Now onto your regularly scheduled blog.
Why is it that the first article I read in the Bergen Record about the pope's visit starts out with "Yvette Cid is a 52-year-old widow and a practicing Catholic. She also is a lesbian who doesn't want to leave the church." Why they point out that this woman is a lesbian is beyond me, they make no mention of her being a practicing lesbian, but I assume they would like you to assume she is. The Church has no issues with a person being "homosexual" they like a "heterosexual" are called to live a life of celibacy until they are married and well since "homosexual" can't get married they are called to the single life. They are allowed to be Catholic, there is nothing stopping them.
The next paragraph begins with this "As a practicing gay Catholic, Cid is unusual. But her willingness to rely on her conscience, rather than church teachings, is increasingly typical of American Catholics." This statement is disturbing because the reporter is implying that the woman's conscience differs from the Church's teachings. Before this statement is, "The pope and the bishops, they follow the old way, and I understand that," Cid said in a recent interview. "But that doesn't mean I have to leave my faith because I disagree." Well, I'm glad the Pope and the Bishops follow the old way, they are following in the steps of the Apostles, considering that whole Apostolic succession thing, they are teaching Jesus' teachings.
The next section goes on the give some "facts about American Catholics" and it seems like a bunch of gobbledygook to me, but I will go back and try to figure out what the reporter is trying to say.
Following that section is the statement"Pope Benedict, who will arrive Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and travel to New York City on Friday, has a reputation from his days as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as an enforcer of church orthodoxy." I want to know what the heck "enforcer of church orthodoxy" means. I remember 3 years ago sitting on the bed screaming and crying "OH MY GOD THEY PICKED RATZINGER!!!!!" I was extremely happy because I knew nothing would change, the media would treat him like this vicious holier than thou man, and I knew he was no different than JP2. JP2 had the charisma to make the room jump, and the media loved him, but he taught Church teaching the same way Pappa B16 does.
Thinking about it, I find it strangely amusing that my parish is having a "Latin Mass" on Saturday, the 3 year anniversary of Pappa B16's election. I however as much as I would love to be at the Latin Mass have decided it's worth the trip to NYC to wait to see the pope mobile drive past me. As I've said, I can go to the Latin Mass whenever I want, how many times is the Pope going to be in my country and so close. I can never understand why people assume it was Cardinal Ratzinger making the rules or why they blame the Pope for the teachings they don't like. I've said it before, Jesus pissed people off, He got them thinking, He got them angry, He died because people were bothered by Him. It is no different today, the Vicar of Christ is going to say stuff to annoy you if you don't agree with him, the same way that the Clintons and Mr. Obama annoy the hell out of them whenever they open their big mouths.
The next section of the article finds and old person and a young person, a 75 year old woman and a young lady who is a senior in high school. Nothing like covering your bases and getting the middle aged woman who is in the Church but disagrees with and then finding the classic little old church lady and the Catholic high school student.
This sentence/paragraph amused me greatly "His words will be scrutinized carefully." Yes the Pope's words will be greatly scrutinized by you the media, because those of us who have no issues with the Church tend to agree with what he has to say.
What follows next is more gobbledygook to me, people trying to sound smart but it's not working. "Liberal Catholics say they hope that the pope adopts a pastoral approach that emphasizes dialogue, reconciliation and social justice." The terms liberal and Catholic should never go together. The Pope is a pastor, so that would imply that he had a pastoral approach, and I don't know what they want to dialog about, be reconciled with/for, and goodness knows I hate the term social justice. I had to teach a class called social justice and it was the stupidest class every, it should have been called. "The Works of Mercy" but again that's the old version, not this now enlightened version we have today.
Next in the article are two I want to say opposite statements from people, one from "a Midland Park resident and a retired theology professor at Marymount College." I don't know why we need to know where this woman lives, but she says, "I would hope that he would come pointing out that one out of three people globally live on less than a dollar a day and our church needs to respond to that," and "I hope he encourages the American church to be a pastoral, communal church." Why would the Pope come to tell us that one out of 3 people globally live on less than a dollar a day, we see plenty of the "save the starving children" commercials to tell us that, and if people paid attention to their "Operation Rice Bowls handouts, they would know that too. The Pope doesn't need to come and tell us what's going on in the world, he's here to tell us Catholics what to do in areas of faith and morals, and yes he'll tell us to take care of the poor, but we need to care for the poor at home too.
Apparently the only thing that happens in the Church is clergy abuse and the scandal that followed. Last time I checked that was 6 years ago, seriously, it sucked it was a black eye for the Church, but do you need to bring it up every time a prominent Catholic comes to visit. There's a decline in priests because people don't want their children to be "religious: more emphasis is placed on carrying on the family name than calls to vocations. I've said many times if God places the right man in my life and we get married, and I have all sons, I'll gladly foster any vocations, and God can take them all into the priesthood. I know I'm not normal, in the last 6 months 2 priest have called me crazy on separate occasions, one because my friends are married and have more than one child, actually most of them have 2 kids, and the other priest called me "the good kind of crazy, our crazy" I consider both of my parents to be good devout Catholics but I don't remember them fostering vocations or talking about vocations to their children. I don't even remember the sisters who ran my grammar school talking about vocations and they wonder why their numbers are low. Such an emphasis is placed on the decline of priests, and that is because you don't see priests on TV, unless you watch EWTN and if you're watching EWTN, you likely have your head screwed on correctly. ;) When I happen to catch Bishop Sheen's show on EWTN I sit and watch it, and Bishop Sheen died 2 days before I was born and his show captures me, meaning that if one speaks the truth of the Church that it is timeless.
The article goes on the mention the dewindling numbers of Catholics and mentions two parishes in the area, Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, and St. Mary's in Pompton Lakes. Now I know of both parishes, I'm not a 100% sure on Presentation now but when I was church hopping they seemed to have a decent young adult ministry program, and I have yet to hear any bad comments about them, St. Mary's on the other hand I have countless stories on, and I have heard that it's getting better, but when the "not so conservative" complain about the parish you know it can't be good. I don't mind the paper quoting the pastor of Presentation, but my thoughts on St. Mary's were, "of course you'd pick the most liberal Church in the area to be quoted." These two parishes are the largest in the area. I know Presentation get a good few young adults and young people into it, again I'm not 100% sure on what happens as I haven't been there in quite a while. St. Mary's and the dealings I have had with staff members, scared me, to the point where I with a lowly BA would have to correct the person with the Masters and a good few years of experience and of course that was not liked.
There's a quote from one of the Jesuits at St. Peter's in Jersey City, this priest says, "I think he should gather people together, Catholic intellectuals and laypeople, sit down for a couple of hours and say, 'Tell me the truth.' " The Pope doesn't need to sit with the layity to hear the truth, he teaches the truth, he's not stupid he knows what's going on in America and in it's churches. It not like all of a sudden Cardinal Ratzinger magically forget everything when he became Pope, give the man some credit. Of course I wonder what type of lay people this Jesuit wants to have sit with the Pope, I know they wouldn't invite me, simply because I would agree with the Pope.
The article when mentioning the two largest parishes in the area also mentions that laypeople are actively leading many aspects of parish life. This would be why so many people are so damn confused when it comes to the Catholic Church. As a woman who has worked for and would love to work for the Church again, I can see that laypeople don't always know what they are doing. The priest at St. Mary's is worried about a return of clericalism, does that mean he's afraid that he's going to have to do more work that as a priest he should already be doing. Just because you think you found the right lay person means that your off duty Father, come on, you're a priest it's not a 9-5 job and you should have known that when you got into it.
The article mentions of all things the Pope telling the Bishops to tell their priest and deacons that they need to purify the sacred vessels or as the put it, "the special policy that allowed laypeople to clean chalices used during Communion." Do I dare say that Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist are not supposed to be the ordinary ministers, but the priests are, I mean that's true. My parish has the priests and deacons purify the sacred vessels, and then the laity "cleans" them, normally at the Mass I attend it ends up being me, and people look at me like I'm nuts when I slowly wash them and take my time putting them away. Hello, these are the vessels that hold Jesus in them or have your forgotten that too.
The article closes by mentioning that the Pope has not said what he's going to say when he comes to the US other than he is coming to preach the Gospel. Guess what, that's what Jesus did too, do you think Jesus knew weeks in advance what He was going to say to his disciples, no He probably didn't, so if God didn't work that way, why expect a simple human to be any different.
Of course the article couldn't officially close without mentioning Yvette Cid, the lesiban from the beginning of the article and she says she's interested in what the "pope has to say---up to a point." Well what do you expect, most people are interested in what the Pope has to say up to a point, most people just don't want to hear it.
This is the last statement in the article, "God is about love, and that's how I look at it," she said. "If I am going to get condemned on my Judgment Day, all I can do is turn around and say, 'I loved another human being.' " This was said by Ms. Cid. Yes God is love, and that is how we are supposed to look at it, I seem to remember an encyclical titled God is Love written by a Pope Benedict, so she might be on to something there, but nothing the Church hasn't already said. No one speaks of Purgatory anymore, who says you'll be condemned, I know my ass will be in Purgatory with the flames of Hell licking my ass purifying me for Heaven. Jesus did tell us to be perfect as you're Heavenly Father, but God's smart and knows that we're not perfect, and He offers us countless chances to return and repent for what we have done. God is Love and He doesn't want to see His children in Hell, He wants them with Him, so He will do what He can to bring them all home, like any good father would do.
So here is what the article says, and my comments will follow:
When Pope Benedict XVI makes his first papal visit this week to the United States, the 80-year-old prelate will face an American flock that has become increasingly resistant to Vatican authority, especially on the church's human sexuality teachings.
Indeed, the percentage of Catholics who regard church leaders as the final authority on abortion, homosexual behavior and non-marital sex declined from one in three in 1987 to one in four in 2005, according to surveys prepared by Catholic scholars and administered by the Gallup Organization.
That doesn't mean, however, that American Catholics are rejecting their faith. The surveys also show that large percentages of Catholics agree that the most important teachings include helping the poor, Jesus' resurrection, the sacraments and Mary as mother of God.
"They aren't just rebelling," said William V. D'Antonio, one of authors of the book "American Catholics Today," which examines how Catholics have changed during the course of several decades.
One of the more striking findings, D'Antonio said, was that support for church leaders on sexual issues declined among older Catholics — those born before 1940, who generally have high levels of commitment to their faith.
"They may have grandchildren or grandnieces and nephews who have come out as gay," D'Antonio said. "And what they are now saying on some of these teachings is: 'Our lived experience doesn't support the teaching.' "