Reparation or Pep Rally?

There is a spectrum along which one can find the cheerleading sensibility, as evidenced by the enthusiastic applause generated by Archbishop Dolan last week, as well as the posture of introspection for wrongs we’ve committed, supposedly developed here in Orlando for sins “committed against the dignity and sacredness of human life in the world.” (Note: The Orlando diocesan site doesn’t use the word “sins.”)

On another spectrum we have both critic and apologist for the event. Call me a doubter on this one. Let’s see how the Mass turns out before we discern if this is another cheerleading session or an authentic examination of conscience for those attending. The initial sign isn’t a good one. Sentences two and three of the news note rather target a certain group of Catholics, and if one were neutral, let alone pro-ND on this affair, do you suppose one would feel welcome? Personally, I’d prefer to go to Mass at my parish and offer the local Birthright a few hours of volunteer time instead.

This isn’t to say that we don’t all need a good dose of optimism and energy from time to time, or that liturgy isn’t or shouldn’t be capable of delivering. I would however, object to the use or abuse of liturgy as a vehicle to achieve human political ends. Too bad Orlando mentioned the Notre Dame/President Obama flap, which to my supposing, hasn’t caused one unborn death, and not the n-thousand abortions performed in central Florida. I suppose the body count methodology is fine when comparing relatively few state-sponsored killings to millions of abortions. But the comparison doesn’t seem welcome when Feelings Get Hurt by inappropriate invitations and awards.

Do you suppose Bishop Wenski is planning to spring some seamless garment stuff on the targeted anti-Obama+ND audience? Wait and see.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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6 Responses to Reparation or Pep Rally?

  1. Kathernie says:

    Unrelated question; how can I RSS this blog to Google reader?

  2. Obama is trying to make the church invalid and is attempting to strip it of moral authority. Notre Dame and Georgetown are playing right into his hand by sacrificing right for prestige. It is time for the church to stand up and say no further!

  3. Fran says:

    Perhaps you have answered Katherine, but I will simply jump in and say that I just added the URL to my google reader of blogs that I follow.

  4. Jimmy Mac says:

    I’m amazed that Lisa gives Obama more power in the RCC than the bishops, including the one in Rome.

    This just shows you how tenuous is their claimed power. Obama has been POTUS for less than 6 months and already his is dragging the RCC down to hell. I can’t wait til he deals with the UN!

  5. Jack Smith says:

    Bishop Wenski speaks out on all manner of topics regardless the partisan ramifications. He is very thoroughgoing in his witness across the board. Really Todd I think you’d quite like him if you researched his full record. I don’t think he should be viewed by any of his actions in isolation.

  6. Todd says:

    Jack, I guess I find the timing really curious on the part of both political activists and bishops. Maybe the economy has tipped Americans into getting more abortions these days, and maybe the patriotic glow of 2001-03 has faded to black. But why May 3rd? Why not January? Why not January 2008? The timing suggests to me a possible use/abuse of liturgy to conduct a pep rally, to cheer the troops. Maybe Bishop Wenski will preach a tough word of reparation for the ideologically-minded.

    Personally, I like the idea of a Mass of reparation. Other bishops have done things like that to begin healing from their cover-up scandals. And I’ve participated on the parish level in similar events.

    I would hesitate about participating in this Mass were I approached or invited to assist. I’m willing to be proved wrong, but it seems like a pep talk in search of a venue. Liturgy was never intended to be political in this way, and the wording of the bishop’s announcement confirms what anyone would suspect from the timing.

    My suggestion would be to hold the Mass of reparation monthly, to delete the references to other people’s particular sins in the announcement, and to urge the bishop to commit to the sacrifice of presiding at such a monthly Mass even when it wasn’t getting noticed in the press and among the pro-life faithful.

    Naturally, it’s more easy and glamorous to speak of martyrdom.

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