Remember who our priests represent!
Some of you know from my other posts that I'm a huge fan of the Franciscan Missions. However, instead of pushing them this go-around, I'd like to draw attention to another incredible organization. I originally heard of them through a recent post on Father Z's WDTPRS and I wanted to pass it along here as well.
The organization is called Opus Bono Sacerdotii, and their mission is to "Work for the Good of the Priesthood."
They are a lay organization that seeks to provide financial, emotional, psychological and legal support to thousands of priests all over the United States. There really isn't any other organization quite like it.
As I was reading through their site, a lot of what they said really struck me. So many priests, as they get older, simply don't have the family (wife, children, grandchildren) that the rest of us rely on as we age. Also, with all the issues surrounding the nation-wide scandal, many are being unjustly turned out or taken advantage of by a system that is cruel and lop-sided. These priests... these vicars of Christ... they need our support. They provide us a vital service, and yet they are being cast aside as if uncared for, unloved, or unworthy of basic necessities.
If at all possible, please offer financial assistance to this worthy organization as a Lenten offering. If that isn't possible, please offer prayers for these priests and those who support them. This is truly a wonderful organization that I hope to get to know better!
My beloved Archdiocese of Philadelphia... what happened to you?
Have you really succumbed so gently to the false whispers of satan? Have you become pliant through his fiery caress? Have you become so blinded by the gilded treasures of worldliness, power and carnal gratification that the Beatific Vision is completely obscured from you?
God help us. We are lost if not for Your Grace.
For those of you unaware, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia - my home, my foundation, and my heart - has been reaping the fruits of a decades long abuse cover-up. We most certainly have been in the wrong for the reshuffling of priests, the silence of cardinals / bishops, the treatment of victims, etc. We have turned ourselves away from Truth and found an angry, unsettled and disordered home in the filth of sin.
Oh, what agony now befits us! Due to such negligence and willful perpetration of violence against the innocent among us, we suffer! We suffer as well we should, but dear Lord - Mercy!
We are being stripped of our priests. Sinners though they are, we haven't the vocations to fill the holes they leave behind. Sinners that we, the laity, are - we are left with no one to shepherd us via Sacraments and pastoral care.
Oh Lord, this truly is a punishment we bring upon ourselves! Catholicism in Philadelphia is on the cusp of abolition. For years we've allowed this cancer to metastasize, invading all parts of our clergy and administration. For years we've ignored the wounds of our victims - which, left untreated, became mortal and spread to others. As a result, when the blinds were opened and the public saw these festering, horrifying injuries for what they were, trust was lost, faith wavered, and hope for healing became almost laughable.
The pain to those of us who love this Archdiocese! The pain of feeling her members torn, battered and broken! The pain of helplessness as we could do nothing but watch as priest after beloved priest was targeted and accused, convicted and removed... as we saw our friends and family defect, turning away from the Church and even condemning Her due to the impossibly grotesque offenses of Her representatives! Oh the pain of listening to report after report of the ever-increasing details of the accusations... and seeing the devastating pain of our victims!
This ongoing chastisement is necessary, but dear Lord, again I cry "Mercy!" I understand and trust this unparalleled "cleansing of the Temple" is something we brought about on our own, but please guide us to safer waters!
Ugh. I am so beyond heartbroken by this entire mess, and it seems like a never-ending rabbit hole.
Another one of our priests was removed today. News came out yesterday afternoon that he was being investigated for an improper relationship and possible abuse of minors. This priest was someone who mentored me, my siblings, and many of our friends.
I have no idea if the allegations are true or not, but the fact that Archbishop Chaput reacted swiftly and harshly to his case leads me to believe there is some validity to the claims against him.
My prayers are with him, the possible victims, and the families of those he may have harmed or turned away from the Church. May they all find peace, healing, love and forgiveness.
Le sigh... I truly have such a heavy, heavy heart right now. However, even in this hailstorm of folly, I recognize the mercy we've been given in Chaput.
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Archbishop Chaput. No doubt You put him in place to steer this mostly capsized ship to harbor. May You be his strength and wisdom. May You be his beacon. May You be the wind that straightens our mangled sails.
Just a quick tally of a few links I found particularly interesting / edifying today. Hope you enjoy! :)
Canonical info regarding Father Guarnizo and Barbara Johnson by Edward Peters, an actual Canonical lawyer.
***NEW*** Here's an awesome response from Phil Lawler to the horrible letter written to appease Johnson from the Archdiocese. Spot on. Evil has permeated our ranks. May God save us.
A great "advice" letter written by Supertradmum that was originally meant for seminarians, but can really be utilized by anyone looking to advance in holiness and charity.
A super nerdy look into the size and scope of the universe both big and small, and how we fit into it. Our God is an incredible God!
Incredible music / art video with extraordinarily powerful lyrics that young women everywhere need to hear.
Here's the video so you don't even have to go clicking anywhere! :)
Judas, too, was ordained a priest.
So the entry from yesterday was a lot more venomous than I had originally meant for it to turn out. I guess I was still a lot more angry and disgusted than I thought.
Anyway, a comment on one of the articles gave me pause. The woman wrote, "Jesus gave Communion to Judas, even knowing that he had betrayed Him, didn't He?"
He did! And He most certainly knew that Judas had already betrayed Him. In fact, as I mentioned before, Louisa Piccarretta described this scene in The 24 Hours of the Passion. As Jesus knelt before Judas to clean his feet, His Heart was torn in agony as He foresaw the end Judas would meet because of his stubborn refusal to ask forgiveness. In Judas, Christ saw all priests who would fall away from their callings. Yet still, He persisted in His blessings, He persisted in allowing Judas to partake of the Eucharist.
Soon after reading this comment, I came across one of Maria Valtorta's visions in which Jesus appears to 500 followers after His Resurrection. Sts. Peter and John are present, and Jesus teaches them the importance of obedience and perseverance. He says to them:
"And remember also that I did not refuse Myself even to Judas of Kerioth… A priest must try to save, by all possible means. And let love always prevail, among the means used to save. Consider that I was not unaware of Judas' horror… But, overcoming all disgust, I treated the wretch as I treated John [the Beloved Disciple]... One must work even then… always… until everything is accomplished."
Honestly, I have no idea how I came across that particular passage save for Divine Providence. In my own arrogance, I had also disregarded Church teaching by reacting with such anger towards Johnson. I think Christ wanted to remind me that I needed a bit more humility and a lot more charity if I wanted to fancy myself a follower of His.
Well played, Good Sir, well played.
So while I'm still disgusted by Barbara Johnson's actions (those actions being her willful attempt to commit a sacrilege and her subsequent lambasting of Father Guarnizo), I no longer wish that she and her hoard of supporters drop off the Catholic radar. Instead of praying for an early bout of Spring Cleaning that sees them all ostracized or relegated to protestant denominations, I should be praying that the Holy Spirit alights in their hearts so that they can see the error of their ways and return to the faithful, Catholic fold.
After all, in the same vision, Jesus stated to the crowd:
And those that for any reason should separate from the Mother Church, would be members cut off, no longer nourished with the mystic blood that is Grace coming from Me, the divine Head of the Church. Like prodigal sons, separated through their own will from the paternal house, in their short-lived wealth and constant and graver and graver misery, they would be blunting their spiritual intellects by means of too heavy foods and wines, and then they would languish eating the bitter acorns of unclean animals until they returned to the paternal house, saying with contrite hearts: "We have sinned. Father, forgive us and open the doors of your abode to us". Then, whether it is a member of a separated Church, or an entire Church - oh! if it were so, but where, when will so many imitators of Me arise, capable of redeeming these entire separated Churches, at the cost of their lives, to make, to remake only one Fold under only one shepherd, as I ardently wish? - then whether it is only one person or an assembly that comes back, open the doors to them.
And may they all feel the Light of the Spirit. May their minds be opened to His Wisdom, and may their egos be enveloped by His Glory. May mine, too.
However, let not this testimony give anyone the opinion that I will no longer strike out against such folly in the future. I still stand behind my opinion that this woman should be barred from the Eucharist until she reconciles herself to the Church through means of a true confession. I still stand behind my opinion that the priest did exactly what he should have done in preventing the sacrilege to occur. I also stand by my opinion that the superiors who shot out an apology should be ashamed of throwing their brother under the bus when he was only acting in the way our Church teaches he must (in protecting the Eucharist from sacrilege and by refusing to allow the public to be led astray by erroneous pastoral example).
May this brave and blessed priest ever feel the smile of Our Lady upon him, and may his superiors learn the error of their ways, seek forgiveness, and move forward with greater faith and solidarity.
So the last couple days have been a flurry of media activity regarding Barbara Johnson and her incredibly presumptuous attempt to partake of the Eucharist at her mother's funeral.
Unsurprisingly, almost every single news outlet paints Father Guarnizo as a heartless bigot who sniffed a gay and decided to make a political statement.
This woman then went on to whine about how she and her neice couldn't both eulogize her mother and how mean Father Guarnizo was by leaving the Church before she could finish waxing philosophical for her audience.
Pathetic - on so many, many levels - pathetic.
1 - You had just met this priest (for the FIRST TIME according to all accounts), and introduced him to your "partner." In two private accounts, supposed witnesses claim you used the word "lover." Considering you're self-proclaimed "Catholic upbringing" you know full-well living in an active homosexual relationship is a mortal sin. Don't be surprised when he bars you from Communion.
2 - The fact that you'd just met this man for the first time surprises me in and of itself. For being such a "devout" Catholic, how exactly did the funeral get put together without seeing him at least once? Sure, mom could've put arrangements together before her death, and sure, the funeral home may have gotten in touch with Fr. Guarnizo in order to ensure he was scheduled for the Mass, but really? You didn't attempt to meet with him beforehand to go over things like readings, share memories of your mother (for homily purposes) or express your desire for more than one eulogy (since eulogies aren't even a part of Catholic Funeral Masses except in cases where the pastor feels generous enough to allow one)?
3 - You attempt playing the martyr who really loves the Church but was just cruelly treated by one of her members in stating "I have gotten email upon email saying, ‘I’m not going back,’ and I say, ‘Please go back, because that man does not represent the Catholic Church.’"
Let me go ahead and stop you right there. This priest is more representative of the Catholic Church than you will ever be. He is not only representative of the Church, he is a hand-selected representative of Christ! He upholds the dogma of our Church and does not attempt bending the rules to suit his lifestyle choices, opinions or feelings. You'd do well to follow HIS example and not that of your own selfish, arrogant and misguided brain.
I wouldn't be nearly as angry with this if she was a non-Catholic. Non-Catholics wouldn't know any better and may very well assume that being in the Eucharistic line is just "what you do."
This woman KNOWS better but arrogantly defies Church teaching because she simply doesn't believe that her lifestyle is mortally sinful.
Fine - don't believe it. No one is forcing you to. But no one is forcing you to be in the Communion line, either. Find a church that opens its doors to perversions, untruths and errors. Don't expect the Church to bend Her teachings to give you warm fuzzies just because you don't agree with Her 2,000 + year old dogma.
THAT is what drives me up a wall. And the fact that this wonderful priest is now being thrown under the bus by his own superiors (because God forbid we hurt the feelings of the homosexual population!) also drives me up a wall. This is NOT a pastorally insensitive thing to do. Nor is it misguided. His duty is to protect the sanctity of the Eucharist and that's exactly what he did. God forbid he gave her the Eucharist (which would be a sacrilege according to our faith). That would be three-fold sin. First, the woman would commit an even graver sin by sullying the Sacrament. Next, the priest would commit the grave sin of comission by being a party to this sacrilege. Worst of all, the priest would then be sinning by leading those who saw this exchange into moral confusion (because they might think this sacrilege to be perfectly acceptable).
Oh, for shame that folks don't realize that the priest protected not only this woman, but himself and all present at the expense of his own person. Shameful, shameful, shameful!
Instead, this ungracious woman lashes out at him to anyone who will listen. Why? Because her over-inflated ego was bruised. Better her ego than her soul and the souls of those would have witnessed it.
Honestly, I hope that anyone who stands in solidarity with her DOES stop considering themselves Catholic. These types of folks do more harm than the atheists or agnostics who rally against us openly. These "Cafeteria Catholics" are the WORST because they spread fallacy and scandal from the inside.
Our beloved Church is heading for a schism. The more that superiors bend to trash like this, the more we hurt ourselves. Pretty soon, there's going to be a reckoning in which true Catholics stand up and say "NO MORE." We need to clean house and rid ourselves of these cancerous members (laity and clergy included). I wish such a step weren't necessary, but there is no doubt in my mind that this will come to a head within 10-15 years.
We also need to do a better job teaching our members the TRUTH of our faith and punishing those who wish to bend that truth to fit their own warped agendas.
So tonight was rougher than a sheet of sandpaper across the backside.
Some parish members had a meeting of sorts and my heart just about broke into a million pieces for my pastor. Then those itty bitty pieces took a trip through a meat grinder as I realized that his predicament is not unique... there are priests all over the country going through similar tribulations as they attempt to keep their parishes above water.
Humpf. All I wanted to do the entire time was give him a hug.
Since I wasn't really able to offer much in the way of assistance throughout the meeting, I kept silent and offered my prayers. As frustration began to build, I reached out to Our Lady of Wisdom (whom Father had invoked at opening prayers). As anger and hurt boiled up, I reached out to the Holy Spirit. Oh, but my heart was a calamity unto itself as I realized just how much stress our dear pastors are burdened with as a result of these haphazard mergers.
May Our Lady hug them all close to herself. May the Holy Spirit comfort them with Divine Grace. May their people open their hearts in understanding - our priests do so much more than we realize! God bless them all.
On a happy note, I'll leave a ridiculous picture of one of my favorite priests and I. He's been a wonderful family friend since his deaconate, and did me the honor of presiding over my marriage to John. He also baptized Vince! God willing, he'll baptize any future children we're blessed with. :)
Anyway, as I was visiting my mom before the parish meeting, he surprised us by dropping by! It's always great to see him!
Yeah - we're about as cool as two 8-Tracks at an Apple convention...
Okay, so I was listening to the tail-end of that CD I mentioned earlier when I caught a snippet of Dr. Scott Hahn's talk on Confession. In this brief teaser for that CD, I heard the most moving, amazing, awesome story about Pope John Paul II ever. I was almost moved to tears!
Here it is, transcribed for your benefit. May your heart sing just as joyously as mine with gratitude for so holy and wise a leader. Our God certainly knows how to pick them, and our saintly Pope John Paul II will certainly be remembered as "the Great."
I did some research into this story. I'm still waiting to hear back from St. Mary's Basilica in Rome, but I think the "Fr. Jim" from the story would likely be there if this story proves true. I can't imagine Scott Hahn lying, but the fact that no names are given for the Spiritual Director / priest kinda gives the journalist in me the "dig a little deeper" vibe. Until I'm proven otherwise, though, I'll promote this story as a beautiful testament to the pious, holy character of our late, great pontiff.
Definitely filing this away under "That was Awkward, and Slightly Irritating." A friend of mine called me out on routinely going to my pastor's line for Communion. Apparently this "pattern of selfishness" made her feel disrespected and hurt.
I knew sooner or later this issue would come up, and I was even prepared to explain my position in a succinct manner. I didn't really get the chance, though, because I was chided the entire time. She had automatically assumed she knew my motives and lectured me on why those motives were incorrect.
I was surprised to learn that I:
- am being selfish
- think that reception of the Host from a priest makes me holier than those who don't
- think that I get an extra blessing because I receive from the priest
- belittle the role of EMs and their important role in the Church
- am setting a bad example for others who might get confused by my actions
- (apparently I'm also a lot more popular than I've given myself credit for)
- disrupt the flow of traffic by crossing the aisle
I explained that I believed EMs to be Extraordinary Ministers - only to be used in (*gasp*) Extraordinary circumstances. Sunday masses, especially with our congregation size, could not be considered "extraordinary circumstances" that require the aid of EMs.
Secondly, I believe that only an Ordinary Minister (Priest / Deacon) should be allowed to touch the Host. If EMs must be used, they should be relegated to Chalices as their unconsecrated hands never come into contact with Christ.
Next, I don't believe in getting an "extra blessing" or being "holier" than others. I simply choose to accept Christ in the way He intended us to receive Him - from the hands of His Ordinary ministers.
I believe that this over-use of EMs lessens people's understanding of the awesome Presence of Christ. If anyone is willy-nilly able to pick up the Host, are we really paying Him the proper reverence? I simply don't believe so, and that can be seen clearly in the obvious eroding of people's faith in Transubstantiation. Most folks believe the bread and wine merely represent Jesus.
I do NOT disrupt the flow of traffic - that's just non-sense. I also doubt anyone else is paying enough attention to me to gain a "bad example" though I could only HOPE to be so lucky that someone chooses to follow me in this regard. Again, though, absolutely DOUBTFUL anyone pays any attention to me.
I don't belittle the role EMs play, I simply view it as understanding the role as it was MEANT to be. It wasn't meant to be a troop of lay-persons rushing up to the altar at Communion time every Sunday. That, in and of itself, diminishes the role they are meant to play.
She pushed me further, attempting to defend herself (I guess my differing opinions came off as a vicious attack on her integrity) by saying, "This is my way of fully participating in the Mass. It is my calling to do this, and I believe those who look down on that choice are disrespectful."
... *sigh* ...
Maybe I shouldn't have needled, but I couldn't help myself on this point. The sentence "This is my way of fully participating in the Mass" REALLY got under my skin. I asked, "Oh, so because I'm not a Eucharistic Minister, I guess I'm not fully participating in the Mass?"
She said, "Well no, that's not what I meant. Some people just aren't called to do that."
I said, "Oh, okay, so if you aren't on the schedule for a particular weekend, do you feel as though your Mass experience was somehow sullied because you didn't participate to your fullest?"
She stuttered back that "I didn't mean that either. It's just I have a calling and you seem to resent that by always going to a priest."
At this point, I'm darting my eyes around for the closest wall to smash my head into - repeatedly.
"No, I do not resent EMs. I honestly don't pay them any attention. I'm too busy praying that Jesus puts me in the right frame of mind to accept Him lovingly into my heart. Apparently, however, while you should be busying yourself with begging God to make you worthy of distributing Him to the congregation, you're eyeballing the congregation to see who is choosing you over the other ministers. I didn't realize there was some sort of competition going on for who could get the most communicants."
ARGH - I was REALLY fuming at this point, and I realized I was starting to get snippy. As a result, I said, "Look, it is not my intention to hurt your feelings by not joining in with your line. I never thought it made any difference to the Eucharistic Ministers who showed up in what line. However, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS seek out a priest or a deacon as that is something I personally promised Jesus when I entered back into the faith. So if you've got a problem with that, I really don't know what to tell you."
She responded we would just have to be content to disagree with one another. I stopped myself from saying, "I WAS content with that well before you opened your mouth to me!" Ugh - I seriously cannot believe that conversation took place. I really can't!
Escher rocks my socks. <3
I cannot even tell you how much I despise the phrase that creates my title. It's like an MC Escher painting (Escher, BTW, is my favorite artist). You know something's just a bit off, but you're not sure exactly what it is until you take a deeper look.
This phrase is the calling card of Cafeteria Catholics. Chances are, if someone starts off labeling themselves as Catholic only to snarkily comment about Church teaching two seconds later, they are the cafeteria variety (translation: they're not actually Catholic).
Oxymoronic disclaimers like this exist in all forms. "I'm not racist, but listen to this black joke..."or "Look, I 100% believe men and women are equal, but let's be honest..." or my favorite, "... homosexual joke..." *pause as folks look on, obviously uncomfortable* "What? I've got plenty of gay friends, so it's okay."
Ay yi yi.
A friend of mine posted this article to Facebook (regarding the resignation of Bishop Zavala) which garnered quite the response. He headed the article with: I think the Church needs to rethink the celibacy mandate for priests...
The first to respond, I said:
This isn't an issue of celibacy. We've gotta do a better job of screening applicants. We've also gotta do a much better job of solidifying a proper support system for priests who are under ridiculous amounts of stress from being stretched too thin and having too, too much expected of them.
My heart breaks for priests these days... we are lucky to have ANY, and things like this are good (if disappointing) reminders that they are men... human men with human failings the same as us. That we expect them all to be living saints is tragically fallacious. May Our Lady protect our priests... ♥
Pretty soon, however, responders were adamantly decrying the "old-fashioned" and "sexually repressive" celibacy rules as nothing more than remnants of a greedy Church that realized priests with families would water down earnings through inheritance.
Now, while I realize that celibacy for priests is not dogma (especially considering we do actually have some married priests through conversion and/or reconciliation with Rome), I don't feel as though it's simply an outdated practice meant to hoard Church resources and repress sexuality either.
Celibacy is not just about refraining from sex. It is the understanding that one's objective in life is all-consuming, resulting in the refusal of hinderances to that objective. For a priest, this objective is to bring as many souls to Christ as possible through becoming as Christ-like as possible, thus things like romantic relationships, drug habits, or even arrogant pride are hinderances to that objective (hence the vows of obedience and chastity).
Priests understand that when they take upon themselves the mantle of priest, they are "in persona Christi" (or, acting in the person of Christ). Their personal goal is to become enflamed with the love of Christ, since that Christ-like love will radiate out towards the people and pull them closer to Heaven. This personal goal - to attain such Christ-like holiness - is not an easy thing. It is an on-going process that requires dedication and constant vigilance.
Romantic relationships detract from this goal as the priest is no longer able to remain vigilant / dedicated to being in persona Christi. Instead, he is forced to split his time between catering to the people and catering to a family. I'm not saying holiness is impossible to obtain for married folks. Quite the contrary. However, a priest models his married life after Christ. Married folks model the Holy Family (St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother).
Marriage is the sacrifice of two persons for one another. Well, marriage in the way it's supposed to be, anyway. The wife submits herself to her husband, and the husband submits himself to his wife.
For a priest, he follows the example of Christ who submitted FULLY to His bride, the Church (even to the point of death and on-going imprisonment). The Church, in turn, is expected to fully submit to her Spouse, Jesus (though we're notoriously awful for doing that). Just as the faithful should obediently submit to the teachings of priests (so long as these priests are in good standing with the Church, of course, and aren't teaching anything contrary to dogma).
Anyway, would I be super against priests being allowed to marry again? No. Christ, Himself, chose married men to be His first priests. However, upon choosing these men for this ministry, all "left their families" to focus on their mission. Mind you, they did NOT abandon their families. Instead, they lived as Essenes did - celibate and apart from their wives.
But I digress.
Celibacy is not the root issue of these types of stories. Celibacy also isn't the evil, archaic or sexually repressive thing current generations attempt to paint it as. Allowing priests to marry isn't going to solve our problems, and may very well bring up new ones (scandal of infidelity, divorce, wayward children desecrating holy things, etc, etc, etc).
Ah well. I'm curious if any one else has thoughts on this. I'll admit it's not something I've really delved too deeply into.
I know, I know - kind of strange to have a picture of the Passion up during Advent, but my experience this week brought me to meet this painting for the first time (well, a reproduction, anyway). I'd never seen it before. It's called Señor de los Milagros de Nazarenas (or its English title Lord of Miracles).
Anyway, the reason I came across it was my cold. I was miserably sick this weekend, and Sunday morning seemed to be the worst of it. I knew there was no way I'd be able to get to Mass feeling like a ton of bricks was repeatedly smashing down over me. So I stayed in bed, offering the gross feelings for whatever intentions God deemed necessary.
By mid-afternoon, I was feeling substantially better, so I mentioned to John that I might attempt going to Mass in the evening. St. Williams, about 45 minutes from me, had an 8pm Mass on Sunday night. So I hopped into my car and made my way into NE Philadelphia. I arrived early enough to say my Divine Mercy chaplet and take a gander at the changes that've been made since my last visit. The church, itself, is still the same, but I noted their new collection of artwork. The above picture was among those new items.
In addition to seeing beautiful artwork, I was privileged to hear a wonderful homily from their new pastor. Apparently he'd locked himself out of the rectory on Saturday (after hearing the 1st Penances of children at another parish!). Being home alone with no access to a phone or spare key, he was forced to take refuge from the cold in the church. He spent the next 2+ hours meditating on the meaning of advent, his own preparedness for Christ, and quite probably how to ensure he'd never get locked out of the rectory again. Ha.
He made a good point, though. In being locked out of the rectory, he wondered what he'd do if he were to be locked out of Heaven. He acknowledged his lack of perfection, and thus acknowledged his need for advent matches everyone else. Advent, though a time of anticipation, is not JUST about waiting. It's also about preparing for Christ as John the Baptist so eloquently exemplified. Preparing through repentance and a dedication to changing one's life is our surest bet to making our souls ready to accept the gift that is Christ.
Also, the fact that he surmised that his 2 hour stint in the church was really a gift that seemed, at first, like an annoyance lifted my heart. This priest obviously strove to see Christ in everything... "annoyances" included. :) It made me happy to again realize that we've been blessed with an abundance of graces through our priests. It didn't hurt that he would stop Mass at each "change" to remind us of the new language, having us repeat those prayers that we'd stumble over patiently... like a conscientious teacher. :)
All in all, me missing Mass at my own parish enabled me to attend this Mass in Philly and I am eternally grateful for such a blessing. :) I hope everyone else had such a wonderful Sunday!
Today was AWESOME!
Our pastor, Father Piotr, was finally installed after a good year and a half organizing and merging our 3 parishes. What a blessing he is!
It was wonderful. I was happy with the amount of people who showed up to welcome him "officially" as our pastor. Bishop Galante spoke to us kindly about the role Father Piotr was to play as our shepherd, and our role as his parishioners. Just as we place our trust in him to guide us to Heaven, he places his trust in us that we will follow. Just as the shepherd gifts his sheep food, water, shelter, the sheep gift to their shepherd wool for warmth and their presence for comfort. We, too, must take part in such a reciprocal relationship.
It was lovely to see Father Piotr so happy. He was beaming, because I honestly believe he was happy to have everything official and recognized. I truly believe he was also touched by the crowd of folks who showed up for him, and I know he was grateful to have his family and friends there, too. I was so happy for him.
And as I walked back to my seat after Communion, I was teary-eyed for us, too. Father Piotr is such a blessing. We are truly lucky to have such a wonderful man as our pastor. I hope we all remember that - our priests are gifts... especially ones like Father Piotr. May we be blessed with countless more just like him. :)
I've had Mumford & Sons "The Cave" on repeat in my mind since writing about it in "Secular Music as Prayer? Yes, Please." My title for today's entry is taken from the song.
When I first began listening to this song, Father Z kept popping into my head. For those who read WDTPRS (and for those who don't, I highly recommend it!) you know how often Fr. Z acknowledges his own humanity. He stresses the importance of Confession not only for the laity, but for EVERYONE, himself included. He's constantly acknowledging his faults and amazement at having been called to the priesthood.
So I guess this line brings that to mind. Priests know their calling despite their humanity. I, too, know mine now and despite my inability to always follow it, I'm going to keep reaching out to the Hand Christ always extends. And let me tell you... there are very definite fears surrounding that.
I wonder, then, about our priests. I have no doubt the attacks they must endure on the road towards ordination. The devil probably places such doubts into their minds. "What if this religion stuff really IS all made up? What if I'm throwing away my chance for a wife and children only to wake up one day and realize it's for nothing?" Then, when you couple those natural fears with the scandals, negativity towards Christianity, and the secular desire to stamp out anything religious, it's a miracle we have ANY priests.
And yet we do. We have great ones. We need to remind ourselves of this on a regular basis. Sure, there are bad apples here or there, but who are we to speak out against those chosen by Christ, Himself? Do we know what is written in their hearts? On their souls?
A friend of mine was (once again) decrying a priest in her parish. It was all I could do to hold my tongue. I don't know the priest in question very well, so I couldn't speak out against the allegations. Instead, I tried offering logical reasons as to why he was doing the things she took issue with. It was getting me nowhere. The best I could do was immediately change the subject, so I did. I started talking about my son abruptly because I wanted her to understand that I didn't approve of the direction she was taking our conversation, but I also didn't want to completely bust out my "reprimand stick" and shake it at her. She's an elder, so to do so would have been rude.
I dunno. It just really, really bothers me when folks talk negatively about priests. Again, who are we to judge when we're face down in the mud ourselves? All of us need a helping hand as we struggle onwards towards Heaven. Let's not go kicking others as we stumble our way through this life - especially not our priests who act most concretely as the Hand of God, pulling us up and away from sin through the Sacraments which would otherwise be impossible for us.
The above image portrays the entire Church. At the top, we see what's known as the Church Triumphant, all those souls who made themselves worthy to stand in the Presence of God (either through saintly lives, or a stint in Purgatory). Halfway down, we see the Church Militant - those of us still left living on Earth to battle against evil both for ourselves, and those at the bottom of the image... the Church Penitent. These are the holy souls of those who have not fully cleansed themselves of the sin they committed while still alive. We call them "holy" because they are no longer able to sin. Having seen the Face of God at Death, they yearn for nothing more than to join the Church Triumphant in Heaven. Through our prayers and acts of charity, they one day will.
In honor of All Saints Day, I wanted to post a few links that gave me a different take on God's desire for all of us to become willing participants in His Divine Plan.
I'll start with this one. A former skinhead found the love of Christ through the love of his family. As a result, he endured his own Purgatory-on-Earth as a doctor painstakingly burned away the scars of his old life. Satan only has claim over us for as long as we condescend to give him that power. Once we revoke his power, instead giving ourselves to God in humility and love, we become children of God. I have no doubt that this man will one day be a saint in Heaven, and his children, too. What a wonderful example of God's Grace and Mercy.
Next up, a beautiful anecdote written by Father Gerald T. Brennan, author of Father Brennan’s Favorite Stories. It's a story titled "The Most Beautiful Picture in the World." I'm going to be passing this along to my CCD students tonight. It is always important to remember that Christ calls us to be as children, fully trusting in His Plans for us. Indeed, Heaven is full of little children. Their innocence, beauty and trust must shine so brightly.
Over in Ireland, we have a wonderful priest calling for a humble and penitential Mass during their upcoming Eucharistic Conference. Oh, that we might all be so lucky to have such wise priests in our parishes!
Finally, I leave you with the tale of a missionary priest, Father Stanley Rother, who will hopefully be canonized at some point. I recently posted another story about a missionary priest who was also martyred for choosing to bring the Gospel to those who had no other means to hear it. We are blessed more than we know to have such saints living among us.
I'm sure I don't need to remind everyone of the importance of praying for our dead. We can never be sure where their souls end up at Judgement, so prayers certainly couldn't hurt. Plus, those we help achieve Heaven will undoubtedly plead our case ceaselessly before the throne of God. :)
Warning - this is going to be another one of those "My Pastor is better than your Pastor" entries. Ha ha ha.
In all seriousness, though, my pastor is incredible. It's like every week, my heart has to grow bigger just to fit more appreciation and love in there for him. I sometimes wonder if that's what's going to happen in Heaven when I finally meet Jesus face-to-face. Am I going to have to explode repeatedly from the love that keeps springing forth from my heart? Ha ha. Our wonderful priests really are precursors to what we can expect when we meet the man they vowed to serve. I've been so blessed to have so many amazing priests in my life.
Anyway, the homily. I'm going to paraphrase and summarize, but here's the idea:
He said, “Ya know, Halloween is a great time for kids to pretend, for a day, to be anyone they want to be. It sparks their creativity, and creativity is a blessing from God. Sometimes, though, us adults forget that Halloween is for kids. We dress ourselves up in Catholic movements, we speak a good Catholic game, but when it comes down to brass tacks, we don’t always act with true Christian love in our hearts. We put on the mask of Christianity, and tell ourselves that we’re better than we are. We lack humility, just as the Pharisees did. We exalt ourselves in public, we look for praise and respect.
But God sees through those masks to the heart of who we are. He sees what is in our hearts. There’s no tricking God. The best we can do is lay bare our souls to Him and strive to live by His Gospel every day.”
I really, REALLY liked that analogy. We really do tend to ignore (or make excuses for) our sins while picking apart those of others. Instead, may we open our eyes to the truth, and own up to our faults so we can better correct them. Let’s leave the pretending to the children… if we’re claiming to be Catholic, let’s TRULY be Catholic (that means YOU, Cafeteria Catholics!!!).
Father Fausto Tentorio, a missionary priest (PIME) working in the Phillipines, was gunned down early Monday morning. Police are currently looking for suspects.
Already, however, the people Fr. Fausto served are pouring into the church that holds his body. People from all over the country are gathering to pay respects, comfort one another, and voice their love of and appreciation for all that Fr. Fausto did. Reading the commentary and some of the signs they're leaving for him is beyond moving.
Most moving of all, however, are Father Fausto's own words, written to superiors years before his untimely death:
Grateful to God for the great gift of missionary vocation, I am aware that it involves the possibility of being involved in situations of serious risk to my health and personal safety, due to epidemics , kidnappings, assaults and wars, even the possibility of a violent death. I accept it all in the confidence that I am in God's hands, and lay down my life for Christ and the spread of his Kingdom.
May we be blessed with missionaries as true and beautiful as Father Fausto. May our missionaries be blessed to be so loved by their people as Father Fausto no doubt was. May the Blessed Mother keep them, guard them, and grant them whatever privileges they need to continue their important, courageous work.
I dunno how many of you follow PostSecret. I do, and I am grateful for the many good things that have come out of that site. Frank, the creator, opened a public platform for individuals to anonymously connect with others who share similar struggles, pain and hopes. In fact, PostSecret has mobilized many others into anti-bullying, anti-suicide and pro-tolerance movements.
That being said, there have been a few secrets that have boiled my blood (as in: Shame on you, Frank Warren, for posting them). *Warning: This next link is to a card that I've never been able to scratch from my mind, so maybe you should just trust me when I say some of them should never be made public, and instead should be turned over to the authorities). This one comes to mind (from May 2010).
Anyway, the reason I'm talking about PostSecret at all is because this week, they had a wonderful one posted from a Roman Catholic priest. I wanted to share it with all of you. It made me ridiculously happy. I hope to spread the smile your way. God bless our confessors. :)
Anyone else remember this game?
Back when I was in elementary school, my Mom would take my younger sisters and I to the mall to hang out with our wonderful family friend, a priest we'd known since his deaconate.
When we'd go to the various malls, I'd always scan the "map" for the WHYY store. They always had the BEST selection of toys. Father and I would love playing this one, especially. I'd always attempt to outwit him. We usually ended up dropping the ball into the same place, but that didn't stop me from claiming victory just the same.
The point of the game, for those unfamiliar, is to gradually separate the two rods, allowing the ball to roll down the "track." You've got to be REALLY careful, though, because if you move the rods too quickly, the ball will fall through and land short of its target. If you move them to slowly, the ball won't budge.
I think in all of the times we've played that game, neither of us made it to the final target. We had such fun trying, though, cheering each other on while attempting to out-do one another at the same time. I loved that game. I wonder if he even remembers it! Ha ha ha.
Anyway, the reason I bring this memory up is a call I got from Father the other morning. He'd called to find out how Vincent's surgery turned out, and to assure me of his continued prayers for him and my family. My mom had told me he had offered Mass for Vince the morning of his surgery, and he confirmed that as well. I repeatedly thanked him and just about cried from his generosity. He then put his mom on the line so she could let me know she was praying for him, too.
How blessed are we to have him in our lives? Twice, now, my intentions were blessed by God. Two separate Masses were offered for these intentions, completely unsolicited, by two wonderful priests who simply wanted to utilize their calling to benefit God's people. Thank You, dear Lord, for such beautiful signs that You are keeping an eye on my family. Thank You, especially, for the gift of Tio. Thank You for the gift of all your priests. May they all be so holy and generous.
You certainly know how to pick 'em. :)
After a very trying period for priests everywhere (ESPECIALLY our Irish-Catholic fathers!), the Irish government announced that it'd be leaving the Confessional alone.
For those who haven't been keeping track of the story, some in the Republic of Ireland (a largely Catholic population, mind you) wanted to pass a law that made it criminal to withold information pertaining to child-abuse.
Now while I'm 100% supportive of prosecuting folks who knowingly allow child-abuse to occur, I am NOT 100% supportive of using the Confessional to acheive those ends.
First of all, Confession is a sacrament that aims at directing one to atone for sins. Secondly, what's to say that folks don't go into a Confessional with the intent to destroy a priest's credibility utilizing this potential law?
Say Fr. Jack is my pastor and called me out on wearing short shorts and a tank-top to Mass on Sunday. I'm angry and ashamed that he called me out on it, so I "go to Confession" and then report back to the authorities that I'd confessed child-abuse and Fr. Jack didn't report it to the authorities.
What happens, then? Fr. Jack gets carted off the jail, completely unable to defend himself due to the seal of Confession (he wouldn't be able to relay ANYTHING that was said there, thus incriminating himself through silence) and my smug little self goes about my life, blissfully unaware of the damage I caused because I only cared about revenge.
True, that's an extreme example, but when you consider how many people absolutely loathe the Catholic Church and would get kicks just by starting trouble for a priest, it's not like that scenario is totally far-fetched.
Thankfully, however, this foolishness is off the table now. Priests can confidently deliver the Sacrament of Reconciliation to their parishioners without having yet another fear gnawing the backs of their minds.
Thank you, God, for answering the prayers of your faithful. May You continue to bless and protect our confessors. They are our life-line to You!
***So I ended up editing this message and mailing it to my Pastor. Why? because our priests deserve to know what we're thinking of them. Not only when we're unhappy, but when we're happy, too. Happy coincidence, he got it on his birthday. Ha.
I sent it anonymously, though. I still can't help but be a little on the shy side. <Blush>***
So I'm totally in love with the above picture, and I'm glad I found it, because it's exactly the sentiments I had after participating in the Mass this past weekend. Everyone on the East Coast was in a tizzy over Hurricane Irene, but Father Piotr was completely calm, collected and even jovial. I seriously love our pastor. He's gentle, wonderful, and thoughtful. He's also very prudent, kind and generous.
Anyway, he gave a wonderful homily, injected with common sense, chiding, and gentle humor. During the consecration, he knelt reverently and I wistfully noted that for many other priests, this motion was an automatic gesture... something that was barely thought about, just done because, well... that's what "the Red" said to do.
Fr. Piotr, though... he always seems to take his time kneeling before the now consecrated Host. I truly believe he always acknowledges Christ upon the altar and through his actions encourages us to better understand this as well.
During the Eucharistic Procession, Fr. Piotr handled his line of communicants and quickly moved to the next line as his fizzled out. I again smiled, feeling elated that he was proud of his calling to minister to his people. He didn't just retreat to the sanctuary to begin cleaning the chalice and pattens. No, no. He moved to where he saw a need and filled the space, bringing Christ to his flock.
Finally, at the end of Mass, Father Piotr made a couple amusing announcements to help allay fears and dispell confusion surrounding Sunday's mass schedule. Since everything was up in the air due to the storm (tornado warnings, hurricane conditions, power outages, etc), he said the following:
"Some of you have asked me about the mass schedule. A lot, actually. Who am I? God?"
To this, everyone laughs, because during his homily, he brought up last week's Gospel, in which Jesus asked the apostles "Who do you think that I am?" St. Peter, of course, replied "You are the Son of the Living God."
Anyway, he continued:
"At this point, the schedule remains as normal. But please be prudent. If you see cars or trees or other things flying around, stay home. For the safety of yourselves and others. Check in on those who may be alone and scared. If it happens that no one is here when I come to say Mass, rest assured that I will say it - by myself - for all of you."
I think my heart melted into my shoes at that point. Father Piotr... good and saintly Father Piotr. I could imagine him there, offering the Mass for his parishoners and all those affected by the storm. And he would, too, piously, humbly, praying that God would accept this sacrifice on behalf of those unable to offer it with him.
My heart was so happy and alive with the deepest affection for him at that. I wanted to hug him after Mass, but since he was being pulled in thirty separate directions, I shyly nodded a "Hello" and simply made my way into the rain and headed home.
I sometimes feel so embarrassed for these feelings of affection. They are in no way unchaste. I just truly believe Fr. Piotr (and all priests, really) are hand-chosen by Christ. And the wonderful men who carry their vocations proudly make my heart swell with unspeakable love and gratitude. They, after all, enable me to participate in the Eucharist. They are the ones who offer me a bridge to Heaven... to the forgiveness of Penance. They, too, are the ones who offer me the consolation of Last Rites and a Catholic burial.
Say a prayer for these wonderful men. They truly are saintly beings called to walk a path separate from all the world. It is a difficult, lonely road, so offer prayers for their consolation and joy... also strength to follow the path with faithfulness and love.
Some of you familiar with the blog "These Stone Walls" might recognize the photo donning my blog today. If you're not familiar with Fr. Gordon MacRae's story, please take a moment to get acquainted with both his story, and his blog.
Anyway, Fr. Gordon is the catalyst for my beautiful surprise tonight. After taking my son home from the park, I found a non-descript envelope sitting on my dining room table. My husband's a whiz at sorting mail... :)
The envelope was from Father Gordon, replying to a letter I sent him about a week ago. I honestly didn't think he'd have a chance to write back considering the amount of mail he must get, but write back he did, and he most graciously offered a Mass (on the Solemnity of the Assumption, no less!!!) for my family and I. Oh surprise joy! Even in the midst of his own suffering, he reaches out to bestow such a beautiful and perfect blessing.
And to top it off, he will be using part of my letter in his 8/31 entry. Oh Heaven, you are so kind to have allowed me to be of service to Father's poor heart. What an absolute blessing! I hope to encourage others to write him with messages of hope and love. We cannot forget him - and others like him - who are suffering such injustice at the hands of the rabid.
If you, too, are interested in sending Father some love, please keep him in your prayers. Better yet, drop him a line using the contact info provided on his blog.
I attended Mass Sunday morning and witnessed - for the first time - a priest "sit out" the distribution of Holy Eucharist! He was a visiting missionary priest, and he gave a wonderful talk about his mission and offered quite a nice Mass otherwise. But to sit out the Eucharistic Procession???
I've heard others lament it... I've read the blogs of those who decried it. I've always counted myself lucky to be one of those who had never experienced that incomprehensible lack of appreciation for the gift of the priesthood before.
I was dumbfounded. I haven't accepted the Eucharist from a Eucharistic Minister since my reversion. I had even made Jesus that special promise after He was kind enough to send Father Piotr my way on His Corpus Christi Feast. I was absolutely heartbroken. I didn't know what to do!
I wasn't sure if I should even partake of the Eucharist, but then I remembered what Jesus repeatedly told St. Faustina. Always accept the Body of Christ because nothing should keep the soul away from Christ unless there is a stain of mortal sin. I couldn't think of any mortal sin I might be in the shadow of, so I accepted the Eucharist from an EM... feeling my heart sink for the priest who passed up on his obligation to feed His people!
I was so upset for this priest that I was near tears as I walked back to my seat. The poor guy next to me noticed my facial expression and wasn't sure what to say to me. I wouldn't have known what to say either. All I could do was repeat the Hail Mary and Our Father over and over again, asking that the Holy Spirit open this priest's heart to the importance of distributing the Eucharist personally.
Bah. I was seriously tempted to wait in my seat and ask for him to distribute to me after Mass, but I felt as though that'd be presumptuous on my part. Then I wondered if I'd be able to make it up to 40th street (30 blocks north) in time for their Eucharistic Procession. That thought got knocked over by virtue of my own fear that I'd miss it. Bah! So up I went to accept from one of the Eucharistic Ministers while I shot pleading looks at Father Missionary to reconsider out of love for Christ.
No such luck... and I'm still a little upset. I felt off for the rest of the day, like I did something wrong or had something wrong done to me. I don't really know. I can't properly express it. Bah. Please pray for these priests. May they open their hearts to the great grace of being chosen to personally deliver the Christ of Salvation to the faithful.
A few friends pointed out that my original blog on Women Priests was pretty awful. I concede they were very much right. I apologize, and hope this one explains the Church's position better. I appreciate the feedback, and appreciate even more the chance to try again. You're all wonderful... even if you do think I'm a crazy. :)
I was a little disappointed with my original blog a couple days ago on this topic. Some of my friends still didn't understand, and others directed me to this site which outlines several more reasons that the Catholic Church is simply "wrong" for not allowing women priests.
Apparently, the Holy Spirit had foreseen this. In anticipation of this heresy battle, He dropped a prayer / revelation book into my lap called "The 24 Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ." This sequence was penned by Luisa Piccarreta and translated by Saint Hannibal M. Di Francia (Luisa's Spiritual Director), but Luisa always said this prayer comes from Christ Himself. Currently, Luisa is on the path towards Sainthood, and I would only be too happy to write more about her in another blog at some point. But suffice to say, I know the Holy Spirit was being proactive by leading me to this particular set of prayers.
Last night, I prepared myself to take part in the Eucharistic Supper hour. In reading and mediating on this hour, Jesus patiently explained to me that He did not ordain His Apostles through the Passover meal as so many of us believe. It was in the washing of their feet that Christ imparted their worthiness to caress the Host of His Eucharist!
What an eye-opener! And it makes perfect sense, too! Only in John's gospel are we explained the "Ordination of the Apostles" in this manner. Jesus removed His prayer shawl, remaining only in what we would recognize as a priestly alb and wrapped a towel around His Waist. He knelt in submission and humiliation to accomplish a task so lowly that even Jewish slaves were exempt from the act! St. Peter, horrified that His God would humiliate Himself so drastically, refused to allow Jesus to touch his feet. Jesus, probably with a heart-smile at St. Peter's distressed expression of affection, simply replied, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me." In other words, Jesus was imparting to St. Peter that this act of cleansing must be accomplished in order to follow the Will of God to prepare him for the task about to be commissioned.
So contrary to what the women in the above link state, women were NOT present for this, nor were they present for the secondary Eucharistic meal after the Passover supper they prepared. Jesus, through Piccarreta, said of this washing of the feet:
I so much cherish this act of receiving Me in the Eucharist, that I do not want to entrust this office to the angels, and not even to my dear Mother, but I Myself want to purify them, down to the most intimate fibers, in order to dispose them to receive the fruit of the Sacrament; and in the Apostles I intended to prepare all souls.
Thus, we come to understand that it was in this act of total subjugation that Christ calls His Apostles to be like Him - to serve one another and more importantly, to serve the Church - humbly and with gentleness. Upon completing the Washing of the Feet, Christ then instructs them in the act of Consecration by, for the first time, creating Himself in the form of bread and wine - two of the most humble and universal commodities humanity knows. He then instructs THEM and ONLY THEM to "do this in remembrance of Me." But in order to share this act of Consecration with them, Christ, Himself, wished to make them ready to accept this gift into their hearts. I bow my head in appreciation of such a beautiful and humbling thought.
So again, the argument that women were around for the Passover feast has no bearing on the ability of our Church to recognize the ordination of women as priests. Simply put, women were NOT present for this cleansing in preparation for bestowing the gift of the power of Consecration.
Next, this site attempts to utilize Our Most Blessed Mother as a means for their end. *Shakes head* This is mortifyingly wrong. Again, if Christ had wanted women as priests, I assure you, Our Lady would've been first in line, well ahead of St. Peter! But again, folks seem to have difficulty understanding that men and women are called for different purposes. We are equal in dignity, but we have NOT been created to do the same things. We've been created to compliment one another, and the job of a priest is one of those things men have been created for. The Blessed Mother understood her place as the Ark of the New Covenant. She brought forth Christ not through her own power, but through the power of the Holy Spirit! She accepted His Gift through her fiat, she did not consecrate her womb in order to manifest the Presence of Christ within her!
Also, this "one priesthood" nonsense is exactly that... nonsense. There are two types of priesthoods recognized by the Catholic Church (not counting the Priesthood of Christ). One is the ministerial priesthood - which is the familiar clergy of priests and bishops we know and love. The second is the "common" (or, ironically, the "Royal") priesthood that each of us is a part of through Baptism. The two serve VASTLY different functions and one cannot exist without the other since they both exist to SERVE each other.
To put it simply, all apple trees are trees, but not all trees are apple trees, right? The same is true of Ministerial Priests. They all belong to the Royal Priesthood through Baptism, but not all royal priests are ministerial. To claim otherwise is simply fallacious. Utilizing a tiny seed of truth to start your garden of lies will inevitably turn into a jungle of folly.
Then we've got the argument that there have been female deacons in the past - some women even going so far as to claim Mary and Martha as their prime examples.
Let me go ahead and dispell that lie outright. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, were NEVER anywhere even remotely near the capacity of priest. Their place was always at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him and serving Him as their honored Guest and Teacher.
With that nonsense aside, I'll delve into the topic of female deacons. The women spoken of by this "WomenPriests" organization were nothing more than helpers to maintain dignity and humility through the sacrament of baptism. At the time, Baptism consisted of being wholly submersed in water, thoroughly soaking undergarments. As a result, these "deaconesses" referred to were at the ready with towels and fresh linens so the newly baptized might change themselves into more presentable attire.
St. Epiphanius says it best in his piece "Against Heresies" when he wrote:
"We come to the New Testament. If women were ordained to be priests for God, or to do anything canonical in the church, it should rather have been given to Mary in the New Testament... but it was decided differently. She was not even entrusted with baptizing. Nowhere was a woman established among [clerics]. There were four daughters of the evangelist Philip, who were prophetesses, but not priests. Although there is an order of deaconesses in the Church, yet they are not appointed to function as priests or for any administration of this kind, but so that provision may be made for the propriety of the female sex [at baptism]."
And just to hit it home one more time that these women were NOT a part of the three "sacred" offices of Holy Orders (which, BTW, are priesthood, diaconate and subdiaconate), the Council of Nicea had this to say:
"We have mentioned the deaconesses, who are enrolled in this position, but since they have not received any imposition of hands at all, they are surely to be numbered among the laity."
So once again, WomenPriests.org, you are spreading fallacy. I really wonder how much of this you understand and how much you are simply ignorant of. Considering the poor religious education we receive anymore, I wouldn't be surprised if these ideas spring forth innocently from ignorance of where our religious beliefs (as true Catholics) come from. Then again, with all the research they've apparently done to tear down Catholic teaching, they must've come across even a small portion of what I've explained above.
*Sigh* Prayers, folks. Prayers to the wonderful Holy Spirit are necessary. May He touch their minds with the light of wisdom, understanding and faith.
I'd like to say, firstly, that I'm practicing the virtues of patience and charity with this post. I'm going to ask that the Holy Spirit keep my tongue in check as I speak of the foolishness of these men and women who seek the ordination of women into the priesthood of the Catholic Church.
The New York Times ran this article a few days ago.
Let me start off this by explaining the rationalization some make for female priests...
1. Severe shortage of priests in general
2. Desire among some women to become priests
3. Women priests prove that the Church isn't "sexist"
4. Women priests would make up for abuses perpetrated by the male clergy
Going one at a time, yes, we are a little short on priests it seems. That being said, ordaining women would NOT solve the problem. It might - at best - be a temporary bandaid, but the lack of priests is symptomatic of a much larger problem. It's the same problem that is causing the erosion of our parishes, lack of other religious (sisters and brothers), Catholic schools closing by the hundreds, and a general disillusionment with the Catholic Church. The problem, simply put, is a lack of true faith formation. How can we expect to have a wonderful supply of wonderful priests if we don't teach our children what the faith is all about?
To the majority of children, faith, at most, is something practiced on Sunday during an hour of Mass, and maybe an hour in school. It's not something publicly practiced at home through family prayer, and it's certainly not something spoken about to friends or other family members.
As for the second reason - the desire of some women to become priests - I answer with a basic question of my own... what of the men who have a similarly strong desire to become mothers? There are certainly men who wished to be able to carry a child to term, and even nurse their own children. Even though science has made plenty of strides with biology and physiology, this desire will forever remain just that... a desire.
So while I'm sure there are plenty of women who have this sincere desire (St. Therese was one of them!), Jesus did not consecrate women into the Priesthood and as such, gave no authority to the Church to do so either. In fact, if Jesus wanted to consecrate women into the Priesthood, don't you think He'd've chosen His Most Blessed Mother as first in line - even before St. Peter, himself???
God has His reasons for not initiating women into the Priesthood, and as such, the Church cannot go against His Example. It's not about being sexist (point number three). It's about the example Jesus left for the Early Church through His Own Actions. There were NO WOMEN priests, and as a result, we can recognize none today. Men and women, though equal, have been given different sets of gifts and uses. Consecration is simply one that belongs solely to men the same as carrying life to term is one that belongs solely to women.
Rationalization 4 is a fallacy, pure and simple. There is a rise in female abuse against children, and we're all familiar with Mary Kay Letourneau... maybe even Debra LaFave! The accusation that only men are responsible for crimes against children is readily proven wrong, and such a foolish belief may even endanger children by creating such a false sense of security.
Pope John Paul II made it pretty clear in his Aposotlic letter, Ordinatotio Sacerdotalis. As such, this issue has been laid to rest. Unfortunately, there are those who are angry that the Church didn't bend to their beliefs and desires and still seek to push the issue. They are mistaken in their quest since regardless of their arguments, the Church will not (and truly CANNOT) change its teaching on this.
My query again, then, is why do they continue attempting to alter a religion they don't agree with? Why not just find a religion that suits your belief system instead of attempting to force another into your line of thinking? *Shakes head*
Sad, really. These folks are running around thinking they're Catholic when, in reality, they are trying to destroy the very thing they think they're out to save. Prayers are needed for them. Lots and lots of prayers.
I can only pray we are blessed with more and more priests like this!
A friend of mine from HS celebrated his 2nd year as a priest this past May. When I'd heard he made the decision to become a priest, I was thrilled. He'd always been such a sweetheart in HS, and I couldn't help but smile to think of the wonderful priest he'd make.
This priest and I have a mutual friend - also from High School - who has made fun of this priest for his "conservative" nature. I admit being shocked at this mean streak against our mutual friend, and chided him for such remarks. This friend continued to complain about the priest, saying he was too long-winded, he prayed older prayers, or he didn't know what he was doing on the altar. *Shakes head* I probably should have sternly reprimanded him for such arrogance, but instead, I calmly directed the conversation in a different direction to remove the threat of offense. My heart still breaks just thinking about that.
However, it also rejoices, because those complaints are things I look upon with pride! A priest who is not afraid to delve into traditional Catholicism! A priest who is looking to call us back to the "old ways." A priest who is content to have us think on our sins with proper time and thoughtfulness! I knew he'd be a blessing - and he hasn't disappointed.
So in light of him, the two from the article, and all priests (past, present and future), let us hug them in prayer and thank God for their blessings. Let us also pray that they always keep close to the Savior they daily caress, and feel forever the Presence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
I'm a little discouraged tonight.
I just got back from a committee meeting for my parish, and our opening prayer and reflection turned into a vent-session by one of our members. This isn't the first time she's redirected conversation towards venting, but it's the first time I noted this tendency spill over into prayer and reflection.
I was so appalled by what and who she was venting about that I was compelled to step in. She was upset with our visiting priest's homily regarding homosexual marriage, comparing those who attempted to push it through our court systems as "weeds" (courtesy of the Parable of the Tares). She took personal offense to this due to the homosexuality of her daughter. She then attempted to vilify poor Father citing examples "from the past" that had no bearing on the current issue at hand. Her aim was to divulge a group mentality... that "most people within the parish didn't like him."
Oh, my poor heart! I poorly attempted to defend Father. He was doing his job as the representative of Christ. He was not, in any way, condemning homosexuals. Much like my previous entry on this topic, he was condemning the act of homosexual SEX, and lamenting the wayward thinking of Catholics who truly believed homosexual marriage should be legal and valid by the Church.
We tend to become very impassioned by this particular argument because it hits so close to home for many of us. I, for one, have relatives and friends who are homosexual. For many years, I subscribed to the fallacy that the Church was wrong on this issue. The homosexuals I knew and loved are wonderful, decent, loving individuals. How could God fault them for showing love, especially when they were powerless to choose who that special love was bestowed upon?
After much reflection, I learned this mindset comes down to pride. We somehow see ourselves as smarter... more loving... wiser than the Church. In our affliction, we misunderstand the message and repackage it as on of intolerance, conservatism, stupidity, or even hate. We forget that the job of the Church is to direct souls to the Salvation ransomed through Christ. She does this by teaching the faithful right from wrong. In our love, we overlook the sin of our friends and families. We don't like to think them capable of any offense to God when they are so wonderful and good-natured otherwise. True, we like to think ourselves incapable of this displeasure as well. Yet the Church's very difficult task is to cut through the confusion and set our hearts aflame with the Truth.
Our visiting priest was kind, courageous and wise to so firmly point out this growing confusion within our world-wide congregation, especially in light of the acceptance of this particular sin. He does not deserve to be attacked for amplifying the voice of the Church which only echoes that of God.
Ugh, it really makes me so upset to hear anyone speak ill of a priest, even under such tense circumstances as these! Priests are called by Jesus, Himself, to fulfill His promises to us through the Eucharist. Where would we be without our priests? Where would we be without their blessings, their absolutions, their direction? Where would we be without their prayers, their offerings of Mass, their comfort???
We simply do not understand that when we speak out against a priest, we speak out against Jesus, Himself! After all, Our Lord revealed to Mutter Vogl (sometimes spelled Vogel) the following:
"One should NEVER attack a priest, even when he's in error, rather one should pray and do penance that I'll grant him My grace again. He alone fully represents Me, even when he doesn't live after my example!
Whoever voices judgment over a priest has voiced it over me... Every Priest is My Vicar and My Heart will be sickened and insulted because of it! If you hear a judgment (against a Priest) pray a Hail Mary."
Ever since coming across these words, I've felt a strong aversion to criticism of our clergy. I do not find our clergy to be without fault, mind you, but as Jesus requested, I lay these grievances at His Feet and offer a prayer for wisdom, charity and patience on the part of whoever was less fortunate to realize this command from Christ, Himself. Oh, if only we understood the blessings our priests provide for us... even those not always in the full graces of Jesus. Even in their miserable state, they are more worthy than we who judge. Only THEY have been called by Christ to deliver Him unto the world. Only THEY have been endowed with the Spirit so that through them, the Mass can exist.
We could have a million devout Catholics all praying over bread and wine with the most fervent supplications to ever grace the ears of angels and that bread and wine would still be bread and wine. ONE PRIEST, however, even in a lackluster spiritual state, has the power to call Jesus from Heaven to manifest His Glory through the Eucharist. ONE. Who, then, are we to utter any word against these men? Who are we to dare question the choice of God, Himself, in the selection and ordination of these priests?
*Sigh* My heart breaks for those who do not understand the error of this mindset. Please, dearest Holy Spirit, open our minds to nothing but love and gratitude for our priests. For those members of the clergy that need our dire assistance through prayer and penance, give us patience, understanding, and charity so that we may never offend Christ through criticism. Instead, open our hearts so that we may help atone for their misdeeds and grant our requests that they once more take upon themselves the expectations You've set forth for them.
Top Rated Entries
My Darkest Secret
Do Animals Have Souls?
10 Things a Parent of an SPD Kid Wants to Say
Fun and Easy Lenten Crafts
Blessed Mother as Intercessor
Loss of Life
Women Priests II
Render Unto Caesar
The Godparent Poem
NYT Anti-Catholic Ad
Pages I Stalk
A Woman's Place
Real Catholic Love & Sex
Having Left the Altar
Fr. Z @ WDTPRS
These Stone Walls
St. Joseph's Vanguard
Traditional Latin Mass
Truth, Beauty and Goodness
The Way Out There
Written by the Finger of
Little Catholic Bubble
So You're a Church Musician
There and Back Again
Make It - Love It
St. Monica's Bridge