Saturday, March 06, 2010

I Was Wrong...
and my apologies to Father Flaherty

And a helmet tip to Joe of St. Thérèse

The other day I posted an article concerning some wacko Baptist Preacher in Tennessee who was passing out Jack Chick tracts to Catholic kids. I also alluded that the local parish priest there would essentially do nothing about it.

I was wrong. And I apologize to Fr. Flaherty for insinuating such.

Here's a Letter to the Editor from the Diocesan newspaper of the Diocese of Knoxville;
Father Flaherty ‘hit the nail on the head’

Father Jay Flaherty, the pastor of Holy Cross Church in Pigeon Forge, gave a heartfelt message on Jan. 2 so profound that it’s worth repeating. He said “I am no longer Father Jay, but Father Flaherty.”

He began by explaining the Catholic Church’s rules for Mass and the Eucharist, and addressed parish volunteers. He reminded us of God’s presence in the tabernacle. There’s a family-life room for visiting, eating, and unruly kids, with Mass on TV.

He spoke of growing disrespect for the host, such as the time one was found with a cough drop stuck on it. One must fast for one hour from food, drink, or chewing gum before taking Communion, Father said. “And if I or the [E]ucharistic ministers see any of this, that person will not receive Communion. Don’t leave early; stay until Mass ends!”

Father addressed respectful attire, especially for ushers and those on the altar: ties, long pants, dresses, and no shorts. Latecomers must wait outside until after the homily, because “I do not use notes, and I get distracted.”

He ended by saying, “If you don’t like these changes, you can go worship elsewhere. You can complain to the bishop or go all the way to the pope.” As a priest, Father Flaherty is accountable for how he leads his flock to God. You could have heard a pin drop during his homily, but the congregation applauded at the end in agreement.

He had hit the nail on the head. I hope his message resounds throughout the diocese.

—Nancy Stutts Knoxville

I have to wonder out loud if there are really that many Catholics in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, that would require the need for so-called Eucharistic Ministers. And anyone who frequents this blog knows exactly how I feel about applauding during Mass*... but at least Fr. Flaherty is defending Christ in The Eucharist instead of weak-kneed calls for "ecumenism" and "exploring our common beliefs" with those who espouse heresy.

And it's pretty sad when it takes an episode like this for the lights to come on for a Catholic priest. But at least they came on.

And hey... you never know. Fr. Flaherty might even "discover" the Traditional Latin Mass! I hope he does.

*“It is not fitting to applaud the servant in the house of his Master.” - Pope St. Pius X

“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. – Pope Benedict XVI

6 Comments:

Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Vir,
I normally am in lock-step with you regarding applauding in church, even at weddings, but in this case I think the situation was a little different. Would you have felt differently if the congregation had all hollered an "Amen" after that sermon. Here,the people were showing their agreement and endorsement of everything their shepherd had said. Exhortation is one of the gifts of the Spirit and, while I'm not suggesting they all suddenly received that gift, I don't think the Lord would have been offended by their spontaneous -- and joint -- support of their pastor on this one occasion.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

FAB,
Points well taken. And it's still wrong for the servant to be applauded in the House of his Master.

And applauding human achievement still has no place at Mass.

They could have done all that silliness after Mass over coffee and donuts.

12:34 AM  
Blogger JLS said...

The congregation needs to keep their ears open, mouths closed, and eyes respectful while the priest exerts the authority of St Peter.

The way for the congregation to exert any influence at all on the priest is by means of getting holy. The applause routine is simply a power play, a manipulation.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

Pay attention, Cavey. Father Flaherty did not specify whether the Eucharistic Ministers were Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (which would be not just himself, but also any priest, deacon, or bishop that visits his parish), or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (the lay people who help bring the Blessed Sacrament to people outside the ordinary circumstances of Holy Communion). You can't tell from the article.

And there are parishes blessed by the presence of permanent deacons. Mine was one such, for a while.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

ATI,
Prior to the lights coming on for the good Father, this particular parish has all the earmarks of a "modern" American parish (complete with such nonsense such as "Ministry of Hospitalilty").

Granted, there is one Deacon there, but I can't help but notice that "EMs" is in the plural.

And then we can't overlook the obvious - it took an episode such as this for the good Father to realize that "disrespect for the Eucharist" flourished under his watch.

I'm getting the impression Father is correcting abuses that were once the norm. The norm that he fostered.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Mike the Geek said...

Okay - comment from a Prod (who really hopes his Bishop takes advantage of Anglicanorum Coetibus). I come from a pretty stodgy tradition, where substituting "you" for "thou" is considered a suspicious innovation. However, once in a while, the homily can elicit a vocal "amen" from somebody who just can't help himself. I suspect the applause after the good Father's polemic was in the same vein - everybody probably realized they shouldn't have done it, but they just couldn't quite stop it. They may have been applauding the priest, but only in loco Christi. Sort of a non-verbal "Thanks be to God!"

Yeah, it's inappropriate, but sometimes we all need a little slack.

10:59 AM  

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