The case for ugliness

Simcha Fisher is popping up everywhere these days. In addition to her personal blog and her contributions here and at Faith & Family, she’ll now be blogging at the National Catholic Register as well — a lucky thing for those of us who think the world can always use more Simcha.

And her first post doesn’t disappoint: In describing those insipid liturgies in those soulless churches that we all love to hate, Simcha makes the case that, every now and then, we can be grateful for the lessons of ugliness at Mass:

It’s good for us, every once in a while, to attend a liturgy that we think isn’t good enough. It’s good for us to have that sensation of being the only one in the room who comprehends the travesty that is happening around us. Why? Because at some point, in the middle of the noise and the irreverence and the foolish, happy-clappy songs, we’re going to have to go up for Communion. We will have to take God into our mouths. And if we have an honest bone in our bodies, we will have to think, “No, it’s not good enough. And neither am I.”

My soul is foolish. I’m cheap and jangly. I’m in poor taste, inadequate, irreverent, wanting and paltry in every way. My heart is made of little beige bricks and burlap. And for some reason, God keeps showing up anyway. He doesn’t sneer and hunker down and wait for it to be over when he comes into the tawdry temple of my soul. He doesn’t get out of there as soon as he can.


A little ugliness is good for us, folks. Taken in the proper doses in the right context, a little bad taste is something we need, because it tells us something about ourselves.

She’s certainly right about that — though hopefully it’s a lesson we can learn in increasingly infrequent doses.

Check out the rest of her post and be sure to welcome her to her new digs!

Margaret Cabaniss


Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at

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