A ‘faith app’ would be helpful

| Stephen Kent | March 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

One of the lesser effects of the adoption of the new translation of the Roman Missal is the ubiquitous presence of worship aids.

These laminated cards, found in virtually every parish, contain the prayers of the Mass to assist the congregation to be, literally, on the same page.

These worship aids take us off autopilot for prayers, pointing out how common it is to respond without thinking. Stumbling over rubrics may be embarrassing but essentially harmless. Not so is the mindless, not looking into the meaning of faith.

Since aids for worship are found within a church on Sundays, what about a faith aid for taking the results of that worship into the world during the week? Call it “a belief aid.”

We are called to bring our faith into the world. Pope Benedict XVI recently emphasized the need for an “engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity” with the courage and critical skills to articulate the “Christian vision of man and society.”

To do this, we have to know what we are talking about in order to counter the unholy trinity of pragmatism, utilitarianism and consumerism as described by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

“It is a bedrock feature of modern political and legal theory that only neutral, utilitarian principles can provide a basis for public policy discussions and law, and that appeals to transcendent values, such as religion, cannot legitimately be presented,” he said recently at Fordham University Law School.

Built into human life

What gives believers the right to bring their faith to civic affairs? Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain noted at a Washington state Senate hearing, that “not everyone holds our faith and beliefs, but the universal principles that form the basis for our position are readily discernible by all people. They transcend any particular society, government or religious community; in fact, they are built into human life itself.”

National Football League quarterbacks, despite their megamillion-dollar salaries, still carry a list of plays on their wrist into a game. They practice daily but still see the need for immediate reference about how to act in specific situations.

Words into action

A quick fact-check is necessary for an election year, maybe not on wristbands, but perhaps a “faith app” on mobile devices.

Such a good belief aid is the Catholic Social Teaching Principles podcasts. Paulist Father Larry  Rice reflects briefly on the major themes of Catholic social teaching, and how they should shape our lives as citizens of the world and as people of God. It can be downloaded at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/podcast-issues.cfm.

Worship aids help us say the right words. Belief aids help us put those words into action.

Stephen Kent, now retired, was editor of archdiocesan newspapers in Omaha and Seattle. He can be contacted at: considersk@gmail.com.

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Category: Commentary