5 September 2017

One further note on the new uniforms for the Knights of Columbus.

I said in a previous post that I am not against changing the fourth degree honour guard uniform as such.  The uniform has been changed in the past and, truth be known, I have a whimsical attachment to the tophat that was worn in the 20's over the modern chapeau.   However, I said that the current change was a misfire.

Since then the Supreme Grand Knight of the order has stated the reasons for the change was to try and draw in younger men.  This, I think, is worse than the actual uniform. The uniform, I said, was a misfire- and attempt that failed to hit its target.  With this, I now believe they were shooting at the wrong target entirely, and for the wrong reasons.

I have seen so very many attempt to change the liturgy, change the mass, change everything about the Church to try and draw the young people in.  They have all failed, spectacularly so.  Why?  Not because they made the wrong change, but because it was the wrong thing to do for the wrong reason, and the motivation, I am sorry to say, betrays a lack of faith.

(Before I get to why this is shows a lack of faith, let me point out one other thing: does no one remember their own youth? Do they not remember how as a youth there was nothing more irritating or condescending than some adult who thought they could relate to us? Some 'old fogey', as we used to say, who was trying to show the kids that they were still 'with it'?)

Some years ago, Fr. Z. posted a letter from a teenager who had been turned off by a recent attempt to draw them into some kind of youth mass.  The priest had bent over backwards to try and speak to the kids at their level, meet them where they were at, and so on.  In so doing he changed the mass to suit his audience.  The teenager wrote to say that the priest had it exactly backwards: the mass isn't supposed to be changed for the people, people are to be changed by the mass.  By reversing the proper relationship between the mass and the people, the priest was, in the words of the teenager, showing a terrible lack of faith.  Had he no faith in the transformative powers of the Mass? 

And so it is here.  We should be arguing our power to change men and better them.   Remember the nuns who changed their habit and thought new vocations would come their way because they had torn down the barriers between themselves and the laity.  'Come join us,' they were saying.  'we're just like you!' And the nuns never questioned why the lay would want to join someone who was no different from themselves, and who had just changed everything to join the lay.  Join us and be like you already are is not a motto to inspire enrollment.

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