4 May 2008

Reluctant Policing

UPDATE II: Puff has removed her final correspondence. The fact that several people suggest that it is right to attack priests and bishops, offends her. She suffered and prayed about if and how to charitably bring this to the archbishop's attention. It pained her to disobey Bishop Boissoneau, as he had said that we had fulfilled our duty in this matter, and yet, over a year later, she wrote to the Archbishop. She did not take this matter lightly, self-righteously, or angrily; but seriously, respectfully and charitably. Therefore to use her letter as a justification to attack the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Ordinary Form, or to suggest that the priest himself is not a good priest because he was mistaken, ( Rememeber: he thought the RS had not been promulgated- whether it needed to be promulgated is another argument) is offensive to her. When corrected by the Auxilliary Bishop, under the authority of the Archbishop, the Pastor submitted and obeyed.
--Puff writing in the Third person.

UPDATE: Puff was kind enough to post her final letter and her reply from the Archdiocese here

My wife and I never wanted to be members of the liturgical police. We started down that road some years ago, when we- well, mostly she- began helping the choir director for one of the choirs I sang with pick his music for Sundays. As we looked into the appropriate music we encountered the GIRM and other documents, and we discovered something: we really knew nothing about our faith and about the Mass, even though we both cradle Catholics, went to Catholic schools, and attended Mass all our lives. And what is more, a good percentage of what we had been told as truth at school and even at Church were flat out lies. And so, we started looking into the matter some more.

Somewhere in there we read Redemptionis Sacramentum, and there we read an instruction regarding the Blood of Christ: It was to be kept in a metal vessel, and was never to be poured. This struck us, because the practice at our church was to consecrate it in a crystal flask, and then pour it into separate chalices. On the one hand, it seemed minor. On the other hand, this is the Blood of Christ, the heart of our faith, and there is nothing minor about it. Redemptionis told us what to do: if we see any abuse of the Body and Blood, we are first to approach our priest in a gentle brotherly manner, as befits brethren in faith. If that failed, we were to go to the bishop or appropriate authority. If everything else failed, we were directed- not allowed, but directed- to inform Rome.

We have written about this many times in the blog. Our meeting with the priest was cordial and polite. He was overjoyed, he told us, to see that there are others out there who take the Blessed Sacrament as seriously as he. (In truth, he is very devoted to the sacrament. I will delete any comment from the combox that suggests otherwise.) But he had his reasons for doing what he did. Redemptionis, he told us, had not been promulgated in the diocese yet, so he was still permitted.

Next, after giving the matter some thought and prayer, we wrote to the appropriate bishop. His response to us was that he would look into the matter. His words were correct and cordial, but the tone of the letter carried with it a suggestion of "Now please go away." We waited to see what would happen. Nothing.

So we waited some more, and prayed some more, and debated some more. We could change churches. However, that was not an option from Redemptionis. This was still our church. The orders from Redemptionis were still binding. We were to do something. At that time some things changed at the Chancellery. We tried writing another letter. We got another response. Today we saw the real response: He no longer pours.

I am glad of this for many reasons, not the least of which is that our actions have not resulted in any hostility between us and the priest or any members of the parish that I am aware of. This could have become bitter so quickly. That it didn't shows that throughout all this, we were dealing with good people. Deo Gratias.

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