Peer Pressure in the Catholic Church…
It seems that peer pressure existed even 2,000 years ago:
They show interest in you, but not in a good way; they want to isolate you, so that you may show interest in them. Now it is good to be shown interest for good reason at all times, and not only when I am with you. -Galatians 4:17-18, NAB
The Judaizers had taken an interest in the Galatians by trying to teach them about following the old, Jewish customs, but did they really care about the Galatians? Who were they doing it for – the Galatians, or themselves?
The primary goal of the Judaizers was to convince the Galatians to follow them instead of St. Paul and others, and they were doing it by using peer pressure. If the Galatians wanted to find salvation, to be part of the “in-crowd,” then they had to be like the Judaizers in the ways they acted, worshiped, ate, and drank.
All of it sounds like the typical drama we dealt with back in high school, and even in our jobs today. If we want to reach a certain social status, we have to follow the ways of the right people. To fit in, we have to be willing to act a certain way. Well, there are more important things than being popular or accepted by your peers.
Between my day job in Catholic publishing and the work I do online for this website, I have met Catholics of all shapes and sizes. Some are very traditional; others are very modern in the way the practice their faith. There seems to be great extremes going one way or the other, and if you want to be accepted by either group, you are called to follow their ways.
It’s a shame that there are differences in the way we practice our faith. Let me rephrase that, it’s a shame that we cannot accept the differences of how we practice the faith. As long as the way we practice is in line with the teachings of the Church, it should not matter; it is just a matter of taste.
Some like traditional music, while others prefer modern songs. Some like the Latin Mass, and others enjoy it in their own language. The list goes on. In each of these cases, the Church recognizes these as valid ways to worship, so who are we to question it? If it is fine with the Church, it should be fine with us.
I dealt with peer pressure in high school. I have dealt with peer pressure in my career. The last place that I want to deal with peer pressure is at my Church! I will not follow modern Catholics. I will not follow more traditional Catholics. I will only follow the Catholic Church and my Lord, Jesus Christ – regardless of how popular or unpopular it makes me. My place in Heaven means more to me than my place here on Earth.