Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What is the Proper Response to This?

Sick and Tired of 16th Century Controversies...

I saw this over at Vox Nova a few days ago, where they'd apparently picked it up from Mark Shea - "Where Are the Men?" priests ask.

Interesting reaction from the assembled community. They all just seemed to ignore him, and continued celebrating the Mass. Was that the right thing to do? Probably so, but I'm not sure it's what I would have done.

A couple of weeks ago, Steve Bogner put up a post referencing an article on whether anti-Catholicism was still alive in America or not. Right on cue, some guy starts chiming in from one of those "Witnessing to Roman Catholics" kind of websites. What is with these people? Thanks for the advice... As for politics, you can keep your Republican Party.

In a more light-hearted vein, here, George Bush's friend and ex-advisor Ted Haggard gives some of the good-natured business to a Jesus Camp camerawoman, shortly before his implosion.


Liam said...

I think it would have been appropriate to ask the guy to leave or to call 911, and if he got violent, to intervene physically. I can certainly understand ignoring him and going on with the Mass, because I wouldn't want to ruin my Mass by getting myself worked up with anger.

I found the comments referred to in Vox Nova disturbing. It sounded like the priests wanted people to kick the guy's butt IN CHURCH DURING MASS and if they didn't, they were "emasculuated boys"! These are the guys who are supposed to teach us about Christ's love?

Jeff said...


Yes, In think the commentators at VN were disturbed by the same sentiments that had been posted up at Mark Shea's as you were.

I heard the priest calmly asking someone to take his license plate number. I think he handled it pretty well.

I'm not sure what I would have done under the circumstances, truly. I imagine I would have approached him as quietly as I could (there's no lack of danger here, an usher was killed in St. Pat's in NYC a few years back). I liked the comment I saw posted on VN in reference to one of the ushers - "I adjure you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to keep silent."

Liam said...

Yeah -- I also thought that the proper response might be an exorcism.

What exactly happened at St. Pat's?

Garpu said...

I think if people are in physical danger, it's appropriate to use force. But in this context? It sickens me. Then again I'm one of those women the Shea crowd considers to be playing at being a man. (He goes to my parish, btw.) When I saw that post at VN, it made me seriously wonder about the Church in the US.

Brother Charles said...

It's a difficult thing; I've never had to deal with this sort of thing at Mass--thank God--but I have in other contexts like the subway and the airport.

I try to remember to breathe and to notice that this person truly believes they are doing what revelation asks of them.

As far as the disruption of Mass goes though, I hope that I would do something to put the assembly at ease at least, and to make sure everyone was safe. I might do what I do when baptism services crest to a deafening din of baby howls: start chanting the whole ritual, and loud. Amazingly, the babies quiet down. They know they have been beaten at their own game. ;)

crystal said...

This reminds me of that thing about the church that banned the autistic boy who was making a fuss. I saw a post somewhere about that.

I like Br. Charles' idea of chanting. Reminds me of that priest in Poltergeist the Legacy. It was said he came to fights armed with a dead language :)

Jeff said...


Here's a New York Times story about the incident at St. Pat's. It was longer ago than I thought. 1988. Wow, does time fly.


I thought the guys at VN handled it well, asking where mercy was to be found in all of this. What didn't you like about it? The Shea connection?

So, you and Mark Shea are in the same parish? No kidding. What a small world, eh?

Brother Charles,

I hope and pray you never run into something like that.

I love what you wrote about chant and the effect on babies. Years ago I used to listen to chant on my headphones (before chant became cool again). My friends thought I was kind of crazy, but I found it very soothing.

Regarding those who feel driven by private revelation... I appreciate what you say, but on the other hand, I don't think zeal gives people the right to do whatever they want (as I'm sure you'd agree). I'm not one who automatically admires fanatics based strictly upon the fact that they are not lukewarm, as some people are wont to do.

As I've said elsewhere, if we get to the point here where people start feeling comfortable invading each other's sacred spaces, we'll have the Thirty Years War redux.

Back in the 50s, Cardinal Ottaviani famously reminded John Courtney Murray SJ that error has no rights. Murray countered that the First Amendment provisions in the US Constitution weren't articles of truth but articles of peace.

Plus, I draw a distinction between evangelization and sheep-stealing.

I had a Pentecostal friend at work who told me that what was happening in Latin America today (all the conversions to Protestantism) was the work of the Holy Spirit.

I was tempted to reply: I find it interesting that the Holy spirit would start with such low-hanging fruit - a continent where practically everyone already believes in Jesus Christ. If conversion to Protestantism is the work of the Holy spirit, why wouldn't the Spirit start with the more daunting task in historically Protestant countries like the ones in Scandinavia, where hardly anyone believes in God anymore at all.

I was tempted to say it, but I didn't. :)


Yeah, all those years singing lullabies to the kids... I should have been chanting!

Jen actually did a pretty extensive series of posts on the autism story.

Garpu said...

I was talking about the comments over on Shea's blog, not VN, although some of the same types can be found there.