Thursday, August 16, 2007

Feeling like I connected with people...and then getting kicked in the face

I maintain that it takes a priest at least a couple of years before people are used to hearing him preach and the priest can tell a story that's worth hearing. Even though you can stay too long in a parish, I know most of my brother priests stay too short in order to be able to present a whole picture of their "key themes", if you will. In particular, the younger priests who are associate pastors for just two years are just starting to really fill out the ideas they first presented and the people are just starting to get used to them and then they move. But, that's okay because the associate pastor should just remain in the background anyway. We are learning, making mistakes, and learning through it all. And that's okay.

So recently I've had some great conversations with people about the substance of my homilies. I can tell people are starting to get used to me by their faces and reactions to what I say. I can tell when I'm not being all that effective and I can tell when I nailed it. And it feels like I'm getting a lot of nodding heads and good comments letting me know I'm being heard.

And then someone left a prayer on our prayer board saying, "Please Father Dennis, stop talking about abortion." Which is both a good thing and a very very bad thing. They are hearing what I'm saying but they believe that I should not preach about the greatest American tragedy that is taking place every day in our cities. Can you imagine how quickly we would be out of Iraq if 3000 to 5000 American soldiers were killed each day? But that is routine in this country for abortions, as I've pointed out in this blog before. And someone thinks that I should not talk about it? And thinks that they can get me to do that by writing something anonymously on our prayer board?

I guess most priests know that you can't please all people with our homilies and I have no qualms about upsetting people who believe the homily should either be about making people feel good about themselves or, worse, challenging everyone else but themselves. But I don't know if that is true at all about the writer of this "prayer". I am, nonetheless, sure that I will continue to preach about abortion until this illegal act is seen for what it is: murder.


Adoro te Devote said...

Father, PLEASE keep preaching about abortion.

And please preach about contraception and the HARM it does to women.

I actually wrote a post on this some time ago, but took it down for fear a family member may see it. I can email it to you with the picture I drew some years ago, which still graces my wal. And every time I see it, I remember.

Women are literally flushing their children down the toilet...and they don't know because they aren't being told. Using the Pill IS abortion!

Let me know...I'll forward you the word doc and picture. I've never been so serious.

Hillary said...

Father, yes please keep preaching about abortion. If the prayer board note was in response to your homily I heard last Sunday at 10:30, I thought it was sensitive. DON'T lose that sensitivity.

If you preach about contraception, that's another animal altogether. It may be wrong to use in most circumstances, but you're treading on much thinner ground when you try to explain why, both ethically and scientifically.

Regarding the advice of the previous poster, please don't do that. It would be very insensitive for anyone to tell a woman that she is flushing children down the toilet, and even more insensitive for you since you are a man. Unfortunately, that's where the Church loses credibility when preaching about life issues. Priests may have to have passed umpteen hours of philosophy to be ordained, but most are not scientists, and none of them are women.

Adoro te Devote said...

hillary, please! Let me be clear...I am not suggesting you or anyone use the language I use. I'm a woman, and I can thus speak to people from a certain female perspective from a certain experential standpoint that would NOT be acceptable for a man.

Father, DO speak on contraception because people don't know that it causes abortions. Yes, it might be more difficult, but there is no gray area with regard to the Church's stance on contraception, so it has to be brought up.

The priests mention it from time to time in my parish; they are always very sensitive, but often find a way to bring the life issues to the forefront on a regular basis as opposed to just once per year.

Hilary ~ The Church has a TON of credibility when speaking to life issues, because they are MORAL issues. Using the argument that priests are men and thus cannot speak about the moral issues that are so harmful to women is false logic; you might as well suggest that you can't go to a male doctor if you are a woman because he would have no idea what your anatomy is about. Or a doctor of a different race. Or study history under a teacher from a different culture.

People who dissent from Church teaching on life issues like to argue that the Church loses credibility because priests are men; in reality, they just don't want to be bothered by studying the truth behind the teachings and accepting that God knew what He was doing when He created male and female for a reason and set us up to procreate the way that he did.

Yeah, strong words, I know, but this is a very important issue and NEEDS to have a strong presence in the Church. Souls are being lost because Catholic educators, including clergy and laity, are terrified of speaking up.

I've said it before and I'll say it again....PLEASE OFFEND US WITH THE TRUTH!

No, it's not necessary to use a 2x4 on these issues....but being silent or avoiding them costs a lot more than a few people who don't want to hear about it and walk away.

And, Father, I offer you the essay I wrote - I won't post it here, but I can email it, and then perhaps you might understand WHY I am pushing this so strongly. And there are a LOT of women out there just like me and we're angry that, in this over-sexed society, the Truth is not preached consistently with regard to life issues. It's getting better...but that doesn't undo the harm already done and still being done.

Adoro te Devote said...

I just want to clarify a little bit...the picture I have is one I drew, and every time people see it, they think that the child pictured is mine.

This is not a gorey picture of an is a charcoal drawing of a real child, that apparently, from my hand looks something like me. (That fact actually disturbs me because I worked from a photograph of a very unrelated child.)

The essay is more personal.

I apologize if the way I phrased my "offering" gave a different impression.

Steve O said...

I sometimes wonder if we're doing the right job when the world is offended. As long as you use grace and are under God in what you say then speak boldly.

As to contraception... these women only mention the pill. There are two varieties of pills... one that stops the egg from dropping (pre-conception prevention) and another that stops the egg from attaching to the uterine wall (post-conception). And the reason why Hillary says that its a tricky subject is because countless babies are "aborted" naturally by the mothers body, but thats besides the point. I'm curious as to why the Catholic Church is against any form of contraception altogether.

Adoro te Devote said...

Steve O. ~ You are referring to the regular everyday pill and what's commonly called Plan B, the "Morning After Pill"

Both do the same thing; there is no separation.

The reality is that the Morning after pill is just a very high dosage of the EXACT SAME HORMONES provided in the regular pill, but with more prostagladin. (sp?) It CAN still prevent ovulation, but if ovulation and even implantation has occurred, it flushes the lining of the uterus, and that little life is flushed away.

The pill itself may suppress ovulation, but if it doesn't, it makes the uterine lining uninhabitable for the new life...and thus that little baby is flushed away during the next cycle.

There are many reaons the Church teaches against the use of contraception:

* When a couple is married, they become "one flesh". Thus, in the marital embrace, they give themselves to one another completely. The use of contraception is a barrier which removes God from the marriage, and says, "I don't trust God, I don't submit to His will for me, and I give you, my spouse everything...except the most intiate and beautiful part of being human."

* It causes the pro-creative act, which should be open to God's very touch, to be an exercise in recreation, a complete self-seeking act of self-satisfaction, and turns the other into an object of pleasure. That completely undermines the dignity of the human person. ie: I want to have sex, not because I want to strengthen our marriage, but because it feels good and I'd like to use you to make me feel good without risk of getting fat and stretched out and having a baby come and ruin our lives of hedonistic pursuits."

Disclaimer: my descriptions are mine; if you have a problem with the wording, take issue with me. The teachings of the Church are solid, they are beautiful, they are life-affirming, they are dignifying to all...and above all, they lead us to God.

Contraception is nothing but death. Death to relationships. Death to the soul. Death to new lives that come into being...and are flushed.

Who would choose death over a complete self-giving to one's spouse?

Steve O said...

adoro - To be honest I come at this from a standpoint of "it is for freedom that Christ has set me free". As a result of that verse (among others like 1 Cor 6:12) I have decided that if Christ will convict me of a sin that I will ask him for the strength to walk in the way he is calling me. I do this to avoid adhering to some set of laws and by doing so stumble as the Jews did.

So in short... I do not hold the same conviction as you, but I will not discount your words. And should I ever get married (or have to advise those who are) I'll ask God to show me the way that is best.

Fr.Dennis said...

Wow! I missed out on this little blog debate. Read Thursday Sept. 6 post if you wonder why.

I wish I had time to read all this but I don't. I'm glad this was fodder for conversation, though.