One of the great things I enjoy about my Catholic faith are the many liturgies, ceremonies and traditions. I love the way the church guides me and lets me know what is right and what is wrong. But it seems to me that there comes a point where people become so legalistic and think that because they go to mass every Sunday, go to reconciliation regularly and abide by all the rules that they are great pious people. But if you do all these things and you don't allow a change inside of you then you are missing something.
Lino Rulli, host of The Catholic Guy Show on Sirius 159/XM 117, calls these types of people the "Catholic Taliban." I've heard criticism of this tag-line saying that you can't compare good Christian folk to terrorists who kidnap and torture innocent people and that's a fair complaint. I can understand that. But, I would like to propose the idea that they are just as damaging as terroristic acts as the actual Taliban only instead of killing the body they kill the soul.
That's not to say that we don't need people who are willing to correct mistakes and errors when they see them. From liturgical abuses to loose moral behavior we need people to make sure things are done correctly. The problem stems when it's not done without love and charity. The problem stems when it's not done in a pastoral way. The problem stems from when people are so focused on doing the acts that they don't allow for a conversion of heart.
What draws people to Catholicism is the love of God that they feel there. You get to see that in the liturgy and and in the sacraments. But if you go to church and you see a bunch of stodges with stony hearts and no love showing are you going to run away thinking, "if that's what church is all about, I don't want anything to do with it!"
This isn't easy to write and I don't like writing it. However, I really take offense when someone uses my faith, that I truly love, and instead of using it to draw people to God use it to push people away. I'm not saying to conform to make people come to church. I'm not saying change because that's what society wants. When you do that you get the horrible church designs and liturgical abuses we have had to suffer over the last 40 years since Vatican II.
What I'm saying is if you are snapping at a child and embarrassing them because they make the sign of the cross with their left hand instead of their right then something is wrong with you. You are missing the boat and not allowing God to change your heart. God is love. Allow God to work through you. If God is working through you then people will come.
Now that I've gotten that out of my system---beware all you liturgist with felt banners, bongo drums and Halloween masses----I'm coming for you next.