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
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:
- Consider that Father has eliminated the missalettes.
- 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.
- 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.