, until the shame of the abuse scandal wears off, and it struggles against the secular nature of modern society. But there’s still a strong community of faithful Catholics out there, and I believe the Church will eventually rebuild. The Church has weathered worse storms.
The real irony of the abuse scandal is that an LBGQTIA+ man on ordination then becomes a priest and the shame falls solely on the latter identity not the former.
WTF is an ” LBGQTIA+ man”, when he’s at home? I have never come across one.
I agree, there have been real crises in the Church and must worse heresies than those promulgated on social media … it’s all a ‘bit wet’ as the guru Nigel Molesworth might say. What does surprise me, if Ann’s essay holds true, is that these young-ish coverts seem to be so very badly catechised. Have they not undertaken RCIA?
That this piece on Catholic converts does not mention RCIA calls into question its veracity.
As the C of E is an institution for those who don’t believe in God, Catholicism is all that is left to me.
I agree that the CofE has desperately lost its way – but non-Biblical-based Roman Catholicism is not the answer.
The reasons for Protest are still valid and a great deal of the non-establishment Church still teaches the actual Word.
Find a good local church that teaches from the Bible about a personal relationship with Jesus and the priesthood of all believers. Saved by Grace and not by works.
Amen. Jesus is Lord!
Catholicism is not a dying faith, it must be said, even if this breezy, fictionalized account, primarily concerned with postmodern podcasters (whoever they are), tweet writers and the author’s circle of acquaintances, is meant to be humorous.
It is a persecuted faith, indeed outside of the West the persecutions are physical and often lethal. But in the West any criticism of Islam, the usual persecutors, is ‘Islamaphobia’. So curiously it now lives under persecution in the 3rd world and possibly thrives.
Here in the UK we are ‘missionary country’ Catholic Priests from India and Africa are sent here to save us.
The sheer lunacy of “belief”!
Please save me from that?
Indeed, Catholicism is hardly a dying faith in Africa and Asia. The next pope will likely come from outside of the west. Catholicism in the western world is troubled but hopefully will make a comeback, but not the phony brand as described in this essay.
Nor is it dying in the Americas for that matter.
We often hear that the next Pope will hail from outside of the West. This would make sense as a reflection of the strength of the Church in Africa and Asia–but would be nonsensical as an attempt to demonstrate progressive bona fides.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Sarah is extremely popular among young Catholics the world over, who thirst for reverent worship and moral clarity. Will His Eminence become Pope? He embodies these qualities–but these are scorned by the present Pope so feted by the secular media as a “progressive from the Southern Hemisphere.”
I’m wondering if some are turning away from the contradictions, hypocracy and chaos of their current progressive religion. When they can’t critically think for themselves and they stop trusting their current leaders it may seem like it offers more stability.
I don’t know if young secular “progressives,” if that’s what you mean, are converting to Catholicism, but Protestants certainly are, and indeed it is in large part because of the “chaos” of their former religions, which is the “chaos” of subjective morality. Young converts are in search of morality clarity, which you obviously won’t find in, for example, the Episcopal church.
Not that this fatuous piece tells us anything about who is actually converting to Catholicism and why. Was I supposed to be interested in the cronies of a “writer living in New York?”
“…the near entire retreat to the imaginary…”
This partial quote from the article sums it up. It appears we have moved into this phase now, where even stories like this are fabricated from online information, which is derived from social media trends vs. witnessing and interviewing real people doing real things. We are living in an imaginary world.
It was ever thus. Though the level of hypocrisy in New York appears to be way above anything in past times. Even 40 years ago, did you want to be married in a Catholic Church as a lapsed Catholic? Turn up for a few masses and confessions. Next, you want your child Christened 5 years of so after another ‘lapsing’ – confession and attend mass. Then another 5 years on, after another lapsing, you want your child to attend a Catholic Primary? As you were before.
Only the old priests still going in the early to mid 1970’s weren’t so easy on forgiving 70 x 7. They got to be suspicious and judgemental at the 3rd return of the prodigal.
IF there is a God, and if the Catholic Church is his church, then don’t read the bible too carefully, because if you do, you start to notice that what in my youth was described in the New Testament as the happenings that indicate The End of Days, and which were to our young Catholic minds unthinkable, appear to be the norm nowadays. I just hope IF it’s true, come the Judgement my defence:-
“I stuck to my Catholic belief and tried to live the life with some difficulty, and now I don’t believe, I find living my non-belief a lot easier.”
Is a sufficient defence to get me a long spell in Purgatory rather than an eternity in Hell.
Or, young Protestants are moving away from the hopelessly secularized mainline denominations to churches that actually believe in sound doctrine and biblical exposition. My family and I quit the Episcopal Church for a Reformed congregation that preaches and teaches the Word. Easy transition for me, since I was raised in the Presbyterian church of yore. Lots of young families in our church any given Sunday, and we grew during the pandemic.
And as far as rituals for the sake of rituals, I may miss the beauty of the Anglican rite (especially Rite 1), but not the intrinsic danger of ritualism.
As an Orthodox Christian I must confess that I see nothing wrong at all with attending services simply because one is seeking something. For us, the embodiment of worship is following the wisdom of God in that God became human, the Incarnation teaches us so much. Of course, it depends on what one is seeking. But if it will help people, we know Christ did everything to save even one. If one is seeking, or feels that something is missing in life, who are we to judge their heart? Only God knows that, and God’s mystery working in our lives to bring us to faith is as lifelong pursuit. In our tradition I was baptized as an infant, but it wasn’t until I was middle-aged that the truths hidden there like a mustard seed, if you will, become more understood and pursued by myself, and I continue to learn, even to learn where I’m mistaken as well
For many religious people, religion is more something you do rather than something you think. Most Catholics I know have no intellectual grasp of transubstantiation, but they practice their religion because it is part of their life. On the other hand, unlike the people in the above article, they do not use Catholicism as an affectation or lifestyle accessory either.
As a follower of Jesus vs. “being religious” by simply wearing a denomination’s label, following Jesus’ ways is both something you think and do at the same time.
That’s not theology, it’s good sense.
Read “12 Rules for Life” by Peterson.
Live the humanistic life, like Christ is reported to have done.
Amen, Warren! Get back to the source, Christ himself. . . what he did, what he said, then laying down his life so that his Resurrection would be the central event of history. Follow the One who shows a way to life, even after death. I’m going with him, to overcome the obstacle of death in our path to eternal life!
Theologians are the ones who attempt to gain an intellectual grasp of it, for the rest why would it matter?
The Gospel repeatedly asks for faith not understanding. Time and again the miracles and stories refer to the role of faith in delivering the end product. “Your faith has made you whole.” etc Or the Centurion whose faith in the miracle he requested being done was such he didn’t need Jesus to enter his house to perform it.
“Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof. Say but the word and my servant shall be healed.”
The question I suppose is; how comfortable each one of us is with faith alone?
I’ve no idea. I do know that some of the scientific facts I was educated about appear to come under the faith banner as I couldn’t understand the complex maths that proved it.
Fortunately practising a great deal of science is far easier than trying to figure out how it all works.
As for Catholicism or any deity with an specific interest in humanity is something, sadly, I can no longer believe.
BUT I remember what the faith I was taught stood for and in many ways think it was a better philosophy for living a happy life than the secular alternatives we have today. I also wonder how much my lack of faith now is based on the experience as described by Chesterton.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
It was really hard being a Catholic maybe that’s why I now rationalise my non-belief!
I once had a friend who claimed
“It isn’t so much what you do that matters, but what you believe and want to do.”
He was smarter than me, but I have never been able to accept that. To me it is the exact opposite. Which is why, IF it is all true, one is going to be surprised at the number of Catholics in Hell and the number of Atheists in Heaven.
Maybe I shouldn’t have read Chesterton before I met him!
Oh I completely disagree!
“Theologians are the ones who attempt to gain an intellectual grasp of it, for the rest why would it matter?
The Gospel repeatedly asks for faith not understanding.”
I would encourage you to read the parable of the sower. Jesus specifically talks about how important it is to understand, otherwise you will fall away from the faith since it isn’t deeply rooted. Faith isn’t blindly believing, it is trusting God which he has given us plenty of reason to do, most notably the gospel itself and Jesus’ death on the cross. If he loves us enough to do that then we have no reason to think he doesn’t love us and care for us in persecution/hardship/etc… This is why increasing our knowledge of scripture and knowing God more is so critical! Wrestling with God (see Jacob) is encouraged if anything, it’s not like God doesn’t know where we secretly have doubts.
Thanks for the honest and introspective comment, I truly wish my brothers and sisters in the church really examined their hearts and minds this way.
Evolutionary sociology will set you free.
I’m going with the one who survived death itself, and placed his Victory in the very center of human history, then backed it up with Resurrection. I’m going with Him!
I consider myself a deist. It is a position which gives a potential meaning to the universe etc. without the problems of religious dogma.
The way I understand it is that faith without works is dead (James 2) but you can’t earn your way into heaven (Ephesians 2). Equally that becoming a Christian does not mean that you won’t still sin.
I think some of this article is quite interesting on Chesterton’s quote: https://catholicstand.com/christianity-found-difficult-and-left-untried/
as a Roman Catholic myself, and now 20 years ” dry”, I can still honestly say that my Catholic mates in my days of yore in racing and The Army were much more fun and entertaining than any others, especially after a few jars!
Yes, the article’s implication that Catholics marry and cease to patronize “downtown bars,” that is, they do not have fun, is especially grating, as the author, a “writer in New York,” has managed not to notice that Manhattan bars, restaurants and clubs have been devastated by closures owing to Wuhan flu hysteria in all its forms, to which Catholics were of course deeply opposed.
Perhaps the fact that large numbers of Catholics insisted on living a full meaningful life, which includes enjoyable leisure activities in charming company (rather than, say, cowering at home “of a long face” bemoaning the Proverbial “lion in the street” in compliance with then-mayor DeBlasio’s edicts), is part of what is attracting young people to the faith.
There is a religion shaped hole in our society. I think young people will start turning to organized religion because 1) progressive values have become unhinged and 2) rejecting the mainstream is normal for young people. Even when done ironically I suspect there will be actual converts. The church isn’t dying – and even though I rejected it – I admire how it does not flap in the wind of popular ideas like other churches do.
The Catholic Church has been dying for 2000 years.
Actually, the history of the Catholic church’s positions does also flap in the wind of popular opinion. It just has a longer time constant which gives it the relative illusion of stationarity.
More cheerless solipsism from Manov.
IDK Ann but aren’t we all faking something – even you? Plus aren’t all up market millennials posturing up in some sort of micro brand management schemes – more or less sincere? The quest for transgressive differentiation seems a never ending social media quest in this social space.
At least Catholicism is rich and deep plus as old as the western civilization it bore. And a far bigger tent than many think with plenty of space for weird. Anyway, one doubts it will do much harm to those you think poseurs. Actually, recognizing a clear moral discipline might do them good and, even after their acquisition of sin and guilt, there is still confession and forgiveness- don’t forget!
Far worse transgressive lifestyle choices are in the air, like surgically redoing your parts. I grant that those choosing this actively demonstrate the authentic commitment your standard implies but the consequences of adaption are arguably worse.
This appears to be an article about an article… Pope will eat itself? Anyway, like the Peace of God, I found much of it passeth all understanding. But a sweeping generalisation about the “post-Covid years” was the final straw.
This is how most “journalism” is done these days. And we are all lost for it.
The style of this article, its breezy, snooty superiority, wreaks of elitist cynicism–all the fashion these days in some jaded circles. It’s one more reason that sincere seekers after life’s ultimate meaning retreat from everything she represents. Catholicism is one option. Empirical, non-religious afterlife study, as in The Afterlife Unveiled, is another. The theology and practice of the iconoclastic scientist Rupert Sheldrake (Science and Spiritual Practices), a practicing Anglican, is a third. Ann Manov is living in a wasteland of meaninglessness. She needs help.
I wonder how the author finds the time to go through all the garbage that floods out of social media, but I’m glad at least that someone does. The problem is to tell the fads from the frights. So much in the world now, and I suppose this was always the case, seemed once like a freight train on the horizon. Nothing to worry about, then suddenly it’s upon you.
Aren’t most of the fads “frights”?
I very much agree, and was a bit shocked at The NY Times piece by Ms Yost. Like the author here I was waiting for Yost to point out that simply appropriating the faith for social media clout is both damaging to the soul and the whole.
Cheering on people who use the ancient faith so that they can more easily find a lay on Tinder is the inevitable (disgusting) result.
This isn’t “faking it until you make it,” it’s an anti-Christian blasphemy.
Of course the Bride of Christ should welcome whores— But if she becomes one as well, what’s her point exactly?
I realize you are just giving an example of the appropriation of Catholicism (which appropriation is apparently a social media phenomenon), but the fact is that any man who puts “Catholic” in his Tinder profile will have fewer matches. Only “Trump voter” could be more disastrous for his chances.
Men looking to have more matches on dating platforms are advised to say they are “spiritual.”
I wonder what their thoughts are on IVF, IUDs, and plan B pills. Maybe they should move to more like minded states like Texas and actually live out their values.
My frustration with the article is that conversion is actually a Months long process. You don’t wake up one day and decide that taking pictures of a Catholic Church or catholic images makes you Catholic. Having gone through the RCIA process, I can tell you that most churches that lean left or more secular don’t get that many actual potential converts. And teaching is mixed at best. Quality varies from parish to parish. I have a really hard time understanding how you can write an article about converting to Catholicism w/o a single mention of RCIA. I found it hard to take the article seriously because of this huge omission. Every convert who actually gets confirmed remembers the magic of the Easter vigil night that they came into the church. It’s a powerful moment for all of us. We all talk about it, even years later. It’s like saying you are giving out chocolate chip ice cream, but there are not chocolate pieces in the ice cream you actually hand me. This topic really interests me, as a convert, so I really found the article really lacking and not as deep as I thought it would be. Then again, maybe it just adds to how superficial the whole ‘scene’ is.
The article reminds me of this season’s skits on SNL, only I made it to the end because its funnier.
When in reference to the 2018 Met Gala and the piece Rhianna wore, let’s not forget that it was a time when Amal Alamuddin, a lapsed Muslim, was promoting as much catholic fashion as she could. She even met Pope Francis in a Versace outfit fit enough to wear to a catholic funeral. The Pope thought it was delightful.
Still mulling over this article, maybe trying to be too clever. The Catholic Chruch has always had some fashionable new members, some better than others. It must be obvious that in a secular and superficial age, some will be drawn to the second oldest religion in town, which in some places has some lovely buldings and even decent music. Some will lose interest, some will mature, and not make too much difference to the solid body of steady and mediocre practitioners (which is where most Catholics muddle along).
My guess is that if you factor out such motivations as fear, social expedience, boredom, intrigue etc, the proportion of true Catholics would shrink, a lot. Emotional, political, social utility, sure – The Truth….not so much.
Oh my actual. Deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. Rabbits all the way down, I guess.
Well they do like fornicating, apparently.
By the way, what is “fornicating?” It’s a mainly religious construct and used as an epithet. Makes you wonder what happened during the first half million years of human history.
Every similar article trots out the “Waugh the convert” trope as if he were some kind of example that anyone might give credence to. I read the piece mainly with amusement, at the hypocrisy of those who adopt Catholicism as a fashionable lifestyle statement and those who think they stand on higher moral ground.
Fornication is technically sex outside marriage, as distinct from sex with someone while you are married to someone else, which is adultery
But a lot of “knowing” in the old testament was outside of marriage. And if you hadn’t “known” someone does that mean they were necessarily strangers?
I enjoyed the article and think that it made some salient points, but if you are going to write an extended critique of somebody I think its only honest and decent that you name them.
Of course British Christianity has a class system all of its own.. wheres, for example, in Italy Jesus is just plain ” Signore” or ” Mister” here is a toff.. Lord Jesus Christ, son of The Duke of Heaven, went to school at Eden College, served as an officer in The Household Calvary….
Style nosing at substance.
“Sincere belief is hardly even conceivable these days.”
And ain’t it great? Skeptics abound in the lands of liars.
My friend who was born out of wedlock in Ireland from an 11 year old mother, then abused by the Christian Brothers & bullied in foster care has nightmares about killing the Pope
Seriously? (Just asking for a friend.)
The Catholic Supremes outlawed abortion.
Is Prohibition next ?
WTF are “The Catholic Supremes”?????
I believe Mary Wilson is the only one.
The “supremes” did not outlaw abortion. They held that having one is not a right guarantied by the Constitution.
Do you live here? Your statement appears uninformed at best.