Frank discussions, advice, and opinions from a Catholic Director of Religious Education.



Friday, July 29, 2011

God, Capaneus and the Mugwumps (Part Two)

The young man that came to Giussani returned. The holy priest's final comment had, by the grace of God, accomplished its goal. The young man repented, recieved the sacraments and died soon after. He made a choice.
Mugwumps don't make choices. Historically, mugwumps were Republican activists around the latter part of the 19th century.
"During the 1884 campaign, they were often portrayed as "fence-sitters," with part of their body on the side of the Democrats and the other on the side of the Republicans."  Source
Whether this label accurately portrayed these men or not, I have always heard the term "Mugwump" used for someone who is never willing to commit. They sit in the middle of two warring parties, their mug on one side and their wump on the other, until ultimately they get shot.

Most of us are spiritual mugwumps to a certain degree, unwilling to fully cross to one side or the other, waiting to see if the cost isn't too high. That is why conversion is a lifelong process. I've noticed a growing trend among families, though, that is quite disturbing and it has everything to do with the way of life our society worships. Both parents work. The kids are in activities everyday. Computers, televion, video games and every other contraption are fully embraced and take up their remaining time. There are no big questions. There is no reflection. There is no time. These are the Super Mugwumps: beings so completely enmeshed in their own concerns that the become completely oblivious to the rest of the world and any conflict therin. It isn't that they won't choose, but that they can't even comprehend that there is a choice to make.

Then we get parents saying this:

"Lucy needs to make her 1st Holy Communion, but we don't think we should have to go to Mass every Sunday."
"Jake needs to get confirmed, but he is going to keep attending the Lutheran youth group and he thinks he might convert."
"I don't make my kids go to their religious ed. classes because they say it isn't any fun."
Catechesis isn't enough anymore, not when I need to keep convincing parents that class is important. Our job must be evangelization. We must show by a truly authentic joy and peace that there is another way. We must boldly love our neighbor: inviting them to Mass, to prayer, to God. We must look them in the eye and re-propose Catholicism. We must say like Monsignor Giussani "Isn't it even greater to love the infinite." Please pray for families. Please pray for good leaders. Please pray for the Church.

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