Friday, October 21, 2011

The World Ends Today...Again

I'm sitting here frustrated having just read of another "prophecy" from the less than accurate Harold Camping. You will recall that he created a hubbub with his end of the world prophecy that was suppose to occur May 21 of this year. Never happened. But never fear, it's suppose to happen on Oct. 21 of this year! Wait...It's Oct 21 and I'm still here. I cannot count how many times I've heard of 'predictions' of the end of the world that included the day that it will happen. I mean really? Several things come to mind when I hear of these 'detailed' prophecies that predict the day of it's arrival.

First, Jesus himself said that no one knows the day or the hour of the coming of the Lord's day, not even the Son of Man. But did God make an exception with Camping and the others like him? What have they got for sources of information that our Lord himself wasn't privy to two thousand years ago? Our Lord did say we need to read the 'signs of the times' and to prepare ourselves and not let the day come to us as a thief in the night. I agree with that of course, but then again we should always have our souls ready to meet God, since we may die before the end itself comes. However, some of these Christians who see the bible as the sole authority in their lives continue to overlook that verse about not knowing the "day or hour" and invariably believe it does not pertain to them. That is arrogance or ignorance. You choose.

Some 'prophets' use all kinds of mathematical equations and computers as well as scripture and a vivid imagination to come up with a date for the end of the world. Again....really? Out of almost seven billion people on this planet, God confides in one man or woman  when the day will occur but won't confide in any one else, including His son? Does it mean that we need computers and a math degree to figure out when the last day will come upon us? Well then, that leaves out a third of the world's population that do not have computers or access to education, let alone having enough food to eat for the day. I guess the poor would be out of luck then.

Another thing that comes to mind is this: All the prior prophecies on the exact day of the end of the world were wrong.. That makes them false prophecies made from false prophets. We were all warned to beware of false prophets yet many continue to believe in these false prophets despite their lousy track record and our being told by our Lord that the date of the last day is beyond our reach to know. Believing in these false prophecies, people make all kinds of changes in their life to the point of quitting their jobs, selling their homes and waiting for that day, or in some cases, committing suicide. Someone will have to answer for that.

Another bone of contention is that the continued prophesying of the end of the world is like the boy who cried wolf. The more this happens the more some people are going to believe there will be no end and the world will continue merrily along. That is dangerous thinking. We know the end will eventually come and there will be accompanying signs of it's coming, but people having heard the false cry of wolf so many times will no longer take any of it seriously. The media, who have a field day with these 'prophets', will continue to portray all Christians as nut jobs. False prophets make it very difficult for Christianity to be taken seriously and they place obstacles in our responsibility to spread the Word.

Lastly, (and this may tweak a few noses), since Jesus founded His Church upon Peter and the Church is the organ that He chose to guide the world in faith and morals, would it not make more sense that if God had any warnings to give mankind of the impending day, it would come from the Church? Just sayin'...

Maybe there is a good reason why the Church continues to teach the Truth handed to her two thousand years ago and is willing to go through her trials and tribulations for that Truth, for perhaps if and when the time comes for all of us to know that the end is truly near, we will hear it from the Church and know it is the Truth.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Open Letter To My Catholic Priests

My dear priests,

The thought of composing this letter came to me Saturday afternoon after I left the confessional and knelt down for my penance. I'm not sure why it came to me then and there, but what is important is that it did and I've a few things to say to all of you who hold the office of the priesthood in the Catholic Church and are faithful in the manner you carry out your vocation.

In all my years as a Catholic, I have been remiss in not expressing my gratitude for what you have done for God, me and the Church. I have been neglectful in offering my prayers of thanks to God for all of you. Not to say I don't pray for you, but it certainly is not often enough for the things that you do.

First, I want to thank you all for saying yes to God as our Blessed Mother did long ago, and allowing Christ to come to us through you as priests. Mary did it through her motherhood, and you through the power bestowed to you at your ordination. God plucked you out of the masses as ordinary men and made you ordinary priests to do extraordinary things. Yes, you are ordinary priests for the most part, but that is where I see your perfection as priests of God. Let me explain.

If I had had the chance to go to a Mass celebrated by Padre Pio, I probably would have been in awe. I would probably have come out of the church and remembered that Mass celebrated by a future saint for the rest of my life and recounted to my grandchildren that I once saw Padre Pio celebrate Mass. But you see, not all priests are a Padre Pio, or even an homilist that gives everyone an "ah ha!" moment every time they speak. Not all of you are called to be a great and powerful influence in the Church because God only chooses certain persons for specific purposes when He feels the time is right for the Church's needs. You may not be able to lay your hands on an invalid or sick person and see an instant miracle occur, and perhaps you may not be able lead your entire parish to a deeper conversion with your presence in the confessional, but that isn't the point.

The point is, when I go to Mass every Sunday I usually see it celebrated by you and what I see is an ordinary priest that can do the very same thing Padre Pio did at his own Mass: nourishing us with Christ. The fact that you are an ordinary priest and not famous, even nondescript if I may, means I am not focused on you as I would have been if you were Padre Pio. Instead I can focus on God, through your words and your actions at the alter. Without drama or flare you reverently recite the words of consecration that you know from memory, then you 'decrease' so that  Christ 'increases',  as He becomes present to us in the Host that you hold aloft. Very visible and and very real. That is what I remember at the Masses  you celebrate and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You may not think much of your homilies, but I can assure you that the prayerful time and effort you give to prepare that homily that comes from your lips on any given Sunday touches someone sitting in the pew. You may not know it, or get a pat on the back for a great homily, but then again, that is not the purpose is it? Someone sitting there needed to hear those words you spoke no matter how staid you think your homily was. It doesn't matter if the homily touches on many of the same things week after week, because we, being human, have a tendency to forget what is important at times and we need reminding often, especially after living in the secular world for a week, and your homilies do exactly that. I promise you. Someone is having an "Ah ha!" moment, and it's usually me. Thank you for that.

Ok, you made a mistake at Mass, so what? I don't care if you forget a prayer or stumble over one, or if you forget some action that you were suppose to do during Mass. We all have our days like that and I know you didn't do it deliberately. That mistake stands as a reminder that you were taken from our midst as an ordinary man, one of us, called to do the extraordinary and that is no small matter. No apology is needed from you,  for again it is a reminder to me that you are human and we all make mistakes. Thank you for your humility. We notice.

Speaking of mistakes, or sins actually, remember how nervous I was when I entered the confessional Saturday? Remember how I told you that I very often feared and loathed coming to confession and having to publicly confess my faults, my shortcomings, my sins to another, a priest, because I found it humiliating and shameful? You told me I shouldn't feel any fear and what mattered is that I came anyway and that I was sorry for what I had done. Then you said the words of absolution. Just like that. No scolding or harsh words came from you, but words of encouragement to try and do better and advice on how to do just that. I know that it was Jesus that forgave me, but it was your face I saw and your voice I heard and it reflected Christ in every way. Through Christ, you healed me. Thank you.

With all the scandals that have happened because of some of your brother priests, I really don't know how you hold it all together, but I'm glad that you do. I know the temptation to remove your collar before going out in public on your days off must be strong, just to avoid those suspicious glances you get from people wondering if you are one of those priests. But with courage you wear it anyway. Let me tell you what it's like to see a priest wearing his collar in some unexpected place where I happen to be.

I was at Walmart one day and getting very annoyed at all the pushing and grabbing that was happening. I was in the middle of a sea of people, and I was quickly becoming anxious and claustrophobic. Then suddenly I thought I saw you walk by but I wasn't sure it was you until I saw your collar. Immediately my mood changed and I relaxed considerably. The sight of your collar had a soothing and healing effect whether you know it or not. It reminds me and others like me that no matter where I am, or what is happening, Christ is there. Thank you for being strong and wearing your collar. It means more than you know.

I once heard an actor portraying a priest in a movie say, "I didn't become a priest to judge you but to heal." I want to assure all of you, that is what you do as ordinary priests and you do it in an extraordinary way. I just wanted to thank you all for that. I truly am grateful to God for all of you.

In Christ,
The Ordinary Catholic

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Feeling of Anticipation and Urgency

There seems to be a sense of anticipation, an urgency that something is going to happen in the world as we know it. Something big. I can't really put my finger on it but its almost as if the world and the Church are being prepared for a showdown both within the Church between dissidents and the faithful, and within societies pitting governments against its citizens and ultimately, between the Church and secularism. Many changes have occurred in a short period of time but it's not necessarily the changes or what I see as preparations that I find disconcerting or even amazing, but the speed at which they are occurring. Changes are coming fast.

If someone had asked me a few short years ago what I would have envisioned the world to be like today in 2011, I would have been dead wrong in my assessment. I never would have imagined Europe on the brink of a spiritual, cultural and economic catastrophe, or the middle east in the center of an Arab uprising with Egypt falling and Libya next in line. I never would have thought of an America that is on the precipice of economic failure, taking the world along with it, while losing its status as the leader of the free world. For sure, I would not have imagined having a president that seems not only intent on bringing this country down to its knees, but quickly and systematically leading it to socialism while decimating or curtailing freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution.

I would have been aghast to find the Catholic Church fighting for its moral life because of an horrific scandal. She is going through one of the most scandalous times in her history with the clerical sexual abuse uncovered only a few years ago and recently again in Ireland and elsewhere. The Church is still reeling from it and probably will for a while. Whatever it is that we now see happening, we must remember that we are engaged in a spiritual war and the world is the battlefield. However, despite all this chaos there is something afoot, especially in the Church.

1. Abortion

More and more people are starting to have a change of heart concerning abortion. Reports have shown that the overall abortion rate has declined and polls are indicating that a larger number of people are opposed to abortion on demand. Pro-life marches have younger participants, younger women with children tagging along. States are using their legislative powers to place more restrictions on abortions or abortion clinics. Though only a few states have begun the process, it is my hope that this trend continues unabated.

Planned Parenthood has been under more attacks than at any other time in recent history and they are being exposed for what they truly are: death mills. Bills are being introduce in legislatures to cut public funding of this monster. This is a good thing. The country, or its citizens at least, are stepping in the right direction, a direction that has been long in coming despite having the most pro abortion president in our history who seems obsessed with death to the unborn.

The pro-abortion movement is beginning to lose ground and influence and they know it. There is panic among the leaders of this billion dollar death industry and that is an other very good thing.

2. The New Mass Translation

I for one am eagerly awaiting this change. It will better follow the Latin texts giving us a deeper meaning and reverence for the Mass and reawaken our faith through the Eucharist. Sure, it will take some getting used to, but so what? I'm an old dog, and if I'm ready to learn a new trick, so can others. The new translation will also allow fewer occasions of abuse in the Liturgical prayers by priests who have a penchant to ad lib.

One of the best ways to know that a change is good is by looking at those that oppose it: The progressive Catholics. They certainly are not known to uphold traditional Catholic Doctrine. They claim that the translations make no sense, the laity will have a hard time understanding the new prayers and responses, it is archaic language, big words are going to be used that people have no clue as to their meaning and that the Church will be turning the Catholic clock back to the Middle Ages. This is all nonsense. The Catholic faithful are not stupid, contrary to the claims above. If we were able to handle the changes after Vatican II, we can handle the new translation.

What progressives are really worried about is losing what ever ground they have may have gained in trying to compromise authentic, Church teaching during the last forty years. They see this translation as the foot in the door for more changes and to a quick demise of their agenda which is creating a modern Catholic Church in their image, not Christ's. This may be one of the last straws for dissidents.

3. The Anglican Ordinate

  We have seen the acceptance of the homosexual agenda within certain Christian faiths. Many protestant faithful and clergy have severed ties with their churches because of liberalism infecting their denominations, and for what they see as the accepting of homosexuality that is contrary to Gospel teachings. This is a major crisis for many of them and their only recourse was to remain or leave without any place to go. Until now.

Last Sunday we heard the parable of the wedding feast held by a king and I immediately had a thought that corresponded to something that is happening today. The invited guests who made excuses of why they couldn't come remind me of those that have left the Church for whatever reason or excuse and are now being replaced by Anglicans, Lutherans and other Christians to whom the Catholic Church has graciously opened her arms. The Catholic Church may have lost some of her faithful but she has gone in the streets and invited others. They accepted the Church's invitation while many others that were originally invited have declined and left. I believe we are seeing this parable come to life. Who would have thought just a few years ago that Protestants would be filling the pews abandoned by Catholics?

4. Vocations

Ireland, a bastion of priestly vocations only a few years ago, is close to being the most anti-catholic nation in Europe. As shocking as this may be for many of us to consider about Ireland, God had other plans. During that same period of time, God saw fit to take Africa in His arms and filled her with faith. Now the continent is becoming a new source for priestly vocations. African seminaries are turning out priests in great numbers and in a few short years we will see many of our parishes being led by these fine young men untarnished by western, liberal ideologies, bringing an undiluted, authentic Catholic faith with them which our country and world sorely needs.

5. Loss of Faith In Europe

Not much can be said of this but that it is a cause of profound sadness. As the Pope has said, Europe needs to be the target of re-evangelization if it is to survive. I have hope

6. Schism

This is the elephant in the room that many are not willing to talk about or even want to notice. Its been said by some that a schism has already occurred in our Church and I would tend to agree, but I think it will finally be made manifest with the creation of a 'new' Catholic Church comprised of dissidents and progressives and unfortunately, many Catholics that don't know any better, who follow their feelings rather than Truth. The signs are all there for this to happen. The groundwork has been done and the foundation laid in the last forty years and I believe they are ready to build.

The new Mass translation may be the catalyst that finally propels the progressives into schism. In any case, they won't take the new translation lying down. Already opposing Church teachings against homosexuality, contraception, abortion and women's ordination, the new translation may be the last straw for them.

There's been talk of a smaller, purer Catholic Church in the future, and again I tend to agree. Is this a good thing? No, it is never a good thing for people to leave the Catholic faith, but with fewer dissident clergy to blur the teachings of the Church and taking up residence in their own church, the lines between the Truth and deception will be further clarified for all to see. Even if the Church is much smaller because of  schism, we have to remember back two thousand years ago. The Church started with only twelve men with Christ as their head. You can't get much smaller than that, yet look at the influence they had with the Holy Spirit guiding them. Keep your eye on Rome, for therein lies the True Church.

7. The Showdown

Bishop Dolan sent a letter to the President telling him that if his administration is intent on disregarding the Church's right to speak the Truth of her faith and to defend marriage as a union of a man and woman, then he will have a major battle on his hands between the State and the Catholic Church. The Bishop would never have written a letter with such a tone unless he saw dire times coming down the pike for all Catholics and Christians in general.

Obama has not hidden what he thinks of the Catholic and Christian faith. He is in an all out war against the Church for she interferes with his agenda and he is using everything at his disposal to hamstring the Church's influence and force her to accept abortion, contraception as well as accepting homosexual marriages. I never would have thought to see this a mere three years ago, where our freedom of religion would be so highly disregarded as to silence the Church. Yet here it is, and I think it will get much worse, especially if he gets re-elected.

Bishop Dolan has drawn his own line in the sand. His writing of this letter to the president tells me that the Bishops are well aware of what the government's intent is when it comes to freedom of religion in order to push their immoral agenda, and I thank God that the bishops are not taking this lightly. Confrontation between the Church and the government came to a head with Obamacare and taxpayer funding of abortion. The bishops stood their ground against this funding and Dolan has just done it again. I am a bit surprised this letter was written in such strong terms, but I am very pleased. I hate to say it, but we've needed more backbone from our Church leaders when dealing with this government.

Is the Catholic Church being set up for prosecution under the law for her faith? I don't know. It would seem to be, seeing how the government is taking an aggressive stance toward her, a stance I never would have believed would happen in this country. But then again, with all the changes going on in the world and in the Church, and at so fast a pace, I'm not even sure I'm living in the same country as I did three years ago. Perhaps I should start asking some of the martyrs that died in the early Church to pray for us for it looks like we may need their prayers sooner than I thought.

All the changes mentioned have occurred rather fast, too fast for it to be coincidental. The chaos in societies and what seems to me the solidifying of our faith in the changes that have come our way, indicates that something is coming that is good, bad and profound depending on where we stand in matters of individual faith. I think the Church is being prepared and strengthened for this. The end of the world? No, that is not what I am thinking at all so I won't even go there. We have more to worry about at the moment.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Delaying the Sacrament of Confirmation: Time For an Overhaul

How many Catholic parents would sit down with their high school children and tell them that now the time has come for them to make a decision on whether to continue going to school or to drop out? How many parents I wonder would give their children at this age the choice of dropping out of high school, try to get a job in the meantime if they can find one, and when they reach adulthood, decide for themselves if they are ready to continue their education? I suspect not many parents would even conceive of letting such a conversation come to be and for good reason.

We as parents know best when it comes to educating them, despite what our children may think of our wisdom. Having lived on our own for several years and being in the job market, we know the challenges of landing a good job and what it takes to earn a decent living in this world. Our experience tells us that the best way for our children to be ready for leaving the nest is in getting the best possible education and giving them the tools necessary to be ready for the challenges they will face once they leave school. No loving parent, Catholic or not, would deliberately send their children out into the world unprepared.

As faithful Catholics we have our children baptized, then later, at the age of reason we begin to prepare them and enroll them in a CCD program that teaches them about the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Reconciliation, readying them for the reception of these sacraments. The sacrament of Confirmation however, is delayed in many parishes until their high school years and the choice is placed squarely on our children's shoulders as to whether or not they want to receive Confirmation if they don't feel ready, allowing them the choice to opt out. This is tantamount to sending our children out into the world unprepared, unarmed and without the tools necessary to face the challenges of  living a Catholic life.

Again, as Catholic parents, we know what we face in the world because of our Faith, and though some our children may have some inkling of the spiritual dangers they themselves may face, reality is, many children do not and are not prepared. We are constantly barraged with reminders by educators that our children today face more dangers than we did when we were their age. Our children, we are told, are fed daily with the "Sex, drugs and rock n' roll" mentality that has held our society in it's grip, along with the the denial of God's existence and all that it encompasses.

How do we expect our children to defend their faith and protect their souls against the godlessness that is waiting for them without giving them the proper tools necessary? Is delaying Confirmation and letting them make the decision of whether to receive it or not, a wise choice by parents and our bishops? If we believe our children are not mature enough to make a choice about continuing their education then why do we think they have the spiritual maturity it takes to make the choice of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation (or not) that provides the good and necessary gifts and graces to help them stand fast in their Faith, especially making this important decision at an age where faith for many of them, is not a very high priority in their lives?

Here are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we receive in Confirmation:
  1. Wisdom - desire for the things of God, and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honor and glory
  2. Understanding - enable us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith
  3. Counsel - warn us of the deceits of the devil, and of the dangers to salvation
  4. Fortitude - strengthen us to do the will of God in all things
  5. Knowledge - enable us to discover the will of God in all things
  6. Piety - love God as a Father, and obey Him because we love Him
  7. Fear of the Lord - have a dread of sin and fear of offending God
These are gifts are freely given by the Spirit, the grace that is needed by our children long before they reach their teens years, yet we delay Confirmation thinking all the while that they can make an informed decision only after being assaulted by the illicit pleasures and dangers of life rather than before facing the evils of this society. This makes no sense at all. Our children are targeted at an early age by pornography, drugs, alcohol, free sex etc, yet we wait instead of allowing them to receive the graces of this sacrament. We wouldn't wait to give our children an academic education or let them decide to quit school until they after getting a job, if they could even get one. Yet this is exactly what we are  doing with their spiritual lives. We are sending them out against a world intent on destroying not only their purity, but also their sense of a God that loves them.

We are taught that the sacraments are gifts freely given by the Holy Spirit, but we make demands on our children when it comes to Confirmation. I know in my parish we tell children they have to attend retreats, work at soup kitchens etc, in order to be confirmed. As soon as we place conditions on a gift, it is no longer a gift. It becomes a matter of merit and Confirmation is the badge received for doing something. We give our children the message that they have to earn grace and that is the farthest thing from the Truth. Grace is not merited. Yes, there are requirements made of parents in order for them to have their children baptized and the baptism is offered through the faith of both the parents and the Church. Confirmation should also be received in this manner.

Having been a CCD teacher for over a decade, I have heard some of the reasons why the children that do choose to receive the sacrament decide to be confirmed. The best reason I heard at the time from a student was that she wanted  to strengthen, defend and increase her faith in God. That was certainly heartening to hear, but at the same time I heard these other reasons: "Grandma wants me to", "my parents really think I should, why? I dunno, but they do", and this one, "Well, the other kids are going to so I might as well be confirmed too..."  Even though it would be great for them to fully embrace their faith of their own free will and be confirmed, that is rarely the case. They just don't  know enough about the importance of this sacrament let alone having to make a decision about it's reception.

I know some argue that faith is personal and it should be their personal choice. Some will also argue that it is better for them to make their own decision to follow their faith when they are good and ready for they will have a better appreciation of their faith and Church. I agree to a certain point, but using the example of academic education earlier, many children do not understand the importance of both education and faith. Both are a low priority in their lives at this age, that is why most of us would not give the choice to our children to opt out of school if they should so choose to; it would be disastrous to do otherwise. And neither should we do the same with the sacrament of Confirmation. Academic education will only be necessary in this short lifespan that we have on earth. The sacrament of Confirmation involves eternity and the salvation of their souls.

Some parishes baptize and confirm children at the same time providing them with the necessary graces for their spiritual life. In the early reception of these sacraments, the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to work within each of their souls in a special way throughout their lives, strengthening them. These children need the sacrament or confirmation long before they enter school and the world, not after.

In case you are wondering, I am a Catholic father of five children, two of which decided against receiving confirmation, and they still have not yet received it. That saddens me a great deal. My responsibility in raising my children in the faith and making sure they receive all the necessary sacraments the Church offers us for our state in life, has been taken from me by not allowing me the choice of having them confirmed. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. I know there are ongoing discussions in some diocese about bringing back the sacrament to an earlier age in a child's life. I think the time for talking is over and actually doing something about it has come. We are doing a great disservice to our children and putting them in grave spiritual danger  by delaying their reception of  this important sacrament.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Little Popes

In 1968, after reviewing the recommendations of a commission convened to study contraception and population,  Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae and all hell broke loose: literally. To the dismay of the commission, the Pope dismissed their conclusions, affirming instead, the Church's long Tradition of rejecting contraception, and in turn, Pope Paul was shocked by the negative reaction that his encyclical received from the world.

The reaction from the laity was even more shocking as many publicly voiced their opposition to the Pope and his encyclical, and for the first time in recent memory, saying they would follow their own conscience on a matter of what they considered a personal and private issue as well as other teachings of the Church. As far as they laity was concerned,  a pope had no business telling them what to do especially in regard to the bedroom. Like Luther and the protestants of 500 years ago, many of the Catholic laity now decided to become their own little popes in matters of their faith. What ensued from this dissension  has been forty years of chaos and confusion in the Church, and a falling away of the faith.

Right after Vatican II ended, progressive priests and bishops began to implement changes in the Church, as I wrote here,  under the guise of their own false interpretations of the "Spirit of Vatican II", greasing the wheels of discontent among the faithful. Tabernacles were being were removed from front and center of the sanctuary, and put instead to a lesser place of prominence and alter rails were dismantled, blurring the roles the priests and laity played in the Mass. Many churches also removed their statues and icons depicting saints and heavenly scenes and replaced them with felt banners instead. Though the Council never banned any of these things, the progressives thought it was time to displace 'tradition' and create a mirror image of the anti-establishment mentality that pervaded society  in the sixties. While observing these changes in age old traditions that the progressives were making, Catholics began to believe the Church as less stable, less important in their lives than before the Council.

Devotions such as First Fridays, First Saturdays, and praying the rosary were no longer widely promoted from the pulpit but instead seen as cute little traditions that really had no meaning in today's world. Even the "Family that prays together stays together" theme was now just a quaint little saying that just wasn't a reality in today's busy world. Though none of those devotions were obligatory for the Catholic, they were and are still  important aids in our spirituality though practiced by only a few.

The sense of the severity of sin was greatly reduced as more homilies about sin faded away. The new "gentler and kinder" Jesus that did not judge was preached instead, while what St. Paul said, "We preach Christ crucified" took a back seat or was watered down as to why he WAS crucified. It's no wonder the practice of receiving the Sacrament of Confession fell off sharply. Sin was not important anymore.

All these things and more contributed to the mass confusion and chaos in our Church of the last forty years. Now that we have become our own "little popes", missing Mass on Sundays, receiving the sacraments while in a state of  mortal sin through divorce, practicing contraception or even having had an abortion is no longer considered a sin for us, because as popes, we say so. Some Bishops and priests continue to openly defy the Pope and the Church for they are also their own little popes, just like we are. Liturgical abuses by some priests continue in many parishes as their bishops seem to nod in approval or are silent out of fear of being seen as insensitive or being perceived as a stick in the mud.

We've wandered for forty years in a spiritual wasteland.We've allowed progressive clergy and laity alike to experiment on us as spiritual guinea pigs for all these years and it is now time for this to stop. I'm tired of it. Many of us are tired of it. The Church leaders need to get back to what they were commissioned to do; Teach the true Catholic faith and defend it. The Church is also to be the light of the WHOLE world and that includes non-Catholics, but what has happened in the last forty years has not only confused Catholics but others as well as seen here from an article by a protestant friend of mine. Truly...I can feel her pain.

If I had the audacity and arrogance to make myself a little pope I would write a letter to some of my Catholic brothers and sisters, along with some of the bishops and priests of the world and in that letter I would say a few things to them such as;

If you consider yourself a Catholic then get on the same page as the rest of the Church. If Paul needed to visit Peter to make sure he taught the same thing as Peter and the Church in Jerusalem, then you can take a trip to Rome and visit with the Pope and get your stories straight. No more ambiguity. No more confusion.

If you feel you know more than the Pope or the Magisterium, then start your own Church instead of changing the one that was founded by my Lord. It's His Church and it was given to us in a pure, unadulterated form.

If you no longer believe in the Real Presence, then please, do us all a favor and refrain from receiving communion. It only makes you a hypocrite and it offends those of us that DO believe in the Real presence for to us, receiving communion without this belief is a sacrilege of the highest degree.

If you don't believe in some of the Church doctrines and traditions then that's fine. It's your choice. Just don't try to change what the Church believes and teaches to suit your needs because many of us don't have a problem with what she teaches. It's your problem not ours.

But since I am not my own little pope I cannot send this letter. I can only pray for the Church and all within her. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of the parched desert we have been made to travel since the '60s. I want to be fed the good, red meat of True Catholic Faith and not the daily dose of granola bars and yogurt of "feel good" theology. My spirit is thin enough.