Monday, January 21, 2019

WATCH: "It's a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his bootstraps." - Martin Luther King Jr.




Thoughts about that.





The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, on earth, is called the Church militant.


After the confrontation in D.C. between a Catholic high school kid and a Native American Elder, it seemed to me religious people often dive into demonstrations with a combative mindset. They adopt a militant, war mentality simply because that is how their leaders prompt them. Church militant(cy) is reinterpreted as a sort of Crusader-style confrontation in the Culture War. It totally exaggerates the traditional understanding of spiritual combat - especially as St. Paul describes it.  "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 6:12 

When I wrote that Saturday, I was thinking of the little way of St. Therese.

It seemed to me the video portrayal of a kid confronting a Native American elder was especially disrespectful and confrontational.  Today there is a lot of back and forth regarding the incident, each side more or less demonizing the other.  I initially was persuaded the confrontation was the kid's fault, now it appears I was wrong.  Regardless, my point is about meekness, humility, and genuine respect for life.  I originally thought, how ironic to be participating in the MFL, calling for 'respect for life', when something like that happened.  It struck me that the mindset going into these events is combative - going against a political  enemy, because this is war - the culture war.  Now it appears the students had been provoked.  I was obviously mislead by headlines proposing a false narrative.

That's not the way of the Beatitudes.

Anyway, this is the anecdote from the life of St. Therese I had in mind regarding having one's mind made up in advance to combat one's challengers, as if they are an enemy to quash:


One day Therese counseled her sister Celine: "Your programme of life seems to be this: 'I will be kind to those who are kind, and be amiable with those who are amiable.'  Then naturally you become agitated as soon as someone disagrees with you.  In this you are like the pagans in the Gospel who our Lord tells us not to be like.  Rather he tells us, 'love your enemies, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you.'" -My Sister St. Therese, Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face

I may be wrong here, but I think the Pope touched upon a similar attitude in today's homily, having one's mind made up against another, beforehand.  Speaking of the authentic Christian style of living, the Holy Father cited ways of thinking and acting which oppose it.  Speaking of the accusatory style,  "The Pope says that the accusatory style belongs to those who always try and live by accusing others, disqualifying others, acting as absent promoters of justice."

Whether or not anyone agrees with me that many activists and protesters approach public demonstrations with a militant mindset is one thing, but doing so in the name of Christ seems to me to be wrong.  We are called to witness to the Gospel - even as the martyrs did.  We can lose.  We can fail.  We don't have to win any prize in a worldly sense.  As M. Teresa said,  'God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.'

The Christian style is that of the Beatitudes: meekness, humility, patience in suffering, love for justice, ability to endure persecution, not judging others... - P.Francis

So once again, taken from my comments on FB concerning the Covington Catholic students involving a confrontation with an Native American Elder - which I removed,  I will reprint another quote from Peter Faber along the same lines as what I have just written here.

I came across this quote from Jesuit St. Peter Faber, which I think exemplifies for us the conduct appropriate in dealing with those who disagree with us. This example, this precaution is perhaps not understood by Catholics, especially those who mistrust Pope Francis.  Although it maybe should be taught, especially to high school students participating in public demonstrations. 
"It is necessary for anyone who wants to help heretics in the present age to hold them in great affection and love them very truly. One must ... exclude all thoughts and feelings tending to discredit them. One must also win their good will and love by friendly discussion and conversation about matters on which we do not differ, taking care to avoid all controversial subjects that lead to bickering... The things that unite us ought to be the very basis of our approach." - St. Peter Faber
As I've indicated here, and repeated on FB, more often than not, bad conduct arises because we already have formed a negative attitudes toward anyone who opposes or disagrees with us.

My apologies for any unjust criticism of the Covinton Catholic students involved in the MFL.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

A Big Heart, Open to God ...



What we knew from the beginning.

I've been thinking of that - how we knew, from the beginning of his Pontificate, who Pope Francis is and how he ministers and serves the Church.  He told us himself in his interview with Fr. Spadaro in 2013.  An excerpt here:

“How are we treating the people of God? I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess. The church’s ministers must be merciful, take responsibility for the people and accompany them like the good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor. This is pure Gospel. God is greater than sin. The structural and organizational reforms are secondary—that is, they come afterward. The first reform must be the attitude. The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people, who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost. The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials. The bishops, particularly, must be able to support the movements of God among their people with patience, so that no one is left behind. But they must also be able to accompany the flock that has a flair for finding new paths.
“Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.” - An Interview with Pope Francis
I have always seen proofs of his goodness.

No matter how misrepresented on social media or in publications condemning him - even by Catholic bishops, I have great love for the papacy and especially our Holy Father Pope Francis.  I almost feel sorry for those who stir up people against the Pope and suggest he is anything but a faithful son of the Church.

I was reading a short account of the life of St. Peter Faber, and was immediately impressed by a couple of quotes from the saint which pointed to a Jesuit style of apostolate, especially towards those alienated or outside the Church.
"It is necessary for anyone who wants to help heretics in the present age to hold them in great affection and love them very truly.  One must ... exclude all thoughts and feelings tending to discredit them.  One must also win their good will and love by friendly discussion and conversation about matters on which we do not differ, taking care to avoid all controversial subjects that lead to bickering...  The things that unite us ought to be the very basis of our approach." - St. Peter Faber
Faber also said, "Take care, take care, never to close your heart to anyone."

St. Ignatius felt Fr. Faber was the most accomplished as a director of the Spiritual Exercises.  I'm confident we see the same type of Jesuit in our Holy Father Pope Francis.

For more on the life of 
S. Peter Faber
go here.

Friday, January 18, 2019

We all have so much love to give ...

I watched UTV Live this evening when this homeless woman told 
how she tried to revive her friend 'Robbie' 
who she discovered lifeless on High Street, 
Belfast this morning and I cried. 
This is not the society I want to live in where people die on the streets 
and I am sure it is not the society anyone reading this posting wants. 
May he rest in Peace and be in a better place. - John Dalat



We all have so much love to give ...

When I first saw this photo/story on Facebook, I thought of St. Therese of Lisieux - it struck me there is a resemblance here - the woman looks a bit like St. Therese. Therese wrote how she took her place at the table of sinners - how she would have lived in a refuge for fallen women to reveal to them the love and mercy of God. This woman, her story seems to exemplify that same charity and love.

St. Therese, pray for us, especially those
most in need of mercy.

Song for this post here.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

St. Anthony of the Desert

The accuracy of this quote attributed to S. Anthony is in question - I only used it since it segued nicely with the Holy Father's homily for today. TN

Compromising Christians, slaves to seduction


Finally, in order to help us understand how not to slip into the risk of having a perverse heart, the Pope reflects on the word “seduction”: the seduction of sin, used by the devil, the “great seducer”, “a great theologian but without faith, with hatred”, who wants to “enter and dominate” the heart and knows how to do it. So, concludes the Pope, a “perverse heart is one that lets itself be seduced; and seduction leads him to obstinacy, to closure, and to many other things”:
And with seduction, either you convert and change your life or you try to compromise: but a little here and a little there, a little here and a little there. “Yes, yes, I follow the Lord, but I like this seduction, but just a little...” And you’re starting to lead a double Christian life. To use the word of the great Elijah to the people of Israel at that moment: “You limp from both legs”. To limp from both legs, without having one set firmly. It is the life of compromise: “Yes, I am a Christian, I follow the Lord, yes, but I let this in...”. And this is what the lukewarm are like, those who always compromise: Christians of compromise. We, too, often do this: compromise. Even when the Lord lets us know the path, even with the commandments, also with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but I prefer something else, and I try to find a way to go down two tracks, limping on both legs. P.Francis homily 1-17-19

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Defrock?

Turn in your cappa!


So they are going to take McCarrick's cappa back?

The literal term is laicization - return to the lay state, or more correctly, "‘dismissed from the clerical state,’ because this is a juridical status.” That's the news today - that the Pope wants him to be a sort of trophy to offer to the bishops when they gather for their conference in February.  That's so Law and Order talk.  Secular news is promoting the story.

Pope Francis, who has the final say in the case, wants it completed before heads of national Catholic churches meet at the Vatican from Feb. 21-24 to discuss what is now a global sexual abuse crisis, three sources said. 
The meeting offers a chance for him to respond to criticism from victims of abuse that he has stumbled in his handling of the crisis and has not done enough to make bishops accountable. 
“It (the defrocking of McCarrick) would be like a trophy to show that the pope is indeed serious about dealing with this. That is the process that seems to be unfolding,” said Kurt Martens, professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America in Washington. - Read more here.
For me the biggest problem with McCarrick is the corruption, not so much the sexual predation of young men and priests.  Some have even claimed the occasions with 16 year old could have been considered consensual.  People call it a gay cabal or gay lobby, which protected McCarrick and helped him climb the ladder.  The emphasis is placed on gay, the homosexual lobby.  Nevertheless, after months of thinking about this, it seems to me it really goes back to clericalism, power, privilege and money.  The sexual crimes seem to me to be a byproduct, a symptom of the corruption.  The fact that McCarrick was a major fundraiser for the Church seems to me to account for his being protected and supported, and covered for when rumors and allegations emerged.

I too got caught up in the homosexual blame game, but the situation could just as well have involved sexual predation of women.  No doubt, the secrets and lies associated with closeted homosexuality probably motivated SSA priests and bishops to look the other way, or even deny - refusing to believe - the stories of McCarrick going after seminarians, and so on.  It's similar to Maciel, founder of the Legion.  People were covering for him and refusing to believe he led a double life.  He wasn't 'defrocked' - rather he was sent into exile to do penance.  A similar case involving Fr. Gino Burresi resulted in his exile to a life of prayer and penance.

Calling for public repentance and confession is not any one's call, save for the Pope.  Reduction to the clerical state seems unlikely to me, McCarrick most likely has repented - resigning his title as cardinal seems to me to signify that.  Going into solitude to do penance seems to me to be enough.

I doubt the Pope is willing to make McCarrick a scapegoat to atone for the abuse crisis, much less as an example to reform the clergy.   The  McCarrick story points to a more serious corruption in the clergy.  How crazy is it to imagine a young man claiming "McCarrick used his authority to coerce them to sleep with him when they were adult seminarians studying for the priesthood."  What?  Why?  Adult men coerced?  Trying to get through seminary by cooperating that way?  Where is their faith?  Why would they think they were qualified to enter priesthood with that type of compromise?  You see, I don't know the answers to those questions, but it clearly points to corruption stemming from a crisis of faith and morals.

Oh.  I could be wrong.



Song for this post here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Is Vigano pen-happy?



My mother used to say that about me when I was little.

I used to write letters to everyone, relatives, the pope, politicians, movie stars, and so on.  When I wrote to relatives, what I said would get back to my mother and she would freak out and yell at me, "You're pen-happy!"  It still cracks me up.

That said, I wonder if Archbishop Vigano is 'pen-happy'?  

He wrote another  public letter - open letter - to McCarrick calling for him to repent publicly.  On the surface it reads very holy, but is it appropriate for a bishop to supercede the Vatican courts and call for a public confession, repentance and penance from McCarrick?

Why is Vigano so public with his information and judgement now, when he knew way back when and was glad-handing and congratulating McCarrick in photo ops and at banquets?

Dear Archbishop McCarrick, 
As has been reported as a news by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the accusations against you for crimes against minors and abuses against seminarians are going to be examined and judged very soon with an administrative procedure.

No matter what decision the supreme authority of the Church takes in your case, what really matters and what has saddened those who love you and pray for you is the fact that throughout these months you haven’t given any sign of repentance. I am among those who are praying for your conversion, that you may repent and ask pardon of your victims and the Church. 
Time is running out, but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly, since they have themselves become public. Your eternal salvation is at stake. - Finish reading here.
As the NCRegister article makes clear, Pope Francis suspended Archbishop McCarrick from public ministry last June, pending the completion of a canonical process against him.  So why is Vigano now jumping the gun and calling for McCarrick to go public?  Something is off.  Many Catholics online celebrate Vigano as a saint, praising him for his courage.

Something is off.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

This story is very hard to believe.



Promiscuous gay man becomes attracted to women only after living a celibate life for one year.

Just one year.  He's 27 and straight for life.  "The young man said he is now looking for an “open-minded girl I can lose my virginity to."

One year and he's totally straight.  God bless him, but the guy who wrote the article isn't helping anyone with this type of news.  Just saying.

UNITED KINGDOM, January 9, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A 27-year-old man who had identified as ‘gay’ since age 14 has realized he is not a homosexual after choosing to remain celibate for a year.
Dominic Hilton, after performing homosexual acts with up to 150 men and engaging in 4 longer-term relationships with other males during his young life and working as a ‘male escort,’ clearly surprised himself with the discovery that he isn’t ‘gay’ after all.
“If you’d have asked me in the past if a person can change their sexuality, I’d have said no – but I’m living proof that you can,” Hilton told The Mirror. “Sex is always something I enjoyed, but this past year, that sexual attraction to men has just gone.”
“It was a gradual thing – not like someone flicked a switch and I was straight – but now I am actively seeking a girl to settle down with,” said Hilton.

Following the break up with his ‘boyfriend’ on Christmas Day, 2017, the 27-year-old from Bournemouth, England resolved that in the new year he would abstain from sexual activity and dating. - LifeSite

He can identify however he wants. 


Friday, January 11, 2019

Painting



I've been painting.

I try to paint every day.  I've been doing 'studies' for a couple of subjects.  I've been planning to paint a panel depicting St. Nunzio, and I am working on a study, which I will finish, but now I'm not so sure I will do a final painting.  I can across an image of the saint which is better than any I've seen so far.  I show it at the top of the post.  I'm sorry I do not know who painted it.

That's all.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Big Tent Traditionalism?

I love this.  I posted it on FB with the caption
"I want to go back."
It was immediately misunderstood.


Bad title for a Catholic article.

The problem is that it is a political term adapted to describe the Church, in this case, Traditionalist Catholics.  It's been used before as an inclusive term for the Church - big tent Catholicism.  Along these lines, I suppose Mark Shea might call them Christianists, since the traditionalists would pretty much whole-heartily endorse Trump and his policies.  I don't want to get into the politics or the online feuds these topics arouse, but Pat Archbold's post fails right there in the title - Patrick's guide to big tent traditionalism - he's composed a guide to help guide people just waking up to the distress of this papacy (who) may not yet have realized how they got hereSteve Skojec recently complained how he gets heat for what he posts when in reality he's just trying to help people.  They all seem to feel a vocation to help people - help people reject the Pope, Magisterium, Novus Ordo, Vatican II, and embrace Traditionalism.

Does Archbold actually say that?  Does Skojec?  Kinda, sorta.  Steve says the Novus Ordo is a 'bad Mass' - I believe echoing an Emmerich prophecy.  While Archbold, in one of his guiding points says:
That's kind and generous of him.  He's wrong however.  Not one Pope has ever declared the Mass of St. Paul VI a bad Mass, nor have they declared the reformed liturgical rites as not good.  As Pope Benedict affirmed, it is the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite.  All of these critics, the people who condemn the NO are people who have received the sacraments of the Novus Ordo - from sacraments of initiation to the sacrament of penance.  They probably still do in many cases.  To be sure, they must have received communion or adored the Blessed Sacrament confected in the Ordinary Form of Mass at one time or another?  Certainly there have been abuses and they may even continue in some places, but the Ordinary Form itself is not a 'bad Mass', or an evil rite.  When you read statements which claim the OF is a bad Mass, know that it is not authoritative and not Roman Catholic to make those claims.

I frequently post lovely traditional photos of the EF Mass, or especially edifying photos of receiving communion on the tongue, and when I do it's like people come out of the woodwork cheering and hoping 'I come back', as if I'm in another denomination.  When I say things "I want to go back" what I mean is that I want to fan into flame, in my heart, that 'early love' Jesus calls us to in the Book of Revelation.  "Return to your early love."

I grew up in the pre-Vatican II Church, and I learned Latin in the Latin Rite.  When I returned to the sacraments I returned to the Latin Rite, now known as the Ordinary Form.  I attended Mass at Assumption in St. Paul, MN.  In 1972, the Monsignor there never turned the altars around, he said the 'new Mass' but he did so in Latin.  When the Mass was said in the vernacular, it remained ad orientem.  It was the same Mass, without innovations.  At the time I wasn't educated to notice any reform.  I knelt for communion and received it on the tongue.  When I found out I could receive it on the hand, I was thrilled, and I did so with even greater devotion.

There is one Mass in two forms, or uses.  It is one Mass - the same Mass. We have one Faith, one Baptism, one Mass, one, holy, Catholic Church, and one reigning Pontiff as Vicar of Christ.  That is not exaggerating his importance, nor is it papalatrous to believe that.

Monday, January 07, 2019

My house being now all stilled ...



      One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
- ah, the sheer grace! - 
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

       In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! - 
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

       On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

       This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
- him I knew so well - 
there in a place where no one appeared...   
                                                     -John of the Cross

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Epiphany and Russian Christmas Eve!


Altar of the Three Kings. Elmen's parish church, Tyrol, Austria.


St. Petersburg



If you didn't keep Christmas well, you can start all over again with Russian Christmas.

Friday, January 04, 2019

I believe in God ...



Credo

Peter Martyr, my patron.  I believe in God.  Not in anyone else.  Jesus Christ is Lord.  I believe in God.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Letter



The Pope Speaks.

He sent a letter to the bishops on retreat, expressing his desire to be 'physically present' but was unable to do so.  The letter in it's entirety is available here.  It's excellent.

In a letter distributed to the bishops at the beginning of their Jan. 2-8 retreat, Pope Francis said he was convinced their response to the "sins and crimes" of abuse and "the efforts made to deny or conceal them" must be found through "heartfelt, prayerful and collective listening to the word of God and to the pain of our people." 
"As we know," he said, "the mentality that would cover things up, far from helping to resolve conflicts, enabled them to fester and cause even greater harm to the network of relationships that today we are called to heal and restore." 
The "abuses of power and conscience and sexual abuse, and the poor way that they were handled" continue to harm the church and its mission, he said, but so does "the pain of seeing an episcopate lacking in unity and concentrated more on pointing fingers than on seeking paths of reconciliation." 
Such a division, which goes well beyond a "healthy" diversity of opinions, is what caused him to recommend a retreat because, the pope said, "this situation forces us to look to what is essential and to rid ourselves of all that stands in the way of a clear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ." - America
This restores my confidence and hope. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Double Lives

Cardinal Wright with Wuerl

Corruption

I came across an article by that title on Commonweal.  It's probably the best written regarding the scandal.  It's rather balanced and sober, as well as enlightening.  I can't believe how naive I've been.

During the nearly four decades I spent writing about religion for Newsweek, I heard numerous tales of “lavender lobbies” in certain seminaries and chanceries, told mostly by straight men who had abandoned their priestly vocations after encountering them. At one time or another, the whispering centered on networks in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Chicago, or Pittsburgh, among other dioceses. One of the few priests to complain in public was the late Andrew Greeley, who spoke of gay circles operating in the administration of Chicago’s Joseph Bernardin, a cherished friend of his. As far back as 1968, I heard similar rumors about priests serving in the Roman Curia, mostly from Italians, who are generally more relaxed about homosexuality than Americans and unsurprised when those leading double lives are outed. What concerns me, though, is not simply personal hypocrisy, but whether there are gay networks that protect members who are sexually active.

Here it is worth revisiting the career of Cardinal John J. Wright (1909–1979) who, like McCarrick, was the subject of numerous stories about his own sexuality. Again, these came mostly from former seminarians and priests of the Pittsburgh diocese, which had a reputation during Wright’s decade there as a haven for actively gay clerics. That was especially true of the Pittsburgh Oratory, which Wright founded in 1961 as a religious center ministering to Catholic students attending the city’s secular universities.

Wright was an intellectually gifted churchman whose reputation as a liberal in the Spellman era rested chiefly on his interest in literature and the arts and his voluminous essays on those subjects and others published in liberal Catholic magazines, including this one. In 1969, at the age of sixty, Pope Paul VI chose Wright to head the Congregation for Priests in Rome and elevated him to cardinal. It was there, in the frenzied initial years of the post-council era, that I first heard stories of his leading a double life rather openly with a younger lover. What interests me now is not the private details of this double life, but whether it influenced how he ran the congregation overseeing the selection, training, and formation of the clergy. Donald Wuerl, who recently resigned as archbishop of Washington D.C., would surely know the truth about Wright. Wuerl’s first assignment after ordination at the age of thirty-one was as secretary to then Bishop Wright of Pittsburgh in 1966. The younger priest was said to be closer to the cardinal than the hair on his head. He became Wright’s omnipresent full-time personal assistant when the latter moved to Rome, even sitting in for him during the papal conclave that elected John Paul II.  - Double Lives - The Peril of Clerical Hypocrisy, By Kenneth L. Woodward

What I don't know is a lot.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

An Obligation Fulfilled

Mother of God,
pray for us.


What's wrong with the Church.

New Year's Eve I devoted to adoration before 5 PM Mass, in honor of the Mother of God.  The Mass has always been a holy day of obligation because it is also the Octave of Christmas.

This year one US bishop lifted the 'obligation' requirement for his diocese, and members of the online 'Holy Office' quickly cried out against it.  How Novus Ordo!  How Protestant!  Personally I thought lifting the obligation might be reasonable for those who have difficulties getting to Mass - the bishop had his reasons, I guess.  As for those who care nothing about 'obligation' yet go to Mass and adoration out of devotion and desire to participate in the liturgical life of the Church, nothing would deter them from attending Mass for the Octave.  After all, it's still Christmas - the 8th Day.  The Circumcision of Christ, the first shedding of his precious blood is likewise commemorated.

Anyway, last evening at my parish the pastor was away on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  (Together with his friend, a pastor from another parish they are leading a group of pilgrims.)  Fr. frequently refers to heading parish based pilgrimages as one of those perks of being a priest.  Be that as it may, guest priests are scheduled to fill in while he is away.  The schedule is already erratic, hours for confessions switched about, Mass times switched about, so there is often some confusion and people show up late to discover Mass time has switched.

Last evening the substitute priest showed up late.  It was snowing and evidently he was stuck in traffic.  The Music Director called Fr. in the Holy Land, Fr. told him that those who showed up for Mass could leave, they had fulfilled their obligation.  Some of us remained, and sure enough the guest priest showed up.  Completely taken aback because he had told people he would be late.  Those of us remaining in prayer, waited longer hoping Fr. would still have Mass.  He didn't.  He gave communion to a couple who asked for it, but other than that, nothing.

The obligation.

I've heard many priests complain because laity complain about holy days of obligation, and they think laity who do that are less than devout.  Then I've heard them complain that people come to Mass because they 'want something' - like on Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, or any Sunday when anyone and everyone goes forward for communion or a blessing.  I detect a sort of clericalism in their attitude, don't you?

So last night, when push comes to shove, we were all told we could go home because we fulfilled our obligation - as if that is what the celebration of Mass is all about.  Maybe we did.  But Fr. didn't.  Neither the pastor nor the quest priest fulfilled their obligation.

Why do we need a pastor, a priest?  To celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments and to provide pastoral care.  Not to fund raise, conduct tours, or lay out strategies to get more parishioners and recruit lay employees to run innovative programs.

What should have happened?

Considering the circumstances and the lack of communication with the in-transit celebrant, a Liturgy of the Word with Communion could have taken place.  With or without a deacon - an Extraordinary Minister could have conducted it.

Or, when the priest finally arrived, he could have, should have said Mass, with or without a large congregation.  Every Mass scheduled is said for a particular intention, accompanied by a stipend.  Maybe not always, but normally, and there is a real, canonical obligation to offer that Mass for the intentions of those who requested it.  The Mass needed to be offered.

In this case, pastoral care and consideration flew out the window.  As a layman, fulfilling an obligation is not why I go to Mass - it may be part of it to some extent - but the real reason the faithful attend Mass is everything the Church and her ministers tell us why we should.  We want to be there.  We want to worship God.  We need to be there, we need to hear the Word of God, to be fed, to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist.  We have nowhere else to go for that.  We have no one except Christ.  We can't confect him on our own - we need a priest - not an administrator.

Last night those in charge acted as if a performance was cancelled.  The show wouldn't happen, the singers wouldn't sing, the homily wouldn't get performed, the glad-handing greetings wouldn't happen.  No waves and happy New Year's exchanged.  No one was welcomed, no one dismissed, there would be no shouting and hugs and laughs after Mass.  Nothing.  Everyone was simply sent home, assured that they fulfilled their obligation.

That tells me it's a job for some priests.  Mass is entertainment - a performance, with a homily available on podcast, and if the music is good, maybe even a CD.  It's a business with perks - a career.  The best managers and fundraisers get the best promotions, and can dispense people from their obligations.  At least that is how it seemed to me last night.

Once again I know of what the Holy Father speaks when he says,  "priests should smell of their sheep".  So many priests no longer live among their sheep, they live off campus - you need to make an appointment to see them, during business hours.

Faith has dwindled in the Church.