I do not know Monsignor Charles Pope who serves as Pastor of Holy Comforter St Cyprian Parish at Archdiocese Of Washington, D.C., but I have read with interest the words he posted on his blog that have since been removed. His purpose was to challenge the thinking among his catholic brethren on some issues of cultural and Scriptural relevance. Although he and I won’t agree on every theological issue or church practice, his blunt words directed at the higher-ups in the Catholic Church show a great deal of passion and discernment. Here is his statement:
The time for happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement of our culture may be nearing an end. Sometimes it takes a while to understand that what used to work no longer works. Let me get more specific.
Decades ago the “Al Smith Dinner” was a time for Republicans and Democrats to bury the hatchet (even if only temporarily) and come together to raise money for the poor and to emphasize what unites us rather than what divides us. But in the old days the death of 50 million infants was not what divided us. We were divided about lesser things such as how much of the budget should go to defense and how much to social spending. Reasonable men might differ over that.
But now we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love and that LGBTQIA… (I=intersexual, A= Asexual) is actually a form of sanity to which we should tip our hat, and with those who stand four-square against us over religious liberty.
Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.
In New York City in particular, the “parade” is devolving into a farcical and hateful ridicule of the faith that St. Patrick preached.
It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.
But don’t go to the parade; stay away from the Al Smith Dinner and all that “old school” stuff that hangs on in a darkened world. And as for St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to stop wearin’ the green and instead take up the purple of Lent and mean it. Enough of the celebration of stupidity, frivolity, and drunkenness that St Paddy’s day has become. We need penance now, not foolishness. We don’t need parades and dinner with people who scoff at our teachings, insist we compromise, use us for publicity, and make money off of us. We’re being played for (and are?) fools.
End the St Patrick’s parade. End the Al Smith Dinner and all other such compromised events. Enough now, back to Church! Wear the purple of Lent and if there is going to be a procession, let it be Eucharistic and penitential for the sins of this age.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!
How say you?
This blog post has been removed. Monsignor Pope explained his reasons: “I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense.” Still, he insists that the Catholic Church must be cautious as to how it engages the culture without denying Scriptural truth.
The church as a whole must also wrestle with the same issues. Jesus came “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14) and never compromised either. Let us walk as Jesus walked.