Skip to content

Getting over ourselves

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

Most often, a local church is neither in opposition to, nor swallowed up by, the larger society. Rather, it tends to reflect the prejudices and shortcomings as well as the strengths of the surrounding culture.

In the United States, Catholicism struggled for more than a century to win acceptance by the dominant, Protestant culture. This newspaper, in its early years, sought to defend Catholics - who were primarily immigrants - from the prejudices and anti-immigrant xenophobia of the wider society. In seeking respect, Catholics often tried to portray themselves as fully American, subsuming their Catholic identity.

The successful integration of U.S. Catholics into American society was popularly symbolized by the election of John F. Kennedy as the first Catholic U.S. president. Scholars and social critics noted that this may have been the moment when Catholics began to lose their identity, becoming virtually indistinguishable from their fellow Americans in terms of behavior, politics, prejudices and beliefs.

It is not only our Catholic identity that was threatened by the success of our assimilation. As an immigrant church, Catholics in this country often had a strong sense of the wider church outside. Appreciation for the missions was common. This identification with the Catholics of other lands was a way of acknowledging the larger church to which we were connected.

But material and political success may have brought with it a greater provincialism. We tithe less than other faiths. We pay scant attention to the church in other parts of the world. We have almost completely lost our commitment to the missions. Evangelization has become just "church talk." Though we were an immigrant church, many of us rail at the immigrants. And though we no longer produce enough vocations, many of us grumble when our bishop sends us a priest from Africa or Asia because he has no one else to send.

Yet, these shepherds from far away shores are reminders to us of a greater church than what exists in our parish, or diocese or even nation. The billion Catholics in the world today are a vibrant testimony to the diversity of the church and the universal glory of our savior. For U.S. Catholics in particular, acknowledging that we are all parts of one body - African, Asian, Latin American, European, Eastern rite and Roman rite, immigrant and native born - is an absolutely critical awareness if we are not to be blinded by our own pride, power and wealth.

Many young Catholics already get this, in part because of the amazing phenomenon of World Youth Day. In 2008, it will be held in Australia, and this will be another tremendous opportunity for Catholics to join with their fellows from around the world.

Americans, bounded by two oceans and seemingly a world apart, have always tended toward isolationism. For Catholics such a temptation is to be resisted. We are many members, but one body. Perhaps the priest shortage and the influx of foreign-born priests, like the immigration crisis, are invitations for U.S. Catholics to get over ourselves and see what a Catholic world it truly is.

Contact

Our Sunday Visitor
http://www.osv.com ,
- ,

Email

Keywords

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,717

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.