Sunday, 5 February 2017

PRIESTS / PEOPLE / POWER



YESTERDAY AFTERNOON THE FOLLOWING SAD COMMENT CAME INTO THE BLOG CONCERNING THE CANCELLATION OF A SUNDAY MASS IN MAGHERAFELT PARISH IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ARMAGH:

"Bishop Pat could you please assist us in anyway you can. Our PP in Magherafelt Parish has stopped our 8am Mass on a Sunday as from this weekend. There are two Priests in the Parish now and 5 Masses are now reduced to 4 Masses each Sunday. This was announced some weeks ago without any consultation with people and no credible explanation given. A Priest having to celebrate 2 Masses each on a Sunday is hardly exhaustive or taxing. Many are upset about the early 8am Mass being stopped but are too afraid to speak up or voice their concerns. What's more the PP said the Parish pastoral council took the decision but we think that is a lame excuse because when were they appointed as PP? The curate had to be woken up last Sunday morning as he slept in for the 8am Mass, the situation is far from satisfactory and the usual predictable flunkies on the pastoral council are used as a badge of convenience.

We know it is pointless writing to Armagh, people have been left hurt and upset by this pointless decision taken without any consultation with the vast majority of the laity. Many elderly and retired folk prefer the 8am Mass, those of whom have given generously for years to build up the Parish. Many of the 8am congregation squeezed in to last nights 6.15pm Mass, some of the elderly walked in the dark and some of the Saturday evening regulars were accusing us of taking their regular seats. It all became fraught and some have vowed to give up going to Mass all together which I think is a crying shame. We were told this was going to happen not asked or consulted, the PP was concerned that the 12 noon Mass be retained for the benefit of the youth who attend. What he needs to realise that the elderly and older generation who built the Parish up over the years need to be catered for to. They were keen this weekend to promote the Parish envelopes, for once in my life I've considered contributing nothing. The PP told us this weekend in his homily about reading Facebook, by the time it took him to read all the gossip on that he could have celebrated the 8am Mass. He is more interested in dressing up and appearing in the forthcoming Parish play than worrying about his people.

Old Timer Magherafelt"

Dear Old Timer Magherafelt,

Thank you for your comment / note. I am sorry to hear that after a lifetime of your personal and financial support of your parish your favourite early morning Sunday Mass has now being abolished by your relatively new parish priest.

Looking at you parish website I see that you have THREE priests resident in your parish although one of them in recently retired - but from what I gather remains in good health.

As most priests (active or retired) say at least one Mass per day I cannot understand how in your case THREE priests cannot say a Mass each on the most important day of the Christian week - SUNDAY?

Up until now you have had three Masses - 8 am; 10.30 am  and 12 Noon.

I do not understand why each priest cannot say one Sunday Mass each.

And even if your retired priest cannot / does not want to say a Sunday public Mass I cannot understand why one of your priests cannot say the 8 am and 12 noon Masses (with loads of time in between for breakfast and the other say the 10.30 am.

I am bewildered. 

Would you like me to come and celebrate a House / Family Mass for you sometime in Magherafelt? If so get in touch.

Pat.

Very Rev John Gates, PP, VF,

Today we happen to be talking about Magherafelt because a Magherafelt "old timer" has felt the bite.  But Magherafelt is by no means unique. It is the fashion and style that is the problem.

And of course Old Times would be wasting their time writing to Armagh Amy. She will onlky support her clerical team;




                                    

THE BIGGER QUESTION:

The Magherafelt issue brings up a much BIGGER QUESTION - the question of who has the POWER in the parishes.

We were traditionally told that the PEOPLE OF GOD were the Church and that the 

PRIESTS were merely the SERVANTS of the people.

Since when then do the SERVANTS give the orders to THEIR MASTERS?

Surely EVERYTHING in a parish - including the times of Masses should be determined by the PEOPLE?

If I went to a parish as a priest one of the first things I would do was to give out a questionaire to the parishioners and ask them:

What time the Masses would suit / benefit them etc.

I would also want to have the PARISH FUNERALS, WEDDINGS, BAPTISMS ETC at the time that best suited the people.

That will vary from parish to parish.

In a farming parish the people might want the Saturday Vigil Mass at 8 pm after the work in the fields was done.

In a city parish it might suit the people better to have a Sunday Mass at 1 pm or even in the afternoon to allow them to enjoy their Sundays and weekend best.


But what has happened gradually is that the CLERICS have become the MASTERS and the parishioners have become the SERFS!



How does that tie in with Jesus - the Greatest Priest - who said:

"I COME, NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE".

The Church needs much renewal in many aspects but one of the most important need is the DESTRUCTION OF THE "CLERICAL CASTE".

I know that many people reading this today will be recalling many stories of the people of parishes being BULLIED by autocratic priests.

In Ireland we have in large part gotten rid of our POLITICAL COLONISTS AND SLAVE MASTERS.

I look forward to the day when we completely overthrow those other colonists and slave masters 

- I mean the ROMAN and CLERICAL ones. 

When they are looking our money to build their churches, schools, presbyteries and other buildings they talk about it: "BEING YOUR CHURCH".

As soon as they are built and paid for it becomes THEIR CHURCH,


This will only change when more and more people stand up to them and say NO.

When people stop frequenting their money changing temples.

When people withdraw all funding.

When people take charge of their own schools and institutions.


The REVOLUTION required has started. It is slow in coming. People are still in fear and chains.

BUT IT IS COMING !





62 comments:

  1. There are very few parishes that haven't experienced a reduction in the number Masses at this stage as it has been happening for years in all the dioceses. Now it's Magherafelt's turn.

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  2. Is magherafelt not in Derry diocese? Or is this a different magherafelt?

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  3. Perhaps the answer would be for a coordinated 'day of action' when, across Ireland, the laity withheld their hard earned cash for once .. perhaps then the local tyrants and the 'in denial' hierarchy might sit up and take notice that their cushy existence and hegemony might be coming to an end unless reform and renewal were forthcoming.

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    1. The more you with hold the more I will give. Stop attacking my Church please.

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  4. In order for Balance can we have at least one good news story here once a week. Maybe give credit to someone doing a "Good job" out there. Please dont say they are few and far between. For example Fr Kevin McNamara is a top man so leave it at that and say it is . Im sure theres more and they deserve to be credited . If theres a revolution as you say there is then lets hear about the good guys involved in it once in a while cheers

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    1. I was thinking that as well. I'd like to maybe see what pats church looks like. Maybe a tour of the house?

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  5. @Old timer Magherafelt. Just be glad you have a priest or priests and some masses to choose from. Many parishes don't. Your forefathers used to have to go up to the hills out of sight to attend mass a 'Mass Rocks' and the like during Penal times. Our Lord sometimes tests us and encourages us out of our comfort zones. I'm sure you will be rewarded sevenfold for having to wait until 10am to go to Mass.

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  6. Hello!
    Our priest at St Mary Magdalen, Brighton refuses to say a mass without an (male) altar server. We've had Sunday evening masses cancelled even though we have a priest. There are lots of women who are willing to serve, and lots of children, but our PP refuses to celebrate mass without a male, adult altar server only.

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    1. Surely, there must be plenty silverdaddies who could help him out.

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    2. Well, he is entitled to his perks, isn't he?

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    3. That really is insane. Even if he has (however invalid) objections to women or children serving, why can't he open his own books, wash his own hands, mix his own wine and water, and cleanse his own vessels?
      A priest who is literally alone would celebrate Mass alone, making all the responses himself.
      If that is his real reason he is withholding the sacraments from the faithful through being a princess.

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  7. Even with two priests, two Masses each on a Sunday is not too taxing. I'm a nurse and worked yesterday. Some of my colleagues were working thirteen hour shifts. These men want to try getting a job of work.

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  8. 1.00 I've been saying withold the cash for years. I think in many parishes the quality of Mass has suffered because the people have been treated as spectators for years. As said above in one way or another the role of the clergy and the quality of parish life needs to be reviewed

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  9. As you say Bishop Pat the only time the Church hierarchy will listen is when they are hit, and hit hard, in the pocket. So long as the silent majority continue to "Pray, Pay and Obey", as Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York used to describe the vocation of the lay faithful, nothing will change. You see the Bishops and Priests (Holy Men, or witch doctors in other societies) have a strangle hold over an elderly and fearful and largely ignorant laity. I grant you that some of these laity are highly intelligent people and experts in their own field, but in theology and "things of the spirit, they may be still infants - or at least have been kept that way, and deliberately so, by men (and women) bishops, priests and nuns (remember them?) who in many cases have been more ignorant than their flocks, but who have had the "belt of the crosier" backing them up, in other words raw power. Cardinal Newman was absolutely right when he said that the only way to overthrow the power of these "provincial satraps" - as he called the English bishops of his time - was to educate the laity and to have an educated laity. That is essentailly what has happened here in England and the fact that there are so few in our churches, is not that it has failed, but that virtually every single person who attends Mass on Sundays wishes to be there. This bishops here are much more careful in trying to be dictators over their flocks, though a few idiots like Egan in Portsmouth and Davies in Shrewbury have tried and have been most severely slapped down not only by the laity but by their fellow bishops. Those days are gone for good. I have often thought that the whole Church structure in Ireland has to be destroyed, has to die, so that something new and good and small and holy may emerge from the ruins of the clericalism that has afflicted the Irish for centuries. A complete boycott of the plate on one Sunday throughout the whole of the island may well be as good a way to start the revolution as there is. That would be a shot across the bows of the bishops sitting pretty in their palaces.

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    1. I think perhaps you're being over-optimistic about a change happening in England and the reasons for the decline in mass attendance.

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  10. I'm not being sarcastic but the scholarship of Lutherans and Fr Austin Flannery shows that the sacrament of ordination is not a separate one from baptism but given with and in baptism by default. Catholics need to start doing lay baptisms and Masses instead of supporting the professional priesthood. Do you want to be judged by Christ and then found guilty of enabling a Pharisee setup for that is essentially what the Church has set up. It totally contradicts the core Christian teaching that Christ gave all liberty and access to God fully.

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    1. "Not being sarcastic" Anon at 8:49am, you go off and do your "lay" Masses and baptisms, if you wish. You will no longer be Catholic. The baptisms will be valid - but the Masses will not.

      The "scholars" Lutheran or otherwise, are wrong. Why, for example, does the Lutheran Church persist in ordaining "professional" priests if what these "scholars" think is true?

      The Catholic Church teaches the priesthood of all believers in common with all Christian Churches and fellowships. At the same time, there is the necessity, from Scripture and Tradition, for a specifically designated, dedicated, set apart, ministerial priesthood.

      From a practical point of view, someone has to lead and coordinate worship. Every Church, Catholic, Reformed, Orthodox and Anglican, has its designated persons with ultimate responsibility.

      Interestingly, today is the Feast of St Paul Miki and his companions - the Japanese martyrs. After the deaths of these martyrs, the Church in Japan was underground for 250 years - no priests - no Mass.

      The laity kept the Church alive with the Sacrament of Baptism and appointing elders to coordinate and lead prayer and worship on Sundays. But they did attempt a so-called "lay Mass". They knew there is no such thing.

      The answer to clerical "dictatorship" is simply to stand up to such priests and refuse to be dictated to! As in every other walk of life, don't cooperate with bullies. But if you start doing your so-called "lay Masses", you have thrown the baby out with the bath water.

      A ministerial priesthood does not contradict in any way the truth that all have liberty and full access to God. At the same time, God is the God of order - not chaos and 'free for all'.

      All that being said, the clergy need to remember that they are SERVANTS.

      I strongly suspect, nevertheless, that the "unrest" in Magherafelt is being manufactured by one or two contrary cranks, who love to have something to gurn about! Get over it.

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    2. 'The Catholic Church teaches the priesthood of all believers in common with all Christian Churches and fellowships. At the same time, there is the necessity, from Scripture and Tradition, for a specifically designated, dedicated, set apart, ministerial priesthood.' All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others in the sight of the Lord, apparently.

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    3. 'A ministerial priesthood does not contradict in any way the truth that all have liberty and full access to God. At the same time, God is the God of order - not chaos and 'free for all'. A God of Order rather than love? Order suggests place, ranks, position, power and discipline. What sort of order did Christ envisage when he trundled around Palestine with his merry band of ex-whores, moneylenders, fishermen and the odd terrorist Zealot? A very different one to that which he repeatedly castigated in his condemnations of the Temple Priesthood, Sadducees and many Pharisees. If God is a god of Order, why is the bible such a pig's dinner of contradictions and hyperbole, not least his soundbite on the fate of the rich, camels, eyes of needles and rich men roasting in hell? Prime ministers, presidents and government ministers are also graced with the title of servant of the people though 99 percent have apparently forgot this truism.

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    4. 11.14 your comments on the experience of the Japanese church are interesting. It's a story we should know more about as we often hear ill informed talk of a lay church as a future ideal. That already exists. It's called Presbyterianism and is fine for those who don't want a sacramental priesthood.
      The Japanese underground church still exists and sadly refused an offer from pope john paul to reunite with the catholic church when he visited Japan.
      The recent movie "silence " depicts the persecution in Japan and is well worth seeing. Based on a true story 2 Jesuit missionary priests renounce catholicism by publically desecrating an image of christ.( Mind you they do this to stop their parishioner's being tortured.)The lay people are the ones who hold out and die for the faith and it's the priests who like st Peter deny the Lord. You can hear the rooster crow when the priest apostasises.

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    5. Thanks Anon 11.14 for that comment. It's refreshing to get good, well thought out input here every now and again - please keep it up and contribute more often!

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    6. Anonymous at 13:00, the "animals" are all equal but they are not all the same. A cow is not a horse. A pig is not a dog. You see where I'm going with this?

      Anon 13:14, God's order and love do not preclude one another. Order is one of life's necessities. Jesus was not an anarchist. Try getting a job done without order and with no one in charge!!

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    7. 'Anonymous at 13:00, the "animals" are all equal but they are not all the same. A cow is not a horse. A pig is not a dog. You see where I'm going with this?' I can see exactly where you are going with this. The good old Pigs in their finery at the top trough telling the rest of the animals what's good for them with suspicious glances from Benjamin and stolid faith from the likes of Boxer. Jesus was not an anarchist? He drove the sellers from the temple, he vilified the Temple Priesthood and leaders of the Jewish community, he overturned social convention and ideas of purity and pollution by associating with sinners and gentiles. He was executed for the very disorder he was stirring up. He was not merely seen as an anarchist but as a heretic and terrorist to boot by the authorities concerned.

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    8. If you study the teachings of Our Lord in the Gospels, it is crystal clear that He was no anarchist. Although He severely condemned Jewish religious leaders for their hypocrisy, He also said "you must do as they say because they occupy the Chair of Moses". Whether you like it or not, He did establish a hierarchical authority and He said that whoever hears the apostles hear His own voice. It is not a "free for all" in the Christian community. It was for chaos and disorder - moral, spiritual and liturgical - that St Paul reprimanded the Church at Corinth.

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  11. Old Timer in Magherafelf - get over yourself!

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    1. Are you one of the priests he or she is criticising?

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    2. No I am not. Just an ordinary parishioner. This is being caused by a very small gatherup of cranks.

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    3. Cranks? Why 'cranks'? Because they don't share your perspective? Show a bit more maturity than that.

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    4. Small gathering of cranks? Is that what you call us? You should be ashamed of yourself 'ordinary parishioner' whatever that means. Your probably so up the ass of Fr. John.

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    5. Yes - CRANKS! Because that's what you are. You get them in every parish. Never happy - always yappin' and gurnin' and the priest is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Build a bridge and get over yourselves.

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    6. Magna Carter shut yer bake. Your not even from our parish. As May Mcfettridge would say, 'git you away down til yer own dour!' LOL

      Everybody knows this is just a few aul gurney gubs - Moanin' Minnies and Mutterin' Mickeys. Have a word with yerselves.

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    7. If this is the Calibre of some Magherafelt parishioners then it tells you a lot. You. Sounds as if the Fr John fan club are out in force.

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    8. 16:13, listen, boyo. I'm Magna Carta's oul da, an' I'm comin' roun' t'yer place later t' have a wee word wi' ye fer threat'n' ma wane.

      Thon boy o' mine may have a big bake on 'im, but he's still ma wane. An' I'm gonna put some manners on ye. You wait and see.


      MAGNA CARTA'S OUL DA

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    9. Whether Magna Carta is a member of the Parish or not is irrelevant 16.13. He/She is still entitled to a view and opinion on the matter. You seem to be a lone voice supporting your PP today given the amount of times you have used "get over yourself or yourselves" in your posts.

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    10. Anytime yer feelin' lucky oul lad! I'll slap the bake aff ye and yer wane!

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    11. 18:54, you wait till ma carers are gone an' I've putt ma teeth in! Am tellin' ye!! (Where's that bloody three-wheeler...thingy? Aye! Rollatir.)


      MAGNA CARTA'S OUL DA

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  12. The problem in Magherafelt is having autocratic Priests for years, they've had the same Priest hanging around from the 70's as curate, PP and now retired in the place.

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  13. My granny said the times coming when you will have to travel the highways and byways to get mass.
    This i believe was her foretelling that this church is dying unto itself, to be reborn and the temple cleared out of the changers, lenders and Temple muck.

    I say Magherafelt roll on the day that you have no one. Then maybe a good black priest from far away will come and bury you some day or at least bless your grave once in a while.

    NOW THAT I BELIEVE WOULD BE GOOD NEWS anonymous @ 01:14

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  14. 8 in the morning,especially of a Sunday
    Doesn't Sit well with me either
    But I do think that parish counsellors should be elected by the people and subject to change annually

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  15. Its like trying to get blood out of a stone in getting anybody to do or participate in any life of a parish except covering the basic Sunday worship.

    But there is a problem in many parishes that have unelected parish councils in place, having those who are considered as the PPs yes people. It goes on like those ministers of the Eucharist and Word who hold onto the right as seen by them to do the job. They almost sprint up the aisles to make sure they are not out done.

    How often has the PP walked straight past you and ignored you to talk to the money people or yes PP three bags full PP.

    Its not I believe about if it's an 8, 9, 10, or whatever time mass on a Sunday. If there's no one at it bar a few early birds then it makes sense to join the bigger parish celebration and pray a big prayer instead of being a lonely pint or two at 8am.

    Maybe have less services in Magherafelt allows the priest to offer his services to an unmanned parish that may contain a sick priest.

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  16. We all allowed tobe sick, even the priest.
    But I have observed wher I live that no new people are ever asked if they could contribute to parish life.
    Maybe send around a circular for people to give their opinions about everything and anything.
    People don't usually want to put themselves forward, but if they were asked via a paper trail they just might .
    We get new Eucharist ministers every so often, but I do know That even that has been handled poorly in the past.
    I also strongly Object to the same people handling our weekly envelope and moving our money around to suit needs or maybe that should read unnecessary expenses.


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  17. If there is a sick priest there, he should be supported by the money coming from the Amy office.....surely the hypocrite Brady can't use it all running to Rome

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  18. Having less Masses in Magherafelt does not mean the priest is free to travel to an unmanned Parish. I think it's a question of laziness, of taking people for granted and after Mass travelling instead to the great big presbytery on the hill opposite. 3 presbyteries in Magherafelt all side by side is the problem in Magherafelt, the pastoral council are all YES people, the Priests have had it to comfy for too long and the some of the money people in the Parish get preferential treatment. It was witnessed last week when the retired priest dragged himself out to the funeral of a preferred parishioner and is selective at what funerals he turns up.

    If the Priests dont have the time and have abolished one Mass then how does the PP find the time to rehearse and appear in a forthcoming play in March, it's hardly pastoral work.

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  19. I am not a member of Magherafelt parish but I do know that there are two priests at the minute, the priests also say one mass at St Patricks Castledawson every Sunday and they may have another small church as well to cover St John's.

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  20. They do not cover St Johns as they go instead to Castledawson. Castledawson is included in the 4 Masses that are celebrated each Sunday. It's hardly a big task for two Priests, 2 Masses each. I know Priests elsewhere doing just as many Masses on their own.

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  21. This post has so reminded me of how I loathed our parish priest in my home parish. He became PP in 1978 and is still PP. There has never been a parish council of any description. He chose the hymns. He cleaned the church. He even did the flowers and decorated the church single-handedly for Christmas. He never asked for help and only accepted offers of help from people who would do things exactly as he wanted. He didn't greet the people after Mass, so there would be a queue of people outside the sacristy who wanted anything. He did visit the people but only because he couldn't stand people on his territory: I only twice knew anyone to enter the presbytery. We didn't have the sign of peace because he didn't want it: I think he didn't like being touched. Communion was only ever under one kind. In his homilies he would sometimes refer to his 'ememies in the parish': they had all gone to the next parish (where the PP was even more difficult) years before and the refugees from that parish come to us. It used to drive me spare the way people would call it 'Fr N's church,' although in retrospect everything was done for him and him alone. This is not the clerical caste talked about here, it is a screwball running a parish, the sheeple passively consenting, and the parish becoming something very twisted. As an adult I can look back and see how there was a complete absence of community, relationship or koinonia, and see the priest as the emotionally stunted, imnature school leaver he was when his mother got a job in a factory to put him through seminary. Even after I eventually started going to an evening Mass elsewhere I rejoiced to do my impressions of the priest to my mother. She was one of his hangers-on and again in retrospect I think had a crush on him. A mature leader would both be aware of this dodgy dynamic and deal with it to stop the bizarre power dynamic of the parish repeating itself.
    What does any of this have to do with mature adult emotions or living, or even with Christian koinonia? Fuck all, and that is decades of opportunity missed in that parish.

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    1. Sounds like my kind of parish! Does he do the Tridentine rite? That would be even better!

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    2. Lol, bizarrely, no. He was always very critical of the fans of the old Mass. His issues were in personality rather than an ecclesiastical position.

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  22. Maybe the Clergy in Magherafelt have joined the SPR you mentioned in a blog a few days ago.

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  23. More importantly, Pat how's the health?

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  24. Pat this old biddy needs to wake up and smell the coffee!
    Change is coming to all parishes sooner rather than later, that's a fact! We need to Pray for more good genuine vacations that will give their lives to God and his Church.

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  25. If people want more Masses they need to generate and support more vocations. Priests aren't Mass machines. It's liturgy, not the third showing of a movie at the Ritz.

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  26. Yes I need a vacation too lol
    Ha ha at old biddy.
    He/ she cd be an auld codger....what's the difference?

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  27. Rather we should pray that young fellas straight or gay
    should not think of having a vocation to the priesthood
    until the rc church has abandoned its queer ways

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    1. How old are you? 12?

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  28. It makes far better sense to celebrate one Mass with a full Church than three or four Masses in a quarter full Church. Nothing more disheartening than looking around a big barrack of a Church and ten to twenty people in the Congregation on a Sunday morning. You may get used to it Magherafelt Old Timer because it's the way things are going and it's only but right. There will always be enough Masses for those who want the Mass.

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  29. Do you not know Magherafelt Old Timer and co that the Church allows priests to celebrate only ONE Mass per day? This is to prevent over-familiarity with the Most Sacred Act. When priests were plentiful, it was the norm for him to celebrate only one Mass daily - including Sundays. The practice of celebrating two or more Masses is the exception and is permitted only for pastoral reasons. A priest must make sure he does not take the Mass for granted or become slip shod in his approach. It is right that Masses be kept to a minimum so as to ensure better, more reverent celebrations of Mass. Celebrating several Masses for small congregations makes no sense at all. One or two Masses is becoming sufficient for most parishes nowadays.

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  30. Reply to 23 06. 78

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  31. Since when did SENSE take part in the running of parishes

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