Saturday, July 07, 2007

Re: Certain Complaints

I have received a number of angry comments from a lady in America regarding the fact that I gave a reflection at the Eucharistic Service I led a few days ago. I have not published these comments because they are very bitter and quite frankly extremely right wing for this blog (she included a rant against the Permanent Deaconate, men who are validly ordained by Holy Mother Church to help priests with their pastoral ministry). Her last comment asked me to explain myself or she would report me to my superiors. So here goes ...

First of all may I say my superiors are aware of the existence of this blog and will inform me if anything I put on it is inappropriate.

The lady's complaint is that I preached without faculties. It is indeed true that I do not have faculties to preach. However, I do have permission from Holy Mother Church, as a Lector, to give a reflection during the Liturgy of the Word outside the Mass, and that is exactly what I did. Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist can give a reflection when they take Communion to the sick.

Her second complaint is that I 'ad lib'ed the Rite by missing out the Kiss of Peace. Well, if you know your liturgy the Peace is actually a voluntary part of the Rite that the priest can miss out if he feels it is appropriate (I know perfectly orthodox priests who never use it - in fact it tends to be liberal priests who over use it) and the reason I left it out is because I made a mistake due to the ambiguity of the rubrics in the Rite I used and to include it would complicate matters for the people, especially those with disabilities. I would never ad lib a Rite, I hate it when people do, 'Say the Black Do the Red' will be written on my gravestone!

Another complaint the lady had was my use of the title Auxiliary Minister of the Eucharist. My Theology Professor could not be more orthodox if he tried. I have been in classes where he has gone red in the face defending the teaching of Holy Mother Church against the liberal students. He is equally orthodox to the Canon Law Professor yet they disagree over one minor thing and I happen to agree with the Theology Professor due to my status as a Seminarian. This is an arguable point which possibly doesn't have an answer, or if it does, can only be answered by the Holy Father himself.

I would like to remind all our readers that we at Orthfully Catholic are orthodox to the core, this is the reason we called our blog 'Orthfully'. Liberalism is on its way out and we are here to bury it at sea! As was written in an earlier post and as it says in the title of another widely read blog, we are neither more nor less Catholic than the Pope!


Anonymous said...

Good post!

[Re the problem, edit the post, click 'Edit HTML', type the title, click 'Compose', and 'Publish'. I had the same problem...]

Fr Justin said...

Don't worry about it, is my advice. Often on blogs you get people who write the nastiest things under cover of anonymity.
As far as I can read it, preaching at Mass is reserved to those in major orders, but reflections at 'Eucharistic services' is something else. St Philip Neri in the 16th century used to preach in church while still a layman—-though not, of course, at Mass.
On a subject on another of your posts, I myself follow the practice of Mgr Ronald Knox to always write out what I am saying when I preach, so that I don't ramble, or talk nonsense. I know it's fashionable not to use a text, but as long as you build in a certain number of colloquialisms,(aren't they, rather than are they not &c), then it won't matter that you're reading a text.
As for the auxiliary/extraordinary debate; well, I've heard the auxiliary thing, but I'm not convinced by it. Nonetheless, a properly instituted acolyte ought certainly to take precedence over a lay person at such a service and, granted that such a service was going to take place anyway, the decision being the Parish Priest's, you acted correctly in presiding at it. You would otherwise have assisted at an abuse.
So, cheer up.
And, in case anyone questions me, I am a professor myself at the seminary of this blogger!

catholicandgop said...

I enjoy your posts, keep up the good work!

Orthfully Catholic said...

Two big Thank You's go out to Mark for helping me with my technical problem (which has now been sorted). Special thanks go to Fr Justin, my favourite professor! btw, can I have my exam results now!

Karen H. -- San Diego said...

Actually it was a TERRIBLE post in that "ortfully" is acting very childlike. Far from my post being an anonymous posting OR a "rant" I *DID* sign my name -- I don't believe in dinging someone and signing anonymously. Not, of course that you or others could see it and judge from themselves as "orthfully" was too chicken to post my criticism of his off the cuff rambling.

I NEVER said that I was yelling at him for omitting the pax. I let that slide, because he caught himself on it. He can't read or understand nuances, so he assumed I was criticizing him for that. My post merely said that one shouldn't willingly ADD or DETRACT from the service provided. The operative word here is "WILLINGLY" -- he had already stated that that omission was by accident....though he did relate that an ex-seminarian friend was "proud" of him for doing so (even unwittingly.)

If you (Fr. Justin) and others HAD been able to read my initial post (thanks to "orthfully" you can't) -- my objection was centered on the fact that this guy off the top of his head started his so-called "reflections."

I do not know whether or not "Fr. Justin" [another "anonymous blogger I find) had a chance to read WHAT "orthfullly" was on about.
I do not think it should be in the purview of a mere STUDENT, installed acolyte/lector or not to go at the delicate issue about the Muslim religion. I don't cotton to the Muslim religion one bit myself, but I think it HIGHLY, HIGHLY inflammatory for a mere STUDENT to make such a statement as the following--

"I did a fantastic reflection showing that today's first reading proves the faithlessness of Islam because they claim their descent from Abraham through Ishmael his illegitimate son and we claim descent through Isaac his legitimate son and promised heir. I then went on to explain that today's Gospel shows that even the devil has faith because he used to be an angel and knows God as well as any other angel but his jealousy causes his so called faith to become hatred of God. God created us because He loves us and so we must have faith in our creator and love him as well. That's how it went in my head, when I opened my mouth all sorts of rubbish came out - including some heresy at one point when I think I said God loves us because He created us rather than the other way around, but I'm not sure."

So it started off being a "fantasic reflection" but somehow ended in "heresy."

Now, Fr. Justin if you don't see this as problematic coming off the cuff from one of your students (apparently) then now I also have a problem with your OWN training and teaching methods - if you are letting these students go about saying such things unsupervised.
I know you DID counsel this student to write everything out as you say. I would FURTHER argue that he should ALSO have prior approval by someone with faculties.

Now I myself one time had to step in to do a Communion service in front of a church full of people. Our regular supply priest was recovering from an operation. He was supposed to be covered by another priest from outside the parish. The pastor was not there. There was no deacon or installed acolyte/reader. It was up to ME.
Now if "orthfully" is happy with a laywoman or layman just going off half-tilt on any subject where the spirit moves them...then he's in worse shape than I thought. Because if HE can do it...than ANY layman/woman can do it. Oh, you may be able to do it...but IS IT WISE? IS IT PRUDENT? It is HIT or MISS...and the practical answer should be "not only NO, but HELL, NO."

I know you have students give dry run homilies to EACH OTHER under controlled circumstances, and that's fine. What is NOT "fine" with this is it WAS "rubbish." And people in the pews have a right NOT to be subjected to it.

As far as I can tell,
Frankly if I'm sitting in a pew I don't want ANY layman giving his reflections -- certainly not without someone with competent faculties to judge whether what he was rambling about off the cuff, which he admitted WAS something he wasn't sure if he got right or wrong. People in the pews deserve BETTER.

I didn't care for "orthfully" carping about the "auxilliary minister"/"extraordinary minister" issue -- frankly, I told him we all have our opinions ... but what the canon lawyer told him are the FACTS as they exist, not what he wished them to be. [I stated that objection that "orthfully" managed to miss that I don't know. My main objection, is that "orthfully" has a lot of FERVOR...and that's all good, as a matter of fact I wished him well at the end of the first post...but said that we in the pews want WELL TRAINED priests who paid attention to the fine points.

I didn't rant on deacons about given sermons PER SE. What I said was that the laity WAS ALREADY SUBJECTED TO FAR TOO MANY LAME AND HALF-BAKED sermons from the so-called "permanent" deaconate.
Mind you these "permanent" deacons
guys have had, generally speaking, at most two years of PART TIME STUDY. They most often give very "personal" homilies and nothing terribly insightful as to understanding the gospel. If one REALLY thinks the average Joe studying part time has put in the hours a man studying theology, philosopy, hermaneutics ad infinitum that a candidate for the priesthood does, one must have rocks in one's head. Sure, here and there there are exceptions, but frankly mediocrity at best rules the roost. I really don't care to hear some permanent deacon ramble on about marriage encounter. That's not what I want in a sermon. We deserve better. Those deacons on the track to be ordained to the priesthood are another matter (or should be, unless they are not particular about capacity to study hard these days.)

My point about talking about the so-called "permanent deacons" was that it was usually bad enough to listen to them...but at least they have faculties...and we have to suffer in silence on those...but we shouldn't have to suffer in silence regards people who don't have faculties.

There's a 50-50 chance orthfully will also not include this post in his blog...but I am writing THIS post also to Fr. Justin..and will attach it to a blog post of HIS to make sure he can read my side, [given he has no email address] since "orthfully" has twice proven unreliable and he can and has put words and nuances in my writing which were NOT there.

Oh, and LASTLY,
I DID threaten to rat him out, because he didn't seem overly concerned about NOT making the same mistakes again re: going off the cuff with unprepared remarks. I never even HINTED that his superiors didn't know the students (down to him now, apparently) didn't have a blog...but if he DIDN'T come clean (frankly ALL he had to do was say "I goofed up going off the cuff and I won't do that again" that would have been enough.

I've been posting off and on to a few blogs in the "circuit" always as "Karen H. -- SAn Diego"-- (and I signed them that you can tell because "orthfully" did say I was an "american" -- so how can he have known I was an "American" if it was "anonymous" -- so that PROVES I wasn't "anonymous." And I always have used "Karen H."

Now, if you dudes need More:

Karen A.T. Horn
4982 Vandever Ave.
San Diego, Ca. 92120

Go ahead and write any time.

Ball's in YOUR courts.
(And Fr. Justin - I don't expect you to keep this post on your blog, but I obviously had to get this to you somehow so "orthfully" can't hide behind a sadly mistaken:

"anonymous complaining woman" BS excuse. And if franklly, orthfully can't take a complaint from someone who DOES sign, how is he going to handle it when REAL anonymous complains are made about him?

WE Americans ARE blunt. It does tend to clear the air rather than have resentment build. I just thought his rambling off cuff SHOULD be curbed, before he does MORE possible damage to innocent pew sitters. And that's something,
I, as a Catholic, have a right to be concerned with when it happens ANYTIME, ANYWHERE.

Anonymous said...

Some people are more Catholic than the Pope. Ignore then and be guided by your orthodox teachers.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, how terrible for you. Fr. Justin is right, some people can just be so nasty. But nevermind, I'm sure you will feel better about it when you are back in the seminary surrounded by all the guidance, love and support of your teachers and friends.

Orthfully Catholic said...

Karen, please read my post properly. At no point do I say you were anonymous, I just didn't put your name in the post because I felt it would be unfair to you if I published your name without publishing your comments.

To defend your latest attacks, that was my first attempt at giving a reflection, as you said I have had no training so it is a learning process. I will in future take Fr Justin's advice and write out my reflections/homilies. It was not off the cuff, it was planned over the week and put into its final form the night before. You admitted even those with faculties to preach give shoddy homilies sometimes - faculties do not make you perfect preachers, practice does. Once I am used to speaking in front of a congregation I will be fine.

Much of what you pick on is due to my writing style, a misunderstanding that may be due to cultural issues, but it is what is known in the trade as British humour.

You mention that you once led a Eucharistic Service, well here's where my right wing extremism comes out. I would never allow a woman to lead a Eucharistic Service, it gives too much ammunition to the Campaign for the Ordination of Women an the laity simply do not understand the difference between Mass and such Services, as I said in my original post I am against Eucharistic Services and will never allow them in my parish once I am ordained, I only led this one because I rank above anyone else in the parish and it therefore fell to me to lead it.

My apologies to Fr Justin for having to read these comments a second time but I felt that this time I had to publish Karen to show our readers just what I have been suffering over the last few days.

I am not the one who is being childish. I suggest Karen that you calm down and stop trying to be more Catholic than the Pope because I'm afraid it is people like you rather than me who are causing divisions in the Church, divisions which His Holiness is trying to mend with documents like yesterday's Motu Proprio.

I will not make the admission you want me to make because I need admit nothing, as I said I exercised a part of my ministry I have been given permission to exercise by Holy Mother Church and may one day exercise it again if I need to.

God Bless

Karen H. -- San Diego said...

Orthfully, leading a Communion service doesn't have ZIP to do with "wanting to become a priest or not." It's ENTIRELY irrelevant to the discussion at hand. The fact is many parishes have them. Simply being a male doesn't automatically make one more mentally equipped to serve as one.

All I ask is that please, please, please...not only get your comments written out but have them APPROVED by competent authority.

I assume you will bar all women from serving as EM....even though it's okay according to canon law to have them. Apparently, some people haven't gotten the word that all the laity are equal. [Do you sleep through your canon law classes?] Do what you wish, but be prepared to have to answer to laywomen why they can't assist in this manner. Be also aware that oftentimes women are the more likely than men in the home to instruct and inculcate a love for worship. I'm not saying many men can't or don't...I'm simply saying what normally IS. Post Vatican II the church has come a long way in acknowledging the contributions women can make.

My point is that when you get out in the "real world" -- "stuff happens" a ball gets dropped sometimes. Even if you don't have "wimmin runnin' around in your sanctuary" I think you ALSO ought to worry about EM MEN "runnin' around in your sanctuary."
Please have them all trained that they know how to lead a Communion service should an unforeseen need that they can do it properly.

Because if they did what you did, and what they say isn't accurate, or reflect church teaching...then it's a blowback on YOU.

Like I say, if one just DOES AS WRITTEN and doesn't add or subtract, problems shouldn't ensue.
And in my book, NO one should just come out with "reflections" off the cuff, whether installed acolyte/reader, EM female OR MALE.

Again, God bless and good luck. But please try and be the BEST priest you can be, by getting the best training you can in your studies. It will give the laity more confidence.

BTW...true story, about 20 years ago we had a pastor who also "didn't like wimmen in his sanctuary." So he had a nice well meaning gentlemen assist him at daily Mass. This man was in his sixties. Father thought men were much more suited....because he didn't want women "gettin' ideas above their station." well, one fine morning I had been sitting in front of the tabernacle after daily Mass...and "X" comes out to the tabernacle, opened a roll of unconsecrated altar breads and promptly opened and dumped them in with the consecrated Hosts...he did it in such a flash I didn't have a chance to say "boo."

Thank GOD he and I by chance had been the only two people in the church at that point.

I IMMEDIATELY went to the rectory to tell the pastor...who was having his breakfast. LEt's just say his face went ASHEN. I didn't hang around at the point to see the aftermath, but I'm sure "X" would have never done it again. I was embarrassed for both men (how are you a Catholic for SIXTY YEARS and miss the fact that *only* consecrated Hosts go in the tabernacle?!) how long had he been doing that, and how many people went to Mass and didn't receive a consecrated Host?

So, "orthfully" think again if you think a layMAN is always the better choice over the layWOMAN. Some of us "wimmin gettin' ideas above our station" pay attention.

lee said...


It can sometimes be very difficult to interpret things posted on blogs. When I read our blogger's description of "all sorts of rubbish" coming out of his mouth, it was quite clear that he was using hyperbole. I took it to mean that he did not feel that he had delivered the reflection as well as he might have hoped.

Based on the outline of the reflection which he has posted, there are some quite good and appropriate points which are connected to the Gospel of that day. The Gospel account has the Gadarene demoniacs acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God. The blogger's reflection takes up the point that the devil (as a fallen angel) has knowledge of God - but knowledge alone is not sufficient, we must have charity. Nothing groundbreaking but far from rubbish.

It is important to see the context of his postings - he has been posting recently about his experience of exercising various aspects of the ministry of acolyte for the first time. What has shone through for me has been his awe at the responsibility and his sense that he has much to learn. In that context, I found his description of being tounge-tied rather touching.

As for the point about Islam, I would agree with you that our blogger's observation does not seem to have been particularly well-made. But I think that threatening to report him to his superiors is probably not the way to offer correction in this case. When faced with threats, it is quite natural to clam up and go on the defensive.

While I may be misunderstanding your intentions -- it's very easy to misnderstand what people are saying through the internet -- I feel that I must express deep concern about the language you use to describe permanent deacons. In just one post, you have appeared to slam them at least four times:

--the so-called "permanent" deaconate.
--these "permanent" deacons guys
--I really don't care to hear some permanent deacon ramble on about marriage encounter.
--My point about talking about the so-called "permanent deacons" was that it was usually bad enough to listen to them

I don't know what you mean by placing scare-quotes around the word permanent and using the expression "so-called" but it doesn't seem at all appropriate. The Second Vatican Council called for the restorate of the permanent diaconate and Pope Paul VI established the appropriate norms in his motu proprio (words we hear a lot lately!) Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem. It may well be that the programmes for formation for permanent deacons are not as effective as they could be. But surely references to 'so-called "permanent deacons"' in a blog comment won't help that problem! If you made such apparantly dismissive comments about permanent deacons in your earlier (unpublished) comments, I am not surprised that they were not published.

Anonymous said...

Well said O.C. you stick to your guns. What a difficult women to have to put up with, but we all have our crosses to bear. If it's any help, I'm sure our British women will not prove so impolite and disrespectful when you achieve your Fr. status. Fr Justin is obviously teaching you well - keep going and good luck!

Fr Justin said...

If you want your exam results, you're going to have to put a link to my blog on yours!

onthesideoftheangels said...

Sorry to be a bit pedantic; but you aren't an auxiliary minister of the Eucharist, nor are you an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist.
These things simply do not exist !
No matter how many parishes or diceses or bishops give these roles that nomenclature....
Acolytes are auxiliary ministers of Communion ; your parish or bishop may give you the authority to be an extraordinary minister of communion - but not the Eucharist!

This may seem specious or hyper-legalistic ; but it is very important to clarify it before mistakes are made.

I know the lady concerned was in uber-pietistic almost donatist mode; extraordinarily confused regarding what is and what isn't permissible.

I think she's less attacking you and more confusingly participating in the outrage at the scandals against the Gospel occurring in hundreds of parishes throughout the church; especially in the US.

During the Mass, minor order/lay 'preaching' can be permitted in extreme/extraordinary circumstances by a Bishop, parish priest or local head of a religious order - but it has to take place either before the liturgy of the word or after the liturgy of the eucharist - admittedly most parish priests allow it to happen instead of a sermon [usually if a mission church or charity is asking for help] and I must admit when I was a seminarian it was just presumed that if there was no deacon we were the bishop's 'rep' [one parish priest used to denote us as 'sub-deacons' to keep the more traditionalist parish members quiet]and therefore we could preach instead of the priest after the Gospel ; but it is technically wrong.
But there is a definite difference between this and 'professional laity' hijacking the role.

When I had to do a weekly communion service everything started off quite well; I followed the rubrics to the hilt but then the parish priest got a chip on his shoulder and by the end he'd forbidden me from doinjg anything other than give a reading and distribute communion [something which is expressly canonically forbidden ! - but orders is orders ! [i.e. I made sure the parishioners lied about what went on to ensure the blessed sacrament wasn't scandalised].

Be proud of what you are doing dude; be neither disconsolate nor self-justifying - Truth resides in the Person of christ and you are living up to it in what you do and how you do it.

antonia said...

dear goodness Karen!!

do you not have anything better to spend your time on?!

Take a look around at our Catholic world and you'll find people who ARE objectively and intentionally abusing the liturgy. Your time would be better spent correcting them!

antonia said...

ps- God Bless you 'Orthfully', you are clearly balanced and your heart is in the right place.

Personally, as a lay female, I would MUCH MUCH rather have a Seminarian lead and give his reflections at a Eucharistic Service, than go to a Eucharistic Service led by a lay woman (...if she then added in a reflection I think the whole thing would boarder on intolerable).

God Bless

Orthfully Catholic said...


I have no problem with women 'running about on my sanctuary'. I get into many arguments with my brother seminarians because I agree with female Eucharistic Ministers and Altar Girls. I simply don't like women leading Eucharistic Services (and have been corrected on this point by 2 members of staff) because it causes laity who want women priests to use it positively in their arguments. Please don't have me pinned down as sexist as well as liberal and Islamophobic.

Orthfully Catholic said...

Fr Justin,

Nova et Vetera is at the very top of our blogroll!!

Orthfully Catholic said...

Thanks to Lee, one of my brother seminarians, for your usual well thought out and fair analysis of the current debate.

Orthfully Catholic said...

The Canon Lawyer of my seminary left a comment on this post but I was unable to publish it as it would damage the anonimity of this blog. His point was that the title 'Auxiliary Minister' does not exist canonically (as I mentioned in a previous post) and I am therefore an extrordinary minister. He also said any extraordinary minister (thanks to onthesideoftheangels' comment I am confused as to whether it is 'of the Eucharist' or 'Communion' now) whether male or female can lead a Eucharistic Service in the absence of an ordinary minister (in the absence of a priest a deacon would be first choice of leader).

Thank you Father.

Orthfully Catholic said...

Again I feel I must defend myself. After 9 years of studying Sacred Scripture and 6 years of studying Theology I think I am capable of giving an orthodox reflection on the readings, it is only my nerves that need calming and this will come with practice. Therefore again I say I will continue to exercise this area of my ministry if it becomes necessary.

Anonymous said...

Antonia, I completely agree and would add that maybe a womens time would be better spend at home looking after her husband and children than harassing perfectly good and worthy seminarians!

With all that wonderful seminary training of course you are better placed than any other to lead.

But I do have to say that I'm with your brothers and Professors regarding the alter girls and female eucharistic ministers.

Karen H. -- San Diego said...

Lee, "you're right about the "filter of the internet" and I should explain why I say "so-called permanent" deacons. How do you know if a man will be PERMANENTLY a deacon? It's stupid usage. If a married man is a deacon, and his wife later dies, and he then studies for the priesthood...then he isn't a "Permanent" deacon. and what about priests, bishops etc. THEY are still technically deacons too. It's a stupid usage of both English and logic. I know that's what "is." But that doesn't negate the fact that the usage is stupid.

A guy is either a deacon or not.

As for orthfully:
I can appreciate the fact that you've studied scripture for a number of years now. But please, get your remarks during a service approved as making sure to get the party line exactly right.

If you can't stand someone taking a pot shot at you now, what's it going to be like when you've got a parish full of people?

Given the head-hacker extremists, you want to be SURE to get exactly right about Islam. Don't give them ammo they don't need by saying something that is incorrect.

And to all: I never said an installed acolyte shouldn't take precedence in leading a Communion service to laymen/women. Okay by me. But please, an acolyte is STILL a layman, "installed or not."
There are NO LONGER minor orders.

Ask your canon lawyer prof.

Orthfully Catholic said...

There are now 22 comments under this post which began as an innocent report of my pastoral work in the parish.

Karen, thank you for all you have contributed, I hope you will continue to read this blog despite our disagreements. My point to you all along has been that my reflection was perfectly orthodox but due to my nerves iot came out badly, if I had run it by a priest first he would have accepted it but it came out badly because I got nervous in front of the people, this is why I say it is practice I need and nothing else.

My Canon Law prof left another comment explaining that onthesideoftheangels is right andit is Communion but if by saying Eucharist I meant Communion (which I did) then that is OK. He also suggested I put an end to this debate now (something I was going to suggest anyway) and so I ask for no more comments to be left on this subject, any that are will be rejected.

God Bless you all!