Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—January 22, 2006
They’re selling postcards of the hanging…
Now at midnight all the agents and the superhuman crews
Round up everyone that knows more than they do.
Why I Have Lost Faith in the Catholic Church and
Gained Faith in the Catholic Community
The events of the past two and a half years have deeply shaken my belief in the Catholic Church. I have asked myself how I can believe and follow a Church which worries more about its appearance than its members. I have wondered how I can sit next to individuals who follow their faith blindly, listening without question to every word that comes from the ambo. I have questioned how it is possible for men to say they believe in the gospel, but do not work for justice. Through all that, I was able to keep my faith.
The events of the past 3 weeks have shaken my faith more deeply than all this. I no longer feel I can stand aside and simply be a silent participant in the quest for truth and justice. I need to announce that virtually all my trust in the Catholic Church has been pulled out of me because of what I see happening today. More than nineteen years of attending church services, walking in walk-a-thons, wrapping presents for children in Colonias, gathering food for the poor, raising advocacy, attending CCD classes, listening to speakers tell us of horrible injustices, hearing about wonderful organizations which deserve our affirmation, have all gone down the drain. I no longer feel as though I want to be a member of the Catholic Church. It has done so many immoral, improper things that I no longer feel proud to say I am Catholic. Now when someone criticizes the Catholic Church, I join in and add my own list of shortcomings and problems. I no longer have any respect for the Catholic Church.
I realize that it might seem silly to dismiss the entire Catholic Church because of what I see in one Catholic Parish, but the Catholic Church is nothing without the Parishes. I have never been to Rome. I’ve never met the Pope. I’ve never had a meeting with the Catholic Bishops of America. I’ve never read the GIRM from cover to cover. To me the Catholic Church is nothing but the local parishes. What the Pope says does not affect me.
The fact is, I cannot believe in a Church that pushes its members away. The Catholic Church I grew up in was a vacuum, gathering everyone close together without worry of religion or beliefs. The Catholic Church I see today is no longer a vacuum, but an air pump. I see it pushing everyone who cares for the Church away; spitting them out to be on their own. This is not what the bible teaches. This is not what Jesus gave his life for. This is not the church of the people that has been built up for the past 2000 years.
At the same time, recent events have caused my faith to grow tremendously. I no longer have faith in the Church, but rather I have faith in the individuals. I have faith in the Catholic Community. I have faith in the people I sit next to when I wear black. I know that they are doing the right thing. I know they are doing what they believe in. I know that they are doing what the Catholic Church used to do. These people are the new Catholic Church.
However, the word new implies that we are revolutionaries, changing what the church stands for. We are not. We are what the Church used to stand for. I now realize the Catholic Church is separating from the Catholic Community. Our Catholic Community has not changed at all. We are still fighting for the same things we did 10 years ago. We still believe in the same teachings, and we still stand for the same justice. We still answer to the same God. Our Catholic Church has left us. We are still on the path to goodness and light, the path I hear about so often. The Church has strayed from the path. We have not strayed from it.
While we are still on the right path, we cannot just simply keep trekking forward. We are morally obligated to help our brothers and sisters return to the trail. We must continue calling their names, and slowly pushing them in the right direction, for with each small push, they are one step closer to the true path. We must not lose sight of the trail along the way. Now more than ever, we need to keep our minds set on what is right, and reach out to one another to push forward.
From Benjamin Salinas, a parishioner
“Throughout the New Testament, ministry is nowhere conceived of as a structure in accordance with the worldly model of ‘leadership,’ in the sense of rulers being over subjects. On the contrary, as all three synoptics say (Mark 10.42f; Luke 22.25; Matt.20.25f.), ‘It shall not be so (as is the case with worldly rulers) among you.’”
From The Church with a Human Face, by Edward Schillebeeckx.
Mourning Becomes Electric
As black has now become the new red in the Parish, the Blog has had several postings that along with reactions to and explanations of current Parish happenings have an underlying tone of sadness—sadness at the condition of the human relationships in our Eucharistic Community. Civility, common courtesy, and respect for other people’s humanity (much less opinions) have all been cast aside.
This atmosphere has been allowed to happen and even encouraged to happen by the Reverend Monsignor. His behavior at the infamous “Eucharistic Ministers” meeting was appalling in that he not only refused to attempt to calm people down, but seemed to relish the vicious reactions of what only could be described as a rabble. His behavior that evening put his personal stamp of approval on a way of acting that goes beyond being described as un-Christian. We are now reaping a harvest of escalating rhetoric and confrontation. It should make us all be weighed down by sadness.
According to the Sunday Bulletins, in the past fourteen weeks parishioners have donated $18,244.20 less than the $213,000 the parish budget called for during that period. If the spending patterns of the last fiscal year have continued (13.4% over budget), then during this fourteen week period an additional shortfall of $27,191.64 was created. This gives a total of $45,435.84 of red ink (versus budget) for the fourteen week period ending January 15th.
Stretching that pattern for an entire year, the Parish would fall short by $168,761.69.
All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low, some sing higher
Some sing out loud on the telephone wire
Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got, now
From a children’s song by Bill Staines
Real peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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