Saturday, August 31, 2013

50 Days of Prayer - Day 8

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Day Eight

The Underground Church

Yesterday we prayed the Nativity and the grace of Peace, and in keeping with our pattern, today we consider an opposing vice or resistance - and it's that cruddy complacency, the inertia that makes true Christians carry the cross, and that makes the birth of Christ happen literally underground, in a cave with smelly animals.


One of my actors is eager to convert to the Catholic Faith.  For about four years now this journey has been building.  He has been suffering resistance from every side - especially within his own family, some of whom are "Chick Tract" anti-Catholics.  I have never known of anyone who has suffered more for his desire to become Catholic.

Now that he's finally ready and he's made sure his wife won't leave him for making the jump, he has asked me to be his sponsor and guide him in.  But ... his territorial parish is a city parish, and like most city parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has been co-opted by the "rainbow crowd'.  It's a "gay friendly" parish.  Of the two Catholic non-parish churches near him that are an option, one is filled with hateful bigots and the other gears their religious instruction to the illiterate homeless who live in the back alley, and they've told me it wouldn't be a good "fit" for my guy.  If this man goes to any other parish in the archdiocese, he can receive religious instruction, but most RCIA classes (as they are called) are utterly heterodox and also stupid and more like a nine-month episode of Oprah than anything an adult male who has suffered for Christ is willing to endure.  And even if he gets private instruction elsewhere, his territorial pastor, as I understand it, has to somehow sign off - and his territorial pastor is apparently a flaming heretic.

Is it any wonder Christ was born in a stable, in an underground hideout, and not in the multi-million dollar above ground Catholic hospital with full insurance coverage?  Is it any wonder that the New Evangelization is nothing the bishops seem to be able to handle, what with their love for bureaucracy and mediocrity, but is something that is happening "underground" at Chesterton clubs and men's groups and unofficially Catholic encounters all over the world?  Is it any wonder that a man who desperately wants to become Catholic for all the right reasons is stymied by the very Church he's drawn to?

The fact is that God draws us to Him - for he is Real.

He draws us out of the world - for the world is Unreal.

And the best way to keep our feet on the ground is to find ourselves hidden underneath it.


Let us reflect upon the way the world always pushes the Reality of God out of sight and makes it hard to find.

And let us pray ...

To you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves – our hearts, minds, wills and lives and all those works we undertake so they may be for the glory of God, for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Holy Mother, our Queen and our Joy, give to our hearts the dimensions of yours and form us in the image of your beloved Son.


Benjamin. said...

If these priests and laypeople disagree with the doctrines of the Church, why do they attempt to remain so strongly associated with it?

Del said...

Double-check for that "territorial sign-off" requirement

I do believe that modern canon law allows a Catholic to participate with and support any convenient parish, without regard to geography.

And even if your candidate has to endure a tedious indoctrination of newthink from Sr. Mary Pantsuit, he has already struggled through worse. You'll get through it together, and the Eucharist will be his reward.

Del said...

Upon some research: It looks like the "territorial pastor" does have some authority, although there is plenty of grey area in the practice:

I still say:
- Find a convenient parish that gives the good stuff, and respect the discipline by seeking that sign-off from the territorial pastor. He can't deny it; he just has to record it.

"Father, our young candidate has found a neighboring parish that he wants to study with, but he resides in your district. Please? Thank you!"

- If your region is so spiritually destitute that a good RCIA program cannot be found, then select one that is tolerable and muddle through it together.

Kevin O'Brien said...

Thanks, Del.

The option we're pursuing is the Oratory Church (Institute of Christ the King), which is orthodox and which is extra-territorial. I believe their candidates can come in directly without a sign-off from the territorial pastor. Even so, as you say, it's doable.

Anonymous said...

As far as I know St. Francis de Sales should be a good church, as you wrote above. Is there some problem with sending the neophyte there?

Dr. Eric