July 7, 2010

To My Haters

Just a note to the couple of souls who have graced me with hate mail on the occasion of my departure from the parish ministry:

I've said it many times, but the fact is that I care much more about the attachment of your souls to the Lord and to the practice of the faith than I care about the attachment of your sentiments to this church building and its glorious history. If I see no sign of the former, I will dismiss the latter as a matter of any concern. You can call me a rotten priest, and you will succeed in hurting my feelings. But you still won't get what you think you want, because I care more about your soul than my feelings.

So, to all the out-of-county or even out-of-state parents whose children I have suggested would be better baptized elsewhere: If this church meant so much to you when you grew up here, why wouldn't you give the same gift to your child by attending Sunday Mass in the place where you are now raising your children? Why do you deny them the gift that was given to you?

And to all of the potential sacramental sponsors whom I have suggested were not ready to certified: You can't sponsor someone for a journey that you aren't making yourself. You can't make the promises of baptism on someone's behalf when you aren't even thinking about your own. Your attempted election was an invitation from the Holy Spirit to return to the faith. You didn't want to accept the invitation, so I couldn't give you the benefit of the doubt. But God is in eternity, and sees us from that point of view; so the invitation remains. Hate me, fine. But love the Lord.

Thank you for your charity, and have a nice day.

12 comments:

Thom, sfo said...

What in the world?

(Might I recommend for your car stereo on the way out of town, the classic Mary J. Blige "No More Drama." If you're habitless, it's quite alright to lower the windows, increase the bass, and blast out like you're ridin' dirtay.)

Anonymous said...

All my life I never thought I would see someone suggest that a Friar "blast out like you're ridin' dirtay." Absolutely priceless.

GrandmaK said...

Well said! Cathy

KAM said...

Bravo. "...But God is in eternity, and sees us from that point of view." I like that.

jdonliturgy said...

Thanks for "telling it like it is" as they used to say! People never seem to understand that the Church is not a purveyer of commodities that they approach whenever they want something, nor is it Burger King, where they get it "their way." Celebration of the sacraments is a privilege and a sign of the reality of a family's faith. They should indeed be asked to demonstrate their commitment to the community and to the practice of their faith. Without that, sacraments have no meaning...

Anonymous said...

Wow. That hurt as much to hear it as I'm sure it was for you to write it. I'm currently struggling with trying to fit in religious instruction for 6-year old daughter with other "secular" activities, and I'm finding that no two parishes are alike. The parish I attend holds instruction on Saturday mornings when every other kiddie activity is held from dance to sport. My mother's parish where I received all my sacramements and my daughter was baptized holds religious instruction on Wednesday afternoon's at 2:30 (public schools don't let out until 3 pm, go figure). So I find myself going to a third parish who holds Wednesday evening classes at the convenience of working parents from 7:30 to 8:30. Now what 6 year old will be awake and lucid enough at 8:30 in the evening? Then I get the guilt trip that my daughter should receive the sacraments from the parish that we attend, and that I'm placing her secular activities above the state of her soul. What ever happened to good old fashioned Sunday school followed by the traditional family mass??? So sorry, but you've strummed on one of my rant chords.

Brother Charles said...

Dear Anonymous: Thank for your the encouragement of your good example, and for providing the perspective of a counter-rant!

Judy said...

Well said Fr. Charles and jdonliturgy! Anonymous might perhaps speak with the higherups in her mom's parish and they might consider changing the time of thier religious instructions. Is it possible that they are unaware that the public school does not dismiss until 3? Do think that there is still "Released Time" when there is not. There has to be a good solution to the problem.

Barb, sfo said...

Amen!
And what a wonderful point about the potential sponsor/godparent receiving an "invitation" to return to the Church. (Do I hear a future homily in there somewhere?)
I guess you will just have to keep praying for those souls, and shake the dust from your feet (a la Mary J Blige or however else works for you)!

Barb, sfo said...

I want to add, to the Anonymous who was having trouble finding religious instruction that was reasonably scheduled: there is always the option of "home- schooling" your child for religious ed.

But beyond that, I feel your pain. I truly do. My children attend Catholic school. My daughter started fifth grade in her THIRD Catholic school--and we never moved during that time; schools here are closing! So all 3 of my children received their First Holy Communion in different parishes. Right now we do not worship at the parish where our youngest attends school (we have one in high school and one in college as well). We're back at our original parish because that is the faith community we want our family to be part of. I had 2 children receiving sacraments this year at their school church, not their family church. It's kind of awkward, but we do what we do to make it work for our family.

I hope that you will be able to find religious instruction for your child that works for your family. But don't discount home-schooling as an option.

Sara said...

Hi Anonymous.

There was a parish in the town where I grew up that held religious ed classes on Wednesday afternoons. The public school kids were dismissed early to attend. I remember being in first grade or so and hearing the voice come over the loudspeaker that it was time for early dismissal for the CCD kids... I had no idea what CCD was and I thought that it was some kind of super top secret club. I was very jealous :)

Do they not do this anymore in public schools? I would probably just pull my kid out of school early once a week whether the school liked it or not (and of course, have her make up the work at home)

Sarah said...

Ah, Kudos to you for "keepin' it real"! The Lord was hated pretty much for everything He did, even (or especially??) for his miracles...so I guess you're in good company!

Doesn't make it any easier, as a person, to get that sort of hate mail - but be it known that it is comforting to me to know that there are priests out there who are uncompromising in their faith and love of Christ AND HIS CHURCH! What you have been saying, you've been saying out of love. These folks will eventually see it - maybe not in this life, but definitely in the next.