Religion is typically a touchy subject in America, and it should be treated carefully. One theme I would like to include in my blog posts is the idea of place making, that at any place there are many process happening at one time contemporaneously, that is at the same time at a place. For me, that place is Paris; the topics I wrote about previously and will write about are process that happen at this place. It is these process that make a place, because they are what unite people.

Much as politics or economy, unite people in a unique way, religion unites in its own way. What makes, religion a process of place making? There are many creative forces that build creative places, but what is special about religion?

My own part I participated in the Catholic religion by going to mass on Christmas Eve with my own additions as a participant I found enlightenment on the other side. My method is participatory, which is how I gain enlightenment on a subject by participating in it. I wanted to know more about religion ergo I went to a Catholic Mass. The number of people who were at Notre Dame Cathedral surprised me; the aisles were filled with people standing, the seats were filled and many people were waiting to snatch a seat when it became vacant.

I found a seat open with a view of the pew and the television sets where I would remain seated for the next three hours. I waited little during the mass as the events happened one after another. Singing of songs in Latin, and French, reading of scripture, and sermons, finished by the taking of the sacred sacrament.

The Midnight Mass brochure was written in five languages, French, English, German, Italian and Spanish. I read from the French, English and German. Listening to words in French and reading in German was way I was able to pick up a few new words in German. The bishop sermon was not centered upon strict theological doctrine or even was a direct reading from the bible, but instead was a speech on liberty.

The Bishop mentioned the problems of climate change, economics crisis, but said that it is important to strengthen one’s mind or[1] body for what is to come. The theme of the sermon could have been said by a politician, or at a leadership seminar, but a catholic bishop said it. Theses words are the essential words of liberty, they are abstract enough to be accepted by an audience, yet they have a rhapsodic quality that would open the gaze of any skeptic.

What is religion then, a story of origins? Is it an apostle story told by the bards from Homer to Jefferson, Mathew, Mark and John? Perhaps religion is a mystery, some like mystery, and pursuit. Is religion dogma, ritual and procedure? Well, in my meeting studies I found that religion is all of those things, because human beings believe that religion is all of those things, and more because my own list is not exhaustive.

Only people have a right to favor a faith. People and government do not have a right to favor any faith by assimilation, separation, or concealing the voluntary expression of the essence of religion.

[1] Or could also be used in place of and, denoting a unification of two concepts, denoting a choice between two concepts as in either x or y. I use it as the Law School Admissions Council would to also mean and.

7 thoughts

  1. I believe that religion is the most touchy subject that there is. I think that there needs to be a boldness but it should not cross the line into turning people away from God. I also think that poeple should listen to the truth and give it a chance. If you never give something a second thought you can never fully know the truth.

  2. I think seperation of church and state is vital in any government. Seperation does not hinder religion or discourage faith but it does offer an unbiased view from the government’s perspective. People should have the right, and the privacy, to worship what they want. Some people do not believe in religion so it is unfair to involve religion with the government in thay case too.

  3. I wonder how often something like that liberty speech occurs in the churches in France. Was it specific to that particular Bishop, to the church, or to the city, do you think?

    I think it’s good that you went and experienced a religion that we Americans are familiar with in a different setting, as I hear French Catholicism is quite a bit different than the Catholicism of the United States or elsewhere.

  4. I agree with Bridgette’s comment. The seperation of church and state is cornerstone of a modern society–the state giving people the right to choose is of paramount importance to the progress of the state. Allowing the human culture to flourish through freedom in my opinion truly promotes the best in humanity.

  5. Mass at Notre Dame is amazing. It is so nice they incorporate many languages into their sermons. I actually heard Latin for the first time when I was there. It is such a beautiful cathedral! The ability for that place to be full is so nice. Here we are so confounded by language that our large churches will not even put more than one language on their handouts. The diversity in the sermon sounds nice. You are right, religion is cross of so many topics that one definition is hard to come by, of course that is true of many things. Government cannot trumph on a person’s right to religion. Unfortunately Paris is doing that to its Muslim community. Have you seen any evidence of that while you are there? The hijabs are being banned and burkas are not allowed in many areas.

    Religion is a feeling and it seems that you saw that while in mass. It sounds like you are enjoying your experience there!

  6. I enjoy what you say in your very last paragraph it states what everyone should feel on the subject of religion and government. However as always there are those who feel more superior to others. What is also nice to hear even though you don’t explain it much is that from the reading of it the Bishop is agreeing with climate change and is able to talk about it passionately and as an undeniable possible issue.

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