In trying to find photos of Charles de Foucauld’s tomb, I stumbled upon the most amazing resource – an archive of historical mission photography housed at USC.
This link will take you to photos tagged with “Catholic.” They are all here, from all over the world. Lovely, lovely, lovely, inspiring and a reminder that when we speak of answering Jesus’ call to evangelize, the problem is not “old” v. “new.” Suggestions that we can’t “depend on old forms” doesn’t make any sense either. “Progress” is not an appropriate paradigm, and doesn’t even make sense in the eternal life of God. What holds any of us back from engaging in charity with our neighbors near and far is what has always held people back: failure of nerve and self-absorption.
These photos also remind us that somehow, in the context of that bad old narrow fundamentalist, truth-centered, dogmatic spiritual system in which not a soul could understand what was going on in Mass and had to make do with a “private” spirituality instead of the cool, open community thing we have going on now…well a few good things could happen despite all those obstacles that we’ve thankfully put behind us now, I guess. Good to know.