Continued from Prelude
When I returned to Rochester, it seemed as if I’d stepped into the midst of a civil war. There were two distinct “sides,” each with a high level of guardedness and each with disparaging comments about “the other side.” The large amount of reactivity on each side was/is taking energy from the work of the local Church. While those who have been here for the duration have reason for the reactivity, I wanted to not add to it, but simply focus on (non-reactive) Catholic topics.
Two relatively recent events this past April were exceptions to that and indeed, my not being having a blog to post about them was the primary reason for starting this blog.
Chrism Mass 2009
The first April incident was the Chrism Mass. Easter is basically new life. The Easter Vigil is the traditional time of receiving people into the Church and the Vigil begins with the blessing of a new Paschal Candle. The Paschal Candle is present in the sanctuary during the Easter season and in the rest of the year, at baptisms and funerals.
The sacramental oils to be used for the following year are also newly blessed; that blessing takes place at the Chrism Mass earlier in Holy Week. These oils include the Oils of Catechumens used at baptisms; Chrism oils used for Confirmation, Holy Orders, the consecration of churches and altars; and the Oil of the Sick, used in the Anointing of the Sick. In short, the Chrism Mass is uniquely Catholic and is a large part of the sacramental life of a diocese.
That was why I was mortified to learn of the intrusion of non-Catholic elements in this year’s Chrism Mass to the extent that it wasn’t good enough for Catholics to bring the gifts up to the altar, but the Offertory gifts were handed to a non-Catholic “liturgical dancer” – an activist who publicly advocates for legislation (“gay marriage”) contrary to Catholic teaching – and this non-Catholic brought the gifts to the altar.
Someone present said that the “flamboyant male dancing around altar … did more to detract from the Mass than add to it. In short, it was distracting, strange, and otherwise unpleasant.”
What a slap in the face to the diocesan Catholics as a whole that they were not allowed to bring the gifts to the altar. What does it say when such a prominent role in a Mass so central to the sacramental life of the Church is given to a non-Catholic who actively works against Catholic teaching ?
The second April incident was a 4/20/2009 article (abstract) in the local newspaper about “interfaith dialogue” between the diocese and the local Jewish community.
Interfaith dialogue in itself is a good thing. What bothered me was that one the two deacons involved cited inaccurate statements usually used by anti-Catholics to blame the Holocaust on the Church. I was astounded to read him say, “Christians must … ask, “Where was the Church?” My immediate reaction was “underground and in the concentration camps, that’s where the Church was” and wondered if he had forgotten Fr. Maximillian Kolbe and that Pope John Paul II had to attend, at great risk, an underground seminary. I looked up the deacon’s “interfaith” talks and his sources were, without exception, people either outright anti-Catholic or dissident Catholics. The deacon’s one-sided comments did not acknowledge the rebuttal put forth in Rabbi Dalin’s book The Myth of Hitler’s Pope. Here is a review of Rabbi Dalin’s book.
It was only when my astonishment had somewhat subsided that I noticed that the person who did the planning for the “interfaith” presentations was a local abortionist. No wonder the diocese is so quiet about abortion when the diocese is collaborating with an abortionist.
In June, I wrote a letter to Bishop Clark, asking why the deacons cited only anti-Catholic sources, why didn’t they provide rebuttal to same, and astonishment that the diocese was collaborating with an abortionist, asking if the diocese was willing for interfaith efforts to come at the cost of violence done to the most vulnerable. I have not received a response to that letter.
Other discrepancies have been noted. Most recent are the questions regarding the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group. The questions sound valid to me, yet those raising the questions have been called ‘negative’ and ‘unChristian,’ and still they have not received answers to those questions.
It’s been noted that dissident speakers are frequently invited to speak in the diocese.
Returning to the topic of interfaith dialogue with Muslims, the deacon involved with that has given at least one talk and one homily blaming the audience for being “the ones with the problem for being fearful.” He listed every international conflict from WWII, yet completely skipped over 9/11. I thought that since his talk was on fear, he would mention Jesus as the antidote to fear, but no such luck. Yet, I know from the reviews of his book(s) on Islam, that he can be quite vocal on Islam talking points.
What’s the Scoop?
That leaves me with a lot of questions:
Why the “in your face” non-Catholic elements on one of the most uniquely Catholic occasions of the liturgical year?
Is the diocese willing place “interfaith dialogue” at the cost of violence to the most vulnerable?
Why do the Catholic deacons involved in “interfaith dialogue” sound like apologists for the other religion?
Will those involved in the Irondequoit parishes get their questions answered?
Is the diocese, which is so keen on “dialogue,” be willing to provide answers to these questions?
Answers would settle my curiousity because as the title suggests, in this diocese, something doesn’t add up.