Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Catholic Church shopping Part XVI: mother church

Since we worship a God who literally rose from the dead, our "God of surprises" has the wonderful quality of regularly surprising us with the miracle of breathing life into things that were dead. And I was pleasantly surprised to recently see that a parish I had heretofore avoided as a moribund place now has a fresh spirit blowing through it. The feeling was palpable as soon as I walked into our island's mother church of St. Peter's (now officially part of the parish cluster of "The Catholic
Community of St. Peter-Assumption-St.Paul").

There didn't seem to be much going on in the bulletin but there was a pretty rousing flyer calling for men to join the Holy Name Society of the parish, describing their mission as being to make themselves better men, supporting one another's spiritual needs, and doing good works. There was a racially diverse congregation with a few young families sprinkled throughout. Honestly, there didn't seem to be too many more people there than attended when Monsignor Dorney was alive, but there was something new and ineffably encouraging about the church now. The choir was talented and seemed genuinely animated by a holy joy in their task. The priest was, I believe, Filipino and spoke rapidly with an accent with precluded me from understanding more than about 70% of what he said. And even though I couldn't really grasp the main point of his message, what I could understand of his passionate sermon was filled with one holy sentiment after another which, surprisingly, satisfied my soul. In addition, the church- which had been allowed to crumble away for years on end, now seemed like it had enjoyed some repairs and regular cleaning.

After Mass, a group of men hosted a social gathering in a room adjacent to the foyer, which had once been a chapel I think. They provided coffee and juice and a lavish spread of delicious pastries. The fellowship was warm and welcoming. I came away from my time there with an optimistic mood and uplifted spirit. I don't live close enough to attend regularly, but would definitely consider joining the parish if I did.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

St. Francis Friary, 1928-2014

After a year and a half on the market, the beautiful St. Francis Friary (known as a Center for Spirituality in its modern incarnation) has been sold to the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of New York and New England to be used as their headquarters. (And they're currently seeking donations to pay for it.) I'm glad the property will not be covered with 8,000 townhouses and I'm glad it was at least Christians who bought it, but this is still a disgrace and an embarrassment. How is it possible for the Coptic church to buy and maintain this property when the Catholic Church cannot? There are only 450,000 Copts in the entire United States. In the Coptic Diocese of New York and New England, which covers Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, there are only 25 parishes and only 42 clergy; I don't know how many parishioners are in the diocese. Compare this to the New York archdiocese, which has 296 parishes and contains 2.6 million Catholics. Yet with all our resources, we could not retain the Franciscan Friary? The Franciscans made a hash of it, but with the demise of Mt. Manresa, couldn't the Archdiocese have made good use of it? 

The Idol of "Participation"

When I attended Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians in Tottenville a few weeks ago, I was utterly shocked and horrified to see that two large video screens had been placed on the walls to either side of the altar. There was an explanation in the bulletin:

"The introduction of the TV screens in the church has caught the attention of many. I invite anyone who has knowledge of this technology and is willing to work and meet with Fr. Sylvester to learn about it. We hope to minimize the use of the Missals and maximize the liturgical participation making Sunday worship more interesting and spiritually beneficial to all. The clergy will devise ways and means to enhance their delivery of homilies using this technology."

The size of our video screens is in direct correlation to our holiness

So, there in one short paragraph are summed up a host of errors, misconceptions and incompetence from the first word to the last. The Vatican II Church, animated by the leveling, hippie spirit of communalism, has always been obsessed with the participation of The People (always ennobled with a capital "P") in the Mass. However the People stubbornly do not want to participate in the Mass. Therefore, our enlightened (ha!) overlords will_force_us to play-act their fantasy of the Great Group Hug by further degrading and infantilizing the Mass. 

I don't suspect the pastor at OLHC of any devious intentions, but his dumb response to a non-problem is based on faulty premises. He sees his congregation sitting in the pews week after week in a catatonic state and bemoans the lack of excitement and engagement, which he's been bred to expect from the "new springtime" in the Church. So, the natural response of a priest marinated in both the post-Vatican II era and the age of technology is to make it more entertaining! Whereas the clueless, 1970s hippie priest would bring in guitarists, clown Masses and liturgical dancers, the lame and impotent response of the modern, clueless pastor is to introduce TV screens. Next will be youtube videos, comedy routines, pre-recorded rock music, and other cribbed gimmicks from evangelical megachurch circuses. Who knows, perhaps they'll even introduce trampolines?

Coming to a Catholic church near you! 
Needless to say, the screens were a major distraction. They were scrolling announcements before the Mass (the same announcements that were in the bulletin), thereby precluding the ability to quietly pray. As the Mass started, the screens flashes the words of the Mass and the Scripture readings as we were simultaneously listening to them. Obviously, it is human nature to look at moving images, so everyone was staring at the screens instead of the priest. At one point during one of the guitarist's songs, a photoshopped picture of Pope Francis as the Good Shepherd was shown, conflating the current Pope with the Creator and Savior of mankind.

Our Lord...Francis?
I can ignore bad homilies. I can ignore bad music. I can ignore bad congregations and priests who rush through the Mass. I cannot ignore two 10 foot video screens that grab and demand your attention more than the Holy Sacrifice. They change the very nature of the Mass in a very fundamental way, which means that I will never, never go back to this parish.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The plot thickens.....

"Fr. Miqueli felt a sense of invincibility in his life of larceny and lust, because, according to people close to the story, he witnessed a child molestation by a priest on Staten Island back around 2002 and went to the archdiocese. They told him to keep silent about it, and, according to reports, arranged for him to become pastor of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini parish on Roosevelt Island in exchange for his cooperation."

Monday, December 14, 2015

"Slave" priest had Staten Island ties

So apparently the homosexual slave priest that's been all over the tabloid headlines worked in a surprising number of Staten Island parishes (St. Sylvester's, Holy Family, St. Clare's and St. Rita's) some years ago.

I think it's safe to assume that he didn't just recently discover that he was a pervert, a thief and a megalomaniac. So is it possible that no one in these Staten Island parishes ever noticed something "off" about this guy, when it was so apparent to the parishioners of St. Frances de Chantal? Or did people speak out about this priest but his  "guardian angel" in the chancery just shifted him around from parish to parish?

Monday, November 2, 2015

R.I.P. Monsignor James Dorney

Monsignor James Dorney, the co-vicar of Staten Island (whatever that means) has passed away at age 83. We have never been an admirer of his, as a quick search of this blog will demonstrate. But I would like to relate one positive memory I have of the man. I attended Stations of the Cross at St. Peter's on a Friday night in Lent about 8 years ago. Monsignor Dorney was already feeble and bent over with whatever physical ailments were torturing him. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the meager number of people in attendance surely would have granted him any allowance to accommodate his age and weakness, Monsignor Dorney nevertheless exerted all his strength to make a full, and obviously painful, genuflection down to the floor at every station to honor his Savior, and then struggled with everything he had to raise himself again and move on the next one to do it again. That was a beautiful gesture of love and respect for our God, and I will never forget it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

May God protect us from Pope Francis

With his new streamlined annulment decree, the Pope is finally showing his hand. He intends to contradict 2000 years of Catholic dogma and negate Christ's extremely clear teaching on marriage. The openly expressed intention of these reforms will be to fast-track "millions" of new "annulments" that are, in reality, Catholic divorces. There will be no true fact-finding discernment about the validity of an individual marriage; this is a blatant fig leaf to rubber stamp civil divorces by pseudo-Catholics, as is done by the Eastern schismatics. This Pope is looking more and more like one of the anti-Christ's forerunners as spoken of in the Scriptures, and the upcoming Synod on the Family will definitely be a major- and perhaps definitive- battlefield as he seeks the downfall of the Church. The open heretics (Kasper, Cupich, Wuerl, Bode, Marx) and the abettors of abortion and child abuse (Daneels) that this Pope has hand-picked to participate in the upcoming Synod on the Family clearly demonstrate this Pope's true beliefs and his ultimate endgame: destroy the Church through the destruction of marriage. Not only will an official papal decree nullifying Christ's prohibition on divorce and remarriage destroy the family, but it will immediately undermine the supernatural claims of the Catholic Church. If the Church denies its own dogmas and starts teaching something opposite of what we have always believed, then the gates of Hell have prevailed, and no amount of sophistry, logic-chopping and obfuscation and outright denial will convince anyone otherwise.