On Pastoral Conversion

News of this document appeared on my facebook feed. I noticed more commentary on the use of four prepositional phrases in the title:

The pastoral conversion
of the Parish community
in the service
of the evangelizing mission
of the Church

If I attended to documents coming from every pope, bishop, and Vatican dicastery, I’d be writing here full-time or more. Rather than the snipey comments on grammar, I’m more interesting in what Roman clergy have to say about converting parishes in the wide world. Does this come from what they are seeing in their home dioceses in Italy, France, and Mexico? Is there concern lay people are getting too uppity? Should I bother with reading a document from underlings?

In a quick look at topic headings, it seems to me the instruction runs out of steam around section 40 or so, and concludes with a lot of bureaucratic lingo–exactly the kind of thing that disinterests people who are seeking God and discourages people who work in the front lines of parishes.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to On Pastoral Conversion

  1. nassauny says:

    [b]Sections 118 to 121 interest me somewhat. The text seems to differentiate between Mass stipends destined for the priest and other sacramental offerings. To my long memory, our parish has never disclosed the Bishop’s catedraticum on the Sunday collections, nor has it been clear about the offerings given with Mother’s Day novena cards. In a nearby parish, the money-counting volunteers were told not to touch those envelopes. At infant Baptism, we shyly encourage parents or godparents to turn in an offering envelope before or after the service. The deacons give them to the rectory without fuss. A visiting priest from India ran after each family to get the envelope. Not exactly a good memory of infant Baptism. A few miles away, a parish in a zip code of $123,000 median household income has a flat $700 fee for funerals. If locals on average spend (yes!) $63,000 on a wedding, I can only imagine what the pastor requests. In ten years, our weddings have dropped from 67 to 28. Our confirmations remained at 240.[/b]

    • Todd says:

      Interesting. Most priests I know get a salary. Mass stipends go to the parish. Office assistants or bookkeepers handle them. My own sense is that while gifts would be welcome, there should be no appearance of paying for weddings, funerals, baptisms, or even faith formation. An alternate opinion I’ve heard is that people value that for which they pay precious money. So charging parishioners for classes, church usage, Sunday donuts, etc., is okay. Possibly why I was never made a business manager.

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