Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Brighten Up Your Day…

June 4th, 2015, Promulgated by b a

by having a look at the 2 men in capes here.



14 Responses to “Brighten Up Your Day…”

  1. Hopefull says:

    Out of curiosity, what are all those women in the picture expecting to do with their degrees?

  2. annonymouse says:

    Hopefull – there are all kinds of things the women can do with their degrees – pastoral associates, youth ministry, hospice or jail ministry, and more. You don’t need to be a cleric to serve the Lord, but you do need an advanced degree for many parochial positions these days.

    If you experience a death in the family, it may well be a female pastoral associate who helps you plan the funeral liturgy, pick readings, music, comfort you. If you’re expecting a baby, it may well be a female who meets with you to prepare you for the child’s baptism.

    We don’t have many priests, they’re quite over-burdened as it is, so it seems to me that we should celebrate men and women called to serve the Lord and his people in all kinds of ways.

  3. Hopefull says:

    Thanks Annonymouse. I appreciate your clarification. My concern was that St. B is still taking money from women who are expecting to be pastoral administrators or in line for the hope of ordination. What you are saying makes sense. Thanks.

  4. Ben Anderson says:

    This comment doesn’t directly pertain to women (and lay people in general getting degrees).. but I do want to comment on annonymouse’s comment that:

    We don’t have many priests, they’re quite over-burdened as it is, so it seems to me that we should celebrate men and women called to serve the Lord and his people in all kinds of ways.

    IMO, this work should be done by volunteers – not paid staff. I don’t think it should be celebrated that we now have a ton of lay people on our parish staffs. Especially when we, as a Church, are broke. If the laity were motivated by the clergy (and not pandered to), then I think they could cover their priests and do a whole lot more w/out tipping over the budgets.

  5. annonymouse says:

    I would assert that we, as a Church (and many parishes) are “broke” because we, as Catholics, are among the least generous givers to our Church/parishes. The next time the word “tithe” is mentioned in Catholic circles or from the pulpit will be the first.

    As to “volunteers” – I can’t think of a parish that doesn’t rely heavily on volunteers for every aspect of keeping the parish running. But things like baptismal preparation, wedding preparation and funeral planning both require both considerable time (I’ll bet a funeral requires 4-6 hours of staff preparation time when totaled up) and knowledge (hence the requirement for the degree). These are things that priests used to do, back when there were 3-4 of them at every parish. I don’t think volunteers generally and consistently possess the knowledge or have the time to reliably and effectively do some of these vital, day-to-day parish tasks.

  6. Ben Anderson says:

    I don’t think volunteers generally and consistently possess the knowledge or have the time to reliably and effectively do some of these vital, day-to-day parish tasks.

    Having gone through marriage prep, RCIA, and baptism prep here in the DOR, I feel pretty comfortable saying that in general the paid staff is rather ignorant (or worse disobedient) of Catholic teaching… and thus the degree actually works in reverse and becomes harmful as it makes them think they know more than they do (and the folks who espouse authentic Catholic teaching who challenge them). In my experience, I honestly would have been better off with some short reading material than with extensive in person activities.

  7. Hopefull says:

    Here are some of the reasons that I won’t be giving at the parish level, or at the diocesan level. But that doesn’t mean I am not giving:
    1. Where is the accounting for the finances of all the churches and schools that have been closed? They had assets and savings. Where did the money go?
    2. Poor stewardship (apparently) led to underfunded pensions — how did that happen?
    3. Why are DoR and most parishes still giving to the disreputable CCHD and CRS?
    4. Why should I give to DoR or my parish to redistribute the money for me to other charities? I can decide for myself which ones I want to support.
    5. IMO refusing to use volunteers for such things as building maintenance, copying/stuffing envelopes e.g. costs money and discourages parishioner involvement.
    6. The percentage of donations which go to fulfill the mission of the Church (the Great Commission) is miniscule.
    7. Decision making on many parish finances is not transparent.

    I could go on, but will leave it at my top 7.

  8. christian says:

    I would have to agree with annonymouse, but to some degree Ben also.

    A paid staff person with the appropriate background/preparation/degree has to be responsible for any volunteers that help with various ministries involved with preparation as well as the ministries and preparation themselves.

    A Pastoral Associate/Pastoral Assistant is also overburdened in most parishes and relies on volunteers to help him or her out. There is a lot of the behind scenes done by volunteers to assist the Pastoral Associate/Pastoral Assistant in many if not most cases, that the normal parishioner is not aware of.

    Many years ago, a Pastoral Associate who had many job duties at the church I was attending at the time, needed parishioners with appropriate background and knowledge to assist with baptismal preparation of parents -on a volunteer basis. I was the only one who volunteered and was accepted. I had to meet with the Pastoral Associate ahead of time to learn the format and goals for home visitation and preparation for parents. I then accompanied the Pastoral Associate to a few of these home visits for baptismal preparation of parents before being assigned to go to home visits by myself. Meanwhile, I studied up further on church history regarding baptism going back to the early church, to the present day theology and expectation of parents.

    The first book I was given to hand out to parents, contained some errors in theology mingled with the priest author’s personal views. (I read through the material before I would hand it out). I brought this to the attention of the Pastoral Associate and to the Pastor. I stated that I couldn’t hand that out to the parents or parent I was visiting. Not only was the theology off, but his personal views were very offending. -Apparently, the book had been ordered and purchased, but had not been read and examined by staff, particularly the pastor. The pastor agreed with me and had new texts were ordered, although they cost quite a bit more. They were a concise, thin, three book series which were excellent. (After reading through them, I wholeheartedly was behind that material and was eager to hand it out to the parents or parent I was visiting).

    I was a volunteer that could be counted on. Any volunteer capacity whether it has been connected to a church or an organization, I have taken seriously and have executed with the same concern, responsibility, accountability, and professionalism as I do with a paid position.

    If you talk to staff persons from various churches, hospitals, and organizations, they will tell you many volunteers are not like that. They will tell you nowadays, that many volunteers do not feel that they have to be committed to showing up for duty if they aren’t being paid. And when many volunteers are present, they feel they don’t have to be particularly productive or carry out all the duties assigned or asked of them, because they aren’t being paid.

    That is probably why volunteer ambulance corps give their personnel a stipend.

    Any volunteer position in a church in the DoR has to be led by a paid staff person. The volunteers have to pass a background check and go through CASE, and continue to have that process updated. Volunteers also have to attend meetings regarding their ministry.

    The bottom line is that you can’t have positions other than the priest, done solely by volunteers.

  9. Ben Anderson says:

    You’re probably right. Thanks for sharing. I’m probably more allergic to St. Bernard’s grads than paid lay staff in general.

  10. christian says:

    I agree with Hopeful that volunteers should/could be used for building maintenance, copying/stuffing envelopes, etc. In many churches, people stop by to volunteer to stuff envelopes and put inserts in bulletins. I think church cleaning could be a volunteer job also, although most churches have someone hired to come in and do basic cleaning on the weekday, after the weekend.

    I also think building maintenance could be done by knowledgeable, and skilled volunteers who were devoted and committed to the structural integrity and smooth running of the church building and properties. This has been done at some non-Catholic churches and has saved those churches a lot of money. I know this has been done in the past at Catholic churches. Other than the occasional volunteer painting event, I am not sure if building maintenance is able to be done on a volunteer basis in the DoR due to the increasing legalistic practices coupled with insurance concerns.

    I know of one volunteer who normally descended and ascended church stairs to the basement in her church for many years (without problem), as part of her duties to ready the altar and decorate the sanctuary. But then she was told that she could no longer use the church stairs to the basemen per the new DoR guidelines due to insurance policy regulations. She was told that only paid employees were allowed to take the church stairs to the basement.

    Regarding insurance: it used to be that years ago, a Catholic organization or charity, or another non-profit Christian-oriented group, could use church property for their meetings or events when mass or a parish group was not in session, without a problem. Nowadays, the Catholic organization or charity, or non-profit Christian-oriented group has to purchase insurance to cover all members or volunteers, and whoever happens to show to their meeting or function in order to have use of the church property.

  11. christian says:

    Ben – I have to agree with you after encountering some of the St. Bernard graduates.

    In regard to Marriage Preparation: I am sure that a lot of people would agree that some reading material would have been preferable in lieu of what they went through in regard to the mandatory session at a church location with a Marriage Preparation Team comprised of volunteer married couples. After hearing of the experiences from some couples, it is evident that:
    1. There was no proper oversight at some church locations.
    2. That there were married couples volunteering for this team who had no concept of a what a Christian marriage is.

    Two vivid examples:

    My sister had a female co-worker who attended Marriage Preparation at a designated Catholic church with her fiance as part of the mandatory Pre-Cana in the early 80’s before her marriage. She reported back to my sister what she and her fiance had to go through. The Marriage Preparation Team showed a film of different heterosexual couples having sexual intercourse in the mission style so all the engaged couples would know how to copulate after they were married. This co-worker and her fiance were absolutely shocked that a film of that nature was shown in a Catholic church, and they also deemed it was unnecessary to show couples how to have sexual intercourse.

    A couple that we know attended a session for Marriage Preparation at another church location over a decade later. They relayed how members of the Marriage Preparation Team shared details of their sex life. The recipe given for a good marriage was a great sex life. The woman of the couple that we know, said she would never forget what the husband of the married couple on The Marriage Preparation Team said, “I know I’ve been a good husband when my wife greets me at the door after a hard day at work, wearing nothing but saran wrap with a martini in her hand.”

    We wondered if his wife, dressed like that, ever opened the door to someone else on mistake.
    -No talk of children being around was mentioned. His wife appeared to be subjugated to a sex object.

    It is obvious that a certain percentage of these couples involved in the Marriage Preparation Team for their church deem marriage is just a license and legal avenue to have X-rated sex.
    I’m sure the thought from priests was that it would be more appropriate to have married couples involved in Marriage Preparation sessions, but it seems obvious that there wasn’t the proper oversight at a number of these church locations.

    A pornographic film intended to be a guide for sexual intercourse, and married couples relaying intimate and graphic details of their sex life, is not only inappropriate, but also a temptation factor for engaged couples who are called to be celibate before they are married.

    Shouldn’t the married couples on a Marriage Preparation Team be talking about:
    learning to compromise, being considerate and respectful of each others’ background, wishes, and feelings, arriving at decisions together, etc. -relationship type things. Shouldn’t they be talking about the possibility of hardship that can happen in marriage and what it means to live out your wedding vows. Shouldn’t there be something along the lines of Love is…

    (After hearing previously about the pornographic film shown as a guide to sexual intercourse at a Marriage Preparation session)- When I was in Pre-Cana and about to attend a Marriage Preparation session, I told my pastor that if a film of that nature was shown during the session I was to attend at another church location, I’d walk out. He agreed with me and further stated that a film of that nature was totally inappropriate to be shown at a Marriage Preparation Session.

    -Fortunately, we did not have a pornographic film shown as a sex guide and we did not have married couples go in explicit and graphic details about their sexual adventures.

    The married couples on the Marriage Preparation Team at the church location we attended were more seasoned. The married couple that stood out as a lasting memory was the one who experienced hardship in their marriage yet endured. There had been various hardships, but the worst hardship was when the husband had accidentally killed someone while driving. He had extreme guilt and grief and difficulty coping. He shut out his wife for a year; he wouldn’t talk to her, much less show her any affection. He eventually underwent counseling and it was a long journey before the couple could mend their relationship. Their message was marriage was about being committed, patient, and loving through the hard times as well as the good times. There message was appropriate for engaged couples.

    We were fortunate, but I’m sure there are a lot of couples who were married in the Catholic church within the last 3-4 decades who would have opted for printed material rather the Marriage Preparation session they attended.

  12. christian says:

    militia: That is an interesting view into liturgical tension. The timing of John Romeri’s resignation is also of great interest as he is, or was, vice chair of two committees that were responsible for organizing music and liturgy for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia.

    I have witnessed liturgical tensions concerning music and liturgy for mass at some churches, some situations more tense and heated than others, but the situation you posted is certainly on a higher scale.

    (The worst liturgical debates I have ever encountered, involved a pastoral associate from St. Bernard’s, with a degree from St. Bernard’s, who was trying to push a very liberal and feminist style and mannerism, going so far as trying to change rubrics involving the mass as well as words to traditionally hymns and carols).

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