Using a phrase that translates literally as “the face of a pickled pepper,” Pope Francis said that when Christians have more of a sourpuss than a face that communicates the joy of being loved by God, they harm the witness of the church.
It’s a good thing for me to keep in mind as I continue to blog here, especially about sour news like bishops behaving badly.
While I tend to think that newcomers to the faith don’t visit me here, I do get a lot of traffic from engaged couples. While they might not be seeing this past week’s relentless and depressing news about bishops in New Jersey and Southern California, maybe they are.
My staff colleague who does the “intake” interview of RCIA inquirers reported that of the 25 talks she had in 2012, only two catechumens made it to the Rite of Acceptance and to the Easter Vigil. And we will have two candidates received into the Church tomorrow. That’s not a good year for us at all. I also remember bad RCIA years in 2002 and 2003. You know who was in the pepper jar those years, right? Another staff colleague at another parish was vilified in 2007 for a small crop. But RCIA was way down across my last diocese that year. The pickled pepper? Maybe it was Pope Benedict. Remember the SSPX fiasco and the matter of how a “church” is defined?