Wednesday, May 07, 2008

10 Year Olds Knew it in 1948

I can't see why catechesis is so uninspiring today. Have a look at this from Creative Minority Report and follow the link and see what was going on over 50 years ago.

A good friend recently pointed out a web site which has scans of Catholic comic books from the 1940s through the 1960s. On the one hand, they are fun and a great snapshot into mid twentieth- century Catholicism. On the other hand, it is remarkable how much serious content they bring with them. The images pictured here come from a 1948 issue on the Mass, which starts with Old Testament typologies, gives a short history of the development of the rites, and then establishes that the earthly liturgy takes place within the context of the joining of heaven and earth. Interestingly its language shows the effects of the liturgical research of the time on the nature of the Mass as corporate worship of the Mystical Body. Here, a priest saying Mass at the high altar with the pre-conciliar Missal, ad orientem, is said to be celebrating Mass "in the community or group form of praying" (click an image for larger view). "None of us is alone," it says, "we are all one in Christ." This simple comic book presents a proper view of liturgical community, one in which we form one Mystical Body of Christ, addressing our prayers to the Father, through the Son, who is sacramentally represented to us in the priest acting in persona Christi. That this notion of community became distorted after the Council no one can deny, but the proper roots were there, even for 10 year olds.

3 comments:

pelerin said...

The pages shown in the comic are informative for adults too. I had no idea of the origins of the service of Benediction until I saw this.

Having frequented Collectors' Fairs for some forty years where children's comics are often found, I wondered why I had never seen any issues of this particular magazine. On searching further I see that it was an American publication which would appear not to have reached our shores.

Many of us tend to criticise the many American influences which have indeed arrived here - I used to wonder if my sons would start speaking with American accents as so much of the children's television at the time came from the US! However, it does look as if Catholic children in Britain would have benefited greatly from this comic, or something similar if they had been available over here.

gemoftheocean said...

:-D you'd have known about it even sooner if you ran across back in September.

I caught the tail end of the era, having started grade school in the early 60s. The great thing about the magazine was that it didn't come across as didactic or anything. It was very inexpensive reading ... 10 cents a copy in my day. I was sorry to see the archives didn't have the next year or two as there was a year I never did finish out one of the serial stories as we'd moved mid year.

One drawback was that it was only sold in schools, and you had to sign up for a subscription at the beginning of the school year. An issue came out every other week.

There were also stories of general interest, and stories that didn't have anything directly to do with religion, but looking back on them "the good guys always won, the bad guys lost."

I had run across the electronic archive some time ago and was astonished to find after reading the first year's issues that the ubiquitous Chuck White had been a convert.

You'd also find biographies of famous people, or historical figures.

I'm very sorry it had gone out of business. That coincided with the decline in the numbers of Catholic grade schools starting in the early 70s. A pity, but I'm glad so much has been preserved.

I wonder why the archives only go up until the early 60s. somewhere among my souvenirs I think I might still have two years worth of issues after that date, and a few odd issues here and there.

John Kearney said...

Well, I was 10 in 1948. We all read comics then, the Dandy, the Beano, the Knockout. No I did not see this particular innovation which kids would have taken in their stride but I do remember the Parish and how it was a community and when they talk today about `community` I want to cry. Grandparents, parents and Children in Glasgow where I grew up usually had attended the same school and Church. Most families were involved in the Church through the SVP, the Legion of Mary, Knights of Columba, Sacred Heart solidarity, and the Children of Mary. The priests were involved with their parishioners and were often the last word in family disputes. From school we would attend Adoration and Forty Hour Devotions. And as far as the poor were concerned I do not think thee was a religious order my mother did not contribute to. On the catechism, recently I was confronted with this nonsense. You know it. Jesus is present in the Tabernacle, in the priest, in the community and we are led to believe equally. I thought back to my Penny Catechism. `AS God Jesus Christ is everywhere, but as God made Man he is in heaven and in the Blessed Sacrement of the Altar. As a ten year old I could have knocked spots off our modernist priests.