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Is it okay to quote from Fiddler on the Roof when talking about Catholic traditions? :)

Last week, class drew from Catholic Customs and Traditions, in which it introduced the concept of Tradition (as opposed to looking at any one particular tradition). This week was more theoretical, so my notes actually read more like a college class and are rather lengthy, therefore I will super-summarize. The main ideas for me were that 1) human beings created Traditions by having some initial awe-filled moment, passing the story or experience to others they knew, who passed it on, who passed it on, etc. Since they were created by humans traditions were often shaped by the culture of the time, can be limited in scope, and can change as society changes; and 2) Traditions can provide an earthly or physical connection to an intellectual concept (much like last week*s talk about why we draw pictures or give faces to God) and without these rituals or links to real life people can be more likely to stray or get lost. Oh, and 3) It is okay to think the fun ones are fun.

Some specific interesting moments: We got dioceses from the Roman Empire, child baptism from the Goths, Bishop*s got rings and mitres from Feudalism, etc. The 60*s played havoc with everything and now the Technology Age is having it*s own impact. I was really interested in the concepts of inculturation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inculturation) and acculturation. If I understood him correctly, acculturation is bringing the culture to the religion and inculturation is bringing the religion to the culture. Father described inculturation as addressing and integrating the popular culture of people, like adding a Christian element to an established native cultural tradition. The book went more in depth over some of the Jewish, Pagan, and other culture*s holidays we adapted and why. Plus, it contained the line *People have always loved a parade!* to explain some of the processions we borrowed. Wheee! I was glad they actively addressed the links between other cultures* and faiths* traditions because I never understood religious organizations that refuse to do so. I think that makes a group seem foolish at best or deceitful at worst. That denial or blindness can be turned into a weapon against you in debate or a funny Eddie Izzard routine. Anyway, I think it is smart to provide a link to help the converted. And besides, everyone loves a parade! I was also very interested in the section contrasting *awe-filled moments of earthy religion* (where mystery is a dimension of a human experience) with superstition. Growing up Baptist I heard a lot of things about Catholics – they worship Mary or they pray to idols. My friends did not seem to do this. Still, the first time I wore a Saint Jude medal or put a Saint Christopher figure in my car I admit to some confusion. Were they like the magical amulets of protection from Dungeons and Dragons?!?! Were they like a crystal ball to a medium, a mental focus or lens to more finely channel the vision? Is it wrong of me to have a Saint Christopher medallion next to a Tick figure? There is definitely a fine line before crossing over into superstition, and I can understand a non-Catholic's confusion. (By the way, according to my book those medals are symbols to remind you of your commitment. Every time you see it or touch it, it can remind you to say a prayer or be more aware of what you are thinking. I do the same thing with my computer password. For example, when my password was “THISLAND” I put little dinosaurs on my CPU as a reminder. Also, for a while I had the words SMILE, PRAY, and PATIENCE pinned above my bed so that every morning I was reminded to start the day off on a positive note.)


I really like this book. I have always wondered *How do you make the sign of the cross and why?* or *What do the different color candles mean during Advent?* I have been going to Catholic masses with friends since I was a small child, but while I can fake a lot of the motions and recite a lot of the prayers, I never really knew the meaning behind them. I have always found it amusing at Catholic weddings to listen for the Protestants during The Lord*s Prayer; they always keep talking instead of pausing for the priest to speak. Someone should warn them! Still, while I know to pause, I do not know *why* to pause. I will soon.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
disbandedtoastr
Oct. 16th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
I always enjoy reading your summaries, cuz I forget half the stuff we talk about!

I think these classes are *way* better than the ones that D and I went to in FWB. =o)
madladyred
Oct. 16th, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)
I would love to hear your opinions (where they are alike, where they are different) and if you catch any errors on my part PLEASE let me know. Like I said in the parking lot, I want to get more comfortable with talking about this stuff! And more confident in my ability to talk without sounding stupid or babbly or overbearing.

I'm really enjoying these classes, too!
disbandedtoastr
Oct. 16th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Alike and different... Hmmmm....
Well, it's hard to say because they both have totally different formats. The other class didn't have the cool handouts, and we didn't watch a lot of videos or anything. It was all done by the same guy (an Irish priest, he was sometimes hard to understand, but he was funny) and we mostly used our bibles and talked about passages that related to the topic of the evening. We didn't have anything like the cool 'traditions' book that you guys have.
With these classes, I always leave feeling re-freshed. The other classes I was always looking at my watch. And I think the other ones lasted 2 to 2 1/2 hours, not just one.

That's all I can think of at the moment. =o) I like these classes way better.
magnet5
Oct. 16th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
An odd metaphor just came to me.

Without tradition, I think our lives would be like ... like a fiddler on the roof!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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