Monday Morning Arm-Chair Quarterbacks on WYD

Some Catholic bloggers are pretty upset about this:

One blogger, a priest, posted the video above along with a Nazi “don’t be this guy” photograph. Another blogger, a layman who I highly regard, indirectly attacked the blogger priest because of the imprudent comparison.

The principal reason (far as I can tell) why people are upset is because they feel that it is “undignified” for bishops to dance silly dances with or for young people.

We as Catholics are going to need to grow accustomed to being “incompatible” with culture. We continue to expect that a certain level of deference should be paid to bishops by virtue of their office alone, and we expect that not just “us Catholics” but other Christians and even non-Christians owe the bishops this honor. But the example of Pope Francis is disarming to the secular culture AND many traditional or orthodox Catholics, for different reasons.

We hear the Holy Father encouraging clergy (especially bishops) to stop thinking that it is acceptable to stay in their chanceries and residences, keep their cassocks clean, and stay away from reaching down to lift someone else up (if it means becoming less dignified). He’s saying the same thing to us, the laity, too. He’s saying we need to go out.

We don’t look far before we find good examples of what Pope Francis is encouraging us to do: was St. Peter always dignified, even when our Lord wanted to wash his smelly dirty feet, or when he denied our Lord and ran away, or when he rotted in a hole of a cell in Rome, or when he asked to be crucified head-down?

We can all sit here and say, “That was really stupid. They’re not fools for Christ; just fools.” But the bishops weren’t there for those of us reading or watching from the sidelines. They were there to meet part of the living Church and to attempt to connect with it. Calling a bishop a fool for waving his arms is a pretty low threshold for the foolishness of the rest of us. So the bishops got silly dance lessons. Shame on them for trying to connect with the young people who they have an obligation to pastor.

Just to be clear: I’m not saying that silly dancing is necessary for effective outreach or pastoring to the youth. But some comments made concerning this issue truly epitomize an “arm-chair quarterback” mentality, calling it all folly and superficiality. My point: it wasn’t FOR you. I think hymns from Marty Haugen and the other guy are folly and coated in saccharine too, but rather than believing there’s something wrong with Haugen-lovers, I try to remind myself that since the Church is supposed to be universal, there has to be room for many forms of spiritual and liturgical practice, and it does not unify or edify to constantly complain about the ones that we think are dumb.

Jesus knows what each of us needs, and we must thank Him for giving us a Church that He established to hold it all.



2 thoughts on “Monday Morning Arm-Chair Quarterbacks on WYD

  1. But the point is, such actions do not ‘connect’ with youth, if anything, they are a source of ridicule and antipathy. As I stated in my post, such capers are patronising and offensive.

    • Maybe for some/most. We weren’t there. You thought it was patronizing and offensive. I thought it might be patronizing. Someone there might have agreed with you, or me, or felt entirely differently about it. Hopefully you’ll agree it wasn’t objectively patronizing and offensive though, because that would imply something else.

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