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For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-08-30

Here is Bulletin_2015-08-30

Analysis and Commentary:

1. Onward to Myth #10: Happy, happy, happy! Myth #9 has finally gone away and now we get to see Myth #10: Government housing programs strain budgets.

Myth #10: Government housing programs strain budgets. Discretionary programs that help low-income people meet basic needs, more than half of which are housing assistance, made up about 2.2 percent of the federal budget in fiscal year 2013, based on estimates from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

The version of Myth #10 in our bulletin drops the word “Discretionary”. This myth statement only speaks of the “federal budget.” It does not mention state and county budgets. All of these “Discretionary” programs have a common source of funding, by one means or another. That source is the consumer/the tax payer. The consumer/tax payer has little say when it comes to paying the cumulative tax burden. We contend that it is the consumer/tax payer’s budget that is strained. We have rarely ever seen taxes being reduced, and we have often seen them being increased. The math relating to that 2.2 percent in a government budget is quite different than what the math looks like for that 2.2 percent when it comes to a tax payer’s budget.

Are we saying “Don’t help the homeless”? No, we have a moral obligation to help them. What we are saying is: “If you are going to bandy myths about, especially myths that relate to the government’s track record on spending wisely and morally, you better be prepared to document what good has come out of that 2.2 percent budget expenditure. It’s not what percentage that was spent, it is how effectively was it spent.”

2. UUBRidge welcomes diversity: This week the Rappahannock News carried a letter with the title “UUBRidge welcomes diversity.” If you have a chance, please read the article. I don’t understand everything I know about the Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge. If, however they are the same Unitarians that attended the County picnic discussed in item 2 of For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-07-12, I suspect we at St. Peter Catholic Church have some real Catholic evangelization to perform. We pray that Father is on top of this and sharing the true teaching of the Church concerning the problem with this type of diversity. Souls are at stake!

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Things of Little Consequence?

This blog has documented no major heresies at St. Peter’s. This blog has uncovered no moves toward schism from Rome at St. Peter’s. This blog has not outed a Martin Luther at St. Peter’s. Nor, please Lord, do we ever expect to find a liturgical or spiritual “smoking gun”. This blog has merely documented little things, thing taken individually that are of almost no consequence whatsoever. And that, dear friends in Christ, is the point. The little things, one after another, are cumulative and over time they amount to something that is of some consequence.

This weekend I attended 5:00PM Mass at St. John the Baptist and the 8:30AM Mass at St. Peter’s. I encountered the same 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time at both Masses, yet my recollections of each cannot be reconciled. At St. John’s one statement stands out and demands my attention. It was about Reading 2. There is the option of using a complete form or a short form. At St. John’s the complete form was used, but Father pointed out that some priests would choose the short form because the edited verses speak of some of the Church’s hard teachings. Later in the homily, Father used the term “inconvenient truth” to describe the hard teachings that separate Roman Catholicism from those who have chosen schism or heresy.

So, what did I encounter at St. Peter’s on the very same 21st Sunday of Ordinary time? Yes, it was the short form of Reading 2. But, there is an event that preceded that reading. Approximately ten minutes before Mass, our Pastor came down the left side of the main nave and spoke to the lector. He indicated that today the lector should read the short form of  St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. The lector responded in a way that appeared to indicate that he was hoping to read the long form. Father answered, “No, I don’t want to get into all of that.” [The precise words might have been very slightly different, but very close to that.] Father then took the lector up and showed him where the short form was in the lectionary.

So, what we heard at St. Peter’s on Sunday morning was the text below, minus the words highlighted in purple. Those words in purple constitute an “inconvenient truth” in Catholic doctrine. It is a truth that is not politically correct in the eyes of some. Yet, for my wife and me that truth is a part of the reason why we have remained happily married for over 43 years. The entirety of Ephesians 5:21-32 is a formula for a strong marriage and a strong Church. Why dilute it?

Reading 2 Eph 5:21-32

Brothers and sisters:
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife
just as Christ is head of the church,
he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ,
so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.

Now, we have little time left in this very long work day. We leave you with three things to consider:

  1. Consider that Father has eliminated the missalettes.
  2. Consider that less that one in a fifty St. Peter’s Mass attendees brings a missal, privately purchased missalette, or copy of reading God’s Word Daily Mass Readings to Sunday Mass.
  3. Consider that only a very few who attended Mass at St. Peter’s this weekend realize that they have been deprived of an “inconvenient truth” or the completeness of teaching relating to marriage and Christ’s relationship to His Church.

Consider those things and also consider the cumulative nature of the deprivations brought upon St. Peter’s – one at a time. Consider the minor alterations in liturgy and in our expression of prayer. Consider our shift away from a balanced approach to the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy to an expression of social justicism. Consider what a radical pastor can do in a year.

 

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-08-23

Here is Bulletin_2015-08-23

We are a day late in publishing this post. One heirloom tomato bush, producing nearly 20 lbs., and many ripe jalapeno peppers required that we break out the canning equipment. So far, we have five pints of medium-hot salsa and six pints of hot salsa. – God is good and the harvest is abundant!

Analysis and Commentary

1. Vacation is Over: Vacation is over and Father has returned. I had the opportunity to attend daily Mass at St. Peter’s on Friday morning. Expecting to see the green vestments of Ordinary Time, I was delighted to see white vestments and celebration of the Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope. My wife and I look to Pope St. Pius X, St. Francis de Sales, and other saints who sought to guard the Church from error and to bring all members of the flock together. On the day dedicated to Pius X, we recalled the words we wrote last year explaining why we have chosen to use this blog to bring “Assent to Counter Dissent”:

Image result for st. pius xRadical dissent is not new to the Catholic Church. In fact, it began with a rebellion before the world was created. It is no more radical now than in the beginning, but it has become more organized and more persistent. Pope Pius X recognized that fact and exposed Modernism and its array of errors in 1907 in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. St. Pius X recognized that he could no longer remain silent about the Modernists and he endeavored  “… to show that their system does not consist in scattered and unconnected theories but in a perfectly organised body …”

This blog is about exposing the means by which the new pastor is attempting to transform the parish. This blog is also about how those faithful Catholics in St. Peter’s, who are in full assent with the teachings of the Church, can thwart this plan for transformation.

As we have said in the past, our Pastor is good man, but he has openly dissented and fosters a view of Catholicism that is disproportionate. He emphasizes social justice and the Corporal Works of Mercy to the extent that the Spiritual Works of Mercy are diminished or forgotten. We pray for Father daily and we do our best to discuss his actions with due respect. We hold no official position; we are simply sheep in the flock of St. Peter’s Church. Yet, in the spirit of Pope St. Pius X, “Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty …”

St. Pius X, Pray for us!

Imbalance2. Broken Record: We reported last week that the homelessness myths have returned. With great joy I celebrated the Solemnity of the Assumption and the return of the myths by eating a large quantity of popcorn. Having skipped from Myth 6 to Myth 9, I was sure that this week we would see Myth #10: Government housing programs strain budgets. That is not the case. Instead, we see a replay of Myth #9: Homelessness is going away.

Whether homelessness is ever going away or not remains to be seen. Jesus seemed to think not: The poor you will always have with you.” Based on this repeat of Myth 9 in our Bulletin, I suspect the homelessness myth series of articles will never be going away. Perhaps in the view of our Pastor: The homelessness myths you will always have with you.”

 

Beating a Dead Horse #8 – Fre3d Again

My somewhat naive and under-educated friend, Fre3d Capra, has engaged in many exploits since Beating a Dead Horse #7 – Fre3d  and For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-07-19 – Commentary; we’ ll save those for another time. Suffice it to say he is making great strides in his spiritual growth. Today, however, marks a highlight in the relationship that we share. Let me tell you about it. It won’t take long.

Immediately after the 8:30AM Mass this morning, Fre3d’s noisy old pickemup truck (that’s what they’re called in Hawaii) came screaming down my lane and skidded to a stop under the black walnut tree. Fre3d came bounding out of the truck (I think he picked this up by watching videos at Cooter’s) and started yelling, “Petition, I have to talk to Petition right now!” (Please recall that Petition is the name of my dead horse.) “Petition has to know what I’ve just seen at St. Peter’s.”

I said to Fre3d, “Whoa, friend! What’s the big hurry and what’s so important?”

Fre3d quickly replied, “I saw it, I saw it with my own eyes and I heard it, I heard it with my own ears. I think Petition is going to come back to life! I just saw it in the Sanctuary at St. Peter’s!”

“Slow down, Fre3d. What did you see and what did you hear? What makes you think Petition is going to come back to life?”

“There was a priest, an older priest with Deacon Benyo, and he said the black and he did the red, he did everything that was in the Missal that you loaned me.” I told Fre3d that’s great, but I don’t think that it’s enough to bring Petition back to life.

Fre3d responded, “No, there’s more, there’s much more!” He gasped for breath and tried to compose himself. “Not only did he say the black and do the red precisely, he also let the altar boys ring the bells at the Consecration. There were bells and the bells made the Consecration seem more solemn, and everyone was quiet and they looked to the altar when the bells rang.”

“Now that is interesting, Fre3d. What else was there?”

“Well, there was a real homily. I learned some things about the Eucharist. It was a beautiful teaching that I can share in the life of Christ. The visiting priest made it seem so clear.”

“Okay.” I was struggling to put all this new information into some order. So, I asked, “Many of these thing were the way it used to be at St. Peter’s. Was there anything else that surprised you?”

“Oh yes, for sure. When I went up to Communion, I didn’t have to wait for people lined up to receive from the extra extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Apparently, the visiting priest didn’t need or want their assistance. There was no congestion or tripping or making way for people to get back into the right order in their pews. What a relief! Please, may I go tell Petition about this now?”

dead-horse“Certainly, Fre3d. I think he will be heartened by the good news – even if it is only for this week. He will be glad to hear about how we had a brief return to the ‘status quo ante’ at St. Peter’s.” Fre3d went rushing to the barn, with all the flies and the somewhat odd odors and I could hear him recounting his story to poor dead Petition.

I too went to the 8:30AM Mass and enjoyed that momentary return to the way it used to be at St. Peter’s. As I left the Church I made sure to stop and shake hands with Fr. Mark Pilon. I’m not sure he will ever know how very sincere were my words when I simply said “Thank you for the Mass, Father.”

 

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-08-16

Here is Bulletin_2015-08-16

Analysis and Commentary:

1. What Can Happen to a Parish in a Year? In October last year, we posted What Can Happen to a Parish in Four Months? In future posts we hope to recount the changes that have occurred here at St. Peter’s since our new Pastor arrived. For now, however, we would like to share some more upbeat thoughts. There have been some amazing turnarounds at St. Charles Borromeo Parish since Father departed. Some are obvious and some are very subtle. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time this evening to discuss everything. So, it may take a little work on your part, but it’s a worthwhile effort. Please compare and contrast what you find in St. Charles’ bulletin in June 2014 with what is happening in August 2015. Someday, the same will happen at St. Peter’s. Also, take note of the staff changes over the course of a year. There are important reasons for the turnover.

2. Time for a Vacation? Still? Yes, even longer than we had anticipated. Once again, without notification in the bulletin, it appears that our Pastor will continue his vacation through most of this coming week. There will be Communion Services on the 17th and 19th. Let us just say here and now, Deacon Bob Benyo is a man who is living his vocation. The homilies at the Communion Services have been both instructive and inspiring. My wife and I have enjoyed this last week – early in the morning with the Lord and with each other. This is why we came to St. Peter’s from Idaho.

Imbalance3. Popcorn Tonight!!! The homelessness myths have returned. Finally, I can have the popcorn I’ve been waiting for. This week we have skipped from Myth 6 to Myth 9.

Myth #9: Homelessness is going away. The number of homeless people declined nationwide by 2 percent between 2013 and 2014, HUD found. But the homeless population increased by 6% in New York City, where 12% of homeless Americans reside, and 1% in all major cities.

The indoctrination on homelessness obviously is far more important than the increase of people leaving their Catholic faith, the baby parts that are being sold, and the assault on our religious freedom by the Supreme Court on June 26th. Father, you need to recover your balance.

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2015-08-09

Here is Bulletin_2015-08-09

Whoa! What a lot of inserts in the bulletin this week.

Analysis and Commentary

1. Time for a Vacation? Still? Without notification in the bulletin, it appears that our Pastor will continue his vacation through this coming week. There will be Communion Services on the 10th, 12th, 13th and 14th of August.

2. Rapp-at-Home – The Saga Continues: This week’s bulletin tells us that “Rides [are] Needed for Seniors.” This is a continuation of the story about Rapp-at-Home, a social justicism initiative that was supported early on by the Rappahannock Clergy Association (founded by our Pastor). My wife and I have been tracking the progress of this community organizing effort and we spoke last about it in b. Item Two – The Village Programs Brought to Us by the Community Organizers. A term that is often used quite aptly by the folks at ChurchMilitant.com is “The Church of Nice!” That is what St. Peter’s is becoming – a place where we can do happy things and feel so warm and fuzzy about our good works – and don’t worry, we won’t talk about the hard teachings of the Church and make you feel uncomfortable.

There may be nothing wrong with Rapp-at-Home, but there is not enough of something right. My view is, if I’m going to give a senior a ride, I’m not going to put my Catholic identity in the back seat – the teachings of the Catholic Church are going to ride up front.

3. Six Flags Down and Holding: Once again, there is no mention of the homelessness myths. I have a feeling I’ll never get to eat that popcorn. Dang!

4. What is Unbound? The Pastor’s Piece gives us a preview and introduction to what we will be hearing from Rev. Thomas F. Malloy OSFS at Mass this weekend. (If you missed it, you can read about Fr. Malloy in the item Time for a Vacation?.) Here is what our Pastor tells us:

Founded by lay Catholics, Unbound is an organization that has served more than 600,000 children, youth and elderly in 20 developing countries since 1981-empowering them to make more choices in their lives, live with dignity and reach their potential.

Unbound’s unique sponsorship program is highly personalized. It matches a child, youth or aging person at project overseas with a sponsor in the U.S. who cares about and encourages that person. For about a dollar a day, a sponsor helps to provide much-needed nourishing food, medical and dental care, the chance for a child to go to school, livelihood programs for families and much more.

Along with this introduction comes a two-page slick sheet bulletin insert telling us about Unbound. A full third of the insert is dedicated to explaining how you can contribute to Unbound. The following is from the Unbound Website.

Our mission & values

Our mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world.

  • We provide personal attention and direct benefits to children, youth, aging and their families so they may live with dignity, achieve their desired potential and participate fully in society.
  • We invite people of good will to live in daily solidarity with the world’s poor through one-to-one sponsorship.
  • We build community by fostering relationships of mutual respect, understanding and support that are culturally diverse, empowering and without religious or other prejudice.

Grounded in the Gospel call to serve the poor, Unbound is a lay Catholic organization working with persons of all faith traditions to create a worldwide community of compassion and service.

Without comment on the above consider the following short description of St. Francis Xavier and the longer account given at EWTN.

In every age since Christ charged the Apostles to go and preach to all nations there have been saintly and heroic men who have journeyed to far lands in order to bring new peoples into the Christian fold. Among those who labored most zealously was the Jesuit, Francis Xavier, named by Pius X as official patron of foreign missions and of all work for spreading the faith. The first great missionary to the Orient in modern times, Xavier planted Christianity in western and southern India, in the then uncharted islands of the Indian Ocean, and in Japan. He died, four hundred years ago, while making a valiant effort to reach the people of China.

My wife and I have to admit that, unlike Unbound, we have a religious prejudice – we are Catholics. Our money will go to missionaries and organizations dedicated to bringing new peoples into the Christian fold.  Based on what we have read about Unbound, that is not their primary concern.

St. Francis Xavier, Patron of foreign missions, Pray for us!