PopeWatch: Some Splainin to Do

Phil Lawler notes that our Bishops owe us some explanations:

 

When the pandemic crisis eases, and the world heads back into its normal routines, Catholic bishops will have some explaining to do.

Why did you forbid the administration of the sacraments? For reasons of public health— and in many cases, because of emergency government regulations— you were forced to curtail public ceremonies. But were you forced to issue a blanket prohibition? Weren’t there ways to allow some acts of public worship, with appropriate safeguards? Did you explore those possibilities thoroughly?

Just a few months ago, at the Amazon Synod, we heard pleas for the ordination of married men, based on the argument that the faithful must have access to the sacraments.

Why wasn’t the same imperative felt during the pandemic: the need to take special measures to ensure that the sacraments were available?

If the precepts of the Church are important, why didn’t you address them in your public statements? Catholics are under a solemn obligation to attend Mass on Sunday. When you made it impossible to fulfill that norm, did you assure the faithful that they were dispensed? A diocesan bishop has the authority to allow for general absolution. When you forbade sacramental confessions, did you encourage your priests to offer general absolution?

How will you coax the people back into the pews? For weeks, Church leaders have been encouraging the laity not to worry about missing Mass, since we can watch a livestream private Mass from the comfort of their homes. They have urged lay people not to worry about the lack of opportunity for confession, because we can always make a perfect act of contrition. They have been reminding the people that it is always possible to pray alone, or with the family, in the home. What will you say now, if many Catholics conclude that it must not be terribly important to come to Sunday Mass, to make a sacramental confession, to receive the sacraments?

 

Go here to read the rest.  Not that they will explain anything.  Our Bishops seem to be good at telling us to give money and avoiding responsibility for anything.  If we truly were sheep, the wolves would be complaining because they were running low on mutton.

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9 Comments

  1. What Dale Price said. Some of them are satisfactory. But, as a rule, it’s a business with them. Since 1965, there’s been a realization in increments that our bishops have abandoned us. John Paul and Benedict provided a focal point to look to while you lived with the inadequacy of your diocese and parish. The emergence of Francis took that away. The priests I deal with are satisfactory in real time. Some time in late 2014, they appear to have made a decision to proceed as if Francis were not there. The only reference to him I see is a portrait in the lobby.

  2. As a former pastor, one of the most common requests from my congregations was to visit the unchurched. And I did. The most common retort was some variation on ‘I don’t believe you need church to believe in God.’ Well, all those people I spoke to for all those years just got a great big affirmation from 21st Century Christians. From leaders to laity, the message is clear: those folks I visited were right. You absolutely don’t need church. Some have even posted on FB and other social media outlets that churches are just buildings. Sacraments? Not sure. But absolutely sure that church is not needed. I get that on a technical level that can be argued. But is that how the world will hear this once the dust has settled?

  3. How much did we simply take for granted? “Holy” Communion: did we truly treat, IN OUR HEARTS – As Church, the Eucharist as “Holy”? “Worthy” to receive: did we truly work at making ourselves worthy to receive the “Holy” Communion? “Thankful”: were we truly grateful for this, the greatest gift from God, the means of Salvation given to us? Now the staple of Faith comes into play via our individual Free Will. Yes, the churches will be packed when we celebrate that first Holy Eucharist but for what reason? It is “the thing to do”- done – now let’s get on with other things. This could result in one of the two outcomes prophesized by great minds of our Church. Benedict XVI: I see a much smaller yet Holier church. Or, Bellarmine: The antichrist cannot rise whilst the continuous “public” Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated.

  4. This is the pull quote:

    For weeks, Church leaders have been encouraging the laity not to worry about missing Mass, since we can watch a livestream private Mass from the comfort of their homes. They have urged lay people not to worry about the lack of opportunity for confession, because we can always make a perfect act of contrition. They have been reminding the people that it is always possible to pray alone, or with the family, in the home. What will you say now, if many Catholics conclude that it must not be terribly important to come to Sunday Mass, to make a sacramental confession, to receive the sacraments?

    In other words, the we’ve all been told it’s okay to behave like Protestants.

    That has the potential to do more long term damage than any abuse scandal, however sordid the details.

  5. Crazy I admit, but with empty mall parking lots and old drive-in theaters we could all have Mass safely while in our own cars and even have drive-up communion. They did much worst in those old WW II foxholes and I spent years having mass on a armored hangar deck. Naw…..really? Do they really want it bad enough?
    And confession–easy a piece of Plexiglas and a small two-way speak phone and….

  6. “And confession–easy a piece of Plexiglas and a small two-way speak phone and….”

    Even a penance service with a fire and brimstone sermon followed by a mass absolution and a general penance obligation. Not a fan of mass absolution, but it has its place in emergency situations. The penitents would be in their cars in the Church parking lot and the priest would be speaking through a sound system. With a bit of imagination, bishops could be using this as a source of renewal in the Church. However, with certain honorable exceptions, imagination is as lacking among most bishops as intestinal fortitude.

  7. Saw on EWTN news yesterday a priest in the diocese of Oklahoma City (who wears a biretta and fiddlebacks, so I like him already) has been celebrating Mass in the parking lot of the church, with the faithful required to remain in or next to their vehicles. No communion, but the lot is jammed for every Mass. Also, regarding plexiglass and confession: Kroger announced todaya they are installing plexiglass between their checkers and the customers. If they can do it, so can we. And that stuff about making an “act of perfect contrition” is all well and good, but (1) it’s almost impossible to achieve perfect contrition unless you’re as holy as a saint, and (2) even so it requires the promise to attend sacramental confession as soon as it’s available. I’ll take the plexglass. You don’t even need a phone, just an opening covered with…something disposable to be changed between penitents? It would be doable with some thought and effort. Don’t know about the rest of the folks but I need confession more than ever, now that I’m royally hacked off at every level of government every day. And at the bishops, though Coakley up in OKC gets credit for giving that parking lot priest the go-ahead.

  8. Monday our mission is going to have parking lot Confession. Originally termed a drive by Confession until a biddy called the diocese claiming it was sacrilegious. Finally an email went out and calls were made to those without internet to call the office and reserve a time – 10 slots per hour for 3 to 6 pm. That’s 30 Confessions. The sacrament takes place behind the church with the priest behind a screen sitting on a chair. There was to be a kneeler but unless one wears gloves the kneeler could be contaminated so most penitents will stand or kneel on the ground. People wait in their cars. When you see the person ahead of you coming back from behind the church you can get out of your car and walk back to the rigged “confessional”. We now have one verified COVID-19 person in the county.
    One parish over the priest wearing a baretta and black vestments with 2 altar boys 6′ apart conducted an exorcism of his parish going to all four corners of the parish boundaries. A video of it is online.
    We’ve also seen pictures and videos of parking lot Adoration outside with vehicles only and also Masses done the same way. Of course no Communion. We’re hoping that on Easter weekend we can have a vehicle procession with the Eucharist similar to what they do on foot in European countries. The Rosary Tea Group texts their different intentions and at 3 pm on Monday’s we pray the Sorrowful mysteries each of being at our home.
    In this time of a COVID-19 epidemic the most senior US Cardinal has been silent. In the US we have not had a calling of all American Catholics at a given time and date to pray the Hail Mary or Our Father such as the Pope requested on March 25. When’s the last time we’ve heard church bells?

  9. Just to let you know what I found out – the SSPX has NOT shut down unless ordered to do so by the state government. Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania, who is NO friend of the Catholic Church – exempted religious gatherings from the stay at home order. St. James Church in Pittsburgh’s West End, which was bought from an art dealer in 2014 and has largely been restored, celebrated Holy Mass today (Palm Sunday). They let no more than 49 people into the church at a time, separated by the first letter of your last name, so like a schmuck I missed it. St. James is planning on having Holy Week services. I did make it to Confession there Wednesday evening, my first in too long. I am going to try to make it there this week and Easter Sunday.

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