The NY Times recently ran another breathless article which pits the big, bad Catholic Church (a.k.a. The Evil Galactic Empire) against a group of plucky men and women (a.k.a. a small band of rebel freedom fighters) who just want to sit around and sing kumbaya in peace. I have to wonder: has the Times ever written an article about the Catholic Church that didn’t sound like the plot for Star Wars?
Here it is, with my comments in red:
Catholics in Belgium Start Parishes of Their Own
BUIZINGEN, Belgium — Willy Delsaert is a retired railroad employee with dyslexia who practiced intensively before facing the suburban Don Bosco Catholic parish to perform the Sunday Mass rituals he grew up with.
“Who takes this bread and eats,” he murmured, cracking a communion wafer with his wife at his side, “declares a desire for a new world.” [Well, so much for performing "the Sunday Mass ritual he grew up with" - this sounds like something you'd hear at a Unitarian service.]
With those words, Mr. Delsaert, 60, and his fellow parishioners are discreetly pioneering a grass-roots movement that defies centuries of Roman Catholic Church doctrine by worshiping and sharing communion without a priest. [I don't know how you can call them "pioneers" since Protestants have been doing this for centuries. Sounds more like they are late to the game to me.]
Don Bosco is one of about a dozen alternative Catholic churches [=non-Catholic churches] that have sprouted and grown in the last two years in Dutch-speaking regions of Belgium and the Netherlands. They are an uneasy reaction to a combination of forces: a shortage of priests, the closing of churches, dissatisfaction with Vatican appointments of conservative bishops and, most recently, dismay over cover-ups of sexual abuse by priests.
The churches are called ecclesias, the word derived from the Greek verb for “calling together.” [Rule #1 for dissenting Catholics: use NT Greek words to sound authentic.] Five were started last year in the Netherlands by Catholics who broke away from their existing parishes, and more are being planned, said Franck Ploum, who helped start an ecclesia in January in Breda, the Netherlands, and is organizing a network conference for the groups in the two countries.
At this sturdy brick church southwest of Brussels, men and women are trained as “conductors.” [At least they don't try to convince everyone that they are "priests".] They preside over Masses and the landmarks of life: weddings and baptisms, funerals and last rites. Church members took charge more than a year ago when their pastor retired without a successor. In Belgium, about two-thirds of clergymen are over 55, and one-third older then 65.
“We are resisting a little bit like Gandhi,” [a very little bit, I'd say] said Johan Veys, a married former priest who performs baptisms and recruits newcomers for other tasks at Don Bosco. “Our intention is not to criticize, but to live correctly. We press onward quietly without a lot of noise. [Considering the rapidly declining circulation of the NY Times, that might be true.] It’s important to have a community where people feel at home and can find peace and inspiration.”
Yet they appear to be on a collision course with the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Belgium. [Yes, I'm sure the big, bad Vatican will issue a fatwa and make sure these people are killed for their blasphemy...O wait a minute, Catholics don't do that...] The Belgian church has been staggering from a sexual abuse scandal with 475 victims, and the resignation of the bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, who last April admitted to years of molesting a boy who turned out to be his nephew.
In the view of Rome [and Jesus and the apostles and the saints and the Fathers and 2,000 years of Catholic teaching], only ordained priests can celebrate Mass or preside over most sacraments like baptisms and marriage. “If there are persons or groups that do not observe these norms, the competent bishops — who know what really happens — have to see how to intervene and explain what is in order and out of order if someone belongs to the Catholic Church,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said. [with some measure of exasperation, I'm sure]
[Oh, I give up - this is like shooting fish in a barrel. If you want to read more of this inanity, click here - but don't say I didn't warn you.]