December 28, 2008

There is No Other Way



Gentle Reader: In the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, His Excellency, Archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, armed his priests with material they WOULD present during homilies at today's Masses in the Archdiocese. I hope your pastor delivered a squirm-inducing sermon. I wonder: shouldn't ALL sermons, in a way, be squirm-inducing? Shouldn't we all feel uncomfortable? After all, there is always room for personal improvement isn't there? Should a sign of homiletic sucess be if several people get up and walk out? There's a part of me that thinks homilies have been soft-pedelled for FAR too long. Bring it ON, Father!

Our pastor is out of the country at the moment. However, he left us an instructive bulletin column about the TRUE expression of family: husband, wife, children. He also said, and I as a singleton always like to hear this, that singles and widowed are family too. We are ALL of us, no matter our state, called to uphold, affirm and assist the traditional family where and when we can. If that means speaking up when we see a disordered family relationship so be it.

We had a visiting priest today and he delivered a squirm-inducing homily about how: cohabitation, same-sex relationships, adultery, sex outside marriage, relations with yourself, divorce, all damage and undermine the family unit that we, as professed Catholics, are called to uphold. I know this homily was squirm-inducing because the guy behind me was literally squirming, I heard a couple people muttering, and one women got up and took her young child, who was not fussing or crying, out about 5 minutes into the homily. She came back when it was over.

Praised Be Jesus Christ!

I'm not happy that people mutter and walk out but it's about time that we are forced to examine ourselves thru the glass of authentic teaching. It's PAST time that really strong no-nonsense, Jesus loves you no matter what you do, homiles are coming to an end.

It's a dangerous thing isn't it? I am in a small parish and we have faced a threat of closure before. It's scary to think that authentic teaching may reduce our numbers further to the point where we have to close and merge with another parish, but I'd rather see our parish closed and reborn again somewhere else, and stronger, than hear the lukewarm wishy-washy dreck that is, all too often in many parishes, the norm.

Our current pastor and our last one are very solid. We lost members when our last pastor had the audacity to actually follow the GIRM. There were parishioners who wanted him removed because of that. They failed in their efforts and they left.

However, we have many new members, young families, who are attracted to the strong preaching on life that we have. I see hope in the orthodoxy.

We may be small but we are strong.

Same with the Church. We may lose members who will not hang on and they will be swept away by the current tide of Catholic Reformation, but the remnant will be stronger.

Some people, who find the teachings are hard and think they are following their "conscience" by going somewhere else, must know that there is no other way. An Angel will not tell us to go home by another way, the Catholic Church IS home. For those of us, single like me, the Church, in many ways, must be MY Holy Family.

I must work to uphold, affirm and defend it.

10 Comments:

Blogger Adoro said...

Well said.

The homily at my parish was given by the deacon, and he also read the entirety of the Archbishop's article on the subject before he launched into his own. I didn't notice any squirming, but then again, our priests regularly mention the necessity of family, preach against contraception, cohabitation, etc. They keep these issues already at the forefront.

The reality is the truth is often very uncomfortable, and that's what sparks conversion. If someone walked out...GOOD! She or he heard what was said, and now a seed is planted. They now have to make a choice; do they love God more than their sin or their position on sin? Then remain Catholic. If they disagree, and remain obstinate, they have already left.

December 28, 2008 5:27 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

I went to the 12:00 at St. Agnes today. Father Ubel, the pastor, gave a wonderful homily on the virtues of the family. He didn't mention the archbishop's letter, but in that congregation, where a family of 30 somethings with 7 kids under 10 were kneeling in front of me, it wasn't necessary for him to belabor the point.

And there were lots of other young children present in other pews, too.

December 28, 2008 6:04 PM  
Anonymous gette said...

Bravo!

December 28, 2008 7:02 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

Since I am getting over a very bad cough, I missed that this was from the Archbishop...just thought Father Ubel was doing a great job as usual. Nice that the message is so seamless (by this priest anyway!) it didn't sound at all awkward to hear it from the pulpit. Am glad the Archbishop is insisting on letting his flock hear the non-negotiables and helping to form consciences instead of muddying the waters and letting people improperly form their own. Am sure it isn't just the people in the seats who are squirming...a few priests probably are too.

December 28, 2008 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your diocese is blessed to have such a good shepherd. I can't even remember what the homily was about this morning -- after a few minutes, I tend to lose focus, especially if it's the senior pastor. TO be fair, Fr. is 80 and has Parkinson's, so perhaps I'm a trifle intellectually lazy(mea culpa. It's safe to say, though, that a lot of parishes in the Montreal (Canada) area are still stuck in the "remember, God loves you" rut. Pretty discouraging sometimes, especially when (at the Christmas Midnight Mass)the celebrant asks for a "round of applause" for visitors to the parish, then another round of applause -- for Jesus, in honour of His birthday. I was squirming out of embarrassment, because Mass isn't the place for stuff like this. Actually, there is no place for stuff like this -- incredibly bush-league and (excuse me) half-assed. No class at all.

December 28, 2008 9:09 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

oh I wish I had been at St Agnes today- we were out of state visiting family.

The reaction of some of your fellow parishioners Cathy (and I'm sure they're not the only ones) reminds me of how in the Gospel (sorry- can't quote the chapter and verse) Jesus has just told his followers how he must suffer and die, and some of them say "This is a hard saying, who can follow it?" And they leave him.

I think of that story often when I ponder how counter-cultural it is to follow the teachings of our church.

December 28, 2008 9:15 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Oh, I should have added that the folks who squirmed and stepped out are people I do not recognize as regular attendees. It's possible they were out of towners who are visiting family in the area or Christmas Catholics who thought: "Hey, I went on Christmas Day, felt good, let's go again". In which case, I think the Archbishop's timing was perfect to grab the folks who don't attend regularly with the message.

December 29, 2008 9:00 AM  
Blogger Angela M. said...

Great post!

December 29, 2008 11:10 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

"It's scary to think that authentic teaching may reduce our numbers further to the point where we have to close and merge with another parish, but I'd rather see our parish closed and reborn again somewhere else, and stronger, than hear the lukewarm wishy-washy dreck that is, all too often in many parishes, the norm."

Amen, amen, amen!

December 29, 2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

You are writing some amazing posts here.

December 30, 2008 11:02 AM  

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