Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Yesterday there was a gathering of priests at St. Francis de Sales in Akron.  There are far fewer of these type of events than there was in "the day."  But they are essential.  It is why I regularly try to have guys (priests and seminarians) over to St. Sebastian.  Like you, we are not going from parish to parish hearing what the other guys are saying or how they are handling situations.  Besides doing such things as reading blogs, going on the diocesan website, or gleaning what you will from the USCCB, we too are on little islands wondering if we are in step.

So yesterday there was a lot of "shop talk."  "What did you say?  Where did you get that?  How was it received?  Are you still talking about it?  It was very interesting.  It's not that we don't know Church teaching, that much is clear, but how does it relate?  How is it received?  What is the best language to put across the message?"

It is all so new and so very complicated.  Too often people simplify the issues not realizing how "ball of twine" they are.  One must be careful about moving one sting for in doing so you disturb many others.

For example: hall rental.  Some parish, some where, is going to turn down a hall rental because someone wants to have a same sex wedding in the building.  They are going to be sued.  "What do we care what happens in our halls?" someone might legitimately ask.  "Let them do their thing and you are better for having the rental fee."

Then on the other side of town a teacher is fired because they had a very public same sex wedding, tantamount to promoting it in the Catholic school.  This person sues.  Then it comes up, "So, you will rent your hall, allow marriages on your property, but you are going to fire my client?"

Eh.  These are the things that I think about.

Anyway, 62% of you (out of 67) said that you received some guidance at your parish through the homily and another 10% say it was inferred.  Hurray for your priests who at least made an attempt to make the readings and Mass relevant to today!  But 22% said they heard nothing.

I remember being at a parish (as a lay person, I'm not THAT old) when Princess Diana died and walking out of Mass that weekend hearing a few people say, "I just knew he wouldn't mention her!"  No matter your personal opinion on the worthiness of the event, it was big news on people's minds.  How can you not at least make reference to it?

"And how many opportunities are lost because you didn't see the lesson in life that God had for you in life's ordinary events?"  (I put that in quotes but it is a slaughtering of a quote that I am too lazy to go look up.)

40% of you said that what you received was helpful while 22% said it was somewhat helpful.  36% said it was anywhere from none existent to harmful.  Hmmmmmm.  Let me know if anyone out there might be able to offer suggestions as to what might be offered to help information to be more useful.

BECAUSE 57% of you said you would like this to be discussed more (even though 19% said, "Okay, enough!")  

Granted, this was not an exhaustive or comprehensive survey but it was still very helpful feedback.  Sending out a prayer today for all of you and all concerned (either way) on this issue.


Stephen said...

Dear Father,
When teaching or talking to today's Catholic adult, I suggest
catholic priests take a lesson from Sesame Street.

MaryofSharon said...

I applaud you, Fr. V., for broaching the subject instead of avoiding it and working with your brother priests to try to discern how best to guide your respective flocks. I don't envy the position you priests are in, but you are also uniquely positioned to be a light in the increasingly confusing darkness so that that we faithful don't all get assimilated by the culture as the powers that be hope we will be. We need your help! Might the Holy Spirit guide you all!

Here's a one great way for priests to learn what might be helpful. It's short notice, but you could go to the August 10-12 conference entitled "Love One Another As I Have Loved You: Welcoming and Accompanying Our Brothers and Sisters With Same-Sex Attraction." This conference is being talked about over the place in the national Catholic media, but I think the Homiletics and Pastoral Review interview of Dr. Janet Smith covers it especially well.

If you look at their talk schedule, you will see that there will be multiple talks about how to talk about the subject of same-sex attraction and how to handle pastoral situations. (Granted the conference is not about same-sex "marriage", but it still looks like it will be very helpful, and you can't really talk effectively about same-sex "marriage" until you can demonstrate how persons with same-sex attraction are not condemned to loneliness as the Supreme Court majority seemed to suggest they are if we forbid them to marry one another, but rather can really find authentic Christian love and friendship within the Church.) Rumor has it the Diocese of Cleveland has even suggested this conference to clergy for your continuing education.