“It depends on what the meaning of the word is is.” It appears that society has moved beyond reasonable discourse—indeed, that we’re living in a world beyond meaning itself: in other words, the postmodern era. So how do we speak to PoMos? We need to understand the variable currents that have shaped their views.
Cell phones, iPads, Twitter, and broadband access: We’re the most plugged-in civilization in all of history. But the cost of all that connectedness is high, if we can no longer speak or write coherently. And he who should be the center of our lives—the One who commands our total allegiance—speaks in a tiny whisper.
You’ve probably met a believer whose faith is modeled on that practiced by the “early Christians”—a simple, unstructured church that, according to the adherent, is completely unlike the Catholic Church. Your challenge is to show your non-Catholic friend that all the evidence we have points to the opposite conclusion.
Since Vatican II gallons of ink have been spilled in the “liturgy wars.” Considering the disregard for the Council’s instructions on the Mass, that’s no surprise. The heart of the debate is that worship reflects belief—no small matter if we believe that every Mass effects the salvation of the world.
Do pomp and pageantry challenge would-be converts? A reverent Mass celebrated with full solemnity is never a bad thing: It may touch hearts in ways that words cannot. But a Catholic who
evangelizes with Mass may discover that even a banal liturgy has something to offer seekers.
"The [secular] sense of right and wrong is so delicate, so fitful, so easily puzzled, obscured, perverted, so subtle in its argumentative methods, so impressionable by education, so biased by pride and passion, so unsteady in its course, that in the struggle for existence amid the various exercises and triumphs of the human intellect, the sense is at once the highest of all teachers yet the least luminous."