[EDITORIAL NOTE: Rats... Here is the post again. Note that I have altered the part about the young woman who was chastened for genuflecting before Communion. It turns out that happened not at St. Charles, but recently at a church in Chicago. The young woman involved related the story to me while we were discussing the weird kneeling disorder going on here at St. Charles and in my horror, I thought she said it had just happened at Mass. I feel terrible about spreading this particular story about the pastor of St. Charles. As bad as things are with our parish, they don't seem to be as bad as I have spread all over the blogosphere these last two days. And again, it isn't that this incident did not occur. It did in fact occur. It just didn't occur in our house. It happened in a GIRM infected parish in Chicago.]
I think I am done with my beloved St. Charles. They have driven me to God knows where next.
Honestly, nobody on the outside could do to us what we do to ourselves in the Church. Talk about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles seems pathologically driven to - in the words of Voltaire - "stamp out the damned thing!" - referring in this case to the last vestiges of bleating piety on the part of the faithful.
All the while shielding homosexual predators in the priesthood from prosecution, Powers that Rule the Archdiocese are pursuing with a vengeance the REAL enemies of God in Los Angeles: people who kneel after Communion! Egads the villany of it!!!
Starting the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, we were instructed by our pastor that in obedience to the Great and Powerful GIRM (that's General Instruction on the Roman Missal to all of you non-insane-non-Catholic Christians who are deluded by thinking that religious ignorance, international terrorism, galumphing materialism and all around rampant hedonism are what's really wrong with the world...) everyone in our HUGE crowded parish must now stand for the fifteen minutes of Communion time, bobbing and weaving and looking around before and after receiving the Eucharist. "Because," he chastened patronizingly, "Mass is NOT, NOT, NOT the time for your personal prayer."
The Church bulletin also went on to declare that the practice after the morning daily Mass of groups of people saying the rosary out loud and/or saying the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, also constitute grave and scary abuses of public piety and will no longer be tolerated in our faith community. Phew! I know I feel safer.....God in heaven! Leave the old people alone! Haven't they suffered enough? Let them have their little small group devotions.
Well, watching the sheep shuffle around awkwardly during Mass last night, leaning and then talking while waiting for the other 800 people to get their share of Jesus, it seemed to me that the Rite of Communion at Mass has very little of public prayer left to it either. The choir always runs out of songs after two or three and then we all just stand around people-watching.
One young friend, who was visiting from Washington, DC last week - where apparently the GIRM has not been applied with all the pastoral delicacy of a fleet of surging Mack trucks - didn't know that to kneel during Communion was a sign of the most dreadful and dangerous heinousness. We tried to whisper to her that she should stand up when she was kneeling before Communion, but she looked at us like we were crazed and insane.
After Mass, she told us that recently she went up to Communion at a GIRM church in Chicago, and, as is her practice, made a quick genuflection when she was next in line to receive.
Oh, the inhumanity!
The priest, holding Eucharistic Jesus in front of his face says in a loud voice, "No! We don't do that kind of thing here any more! No more!" Everybody froze in horror. He then angrily handed off God into our friend's stunned, and thoroughly mortified face. As she made her way back to the pew, it was like she was a waiter in a restaurant who had just dropped a plate. Everybody stared at the evil woman.
Now, I ask you, priests of God! What are you doing!!!!!????? This woman was a visitor. And she was doing something that she understood to be devout. And she gets a public humiliation?! Talk about substituting the laws of men for the love of God!
[Taking a breath.]
There are exactly two pews in which I have found I can kneel for a few seconds after receiving Communuion without giving the scandal of disobedience. Honestly, conflicted over obeying man instead of honoring God, I decided that if I sit in the back two pews that are on the extreme sides of the Church, no one will see me slip to my knees long enough to say the Anima Christi as my personal Thanksgiving.
Well, oh no. Clearly, the forces of saving the Church from my personal prayer have anticipated folks like me. Two lines into my thanksgiving, the lady in front of me wearing her Eucharistic minister badge caught my eye and leaned towards me saying, "We don't kneel here at Communion time." And then added with meaning, "We ARE one Body."
In his homily last night, our Pastor told a story of a woman coming to a priest and expressing confusion over the fact that a woman she knows who is living in sin has been routinely receiving Communion. She wanted to know from the priest, how she should speak to this other woman. Our pastor pointed his finger at us all and warned, "No one is worthy of receiving Communion! I am much more worried about any one who is worried about other people, and thinks she herself is worthy!"
Good Lord. I sat there steaming, "OBJECTIVELY, Father, of course, no one is worthy of Communion. But the Church teaches, Father, that there is a SUBJECTIVE unworthiness known as being in a state of mortal sin, that renders the receiving of Communion a sacrilege. What is your problem, Father?!" I spent the rest of the homily wondering if it is that he doesn't like being a priest, or if he really hates all of us his sheep, or if he is just stupidly ignorant of basic catechism. Such a nice reflection for a Sunday Liturgy.
This is the same pastor who used the occasion of the Feast of Corpus Christi last year to make the point to us that the Feast was a reminder of those olden times days when people used to make a big deal about Eucharistic adoration, but that NOW we know that the point of the Feast isn't Jesus in the Host, but rather Jesus in each person.
Truly, truly, I say unto you, the lunatics are running the pasture. Diehard Church. With. A. Vengeance.