The Cheese Stands Alone With a Question

Well, my week of guest bloggers has passed, and I offer all of them my heartfelt thanks for their enormous output, their engagement in the comboxes, and their generosity in sharing their gifts with us. I hope you really enjoyed them. I know I did. They disproved Ben Franklin’s adage that “fish and company stink after three days.” I kind of liked having them around!

But they’ve all gone home. Father Dwight Longenecker has gone back to Standing on His Head, so he can see the world from a different perspective, Kathy Schiffer is off to discover the Seasons of Grace and Elizabeth Duffy is back pondering how big the seemingly small things can be.

They’re all gone, and here I am: the cheese stands alone — as overripe as the fish or the company!

Well, fear not. You can of course go visit your newly-favorited writers at their blogs, and I urge you too, because they’re places out-of-the-ordinary. But the good news is this: over the course of the month, all three of them — Dwight, Elizabeth and Kathy — will begin blogging in new digs, here at Patheos.

I have this driving need to gather a bunch of great bloggers and writers under one roof. And soon I intend to put up an antenna, so we can catch what’s in the air, too!

Speaking of great writers, blogging at Patheos, look back here around noontime or so for news of another blog debut. J-Lo has competition

Until then, I have one question and I hope ya’ll will answer
in the combox below: Did you hear anything at your mass this weekend about the HHS mandate? My schedule led me to a neighboring parish and from its pulpit came forth…not a word. Nothing in the bulletin, either. This is a very pro-life parish, but they seem to be completely unaware of the issue. What about you? Did you have a bishop’s letter read, or a priest talking about the Obamacare mandate forcing churches to cover contraception and sterilization?

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Manny

    No for us. Our pastor talked about his trip to the Holy Land with Bishop Dolan. He was one that accompanied him. I’m so glad he did. It was very inspirational. The Holy Land trumps politics, though this issue is of paramount importance. I’m sure it will come up.

  • KM

    NOT one word was spoken in the Diocese of Nashville. This is to say that nothing emanated from the Bishop’s office in this regard.

  • KM

    I should also add that there is a letter about this issue on the Bishop’s website (Nashville). However, it this letter is not required to be read in the individual parishes, it does not achieve all that it could. There are some very liberal parishes within the Diocese of Nashville.

  • Pat Gohn

    Here in the Archdiocese of Boston there was a letter read aloud from Cardinal Sean O’Malley at all the Masses in my parish, and it was reproduced in the paper bulletin, though I’m sure it was directed to be read/distributed at all the parishes.

    The action item was to go to the USCCB website to get involved. And while I’m truly grateful for the letter, I thought it fell short as it did not actually cite the long list of Catholic institutions that this mandate affects. I think that might have been more effective than what I read.

    In other news, the mandate is conspicuously absent from the front page of the diocesan website as of this writing, yet it is front page news in The Pilot, the diocesan newspaper… but IMHO it should be headlining the diocesan website.

  • Deacon Greg Kandra

    I preached on it in my homily, and the bishop’s letter was read at every Mass.

  • Sparki

    Our Bishop Bruskewitz issued a letter the weekend prior, which was read at all Masses and then printed in the weekly diocesan newspaper this past Friday. Our pastor also spoke about it in his homily last week. This week, he mentioned it in his homily, which was focused on going through painful things as a way of being shaped into somebody who is a better image of Christ. He said that while this was a painful thing for Catholics to experience in the U.S., we must not lose sight of the fact that God wins. We must give ourselves over to Him and do what He asks of us.

  • Signe

    In the Diocese of Harrisburg, the letter from Bishop McFadden was read from the pulpit last weekend (1/28-1/29) and published as an insert in this weekend’s bulletin.

  • Lizzie O’Cayce

    (Campus ministry) Our Bishop’s letter was read this past weekend (2/4&5) by our Deacon, in lieu of a homily. Our priest made a couple of supportive comments after the reading. On Saturday, as we rose for the Creed, a parishioner asked Father how we could get involved. At the same moment, another parishioner walked out, apparently angrily. Both of these were men in their mid-to-late fifties. Folks were quieter for the 1st Sunday AM Mass, but there was lots of sidewalk discussion afterwards.

  • Lizzie O’Cayce

    Forgot to mention–our Bishop’s letter was reproduced in the Bulletin, along with Abp/Cardinal Dolan’s WSJ editorial.

  • TXRed

    Nothing at our services, but the message focused on G-d in troubled times and on the need to stand firmly in your beliefs. I suspect there was a reason for that topic. The Scripture was Isaiah 40.

  • Elaine T

    Nothing this week or last week. There’s a letter from the bishop on the diocesan site, but I’ve heard and seen nothing in my local parish.

  • Jennifer L

    Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis made a very large point of ensuring that his pastoral letter on this issue was read at every parish for the last two weekends. Beautifully written, with strong content. We’re very blessed in the Archdiocese.

  • Stephanie

    Yes, great homily and a letter from our bishop read to us in Columbus, OH

  • Belinda

    Our pastor spoke about it this week, and also said that the bishop’s letter (Diocese of Orlando) would be included as an insert in this coming weekend’s bulletin.

  • TJ

    Bishop Lennon (Cleveland) issued a letter that was read at Mass during the Homily and included in the bulletin. What I wish was said but wasn’t: the Church’s teachings on sexuality and contraception are a great treasure, but even if you struggle to accept/understand those teachings, THIS IS NOT ABOUT CONTRACEPTION! I feel like too many casual Catholics are not getting the import of this.

  • Jan

    Nope, in rural Utah

  • Janet

    Here in Philadelphia, our pastor read Archbishop Chaput’s letter from the pulpit and I saw one woman storm out of the church when he was done.

  • ZMalfoy

    Here in the suburbs of DC, there was the Cardinal’s Letter and a FAQ in the bulletin. Nothing spoke, but this weekend and next had previously been set aside to talk about the Cardinal’s Appeal. I’m not sure how I feel about them sticking to plan. . . We’ll see. . . but at least we had the letter in the bulletin. . .

  • skp

    Our Bishop’s letter (Diocese of Stockton) was read aloud by our deacon, and our pastor gave a good follow-up explanation in his homily. He also tied it all together with the readings.

  • HokiePundit

    Here in the Diocese of Arlington, our pastor read the letter jointly written by Virginia’s two bishops and preached a short sermon in support of it.

    For context, our parish is fairly traditionalist. We use the Novus Ordo with Latin propers, and every so often will have a TLM (as for Candlemas recently). Then again, our diocese is fairly traditionalist; my understanding is that it was one of the very last ones to allow girls to be altar servers.

  • HokiePundit

    Our pastor also pointed out that while our church itself wasn’t affected, our elementary school would be. He mentioned hospitals and charities as well, but him being able to use the church and school as examples of how narrow the exemption is was pretty striking.

  • Linda

    In the Diocese of Memphis, Bishop Steib has put a link about it on twitter and facebook and our parish priest had everyone be seated after Mass on Sunday so he could explain to everyone what’s going on and read from the Bishop’s letter. He stressed the importance of the situation and urged us to write letters to our representatives. The letter was also included in our bulletin.

  • Paul

    Not in my parish in San Diego CA and nothing on the diocese website

  • Michelene Orteza

    A full-page bulletin insert of something from OSV, I think. No mention otherwise. (Also not at my home parish, but one I go to frequently for convenience.)

  • Gerry

    2 weeks – not a single word

  • Mila

    There is a column by Archbishop Wenski at the archdiocesan website. But in my parish, not a peep.

    But my son, who like KM lives in the Diocese of Nashville, tells me a letter from the bishop was read at his parish, Our Lady of the Lakes in Hendersonville.

  • Jean Pergande

    Nothing was said at St. John Vianney’s in Rancho Cordova, Ca. although I know that the Sacramento Bishop Soto wrote a letter to the parishes.

  • Alana

    I go to a small parish in NE Colorado, and we heard a letter from Bishop James Conley. . . AND our priest gave a very thorough explanation of why we need to care about this and stand up for religious freedom. I was pleased.

  • LindaM

    We had a letter read from the Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, VA and the Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, VA. In addition, our celebrant was Fr. Pat Conroy, Chaplain to the House of Representatives. Father Conroy encouraged us to contact our representative and to approach the issue from the standpoint of our constitutional rights being trampled upon rather than approaching it from a partisan standpoint. This was at Good Shepherd Parish in Alexandria, Va.

  • http://google Liz Baorto

    Complete silence. So I took things in my own hands and asked the pastor to please say something. He was taken aback and said he has read about it but he would be away next week. Frustrating

  • Maureen

    That was last weekend… but the young priest did say a bit more this weekend, too.

  • Brian Kuhn

    Out here in God’s Country (Nebraska ;-) ) … our priest did present the issue from the pulpit to our congregation. Many hadn’t heard about the issue until he did.

  • Mike

    In the Dallas Diocese, our bishop wrote an excellent letter, posted it on the diocesan website, and asked the parish priests to distribute it at each Mass. Our priest spoke on it at length during his homily, and asked everyone to pick up a printed copy of the bishop’s letter. The bishop also appeared on the local television news to discuss it.

  • MJ

    At our suburban Philly parish, Archbishop Chaput’s letter was read at all the Masses this weekend. At the last Mass of the day, people applauded after it was read. Two weeks ago our young assistant’s very passionate Pro-Life Homily received applause at his two Masses. Some folks are still talking about his Homily. Too bad all our priests can’t be that passionate and direct!

  • Sherrill

    Our Bishops, God love em(and He does) were so excited about social justice (understandably so) that they forgot that “if you lie down with the Devil don’t be surprised to wake up in hell”

  • Tom Kelty

    Bp Hubbard of Albany published most of what Cardinal Elect Dolan wrote in the Diocesan paper.
    Our pastor then reprinted the letter for people to take home and read. So the contents were open to all interested faithful. As election day nears it is likely that some will attend discussion groups in the parish hall. It may get lively. For many, the issue
    is not quite white and black. Recall Humanae Vitae!

  • Tom Kelty

    And what should be made of the fact that Catholic Chaplains last Sunday were told by military superiors that they could not read the letters our Bishops had ordered then to read and preach on?
    Talk about secularism!! We are dealing with a subtle but powerful form of persecution which shifts shapes and strikes where it wills. We are far away from the thinking of our Founding Fathers who wisely refused to try stuffing lightning into a bottle.

  • Jane from Tulsa

    Our 10:30 Mass was packed and our young pastor gave a rousing homily totally focused on the Mandate. He drew comparisons to Edward Campion’s martyrdom for the faith and made it clear that hatred and bigotry were able to find their way into primarily Christian Germany in the 1930s. He quoted from the Bishop’s 2-page letter (a spoken version of which can be found on YouTube) and pointed out that printed copies could be found at the back of church. And when he finished something happened that I’ve never heard in the 15 years I’ve belonged there – applause – loud, sustained applause.

  • Pete Gowing

    Last week, it was mentioned in Sermon, mentioned during announcements and theArchbishop’s Letter was included in Sunday Bulletin. St Mary’s Albany, OR — Archdiocese of Portland

  • MG

    Here in Phoenix, our Bishop Olmsted’s letter was read from the pulpit a week ago Sunday – followed by a terrific sermon about being who and what we are and bracing against loss of identity.

    My sister and parents in Topeka, Kansas (Archdiocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph) also received their Bishop’s letter – not sure about whether or not it was read.

  • jkm

    Here in the Cincinnati Archdiocese, Archbishop Schnurr released his letter two weeks ago, just a day or two after the mandate hit the news, on his way to the ad limina in Rome. A week ago Sunday our associate preached a barn burner at several Masses that was greeted by surprising and sustained applause in our politically diverse and liturgically progressive assembly. Because the Archbishop’s letter arrived too late for the previous week’s bulletin, it was included this past Sunday as an insert, and announcements both from the lectern and the pulpit called attention to it. There was also a reference to the protection of religious rights in the intercessions. One thing I appreciated in both Archbishop Schnurr’s letter and our associate’s homily was a careful avoidance of partisan politics while laying out the obligations of conscience in no uncertain terms. It was more than just a halfhearted attempt to steer clear of the no-politicking rules of tax exemption; it was a welcome invitation to Catholics of all political convictions to skip falling back on easy polarization and accept the prayerful, thoughtful responsibility of living the faith in this world, in this country, at this time. That’s an important lesson that transcends this particular challenge.

  • Maggie

    Attended Mass in Newport, Rhode Island. Not a word!!!!

  • MaryElizabeth

    Our pastor at St Francis of Assisi in Tonawanda, N.Y. gave an inspiring sermon last Sunday on this subject.

  • Pam

    Here in El Paso, TX, our priest read the Bishop’s letter outloud after his homily. However, he read it very fast and it was hard to understand. He did not comment on it. It was not in the bulletin, but it was announced if you wanted to know more to call the parish office for the USCCB website. I think it would have been better to have printed it also in the bulletin.

  • Kris, in New England

    Amending my comment from yesterday: our Bishop Michael Cote has put a letter up on the Diocese website. A very strongly worded letter with a link to the USCCB website for more information about writing to Congress.

  • Virginia

    In Williamsburg, VA (Diocese of Richmond), on Sunday at St. Bede’s Msgr. Mike used the Gospel reading to ‘call us out’ like Jesus called Peter to do something outside our comfort zones … he then gave an impassioned plea at the end of Mass on this specific issue to ‘raise a very LOUD VOICE’ (writing our legislators etc) to be heard on this ‘moral’ (vs. political) issue. Last week at CCM (William & Mary campus ministry) Fr. John David laid it on us Heavy Duty to get involved (after he read a letter from our Bishop..)

    working on a letter….!

  • tanya

    Bishops letter read at every Mass in Diocese of Knoxville, TN. I’ve heard there was applause at several of them.

  • Midge

    Our Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Conley wrote a letter. Saturday evening, the priest referenced it, Sunday morning at a different parish, the priest read it and commented forcefully on what this (HHS) means to our identity as catholics. Very impressive.