Lately, I've read a lot of negative commentary and criticism about my archdiocese and archbishop on so called Traditional/Conservative Catholic sites. Mostly, by just stumbling across it on certain sites and forums. I don't go seeking it out. I'm pretty much writing this post to a couple of comments I've seen recently on the Internets. I won't link to them, one I'd have to dig through my internet history to find and the other was in a comment on a blog I frequent. Oh yeah, and also a comment my cousin made from an experience she recently had a Mass. We attend the same parish but she gets up with the chickens and goes early, I get up with the lazy dogs and go late.
We have 400 years of Catholic history, tradition and culture in New Mexico. The Spanish adopted and blended their culture with the native cultures. Spanish culture was pretty much a mix of all the culture of the people who settled in Spain and it was brought to New Mexico where it thrived for hundreds of years. The Culture and the Faith are intricately intertwined here. Still, there has long been a history of multiculturalism here and it's reflected in the practice of the faith here.
So, when I read comments from somewhere else, where the person making the comment has no historical perspective, it really bugs me. I'm not the self-appointed defender or anything of the archdiocese, the archbishop or Catholicism here in NM, but it is really sad to see all the negative comments, judgments and harsh criticisms. One thing about Northern New Mexicans is that we're very protective of our people, our culture and our church. We can be very insulated. As a norm, we are very tolerant and welcoming, but when our way of life or one of our own is insulted, threatened or offended, we get defensive. I suppose that's why I'm trying to write this post.
Granted in the first case, the comments were made by people who don't live here, and have family here and are reacting to what they've "heard" not necessarily experienced. The blog comment was probably someone who does live here and was entitled to his/her opinion and sad to say, it doesn't reflect my experiences, and my cousin's Mass experience was made by someone who was just rude.
I think in the grand scheme of things, the archdiocese is in capable hands. I think it's doing quite well actually. The finances are in order, parishes aren't closing, I believe churches are being built, we have people filling the pews. I'm sure there are many pews empty on Sundays too. Yes, we need more vocations and more priests, but we seem to have a good crop of seminarians. I'm not sure where we stand in comparison to other arch/dioceses around the country. In a 2007 report, we were ranked #6 as a whole-- so something is going right here. There were three men ordained to the priesthood last month, there seem to be three thriving Latin Mass communities, who knows if many others will emerge.
Oh yeah... I forget we're a "liberal" archdiocese. You can't judge our archdiocese or compare it another one half-way across the country, but obviously some people do. Ugh.