I realize I’m an old fuddy-duddy stuck in a still-young-but-too-old-for-the-young-adults-group body, and that I probably have a reflex toward being pessimistic when perusing the news (which happens once a month on a good month). But it’s Friday, we’re in the Easter season, this weekend is Divine Mercy Sunday, and I just wrapped up spring break, so allow this fuddy-duddy to indulge in some optimism.
I was pleased that our family got to be present at the baptism of the newest member of the (Andrew) Sciba family. Not only did we get to spend time with good friends, we got to chat with the Bishop (not that one, this one) and our oldest got to show off his newest acquisition: Pope Pinion IV and his Popemobile (which Michael refers to as “The Father Peter car”), which the clergy present seemed to enjoy.
In general a baptism is an uplifting event, but what was notable about this one in particular was how many kids were there (the Bishop noticed that too). There were probably as many kids, born and unborn, in the baptistry as there were adults. And these kids all have rock-solid faithful Catholics as parents (one particular young chap enjoys “playing Mass” so much that he got homemade kid-sized liturgical garments for his birthday.
Anecdotally, this phenomenon appears to be quite large. At the March for Life, people frequently comment how young the participants are, even to the chagrin of abortion supporters. The emergence of faithful Christians is likely to spread simply for demographic reasons, if nothing else. Back in the days when I followed the news, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal frequently mentioned that the pro-abortion side will continue to lose followers because 1) people’s beliefs are usually heavily influenced by their parents, 2) people who abort are usually people who believe in abortion, therefore 3) pro-choicers are aborting what would likely be future pro-choicers. Conversely, pro-lifers usually pass on their own beliefs and do so to what is typically a larger family than pro-choicers usually have. Simply put, our side is having kids and their side is not. Ditto for folks on both sides of the contraception issue. It’s almost like there is a “natural law” or something that seems to suggest that we were made to behave in certain ways and not others…
People occasionally gleefully report that church attendance is falling, that vocations to the priesthood or religious life is very low, that more people call themselves atheists (and make shoes?), etc. A colleague who came of age in the post-Vatican II days, and who has recently come back to the Church, laments that his generation was never taught the whys of the faith, which is why so many of them left. But today it is too hard for an American Catholic to be invincibly ignorant about the faith; either they become an N.C.C., or they become like the parents in the baptistry today: people who intensely love Jesus, the Church He founded, and their neighbors as themselves. (I don’t count myself as sufficiently living up to those standards, but I was actually outside the crowded baptistry anyway.)
If I have doubts about my adequacy to be a faithful Catholic role model to my wife and children, I have complete confidence that our friends will always be excellent examples of disciples, pray-ers, and evangelizers to encourage them and me, and therefore I have hope for the future. Happy Spiritual Birthday, James Louis Sciba!