Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This Ain't Wal-Mart

Thanks to Fr. Philip Neri Powell, O.P. at Hanc Aquam for the following ...

I had a much longer piece, but I scrapped it for something a lot shorter and more to the point.

1). The Roman Catholic Church isn't WalMart or Burger King; it's the Body of Christ.

2). Catholic priests, nuns, sisters/brothers and laity aren't employees; we are members of the Body of Christ.

3). The doctrine and dogma of the Catholic Church are not consumer products that the Church's employees sell to those who want them; Catholic doctrine and dogma express the unchanging truth of the faith.

4). Life in a Catholic parish is not a trip to Disney Land or Target or McDonald's where your consumer needs and whims are catered to by the whimpering clergy and lay staff; parish life is the life of Christ for the local Catholic family.

5). You do not come into the Catholic Church b/c you like the building better than you like the Methodist chapel; or because the priest at the Catholic parish is cuter than the Baptist preacher; or because you heard that the homilies are shorter at St. Bubba's by the Lake than they are at the Unitarian Church. You come into the Catholic Church because you believe that the Catholic faith is the truth of the gospel taught by Christ himself and given to his apostles.

6). Leaving the Catholic Church because a priest was mean to you, or because sister whacked you with a ruler, or because the church secretary looked at you funny is as stupid as giving up on the truths of math because you hate your high school algebra teacher. Why would anyone let a crazy priest or a cranky nun or anyone else for the matter drive you out of the faith you believe is true? My only conclusion: you never thought it was true to begin with; or, you have a favorite sin the Church teaches against and crazy priests and cranky nuns is as good an excuse as any to leave and pursue your sin all the while feeling justified b/c Father and/or Sister are such jerks.

7). Anyone who comes in the Catholic Church thinking that they will find clouds of angels at Mass dressed as parishioners; hordes of perfect saints kneeling for communion; seminaries packed with angelic young men burning to be priests; a parish hall stacked to the ceiling with morally pure people eager to serve; and a priest without flaw or blemish, well, you're cracked and you probably need to go back and try again. Telling Catholics that they aren't perfect makes as much sense as telling fish they're wet. We know already. Move on.

8). Of the hundreds of priests and religious I know, I know two who could count as saints right now. The rest of us are deeply flawed, impure, struggling creatures who know all too well that we fail utterly to meet the basic standards of holiness. For that matter: so do you. Get in line.

9). The Catholic Church owes no one a revision of her doctrine or dogma. She didn't change to save most of Europe from becoming Protestant, why would you imagine that she would change just to get you in one of her parishes?

10). If you want to become Catholic, do it. But do it because you think the Church teaches the true faith. If a cranky priest on a blogsite is enough to keep you from embracing the truth of the faith, then two things are painfully clear: 1) you do not believe the Church teaches the faith; 2) and you care more about expresssing your hurt consumer feelings than you do for your immortal soul.

Fr. Philip, OP

UPDATE: Yes, I am a priest, and a huge part of my ministry is to console, to be present, to advise, and to try my best to shine out the light of Christ. As a Dominican friar, I do all of that first and best by telling the truth! The best pastoral approach is always to tell the truth, so please, forget the notion that "to be pastoral" is somehow opposed to "telling the truth" or "teaching the faith."

The Truth is Always Pastoral.

Tip: Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy


Anonymous said...

I think our bishop should read this. His management of our diocese runs contrary to just about everything this man says


LarryD said...

Thanks for the link, Mike! Maybe you know this, but maybe you don't, but I grew up in the DOR, moving to Michigan in '88. It is such a shame to see how far and fast things have fallen there in the past 20 years.

Mike said...

Hi Larry,

Yes, I knew you grew up in DOR. Somewhere in the old Tenth Ward wasn't it, perhaps Sacred Heart or Holy Rosary? You mentioned being from Rochester on Rich Leonardi's blog last spring when you also mentioned starting your blog. Since then I've been checking it every couple of weeks or so.

Yeah, things are pretty tough around here in many ways. There are some of us who realize how wrong many things are, but we've been pretty successfully marginalized thus far.

Thank God for the Internet! Now at least many of know we are not alone. That, in itself, is a good reason for hope.

Keep up the good work!

LarryD said...

Sacred Heart parish, Aquinas alum. Grew up on Alameda St close to Dewey Ave.

Thanks for checking in my blog from time to time. Glad you like it!

God bless!

Anonymous said...
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Mike said...

LarryD wrote, "Aquinas alum. Grew up on Alameda St close to Dewey Ave."

I remember some of the "neighborhood" guys used to make me very jealous, hopping the back fences on either Seneca Parkway or Augustine St. or dodging traffic on Dewey Ave., half-running and trying to tie their ties and still hold on to their books at the same time, all in an attempt to beat the 8:55 bell. I know they had managed to sleep in until about 8:30 or so, while I'd been up since 6:00.

It just didn't seem fair.

- Mike, AQ '61

LarryD said...

Mike - yeah, I used to joke that I lived so close to AQ that I'd roll out of bed and fall into class.

Dr K - on one of my recent return trips home to see my folks, I drove through the old neighborhood to show my boys where I grew up. we didn't stop to go inside, but I could see enough from the outside that I would be disheartened. I've seen photos, and read about and seen pictures of the new organ (I remember playing the organ when it used to be in the choir loft, just for fun. That was so way cool!)

Larry, class of '83