November 08, 2007

Tales of Father Sleeves-Rolled-Up and Father Hotstuff

Father Sleeves-Rolled-Up

About a week ago, the story broke that Father Francis Mary Stone of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word is questioning his vocation. Supposedly, Father has fallen in love with a widow he’s been assisting.

I think the first priority is to make sure the young Catholics who watched Father on EWTN's Life on the Rock, or the daily Mass broadcast, understand that just because the earthly messengers may be flawed and have internal conflicts, does NOT mean that the message itself is flawed. Scratch that. I think we ALL need to understand that just because the earthly messengers are flawed does not mean the heavenly message is.

Our kneejerk reaction should be to examine ourselves in relation to the Faith. NOT to examine the Faith in relation to ourselves. Meaning, we should not be using this event as an excuse to dump Church teachings on celibacy because, hey, here's another example of how HAARRD it is. Yes, it is.

Every thinking person who has made a commitment to ANYTHING, whether in marriage, career, living arrangements, or holy orders is constantly re-evaluating (discerning) if they are still satisfied or not. If they are still fulfilling their mission, or not. If they are still living up to their vows, or not. If they need to make changes, or not.

Father may very well decide to remain in his order. I pray that he does. However, if he does leave or if he stays, I pray he has a long and blessed life in Christ.

People leave orders all the time. People change all the time. I’m not trying to minimize the enormity of what is happening here. I’m sure Father is not finding this a simple time. It’s not easy analyzing whether or not your entire life needs to change or if you are being called by God to a different state in life then what you perhaps thought.

When I was in College there were two Sisters who left the order. Both of them were my professors. I remember feeling betrayed and upset because it seemed like it happened overnight and they just decided to leave for no good reason.

Why did I think that?

Because the College was not forthcoming and open about information. The entire thing was kept very hush-hush. There was no “statement”, no discussion. Just one term they were suddenly not on the course list. There was no information to be obtained just rumors and conjecture.

That was, absolutely, the wrong response.

These types of vocational crises, need to be discussed openly. No, we don’t need all the details but we need to be told it’s happening and reaffirmed in OUR vocations which have not changed in spite of someone else changing theirs or questioning theirs.

I think EWTN is making a big mistake by seeming to erase Father Stone from their history (His materials have been removed from the EWTN library and website). Just pretending he never existed and the whole thing is not happening is wrong. Or, we aren’t going to talk about it anymore after the initial announcement on EWTN. It makes it seem like sinners have no contribution to make to Holy Mother Church by pretending they are not around. If sinners have no contribution to make to Holy Church then there will not be anyone in it. What’s the point? We may as well all pack up and leave: me first. Of course, Father did, and does, exist. Of course, he had an impact. Just because he may not be on TV everyday from now on doesn’t mean he’s not still around and can’t teach us anything valid: either directly or indirectly.

I pray that one day Father will tell us his story. I pray that he remains in the Church (whether as a priest or a layman). I pray, especially, that he has an extremely good spiritual advisor at this time.

Father Hotstuff

News that a priest “came out” during a Homily. This is shocking stuff. Really shocking that there were 400 students at Mass on Sunday EVENING at a Jesuit college. THE FAITH IS ALIVE!!!!

Do you think maybe they knew what Father was going to announce ahead of time? I can see the bulletin board e-mail now.

Friends, Faculty, Students: A reminder that, for your convenience, we have Mass on Sunday evenings at 10. The homily will be a surprise; but, in the meantime read my chapter from "A Tale of Two Comings Out: Priest and Gay on a Catholic Campus."
XXXXOOO, Father Brennan

Should the homily BE a big surprise? Gee, is it not supposed to be a lesson from the Gospel/Readings for the day? Sure, Father can get creative to get the point across; but, I think, in this case, Father was a little too creative.

I have no problem with priests inserting personal tidbits into the Homily to make it connect with the parishioners. However, I have NO desire to hear about Father’s foot odor, underwear starch, conflicts with his Mother, how he fantasizes about Jessica Alba, whatever. There is such a thing as TMI (too much information). Why, is it when some people are told they should make things more personable they insert embarrassing tidbits into the discussion (like me! Ha-ha) But, I'm not giving a Homily.

My Pastor has Homilies where he has mentioned he goes to Confession once/month as a way of reminding us that priests have to go too. Or, he ties in his garden growing as examples of growing in the Faith. These are not embarrassing and they are entirely appropriate things to mention. I wish we heard more of this type of APPROPRIATE personal tidbits during Homilies.

Too often, we hear Homilies that have absolutely nothing to do with the readings, much less, church teaching. Too often, it’s all about Father. Apologies, but who cares? If Father wants us to know all about him, why doesn’t he start a blog or a page on Facebook or MySpace? Then, we can blast him for not spending enough time on who really matters; us! LOL! In the end, it should be about God. Not Father, not us.


Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

Well said. I also pray that Father Francis Mary remains.

But don't minimize the damage that this does to people; a priest leaving the priesthood is damaging to the entire Body of Christ.

Of course we want the best for him; meaning, of course, that all of this is in God's plan of salvation. As it is happening, we have to trust that it is because we have no control over it.

As far as the homily issue; I agree completely. I have not personlly been privy to homilies involving Father's undwear starch or any such thing (Thank God!), so can't relate. But at my parish the priests are very good at bringing in their personal lives to make a particular point and just using it as a jumping off point.

They've been good; on one hand it helps us to know Father better, on the other hand, it helps us to know Jesus better. As Father is a messanger of Christ, it works. Because there is a balance.

As far as the Sisters leaving the order at your college, I can guess at the reason as you could...maybe because the order left their roots and became political wiccans and not Catholic Sisters? Of COURSE they wouldn't give that as a reason.

November 08, 2007 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Rosie O'Donnell said...

Since I posted on these two I no longer care what they do or say. I'm more worried if Michael Flattley will try to sue me for using his photo.

Heads up - DO NOT USE ANY PRINCE MUSIC ON YOUR SITE!!! - he is going after people big time.

November 08, 2007 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Cathy.

November 08, 2007 9:50 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

All these goings on are just little blips on the screen of the Church and don't warrent all the air time they get. (IMHO)

Now, the Borgias -- these were folks that really knew how to sin!!

November 08, 2007 10:36 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: The Body of Christ is hurt, absolutely.

Adrienne: I heard from a wise priest that the Borgias sinned but they did not do anything to overturn church teaching when they had the Papacy. I found that statement interesting and it's on my list of "to-research"

ANGELA!!!! Hi, sweetie.

Rosie: Forget the photo, anyone referencing "Lord of the Dance" should be sued. Period.

November 09, 2007 6:07 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Hey, I'm half Irish. "The Lord of the Dance" is our National Anthem, I'll have you know.

QOTD: Why is it that homosexuals feel compelled to tells us about their sex life? Have you ever heard a married deacon or priest chatter away on that?

November 09, 2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

I hope Father Francis Mary stays with his order, but think he is doing the right thing by taking some time to think things through. Making a rash decision in either direction would just make things worse.

I have a good friend who was a nun at St. Kate's and left because she became so disillusioned with all the junk the order was allowing. She lost her vocation and almost her faith because of it. Spent some time wandering until she finally came back to the Church.

Ray: I'm a chunk Irish, way more than I am Swiss, and I don't care for Lord of the Dance :) Go to Half Time Rec and see some real step dance!

November 09, 2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...


I suspect you're right that "real" step dancing would be better seen at the Halftime Rec more than the "synchronized" stuff at the State Theater.

And the men would be "real" and half in the bag.

Kind of like real polka dancing.

November 09, 2007 12:03 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

swissmiss: I've got bad news for you. Half Time Rec converted to a sports bar format in the last year. I don't think they have Irish music there at all anymore-definitely not every weekend like they used to. That bar is very close to my house. I mention it because Terry is sure to make some comment about how I "know" every bar in town because of my drinking capacity. ;-)

November 09, 2007 7:50 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Cath - Hon - I just tease you about that stuff. I know you don't drink a lot. Ha! Ha! Haha! Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

(Gotta go - just spilled my drink all over the key board! Darn!)

November 09, 2007 8:07 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...


Oh, hey, are we going out later, Ter?

November 09, 2007 8:08 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

I don't get out much any more so Half Time Rec could've been converted into a strip mall and I wouldn't know it :)

About as Irish as I get is O'Gara's. And that's only for their "Back to 1941" prices around Lent! Grain Belt, it does a liver good.

November 10, 2007 10:30 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

swissmiss: LOL! I hope Terry sees that last comment.

Grain Belt, ah, Grain Belt.

November 10, 2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Hey, Swiss!

What's this about "Back to 1941 Night" at O'Gara's? Quarter beers?

Heckuva deal.

November 10, 2007 1:24 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Uh-oh, now Ray's all wound up...

November 10, 2007 1:28 PM  

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