Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Problem With the Church

I don't know if I have posted this story before, but here it is anyway. If you have already read it, you get to read it again. It's good enough to read twice.

I have been involved in lay ministry for quite some time. Nearly as long as some the priests I work with. I got off to a very early start. When I began, I was quite...errr... progressive for my diocese. Yes, I thought liturgical dance was the greatest thing and had no problem with lay people giving the homily. While I would in no way advocate getting ordained on a riverboar, I even thought female priests would be a good idea. As time passed, I moved more and more to the center. While I still had liberal tendencies, I adhered firmly to the rubrics.

Then I had a meeting with a couple who was getting married. I met with the bride and groom, as well as the bride's step-mother. The groom was a non-Catholic. During that meeting I was informed that they didn't want to have Scripture read during the Mass, they also wanted to write their own vows. When I told them that was unacceptable, they flew into a rage. Then I heard the words I never thought I would ever hear. "You are the problem with the Catholic Church!"
Me, being rather snarky said, "Really, I have always wanted to know who that was. Let me tell the bishop, the cardinal and the Pope, I'm sure they want to know."
I was then told, "You know what I mean. It's you and all the other conservatives. You are the problem with the Catholic Church."
I responded with, "Thank you, but I am far from a conservative. All I do is uphold the rules of the Church. If that makes me a conservative, then you don't know what a conservative is. My rule is simple. The Pope says it and I follow it."

We parted ways and I was very confused. My diocese is far from liberal and always has been. I had never considered myself conservative because I was more liberal than most in my diocese. I had also never met a real liberal before.

The wedding Mass took place several weeks later and I knew there were going to be problems. They brought their own priest who refused to show me the readings. Yes, I was there as the enforcer of orthodoxy, albeit an ineffective one.

Despite me starting down the celebrant, the poetry was read in place of scripture, the personalized vows were exchanged, but the last straw was yet to come. On the credence table, right next to the hosts, there was a small bread roll. Something in me knew what would happen, but I refused to believe it. People didn't actually do this, did they?

I brought the chalice and paten to the altar and intentionally left the roll on the table. The priest then instructed me to bring the roll to the altar. I refused and told him he would have to do that himself. So, he did while I fumed. When everyone else recieved the Eucharist, the bride and groom "chowed down" on the roll after the bride recieved the Sacred Species. It was disgraceful as crumbs of roll ended up all over the floor and they looked like they were chewing gum.

Needless to say, that priest was banned from the parish.

This was my first experience with real liturgical abuse and it changed my viewpoint.

The Random House Dictionary gives as one defination of a problem: "difficult to train or guide; unruly: a problem child".

Yes, I am difficult to train or guide because I know the wisdom of the Church and I cannot be pulled away from it.

Yes, I am the problem with the Church and I am proud of it. If you believe that scripture and the prayers of the Mass don't need to be secularized, that reception of the Eucharist should be reserved for Catholics, and that the rubrics and Church doctrines are meant to be followed, then you are the problem with the Catholic Church too. Congratulations!

The Church and the faithful members of the Church are problems for society and the left, because we cannot be trained in their ways. We know the truth and we adhere to it.

3 comments:

Brian Michael Page said...

Have you ever read Jason's lengthy "Pastoral Musician" post? (CanticaNOVA has it as the "featured article" this week). He talks about how one bride accused him of singlehandedly "ruining her wedding" by doing exactly what you did - your job.

Enjoy (if you haven't already) ;-)
BMP

Domini Sumus said...

That is a great article.

I have had several brides threaten to report me to the bishop for refusing to play their secular requests. One actually did send a letter to the bishop. I even gave one bride the Pope's address and Cardinal Arinze's address so she could write to them about how mean I was to her for refusing to play the "Titanic song".

I am lucky enough to be in a diocese where following the rubrics doesn't result in a reprimand from the bishop.

Jeff Miller said...

The Titanic song for a wedding? The image of a sinking ship is not exactly the best sign for a marriage.