I attended an interesting Mass this weekend at Holy Trinity by the Sea in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I didn’t get a chance to peruse the bulletin, but in large print down the front it said something like “In order to change the world we should not cling to the outmoded but live those things that are still valid.”
The priest’s homily on the Trinity was shocking. He started out talking about how God has a name, Yahweh. He said many gods have names, like Jupiter, Zeus, and Baal. Our God’s name is Yahweh.
Then he read what the Baltimore Catechism says about the nature of God:
“There is only one God. In God there are three Divine Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity. By the Blessed Trinity we mean, one and the same God in three Divine Persons. The three Divine Persons are really distinct from one another. The three Divine Persons are perfectly equal to one another, because all are one and the same God. The three Divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God because all have one and the same Divine nature. We cannot fully understand how the three Divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God because this is a supernatural mystery.”
He said this was taught by nuns, many of whom had no higher than a High School education. He said it was supposed to make theologians of 8 year-olds, but this “mystery” did not lead to a greater understanding of God.
Then he talked about the words “omniscient,” “omnipresent,” “all-powerful,” “perfect.” He said Aristotle used these words to describe God. He said when it boils down to it, philosophy is just guessing.
Then he said that the concept of the Trinity is philosophical guessing, and not revealed truth. He said the only revealed truth about our God is that he is an all-encompassing love for all humankind.
I was shocked at this. I leaned over to my husband and said “this guy’s teaching heresy!” Dave said that’s not what he was saying, but it sounded like it to me. Maybe I’m not recalling his words correctly, but further evidence suggested this priest has some serious issues with dissent.
After the homily he said we now have to say a prayer that is “so stiff, yet necessary,” before leading the Profession of Faith. He
changed one of the words: “born of the Virgin Mary and became HUMAN.” While some like to attribute maternal properties to the Father, there is absolutely no dispute that Jesus was a man!
The Mass was held in a small chapel with no kneelers. After the Profession of Fath he said he had an announcement. He made a point of saying it was from the pastor of the other church (the chapel wasn’t a parish in its own right, but was ministered by priests from a church in another town). The pastor was saying that congregants should remain standing during the Eucharistic Prayer, not sitting, and that after receiving communion, they should stand until communion is done and the priest has taken his seat. It was telling that this priest had to be told by his superior to read such an announcement at Mass.
I thought about writing to his Bishop, but after Mass there was some elaborate speech-giving and bestowing of awards and such, heralding this priest leaving. I don’t know if he was being transfered, but he said he’d see them around in Food Lion, and was rather advanced in age, so I think he may have been retiring. Anyway, if he’s leaving, and his pastor seems to be taking a hand in correcting liturgical abuses, I think I can assume that the situation is already known.
It was quite an interesting experience, though.