Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rediscover Catholicism?

Rediscover Catholicism It is very rare to find a relatively young person who has acquired the wisdom of old age. Matthew Kelly is no exception. He is undoubtably a gifted and charismatic writer and speaker, travelling the world since his teen years, spreading his vision of a dynamic Catholic faith.

Judging from Rediscover Catholicism, however, what he has been promoting is more like a Norman Vincent Peale approach, a self-help program designed to inspire people to become the best-versions-of-themselves. This is a fine and noble pursuit (with or without the hyphens), but it is not what Kelly claims it to be. It is not what the Catholic Faith is essentially about.

You will be hard pressed to find any mention of the cross in the pages of Rediscover Catholicism. Pretty much everything else is covered - the Sacraments, the Rosary, fasting & prayer, Scripture, the Saints, etc, - but rather than seeing these as flowing from Calvary, Kelly presents all things Catholic, including the Mass itself, as opportunities to become a better-version-of-yourself. No kidding. And all along we thought the cross was the crux of the matter. How silly of us.

It must be admitted that Kelly's advice to bring a notebook to Mass in which to record insights about becoming a better-version is a quantitative improvement over, say, listening with earphones to your favorite music while thinking about last night's date. But is it qualitatively better? Were you privileged to see Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ? Can you imagine yourself witnessing that awful and awesome Calvary event (and that is what every Mass is) and devoting that time to making an entry in a better-version-of-yourself journal?

I will not add Rediscover Catholicism to my list of Recommended reading.