Thursday, December 6, 2007

Proud to be a...


My sister, Barbara, is hospitalized now, cancer having been found within her spinal cord. It's inoperable. The doctors will treat it with radiation and perhaps with chemotherapy. This is the 4th metastasis. Yesterday, while waiting for the news, I distracted myself with this perhaps silly bit of research. You can probably tell what a rotten mood I was in. "Pray until the peace comes," I'm told. I know. I'm getting there. But not yet.

The two images with the words, “Proudly Entered the Catholic Church…” that I posted earlier prompted someone I know to comment that “Catholics promote pride.” Oh, really? Is that true? It made me wonder, so I Googled the words, “Proud to be Catholic”. Then I did a similar search substituting the word, “Orthodox,” then, “Baptist,” then, “Lutheran”, then, “Presbyterian”.

What I found among Orthodox, Baptists, and Lutherans was a few, isolated, misguided individuals proclaiming their pride in being whatever they were, plus some sales sites selling “Orthodox” or “Lutheran” or “Baptist” items, such as tee shirts. These appealed to pride as a sales tactic. I found a couple of colleges claiming to be proud of their religious heritage. Most of these claims, though, one doesn’t take any more seriously than sales tactics, if the example of my alma mater is typical: Wake Forest University, trumpeting its pride in its Baptist heritage, actually cut ties with the Baptists some 20 or so years ago.

I found sites like that for Catholics, too. But then I found more, such as this one, which is actually a parish effort, instead of some individual thing, started by parishioners of Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Middletown, PA., to help their church raise funds for a new building project...

We Are Proud 2B Catholic
2/6/2005 - 12:00 AM PST

Where else can you find anything from the original “Catholic T Shirt” to a black and white crossed ribbon type “Pray For Our Priests” car magnet? Besides showing Catholic Pride with the items they have to offer, they say, “We hope our youth will follow our lead as Proud Catholics of the future.”

And this one, with materials for teaching children to be proud of being Catholic, marketing these materials to Catholic Schools.

Our economical pack gives you three new educational tools to help promote religious pride. Pack includes 25 each of our Proud To Be Catholic Educational Activities Book, Bookmark and Pencil. A great money-saving value for every classroom! 75 Items in all. For ages K-3.

But guess what else I found? “Proud 2B Catholic” is a whole, organized movement!

Here is its main site. Notice, in the descriptive paragraph I copied from it, that this Proud 2B Catholic Movement is endorsed by a cardinal, no less.

We're excited you're here, and we hope to see you at an upcoming Proud 2B Catholic event.

In 2007, Proud 2B Catholic events took place in Long Island-NY, Kennebunk-ME, Framingham-MA, Sulphur-LA, Toronto-CAN, Attleboro-MA and Houston-TX. 2008 will bring new annual and monthly events! See Sean Cardinal O'Malley's endorsement of P2BC.

An archbishop also endorses the Proud 2B Catholic movement here:

A gathering where youth are proud to be Catholic
In God's Good Time

By Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

"Two, four, six, eight,
What's the faith we celebrate,
Catholic, Catholic, Catholic!"

This was the kind of mantra one could hear at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, as 22,000 Catholic youth joined in the 2007 National Cath¬olic Youth Conference from Nov. 8 to 10.

This was my third NCYC, and I have become a strong supporter of the experience.

This movement has “festivals” annually. Here’s the site about this year’s festival, with the theme PROUD 2B FAITHFUL. Well, not proud, just unashamed. Except that the difference is nowhere elucidated.

Published on 11/10/2007
Start: 10/13/2007 - 12:00
End: 10/13/2007 - 22:00
WHAT: A celebration of our Faith. Not that we are proud, but that we are not ashamed. A time for worship, for learning and for networking.
This year's theme: PROUD 2B FAITHFUL”

And here is a parish-level endorsement of the same movement, together with some syncretism and some very interesting wording.

We're heading out to the Proud 2B Catholic festival in Sulphur, Louisiana this Saturday. It should be a great time of music, praise, adoration and fellowship. If anyone is from the South and may be interested in attending, please let us know. We have a few extra tickets. These festivals remind me of St. Paul's words, "I became all things to all people...". True, for many Catholics this is about as untraditional as Catholicism can get, but then again, by whose standard do we measure?

In fact, there's a whole religious order called Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette that sponsors Catholic pride. (It isn't clear to me whether this order sponsors the whole "Proud 2B Catholic" Movement, or only its website.)

The Presbyterians, in my opinion, had the best take on the matter. Here, you can get tee shirts with the slogan, "(Sinfully) Proud to be Presbyterian" (!) and here, implicitly recognizing pride as a sin, the PC(USA) substitutes the word, “Enthusiastic.”

The "I'm Enthusiastic about the PC(USA)!" Movement was initiated by Tyler Ward in response to the Christ's call through the Holy Spirit. At the April, 2004 meeting of the National Presbyterian Youth Ministry Council … he proposed the Movement to the Council saying, "Great ministry is going on in the PC(USA)... Sure, there is controversy in the church, and it needs to be addressed, but we shouldn't loose sight of the great work of the PC(USA). There are lots of positive ministries…" The Council endorsed the Movement with joy.

I don't know. "Proud" just has a better ring to it, don't you think? Tell people you are proud to be whatever you are and they think, "Sure." But "enthusiastic" sounds contrived. If you go around proclaiming yourself "enthusiastic" about your religion, it makes people wonder whether, as in the above paragraph, there may be reasons not to be enthusiastic prompting you to declare you are.

As a matter of fact, the Proud 2B Catholic Movement, from what I can gather, is largely a reacton to the scandal of priests raping boys -- and sometimes girls. Hence the emphasis on "Pray for Our Priests." (Yes, do that, but don't forget to pray for their victims, too.)

Sometimes, shame is simply the only proper thing to show. All of our institutions give us plenty of grounds for that.


Elizabeth said...

My prayers for Barbara and for you all, dear Anastasia.......

Anonymous said...

Actually, the "pray for our priests" stickers are from another Proud 2B Catholic organization that is not associated with the OFFICIAL Proud 2B Catholic website which hosts all the events. The events and website were established well before the scandals were uncovered.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for clearing that up.

Do you know whether the movement as a whole is sponsored by the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, or somebody else?