I had lunch with a client, whom I respect and appreciate, but try to avoid discussing religion with him. He’s highly educated and Catholic; however his home parish is an ultra-left leaning South Minneapolis congregation, frequently in the lime-light (I’ll leave it unnamed). He believes his and my tenets are not a political left/right stance, but an entitlement of ideological viewpoints at our own election. For those who aren’t sure what that means, that particular parish is often subjected to whistle blowing, controversy and petitioning by a few ultra-conservative Catholic’s who want them excommunicated. Being a KC it’s important, though sometimes difficult for us to support ALL that is Catholic and ALL parish priests and pledge to leave ALL partisan politics at the doorstep for ALL KC sponsored events, including Lecturers Reports. As a daily Rosary contemplator, I’ve been meditating on my perceived differences with my friend and others. It’s possible he appears to attend, almost as a protest of traditional Catholic teachings that he believes he can affect change if he stays in our ranks.
Empowering various causes via boycott seems to be the going fad these days with highly organized “wallet dot com orgs” shutting down stores, companies and sponsored events that differ with their philosophies. I believe my friend feels he earned the right to be Catholic, even though he disagrees with many of the interpretations handed down from the Vatican. It’s weird and seems a little secular to me, but if he’s attending Mass, receiving the Sacraments, hearing the Gospel, there’s always the chance for the Holy Spirit to play a role through the Pascal Mystery and for God’s Grace to touch his heart and soul. Who am I to judge him? Can he contemplate the same Gospel reading, hear the same sermon, pray the same Rosary meditations as I and yet reflect on them in a completely different way? Will he grow in his faith journey as I have over the course of a lifetime? Probably so. Interestingly enough, we each view one another as the one sheep the shepherd leaves the other one hundred to go find.
In my 4th Degree KC travels, it’s sad to notice some other folks who appear to be “parish shopping” for sermons they agree with, which suggests some parishes are blending civic and gospel messages that inadvertently turn on or turn off folks and either attract or repel Sunday attendance’s. Without being consciously aware, a few folks are somewhat boycotting by floating from parish to parish, fishing for a favorable message. One could argue that they are seeking the Word of God with an open heart by attending Mass, but they could be missing the whole parish community bonus aspect. UNITY!
Many modern-day Christians are connected to the internet. In this age of entitlement, a few people are more susceptible to outside influences, false teachings or feelings of empowerment via this so-called boycott mentality. Modern-day pastors, Bishops and even the Pope are forced to become more creative in marketing the message to their flocks through social media to increase attendance. At times, priests are literally walking on egg shells in hopes of not turning anyone off. From a business standpoint, our clergy still have to forecast financials and meet the day-to-day needs of the schools and parishes. If too many people float around, it’s difficult to manage all the numbers. Thank God our two priests are perfect and never say anything any of us disagree with at HNOJ. Gentlemen, think back and remember your First Degree Ceremony; it’s very important we always support all of our Catholic priests throughout the world with our thoughts, words and deeds. These special men didn’t get elected to be priests; they were called by the Holy Trinity and immersed themselves to the service of God’s daily works.