“Incredible” has been the hype word of choice for the last ten years, an adjective people use when they don’t think we are taking their hysteria seriously enough. At best, it indicates a dismal ignorance of language, and at worst a banal attempt at shock value. The word means “non-belief,” and its constant use probably manifests an unthinking rejection of faith in anything larger than basic “science.” One could say “technology” is incredible, and one would be right.
Take the curious case of Lauren Donahue, program director for new student engagement at Notre Dame, a university that built on faith in Jesus Christ. At a pre-Welcome Week meeting for her volunteers, Miss Donahue made all her volunteers wear rainbow pins. In an interview with the Irish Rover, an independent newspaper run by Notre Dame undergraduates, she explained:
“I view my work as honoring the inherent dignity that every individual has in the likeness and image of God, and I think conversations about allyship and inclusion go hand in hand to that for me. The characteristics of what it means to be an ally and what it means to be inclusive feels incredibly rooted in the way that I live out my Catholic faith, and I think it is one that the university strives for similarly—that all are welcome at the Eucharistic table. If you imagine the way that Jesus broke bread, who he was breaking bread with was just incredibly inclusive.”
Note first that Miss Donahue talks a lot about herself in those lines (“my work,” “for me,” “I live out my Catholic faith”). It’s not the Catholic faith she describes, but her opinion of the Catholic faith. Note second that she uses the word “incredible” twice in two sentences, referring oxymoronically to the “incredible Catholic faith” and the “incredible way Jesus broke bread.” I think she really does “believe” that Jesus is incredible—that one cannot really believe in Him or the Bread that He breaks. Don’t trust her! I’m sure she’s a very nice person, actually, but probably somewhat lacking in the Christian faith. May God have mercy on us all, as my Dad used to say.
Speaking of Dads, the incredible Australian Cardinal, George Pell, is coming to Star of the Sea next week, on December 8th. More about that in my next post. But come if you can, at 7pm in the church.