I NOTICE of late there are some in the Church who are beginning to use the term ‘right wing’ in describing some of their fellow Catholics.
At school I was just an average student – slightly above average at best, but never brilliant. Even today I sometimes need to sort out the logical or faith reasonings behind an argument before accepting or rejecting it. Consequently I have been tossing the above term – which incidentally is political and perhaps out of place in a religious context – about in my mind.
From a study of my dictionary I see that right wing can have two meanings: (1) reactionary (ie opposed to radical changes or innovations as well as moderate and cautious in avoiding extremes) and (2) conservative (ie tending to preserve or to keep up existing institutions and customs).
Long before Vatican II was dreamed of, I came to love and value the Catholic faith with all its dogmas, doctrines, customs, traditions and above all its sacrifice of the Mass, passed on and taught to me by the combined efforts of parents, teachers and priests. I make no apology for valuing these same things today, and if that makes me a right winger I am proud to be so.
To Ted Hanns (CL 20/1/02) I say, ‘Yes I am happiest with the Mass of my childhood and early adult years – the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass’. I love the silence, the mystery and the God-centredness of it and attend one frequently. I also attend many Novus Ordo (New Order) Masses and have in fact accepted many changes, some outside my own making, over the years. At the same time, I know many who could be termed right wingers who prefer the New Order Mass.
From time to time I ponder why I believe and wish to express my faith as I do. Is it the working of the Holy Spirit in my soul, the effect of divine providence in my life, the personality I possess or perhaps a combination of all these?
Now if the Church has right wingers it surely also has left wingers – dictionary definition – ‘groups advocating radical changes (ie reforms by direct and uncompromising methods)’. It must also have moderates, that is those whose opinions, views and behaviour are not extreme or are even mediocre.
Perhaps left wingers can be just as intolerant and judgmental as some of them deem right wingers to be. Perhaps they to need to be. Perhaps they need to be more understanding.
Some professing to be believers in incultration are agreeable to the introduction of Aboriginal customs and other spiritualities into Catholic ceremonies and places. There seems to be no problem with allowing certain ethnic groups to keep their own Mass rites, customs and traditions.
So why, can anyone tell me, is there such a hue and cry when the descendants of the mainly Irish early white settlers of this country or immigrants from other European, Asian or South American countries want to stay on the right?
Vatican II did not begin a new religion. It attempted to give us a better way of living the one founded by Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. Perhaps we all, left and right wingers, as well as those in between, need to better understand its recommendations and its message.
N. MACKENZIE Taigum, Qld