Showing posts with label chapel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chapel. Show all posts

Monday, February 12, 2007

Dear Diary: Going to Eucharistic charm school

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's another in the occasional series of dispatches recorded some years ago from the front lines of Catholic radio -- Pope FM.

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SATURDAY, FEB. 9, 2002

Dear Diary,

A massive sex scandal (again) is upon the Church -- priests diddling CHILDREN, diddling TEENS, and bishops covering up the whole mess. It is too much to bear. For me, this may well end up being the final straw. I cannot bear this; I cannot bear AmChurch vapidity; I cannot bear "traditionalist" obsession with protocol above all.

If many are to persevere as Catholics, we are going to have to find a way to reconcile doctrine with the fact that many of those whom we are supposed to obey in matters of morals and faith possess neither. And these are the corrupt shepherds God supposedly has given us.

How, exactly, is a body supposed to get his mind around that? And the reality that the faction of the Church so concerned about the Church's eroding moral authority is the most prone to whistle in the graveyard when presented with the gravest erosion of that moral authority. How am I supposed to get my mind around that?

There were two great schisms over less serious stuff than this. I know there is precedent for similar kinds of corruption in the Church. But would there have BEEN a Church anymore had these previous fits of corruption taken place in the age of mass media and a disarmed Vatican?

God help me, I think the only way some superpious types retain their faith with such (apparent) serenity is that they are, on some level, deeply warped.

We had a staff meeting at Pope FM yesterday about the dedication of our Chapel of the Eternal Word this coming Monday. It was like being hurled back to Jansenism 1955.

Listen, I get upset about liturgical abuses. I cringe when I see women going up for communion with their cleavage falling out of their tops. I was apoplectic when I saw a college kid in the communion line on Good Friday with a "Coed Naked Volleyball" T-shirt on. And I came close to doing physical violence to kids at a "youth Mass" who couldn't stop acting up even during the consecration.

But it damned near enraged me to hear our station manager and volunteer "spiritual activities director" imply strongly that while genuflection on one knee is the Vatican requirement, it really doesn't go far enough. Thus, we should feel free to genuflect on both knees or prostrate ourselves when entering the chapel.

And I was sooooooooo encouraged to hear that I would be allowed to enter into the presence of my Lord and Savior only when properly attired. My usual blue jeans, I understand, are OK so long as they are "in good repair." But staff members are not to wear shorts in the chapel, even walking shorts, as we are to set an example for proper reverence.

Walking shorts are OK for visitors.

Our spiritual activities director then said how it dismays her to see kids in shorts at Mass at the boarding-school chapel near her house. Egad!!! I'm sorry, but when it's 95 or 100 degrees here, I wear nice shorts to Mass.

You know, I know people who work at that school, and I know the reputation of Father, and I know that any inappropriately dressed kid would be out of that church in a heartbeat.

But for me, the coup de grace, was when the powers that be decided that on Monday night, the kids in for Keys to the Kingdom will not be allowed into the chapel without adult supervision because they had not been instructed yet in proper chapel decorum. I objected in the strongest terms about denying them the opportunity to be in the Eucharistic presence, saying that if a kid went in there and -- out of ignorance -- wasn't sufficiently reverent, it couldn't be held against him. And if a kid were in there unsupervised and were willfully irreverent, that was a matter between him and God.

Furthermore, I said, suppose someone called into the show and had real problems. Should the kids not on the air be prevented from taking their prayers to the Real Presence?

"Jesus hears our prayers just as well wherever we are," said the spiritual activities maven. "They don't necessarily have to be in the chapel to pray."

I love it when people slow-pitch to Barry Bonds.

"Well," I said, "that would seem to beg the question of why exactly we have a chapel."

At that point, the boss decided that we needed to move on to other topics.

Of course.