Sunday, January 20, 2008

When "Retarded" Becomes The Punch-Line...
And of course, we all become Jesus Christ

And what a morning it was for Mr. & Mrs. Caveman. We decided to forgo our long distance trek to the only parish that offers the Traditional Latin Mass every Sunday. Instead, we opted to attend Mass at a parish here locally that offers the TLM once a month. Unfortunately, today wasn't the Sunday for the Tridentine Mass, but we figured, what the heck, this priest must at least be somewhat Traditional. How bad could it be?

Well, there was a visiting Deacon from Joisey there today. He gave the Gospel readings, no big surprise, and the sermon, again, we expected that.

But what came next, neither myself nor my wife expected.

This particular Reverend Sir started his alleged "sermon" about how those in the congregation who happen to be retired, still have a mission in life. OK... I can buy off on that.

He relayed to us how when he was told by his superiors to retire and take it easy, he stayed home with his wife, as he put it, "evvvvvvvery daaaaaaay". Three times he said "evvvvvvvery daaaaaaaay" with an extremely sarcastic tone. I didn't know that being with one's spouse was such a hardship. Gee, what a gem she found for a husband.

But wait... there's more!

As this individual was relating to us how many look upon the retired, he read us a letter (supposedly) written by a 6-yr-old, and as many 6-yr-olds do, they get their words fouled-up. But wasn't it just as cute as could be that Lil' Johnny said that Grandma and Grandpa were retarded and moved to Florida... and that they lived in a retarded community... and that Grandpa moved slow, probably because he's retarded.

Funny stuff, huh? I don't know what's more offensive, this guy using the word "retarded" as a punch line, or that many members of the congregation were literally howling with laughter.

As someone who works with children with mental retardation (and autism, and cerebral palsy, etc), I find what this individual said to be offensive in the extreme. I wonder what kind of response he would have gotten if the word "retarded" wasn't used, and instead, he said "malignant melanoma", or "leukemia", or just plain old "cancer"? Big yuks, no doubt.

But wait... there's more!

As his alleged sermon finally got around to relating to today's Gospel, he related the episode where he had Baptized a young 5-yr-old boy, and as he put it "I was looking into the face of Jesus". That struck me as kind of odd, because I thought only Jesus had the face of Jesus. Silly me. But I let it go.

But now comes the best part... within a span of approximately five minutes, we were all told three times that when we receive The Eucharist, that we become Jesus. And as he stood there with big puppy dog eyes, he said ever so quietly in the manner of someone sharing a secret, he asked the congregation "you do believe that, don't you?"

The House Sergeant Major and I sat about 5 pews back, and I looked at this individual in the eye and shook my head left-to-right and said "no, I don't!". And much to my happy shock, Mrs. Caveman said "we're leaving!" And leave we did. The wife and I may not have our D.D., but we know heresy when we hear it.

The saddest part of this tale of woe is during the drive home, my wife asked "why can't we have just one priest close by who actually acts like a Catholic priest?". Then she started to cry. What she said next hit me rather hard.... she quietly and simply said "The Church has failed us."

As much as I wanted to tell her that The Church hadn't failed us, but people in The Church failed us, I keep getting this nagging feeling that just maybe she's right.

In the past year, just in the Cape Fear Deanery, I've heard one priest allude that we become Jesus when we receive The Eucharist. Today I heard a deacon at a different parish say the same. My wife personally heard a different parish priest state that reading the writing of the Saints could lead to idolatry, and that this same priest changed "all the angels and Saints" to simply "all God's angels" (so much for Saintly intercession, huh?). And another parish priest preached the heresy of Universal Salvation, or as he puts it "oh, we're all going to heaven!"

Suffice it to say, I'm thoroughly disgusted.


Blogger Mac McLernon said...

I understand where you're coming from, Cavey. I have to take evasive action with certain individuals who have a tendency to preach heresy too.

But technically, the deacon was correct. When we receive the Eucharist, Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity, we become the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the Head. We become what we eat (as one saint, I forget which one, but one of the big guns, said.)

Another saint, I seem to recall, said that for the 15 mins or so that it takes for the appearance of bread and wine to disappear into the digestive system, we are, effectively, tabernacles.

They were making the point, I think, that our outward behaviour has to change to reflect the spiritual reality.

Of course, your deacon put it incredibly badly...

The Church hasn't failed us (and reading the works of our Holy Father on the Liturgy and the Eucharist should give you hope) but some individuals have been led astray. Our Lady said it would happen. Jesus himself said it would happen.

Hang on in there! And you and Mrs Caveman are in my prayers.

3:51 PM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...

The CCC and the prayers in the mass speak of our sharing in the divinity of christ, but I havn't found anuthing that says we become christ. I'm gonna ask my Pastor, who holds an STL and is dead orthodox about this.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Mrs. Caveman,
As hard as it may be, just pretend you're a loyal Catholic during the time of St. Athanasius and the Arian heresy. At least you're not being fed to the lions or burned at the stake. And offer up your suffering for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. God bless you!

4:29 PM  
Blogger USMC 9971 said...

I've felt the same way for some time. My only consolation is the way that my daughter is learning the Faith.

She is six, and the other day I heard her tell her aunt, "I'm going to Mass with daddy tomorrow. I love God."

Gave me a little shake in the eye.

The old guard will be leaving, Mrs. Caveman. I have hope that there are enough of us raising the next generation to be truly Catholic, not just Roman Protestants.

God bless.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

and unlike St. Maximos the Confessor, you didn't have a hand cut off.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

But technically, the deacon was correct. When we receive the Eucharist, Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity, we become the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the Head.

I dunno, Mac. I will agree that for a very brief period of time, we do indeed, become Tabernacles due to the Real Presence being inside of us... but to believe that The Church teaches that we actually become Jesus is a notion that I've only recently been made aware of. And even that is one of the bitter fruits of the "Cosmic Jesus" garbage.

I did find in the CCC, #1391 which states; (emphasis mine)

Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."

I'm sure you'll agree that union and abides don't equate to becomes.

And that was from the newest version of the CCC. I'm sure the older versions say basically the same.

But do you happen to have a reference to any official Church Teaching that says we "become" Jesus after reception of The Eucharist?

Thanks, Mac!

6:40 PM  
Blogger John said...

No one becomes Christ while receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Catholic doctrine does not support this kind of thinking. Jesus is Jesus and John is John. Jesus can come and live inside John, but receiving Jesus does not turn John into Jesus. If this kind of expression is just some squishy way of describing what happens when we are baptized and become members of the Mystical Body of Christ, then the expression as made is wrong for two reasons. First, we become members of the Mystical Body of Christ when we receive Baptism. If we receive the Blessed Sacrament without having received Baptism we "become" nothing. Secondly, as already noted, the reception of Holy Communion unites us in the most special way with Jesus, but this union does not in some quasi-eastern religious way cause us to lose our integrity as individual persons.
These people are modernist heretics and their heresy leads them to adopt this kind of squishy, huggy, feely type drivel.
Cavey, welcome to the modern Catholic world. Once upon a time, you could count on your pastor to be orthodox. Now you literally have to quiz him to find out if he is even Catholic. Obedience ala the Marine Corps cannot apply in the modern Catholic Church. When the bishop gives an order to don leotards for the heavenly feast he is planning to dispense from his butcher block table, the true Catholic says "thanks, but no thanks," and makes a bee-line for the nearest door.
This entire situation IS the worst of the chastisement promised us by Our Lady. The physical destruction of our country and the death of billions is nothing compared to the punishment of being left in the hands of faithless priests and bishops. Jesus promised that His Church, built upon the Rock of Peter would withstand to the end, but he didn't say how bloody,dirty, tired and hungry the survivors would be!

7:42 PM  
Blogger deb said...

Thank you cavey. I am still learning about being a Catholic. The sermon that you wrote about would have confused me and caused me to scratch my head. Just reading what occured to you, how you reacted and the following quotes has taught me a lot. Thank you. :)

8:14 PM  
Blogger nypd green said...

I am a parishioner at this parish and attended the 8AM mass with my oldest son. My wife and my 2 oldest girls attended the 5:30 PM Saturday evening Mass. While we were spared the reference to us becoming Jesus, we were 'treated' to the "Retard" story and the Deacons interesting take on marriage. First off, as far as the marriage comment, I'll just quote the catechism:

CCC 1621 "In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but "one body" in Christ."

So here we have a sacrament modeled after Christs Covenant with the Church being mocked in front of the Blessed Sacrament no less. This is an all to common occurrence at my parish. I guess the sanctity of matrimony does not trump a good punch line, no matter where you are standing or what is in the tabernacle behind you. As a married man of 15 years, I can appreciate a good joke, even at my own expense, but the altar of my church is where I would hope to find the dignity and respect that my chosen vocation deserves. Just as a priest says yes to Gods calling, I feel God has called me to be a husband and father. The source of the grace I receive to carry out my vocation, should not be the platform in which it is torn down. There is a whole secular society out there dying to do that.

Now to the "retard" joke. After the 5:30 PM mass, my wife left a message with our pastor regarding the insensitive nature of the repeated use of the word "retarded" in the deacons homily. She explained how we did not want our 7 year old son with autism to hear such a homily. This is a boy who has often come home from his bus ride in tears after being called a "retard", by a few of the older kids, who have figured out that his mannerisms and trips to 'Room 120' for services make him different from them. For him to hear a word that he has only heard in cruel, derogatory tones, coming from the one place where we've tried to teach him he should always feel welcome and safe, in front of the Eucharist would potentionally be devastating for him. My wife left these concerns not on the office line, but on his emergency line. He never got back to her over the matter and the deacon obviously went on with his altar 'schtick'.

This also impacted my 13 year old daughter, who just several hours earlier, representing the teen pro-life group she helped to start up, had just given a speech at a downtown pro-life rally, regarding the sanctity of life. She nailed all the major points, abortion, stem cell, euthanasia, respect for the elderly and the handicap. The indifference and callousness of such terms were not lost on her. Calling someone such a name in her own home would produce severe repercussions, yet on the altar of her church, it is delivered with gleeful jocularity. What a let down for her.

The greatest irony to my wife and I, is that 2 days prior to this, we attended a Mass given by our wonderful Bishop, who was in town to finish up a radio interview with our Catholic radio station 92.7 WBPL. After Mass, he received the congregation and after receiving a blessing from him, my wife told him of our concerns over the lack of resources for special needs kids, and the ability to incorporate them into the parish as participants in the partaking in and understanding of the sacraments. He seemed very eager to field this question and genuinely empathetic to our concerns. We look forward to hearing his response when the program airs. We just wonder how he would have taken the homily we all had to endure this past weekend. I also wonder how one of our ushers, who is mentally challenged and his mother felt about what they'd heard Saturday evening. Oh well, I'm sure the kids at the back of my sons bus would have gotten a chuckle out of the deacon. I guess some jokes should just stay at the back of the school bus.

Well, venting is over.
Time to pray.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...



Happy to oblige! Hope I helped.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Edmund C. said...

We've got a long way to go in our diocese, despite our wonderful bishop, don't we?

At Mass this morning, our retired priest-in-residence declared that the Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Nat'l Shrine is being held because "the shrine's collections must be down."


10:20 PM  
Blogger Central Valley said...

I thought this crap only happened in the diocese of Fresno California

12:55 AM  
Blogger Alli said...

I have no hopes of finding a truly orthodox priest in the town where I live (ahhh, Orange County NC...), but that is truly disgusting.
I know how your wife feels - as a convert, I hold the practice of my faith to a (maybe too) high standard, and it seems as though I've been let down so many times.


7:20 AM  
Blogger Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

My complements to the Mrs. and to you Cavie. If more of my brother clerics were confronted about the non-sense they spew, there would be a good deal less of it.

I also recommend that those who heard this homily drop a respectful note to the bishop.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Mac McLernon said...

I can't remember exactly where I read the stuff I talked about...

...the nearest I can find online is St John Chrysostom's Homily 24 on 1 Corinthians...

Further, because he said, "a communion of the Body," and that which communicates is another thing from that whereof it communicates; even this which seems to be but a small difference, he took away. For having said,"a communion of the Body," he sought again to express something nearer. Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 17. "For we, who are many, are one bread, one body." "For why speak I of communion?" says he, "we are that self-same body." For what is the bread? The Body of Christ. And what do they become who partake of it? The Body of Christ: not many bodies, but one body. For as the bread consisting of many grains is made one, so that the grains no where appear; they exist indeed, but their difference is not seen by reason of their conjunction; so are we conjoined both with each other and with Christ: there not being one body for you, and another for your neighbor to be nourished by, but the very same for all. Wherefore also he adds,

"For we all partake of the one bread." Now if we are all nourished of the same and all become the same, why do we not also show forth the same love, and become also in this respect one? For this was the old way too in the time of our forefathers: "for the multitude of them that believed," says the text, "were of one heart and soul." (Acts iv. 32.) Not so, however, now, but altogether the reverse. Many and various are the contests between all, and worse than wild beasts are we affected towards each other's members. And Christ indeed made you so far remote, one with himself: but thou dost not deign to be united even to your brother with due exactness, but separatest yourself, having had the privilege of so great love and life from the Lord. For he gave not simply even His own body; but because the former nature of the flesh which was framed out of earth, had first become deadened by sin and destitute of life; He brought in, as one may say, another sort of dough and leaven, His own flesh, by nature indeed the same, but free from sin and full of life; and gave to all to partake thereof, that being nourished by this and laying aside the old dead material, we might be blended together unto that which is living and eternal, by means of this table.

the link is here

I do agree with your main points though

5:27 PM  
Blogger Mac McLernon said...

BTW, I didn't mean to say that Jesus and John become indistinguishable (as john suggests) - but we do become the Body of Christ by partaking in the Eucharist... and the Body is inseparable from the Head... therefore, we can say that we "become" Christ...

5:33 PM  
Blogger Mac McLernon said...

Sorry, Cavey... I also found this: Cyril of Jerusalem...

"Wherefore with full assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to you His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that you by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, may be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are distributed through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we become partakers of the divine nature 2 Peter 1:4 ."

Read more here

5:37 PM  
Blogger Alli said...

Edmund -

Your priest's comments are so insulting to people (like me and so many others) who are working hard to coordinate this pilgrimage. I don't understand how comments like those are tolerated.

And not only is it insulting to laity planners, it's a slap in the face to our wonderful Bishop, who has called this pilgrimage to ask blessings on his new term as bishop, as well as blessings for the whole diocese, which is under the protection of the Immaculate Conception.

Sometimes priests just lose their focus.

6:49 PM  
Blogger C said...

It sounds like that this was a case of a vagrant deacon rather than a substantial problem with St. Therese. Fr. Walter is deeply committed to orthodoxy, as demonstrated by his celebration of the Latin Mass and in my personal conversations with him. I'm certain that he would be receptive to your concerns. I also spoke with the Bishop this week, and he is not going to tolerate heresy in this diocese. I was feeling pretty hopeless a few years ago, but things are on the upswing with him in charge.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Mark said...


The grains of bread are joined together as one; they are inseparable. Yet does one single grain actually become another? Does any single grain become the entire bread?

Through Holy Communion we may be CONJOINED with Christ, but certainly not EQUATED as would be implied by the word "become". Thus, we may take St. John Chrysostom at his word, and still avoid the heretical conclusion that "we become Jesus".

11:45 PM  
Blogger paramedicgirl said...

It's pretty sad when crap like that passes for a homily! People need to wake up and seek out the true teachings of the Church. One at a time, they should vote with their feet, just like you guys did. AS long as that deacon has sappy people who will listen to his dribble, it'll feed his ego, and pave the path to hell for those who get sucked in.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Mm said...

We had similar endeavors in the Raleigh area: among many other liturgical abuses:( blue for advent! for example) a mission priest asked the congregation to stand up during the homily and do a little song and dance...leaning on Christ side, very sad to see the old little ladies complying to that silliness ( to be polite)
I am glad to hear that the bishop won't tolerate any heresies, I can't wait until we can see the difference in our parishes.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Edmund C. said...

Alli--sadly, most folks at my parish apparently find Fr. to be hilarious and endearing. And I'm also in Orange County, so you can probably put 2+2 together to figure out my parish.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Alli said...

Thing is, Edmund, so many parishes in OC, NC are ... "interesting"... that there's absolutely no way to tell which one you're at. I'm in the liberal bastion of Chapel Hill, and I'm just waiting for our priest to actually say Mass like the rubrics tell him to. Or, you know, at least not tell us that the rubrics are not important. During Mass.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Caveman, God gave you a gem in giving you your wife who loves her Catholic faith so much. I know you know this!!!

I think, but am not sure, the offensive deacon was trying to paraphrase St. Augustine's sermons on John 6. However, St. Augustine preached long sermons. People back then had learned from youth to listen to long speeches and Augustine was known as quite a speaker. So, if Augustine always explained what his words meant so as not to leave his hearers in confusion. Moreover, he didn't have to put down the mentally retarded to get his point across.

Finally, there is hope for the future. Tradition will overcome. Take a look at this:

8:28 PM  

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