What they don’t understand

What they don’t understand

More than anything what this article tells me is that we have completely failed to teach the faith to our people, young and old alike.

It is a report that is supposed to be hopeful: Catholics in Boston who stayed away from church because of the Scandal are returning now. But it’s what they’re saying that’s discouraging. They don’t trust the Church, they don’t like the politics, they come out of old habit, they stay because they want to change the Church’s teachings. The focus here is on one parish as representative of the rest. So why the problems? I think it can be summed up here:

Members of the congregation were full of praise for [Father] Perno, who they said had made St. Thomas a welcoming place for families and for those whose beliefs diverge from official church teachings on social issues.

That says it all, doesn’t it? No one challenges them to live their faith as it is; no one calls them to embrace the Way, the Truth, and the life; no one explains to them why the Church teaches what she does. It’s probably not unrelated that Fr. Perno is on leave, getting treated for alcohol abuse, as the article tells us.

Some people put their hope in Voice of the Faithful:

“The whole thing could be used as a message of hope and rebuilding,” said Dajer, a nurse-midwife. “It could be a springboard for opening up a conversation on the priesthood and what that actually means. If there was a time to remake the priesthood, that time is now. Voice of the Faithful has been pushing that agenda for some time, but people don’t seem interested.”

We know what the priesthood means? Do you, Ms. Dajer? How can you propose to remake it, when most people don’t even understand what it is? And perhaps there’s a reason that no one listens to VOTF: because it’s a small minority that represents a minority dissident view. It does not provide the “words of eternal life” so it easy to abandon them when their true nature is revealed.

  • Rod,
    I empathize, but only to a point. Our witness is our presence and our presence is our witness.

    We, who believe in the totality of Truth that resides in the Catholic faith have also got to remember that part of that Truth means living it. Maybe even being martyred for it. 

    I’m a minority on our parish staff when it comes to orthodoxy and when parents come to me with the same complaints I beg them to get involved, but they don’t.  If we, who say we are so convicted do not participate and get on the boards, get involved in Catechesis, get on planning committees for the ministries we can’t really complain about the state our parish/Church is in. 

    I have one set of parents who swear if there is liturigcal dance one more time they will leave right then and there. I tell them, why not get on Pastoral Council, or be involved with the Liturgical Ministries?  Suddenly they are too busy or to afraid, maybe. 

    If we are too afraid to stand up for the Truth then we get what we deserve.  Are we willing to be martyred?  It’s a reality.  Look at the case in Albany, with Fr Minkler.  We may not loose our life, but yes, we may face conflict.  But aren’t others’ salvation worth that effort? Even the salvation of those who are on the verge of not even being Catholic anymore?

    I’ll work here, folks, but I can’t carry this alone. We gotta carry each other.  Even the ones who we grind our teeth over.

    Colleen is right: Don’t underestimate the Laity. 

  • Rod,
    With all love and respect I think you’re falling for a form of clericalism here, a kind that looks too much to priests to determine how you see the Church and ultimately your faith. How about joining a Catholic fraternal group, like a good Knights of Columbus council or even a chapter of Legatus (I’m sure they would love to have an influential and nationally known member of the media). Start something yourself.

    I’m still making plans to start my Frassati Cigar Club (or whatever I decided to call it), gathering Catholic men of like mind for drinks, stogies, prayer, and friendship. Most importantly, you can’t go it alone, something I think family men are especially prone to. You need the friendship and fellowship of other Catholic men to provide something you can’t get in your family.

    For all the good work you do, the devil will be attacking you (and me, I know) especially hard. And we know he doesn’t just go after our weaknesses, but our strengths because if he can hurt us there, the fall and the loss are that much greater.

    As for the Mass, if a different parish isn’t the answer, just grit your teeth and remember that as long as it is valid and licit it is still the Eucharist. And not every priest’s assignment lasts forever.

  • Rod don’t forget the smallest changes come from us first and then ripple outwards just like a pebble dropped into a pond to create waves. If enough of us band together and say this is enough and this is how it should be then changes will start to happen. Dom is right on this evil attacks our strongest points because the our fall is that much sweeter to him. If you don’t find what you want in your parish start it yourself, I am sure there are others that feel as you do and when it seems that we are alone we feel less connected and more prone to be tempted to fall for evils tricks. Please know that I will pray for you so that you can find what you are looking for and that you can continue to be a strong voice of the truth. You are one of the few that has made the truth so well known and there are others of us out here that still remain faithful to the truth, the problem is that we are scattered and so we feel we are alone, but even in the times when we are most alone we have to remember that God is always there if we but ask for his help and guidance.

  • Rod –

    I’m there with ya as far not knowing any other guys who feel and think the same way.

    As Catholic lay men, we have the right to be spiritually fed. This is not a longing for clericalism. The priests are the ones with the Theology degrees, they are supposed to be our confessors and maybe even spiritual directors.

    I was remarking to myself that it seems like my Protestant friends (all ex-Catholics) are all amateur Biblical Scholars and theologians…and in a way they have to be as they go from church to church finding the one that they think is right.

    At times, I feel forced into this box also. I’ve already told my wife that I’m going to become a CCD teacher in our parish and if I see anything that is not in line with the Magesterium then we are out of there. She has agreed. I’m sensing more of a potential conflict with other laity than anyone else.

    Rod – I think you need to get out of that parish! Why endorse that pabulum with your $$ or the presense of your family?