UPDATE: If you are on the parish staff, please feel free to read the rest of the blog, particularly this.
This is the email I sent today to our rector concerning our deacon's homely homily:
Hi, Fr. zzzzzzz
I hope you are enjoying your time away. We miss you here, of course, and I have a number of things on my mind that I would like to discuss with you on your return. Unfortunately, one of them isn't a very pleasant subject, and I suspect that you're already getting an earful from other conservative parishioners.
On Sunday, Deacon yyyyyy gave a homily that I can only describe as shocking, if not flagrantly disobedient. He had some good comments early on concerning how our actions should be performed in light of their long-term effects. Where things went awry was when he began to expound upon his disagreement with the Holy See concerning the decision not to continue the 2002 indult allowing extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist to purify the vessels following communion. He described the decision as a "slap in the face" and opined that other changes could follow (no more altar girls, or communion in the hand or in both species). He essentially encouraged us to challenge the authority who makes such decisions. He ended by what was probably the most shocking action: he genuflected to the congregation—to the people specifically.
Oddly, in the same message, he informed us that we should be seeking information about our faith directly, that we should read the documents of Vatican II, and that we should be informed of our faith. I wouldn't disagree with any of those statements in the least, but I have to wonder if he fully understands the documents of Vatican II himself, specifically, the GIRM, Sacrosanctum Concillium, and Lumen Gentium (to which he referred specifically).
Specifically, my problems with his commentary are
- that he openly encouraged a spirit of dissent
- that he took on himself the role of adjudicating the proper discipline of the liturgy (a role specifically entrusted to the Holy See and to those with Apostolic authority)
- that he performed an act of reverence to people in a liturgy that is intended to give reverence to God
- that he conflated a three-year-old indult (allowance of purification of the vessels by extraordinary ministers) with reforms from Vatican II and tossed in several nonnormative practices as if they were the same as the perpetual practices of our faith
- that he, by his actions, implied that the Church should be a democracy and responsive to the whims of the individual faithful
I, and many other parisioners, saw Deacon yyyyyyy's actions as an abuse of his office. He mentioned several times in his homily that actions speak louder than words. He was quite correct. His actions spoke quite clearly of dissent from the Holy See. That, to me, is not acceptable.
I don't want you to think I wish Deacon yyyyyyy to be treated harshly. I'm praying for him, and I hope that God will grant him wisdom to understand just what he's done. However, I do believe that he needs to retract his suggestion that we dissent from the authority of the Church, and I think he needs to apologize for his genuflection to the congregation, an act some people account as objectively blasphemous.
Our Church is on the rebound, but there needs to be clear direction from our leaders. We need to understand the import of our action and our inaction. Most of all, we need to remember to whom our Savior entrusted the guidance of His flock. We owe our obedience to the Holy Father, even if we don't understand his intentions.
Your child in Christ,
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