OCM 37: Less Active Christians

37. Although pastors are ministers of Christ’s Gospel for all, they should, nonetheless, direct special attention to those, whether Catholics or non‑Catholics, who never or rarely take part in the celebration of Marriage or the Eucharist. This pastoral norm applies in the first place to the spouses themselves.

Sadly, I find that the “direct special attention” urged here in the rite is too often “less attention than the wealthy or active Catholics.” It is a matter of “pastoral” ministry, as the church teaches here. Ministers: clergy, musicians, lay people, as well as the parish community have a missionary responsibility to attend in whatever way they can to present the Gospel in a generous and living way to people who are less active in their faith.

Your comments?

The text cited in blue is from the English translation of The Order of Celebrating Matrimony © 2013, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to OCM 37: Less Active Christians

  1. Philip says:

    I agree fully with the final sentence. There seems to me to be two contrasting stances in respect of ‘less active Catholics’ (presumably measured by Mass attendance). One is to use Mass attendance as a qualifying criteria for access to the sacraments. In the case of baptism and first communion, Mass attendance by parents for their children to access the sacraments. I’ve seen rigidity in applying this approach. The second is to give people who start appearing at Mass the benefit of the doubt (if you have doubts). In my own parish recently, where we have had a small influx of young families at Mass, someone said something along the lines of “once the children had made their First Communion we won’t see them anymore”. Or getting your child baptised will help secure a place at a Catholic school. Instead, rejoice at seeing children at Mass (cf a question you raised in a previous post) and ask ‘how can we make coming to Mass such a welcoming experience new people want to stay and in the process open up the opportunity to re-engage with their faith and help pass this on to their children. The same rationale, in my view, applies to those seeking marriage within the Catholic Church.

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks for the comment, Philip. Another lamentable saying I’ve heard colleague utter, “I’d rather do 10 funerals than 1 wedding.” It’s not about the greater income. Sadly, it reflects the situation presented by couples who, admittedly, are not always other-focused. I see that as a challenge, though. What is the hook by which I can get them engaged by Jesus and not just to each other.

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