The recent popularity of the book, The Secret, has made the Law of Attraction all the rage. I had lunch last week with an entrepreneur who is succeeding with several small businesses and investments beyond all measure. She claims The Secret as her method. A few months ago the COO of a client company told me that he, too, had been practicing the Law of Attraction, and attributes his company’s success to it. That kind of testimony is hard to ignore.
What’s interesting is that the Law of Attraction is also big part of fundamental Christianity. Daily “confessions,” different from its Catholic meaning, are really affirmations, given in the present tense, just like The Secret recommends.
I delight myself in the Lord and he gives me the dreams of my heart. Psalms 37-4
I have all sufficiency of all things and abound to all good works, for my God has made all grace abound toward me. 2 Cor. 9:8
And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22
Over the past year, I’ve had reason to become more familiar with Protestant churches, especially Pentecostal churches. It’s been an interesting contrast to my Catholicism.
I love the beauty and ritual of Catholic Mass. As a Catholic of Italian descent, the faith is inextricably entwined with my ethnic heritage. So when I say I’m an ethnic Catholic, what I mean is that no matter how corrupt I think the Church is, I can’t shake the part of it that’s almost hardwired into me.
It’s shocking to see what people do in the name of God. War—too many examples to cite. Corruption – the Vatican is one of the most corrupt institutions in existence. The way the American church covered up the abuse of children is reprehensible.
I wish I thought that these things were the exceptions but I don’t. I think they’re the rule. And it’s men who are in charge, men who perpetrate these sins, men who cover them up.
The Church has many failings and over the years, has become increasingly irrelevant to the lives of its people. It’s failed to keep up with the world in so many ways—but selectively. Its refusal to ordain women is just one example of how it picks and chooses what “traditions” it will keep. “Let’s get rid of meatless Fridays and confession, but for heaven’s sake, let’s not ordain women!”
And yet, when I attend Mass in a beautiful and ancient basilica like Rome’s Santa Maria Maggiore, I set aside man’s failings and am overcome with the beauty and solemnity of the ancient ritual.
Catholicism is in decline. Mass attendance has declined from 44% in 1987 to 37% in 1999. The Church claims it’s been stable since then, but I wonder.
That idiot, Pat Buchanan, attributes the decline of Catholicism to the reforms of Vatican II. He blames reformers for the sex abuse cover-ups. What hooey! It’s clear to me that there hasn’t been enough reform: hypocrisy and irrelevance are the reasons Catholics are abandoning the fold.
Faith should be more important than ever as the country and the world face massive problems. Churches need to become more, not less relevant.
So I have to ask. If women were in the Church hierarchy, would the abuse of children have been covered up? I just don’t think so.
It’s past time for Catholicism to give women full standing. Even conservative Pentecostal churches accept women as pastors. As long as the Catholic Church holds on to their sexist male hierarchy it will remain increasingly irrelevant in today’s world.
Today’s affirmation: The Catholic Church accepts and values women in its leadership.