My fetish? Good, old Catholicism

By  Fr. Raby
  • November 10, 2006

Are you a fetish? Or do you have one? It's like a compulsion that makes you a slave to a habit or routine. The dictionary defines it as an "inanimate object worshipped by savages for its magical power…" or something that is "irrationally reverenced."

That pretty well describes persons who follow fads with more diligence than they do the Ten Commandments. We have many examples where "irrational reverence" applies.

One fad, popular especially among teenagers, is the radio plugged into the ear that makes walkers and runners unconscious of anything but the piped in music. Students on their way to class, joggers on their way to nowhere or loungers on park benches drown out everything but the beat and lyrics of the latest hit as they escape from the reality of the world around them.

Another craze, and still growing, is the cell phone that helps people keep in touch with the home and office. Business executives calling from the airport to close deals, lovers pledging their love, parents checking on their children even if they are just crossing the street. It's part of the wardrobe for every status-seeking grade schooler.

Now a "must have one" practise has taken over. It is the flask of bottled water that health-conscious people won't leave home without. Persons heading for work and children for school grasping their sealed bottle of H20 have created a whole new industry and new problem empty water bottles.

I remember some practices of a different kind we had as boys that became part of our dress and we would not leave home without them. Every Catholic boy wore a scapular on a chain or a string around his neck as a profession of faith. Now we see ball players with heavy gold chains dangling around their necks, not as a profession of faith but as a sign they have made it to the big leagues.

Well, I never did have a headset for piped in music. I can't even listen to the radio when I read or write. But I can enjoy good music when I relax and it doesn't disturb anything that requires thinking.

I don't have a cell phone either, that will let me phone people, or be phoned by persons I don't want to talk to at any time. I can wait to get home to make phone calls.

And I am not a bottled water addict and may shock some purist by admitting that I still drink water from the cold water tap.

But I guess you could say I do cling to something in a kind of fetishist way. For I still insist on carrying the rosary everywhere I go, even to bed.

I guess you could say I am just an old fashioned Catholic.

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