On Covering Up and “Coming Out”

This week’s Catholic Carnival is hosted at Alabama Improper. I enjoyed “They Have Become Spotted by the World” at Modestly Yours. When I read at Mass before the CSC cookout this summer, I felt really weird about being on the altar in flip-flops. That may be my scrupulosity rising, but it’s something to think about. Weekdays at a college chapel seem to be an acceptably lax time for dress. I stopped wearing jeans to church on Sundays last summer, but I do it on weekdays all the time. It’s either skip Mass or go in jeans. However, I dress up for Sunday Mass, with few exceptions. As a commenter points out, if I were going to dinner at someone’s house, I’d dress more nicely than I do for everyday activities. Why should going to visit God for His supper be any different? I think tube tops are definitely inappropriate for church, and maybe in general. Courtney was wearing one last week, and I was uncomfortable. Am I going hyper-traditional? I’m not so sure I am. If I start rejecting the Novus Ordo and Vatican II, however, please stage an intervention.

I’ve been behind on issues of Boundless and ShoreLines for a long time, but with some determination and the free time afforded me by my summer work, I’m just about caught up now. So I went to read an “issue” of Boundless today and came across an article that I find intriguing. First, some background. I started reading Boundless knowing that it’s sponsored by Focus on the Family, and therefore I could expect some articles to contradict what I believe as a Catholic. Protestants and Catholics have so much in common, though, that I have no problem admitting I read Boundless and praising its excellent writers. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that at least one of the writers, Roberto Rivera y Carlos, is Catholic. I was a bit surprised that it was so clear; instead of writing in a Catholic-friendly Protestant manner, his was distinctly Catholic.

Now, one of my favorite columns in Boundless is “Ask Theophilus.” In it, J. Budziszewski (boo-jee-shef-ski) writes about his experiences as a philosophy and government professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He uses the character of Professor Theophilus (“love of God,” Acts 1:1) at Post-Everything State University to share the stories of his students’ discussions with him about being Christians. I distinctly remember reading a column in which he discussed celibacy with a student, mentioning how “they” didn’t have a specific path for lifelong celibacy like Catholics do in consecrated religious life and the priesthood. I tucked that away and kept loving his columns. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered (possibly via Catholicae Testudines) that Budziszewski became Catholic in 2004. Pleasantly surprised, I once again tucked the info away and kept reading.

In the most recent issue of Boundless I read, Theophilus was back to address an issue, as he often does. This time, it was a Catholic/Protestant argument, though. In an article on marriage, Roberto Rivera y Carlos, a friend of Budziszewski’s, mentioned that many (most?) Protestants view marriage as a covenant, whereas Catholics view it as a sacrament. This sparked a storm of reader comments, so Budziszewski agreed to address the issue in “Ask Theophilus: Sacramental Journey”. And in this article, Budziszewski revealed his Catholicism to others who, like me, may not have guessed it from the author bio that touts his book How to Stay Christian in College. He did this by linking to his conversion story.

I wonder what this means for the future of Prof. Theophilus in Boundless. I hope he keeps writing. Catholic, Protestant, whatever: his columns are really, really good.

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