|St. Mary Catholic Church, High Hill, Texas|
I have a very tenuous connection to the Catholic church. My father was raised a Catholic and I was baptised in a Catholic church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My dad abandoned the church, I don't know why. His experience in WW2, his education in physics after the war and my mother's influence probably all played a part. My parents were scientists, so I was raised as an atheist. I became a Lutheran when I married my wife. It was painless, I may have had to recite some formal phrases but I do not remember what they were. We attended a Lutheran church for years while the kids were growing up, but we haven't been for a long a time.
There are a few bloggers I follow who are Catholics. I read them because I like what they say and how they say it. They write clearly and logically. Joseph Moore (Yard Sale of the Mind) and JMSmith (The Orthosphere) are a couple of my favorites.
Anyway, Joseph put up a post that is nominally a rant about something the pope has done, but he gives a brief historical summary of Catholic churches and the Catholic mass. I always wondered about Catholic churches, why they were so big and fancy. He gives us some background. It's pretty great.
I always found church services tedious in the extreme. I suspect it might be because I am a little too tightly wound. I am not good at sitting and relaxing unless I am stoned. Not everything I do is productive, solitaire games consume hours of my time. One thing I noticed about church was that after attending a service I was a bit calmer during the week. The calmness was nice, but it didn't quite outweigh the tediousness of the service. Maybe if I got stoned before I went to church it would be tolerable.
Joseph's explanation of the mass goes a long way to explaining why the Catholic church continues to be a large part of our civilization.
P.S. Word of the day: ineffable - too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.