I grew up in a Catholic family. Both of my parents grew up Catholic as well.
I have a vague recollection of Pope John the 23rd. He seemed like a warm, funny guy. Once he heard a Vatican construction worker let loose with a string of expletives after hitting his hand with a hammer. The pope asked him, “Why can’t you just say ‘Merde!’ like everyone else?” Good line.
I heard the adults taking about Vatican II. A few years later this liberalizing effort showed up in the form of the folk masses we went to as kids. Nuns played guitars and sang hymns in the style of folk songs. It was like going to a karaoke night of bad Joni Mitchell impersonators. To borrow from the radio industry, that format change didn’t work. But we sat there politely (fearfully, too) because the nuns’ approach to discipline remained—well—not “liberalized.” On that issue it seemed they didn't get the Vatican II memo.
I have a greater awareness now of how growing up culturally Catholic influenced my early years. I remember the large Catholic families filing into Mass on Sunday. Having 6 or more children was much more common then. (Then Massachusetts Governor John Volpe attended at our parish on Sundays for the 10 am Mass.)
All this happened while each week Time magazine arrived at our house asking penetrating questions in its religion section. These were issues that had not been publicly discussed much before on subjects like divorce and birth control. But our family and many others kept attending Mass. Obediently.
There certainly were some positive contributions. We were instructed in basic things such as telling the truth, not stealing, not coveting things that didn’t belong to us. While the institution was certainly imperfect, these were important. And, there was general agreement around these matters.
I’m not waxing nostalgic about those years. At the same time, several of the church’s admonishments then made navigating a chaotic world somewhat clearer.
Hope your week is meaningful.