Assumption Catholic Church
323 West Illinois Street - Chicago IL 60654

Other Issues

HOME

Pastor's Messages

Fr. Joseph Chamblain, O.S.M. Pastor

 

1/16/2022 Fr. Joseph Chamblain, OSM
LETTING HISTORY OUT OF THE BOX

While there is a whole catalog of disadvantages to growing older, there is at least one advantage—you have a sense of perspective on things. For example, lately there have been a lot of reports that pandemic may be the death knell for movie-going. The long layoff from going to the movies, coupled with the proliferation of streaming services and the fact that more films are being made available for home viewing more quickly means there is less incentive to ever go back to the cinema. The prophets of doom may be right. At home we can watch what we want when we want to and make as much noise as we want and start texting if we want without anyone glaring at us. On the other hand, I have been hearing that movie going was going the way of the dinosaur for as long as I have had ears to hear.

When I started going to movies with my parents about 1959, the theatre business had already been in decline for over ten years because of television. The same questions that are being asked now were being asked then: Why go out when you can be entertained at home? Movie theatres were mostly independently owned: the big houses showing first run movies, and the smaller neighborhood theatres showing movies on their second run. And these theatres were closing one by one, and very few new theatres were being built. I can remember movie marquees displaying the tag line “Fight Pay-TV”. Cable television would come one day and that would be the final nail in the coffin. But the movies managed to reinvent themselves. First there were “twin” theatres and then multiplexes, to take advantage of economies of scale; and then the chains took over, showing the same first-run movies in multiple locations. And, when people began to demand more comfort and luxury, well, they introduced auditorium seating, and recliners, and bigger screens, and dine-in options. Movie people have shown an incredible amount of creativity and imagination in keeping their business going. Maybe they can reinvent themselves once more. I certainly do not want to compare the Eucharist to buttered popcorn; but there is a certain parallel, isn’t there, between movie going and church going. Will “they” come back is also a big question churches are asking. Is the Eucharist as important to Catholics as our theology says it is? Is doing without the Body of Christ a decent trade-off for being able to stay home and watch Mass on video? Have I found that not going to Mass has made little difference in my day to day life? Will “getting people back to church” require as much creativity and imagination as cinema people have shown over the last fifty years?

And, here is another thing. This Monday we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. That our country would ever honor a Black man with a national holiday and a statue in Washington was unimaginable to me during my childhood in Memphis. When people today talk about the Jim Crow South, they often focus on lynching and brutality by pot-bellied sheriffs. Well, there was plenty of that to go around; but the real reason segregations survived is that most of us white folks thought it was OK. They have their schools; we have our schools; they have their stores; we have our stores; they have their waiting room; we have our waiting room. They have their drinking fountain; we have ours. What’s the big deal? I am sure in the 1950’s there were white Southerners who spoke out against segregation and how everything that was designated for “colored” people was inferior to what we got. But there were not many such people, their voices were not that prominent, and they were not taken seriously. I know I was never exposed to such people. When the Civil Rights movement began to take hold in the mid-1960’s, lots of white people jumped aboard—either because they had wised up or because they were good politicians. By the time Dr. King came to Memphis in 1968 to support the sanitation workers’ strike, I was in high school and had been ”radicalized” by our biology teacher, who was also one of the school’s drug dealers (Well, why shouldn’t biology be practical?). But many whites were still able to dismiss Dr. King’s rhetoric because he had a connection with the Communist Party, and the Communists were behind the Civil Rights Movement. When Dr. King was assassinated, some liberal commentators were saying that he had already begun to lose control of the Civil Rights Movement, that his message of non-violence was ceasing to resonate as strongly as it once did. More radical voices were taking the lead, and, that had he not been assassinated, he would probably have faded into obscurity. History is rarely as neat as it appears in the rear-view mirror. But that is something we do not often appreciate unless we have lived through it. There is no room for complexity in the Twitter Universe, and that is part of our national problem.

                                                                                                Fr. Joe

Top
 


This list includes the last thirteen months of messages.
Click on a date to see the message.

   
1/16/2022   LETTING HISTORY OUT OF THE BOX
1/9/2022   CHRIST'S BAPTISM AND OUR OWN
12/26/2021   TRYING TO THINK POSITIVE
1/2/2022   MAKING ROOM FOR SEEKERS
12/19/2021   THE CHRISTMAS VIRUS
12/12/2021   CATCHING UP ON STUFF
12/5/2021   GETTING LOST IN THEOLOGY
11/28/2021   THE WAITING GAME
11/21/2021   THE THANKSGIVING STORY REVISITED
11/14/2021   OUR OWN PARISH SAINT
11/7/2021   COUNTING THE SHEEP
10/24/2021   A SYNOD ON SYNODALITY. HUH?
10/17/2021   THE LATEST FROM "RENEW MY CHURCH"
10/10/2021   RUNNING THE RACE BEFORE US
10/3/2021   THE REST OF THE GROUP
9/26/2021   OUR GROUPING HAS BEEN ACTIVATED
9/18/2021   A STATUE OF A MAN WHO WAS WRONG
9/12/2021   THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING
9/5/2021   COMPLAINING ABOUT COMPLAINING
8/30/2021   CARING FOR MOTHER EARTH
8/23/2021   WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND
8/15/2021   HOW POPES OPERATE
8/8/2021   HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!
8/1/2021   WE ARE ALL MISSIONARIES
7/25/2021   THE VIEW FROM DOWN SOUTH
7/11/2021   A LESS PUBLIC PANDEMIC
7/18/2021   ENTER THROUGH ANY DOOR
7/4/2021   THE UPS AND DOWNS OF HISTORY
6/27/2021   TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
6/20/2021   WHAT HAPPENS "UNDER THE HOOD"
6/13/2021   DOES DEMOCRACY MATTER?
6/6/2021   SOMETHING ORDINARY YET EXTRAORDINARY
5/30/2021   TIME TO HIT THE ROAD
5/23/2021   EXPANDING OUR GALLERY OF SAINTS
5/16/2021   START SPREADING THE NEWS
5/9/2021   WHAT MOTHERS REALLY WANT
5/2/2021   WHERE DO WE START?
4/25/2021   AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT
3/14/2021   THE WORLD'S LARGEST ATTIC
3/28/2021   STEPPING INTO HOLY WEEK
3/21/2021   A SAINT FOR OUR TIMES
4/4/2021   WHO WANTS A NEW BODY?
4/11/2021   THE POST-EASTER BLUES
4/18/2021   GOING WAY TOO DEEP
3/7/2021   SEEKING FIRST TO UNDERSTAND
2/28/2021   THE SHADOW SIDE OF TECHNOLOGY
2/14/2021   THE LONGEST FORTY DAYS
2/21/2021   GETTING SLAPPED BY REALITY
2/7/2021   THE OLD NORMAL IS GOOD ENOUGH
1/31/2021   WE ARE ONE CHURCH
1/24/2021   IN-BETWEEN TIMES
1/17/2021   A DIPOLOMAT DIES
1/10/2021   REST IN PEACE
12/27/2020   LOOKING BACKWARD AND LOOKING FORWARD
1/3/2021   SURRENDERING OUR GIFTS