Mary Kochan has her head screwed on right

Mary Kochan has her head screwed on right December 18, 2013

So she doesn’t waste any time at all worrying about curial appointments because she has real things to do in the real world that need her attention and so does not live in the fantasy world of people who believe that by griping in a combox or predicting certain doom for the Church if so and so get such and such and appointment then all is lost (or saved).

One of the many evils to befall the Church in our time has been the birth of the Internet-based Curia Fretter Community, busying itself with checking the pulse of crap it can do nothing about and has no business worrying about anyway. A huge timesuck and waste of energy. I can think of no more useless waste of time than laypeople having panic attacks about curial appointments they cannot influence or change and speculating about outcomes they cannot foresee or alter. All it leads to is evil gossip and worry about the future. “What is that to thee? Follow thou me” are the operative Dominical words here. Incredibly, when I said as much, a panicker replied, “I can think of no more useless waste of time than [Catholics] having panic attacks about [secular developments] they cannot influence or change and speculating about outcomes they cannot foresee or alter. All it leads to is evil gossip and worry about the future.”

Rubbish. Precisely what we lay people can influence are secular developments since our proper sphere of influence is the world, which we are to teach, govern and sanctify after we leave Mass. In the liturgy, the priest (not you or I) presides. But in the world, we laity preside. To waste enormous time on the absolutely futile hobby of bitching about stuff we have absolutely no power (or business) wasting time on is a dereliction of duty from what is properly our sphere as laity.

To which the panicker replied that if Francis appointed so and so to such and such a position the Eucharist will surely be desecrated by this evil bishop.

Yeah. Because only somebody having hysterics in a combox can save the Eucharist from desecration at the hands of evil Pope Francis’ wicked minions. No hubristic messianic fantasies there.

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  • Though I don’t agree with recent declarations of doom, I empathize with the fear that folks – especially laity – might be subjected to all manner of liturgical & catechetical abuses at the hands of poorly chosen leaders. I doubt that there are many faithful Catholics who haven’t experienced or somehow been touched by the havoc they have wreaked in the Church.

    That said, its God’s Church and beyond our responsibility or ability to control….and sufficient for today is its own evil. We’ve accepted all the good things God has given the Church (among which Pope Francis should be counted) – should we not also accept that whatever suffering He permits will be fruitful in its own time?

    But enough of this: there’s parish work to do, school children to teach, homilies to be written, pastor’s notes to write, Christmas to look forward to, January 1st to prepare for, leaks to plug, bills to pay, e-mails to answer, parishioners to visit……. (*disappears murmuring into the night*)

    • Joejoe

      Right. My concern — not fear, concern — is that some of the higher-ups might empathize with those who see the laity’s sphere as extending into the liturgy, emasculating and pushing out the priest from his proper role.

      I just don’t want the “Liturgy Coordinator” or “Worship Committee” to have real power in a parish, y’know?

      • Of course not. That power belongs to me.

      • I hear you, and largely agree. Blurring the lines between the roles of the clergy & laity is a pretty bad idea, as ideas go.

        I think I know what you mean about liturgy coordinators or worship committees. I would add that as a parish priest, when the folks in these positions do their work well, it is extraordinarily helpful to priests & parishes.

        My own worship committee met last week (we’re reading ‘Spirit of the Liturgy’ – highly recommended) and I walked away from the gathering very grateful to have such a group of folks to help make sure our Masses & liturgies thrive.

        [Edit]I meant to affirm your concern, too. When anybody gets power-hungry, but especially in parishes and particularly in the liturgy, pretty much everyone suffers.[/edit]

        • Joejoe

          Glad to hear you have good people behind you, Father. I hate to hear of good priests who are in the classic “with friends like this” situations.

          • 😀 There’s always a few of those too – keeps me on my toes!

  • the Eucharist will surely be desecrated by this evil bishop

    As if the Eucharist isn’t desecrated every time it’s placed on a spiteful and uncharitable tongue.

  • So, just noodling ideas around here… but the Church is still in the world, even though she is not of the world. And administrative appointments in the Church are not sacramental; indeed, they are almost exactly secular insofar as the administration is how the Church works in and relates to the world. Finally, the laity have a genuine interest in this secular administration of the Church – minimally to prevent and/or bring justice to situations like the recent sexual abuse scandal or the various financial and sexual scandals that have wracked the Church throughout her history. For this reason, all members of the laity have a canonical right and responsibility to “manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church” (CIC 212).

    All that said, the administration of the Church is canonically placed firmly in the hands of the bishops, and for good reason. They stand in the person of Christ the King/Shepherd, as well as Priest and Prophet. So the lay faithful express opinion, not authority.

    So I see the point of unveiling the teapottishness of this particular tempest. I know next to nothing about either cardinal, and would probably hate ecclesiastical politicking if I paid it any attention. What little I’ve read indicates a difference of emphasis rather than of doctrine.

    But I’m wary of generally dismissing the administration of the Church – especially when it regards the appointment of bishops – as something we have “no business worrying about.” Granted, we cannot determine the outcome, but we can make our opinion known, and may be duty-bound to do so, if a promoter of sin or heresy were being given great power in the administration of the Church.

  • Taught her everything she knows about that article. No, seriously, check her facebook. :p Just wish I had her wit. the article I had ready for it was a dry wonky article, woulda flopped.