April 04, 2003

No Blarney?
The following was obtained from an article in a scrapbook at the local historical society. It concerns my great-great grandfather who died in 1914 and who, after first emigrating, had no nearby church:

Rev. James P. Ward, who preached the funeral sermon, said: "Mr. Cogan was known to walk from Glynnwood to Piqua to be present at the divine Sacrifice of the Mass." It was his earnest zeal that prompted him to have a church close at hand, and he with others of the same sturdy faith united their efforts and established a pastorate at Glynnwood..

I checked a map and even as the crow flies the distance between Glynnwood and Piqua is thirty miles!

I went to the Ohio Historical Society a year or so ago and they have a village, like Greenfield Village in Michigan, that is a recreation of life a century ago. The church (of course) is a politically correct one. No cross adorns the chapel lest a non-believer in Christ be offended. (It's a bit difficult to suspend disbelief and think you are back in the 1850s when the chapel has a beautiful stained glass window - of the symbol for Ohio!). The "pastor", or the one who played one in this gig, related how services were often three hours long but that we should not suppose they to be more pious than us - no, this was simply their only social outlet and they milked it for all it was worth. I've noticed this increasingly tendency to believe that there are no real differences between eras or even people within an era - (i.e. George Bush is the same, more or less, as Saddam Hussein.) It is part of our culture of anti-haiography to tear saints down; even Mother Teresa had a dectractor in Christopher Hitchens.

But I ask...if you look around at the great variations in nature, the fact that there are imbeciles and geniuses, there are Tiger Woods' and T O'Rama's...shouldn't that suggest that there are degrees in holiness? Why should saintliness be exempt from the normal pattern of great variation within a species, and why should not cultures, as collections of peoples, not be similar?

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