The Czech theologian Tomas Holik writes in his stimulating Night of the Confessor that “the form of religion we are accustomed to is truly dying off…the only religion that is truly dead is one that does not undergo change, the one that has dropped out of the rhythm of life….today we are witnessing the withering away of a type of religion that came into existence at the time of the Enlightenment…:”
This was in full bloom at the funeral today.
The irony was that the 92 year old we buried was more “resurrected” than most in the cold Romanesque church.In his 80s he would often call asking penetrating questions about the restoration taking place in Catholicism today.
But it was all there to see: few people knew any of the responses, we had the piper and the bugler, the presence of a weirdly bedecked handful of people garbed in the costume of a medieval order, absolutely no relevant music, no youth present, a homily which was touching in its simplicity given by a priest who ”knew not the man”. Strangely, he was best example of a sincere Catholicism—a humble convert who needlessly apologized for his performance. There were no admonitions about approaching the communion aisle if one was not a Catholic. Over all it was a pro forma mass which had little élan or enthusiasm.
This ritual is all too prevalent, this funeral all too symbolic of an institution that refuses to die in its present form, one which has almost totally dropped out of “the rhythm of life.”