Cleansing Fire

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Service of Penitance

February 11th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The following is taken from the website of St. Thomas. No, not our St. Thomas – their St. Thomas. As in, the Episcopalians.

Service of Penitance w/Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
When: Wed, February 17, 7:30pm ? 8:30pm
Where: St. Thomas’ Church (map)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think we should all strive for Christian unity. However, people must realize that Catholics have already gotten to the finish line – it’s called “the Throne of St. Peter.” We are the Church – they are the scattered flock. To borrow a line from the good sister, “it is what it is.”

Having this ecumenical service raises a few questions in my mind:

  1. What penitential actions will take place? If there’s confession, would the Protestants go? (They’re not really supposed to, if they’re not Catholic.) If there’s no confession, isn’t it just some kind of “Jesus loves us just the way we are” kind of hug-fest?
  2. Why is this at night? The idea of Ash Wednesday/receiving ashes/being penitent, is to be outward signs of faith. How exactly can we do that if we’re having our service after dark? Not too much of an outward sign there.
  3. Why would a Catholic, in good standing with the Church, go into a Protestant church building for a service that accomplishes next to nothing, if not truly nothing? I’d much rather go to Mass at a Church not in open rebellion, get ashes, and wear them with pride all day long. Something tells me some of the folks from St. Mary’s and Spiritus Christi have a bit more pride, but I won’t go there.

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11 Responses to “Service of Penitance”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    You think you've got it bad in Rochester, at least the EPISCOPAL BISHOP wasn't the guest homilist
    http://www.rcda.org/churches/StVincentdePaul/Bulletins/2010/January_17.pdf

    and to add insult to injury, Fr. Richard Vosko will be giving a series of lectures on Vatican II titled "Between no more and not yet"

    http://www.rcda.org/churches/StVincentdePaul/Bulletins/2010/Feb_o7.pdf

    Help us Rome!

  2. avatar Christopher says:

    Question to ponder about your take on "there's never a good reason to goto a protestant service"….Let me give you this situation. Let's say I have a protestant friend who is curious about the catholic church and the only way they'll come to mass with me is if I goto their protestant service. We would goto two services in a single weekend. Is it worth it?

  3. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I agree w/ Christopher. There's lots of reasons to go to a protestant service.

    "a service that accomplishes next to nothing"
    Well, that's totally false. Evangelical services can bring people closer to God and into a relationship with Jesus. That's surely not nothing. Sure it's not the fullness of Truth, but it still is of great benefit. But hey, that's not my understanding – that's the Church's.

    "church in open rebellion?"
    Modern Evangelicals weren't around at the time of the reformation. They aren't rebels. They are following the faith that was passed onto them. Or in the case of fallen away Catholics they are partaking in a shadow of the faith that wasn't fully passed down to them.

  4. avatar St. Augustine says:

    Extra ecclesiam (ecclesiasm catholicam, apostolicam) nulla salus.

    Good may come from a Protestant service, but at what cost? The "what if" Christopher posed is not really pertinent to what's going on here. Catholics are going to a Protestant for "penance." Major problem.

  5. avatar Gen says:

    Ben, perhaps I should clarify.

    Re "that's totally false," I should point out that it's actually totally true. Sure, an Evangelical service may bring people to an understanding and love of Our Lord. However, not one Protestant sect professes a belief and/or actually has the Blessed Sacrament, God truly with us. How can you be a lover of God, but reject the most perfect gift He has ever given humanity? You may love Jesus – good. But if you willingly deny His True Presence, and spread this belief with zeal and intensity, I would not want to stand next to you on judgment day.

    I know Modern Evangelicals weren't around during the days of the Reformation. However, nothing has changed from those days. There is Church, there is "not-Church." You are either in the barque of Peter, or you're not. It doesn't matter how, why, when, or with whom – if you aren't in the Catholic Church, you are denying her, either actively or passively. When the Southern States broke away from the United States in 1860-1861, not everyone in those states was a Lee, a Jackson, a David, or a Beauregard. However, they were all at least silently complicit with what was occurring. Many fled north, many went to Europe before the blockade, and many went further south, into Mexico and the Caribbean. Those who stayed rebelled, albeit tacitly. It is rebellion, but of a spiritual, non-war-like kind, with our Protestant brethren. They are Christians, that's important, but they are not partaking of the True Body of Our Lord. They willingly and persistently cut themselves off from it.

  6. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    gen,
    I understand what you mean about the blessed sacrament and obviously it's a tragedy that there are Christians who deny it. But nonetheless to say that nothing happens when Christians commune just isn't true and it's not ecumenical whatsover. Obviously I agree with the main premise of your post. But I'd suggest you use different language. Evangelicals aren't going to come into the church by being criticized. And if we care about souls, we should want them to come into the Church. Most Evangelicals no very little about Catholicism and very little about church history. Lovingly enlightening them can go a long ways.

  7. avatar Gen says:

    Many evangelicals have come into the Church because they were criticized. To show the error of someone's ways, with charity (and motivated, might I add, by love) is to be as a "tough-love" kind of parent. The greatest criticism, of the kind you mention (i.e. negative criticism) would be just to leave them alone. Our criticism (and the criticism of Catholic authors like Karl Keating) shows deep concern, motivated by an equally deep love for Christians worldwide.

  8. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    gen,
    certainly we agree in principle – it's just a matter of semantics that is a grey area. Keating's book is what really got me moving towards the Church. But I think language is extremely important and we must always remember rule #1 and that is to celebrate what we share. IMHO, calling Evangelicals to be in open rebellion and that next to nothing happens when they worship God is not language that's going to move them towards wanting to learn more – but that's just me.

  9. avatar Gen says:

    Thank God Evangelicals aren't in our demographic. 😉

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    I know many Evangelicals who used negative language against Roman Catholics, yet they seem to have no trouble bringing Catholics into their churches.

    We need to be forceful if we're going to win souls for Christ. People aren't going to come running when we're being blown out of the water by hard-hitting Evangelical preachers. We need to fight fire with fire.

  11. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    gen,
    you're right – I'm probably making a bigger deal out of it than it is since they probably aren't reading this anyways. But who knows – you keep the momentum of this site going, maybe you'll get some in the future. God can do incredible things.


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