EDITOR'S NOTE: Revolution 21's Blog for the People continues an occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago in the trenches of Catholic radio. The names aren't real, nor are the places, but the stories are -- and it's a snapshot picture of what happens when "Their zeal consumes them" meets "Sinners sacrifice for the institution, not vice versa."
In other words, there has to be a better way.
The other week in youth group, a couple of Catholic-school girls (I think they were Catholic-school lobotomized) were expressing grave doubts about the Real Presence. The next thing I knew, I was tracing the prefigurement of the Paschal sacrifice -- and the logic of consuming that sacrifice in a meal -- from the Last Supper to John 6:56 and all the way through the Old Testament from the Passover back to Abraham, Isaac and the ram caught in the brush.
And then I told one of the girls, "Don't take my word for it. Look it up for yourself."
Funny thing is, I knew all that was in my brain already, but I never really systematically looked at the Eucharist past the prefigurement in the Passover. Never.
I think the message was meant for me more than the unbelieving teen-ager: "You're not leaving the Catholic Church. You damn well can't leave the church."
Still . . . the lunacy just doesn't let up. In the Catholic Church or at Pope FM -- where for the first time I'm starting to fear a catastrophic spiral into oblivion. And feel that, no matter how much I might like to see the SOB crash and burn, I have to find a way to gently steer Manic Don away from a self-immolation that could incinerate EVERYTHING and everyone.
THE PROBLEM at Pope FM is pride and delusions of grandeur -- that the only way to serve the Lord and evangelize, evangelize, evangelize the universe into becoming the "right" kind of Catholics is to become some sort of corporate, Papist media empire of the upper Midwest. Folks are getting big heads, and the medium is becoming the message.
Unfortunately, actually taking care of business and simply being present to suffering souls is so mundane. No, what we want is a kind of Hollywood Catholicism, where it's so much more important to look good than be good. The rub, however, is that you live in a radio Hooterville, the phone is at the top of a utility pole and the carpenter who built your new studios is a woman named Ralph.
And it's all starting to fall apart.
Somehow, I'm getting past some of my anger at the whole mess and starting to feel like I just can't walk away from the cross here. Kind of a personal "Quo vadis, Domine?" moment.
OH, DID I mention our contractor did such a lousy job -- and that warnings from our engineers were so completely ignored -- that our new studios are anything but soundproof? In radio, that's a VERY bad thing. They'll be next to useless, and the work of the station will be significantly crippled.
All for the low, low cost of $100 grand or so. Perfect.