Católico ignorante, seguro Protestante

“…which, loosely translated, means, ‘An ignorant Catholic will, for sure, become a Protestant.'”

I lifted all this out of John Allen’s column at the National Catholic Reporter. He goes on to explain, “The idea is that somebody who doesn’t know why they’re Catholic in the first place is a good candidate to take their religious business elsewhere when an attractive offer comes along.”

He was speaking specifically of Latin America, and the massive shift to Pentecostalism which has occurred in recent years. I have a personal suspicion about where Latin American religious trends will head in the 21st century, but I won’t share it. Anyway, I liked the saying, which certainly applies beyond regional borders.

The last time I looked, that kind of attrition was occurring all around me. And the reasons are, well, a little complex. There are social, cultural and political threads woven in, everywhere. But there’s no question in my mind that a certain fundamental ignorance is at the heart of things– an inability to articulate, in the most basic way, the traditional core faith of the church. And by traditional I mean, handed down from the apostles.

If you can’t do that, you’re vulnerable to religious browbeating, by people whose knowledge of the Christian faith is extremely limited, but whose confidence is supreme. You’re also vulnerable to finding an easier way, and why not?

I always think of Garrison Keillor telling about Pastor Inqvist and Father Emil. Pastor Inqvist tells Father Emil that he’s on vacation. And Father Emil thinks to himself, “Being Lutheran IS my idea of a vacation.”

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