Fr. Richard McBrien's The Grieving Church was found in the National Catholic Distorter. Now, I've never posted on McBrien before, but after reading the article (RSCT to Fr. Z, who added his usual excellent commentary), I can't believe this guy's still a priest. But then, he's in good company with Fr. Jenkins, who himself is involved with a scandal of his own by his planning to issue the blatantly pro-abortion President of the United States with an honorary law degree.
Here's that article again, but with my snarky remarks.
I received an e-mail recently from a lay pastoral associate (watch out for those!), whose ministerial focus is on adult education and who possesses a graduate degree from a Catholic university. I have his permission to cite a portion of our exchange.
I have suppressed some of the details lest his pastor identify the source and seek to jeopardize the pastoral associate’s job (If the pastor was smart, he'd eliminate the pastoral associate's job altogether).
The e-mail came from a large suburban parish in which the pastor has apparently done everything that he can to remove most traces of the reforms initiated by the Second Vatican Council. (Watch what these so-called "reforms" are.)
The pastor has done away with all contemporary music at Mass (Where is this place? I'd be more than happy to worship there! I'm sure this pastor meant "all the garbage" that worships us, has us singing God or Christ in the first person, and set to music that would even make a deaf man cringe.), and has restored pre-conciliar devotions along with auricular confession. He even gives the impression that confession is the greatest of the sacraments. (I doubt that's the impression that he gives. More like, yes, the greatest of the sacraments is the Eucharist, but it can only be received if your sins have been absolved via confession.)
Perhaps there is some misunderstanding here because the Council of Trent, back in the 16th century, made clear that the greatest of the seven sacraments is the Eucharist.
Under the pastor’s control, the parish has no youth ministry, no parish council, nor any other consultative body. According to my correspondent, “consultative is not in his vocabulary.” He also gave vocal support to the minority of U.S. Catholic bishops who proclaimed in effect that “Catholics could burn in hell” if they voted Democratic in the recent presidential election. (See Father Z's comments.)
My correspondent reported that other members of the parish staff are hurting “terribly.” Indeed, they share the feelings of the woman who darted out of church recently during the homily – in tears. (Awwwww, the poor soul, actually getting taught the actual teachings of the Church. What's that song? "Ain't that a shame!")
She informed the pastoral associate that she could no longer handle the situation, and that she had to leave the parish. She said that all that she ever hears from the pulpit is what sinners the parishioners are, and why it is so necessary for them to “go to Confession.” (Of course. We're ALL sinners. It isn't our fault if this person's "shit doesn't stink".)
That particular Sunday, with the old-fashioned church music, all the statues covered in purple as they were before Vatican II, and the usual severe words in the homily, the pressure was simply too much for her to bear. (Oh, the pain!)
The woman poured out her frustrations, saying that the pastor had taken the parish back to a church that she knows nothing about (well it's about time she learns, eh?) and in a manner that showed no understanding of others’ feelings.
At the end of his first e-mail, my correspondent asked, “Are we expected just to get used to it?” (Watch this!)
In my reply, I wrote: “No, you are not simply to ‘get used to it’. Parishioners need to go elsewhere, like the woman who left Mass in tears.”
I continued: “If there are no parishes or other worshipping communities in the vicinity where the pastoral leadership is healthy rather than driven by a narrow ideology, then one simply has to ‘take a vacation’ from the church until the skies finally clear and we are bathed in sunlight once again.” (WTF? In all my years, and I'm mid 40's in age, I've always been taught by good and bad pastors and nuns alike that we must NEVER take a vacation from God.)
(I'll leave the rest of the article and commentary to Father Z. He's much better on the theological end than I am.)
Fr. McBrien is the Crowley-O’Brien professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. (No shit! His boss is handing out a law degree to a pro-abortion president! The two nutcases deserve each other!)
Notice that this "pastoral associate" had to write McBrien, and not his bishop, probably in fear that his bishop might actually teach, like his pastor is doing.
Fr. McBrien is also the recipient of the May 2009 WTF Award.
Aww, the poor widdle pawishioners and their widdle feewings. WTF is right! You know, if that parish empties of people who are tired of their feeling being hurt, it'll become filled with others who are seeking that type of parish.
Seriously, she ran out of Mass because the statues were covered in purple cloth and the priest talked of sin during the homily? Hello? What do you want him to talk about??
Thanks for this post Brian.
Holy guacamole (hey, I'm in Texas, and that green stuff IS holy!!!). My home parish pastor told me many years ago, "the problem with so many Catholics today is that they just don't sin anymore". Oh... maybe when these folks are face to face with the totally perfect God, they will understand that this is all far less about our personal feelings than it is with our disgusting desire to be the central focus of our own adulation and worship. No need for the Ten Commandments anymore - or still, I guess!
I am posting my open application here to take the Pastoral Associate position at that parish. I think the pastor and I would get along quite well.
Will they pay for moving expenses? I'd love to work there as well.
As for the rest. It's McBrien. That says it all. Although I am surprized to see him quoting the Council of Trent. I's surprized he even acknowledged anything before Vatican II.
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