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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Of Altar Rails and Agendae

 Firstly, I post  this as gyno-American who spent half of her life wanting, and at times intending with utter certitude that it would b possible, a Roman Catholic Priest.

A particularly stupid progressive Catholic woman on a blog I used to read, (wonder if it still exists... sometimes I forget things that amuse/interest/inform/excite me and I have the delight of re-discovering them. I digress.)

Anyway, this blogger, when a commenter decried the fairly-late-in-the-game-post-VCII destruction of his parish's sizable and sturdy and "built in" stone altar rail, when others noted that that a pulpit demolition are a kinda foolish use of parish funds, especially in these austere times when most parishes, particularly those with venerable buildings to maintain, began a discussion of her own parish's enlightened use of the wrecking ball.

"Nobody was using it," so it was destroyed.

Why not?

"They didn't want to use it."

You mean people refused to kneel for reception of Communion?

"This was after everyone started standing." (She was old enough to have been actively involved in parish doings at the time of The Troubles, so she remembered the details of the '60s and '70s well.)

You mean they stood at the altar rail?

"No, down on the floor of the [nave.]" (Don't think she used the word "nave.")

Well, why did they do that?

"That's where the priest stood distributing."

Okay, so the pastor abandoned the rail, forcing the communicants to receive communion where he chose to stand, and then used that to justify the removal of the altar rail because no one wanted to use it, when in fact, he had made it impossible for them to use it? (Cause, ya know, nobody's tongue is that long...)

"Shut up," she explained.

Long story longer, THAT is the kind of machination and circuitous reasoning that came to mind reading Fr Longenecker's account of How the English Catholic Hierarchy Arranged, er, Created, er, Engineered, um,  Exacerbated Dealt With The Vocations Shortage.
I commented on the dearth of vocations to the priesthood.
[The monsignor] smiled and said in that smooth way the English have, “Well that depends how you look at it. Many of  don’t believe we have a vocations crisis at all. If anything we have too many priests.”
I was shocked because my experience was that priests were aging and not being replaced and the parishes were failing and numbers attending Mass was dropping and part of this was due to the lack of priests.
The Monsignor went on to explain, “We are already too clericalized. If we had fewer priests the people would be able to run the parishes.” He went on to tell me how it was deliberate diocesan policy to cut back on the number of priests and to discourage vocations.
This certainly seemed to be true when we considered that some Catholic bishops refused to ordain any convert clergy from the Church of England and we were constantly frustrated and confused at the number of good young men who were turned down when they applied for the priesthood.
Then the monsignor explained another underlying reason for this policy: “You see, the Holy Spirit wants the church to have women priests. The Anglicans have seen this. Everyone else has seen this, but Rome won’t budge. If we have fewer priests, then the parishes can be administered by laypeople. They can do ninety five percent of what a priest does in the parish…”
I completed his train of thought, “…and if laypeople can do the job, then you can appoint women to run the parishes.”
He smiled, “Exactly.”

A side note - am I the only one whose computer HATES patheos?

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