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The rude commenter would have been better served by saying: “It is a shame that we do not have the numbers of priest and deacons needed to make such things a regular occurrence today. While the lay-ministers no doubt try to be reverent as possible, a scene such as this is more befitting the King of Kings. Let us pray for more vocations!”
Yeah, but that would have required more typing. And charity.
Good point, and that would be fine if this was just about a shortage of preists; but the fact is it’s not. It’s also about a loss of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Whatever the dispositon of an individual may be, at the end of the day, what would have scandalized Catholics when that photo was taken – namely, trotting Jesus about in your pocket, handbag, or whatever – is now simply taken for granted. And approved or not, that cannot be construed as anything but a marked erosion of reverence when compared with the rigors of years gone by. Do you think it was ever easy for priests to do that just because their were more of them? And whose to say there were? Itinerant priests once ministered to large geographical areas without handing over care of the Blessed Sacrament to every Tom, Dick, and Betty. And why? Because it wasn’t about what’s easy, it was about undertaking the level of sacrifice required to render worthy service to God. I’m sorry, the contemporary distribution of Holy Communion isn’t just about the noble laity lifting the burden off overworked clerics. Instead, it largely stems from the “Spirit of Vatican II” misunderstanding that the laity aren’t doing anything truly valuable unless they’re acting in the place of a priest. In many ways, it’s similar to the the feminist deception that women aren’t truly valuable unless they’re acting like men. Sadly, both are missing the mark. Be it gender or vocation, we could all benefit from embracing what God has bestowed upon us rather than seeking our selfworth in something that He’s intended for another.
I’m sticking with my lack of priests theory. My pastor and deacons are too busy attending to other legitimate needs of the community to lead a procession to people’s homes.
And God love your pastors for it! Certainly, I can understand that this is the case in many places, and that clergy choose to make other important needs a priority. But (thank God) the Church is not suffering from a clergy shortage everywhere, and thus the question remains: why do processions like this never happen anymore? Or nearly never? Why, even when there are the resources and personel, have such displays of reverence been ostensibly abandoned? And even when there aren’t enough resources – and there are other competing priorities – why do so many clergy place an irresponsible and disproportionate emphasis on the material/temporal at the expense of the spiritual/eternal? And especially when not a few of the former appear more than a bit specious in their aims (I’m thinking about “eccumenism” that’s afraid of the word convesion, “mercy” that eschews the call to repentence, “social justice” that masquerades as population control, and liturgy committees whcih sneer at rubrics). Or even more noble aims? Why must honoring Our Lord in procession take a back seat (or no seat all) to Scripture study, fellowship activities, and soup kitchens? Surely, we could afford to set aside some of these things – to say nothing of the nonsense mentioned above – for the sake showing greater concern for the Blessed Sacrament? But the truth is, we really can’t. Not right now, anyways. Our sense of the sacred has been so eroded that now such things are looked at as expendible novelties. Busy or not not, what was once an important and essentially priestly duty has been delegated, degraded, and all bust consigned to the dustbin. And it makes me sad, friend; it makes me sad.
I don’t believe it is a shortage of priests as much as it is a question of priorities.
My parish has two priests and no permanent deacons. We also don’t have any EMHCs. None. Our priests do these duties. In fact, they get a lot of calls from Catholics who are not part of our parish asking for the Sacraments because, sadly, they are actually available 24-hours a day which is not the case for a lot of other parishes in the area.
Seems to me that we have focused the priests on so many other “essential” duties outside of their core competency that we are actually doing more harm than good. I would think that stressing Catholics receive the Sacraments regularly and being available to provide them would do more good for our communities than the other community support programs that are started, albeit with great intentions. In effect, we have holstered our best weapon in the effort to cure societal ills all while pursuing band-aid solutions to those same problems.
Now that is not to say that priests are just “sacrament machines.” Clearly they need to lead their parish and have to be involved in some other things. But only they can confect the Eucharist and only they can hear confessions. Accordingly, it is up to us in the laity to pick up the slack on the charitable outreach, administrative tasks and other such duties.
She made a really good point that I think is often overlooked. Some things are only possible in parishes with multiple priests. Our priest has an entire county and parishioners might be an hour up a mountain pass. For over 9 months a few years ago, we didn’t have a priest. Our diocese is seeing a resurgence of young families, larger families, and hopefully, more seminarians as these families grow up, but that’s years away.
For anyone interested, two additional photos of the event can be seen here: http://mymothersphotos.blogspot.com/2013/08/bringing-jesus.html
The title of the three photo series is: “Carrying Jesus to a Dying Child.” The first photo clearly shows that this is a rural household, and four people are kneeling along the gravel road.
The second photo shows the priest and an altar boy entering the yard of the home. The boy precedes the priest and is ringing a bell in his right hand. In his left, the boy appears to be carrying an unlit candle (upside down, near his leg.) The priest appears to be praying as he walks.
The third photo is the one shared by Ms. Korzeniewski.
This was an excellent article, thanks for posting it. And while it is often impossible to control someone who makes the type of comment she wrote about, at least by pointing out its faults she helps heal the damage. And I particularly liked this line:
“To live a traditional expression of the faith is not just about the Mass; it’s a way of life.”
It’s encouraging to see that many writers whose blogs gave birth to such mean-spirited comments are now recognizing how damaging they are to the Body of Christ and to the individual commenter. Truly the Holy Spirit at work.
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