Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Grumpy Catholic

"They came to Jerusalem, and on entering the temple area he began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.Then he taught them saying, "Is it not written: 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples'? But you have made it a den of thieves." Mark 11:15-19

There has always been debate over this passage in Mark because some misconstrue Jesus rightful anger as somehow sinful or bad. How can the loving, peaceful, kind, miracle worker lose his temper? People forget that Jesus is God and he demands respect for His Father. Which leads what I am about to say here. I once thought that perhaps I could make a blog separate from this one in which I can rant about the things that I disapprove of, especially with things that has to do with Catholics. So without further ado, here is my top ten rants about Mass & Catholics and priests:

#10 The church is heaven on earth and the Mass is sacred - show some respect. I don't care to hear about what your niece said or where you ate last night before or during Mass. Please show some reverence, try genuflecting as you walk to your pew and say a prayer or two. This is my Father's House. He is God and you are not.
#9 Hello- this is an audience with Jesus Christ - please dress appropriately. This is not a night out at Bubba's barbecue, or a day at the beach, or a trip to Walmart. I don't buy the argument that we should all be grateful that you are there and back off the dress requirement. If this were your daughter, sister, brother, best friend's wedding you would get dressed up for it.
#8 Yes you are a participant at Mass - you are not a spectator - The responses that we give are part of the liturgy. When we profess our faith it is meant for each and everybody present. ( you are excused from singing stupid Catholic hymns)
#7 Stupid Catholic hymns - what can you say but please all musical directors or liturgists - the Mass is sacred and it is not about you. My only hope is that some day somebody will ban the idiotic hymns. Oh in case you didn't get the memo - no songs about YAWEH (forbidden)
#6 Stupid Sermons- I do not wish to be disrespectful here. I love and admire priests and we have many, many good priests, but at times I hear sermons that a six grader could do a better job. Priests are too intelligent and educated for that. Priests are suppose to be preachers and the Mass is the time to do your preaching.
#5 Liturgical Abuses - this can vary but one that I commonly see is inviting a speaker instead of giving the homily. If I am a visitor to your church why would I want to be held captive while someone talks about the bereavement group you have or the Knights of Columbus? That should be discussed after Mass. The rules of the liturgy forbid anyone but an ordained minister to speak and the homily should be about the readings or something appropriate. All other matter is to be dealt with after Mass.
#4 The Holy Eucharist is not a drive through restaurant. You are privileged to be part of the greatest event in all of human history. Please think about what you are doing.
#3 Cell Phones - they should have a large basket outside of church where anyone and everyone who brings there phone should throw it in. They even warn you before Mass but inevitably someone's phone goes off. Leave the the darn thing in your car.
#2 Extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist - lets begin with this statement- you are not needed for Mass, you are a luxury, please don't show up on my Father's sanctuary wearing blue jeans, see through blouses, or anything else that disrespects him. Please always keep in mind you are on sacred ground and that it is an enormous privilege and blessing to do what you do.
#1 Never apologize for the Mass. stay with me here- I have been at different times where there will be for one reason or another non-Catholics present at the Mass. Pastors please don't try to make the Mass accommodate the non-Catholic visitors by trying to act non-Catholic. I have been present when the Penitential Rite was changed not to ask for our forgiveness for our sinfulness, but glossed over to something to the effect of "now we are going to try to be better, blah blah blah." We are sinners - shout that from the mountaintop. That is precisely why before we do anything at the Mass we ask for God's mercy & forgiveness. Let our brethren see the beauty and mystery of the sacrifice of the Mass. You don't have to tell them that this is the part where we the"heathen" Catholics read from the Bible. They know what the Bible is.

Disclaimer to anyone out there who reads this: I am not worthy of anything period. I just love the Mass and want each one and every time to lift me to the place where I have not been before.


Anonymous said...

This is Ryan Carruth (friend of Toby Danna's) -- just wanted to say that I entirely concur with all 10 points. I've had to really try to stay focused in masses and not let myself get physically upset at some of the abuses I see. It's a hard line to tow -- between honest desire for reverence in the mass, and the blight of becoming a Pharisee. Judging by your points, I'd imagine you are far in the former camp than the latter. At any rate, I agree with you entirely and, perhaps if we all pray and fast enough, we as a church will continue to become more reverent and holy as time goes on.

Paul Bernacchio said...

I appreciate your comments. You know the beauty of Catholicism is that we have both sides at Mass together. I get frustrated because to me it is clear what the liturgy is all about and when it is done correctly, it is awesome, as oppose to being on autopilot as I witness at Mass too often. I would like to go to some of the Eastern Rite churches because their liturgy is so beautiful. I was a participant in the pre-conciliar Latin Mass as an altar boy and the altar will always be a sacred and mysterious place of reverence and beauty. We don't need to return to that time. We just need to restore the reverence and acknowledge the truth about what is occurring at Mass.