Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day.

A happy, restful, and fun Memorial Day to you all. Please take a moment, remember what it is really all about, and pray for those who laid down their lives serving our country.

(My dad on the left and the men of his Forward Observer Team. Also, dad shaving.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Would You Like Some Whine With That?

Yes, tomorrow is/ought to be Ascension Thursday. This means that it is time for my 18th Annual Whine On Moving The Ascension (tm). As usual, the Famous Father Z (tm) beat me to the punch on this with his usual wit and erudition. But that will not deter me, I will throw in my three cents worth.

First, the Ascension is a historical feast. It is not a conceptual or doctrinal feast like Christ the King, Corpus Christi, or Trinity Sunday. These days are not tied to a particular time. (Though I don't like moving Corpus Christi for other reasons.) Moreover, it has a particular temporal relation to Easter; forty days. The historicity requires that it be celebrated on Thursday.

Second, if it is important enough to celebrate it is important enough to celebrate it on the correct day. The argument that more people can celebrate it on Sunday is a load of _____. We make things far too convenient for people; part of our convenience society. Religious should be difficult in some respects and require sacrifices and inconvenience. (This ties in to the wimpification of Lent.) And those who honestly can't attend are excused anyway.

This beings me to my third point. This is yet another retreat. The practice of our religion is being pushed out of the public square and we let it happen! We let and even encourage the separation of Christian life from everyday life. No more! If it inconveniences some folks, big freakin' deal. I suspect this is more about lazy priests than anything else. God forbid that we should have two Sunday schedules in a week. Yeah it is tiring, but that is the job.

In short, give us back our holy days on the proper day. And I pray that next year I won't have to do the Nineteenth Whine.

(P. S. The last few years have been better because in the Extraordinary Form I can celebrate Ascension Thursday.)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Lost Sheep.

Recent events have caused me to reflect upon how much I hate loosing sheep, whether it be to another parish, another church, or that other church known as cafeteria Catholicism. My secretary remarked, "Wow, you really take it personally." Damn straight I do. This isn't just my job, it is my vocation. And if that weren't enough, there is always the knowledge that I will be held accountable by the Lord for each and every soul entrusted to my care on the Day of Judgement.

There isn't much I can do about folks going to another parish. People move or personalities do not mesh. Occasionally, well more than occasionally, I stick my foot in my mouth or failing in my duty. I also know that I don't fit the modern stereotype of the priest.

When folks leave for another church, thankfully an infrequent event, I always wonder what I could do to better teach the Faith and help the folks deal with their doubts and questions. It is enormously frustrating that many people won't come to you, or someone, with their doubts, questions, and concerns. And when people leave for a stupid reason like romantic love or business, I just wish I could pound some sense into them.

The hardest are the Cafeteria Catholics; those who think that they can be their own Pope or really their own God. Here we find the mystery of sin. A mystery which goes back to Lucifer. I will not serve. Or I will only serve when convenient and in accord with my own desires. And what infuriates me is that they are always able to find a priest and fellow 'Catholics' to encourage and enable them. Father Flapdoodle says it is OK.

I suppose the most difficult thing is recognizing that it really isn't about me at all. Everyone has free will whether I should think they should or shouldn't. And everyone will receive their due reward whatever I do. God has decreed it, so I must accept it. We have to realize how powerless we are. I am no Saint Jean Marie. All that I can do is do my job as best I can, learn from my mistakes, and get out of God's way.

That being said I miss my lost sheep. I pray for them and ask that the Lord return them.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Stupid Liturgical Tricks: Eliminating The Penitential Act.

When do we not need to acknowledge our sins? Well, according to the 2002 Missal at weddings. Wouldn't want to make such a happy time a downer by recognizing our sinfulness and need for forgiveness. Can't have it on Ash Wednesday either. After all, we already do the ash thing, we don't want people to feel bad about themselves do we? Or funerals, can't have a penitential act at funerals. People might start thinking about sin and next think you know they will start praying for the dead instead of celebrating their lives.

Seriously, one of the great faults of the modern age in the lack of a sense of sin. Do wedding parties not sin? Do brides and grooms not need to kneel before God and ask for his forgiveness before they receive the awesome sacrament which makes them an icon of the love between Christ and His Church?