Showing posts with label charismatics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charismatics. Show all posts

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dear Diary: This is crazy. This is crazy. This is crazy.

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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TUESDAY, JAN. 22, 2002

Dear Diary,

Well, Doug liked the Pope FM promo I E-mailed him. Says it's further proof still that I've found my calling in radio.

Is it?

I wonder how long I'll be able to do it . . . radio, I mean. Been seriously worn down and frustrated by the lack of resources at Pope FM and the extreme reluctance of my boss to spend money even on absolute essentials.

Mary, my boss, also has this highly annoying habit of blaming EVERYTHING that goes wrong on Satan, even when it's pretty obvious that there are many other possible explanations. Great way to avoid responsibility for one's own decisions, eh?

When you work with crappy old equipment, s*** tends to happen.

Sad to say, though, that I used to buy into that kind of thing. But to be fair, it's the peculiar culture at the heart of Pope FM that's the problem, not just Mary.

OK, Diary, here's the deal: EVERYONE constantly refers to everything that screws up as being a case of Satan being after us.

I was starting to fall into that a year or so ago until, oddly enough, a visiting priest on Total Catholic Radio Network's daily Mass provided me with a real sanity check on that score. He said, basically, not everything that goes wrong is the work of the Devil, and even if it is: a) You can't live life looking over your shoulder for Beelzebub, and b) don't give Satan the satisfaction of acknowledging his evil work.

Made eminent sense to me. Now I save the blame-Satan talk only for the most blatant cases for which any other explanation is difficult to concoct. Not so everyone else at the station.
It drives me nuts.

I've already mentioned the story about a technical screw-up during our Pledge-a-Thon last month. Mary was having major trouble getting the phone patched through to the on-air feed. I asked her whether she'd done A, B and C.
Yes, yes, she said.

I walked into the production room to find her saying, "Be gone, Satan!" I then looked at the control board for two seconds, punched a button, and the phone line was patched through. She hadn't done what she said she'd done.

And I've also told you about how Mary constantly is saying she can't wait to have Jesus on the premises (our forthcoming Eucharistic chapel) so Satan will leave us alone. (Did Satan leave Jesus Himself alone when He actually walked the earth? Not according to my Bible. As the Lord may have said at some point, "Oy veh!")

Also, there seems to me to be constant talk about the Holy Spirit -- as in, the Holy Spirit revealed this to me at adoration . . . the Holy Spirit will do this, and the Holy Spirit is up to that . . . if the Spirit moves you to etc., etc. That strikes me as leaning waaaaaaay toward the charismatic . . . not that we ought to discount the Spirit at all as Catholics, it just seems to me to be a disproportionate focus on the Holy Spirit.

Finally, we seem to have a big emphasis on "spiritual works of mercy" but every time I've proposed doing some corporal works of mercy -- most recently, contributing to 9/11 relief -- I have been dismissed out of hand. That would be a departure from our mission, I've been told.

Funny, I didn't know there was some sort of huge dichotomy when it comes to works of mercy.

Oh . . . about Father Jonathan Flava. He and J.T. Good were the speakers at last weekend's "Holy Glow" conference. Father Flava, a Benedictan evangelist, expounded on how we ought not think, that our thinking gets in the way of the Holy Spirit acting. (Our conference was a combined thing with the local charismatic Catholics . . . Flava was "their" guy.)

Folks went gaga over him. I was going "Huh?"

He also was fairly apocalyptic (real Catho-tabloid stuff), and boasted that he hadn't read more than five books in however many years -- the Spirit reveals to him everything he needs to know. It sounded to me too damn much like Magisterial snake-handling.

Really, Diary, I'm at a bit of a loss trying to make sense of all this and where I fit into "orthodox" Catholicism if this is the direction it's headed.

AND NOW, the archbishop (citing the new media guidelines passed by the USCCB) is demanding effective power of prior restraint on our program content. He wants to have approval on EVERYONE on Pope FM who "teaches the faith," whatever that stunningly ambiguous phrase might mean.

My objections to my boss about prior restraint was met by utter platitudes about "we must be obedient." And my concerns about the possibility for arbitrary dictates and gross abuse by a bishop were met by "that would help in our sanctification."

When my idea of evangelization and good radio is spots like the one I sent Doug, assuredly it's only a matter of time before I get a shiv in the back and my cold, lifeless body is sacrificed upon the altar of the chancery gods.

I swear to God, Diary, I've become Dr. Tom More and my life a Walker Percy novel.

Pass the lapsometer.