Friday, May 06, 2005

What's a new convert to do?

When I converted last year, I knew I wasn't attending the most orthodox parish, but neither was it exceptionally liberal. We had a tender-hearted priest, and a liberal female pastoral minister, the usual handholding during the Our Father, crystal chalices, several EMHCs, female alter servers...but overall the parish was average. At the beginning of that year, we were blessed to have our newly retired Bishop take up residence at our linked parish, and consequently offer Mass at our parish every other week.

Quite suddenly at the beginning of this year, we were told that our priest was being moved, and four weeks later he was gone. We had no priest in line for our parish, and lived without one for a few months. And then suddenly we have a new priest. A lot of upheaval for our parish, and for new converts, my family, my good friend and neighbor, and now her brother's family (6 kids, one more on the way). Conversion from protestantism can be hard enough in the best circumstances.

It seems that our "average" parish is plummeting south. In the couple weeks since our new priest has been here, he's endorsed condoms for Africa from the pulpit, wreaked havoc with the Eucharistic prayer and the Agnus Dei, and challenged Bishop Banks (our retired Bishop in residence) for correcting him. So much for hopes for an orthodox priest.

I've discovered a little gem. A tiny little parish about a block away from my inlaws house. Their priest has been there for 21 years, and he is a blessing. Homilies on the Sacraments, a true love for the Church, bells at the consecration, communion under one kind, only 2 EMHCs (men), mostly male altar servers, no handholding, opens every Mass with the Confiteor. I suppose we'll be moving to that parish, which is such a shame for our parish, but a blessing for my family. But what else can one do, if the priest already knows he's out of line and flaunts it?

My friend and her brother haven't yet decided what to do. He's about ready to declare war. I don't know what good that would do. All I can suggest is to write our current Bishop and see what happens, and/or leave. If these priests had no one to homilize to, they'd have no one to poison. Sad, sad, sad.

27 Comments:

At 12:57 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

I say time to rise up and declare war!Of course, you know me..a little passionate about all this stuff..lol.
Hey, befriend people in the parish and let them know how wrong this man is. No matter how awful a priest is, if the people are strong it won't matter. Start a class on the catechism or something...im just throwing out ideas here...not everyone has time to do all of this...most of all pray...and for sure write the Bishop on this. If he won't respond then pull a Saint Catherine of Sienna and sit in his office till he does talk to you!

 
At 1:12 PM, Blogger dcs said...

If you didn't have any children, you might stay at the parish and fight it out . . . but you can't allow your children to be exposed to heterodoxy while you're busy fighting it out, can you?

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

LOL I like the sit-in. :D

"No matter how awful a priest is, if the people are strong it won't matter."

Maybe. My children are vulnerable though. I already pulled them out of CCD because they don't teach anything. They don't even use a curriculum I can examine...just whatever materials strike their fancy from what they already have. I went through RCIA here, and it was abysmal. I knew more than the RCIA team before I signed up. I'm sure I could make a difference, but I've got my own family to raise and frankly, very little energy to devote to anyone else at the end of the day. When Bible studies are begun, no one shows up. I just have my doubts about how "strong" these people are already. The school principal, also one of my RCIA leaders, told a child it was okay to pray to God as mother. Perhaps the parish is getting exactly what it deserves. I don't know. I've just been on the fence for months now about whether to stay or go, but I think this settles that question for me.

Letters will be written to the Bishop, though.

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

Our three families combined equal a total of 16 children. That's quite a lot of souls to put in jeopardy while the adults "fight it out".

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger dcs said...

*cough* TLM *cough*

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

Also, I think it is relevant that all of these children have spent the majority of their lives being raised as protestants (with the exception of my little Simon and the new little one on the way). My friend's children are still being torn between a Catholic mother and a protestant father. We've got more then enough work to steer them toward orthodoxy without also having to fight what they learn at Mass/school/CCD. I suppose as my children grow older, I can get involved in extra-Mass stuff at the parish while still attending an orthodox parish, but I cannot subject my children to ideas that condoms should be allowed in Africa, and that we have to weigh two evils...that God is either father or mother...that Bishops don't need to be listened to. This stuff is over the line ridiculous.

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

Yes, you all are right about the children. This is very true.
But for sure, write a couple of letters. :-)

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

ljd,
If I didn't have the option of the other parish 10 min away, I'd be there. Our TLM is an hour away, and I have yet to figure out where the parish actually is. lol We went looking one day when we were in Green Bay.

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger dcs said...

My wife and I have gone through this very same thing. Two or three years ago our N.O. parish got a new pastor (the pastor who had married us and baptized our children was reassigned and the orthodox young priest was named pastor of another parish). We didn't like the new pastor at all from the start (more on this later). But a young priest was also assigned to the parish at the same time, and we took to him right away. He's since been reassigned (after only 18 mos. or so), and we've barely been back to the parish since.

We found the new pastor to be entirely too casual in the way he carried himself during Mass. His homilies almost invariably revolved around some experience he had had in his life. But what really took the cake was when he rolled out a projector so that he could show cartoons during Mass in place of a homily. (We later found out he did the same thing during a "penance service.") Of course the cartoons (Toy Story and Monsters Inc.) were supposed to somehow be relevant to the day's readings. Who cares? I'm not going to let my kids get the impression that we go to Mass to watch cartoons. We walked out, the only time we've ever walked out of Mass.

 
At 1:34 PM, Blogger dcs said...

but I cannot subject my children to ideas that condoms should be allowed in Africa

Young children shouldn't even know what condoms are! Moral theologians even advise priests to be extremely careful when questioning children in the confessional so that they don't teach them sins. It is truly shameful that such things should be said from the pulpit.

 
At 1:37 PM, Blogger dcs said...

Re: Green Bay -

St. Joseph's Chapel

 
At 1:41 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

I know what the parish is, I just can't FIND it. LOL My dh is a route driver, and delivers to the Diocesan office on that same street, and HE couldn't find it. I've since learned that it may be located behind one of the Diocesan office buildings or in or behind the graveyard...so we'll find it eventually. lol It just figures that they'd put the TLM in some obscure out of the way little parish hidden behind something or other.

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger dcs said...

It's actually the Bishop's chapel which he has lent to the Latin Mass community. So it probably is tucked away somewhere in the diocesan complex.

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger The young fogey said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger The young fogey said...

The first priest in your story sounds like a dinosaur who came of age in the 1960s or early 1970s and thinks he's hip. I've met them.

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger Rogers Gossett said...

Uhh... what in hell is a "pastoral minister"??

 
At 5:35 PM, Blogger dcs said...

Uhh... what in hell is a "pastoral minister"??

Do you really want to know? ;-)

 
At 5:42 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

Well, we are a linked parish, which means that our priest must serve two parishes. Apparently, in our diocese, our two parishes are the longest distance between linked parishes, but that's sort of beside the point. A couple years ago, I guess the workload was getting to be too much for our one priest, so with the blessing of the Bishop he hired a woman to help. She leads the Communion service every other day, shares "reflections", leads RCIA, basically shares the workload of the priest. She's also a very liberal Catholic, and makes no qualms about it. A very nice lady, as Jimbo might say.

She was quite peeved when the Bishop retired here, but though her duties have been lessened, she still has a job.

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger Dropper said...

Uhh... what in hell is a "pastoral minister"??

Ah, the wonders of neo-Catholicism...

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

Ah, the wonders of neo-Catholicism...
And pseudo-ordination. She's had to go through classes and some sort of "blessing" by the Bishop. {gag}

 
At 7:35 PM, Blogger Dropper said...

And pseudo-ordination. She's had to go through classes and some sort of "blessing" by the Bishop. {gag}

Sadly I am sure that it is becoming typical...

As for what a new convert should do...well I went from entering the Church on April 10, 2004 to assisting at a TLM by November 2004.

The EMHCs, etc.. were just too much for me. They drove me very rapidly from conservatism to traditionalism.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

She leads the Communion service every other day


Is this a joke? I wish it was.

 
At 12:25 PM, Blogger dcs said...

Over on the CA forums, there was a discussion over whether it was appropriate for a laywoman to wear a chasuble (!!) or a vestment that looked very much like it. Someone pointed out that even deacons are not permitted to wear the chasuble (they wear a vestment called a dalmatic). Crazy.

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

Iggy, I wish it were a joke, too.

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger st_ignatius110 said...

Would not be a funny one that's for sure...it is so sad though.

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

The latest is that the priest is teaching that the Holy Spirit is female. My friend who has witnessed all these aberrations is preparing a letter to the Bishop. I'm not sure how I could write one, since I have not been present for all these situations. I'm staying far away with my kiddos. I suppose I should look into officially changing parishes. This is so sad.

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger dcs said...

The latest is that the priest is teaching that the Holy Spirit is female.

*splutter* No matter how many times I hear this one, I'm still shocked by it. If the Holy Ghost is female (last time I checked, He is pure spirit and doesn't have a sex), then what does that say about Mary, who is the spouse of the Holy Ghost? This is nothing short of blasphemy.

 

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