Niagara Gazette

Opinion

September 15, 2013

SINGER: The best-kept secret

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — But what an actress and woman — a lady in every way: warm, generous (worked with LA homeless and hugged Third World lepers), believable. And it turns out, heavy-duty Catholic from her own idiosyncratic childhood in Los Angeles. If you want a biography, I’d go for the authorized one, “Forever Young.” It’s as beautiful and unaffected as its subject.

The point I’m trying to make: assaults on the Catholic Church, not only by ideologues, but also by societal trends tending to a religious secularism have, it seems to me, thrown out the good with the not so good. No one doubts the problems that exist in the church, and going back in history one can point to the rigid, intolerant extremism most seen in the Spanish Inquisition, but in other times and ways as well.

And yet, there has been something major to it all, real method in what now perhaps seems madness to certain cynical critics. I could easily locate human results well beyond icons like Webb, Connors, Lord, or Young. Probably the deepest, most protective friends I’ve had have been Catholics of the old school.

I remember learning in classes about the Reformation and the Protestant emphasis on faith versus that of good works leading to heaven in the Catholic Church. Both obviously have merits, but again, I’ve truly benefitted from the caring generosity of a number of people raised Catholic back when it was still “hard shell.” You can also point to many important Catholic hospitals and other charities, and really much that’s significantly alleviated suffering. The Jesuits were certainly great, if demanding educators when they had charges like Descartes and Voltaire (who later questioned religion with famed verve), and they remained fine educators in America’s 20th century — more tolerant of conflicting views than many realize. And again regionally, much of the down-to-earth sweetness you find in Buffalo-Niagara seems to emanate from an old Catholic flavor here.

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