Friday, September 11, 2015

TEN THINGS THAT EMPTY CHURCHES (AND BLOGS!)

This list is from Fr. Dwight Longnecker's blog but I agree. The greatest threat to both are self-righteousness and legalism. Legalism can be cold and sterile not taking into account human situations and struggles:

1. Self Righteousness - There are few things more off putting than a self righteous know it all. When the self righteousness is religious it’s even worse. You can spot this self righteousness in both the radical conservatives and the radical progressives. They’ve turned their version of Catholicism into the only one and they’re not only right, but everybody else is wrong. Not only is everyone else wrong, but they have to be condemned, vilified, blamed and scapegoated. This is not true religion. It’s a false and twisted form of religion and no wonder people who sniff it out take off.
2. Legalism - I’m glad the Catholic Church has canon law and liturgy. I’m glad it is all written down somewhere. I’m glad we go by the book, but the “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” When religion is only about rules and regulations and we forget people and the messiness of real life, then religion has defeated its own purpose. The  rules of the game are there to allow us to have fun playing the game. Of course we need someone to pay attention to the rules, but they need to remember what its all about in the first place. They need to remember that you need a map, but the map is not the journey.
3. Unfriendliness - What is it like to visit a Catholic Church for the first time? Unfortunately many people report that nobody talks to them, there is no process for welcoming new members, they are ignored and have to practically plead with people to join the Catholic Church. “Oh yeah. I think we have something called RCIA, but it doesn’t begin until September and I don’t know who is running it this year.” If we love the church we might take the time and effort to welcome others into it.
4. Poor Preaching - I hear from readers around the country that the quality of preaching in many Catholic parishes is abysmal. Priests and deacons are unprepared, their content is shallow and their convictions weak. I hear that they drone on and on stringing together cliches and anodyne religious sentiment combined with a feel good self help agenda. This is not the case of the blind leading the blind, but the bland leading the bland.  What’s the result? “Because you were lukewarm I spat you out.”
5. Modernism - People don’t want to the Catholic religion turned into a mixture of the Rotary Club and the Democratic Party. If they wanted a way to feel warm and cozy and make the world a better place they’d join the Girl Scouts. Modernism robs religion of the supernatural element. At that point it is no longer a religion. It’s a set of table manners.People are longing for an authentic connection with their Lord, their God, their Creator and their Father. Modernism gives them a mealy mouthed moral code.
5. Immorality - Yes the priest child abuse scandal did hurt the Catholic Church. So do clergy who run drugs rackets, sleep with women parishioners, siphon off parish funds, live an opulent life, watch porn, go on expensive vacations and keep a mistress. Cardinals who use rent boys, bishops who spend millions on their palace and priests who are corrupt, lazy and rude all hurt the church. Furthermore, it’s not just the clergy. Laypeople who are guilty of the above are also like a slow acting poison to the church.

is vital, spiritually alive and trying hard to follow Jesus Christ or not. Spiritual torpor, laziness, immorality and hypocrisy send people running for the doors. They don’t expect Christians to be perfect, but the do expect them to be consistent. They expect us to be doing our best to practice what we preach even if we fail sometimes. It’s not the failure that puts them off–its the not trying. The worst hypocrisy is the sluggish pew holders who turn up every week but whose lives are a lie.
7. Lax Liturgy - Why oh why do we keep trying to imitate the Protestants? They do Protestant well enough. Let them do so. We should be Catholic and not ashamed of it. We should build beautiful churches, train our altar servers, invest in good musicians, work hard to beautify the liturgy and make the sacrifices necessary to do so. Along with the externals we must all work to make the Mass as reverent, prayerful and worshipful as possible. Modern man is dying for the one thing that feeds his soul: worship. He cries out for the good red wine of worship and we give him watered down grape juice.
8.  Works Without Faith - The book of James says “Faith without works is dead.” Well, it goes the other way too. Works without faith is also dead. When religion becomes a weekend club of do gooders people run a mile. Why would anyone want to get up out of bed on a Sunday morning just to have a politically correct pep talk about how to make the world a better place? If religion is no more than being good you can keep it. Any atheist can tell you, “I can be good without religion.” and he’d be right.
9. Faith Without Works - See No. 6 above. People can spot a religious phony a mile off. All that religion. All that dressing up. All that reading of holy books and parading about. Then the religious folks tootle off home and forget about the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill and all the people with problems. May the Lord Have Mercy.
10. Being Miserable - You know what C.S.Lewis said about religious people? “You can always tell the pillars of the church because their faces look like stone.” If we’re redeemed why don’t we look more redeemed? Honestly, if you tune in to some of the religious folks all they do is grumble, grouse, grip and gossip about all the terrible sinners and all the horrible things in the world. All they do is blame others and defend themselves and huddle down into their little religious enclaves to be miserable together. Fuhgeddaboudit. If your religion doesn’t make you happy there’s something wrong. Happy? I should say joyful. There’s a difference. Christians are people who are joyful–even in adversity especially in adversity. They sing in prison. They joke on the scaffold. They have a supernatural confidence and joy that is attractive and winning. If that is not present there’s a problem.

25 comments:

Lefebvrian said...

I like the fact that no one talks to me when I go to Church. It's one of the things that helped me to become Catholic. Not everyone wants to be "greeted."

Also, the fact that there are very clearly defined rules was a major reason for my conversion. God is kind of known for establishing very clear rules.

I really don't think that any of this points gets at why people don't go or stop going to Church. People simply prefer to sleep in. Or, as I often say, "it is easier to do nothing rather than something." And since people have lost the supernatural faith (following in the footsteps of many churchmen), they go with their preference. They don't want to feel badly about their choices, so they rationalize it away. It's not complicated -- better liturgy, better music, better preaching, nicer and less hypocritical people -- none of these things will change a darn thing.

Jdj said...

Yes, when I read it yesterday I also agreed--except that it's actually 11reasons, not 10! He listed two #5s...

Jusadbellum said...

I think the problem boils down to a century of de-personalization or "thingification" - we stop treating Jesus as a real person and instead treat him like an ideal. The Church ceases to be a romantic adventure where each element ought to lead us to an encounter with Christ and instead becomes merely horizontal and an excuse for us to look at each other or do some merely social do-goodery.

Without the living God there is no healing, no liberation from evil, no conversion of heart. Without the living encounter with Christ there is no guilt of sin, no horror of sin, no sense of loss to seek pardon for - except perhaps faults against neighbor and that's handled by the police or PC social pariah machinations.

By de-personalizing God we also de-personalize each other. I've stated many times how helpful emoticons would be on a blog - so we can pick up the non-verbal cue of each others' statements. A wink, a nod, a frown, a broken tooth/black eye smiley, an embarrassed grimace...

But we de-personalize ourselves too in our moral choices and our jaded cynicism: abortion has long sense ceased being a horror that will stop us in our tracks. The recent Planned Parenthood videos re-kindled for a time that original shock and horror but we're turning dull again. ISIS burns people alive and we're becoming less animated. It's the Camel vs. gnat thing - we will still spontaneously combust but only over trifles while swallowing outrages that would have set nations to war in previous ages.

The sexual and socialist revolutions are premised on atheism: God doesn't exist so all is permitted to people in power.... and it's premised on people themselves being mere things, things to exploit and use for the elite, for those who can exploit. Thus the child abuse, and lowering of the age of consent, introducing children to hard core porn... tricking younger and younger kids into wallowing in filth on the front end and encouraging euthanasia and suicide on the back end.

If people are mere things then what are 'rights' if not merely privileges or temporary waivers?

Jusadbellum said...

Also, Look at what provokes people to violence these days...let the utterly defenseless and innocent among us be casually destroyed and there's barely a blimp of irritation. But let some strong player's feelings be hurt and by Jove there's hell to pay! Women the world over can be raped and slaughtered but that's nothing compared to some Star being made fun of for her looks.

So by abandoning God as a person, we also abandon ourselves as people. By seeking the creature rather than the Creator we lose the Creator and eventually the creature too! To save oneself you need to lose yourself. It's the paradox of Eden and the Cross. Our identity and value and dignity comes from our relationship with the Living God and with all those creatures in union with Him.... to deny Him and de-personalize his friends is ultimately to lose our own identity and value and dignity.

So why are our churches largely empty? Why to 60-70% of Catholics not show up? I suspect because while they are all thralls of the world, flesh, and devil, they despair of finding genuine relief from these awful idols and implacable masters at our parishes. After all, do we act like we really believe Jesus is present? Are our lines to confession long on Saturday? Do we adore Him? Does His Mother have a relationship with us? Are we giving any sign of actually believing in the real presence of angels among us? Do we approach His word as his very own love letters to us for our own good?

Jesus is the reason for the season... having a ever deeper loving relationship with Him is the reason we built magnificent churches. Means to the end.... all the devotionals, all the statuary, stained glass, chant, and ritual are means to the end of leading souls to this ENCOUNTER with the living God..... all the moral rules (sex, money, interpersonal responsibility) are likewise MEANS TO THE END of falling in love and staying in love with Jesus and his fellow friends....

Do we believe?

Mark Thomas said...

Wow! What an horrific portrait of Catholic parishes that Father Longenecker has painted.

There are Catholics who have accused that His Holiness Pope Francis as having portrayed parishes as all-but-dead places filled with nasty, miserable, unsmiling, unfriendly, unmerciful priests, religious, and laymen.

Pope Francis has supposedly bashed and trashed, in particular, the clergy.

Well, Father Longenecker offers the same horrific view of the clergy:

"...clergy who run drugs rackets, sleep with women parishioners, siphon off parish funds, live an opulent life, watch porn, go on expensive vacations and keep a mistress. Cardinals who use rent boys, bishops who spend millions on their palace and priests who are corrupt, lazy and rude all hurt the church."

If critics of Pope Francis are correct, that, via strong remarks, he has laid waste to the laity and, in particular, the clergy, then Father Longenecker is right there with the Pope.

Are parishes really that bleak and unfriendly? Wow!

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Jusadbellum said...

I happened to check out Rorate Caeli and found this talk which I think is germane to this topic: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/09/dr-kwasniewskis-lecture-at-steubenville.html

I especially liked the testimonies of young people, converts, atheists who converted on account of the solemnity and seriousness of the old rite.

In our flippant and casual world, maybe this is what makes the old mass and 'other worldly" experience to these souls.

Mark Thomas said...

3. "Unfriendliness - What is it like to visit a Catholic Church for the first time? Unfortunately many people report that nobody talks to them, there is no process for welcoming new members, they are ignored and have to practically plead with people to join the Catholic Church."

I believe that the above is a delicate issue...how to conduct "meet and greet", at least on Sundays (or Saturday vigil Mass).

That is, I have found that "ministers of hospitality" who greet people as they enter a church sometimes create an atmosphere that is filled with noise and chatter.

There are two parishes in my area that have developed strong hospitality ministries that are active on Sundays (and during Saturday vigil Masses). One parish in question has two waves of ministers of hospitality.

One group stands outside the church. They say "hello" and open doors as you enter the church. That is nice.

Once inside the narthex, a second group of "greeters" are more talkative, distribute bulletins, which, incredibly to me, people read during Mass, then leave on a stand in the narthex as they exit the church.

It is the second group of hospitality ministers, after having become familiar to regular Mass goers, who help to fill the narthex with much noise and chatter prior to Mass.

That atmosphere spills into the Church. Once inside the Church, prior to Mass, an announcement is made that everybody is to stand to greet each other.

The other parish near me that features "ministers of hospitality" doesn't feature people who open doors (except, for some reason, during the final Mass on Sunday). But once inside the narthex, they greet people, distribute bulletins which people read during Mass, and strike up conversations with regular Mass goers.

As many people arrive late...at that parish, a good many arrive as late as 20 minutes into Mass, and noise and chatter continues to fill the narthex.

At each parish, many people leave Mass as soon as they received Holy Communion. Ministers of hospitality often stand in each parish's narthex as 25 to 30 percent of the people leave Mass early.

Many conversations take place at that time...when Holy Communion is in progress.

I believe that the "meet and greet" process at parishes is good and bad. I appreciate the kindness that flows from hospitality ministers. But I fine with entering and leaving a church without having been aided by said ministers.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

John Nolan said...

I travel quite a lot in Europe and wherever I attend Mass I am greeted by the ambience of the church and drawn in by the liturgy and the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I don't need people greeting me at the door; it is not the custom in Catholic countries and I would find it patronizing and embarrassing. We are not Congregationalists - we are members of the universal Church.

This 'meeting and greeting' nonsense is indicative of the way that the English-speaking Church has become thoroughly Protestantized.

Kneeling Catholic said...

Father!

At our cathedral, the greeters stand right in front of the Blessed Sacrament side chapel to say hello and hand out bulletins. It is hard to genuflect without seeming rude to them! This does successfully reduce the number of people who genuflect as they enter. If I had to choose between a parish where visitors are struck by:
a. chattiness of the worshipers
b. reverence of the worshipers
then I have to choose b. Is it possible to have people be talkative in the parking lot, or parish hall without having it intrude into our house of prayer?

Mark Thomas said...

John Nolan said..."I don't need people greeting me at the door; it is not the custom in Catholic countries and I would find it patronizing and embarrassing. We are not Congregationalists - we are members of the universal Church. This 'meeting and greeting' nonsense is indicative of the way that the English-speaking Church has become thoroughly Protestantized."

I don't place much store by the fact that the practice in question doesn't exist in certain countries. When I lived in Europe 25 years ago, it was the custom in many places for women to attend Mass as their husbands or boyfriends remained outside the church. The men smoked and joked as their women assisted at Mass.

Certain Catholic countries can have their customs.

The Hospitality Ministry has its good points. People who stand outside churches, particularly during inclement weather, give of themselves to greet Mass goers, open doors, and in additional ways, assist people.

Ministers of Hospitality assist people who are elderly. They help people who suffer from immobility issues.

But so often during the post-Vatican II Era, new or revived practices spin out of control. At various parishes, ministers of hospitality help to induce chatter and a pre-Mass atmosphere that inhibits contemplation and silence.

As I've noted, I have found parishes with strong hospitality ministries often feature the practice of..."Stand, state your name and greet each person near you"...just prior to Mass.

It is impossible at many parishes to prepare for Mass in a church that is devoid of chatter and substantial noise. The chatter returns as soon as Mass ends.

A Hospitality Ministry can be a good thing...or not.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

gob said...

Sounds to me like the consensus, so far is that most here are "FOR" #1, #2, #3, #10

John Nolan said...

'Stand, state your name and greet each person near you'. Is this a joke? It reminds me of Gerard Hoffnung's hilariously misleading advice to foreign visitors to England: 'On entering a railway compartment be sure to shake hands with all the passengers'. Sadly railway carriages are now open-plan, but there are still vestiges of the legendary British reserve. Perhaps Americans are different.

Is the deacon going to intone 'Offerte vobis pacem'? Oh dear, he just has. The embarrassment is palpable. If the person next to me extends his/her paw I have to take it, since it is discourteous to do otherwise, and since we must have this daft ritual I'll follow GIRM 154 and say 'Pax Domini sit semper tecum'. Anyone turning round will have to be content with a cheery 'Good morning'. Ah well, it's EF for the next three Sundays.

Mark Thomas said...

John Nolan..."Stand, state your name and greet each person near you'. Is this a joke?"

No. There are parishes in my diocese where, prior to Mass, "Simon says" controllers announce to the congregation..."Stand. Introduce yourself to the people around you. Exchange greetings."

Forget about preparing for Mass in an atmosphere of holy silence.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

4. "Poor Preaching - I hear from readers around the country that the quality of preaching in many Catholic parishes is abysmal. Priests and deacons are unprepared, their content is shallow and their convictions weak. I hear that they drone on and on..."

I have never had the sense that priests and deacons were unprepared when delivering sermons. Among the parish familiar to me, only one priest (he is a sometimes visitor) is a flat-out boring speaker. One deacon is a boring speaker. There is an additional deacon who is so-so at delivering a sermon.

There is one priest in the area is very intelligent, but feels the need often to begin and end Mass with humorous remarks...and employs humor during sermons. His is a fine orator.

But I recalled a comment posted last month to Father McDonald's blog. The thread dealt with homilies. I believe that the following comment from Bernard Fischer is fantastic.

Bernard Fischer said..."Most of the homilies I hear are historical-critical explanations of the readings and how they would have been understood by the original witnesses of the Gospel stories or the recipients of Paul's letters.

"I've come to the conclusion that Catholic priests in my diocese understand ancient Middle East culture better than they understand the culture in the neighborhood around the parish.

"There's never any practical guidance about how to apply the experience of ancient Jerusalem to the challenges today.

"It's a cliche to say that I've never heard a homily on contraception, abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage and the rest. But it's true, outside of the FSSP parish i attend occasionally.

"But then I started reading a book on the differences between Protestant and Catholic views of salvation and redemption and I realized I never heard a homily on any of that, either.

"So what's the point? I get 10 minutes of historical-critical exegesis but 0 minutes on basic Catholic teaching or how anything about how to explain the faith to someone else."

Wow! Mister Fischer and I must attend the same parishes.

I also have found that sermons from priests who offer the TLM are very different in content and applicability to today.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Jusadbellum said...

Well, surely you've heard homilies about how love for the poor means voting for policies that tax Peter to give 30 cents or less on the dollar to Pablo while pocketing the rest in the bureaucracy that provides employment to Juan, Shanika, Anna, and Germain right?

That's love for the poor: give 1 guy some wealth transfer food stamps via 4 well paid government jobs-for-life-with-benefits. That's what Jesus would want of us too. Because shut up.

Or you've heard tsk tsk, look at all the violence in America... too many guns (boo, hiss) golly, let's not go any further into the details of who is shooting whom, where, and with what...heavens no, let's shift gears and assume people catch the drift that Jesus hates semi-auto rifles (responsible for 1% of all homicides and almost no suicides). And let's avoid the discussions about the differences of culture, fatherless families, gang life, and socio-economic intergenerational poverty caused by welfare. Smile and conclude the homily with a joke.

See, a vague homily calling for welfare and gun control is 'safe'. Prayers that "ISIS will be stopped" (by whom? using what, rocks?) are 'safe'.

We've all heard those homilies, surely. Safe boogie men, safe, not too difficult actions to take that grow our dependence and increase the size and scope of not the Church (heavens no!) but of the state - all benevolent ruler that she is.

Anonymous said...

I think this meeting and greeting at the door is a waste of time as well. It has often been asked: how many people does it take to offer the Ordinary Form of the Mass? Well it takes:

At least 2 greeters
1 missal bearer
1 cross bearer
A couple of altar servers - or table setters as they're called here
3 or 4 for the offertory procession
2 or 3 readers
At least 8 EOM of Holy Communion
At least 5 for the band

Oh and yes, I forgot the priest.

To many the priest is just an add on for the mostly now lay-led liturgy. Most people seem to forget that the Mass is not an entertainment and that we are not the centre of the Mass. As far as I am concerned I go to Mass to put aside my ordinary worldly life for a few short minutes to adore God and thank Him for all the graces and blessings He has showered upon me, to pray for my family and friends, etc.

As regards parishes driving people away, I was contacted by a young Samoan man asking where he might find a Latin Mass. I don't know the full story but from what he explained briefly he has just returned from Samoa where he said he found all the people receiving communion kneeling and on the tongue. When he came home he went to one of our main cathedrals and was shocked with the number of Extraoridinary Ministers of Holy Communion, women altar servers etc and he walked out. He was also wanting to go to a priest because he was unsure whether he should have walked out or not. It was hard to explain to him because of the language difficulty but I tried to say he should try to stay at Mass if he can. I was only able to direct him to a Latin Mass offered once a fortnight. Even then the priest is not traditional and if he goes to him for confession he won't get much assistance I don't think. I wracked my brains for a priest I might direct him to, but things have deteriorated so badly in the diocese he is in that I don't hold out much hope that he will continue on practising if this is how he feels. I can only hope that the fortnightly Mass may give him hope for the future and I have put him in touch with some people who attend the Latin Mass there.

But it goes to show why we are losing people hand over fist. Here is a young man - not a rad trad or anything like that, just someone looking for a Latin Mass simply, as he said, to try to find some sort of reverence. His English isn't good but he could explain himself enough for me to know how bad he thinks things are in the local parishes. I think it is really sad. More than the lack of friendliness it is the lack of reverence at Mass that is turning people away from the parishes.

Jan

Calvin of Hippo said...

Well, Jusad, as most often, you speak my mind.

Calvin of Hippo said...

Ditto for Jan.

Calvin of Hippo said...

Well, Fr won't post anything negative about the Pope, so I guess he won't post anything negative about Muslims, either. Love those enemies of Church and Western culture. Why don't we just go ahead and pass out the cyanide pills to the entire country...

Joe Potillor said...

Well, the first thing we need to remember as Catholics, that Mass is not a social hour, we are there to worship the Holy Trinity in Spirit and in Truth.

Yes, Catholic parishes, the people can be (and often are not) quite cold, but I hardly think it's intentional. Simply preparing for Mass takes concentration, and being in prayer (as one ought to be), throwing that off makes life a real hassle.

In the words of a priest friend of mine, If Jesus Himself isn't enough to unite you, no man will be able to do so. Likewise if the presence of Our Lord isn't enough to welcome you, no person will be able to do so. It is through Him that we're able to do anything.

If we want to be a more "welcoming" Church, we can start by "welcoming" Our Lord back, by putting the Tabernacle in the middle of the sanctuary. (Granted I'm Byzantine, we don't have this problem of evicting Our Lord)

The above said, on a human level, I don't think we need to reduce ourselves to begging for attention, belonging. A simple, welcome to our parish, please stay afterwards for the social time, should be sufficient.

Lefebvrian said...

Muslims are under the delusion of demons, as was their false prophet. We need to be always be wary of people who are under demonic delusion.

Many saints attest to both these statements.

WSquared said...

Agreed on the meet-'n'-greet thing: chatter is okay, but that's for out in the narthex. Some churches these days have pretty big narthexes. Moreover, many of us have Donut Sundays, where chatter is most certainly welcome. There's a time and place for everything.

Sure, Protestants say "nobody talks to you" and "Catholics are so cold." Except these expectations-- both theirs and ours-- boils down to what is always divisive that nobody ever wants to admit: you either believe in the Real Presence, or you do not. And if you want to insist that it's impossible that that's actually Jesus, the question the Catholic should have might be "what makes you so sure?"

It's worth explaining to them: "we respect that you believe that the host is just a 'symbol.' We Catholics believe that this truly is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and so we do our best to behave accordingly-- reverently, and silently, because God speaks loudest in silence. So we do respect your beliefs, but do please respect ours in return-- especially given that you are in our church. We don't come to your churches and demand that you worship like Catholics do. In fact, you adamantly retain the right to reject certain things that strike you as "too Catholic." Well, we Catholics have the exact same right with regard to what threatens to Protestantize our liturgy, because Catholics and Protestants simply believe different things. Moreover, please do not accuse us of not loving and not being on fire for Jesus, when you have no idea how Catholics show that love. And please do not blame Catholics for 'not loving Jesus' by insisting on an atmosphere that would pretty much drown Jesus out when He's trying to speak to us."

As for the rest of it, Fr. Longenecker is bang on. All of these things actually rob a parish of its vitality the same way that it essentially enervates the spirituality of "normal" Catholic families: there's a dryness, a fruitlessness, even a "respectable" emptiness (or even despair) there. A Christianity that apes the world and tries to "fit in" loses its vitality for not being itself.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Longenecker has been blessed with a fine intellect and a good education. Unfortunately, not infrequently, he uses it to bash the other priests in his diocese, and priests in general, who have not been given the gifts he has received. When he speaks of his brother priests on his blog, he is frequently condescending and dismissive. This does not endear him to those with whom is charged to cooperate.

John Nolan said...

Fr Longenecker has made his own spiritual journey from evangelical Protestantism of the most extreme kind, via Anglicanism (he was a country parson in England in the sort of comfortable existence that one finds in the novels of Anthony Trollope) to the Catholic Church. He is extremely fortunate, in that he has a wife and four children, to have been accepted as a priest in the Roman Church (although it must be said he is better than most of the rabble who have been ordained in the last fifty years).

About twenty years ago he wrote a letter to the Catholic Herald (London) on the subject of the traditional rite of Mass. I assumed that the letter was pseudonymous in that I couldn't believe anyone could actually be named Dwight Longenecker. He was seemingly bemused by it (the Tridentine rite), had no idea of how to follow it, and was confused on all accounts. Latterly he has castigated the entire English episcopate for discriminating against orthodox candidates for the priesthood while ignoring the fact that most of his bugbears are no longer bishops.

I would take most of what he says 'magno cum grano salis'. The fact that he speaks truth on occasion is neither here nor there. Everyone is guilty of that.

rcg said...

My daughter once commented to me. How unfriendly Catholics were known to be at Mass. By contrast, I am often assailed by people as I try to pray as if I was not doing anything. It seems there has to be a compromise. I think the nave should be a place of quiet and prayer at all times. As far as I am concerned the Parish Hall should have banjos and tambourines.