Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
WCR Letters to the Editor
Demand for money offends
Last weekend I had the pleasure of returning to my small town community where I grew up. On Sunday I attended the church Mass. Boy, have times ever changed! I realize there is a shortage of priests in rural Alberta, but I would never have believed "religion" could have become so political.
There, in the middle of the Sunday morning sermon, the young priest basically told his parishioners of this small farming community that they needed to contribute more dollars. If they did not put more in the collection basket (and he told them the minimum he expected), their small town church would only receive the Good Word once per month and he himself would move to a larger centre.
Here, in the middle of a talk about God's love and sacrificing everything for us, this priest implies that these parishioners do not love God enough because they are not contributing enough money.
"Hello? Is there anybody home?" Does this man not know that love comes in all forms - not just monetary? What about the countless hours of volunteer work these people do - not only within the Church, but the whole community? What about the hours they contribute to ensure the church is clean and beautifully decorated for Mass? The time these same people take to make sure all Mass services flow smoothly? The help they provide to the people because the priest is unavailable or unwilling to do so?
Yes, money is a requirement for any place of worship to survive. But one must be accountable to those funds. Why are the expenses so out of line compared with their revenue? Is there not a budget?
Not only was this production an embarrassment to these parishioners, but the parish council chairperson was unaware Father was going to present this information. The finance team was also caught "flat-footed." It makes me wonder what the role of a priest is nowadays. Growing up I always knew and understood the priest represented the people and the Good Book. After that service I wonder.
And yes, I am still a practicing Catholic, although I now reside in urban Alberta.
Catholics must also answer to God
Re: "Bush must answer to God" and article on "Protests"
Perhaps we as Catholic Christians may have to answer to God as well. A parish I recently belonged to is going to spend $3 million on renovating a church that cost over $3 million less than 25 years ago.
We express such compassion verbally about the pain in the world . . . the poor children of Iraq without medicine or food (despite the $8 billion Saddam pockets from oil revenue that belongs to the children) . . . the plague of AIDS in Africa that we are told would take very little money to remedy. The needs of the world could go on and on.
But we as Christians would prefer to decorate and renovate our places of worship. I don't think God is especially pleased. It seems we are still making material sacrifice to God instead of the human efforts he asked for. We pray for forgiveness for what we have done and what we have failed to do.
It is so easy to point the finger at Bush and Blair and call them war mongers and baby killers. It takes the spotlight off of us and what we are failing to do. I can't remember a time when a parish borrowed $3 million to relieve the suffering of a people anywhere. Think of the money spent in parishes on non-essentials and frills.
I am ashamed of the self-righteous and arrogant hypocrisy of the Church. That includes condemning bingo when the Church has been profiting from the K of C's contributions (much from their bingo hall) for at least 40 years that I know of.
The Church's credibility is at an all-time low now. Don't make it worse. Peace has a price. I believe the Iraqi people are as entitled to live free, without fear, and with all of the basics necessary to humanity as I am. It will not happen with people like Saddam in control. Even Christ had to live through violence and sacrifice to bring the possibility of peace to us.
Figure out just who is in the wrong
It's next to impossible following the reasoning and inconsistencies of people who proclaim great loyalty to the institutional Church when their arguments are based or premised on the demonization of Saddam Hussein and purported compassion for the people of Iraq and other countries such as Afghanistan that we've bombed to smithereens.
Anyone who reads history has known that Saddam Hussein is a sociopath or psychopath (whichever characterization suits our position) and we knew that many years ago, but still supported him and his regime when it suited our purpose and that allegedly preceded the Iraq/Iran war going back quite a few years.
Now if these people are so keen on following the U.S. party line, then let's follow a path of compassion and concern governed by international law and ask for the impeachment of the current president of the U.S. and his administration and the indictment of previous administrations (e.g. President Reagan) for crimes against humanity.
Keep the ritual, routine rhythm of Mass
I am certainly in agreement with Father Rolheiser (WCR last week) and his comments on the need for ritual, routine and rhythm especially when it comes to Mass.
I find it exhausting, boring, tiring and frustrating to participate in the Masses I have been attending lately.
My solution is to fix it, but making it routine.
My frustration and exhaustion comes from all the commotion going on, the new songs that even the choir and musicians do not know, throwing in a baptism here, another rite there, having us respond in new ways that breaks the routine, the rhythm and the lovely ritual of our Mass.
Instead of changing things every Sunday, how about the same songs sung from Sunday to Sunday changing with the seasons only, the rites and baptisms scheduled elsewhere so that you have a choice to participate or not, if we are going to say the Nicene Creed, then let's say it every time.
If Mass is to last an hour, then don't have it last half an hour more unless I know ahead of time and can then schedule the next activity accordingly.
I need to starting enjoying Mass again.
Giving thanks for hearts full of thanksgiving
I would like to thank individually all the priests, religious sisters and the faithful of the Edmonton Archdiocese and to thank collectively the many parishes and religious communities who remembered me in their prayers and offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for my speedy recovery from the very complicated surgical procedure that I underwent on March 13 in the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
Your visits, letters and telephone calls were not only appreciated but they remain in my memory as the most tangible signs of your outpouring of love and kindness. For these, I give thanks to God and pray that, with his grace, I will be able to follow your example and through my priestly service, help those who might find themselves in similar situations.
My experience in the Royal Alexandra Hospital made me more than ever appreciative of God's gift of life, a gift renewed by him at every moment in all its beauty.
I wish also to thank Our Gracious Lord for the grace of recovery and for my many friends. They are a priceless blessing. I pray that God will keep them all in his precious care. And so, to my friends, my fellow priests, religious nuns/sisters, former parishioners and countless others who prayed for me during my sojourn in the hospital, I say to each of you, from the bottom of my heart, I am deeply grateful: "A million thanks!"
Everyone needs something to be thankful for each day. The fullness of living is found in hearts that are filled with thanksgiving! And mine is truly filled because of my many friends! Thank you and may God Bless you!
Fr. Theophil (Ted) Wesolowski