A Catholic Topic

The e-mail brought notice of a 13 session program on-line, and I intend to participate, on a weekly basis.  The link is here.  Each session is about 30 minutes, about Catholic Social Teaching.  I’ve watched the first session.

Your choice.  If you have an interest you might want to check this out.

Those who follow this blog know that I’m lifelong Catholic and going to church is important to me.

While attempts are made to portray Catholicism as a simple deal; fact is the Church of my birth is a very complicated enterprise with a very long history and by no means is it simply defined.

Somebody has estimated that of the worlds population of about 8 billion, about 18% – 1.3 billion – are said to be Catholic.  I’m guessing this just comes from a simple question to a particular sample: “what is your religious background?”  Or similar.

Of the United States population of 330,000,000, about 22% self-identify as Catholic.  Similarly, of Minnesota 5.7 million residents, about 22% call themselves Catholic.

Here begins a much more slippery slope: The Catholic Church is a voluntary association, and its official face is not a democracy in any sense of the political word.  Everyone who enters a Catholic Church is an individual, and is there for his or her own reasons.  Nobody can be forced to do anything.

I once heard an interesting statistic, from a Priest who was in a position to know the official data, that perhaps 30% of Catholics actually attend church on any given Sunday.  Politically, Catholics are on the same very broad spectrum as the rest of the body politic, from left to right and all shades in between.

At the same time, depending on one’s point of view, the official church messes around in politics all the time, right at the edge of legality and sometimes over the edge.

Father Griffith, the lecturer of the series, doubtless speaks with direct knowledge of the official church position, and what he says is with the approval of the institution.  He is pastor of my Church, appointed by the hierarchy; he is also a professor of Law at a Catholic University, St. Thomas in St. Paul, and obviously knowledgeable.  He is completing his first year with Basilica this summer, and I find him a positive asset to the Church.  That doesn’t mean I will agree with everything he has to say.  He represents the institution and whomever happens to be in power at the time.

I mention all of this only to emphasize that the lecture series is the official churches point of view.

I’ll comment some weeks down the road once I’ve listened to all the talks.  My plan: one a week.