On my ride home from EWTN I had possibly the worst seat on the plane. I was conveniently located beside the washroom, so that every time the door opened, I was sure to receive yet another breath of fresh air. The young woman who sat next to me had much trouble hiding her discontent, but in the end resigned herself to sleep, hoping I am sure, that when she opened her eyes again the nightmare of her location might finally be over.
I have to admit though that I barely noticed the smells. Over the last couple of years it seems my nasal sense has decreased immensely, so much so, that only the most potent of offenses can reach me. And it is for that reason that I actually found the last plane ride home to be quite comfortable. My seat had just the right amount of give; there was just enough leg room to really stretch; and I was even able to finish off another book by the always questionable but entertaining Bernard Shaw.
It was only a few hours after landing that someone had passed along another piece of disturbing news. OECTA, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association had decided to walk in the Gay Pride Parade of Toronto. I wasn’t shocked. Like my nostrils, I had learned over the last couple of years that I am less and less inclined to notice these scandals. It is almost like I have encountered them too often, or somehow have become accustomed to the outrageous in the Catholic sphere here in Canada.
It is usually only the reaction of an outsider, a non-Catholic or a non-Canadian, that I am jarred back to my senses. While in Birmingham, Alabama for example, I had the pleasure one evening of discussing faith and culture with several people from around the United States and beyond. The conversation was getting along well enough, but at one point the discussion turned toward Canadian soil. They had many questions for me, and while responding factually I assured them that all was not THAT bad. They did not see it the same way. In point of fact, one gentleman simply said, ‘I didn’t realize it was THAT bad!’
Alright, so the Catholic brand (if I can call it that) is struggling to maintain any sense of authenticity here in my homeland. And our highest representatives who share that brand in education and law and politics have been and continue to be disastrous. But what do we expect? We are all still very comfortable. There is no Gestapo here; there is no KGB; there is only a very tolerant mantra, a passive aggressive movement that lulls us to sleep as it exchanges our children for memories of what they used to be like in their innocence.
And what is the Spirit doing anyway? In all probability, He is organizing and positioning His little ones in the great game of chess so that the match will be His in the end. Years from now, our grandchildren will read about the saints that the Lord raised up, to do battle with a gluttonous and hedonistic generation, and we will look back with awe on a time where we almost lost all that is good about us. About all of this I have no doubt.
But for now, let’s be honest, our situation stinks. And no amount of napping or leg stretching even begins to challenge the status quo. Our situation is THAT bad, and it will only get better if we wake up to what the Spirit is saying in Canada.