Monday, July 10, 2006

Parish vs. Church?

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. Among many good Protestant friends of mine -- especially members of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) with which my academic institution is affiliated -- I've noticed that there is an antipathy to the denomination as a whole that seems proportional to the affection for the local parish and its community and fellowship. On the other hand, I've noticed among a good many Catholic friends of mine the opposite phenomenon -- a frequent antipathy for their local parish that seems proportional to an affection they hold for the Church as a whole. The Protestant seems to be saying (though this is an obvious overstatement): "I love my parish: it's my church I can't stand," while the Catholic seems to be saying: "I love my Church: it's my parish I can't stand." I know there are exceptions and caveats. But the patterns seem to be there. Comments?


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