Just as articles such as “What Would Jesus Think” (Mark Ipri, The Hoya, Sept. 28, 2004, A3) make me wor-

ried for the future of the Catholic Church, articles such as “Catholic Tradition Based in Reason” (Maya Noronha, The Hoya, Oct. 1, 2004, A3) make me look forward to the future of the Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, it seems that more people in America agree with the views of Ipri than those of Noronha.

As are many students at Georgetown, I am a cradle Catholic. I went through the normal rituals of initiation that all Catholic youth go through. When I was in eighth grade, I began to have a deeper interest in learning about the history of Christianity, and specifically how Catholicism fits into the equation.

The more I read, the more I realized that many Catholics don’t know what it actually means to be Catholic. Unfortunately, this is very evident at Georgetown.

During my first weekend on the Hilltop, I attended the 12:30 p.m. Mass in Dahlgren Chapel. What I found was slightly disturbing.

No one knew when to kneel, stand or sit. The Sign of Peace was out of order. We were told, “This Gospel reading is long, so please be seated.” I asked one of the Mass coordinators about this, and she said, “Oh, this is a loose Mass. If you want, you can attend one of the others. Each has a different flavor.”

And here I was thinking that the Mass was the same everywhere.

Every week thereafter I still attended Mass at Dahlgren. Every week, I became more disturbed.

I found the Sign of Peace out of place at every Mass I went to. The Nicene Creed was left out, as was the Gloria. A layperson read the Gospel, instead of a priest or deacon. The Lesser Doxology (“Through him, with him, in him .”) was said by the entire church, when it is only supposed to be said by the priest. No one kneeled at the consecration. To sum it up, there was confusion.

I couldn’t find the sense of wonder, the sense of mystery that I found when I attended Mass at home and at other parishes.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest form of worship in the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ himself instituted it 2,000 years ago. The Catholic Church has continued this practice since its foundation by Christ at the first Pentecost. We have continued the same beliefs without addition or subtraction.

Yet today, it seems that more people want to subtract what has already been established, and add what they feel like adding. Soon we’ll hear that some Catholics don’t believe that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist.

I am not uber-religious, nor do I have a desire to become a priest. I only follow the beliefs of my religion, and not invent my own when I don’t feel like believing something, and still call it Catholicism.

Catholicism at Georgetown needs to go back to its apostolic and Catholic roots. We need to follow the Mass as it is written, and not rearrange it, change it or add to it when we feel like it. We need to stop trying to be politically correct and accept our beliefs for what they are.

Catholicism is the foundation of Georgetown. Take it away, and we lose the identity of our school. As the first Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States, we should be an example to the rest of the country and the world. Yet, it seems that we are distancing ourselves from the very Catholicism that we claim to believe in.

It is time to follow the Mass as it is supposed to be celebrated, not in any way we feel like celebrating it. It is time to remember that Catholicism holds a unique position in Christianity, yet not persecute others because of that belief.

It is time for us to take our dusty Catechisms down from the bookshelf and read about our beliefs. Catholicism is not one of the multitude of “make it up as you go along, feel good for an hour” religions that we find today.

We don’t need to be ashamed of our beliefs, and all Catholic Hoyas need to realize that. I hope I’m not the only one who sees that making the Church more liberal in belief and practice is wrong.

Jason Johnson is a freshman in the College.

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