Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent during Year of the Priest and I finally muster some prayers.


By the grace of God and ministry resource software, yesterday's Mass, for which I was scheduled as Lector, was being celebrated by one of my favorite Roman Catholic priests. I like and, more importantly, respect this wise and gentle octogenarian because of his good-humored compassion. Got a big greeting when I walked into the sacristy.

We haven't seen each other for a while and how am I? Disturbed. About what? The Catholic church. A shrug and swift smile. Oh that. Yes, that. What now?

I recite the short list which includes the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin report, the new abysmal translation of the Roman Missal, the politicization of the Eucharist by some bishops in the United States.

Yes, it's just awful. Embarrassing, really. The hand resting warmly on my shoulder as he speaks reminds me why this is one priest I do respectfully call, "father."

There have been others, like the Catholic priest who told me, "the Church does not ask her people to stay in abusive marriages." And the one who explained, "we learn nothing in seminary about how to run churches." The priest who, from the ambo proclaimed, "Catholics aren't the only Christians." And the visiting missionary who stunned an already uneasy gaggle of parishioners by saying, "Martin Luther got a lot of things right about what's wrong with the Roman church." I will be forever grateful for the priest who confessed during my confession, "no pope...no bishop is going to run me out of my church. You, stay put."

And so, during this Vatican-declared Year of the Priest, I'm finally realizing that I need to pray for these fine Catholic priests and others who:
  • entered the priesthood never expecting to encounter such deeply embedded institutional dysfunction.
  • were forced out of the priesthood because of their call to marriage or other committed relationship.
  • have remained in the priesthood and serve with integrity despite the bad behavior of their confreres.
  • speak out against false divisions within the church and welcome all to the table of the Lord.

3 comments:

Fran said...

What a beautiful post dear Meredith. I love the points you pull out at the end... Amen and amen and amen.

SusanF said...

Hello, Meredith. Long story shortly, I found you through Catholic Sensibility and am happy to hear a fellow Catholic woman's take on Church issues and life in general. Mommyblogs and conservative political undertakings such as The Anchoress's blog leave me wishing for more voices like yours on the Internet.
More later, I hope, from your fan here in Northern VA, US.
SusanF

Meredith Gould said...

Thanks, Susan. I'm a big fan of the Catholic Sensibility blog -- aptly named blog that it is. Thanks for your support. I received quite a few "back channel" kudos for this particular post and a slight uptick in hate email. Christian love abiding! Happy to be with you and people like you on this goofy journey