A tale of two Toms: Becket and More
The cruel irrationality of scientism (part 2)

Valentine's Ash Wednesday

One of the sources of dispute in the early Church was how to calculate Easter.  Even today, the Orthodox portions of Christianity continue to be at variance with their Catholic brothers in Christ.

Because it (and Lent) move about the calendar, we get some interesting combinations and conflicts.  For example, what happens when St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday?  Can one get a dispensation for corned beef and cabbage, or is the former element of the feast removed?

This year, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine's Day, which is an unusual combination.  In response to questions, the Church spoke loud and clear: do your date night on the 13th, fast on the 14th.  No exceptions.

By and large, I think Catholics accepted that, but it did feel odd to go about on what is nominally a memorial to a Christian saint and seeing people buying various candies and gearing up for sumptuous romantic meals without any notion that they were profaning the thing they were celebrating. 

The high tide of Catholicism in the United States has long since passed away, and in the current age, the faith is something greeted with at best with curiosity, at worst with mockery and hatred.

Perhaps as a result, the 'remnant' seems more zealous about the traditions.  Our parish has seen an unmistakable increase in Ash Wednesday attendance since the pandemic.  The diocese as a whole has seen a ten percent increase in students over the past three years.  For the first time in a long time, adding parish schools or expanding them are topics of discussion.

The conflict epitomizes the state of the increasingly secular and degenerate West.  It retains the old calendar dates, vaguely recalls that they mean something, but are unaware of what they have lost or why it was important.  

For people of faith, however, it is a call to renewed commitment to God.  The cultural Catholicism of the 1950s is dead, and almost forgotten.  A smaller Church is now rising built on a more vigorous pursuit of God's mercy and Christ's salvation. 


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