Home Alone Means Home Alone

It has been awhile since my last post. Since I have been busy trying this whole working man thing, I have had little time for the blog. The reason is, I suppose, that I feel sometimes as though either I have said all that needs saying or there aren’t really many people out there who are so radical as to be actually Catholic.

Be that as it may, I did want to slip on here and type out a quick post to say hello, and to offer a word of caution regarding this website as well as others.

You see, when we decided to stay away from non-Catholic clergy, and by extension non-Catholic fellow parishioners, we laid upon ourselves a heavy burden, one which our Lord in the desert felt so immensely we could hardly compare or comprehend. His friends were the Angels in his isolation. Do we befriend the Angels in our isolation and desert walk?

There is a danger that, in separating ourselves from the false communion of non-Catholics, clinging to God, His Church, and true doctrine, we become so self-referential and isolated and lonely that, if we do not become crazy, we drift back to the Novus Ordo parish nearest our house, for nothing other than the hospitality and friendship awaiting us there.

I will not say these are bad. We were made for each other, human beings, and we do not thrive and become happy separated. Still that does not mean we have to surrender our religious principles. Let me explain.

All of us, from the lonely old man to the young lady, we all have habits of mind and hobbies we enjoy. We like to think about things, and do things that we are good at or would like to. I know among you with whom I have corresponded over the years that there are musicians, poets, historians, artists, and so much more.

If you feel lonely, do not seek out comfort where you are to compromise your holy religion. Go to where there are other commonalities. Cultivate friendships with fellow artists or musicians. Start up a historic society in your town with monthly meetings at your library. In sum, get out there. But don’t return to the place you are surely to lose your soul or wrack up years in purgatory through spiritual lethargy inculcated there!

Another word of warning. Do not depend upon websites and website personalities—even like this one—to fill that human contact void. The danger is, if and when an error, sometimes a very grievous error, is published on a website you very much like the author of, you will think the error less than, or not an error at all, and be deceived into thinking a lie.

That is the danger, that in your isolation as a Home Alone Catholic, you may succumb to the wiles of a cult leader. I need not name names. I myself may be that cult leader for you, which I would rather delete this website than let happen. I only keep it up because I think the risk of that is relatively low, since I try to keep things at a very low threshold of intellectual demand, so people don’t get confused and so I don’t make any of those grievous errors.

Home Alone means home alone. We may not have any real Catholics nearby to commune with, and those on websites may be compromised for one reason or another. But that doesn’t mean we cannot have a kind of secular communion with our neighbors who may like backgammon or cribbage as much as we.

So, if you are feeling lonely and isolated in the desert this Lent, good! It means you are closer to imitating our Lord. But don’t think it is a compromise to your Catholic faith to be a friend to a non-Catholic.

Besides, it might just be an opportunity to evangelize.

Come to think of it: Who does St. Patrick’s Day belong to?

One “wokism” which the world is enthralled with is cultural appropriation, and socially crucifying anyone who does it. But the one culture which has any rights to be up in arms about any inappropriate appropriation of its identity is the one culture as silent as a lamb – while the rest of the cultures of the world howl like she-wolves in the outer dark. 

For those who don’t know, cultural appropriation is when one culture, say, a predominately white European American culture, calls its team mascot by the name of another people, or uses images associated with that people – even when that people is native to the land of said white European American culture. This habit of copying or using other cultures is considered a kind of exploitation, especially when it involves the religious symbols, fashions, language or music of a people. 

One hot-topic item has been the exploitation of the Native American warbonnet, a ceremonial headdress worn by decorated and honored Native Americans. As one Cherokee academic, Adrienne Keene, said in The New York Times, speaking of non-Native Americans wearing warbonnets: 

“When it becomes a cheap commodity anyone can buy and ear to a party, that meaning is erased and disrespected, and Native peoples are reminded that our cultures are still seen as something of the past, as unimportant in contemporary society, and unworthy of respect.” 

Keene has a point. Surely sacred garments, or anything sacred of a culture, shouldn’t be reduced to a “cheap commodity,” because the sacredness of the artifact is reduced to insignificance. Perhaps it would be wrong of the world to commercialize Christmas, that is, Christ-Mass, or decorate Easter eggs, the symbol of the Resurrection, or exchange St. Valentine cards, host Halloween parties, or, heaven forbid, wear green t-shirts in remembrance of Saint Patrick who vanquished Irish paganism from the green Isle over 1500 years ago.  

I could go on and talk about how the world has stolen so much more from Catholic culture, like hospitals, universities, science, law, art, and, well, everything else in Western Civilization, only that would be foolish, because these things were not stolen by the world but given to the world by God through the Church. The Catholic Church, unlike wokism, is very generous with its gifts of grace. 

Saint Patrick, for instance, was given to Ireland – and eventually the world – by God in the fifth century, to liberate the Irish culture from false gods like Crom Cruach who demanded human sacrifice. One religious symbol of Saint Patrick’s spiritual conquest of Ireland is the shamrock. 

Friday March 17 marks the death and feast day of Saint Patrick. Even as early as the end of February, shamrocks began to sprout up, as by magic or miracle, in grocery store checkouts. But this clover becoming a universal symbol for everything Irish is not understood absent any mention of the Holy Trinity – the only reason for its significance at all. Without the Catholic Faith in the Holy Trinity, the shamrock is a piece of grass or weed, hardly the stuff of cultural iconography. 

So, come Friday please attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade and party, and wear green and wave your shamrocks and drink beer – which the monks saved for you, by the way, from the dark ages – as much as your heart’s desire. As a Catholic and not a “wokester,” I don’t mind a wink. That’s because beer, shamrocks, and the color green don’t belong to me, but the Catholic Church which gave these things significance and gave them as gifts to an ungrateful world.  

Come to think of it, Saint Patrick doesn’t belong to the Irish, either. He belongs to God.