I have hesitated to comment on one of this month’s Catholic news items. A read a second treatment in the NCRep a social media friend linked. I’m fine with women taking the lead on this discussion. #metoo impacts them and I’ve witnessed horrendous situations since high school. Men in power go after women in unequal relationships. It has happened to family members, friends, and students I’ve mentored, and likely many others I know, but do not know about.
About this website, I’d like to avoid gossip. I don’t write gossip columns. But I have some small investment–I’ve sent young women to Music Ministry Alive. I have an acquaintance with the man in question. And I’ve known many fine people stalked, pursued, and damaged by my fellow men.
If I need to talk … or write, a few comments then:
I don’t see this composer as a progressive figure. His music is well-liked and expected in most every corner of Catholic worship except for reform2 and the TLM. Politically, he may be progressive. His music strikes me as pretty mainstream. His opera have craft, and the occasional gem. But the genre is definitely mainstream.
I think the episode goes beyond clericalism–which has victims outside of the arena of sex predation. The “ism” the commentator grasped at has to do with celebrity. We’ve seen church gurus ascend to the pedestal of celebrity quite often. Some fall off. It’s a smaller pond than the secular settings of sport, movies, music, and politics. But a concert or speaking engagement by a top-ten liturgical composer or writer or bishop will draw hundreds, if not thousands. That’s more adulation than the smallest sliver of people ever get. For some folks, it goes to their head.
Most active Christians worship God. We also see the touch of the Almighty in how books, music, films, homilies, and pastoral care touch us. It’s a good reminder that we are seeing grace and gift. Not incarnation.
I think popular parish leaders have a responsibility to quench celebrity worship. It’s a duty of personal health and self-preservation. I actively avoid situations of the celebrity sort because I know my own weakness and the disease it can bring.
- I don’t initiate friendships with parishioners.
- I do have them, but usually friendly activity centers on some setting of equality or the expertise and guidance of another person.
- When I leave a parish, I make a point of really leaving. I don’t go out of my way to sever contact, but I don’t do anything that could hinder my replacement.
- Being married to an honest spouse helps. I am very grateful to be married–I made far more blunders when I was single.
- I don’t cover up my mistakes.
- For liturgical ministries, I cultivate leaders and make sure other people get the spotlight.
I might have missed some important points on this. So, comments, especially from women, are welcome.