Saturday, November 10, 2007


Rochester Catholic can tell you some stories of what happened when he studied his way back to THIS side of the Tiber!
(WCRSCT to Gerald, who tipped the Curt Jester)
(snarky remarks mine, and in sans serif; the actual excerpts below in serif)

When I finally returned, it wasn't too long before I found out that I had entered a parallel universe of Catholicism as it exists in the Rochester diocese.

This parallel universe is the home of a permutation of the Catholic faith that is in some ways barely recognizable in the context of the historical and universal Church. This permutation has resulted in a dearth of vocations, the closing of churches, the closing of schools, and a dramatic decline in Mass attendance.

I thought it would be interesting to recount some of the things that I have experienced or been informed of in this parallel universe since I returned to the Church. I am sure that some of these events will resonate with you. As you read through them, it will be good to remember that these types of abuses will eventually die out. (I would say so - Bishop, I use that term loosely, Clark's been there 30 years; he's gotta retire sometime.) There is a restoration coming. This you can be sure of.

-The first parish that I experienced on my journey home had a preponderance of women with very short hair, dressed in albs, and pretending to be priests. They proclaimed the gospel, gave the homilies, and walked around with Moonie smiles. The last Mass that I participated in at this parish featured a woman homilist who serenaded us with the song "A Bridge Over Troubled Water". It was an appropriate farewell to the stormy seas of this parish that was attempting to prove that women have more testosterone than men. (OH GOD! The Poncho Ladies™ have invaded Rochester! Incidentally, I once had to endure a visiting priest bellow out the Theme from Mahogany - "Do you know where you're going to?" With that, I thought I was going to hell!)

-There was the seven year old girl who participated in the Consecration as part of her First Communion ceremony. (You mean there wasn't a whole class taking part, gathering around the table like one big happy family? Wipe that smile off your face, Spirit of Vatican II, it's sarcasm!)

-There were the liturgies at my daughters' high school in which the priest would stop the Mass and take a vote on which Eucharistic prayer to use. The group that yelled the loudest would win. At the end of Mass, the priest would walk around the room throwing candy to the crowd and high fiving everyone in sight. (Who inspired who? This or the infamous Barney blessing?)

-There was the "Insta Mass" at the University of Rochester at which students in torn blue jeans sat on stuffed couches around a coffee table and celebrated the Eucharist. (I'll admit when he first said "Insta Mass", I thought he meant in and out in 10 minutes.)

-There is the preponderance of homilies that instruct us that all religions are equal pathways to salvation.

-There is the preponderance of homilies that instruct us to love, love, love. That is unless the other person is an orthodox Catholic.

-There was the time that I was chastised by a priest for genuflecting before I received the Eucharist. He held up the Communion line while he scolded me in front of everyone within earshot. (Ah, someone from the Bishop, also used loosely, Tod Brown school of liturgy: GET UP! YOU'RE MAKING A SCENE!)

-Hearing that the only purpose of the Communion rail was to keep the barnyard animals out of the Sanctuary during the pre-Vatican II Church. (Apparently someone actually was stupid enough to give the faithful the impression that people once brought their goats to church! Naaaaaaaah! Billy, git back outside! What in tarnation?)

-Being continually informed that the killing of babies through abortion is of no more significance than a host of other social issues. Air pollution, poverty, universal health care, global warming, and welfare programs are all just as important.

-Having Catholic lay people and priests from outside our diocese constantly exclaim: "You're from Rochester? Oh, you poor thing! How have you ever managed to remain a Catholic?" (That's an easy answer - despite what he's been taught, he knows the truth and that said truth will make him free.)

There is plenty more (Rochester Catholic actually has two posts on this matter!) Now, St. Joan's is bad, yes. And no, it's not ok. But there are worse out there as well.


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