On Friday, we looked at the threat of Reactionary dissent in the Church…
Here is a sample of it, deadly to both body and soul, as a Reactionary priest offers a fake humblebrag to “apologize” for the imaginary sins, not of himself, but of his culture war enemies who paid attention to science and kept the vulnerable safe from him and his selfish sect of Trads.
What he means is “Those bad Normal Catholics over there, who paid attention to the science and kept the rest of us safe during the Pandemic are the villains, while we selfish Trads who bitched and complained and fought and resisted sanity are the true heroes. I will now confess the imaginary sins of the Normals to you, my fellow selfish narcissists who love to look down on Normals, and blame them while continuing to fight to infect as many people as possible, not only with COVID, but with selfish pride and narcissism. Let us all join in applauding ourselves and thanking God that we are Trads who are way better and more pious than the ordinary slobs who obeyed the Church’s safety protocols. Ain’t we pious and humble though?”
The website is full to bursting with demagogic MAGA priests whose continual message is to attack the Church, attack sane public health, attack anyone who doubts Trump’s messianic anointing, and attack anybody who is not a member of the far right–including, especially, the Pope. And, of course, to lard on both self-pity and pride on their sect of martyr heroes for trampling the weak and vulnerable.
Several thoughts emerged immediately into my mind as I heard the brief video. Here they are in no particular order:
There are millions of faithful Catholics who live in areas of the world where there is no priest, so they are only able to receive the Eucharist occasionally. Some parishes in Latin America and Africa have up to 45 mission stations! The priest can only visit once or twice per year – the Eucharist is hardly ever celebrated. Our inability at times not to provide the Eucharist to the faithful does not imply that we have abandoned the faithful. It means that there are extraordinary circumstances that impede it… such as a pandemic, or a shortage of priests.
I cannot support the priest’s anticipated disobedience to his bishop or superiors – it goes directly against the promises we make as priests. Anyone who applauds his sentiments goes against Catholic teaching: we are a hierarchical Church and union with our bishop represents our union with Christ. I cannot understand how any faithful Catholic would applaud his sentiments.
Father states that we have given our people a stone during the pandemic. What I saw during the pandemic were countless priests finding creative ways to minister to their people even though the Churches remained closed. I am truly heartbroken for the Catholics who did not experience this at their parishes. Many priests courageously continued to serve their people: calling them on the phone, providing drive by confession, celebrating parking lot Masses, giving communion to those who asked for it, etc. Perhaps the experience of Father Sergio at his diocese is vastly different from my experience in South Georgia. My bishop lifted the dispensation from attending Mass last November, and we have been doing fine.
He assumes that only God’s people were hurt by the closed Churches: we priests suffered too. We suffered together – feeling our people’s pain. No priest wants to celebrate Sunday Mass in an empty Church: we have been ordained to serve the people of God. Holy Week 2020 will always remain in my mind – it was painful for everyone. Psalm 137 comes to mind: “For there our captors asked us for the words of a song; our tormentors for joy: ‘Sing for us a song of Zion!’ But how could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land?” How could we rejoice Easter morning with our whole hearts when our Churches were empty?
Father Sergio speaks from an experience of the Church where the faithful have access to the Eucharist very often, perhaps daily, when so many Catholics do not have that luxury. I believe that the months without the Eucharist made us yearn even for it more, and to experience solidarity with our Catholic brothers and sisters who are unable to receive the Eucharist frequently. This may be a more constructive way to guide instruct God’s people.
It is important to note that historically, churches were closed during times of pandemic. When I was a child in Peru, churches were closed in the mountains because of war. This is not something new – just something that we have not experienced in our own generation.
As I read the comments from the faithful on the video, I am heartbroken that so many people have felt so desolate during the months of pandemic. As priests, we are called to give hope to our people – for us together to process the pain and sorrow we have experienced. Rather than adding wood to the fire, why not express tremendous gratitude that now we can gather at the altar for the Eucharist?
Please forgive me if you find my comments judgmental. I recognize that I could be misreading some of the intentions behind the priest’s words.
My prayer is that together as a Church, now more united than ever, we can move forward in joy that the pandemic is subsiding. To unite at the Eucharist where we are made One by Jesus Himself. We can all rejoice in that!
I add to Fr. Migone’s astute observation about the many Catholics with limited access to the Eucharist the vital point that among them were the Amazonian Catholics who came to Rome seeking that access for themselves–and who were greeted as pagans and their statue of Our Lady of the Amazon thrown into the Tiber by the bigots, bullies, and selfoids who now pose before the mirror as heroes for refusing to observe sane health restrictions during the Pandemic. Reactionary MAGA Catholic care about nobody and nothing but themselves.