Friday, January 04, 2008

death of a parish...

For sometime I had been debating if I wanted to return to my parish. I wrote out a long heartfelt note to my parish priest letting him know my desires to no longer be a member at his church. In the end I decided it would have been too prideful on my part to send... that and I doubt he'd much care. I've sort of been a heel in his side I suppose. My redesign for the church interior was 'too traditional' and my remarks about the music director sounding like a tortured cat didn't play over well either. It's been other things too.

Over the course of 6 months I watched as contemporary style worship dominated each mass, guitars at the ambo, applause after mass and the out right mocking of a very devout cassock clad seminarian. Some 2 months prior I ended my fight for the mass in the extraordinary form, even though we have a priest that knows the Latin. The only shining ray of hope was the installation of the new schola choir... which was abruptly replaced by previously mentioned tortured cat lady.

Slowly I began to notice the dwindling numbers of parishioners each week. It was painfully obvious Christmas morning when the church was only half full. My parish is losing it's congregants. Many of the more devout Catholics, those heavily involved in parish functions, have begun scaling back their ties to the church. All the while, the little Ukrainian Catholic mission church continues to grow each Liturgy.

It was a painful final decision, but one I couldn't drag out. My last Sunday at said parish my son wanted to hold my hand during the Lord's Prayer. When I tried to instruct him otherwise, he said 'every one else is doing it'. That was my cue that it was time to move on.

The promise for Charlotte was access to the TLM in 2008. It will be interesting to note it's affect on the liberal and contemporary churches in this diocese. I wonder if it will finish the job that my priest has started... the death of a parish.

23 comments:

ignorant redneck said...

I was in the Diocese of Raliegh when I finally left the Church--it wasn't any different, as far as I can see, from Charlotte.

What gets my goat, is these idiots in collars think that the answer to their failing and failed version of Catholicism is more of the same.

It's said that the best definition of insanity is trying the samething that doesn't work over and over, hopeing for a different result.

ACEGC said...

I feel your pain, CC. This is exactly the reason that I'm leaving the mostly theologically/liturgically gutted Diocese of Richmond for the greener pastures of Charlotte since starting Belmont Abbey (if you think Charlotte is bad, check out Richmond sometime--liturgical legislation is not done by the chief liturgist of the diocese, the Bishop, but by a lay woman who is the Bishop's "Director of Liturgical Celebrations," also known as a Master of Ceremonies to those of us who speak Catholic). It wasn't until I came to Charlotte and found myself in a more spiritually enriching atmosphere--the Eucharistic Congresses were amazing!

I, too, have witnessed my parish falling apart due to a long string of liberal pastors who cared more about impressing themselves upon the liturgy than conducting it properly; seems to be a common disease in a diocese who hasn't had a good bishop since before the Civil War (Cardinal Gibbons).

Tom S. said...

Aren't there ANY decent parishes in Charlotte??

318@NICE said...

Great blog by the way.

For me it was different. I was a Lutheran, and after reading Church history and the Fathers I knew that I had to become Catholic. So at first we attended the Novus Ordo parishes in Charlotte and I was shocked, not only at the Novus Ordo Mass that we worse than a Lutheran Service, but all the heresy that was preached from the pulpits and no one said anything. At one parish in Belmont, NC, suburb of Charlotte, the priest began preaching from Buddha and outright said, that Jesus had many good things to say but we can learn much from Buddha as well and then began quoting from Buddha stuff, he actually put Buddha on equal footing with Christ.
That was the last time we ever went to a Novus Ordo Parish.
But thanks be to God, there was an SSPX chapel only 7 minutes from my house. And we now attend there for Mass.

Dave

Carolina Cannonball said...

Tom, in the Diocese...yes. But within the actual city limits of Charlotte... an emphatic Hell No!

I think Belmont Abbey might be all there is, hence the growing numbers of N.O. refugees at the Ukrainian Catholic church... myself included in them.

Tom S. said...

At Our Lady of Grace in Greensboro, there will be a Traditional Latin Mass at 3:30 PM on Sunday the 13th. It would be wonderful to have as many people there as possible. If any blog readers are interested, please make an effort to be there. Numbers matter! Plus, there is a chance that Bishop Jugis will be there, and having a church full would really have an impact. There is a write-up in the Church Bulletin.

Carolina Cannonball said...

I actually have plans to make the drive for that. Hopefully I'll run into Laura, who I havent seen in ages, and some other bloggers. Thanks for reminding me, so I can post the info closer to the date of the mass.

Zach said...

CC,
My prayers are with you. I hope that your search for God leads to a parish that treats God like a god and Christ like a king! Sadly, that's a difficult task these days.

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

The IR hit the nail on the nead when he said, "What gets my goat, is these idiots in collars think that the answer to their failing and failed version of Catholicism is more of the same." Unfortunately, I see little chance of relief until all the members of the 60s/70s generation are playing shuffleboard in Florida.
Please remember to pray for your former pastor.

Roman Sacristan said...

The Byzantine Rite Catholic parish in my city also has great numbers of "Roman refugees."

Sadly, the Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city is also attracting many Catholics to convert. [sigh] I think half the congregation there now is ex-Catholics.

Sieglinde said...

My heart aches for you. I will pray that you find a nourishing parish where you can lay your heart at the feet of Jesus and let Him Who is all comfort heal your hurting. You are in my prayers.

Dymphna said...

I remember the day I got up and walked out of my childhood parish. The priest had just said something in his homily that was wrong, obscene and heretical. I never went back. For a long while I wandered from parish to parish until we finally found a good place. Hang in there, if nothing else the coming great Baby Boomer Die Off wil effect those looney tune priests who were formed in the late 60s and 70s.

Angela M. said...

CC, very well thought out post and decision. You are not making this choice in haste or anger. The hand holding situation - well, that just puts it in a nutshell, doesn't it?! Let us know how it goes at your new parish.

ACEGC said...

CC, what's your opinion of the Cathedral? I've been there a couple of times and the Mass there is more liturgically sound than Belmont Abbey from what I've seen. Chalice veils, incense on Sundays, some propers in Latin.

M. Alexander said...

Thank you for the information about Our Lady of Grace. Not to be too nitpicking but the Church bulletin gave the time as 4PM and not 3:30PM. Do you happen to know which time is correct?

I've included it as an announcement on www.latinmassnetwork.net.

And if anyone here is planning on attending and would like to submit an article with photos of the Mass, we would be very happy to receive it. Please send it to: mlalexand99@yahoo.com
Thanks,
Mary Alexander

ignorant redneck said...

Dymphna,

the only problem with waiting for the Great Baby Boom Die Off is that I'm a late boomer, (class of '59) and I would truely likie to see the church in such a state that I don't have to worry when I go to Mass over whether I'm at some sort of crypto or de facto schizmatic ho down, before I die!

Paul Nichols said...

I feel for you, Kat. I feel like I'm wandering out there in the Twilight Zone sometimes. Same ol' same ol'. Except at the Midnight mass, when they decided to do great music and incense. After that, it's more of the same.

Too many times I find myself sitting there wondering "What's the Point?"

Hope you find a good place to land.

Donna said...

I think we all wonder at times. I converted 13 years ago. One of my greatest dissapointments has been the quality of the liturgy--nothing and next to nothing. The grandmother who said it's like going to a big old Baptist church is about right--and that comment could be instructive to our leadership if they were open. I finally decided the Church exists on a continuum; we are how few years out from Vatican II? Who knows? Maybe in 100 years, we will have beautiful liturgies, once again. Perhaps this is a sign to us that the True Faith doesn't hinge on great liturgy. (Not to say that we should tolerate our-and-out heresy.) After all, what is unique about being Catholic? I would say our adherence to our Holy Father. Perhaps we have to put up with these pathetic excuses for liturgy as a humiliation. It's difficult, I know, but what is the message when we realize we are beating our head against a brick wall?

elephantschild said...

... church only half full on Christmas morning.

Ouch. There really can't be much clearer of a sign than that, can there, that something is fundamentally wrong?

We're fighting this same problem in my own denomination: there are those that think we must be "relevant" to the current culture. Instead those who have abandoned our historic liturgy just seem like pathetic posers of the surrounding pop culture. Yuck.

Carolina Cannonball said...

"After all, what is unique about being Catholic? I would say our adherence to our Holy Father."

Donna, I would say it is The Real Presence.

Donna said...

CC, I stated the Holy Father because Orthodox churches believe in the Real Presence as well as RC, but do not adhere to the Holy Father--hence RC's uniqueness comes from its governance.

Carolina Cannonball said...

Donna, sorry. I couldn't gather from your comment you were comparing Orthodoxy & Catholicism. There was no idication.

Donna said...

CC, I guess I didn't make myself clear. Kind of off topic--but pertinent. Before my conversion, I used to love to listen to folks in other churches brag about being the closest churches to Catholicism. However, if you mention crossing the Tiber, they run like a bat out of . . . . No Holy Father for them. Major problem. It was actually a witness to me of the truth of RC. Maybe that's why I manage to stomach the "tortured cat" liturgies, as you so aptly put it. They really are truly awful.