Saturday, December 13, 2008

prop 8 the musical

Hollywood has thrown in it's hat on the California gay marriage initiative. They released a video that you can watch here. It's really silly and totally filled with flawed logic. Here's the logic...

The world was happy when Obama was running.
The religious folks of this country convinced the world to hate gays when it was most happy.
But, if we hate gays because of the Bible, they need to implement the whole bible in the most literal fashion possible.
Jesus doesn't want that. If you pick and choose, choose love and not hate (love being defined as allowing other people to do whatever they want to one another as long as they're consenting).
And, we all should want gay marriage because it will make money.

I was initially annoyed that we were being lumped in as fundamentalist. The attacks on Catholicism in the "religious" group was obvious. There was a guy wearing a clergy shirt and a woman who made the sign of the cross. But, we aren't fundamentalist. We hold to a central teaching authority that interprets scripture. That's different from picking and choosing. Both catholicism and mormonism have that central teaching authority by the way.

Further, the illustration that they use (shell fish are forbidden in the Old Testament so you shouldn't eat them) is debunked in the new (Luke 10:8 "Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you" and 1 Corinthians 10:25-27 "Eat anything sold in the market, without raising questions on grounds of conscience, for "the earth and its fullness are the Lord's." If an unbeliever invites you and you want to go, eat whatever is placed before you, without raising questions on grounds of conscience.")

Lastly, what does it say that we allow gay people to marry because they'll spend money? To me, that's like saying that we should allow women to become priests because there's a shortage or allow priests to marry because there is a shortage. It's like, "okay, now that we're desperate, we'll allow just about anyone to do this." We need money! I like making money! Allow gay people to get married and I'll make money for my church. I could charge an arm and a leg for gays to use my church to get married.

In the end, it's a video that's getting a lot of positive press coverage but I think it needed a little more thought coverage.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

liturgy done poorly

To celebrate mass is to do liturgy. Liturgy is a prescribed, ritualistic, prayer form. Usually, liturgy is very old or has roots in centuries old action.

I just did a communal penance. This is a relatively new liturgy, having been basically created at the Second Vatican Council as an alternative to what most people would call confession or individual penance and reconciliation. You have readings and music and then have an individual time to confess to a priest.

The problem with what just happened was that it was awful. Some places had a start time of 7:00 and other 7:30 so we went with the 7:30 start time. I forgot to tell the priests of the differing start times so they all showed up at 7:00. Ugh. And a congregation of about 12 were here then too. I thought about starting and just having the folks who came at 7:30 just get in line when they got there but that didn't seem to make sense. The 7:30 time was on several places. And then I just did the communal part poorly. I forgot the act of contrition and our father, for instance. I decided to "try something new" least new for us...of having people leave after having confessed their sins and doing their penance.

So, I started promptly at 7:30 and apologized for the time confusion. We read the readings and I preached. Then, I should have had them quietly reflect on the examination of conscience before praying the Act of Contrition and Our Father together. After that, I would have had the individual part of the ritual. Instead, after the homilet (very short reflection on the readings) I skipped the Act of Contrition (aka, the matter of the sacrament!) and the Our Father and went right to the individual penance. I realized it when the first confessor came forward to me. There was, however, no going back and not chance to do what we had forgotten since they left immediately after.

The good thing was that I had a homily prepared about not taking too seriously the rough spots of life, not getting so upset that we lose perspective. I even used that in one of the two apologies I gave. I made a mistake. It was the worst liturgy I've celebrated since becoming a priest. In a year, I'll have forgotten it. Heck, in a month I'll have forgotten it. But, the forgiveness that happened in the midst of it, the love people felt because of God, THAT will hopefully be remembered forever.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This past weekend, I noticed the word evangelium, or good news/gospel present in the first reading and gospel. In the first reading, it came after 39 chapters of warning: stop sinning! It's all your fault that we are in the straits we are. Then, the heavenly host tell Isaiah that he can stop being the prophet of doom and gloom and start giving them comfort. They, in turn, will preach good news. In the gospel of Mark, the author cites this passage and refers to the message he's going to give as that good news. I talked about how things aren't as bleak as we make them out to be. There is good news at Sts. Peter and Paul parish. The religious education is doing well both in terms of numbers and in terms of the content. The parish is doing okay financially. And we are keeping out eyes focused on being proactive for our parishioners by purchasing a defibrillator in case someone has a heart problem. I then said that, ultimately, as Christians, we take heart in good news because it reminds us of he who is Good News, Jesus Christ whose coming taught us the meaning of good news.

I had a man who never comments on the homily tell me he was very appreciative of hearing good news with all the bad news that is out there. That was good news to me.