Sunday, May 29, 2016

For Corpus Christi Sunday

     I hadn’t planned to write anything new today. This being Corpus Christi Sunday, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, I’d intended to recycle an old favorite from some years back. But I just got back from a most inappropriate state of mind.

     Father Francis X. Pizzarelli, one of the Mass celebrants my parish – forgive me, Lord – must endure is, in my perhaps insufficiently humble opinion, a subtle enemy of the Christian faith. It’s possible that even he might not know what – or who – directs his actions. Yet he has in several ways operated in a fashion hostile to Christian belief and practice:

  • He routinely modifies the Mass – omitting the Gloria and altering the Nicene Creed – to suit his preferences.
  • He’s called the Ten Commandments “interesting guidelines.”
  • He’s openly proclaimed political positions from the pulpit.
  • He plays pop Christian music during the Communion rite, forcibly intruding upon our time meditating on the miracle of Transubstantiation and its connection to the Last Supper.

     He’s also a rather aggressive self-promoter, introducing himself by his full name and affiliations – “for those of you who might be visiting this weekend” – at every Mass, constantly talking up the charities he runs, reminding us repeatedly about his other involvements, and is often to be heard on secular radio broadcasts when a news station feels it needs a Catholic priest for some purpose.

     I can’t help but think that God would disapprove of the above from one consecrated to His service. Yet this appears to be, if not my sole opinion, at least a minority view.

     Here’s today’s Gospel reading:

     But when the crowds found out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who needed healing. Now the day began to draw to a close; so the twelve came and said to Jesus, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and food, because we are in an isolated place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” (For there were about five thousand men.) Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and the people all sat down.

     Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke them. He gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied, and what was left over was picked up—twelve baskets of broken pieces.

     [Luke 9:11-17]

     The elements of this episode appear in all four canonical Gospels:

  • Matthew 14:13-21
  • Mark 6:30-44
  • Luke 9:11-17
  • John 6:1-14

     Traditionally, this is known as the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Down the centuries it has been regarded as one of Christ’s miracles: the transformation by Divine power of a little food into far more than a sufficiency to feed an estimated fifteen thousand people: “They all ate and were satisfied, and what was left over was picked up—twelve baskets of broken pieces.”

     Father P. doesn’t care for that “interpretation.” No, he prefers to think that when Christ’s twelve closest disciples offered their meager stores to the crowd, suddenly it stimulated those in the crowd who had brought food with them to share it with those who had not – and that therefore, this wasn’t a miracle at all, merely an outpouring of generosity stimulated by Christ’s teaching and the Apostles’ donation.

     Is this appropriate sermonizing from a Catholic priest? Indeed, is it Christianity?

     The Church has many problems. The current tenure of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis, on the Throne of Saint Peter might be the most visible of them, but it might not be the worst. Indeed, it might be far from the worst, for a pope is a single man, however admired and respected. Parish priests number in the tens of thousands, and those among them who consciously impose their own preferences on the teachings and liturgy of the Church can do immeasurable harm to the souls of their flock. They can spread a skepticism approaching apostasy among believers who must already endure quite a bit of scoffing and derision from the militant atheists so common in our time.

     Yet some of those priests are popular – more popular than those who remain faithful to the Faith. I can’t imagine a more terrible danger for the institution charged by Christ Himself with the conservation and propagation of His teachings.

     Is it the fault of lay Catholics for not rising to challenge such priests? Or is it the fault of an intimidated Church hierarchy, beleaguered by multiple scandals, by infiltration by homosexual evangelists, by demands for anti-canonical changes to longstanding Church teachings and practices, and by a dwindling of vocations here in America and elsewhere in the First World?

     I don’t know...and it’s an ignorance I find ever more difficult to bear.

     Forgive me, please. The above probably isn’t what you came to Liberty’s Torch to read. But I felt it my duty to write it.

     Time to pray.


Anonymous said...

My parish priest and this pope have driven me out and ive kept my family away from it. No more "no person is illegal" or other collectivist nonsense that leads to the destruction of my nation of birth. I can't sit in a pew and subject my children to it as it gets watered down any longer. I raised them as catholics and to just break away pains me. Or it could be a sign of a weak faith.

David Smith said...

Sounds like a new parish is in order. That's worked for me, better than trying to change the one I was in and dissatisfied with. Particularly when I was a decided minority.

Unknown said...

I plan to continue visiting Liberty's Torch as long as the inspired Liberty Light keeps shining on your words, Francis W. Porretto.

Pascal said...

You know you have my sympathies Fran. It hurts to write what you wrote today. Maybe you are feeling the need to fight back as you recommended we all do when Leftists try to prevent you from speaking. But for the most part what you describe fits a line in that email of May 23.

Their goal is to drive the rational man out of every institution that appears to have some worth for the human sole.

You and anonymous above really ought to heed David Smith's advice, but do it loudly as you leave. With the Lord's help other formerly cowed parishioners will follow -- and you will almost certainly feel better.

Pascal said...

Soul. Yikes. Took me long enough to notice.

David O'Grady said...

Cradle Catholic here... and I, too, am fed up and completely amazed at the degree to which our "Sheppards" have given up on the reality of God, His Commandments and total disregard for their responsibility to instruct, guide and bless their congregation from a humility born in an honest commitment to the cause they were once commissioned to bear.
I am eternally thankful to have found your blog. As a Catholic "writer" it gives me great pause to see the slipping away of what I will call our "clueless" leaders into a state of damnation wherein they give credence to their own righteousness in an effort to inflate their own ego...
Anyway, kind of rambling there but great article and thanks for standing up and saying what needs to be said whether you really want to or not....

Anonymous said...

And to think that back in the early 2000's my priest - the Reverend John Perricone - was kicked out of the State of New York and exiled to New Jersey for the crime of insisting on the saying of the Latin Mass instead of the post-Vatican II crap that they want instead. Egan told him in no uncertain terms that if he caught him in New York saying the mass in Latin, he would find a way to not only have him defrocked, but excommunicated as well. And the church wonders why I don't give them a dime anymore.

Anonymous said...


doubletrouble said...

Time to speak to your Bishop, Fran; modifying Mass is a HUGE no no.
The Mrs. & I drive 45' every other week to attend a TLM- keeps the sanity.

RichJ said...

The Bible has a great deal to say about what has been posted by Francis as well as the subject matter of some of the heart felt comments made. What is to happen is foretold in Matthew 24:2: “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, by no means will a stone be left here upon a stone and not be thrown down.

Fifty plus years later, John elaborates in chapters 17-19 in particular with regard to the discussion of the harlot of Babylon (i.e., organized religion):

Revelation 18:2: And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: “She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, and she has become a dwelling place of demons and a place where every unclean spirit and every unclean and hated bird lurks!

Read on in Chapter 18. All of these verses are gift to us from God himself. What Anonymous said in that first post is covered.

Buckle up everybody. Read the Bible. Not only does it contain the knowledge we need, but it also contains the recipes for internalization of this knowledge. Make no mistake. This world is coming apart... passing away if you will (1 John 2:17). However, fear not what is unfolding, but fear God. There is definite hope for us that listen (John 3:16, Revelation 21:3-4).

Linda Fox said...

Our parish is staffed by the Priests of the Oratory of Phillip Neri, who live communally at the Oratory, and gain much from that brotherhood.

They are dedicated, smart (our current head priest has a Master's in Business Administration and Finance), orthodox, supportive of our equally orthodox deacons and lay staff, and, generally a worthy bunch. Because they live at the Oratory, someone is always available to minister in a crisis situation. It's the best priestly situation I've found in a long time.

Joseph said...

This nonsense can be found all over.