Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister
whose frank challenge of Vatican policy
has sparked some controversy and a
recalling of the Vatican Nuncio.
Two weeks ago I attended the installation of our new pastor. I had not seen this ceremony before. It was disheartening. Like so much that is wrong with “the new liturgy” it was way too long on words and not very rich in ritual action. Words, words, words, words, words…we really don’t need so many words. But what was particularly bad about all the words is that the”rite” (if you can call it that) speaks not of mission or evangelism or even shepherdly care. It is all about protecting the status quo—maintaining the discipline of the church, looking after the property, affirming the teaching of the magisterium, safeguarding the faith, etc. ad nauseam. How do you like that ad nauseam—there is some Latin for you. Now I am the last person who wants a heretic in the pulpit or a spendthrift with the parish credit card, but we have more important things to worry about. 70% of our folks aren’t darkening the door of the Church, most of our youth think the whole thing is outdated, hundreds of parishes across this country don’t have a priest for Sunday Eucharist. Moreover, some of us are really excited about the Gospel and think we need to find new ways to bring it to ears that have grown tired of and deaf to the “same old same old.” Some of us believe that despite the best efforts of this new translation to make the mass unintelligible, that the Eucharist is something really wonderful and we want to not only make its celebration even more wonderful but make sure every Catholic can have access to it. Some of us are worried about that old lady down the street who can’t afford her property tax anymore and even more of us are worried about that guy that is sleeping out behind the garages because he has no place to go. Some of us think the Church has a mission in the world and we are more preoccupied about that than we are about who washes the chalices after communion or whether we say “I believe” or “We believe.”
So my point both in regard to installing pastors and reporting pedophiles is this: dissent is not the biggest sin we have to worry about and loyalty is not the greatest virtue we need. Please Lord give us Shepherds, both here and in Rome, who are so enraptured by your Kingdom that they can forget about their own. Amen.