Catholics who were around in the 1960's will tell you that in the heady post-Vatican II days, two of the biggest cliches were "the emerging layman" and "dialogue." The laity was going to be heard from! They were going to dialogue! It soon became clear, though, that you could only "emerge" and "dialogue" if you were a "liberal." You were out of luck if you were a "conservative"; then you were supposed to submerge, not emerge.
But maybe it is not too late for "conservatives" to do some "emerging." One good way to emerge, and be heard from, and make your concerns known, is to picket.
So if you have been feeling lately that you would like to do some emerging and dialoguing, a good way to start would be to attend Concerned Roman Catholics of America's picket during the U.S.C.C.B.'s Spring meeting, June 15-17, here in L.A. at the Millennium Biltmore. For contact information, check the website www.crcoa.com
Remember, Canon Law tells us we have a right to make our concerns known to our shepherds.
A word on picket signs: Most are USELESS, because the lettering is so small and illegible that no one more than a few feet away can read them, and thus they COMMUNICATE NOTHING. It is essential that your signs be readable by hotel-goers AND by drivers out in the street.
So make your picket signs with big black felt tip pens on white, yellow or fluorescent lemon-green, solid, large poster boards sold in drugstores and art stores. Make your letters in block print (no curlicues, etc.), all in capitals five inches or more high, and nice and thick. Make the outlines of the letters first, and then fill them in .
This is also vital: Keep your slogans to no more than FOUR OR FIVE WORDS, or they will be too long and complicated for instant communication. You will be surprised at how much you can say in so few words. At the recent picket of the REC, for example, effective signs included "Warning: Dissent Inside" and "Question Mahony, Not the Faith."
No doubt you can think of many good signs with which emerging laity can dialogue with our bishops. Here are some suggestions:
Wanted: Faithful Mass Translation
No Dumbed-Down Translation!
No Communion for Pro-Abort Pols
Can't Be Catholic and Pro-Abortion
More Latin Masses
Credo, Non Dubito
Stop Wreckovating Our Churches
Inclusive Language Falsifies Scripture [added, June 3]
In closing: Here is a partial Scripture verse that picketers can use as their inspiration:
...et in nomine Dei nostri extollamus vexilla...
...and in the name of our God we will set up our banners...
-- Psalm 19 (20):6.