Torn

So a little backstory:

Last September, my parish was merged with another and the two parishes combined at the other site (i.e. not at the church I had been attending). About two weeks before the merger, the new pastor came to say Mass at both parishes. His first homily included a denunciation of the media for the coverage of Bristol Palin and her baby, complete with his advocating birth control so that these things do not happen again. His second homily included accusations of racism against the diocese for actions taken in the 60’s that led to a black man not being ordained to the priesthood.

I left the parish.

I came back on one occasion, and was subjected to a gospel choir, jokes during a Baptism, and the priest calling out “one more time” during the great Amen.

I remembered why I left in the first place.

Wife and I decided to come back and see some of the people I had left. We read in the bulletin a non-apology apology about the previous week’s homily. They conveniently had hardcopies in the back of church for us to read. I quote:

“. . . as Catholics, as Christians, for 1700 years, we have been duped - we have been brainwashed - we have not been taught and have been shielded from the full meaning of Christ’s teaching! Because for the past 1700 years institutionalized Christianity - ‘Christendom’ - by and large has ignored and defiled the non-violent teachings of Jesus”

It goes on to condemn all violence (even that specifically permitted in the Catechism).

So even though I am no longer a parishioner there, am I still justified in contacting the diocesan vicar for priests? I feel there has been a pattern here and that it is of sufficient gravity that I have to address it somehow, but I fear being dismissed since I am not a member of the parish. Thoughts?

Chris

You are justified in reporting this to the bishop. Redemptionis Sacramentum gives you the right:

[12.] On the contrary, it is the right of all of Christ’s faithful that the Liturgy, and in particular the celebration of Holy Mass, should truly be as the Church wishes, according to her stipulations as prescribed in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Likewise, the Catholic people have the right that the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass should be celebrated for them in an integral manner, according to the entire doctrine of the Church’s Magisterium. Finally, it is the Catholic community’s right that the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist should be carried out for it in such a manner that it truly stands out as a sacrament of unity, to the exclusion of all blemishes and actions that might engender divisions and factions in the Church.32

Since this happened during the homily, here is what RS notes about the subject:

[67.] Particular care is to be taken so that the homily is firmly based upon the mysteries of salvation, expounding the mysteries of the Faith and the norms of Christian life from the biblical readings and liturgical texts throughout the course of the liturgical year and providing commentary on the texts of the Ordinary or the Proper of the Mass, or of some other rite of the Church.147 It is clear that all interpretations of Sacred Scripture are to be referred back to Christ Himself as the one upon whom the entire economy of salvation hinges, though this should be done in light of the specific context of the liturgical celebration. In the homily to be given, care is to be taken so that the light of Christ may shine upon life’s events. Even so, this is to be done so as not to obscure the true and unadulterated word of God: for instance, treating only of politics or profane subjects, or drawing upon notions derived from contemporary pseudo-religious currents as a source.148

[68.] The diocesan Bishop must diligently oversee the preaching of the homily,149 also publishing norms and distributing guidelines and auxiliary tools to the sacred ministers, and promoting meetings and other projects for this purpose so that they may have the opportunity to consider the nature of the homily more precisely and find help in its preparation.

Thus, because #69 notes that the Bishop “must diligently oversee the preaching of the homily”, he needs to know what is going on in his diocese and the danger this kind of activity is causing the faithful.

Fact is - you are still a member of the parish. You are not an active member because of the abuses you have seen.
**
Write, call, contact the Bishop in some way. Show him the bulletin you quoted. Tell him everything that has happened. Do so tactfully, respectfully, and to the best of your ability without anger (rather with disappointment and shock). Be sure the Bishop understands the full gravity of the situation.**

It is our (the faithful’s) responsibility to let the Bishop know when our priests are out of line. After all, how will the Bishop know if we don’t tell him?

Please don’t let this keep you from participating in Mass - try to find another parish for the time being.
Let us know what happens.

-peace

Disheartening for sure…scandalous for sure…but good in another way.

Everyone in this new “conglomerate” parish has to choose to follow The Church…The Pope & The Bishops (The Successors to Peter/The Twelve Apostles) in communion with him, and The Magisterium of the Church…this pastor-priest has taken away any** “gray areas" for the laity in the pews to hide behind – they are either with him or they are with the Church…and (to paraphrase Pope B-XVI) precisely because Jesus is both Messiah (savior) and Lord (Luke 2:11)…He is God…and He deserves and He demands a definitive answer to his questions:Matt 16: 15** (NIV)
15"But** what about you**?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Matt 16: 19 (NIV)
19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Luke 10: 16 (NIV)
16"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.“
In summary…this pastor-priest is saying two things…(to paraphrase Peter Kreeft, Prof of Phil @ Boston College):**”…Ah…excuse me Jesus, but you are sitting on my throne…"!
**and
[LEFT]"…Ah…excuse me Peter (Pope Benedict XVI), but you are sitting in my Chair…"!

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And anyone in the pews, who goes along with him is saying the same exact thing!..unless however, they have been "blessed" with the "Eight Sacrament" – Invincible Ignorance! (CCC 1793).

Your “job” is simple….pray for the pastor…I mean really pray (prayer, fasting and almsgiving --penance) that the Holy Spirit will bring conversion to this pastor-priest…and most importantly**, be obedient to your bishop.** He, the bishop, is the local church/particular church (diocese-apostolic-authority)…the priests…all of them…are serving him…the bishop is tasked to teach and defend the deposit of faith handed down to us from the apostles and to keep his local Church in full communion with Peter (Pope B-XVI) and the Magisterium. The bishop is the actual Shepard of all the Souls in his diocese. (e.g. if the bishop asks you to stay in the parish…I believe that you are obligated to be obedient to him…or get his permission to leave…all spiritual decisions should be confirmed by The (local) Church…normally, by the pastor-priest acting for the bishop…but in your case, by the bishop himself.
Lastly, you did not say how old this pastor-priest is…but I bet…that he is in his 60’s+…just a guess…I may be wrong.

Pax Christi
[LEFT]
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Thank you for all your replies. As far as how old he is, I’m not quite sure. He is young for a priest, but admitted this weekend that he was at Woodstock. I guess that gives some indication.

Chris

Mel: Just re-read your post. I didn’t want you to have the impression that I left the Church. I found a lovely parish on the other side of town that is probably as orthodox as they come in this diocese. I still plan to attend there when I am in town on weekends now, but I’ve actually moved to another town (and diocese) for my job. Still coming back to spend time with the wife and finish some stuff up in the old town (& diocese).

But sad and maddening though this is, there’s no way it would drive me away from the Church. I spent quite a few years away and I don’t really care to again.

Chris

Good Chris, that’s awesome :D!!!

You have the written proof and I assume you remember the dates of the other visits so that you can give the bishop specific information. Write a letter with your concerns, sign it and give the bishop contact information. But do NOT expect a response or any follow up about what happened. You may be the 15th person reporting this, the bishop may be working with this piest already, or the bishop may not rank this too high on his list of priorities. Your responsibility is to report it as specifically as possible. To pray for the priest in question and the bishop. But you have no right to an explanation of the bishop’s actions or the priest’s response.

I hope your new parish is free of this kind of teaching!

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