Friday, May 4, 2012
PASTORS AND PRIESTS HAVE TOO MUCH POWER BUT IN A PARTICULAR WAY AND THAT IS A BIG PROBLEM TODAY
1. It is permissible to have Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for both Mass and for the sick and home-bound.
2. It is permissible to have altar girls and make no distinction between them and the boys as to how they serve
3. Under strict criteria it is permissible to have the Extraordinary Form of the Mass
4. It is permissible to celebrate Mass facing the congregation, but it is also permissible to face in the same direction as the congregation
5. It is permissible to have a pastoral council, stewardship council, various committees and mandated to have a Finance Council for the laity to have a advisory voice in the parish and also for the pastor to inform them of his plans and bounce his ideas off of them and seek how best to implement his ideas
So what happens in a parish, where one pastor or priest allows what is permissible in terms of EMHC's, Altar Girls, the EF Mass and Ad Orientem and another pastor comes in and doesn't like these things at all and eliminates them altogether? Well, we see what happens in countless parishes the most recent one in Wisconsin. It is a disaster!
Or what happens when a poor old pastor like me gets a parochial vicar who refuses to have altar girls, EMHC's at his Mass and only celebrates Ad Orientem and decides to make his Masses on EF Masses? I have a stroke and my parishioners do too.
So, let me be as clear as possible. Let's follow the law and close loopholes.
1. If the Church wants to reassert the ministerial priesthood and eliminate the confusion of the Ordained Priesthood to that of the baptismal priesthood then do it and make us follow it, but don't make things yes and yes. Stop EMHC's and Altar Girls You can't please everyone.
2. If kneeling is allowed as well as standing for Holy Communion, then make it clear that kneelers and altar railings should be introduced for those who wish to kneel.
3. If ad orientem is to be allowed, make clear what are the circumstances for it and then follow the law, but don't let priests yank people around willy nilly.
But my advice to priests is:
1. Be transparent
2. Be consultative
3. Listen to the voices of your lay leaders and keep them informed
4. Explain why you are going ahead with some plan if your leaders don't think it is a good idea
5. Make sure the parish at large knows what you are doing, that a good case is made for doing it and that one listens to those who dissent
6. As for finances, make sure that everyone knows what these are, what the collection is, what the budget is and that one follows good practices, especially the priest
Transparency is the way to go!