One-Hour-Catholic

On October 17, I wrote a blog post about being declared as a One-Hour-Catholic and now I decided to translate the text into English, hoping that more of you would understand what I am talking about. 


Faith, noun.

  • Firm believe which is not based on facts or evidence but on a feeling.

This is what Google tells me when I enter “Glaube” (faith in German) in the search field.

But let’s start at the beginning.


I have already been part of the Jungschar (Catholic children group) for several years. At first, I just helped planning the group meetings, now I started to be group leader together with three other persons who are very good friends of mine. I really enjoy planning trips, games or arts and crafts-projects and organizing the annual camps, the Jungscharlager. I do this voluntarily and I was already able to establish a good relationship with the children. It’s not always easy to organize the “meetings” in addition to university and work, but we take time to enable the children to have a pleasant time with us and together.


I’m a religious person. I was baptized and confirmed.

Nevertheless, I do not go to church every Sunday. Sin?


It’s approximately half past eight in the evening. Together with two very good friends, one of them group leader of the Jungschar and the other one active in our church as well (for example in the parish council), I sit together and we chat. The others suddenly talk about an article they had read in the parish newsletter a few days ago. They want me to read it. On page 16, I find the column “What I also have to say”. The author is unknown to the reader. A picture of our empty church is embedded in the middle of the text. The headline says “One-Hour-Catholics?”.

Briefly summarized, the article criticizes that, even though the Mass on Sundays is well attended, all the other festivities such as devotions or talks are always attended by the same two people.

,


I do not go to Sunday Masses. Not because I was too lazy or I wanted to sleep or something like that, but because I don’t need it for ME and MY faith. A faith is, according to what Google told me, a strong conviction that’s based on a “feeling”. And my feeling doesn’t tell me that I have to go to the Sunday Mass to believe in God or to be religious in general. The term “faith” is, in my opinion, far too limited. Faith means – for most of the Catholics I know – to actively participate in church, to visit the Masses and to say grace before every meal. People who do not exert some of these activities are not allowed to be religious? A faith is something that is deeply rooted in everyone of us. Some of us either believe that there is no God or that there is nothing else above us. Others are firmly convinced that everything happened like the bible tells us how it happened. Both extremes believe, just not the same. And even if the bible speaks about God, it mostly means that everyone of us has a personal and unique relationship to God.

My personal and unique relationship to God does not contain that I go to the Mass every Sunday. I personally prefer to participate in other activities, such as the Jungschar, the children group.


“It appears as if for all the others, 1 hour on Sundays was enough for their life of faith (…)”.

The “1” hour on Sunday “was” enough for “all the others”. First of all, this dichotomy between “Us” and “the Others”, the “in- and out-group” is not really a great base for a community that apparently wants me to be a part of. According to this sentence, there are two extremes on the spectrum, the “normal people”, so those who traditionally go to church every Sunday and the “abnormal people” who just don’t fit.

Who is allowed to decide what is good for somebody’s religious life? Who writes norms and rules on how this religious life has to look like? Has a religious life to be the exact same for everyone of us, like a true copy?

“It is also striking that some “active” participants of the perish council do not even attend the dominical Mass!”

It strikes –> this phrase results in the “deportation” of these people to the complete other end of the spectrum because they obviously went crazy since they do not go to the Mass

And even for being an active participant of the perish council, the Mass is substantial. Otherwise, you are not accepted as an active member, no matter how much you devote yourself to the work in the perish council and you’re somewhere at the borders, under inverted commas, like a dumbass.

“I am of the opinion that frequent visitors of the Mass and especially members of the perish council should participate more in our church in order to be a role-model for all the others. Or is it really enough to be a “One-Hour-Catholic”?

Somebody who doesn’t even have the guts to say who he or she is uses a phrase like “I am of the opinion that”. Well, show me who you are and we can discuss the topic. Otherwise, it means you think your opinion has to be a general fact…

You have to be “a role-model for all the others”. And you’re only able to be one if you’re more active in the church. Well, next year I will be in Switzerland for a few months. If I go to church regularly every Sunday, it means that I have to be part of the whole community of the church just to be a “role-model” for the others?

If not, I am declared as a “One-Hour-Catholic”. Even though I could theoretically be a person who’s leading a life that is thoroughly dedicated to religion.

I think this is one of the main reasons why the institution “church” fails miserably to become contemporary. Due to tolerance. Because they just tolerate what they believe is true, right and appropriate. Everything else is insufficient or striking. Is this really attractive for young and open-minded people?

As a group leader of the Jungschar, I just feel teased, even though this article is probably not even addressed to me. I feel like my work wasn’t appreciated at all, just because I do not go to church every single Sunday. As if everything was stupid and pointless. I can’t comprehend such a bigotry. Remove your blinders. There are other truths, worlds and perceptions that maybe don’t fit in your understanding of Good and Evil. And that’s a good thing, you know.

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