Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Support your local parish?

I admit to being a church shopper. We don't necessarily go to the closest church in our neighborhood because our liturgy preferences are better met 1/2 hour away. We made the decision to go to a different church after much thought. It wasn't just a matter of us being liturgical snobs. Among some of the reasons we travel a bit is because it is a matter of our children's spiritual formation being better met in a parish that is alive with families and sound homilies and yes, aesthetical achievements that assist in directing our minds to the Beatific Vision. However, this was a personal choice laced with several elements we considered in depth for OUR family. I know many people who do assist at the local parish and are wonderful, upstanding, orthodox Catholics; they have found their position in the Church family there.

This also doesn't mean we can be completely disassociated with our local parish. And it certainly doesn't do much good to sit around complaining about every liturgical abuse we see; we should gently and charitably ask our priests on anything questionable we see. We also have a duty to be interested in the going-ons of our Church at even the local level. Should Catholics attend their parishes in spite of defective practice and doctrine? Father McNamara from Regina Apostolorum university has this to say:

Certainly, one can do little to remedy possible limitations by remaining outside and complaining. Many times these errors continue more out of force of habit than out of bad faith, and change might be brought about by gentle persuasion. Once more, canon law declares that the faithful have the right, and often the duty, to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on what pertains to the good of the Church (cf. Canon 212.3).

If nothing changes in spite of charitable efforts, then the following of this advice to remain would depend above all on the objective gravity of these defects. If the objective defects constitute a danger to the Christian's faith, or to that of his or her children, or cause serious spiritual turbulence, then the person would be more than justified in worshipping somewhere else.

Subjective elements such as personal taste and religious sensibility are less weighty and might sometimes need to be sacrificed for the good of the community. However, some people might need a different religious atmosphere from that found in their parish in order to be able to worship.

If, however, they decide to attend Mass elsewhere for good practical or spiritual reasons, then they should still attempt to participate in the life of the parish as much as possible by sharing in other activities organized by the community.

To read the full article, click here.



one of us :: 6:52 AM :: 0 Comments