Sunday, August 17, 2008
The subject was living the Catholic faith. The spin was how to do it politically. Priest didn't say "vote pro-life" but he left little doubt in my mind that was what he had in mind, among other things.
He talked about making voting decisions not based on what is best for the person doing the voting, but rather based on what is best for all of the people involved. He didn't offer any suggestions about what to do when the inevitable conflicts arise out of the varying opinions as to what is best, arising sometimes out of the different religions of the people involved, or the economic differences that inevitably influence how we vote. He made this choice sound easy. It isn't.
He also talked about the Catholic Church being universal. The word Catholic means universal, he said; and that is what I believe. My husband came out of church annoyed because he said he was given the One World Religion homily in a Catholic church. I agreed with him, but reminded him that the religion of choice in this case is Catholic, or at least Christian. He wasn't buying it, and concluded that the product being offered in the church is the reason why half of the church was empty this morning.
During the homily I took note of the people in our section who were seated next to and in front of us. Fourteen women. Five men. No children. This encompassed several rows of pews, each of which will seat ten. We were sitting near the middle of the church. A glance around the rest of the church confirmed that my section was not unusual. The young men are mostly gone. The old men and the women, young and old, are what's left, at least at this parish.
The parish is located in an older suburban neighborhood. The church will seat 6 to 7 hundred depending upon how much we squeeze together. There are four Sunday Masses and one Saturday vigil Mass. The parish has a flourishing school. When the current pastor took over, the parish had no debt. We are now in deficit in the hundred thousand range. That number is based upon the "needed Sunday collection" vs. the actual Sunday collection. Neither my husband nor I know whether these are actual or funny numbers. Money is still being spent for things. It must be coming from somewhere. The pastor announces the "needed collection" each Sunday in the bulletin. It is now up to $18,000 per Sunday. Husband believes this is totally unrealistic for the economics and demographics of the congregation. Sunday collections average $12 to $13,000. The request for increased funds is falling either on deaf ears or empty pocketbooks.