Saturday, June 4, 2016
CONFESSION OF A PARISH PRIEST MOVING ON
As result (of clericalism), “we have generated a lay elite, believing that only they are committed laymen who work in the things ‘of the priests,’ and we have forgotten, neglected the believer who often burns his hope in the daily struggle to live the faith. These are the situations that clericalism cannot see, as it is more concerned to dominate areas more than to generate processes.”
This is my confession:
Bless me laity for I have sinned....
Since about 1994 I have been into Catholic Stewardship as it is understood in the classical sense of the laity and clergy giving of their "time, talent and treasure" to the Church. The key to the sucess of this movement hinges on the "ministries" that are offered in the parish, like Walmart offers merchandise. Having worked in retail for many years, this had/has a certain appeal to me.
The successful parish in this model of Church is one that has people completely engaged in the life of the parish through its many, many ministries and constant institutional activities. There is always something going on at Church!
The reason behind this push to make the parish like Walmart with its services is built upon the psychology of a person who is engaged in the life of the parish in a ministry will be more likely to increase the giving of their treasure.
Time is described as time in prayer, Bible Study, catechesis and attending Mass and popular devotions such as adoration---noble and we need more of this, no?
Talent is described as giving to the parish what you are best at doing, like teaching, or gardening, or carpentry or maintenance and the such. It also means joinging the choir, being an usher, lectoring, serving the altar and being a Eucharistic minister, serving on committees and doing fund raising.
Treasure refers to a person's material good, such as money, property and the such and giving a portion of that to the Church, i.e. universal, diocesan and local. The rule of thumb is 10%, 8% to the parish, 1% to the bishop and the rest to charities of one's choice.
In reality while the number of people who are more engaged in the life of the parish increases, so too does the consumer mentality and the parish becomes like a country club for people to have services and feel engaged in the churchiness of the parish, its institutionalization.
But in reality it creates what Jack Valero describes: “we have generated a lay elite, believing that only they are committed laymen who work in the things ‘of the priests,’
In reality what we have "aped" is the Protestant congregationalist mentality about being church along with the Walmart mentality and country club mentality.
We might have upwards of 15% of the parish into all the activity, but we pay scant attention to the 85% and more who simply want to come the Mass on Sunday and have some sense they are loved by God, given the grace to carry their cross and have some hope that they are forgiven and have the possibility of going to heaven.
How many unsung heroes do we have at Mass each Sunday who will never volunteer nor have any desire to be a lector, Communion Minister, choir member, or attend the myriad of meetings that often politicize the laity and cause them to become power grabbers, shakers and movers.
Most Catholics simply don't want that. They want to be Catholic in the world and find enough grace on Sunday (if they even attend Mass) to make it through the week. Some are marginal Catholics who struggle with their faith and feel even more marginalized because they aren't a part of the eltite doing everything and they have no desire to be a part of the elite.
In as much as I have contributed to the mentality that “we have generated a lay elite, believing that only they are committed laymen who work in the things ‘of the priests,’" I beg pardon of you laity and ask for absolution.
What are your comments on what constitutes a good Catholic and are good Catholics who don't engage in the institutional aspects of the parish made to feel marginalized when in fact they are the foundation of the Church?
My final comments:
In the past a good Catholic was one who was described as "praying, paying and obeying." Today this recipe is mocked by progressives who hate to give, are wont to pray and certainly won't obey!
But this soundbite put all the laity on the same level and what constitutes a good Catholic, one attends Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, goes to confession at least once a year and makes their Easter duty, who supports the Church and follows the commandments of God and the laws of the Church and believes in the Deposit of Faith, the faith and morals of the Church.
In my mind that constitutes a good Catholic who in turn does his or her best to make sure they have a Catholic home and act as Catholics everywhere they find themselves.