Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't build a Byzantine Catholic mission from people named...

O'Shea and McNulty (actual Irish American names changed to protect the innocent).

What I have learned over the last year- some people have the Western rite 'burnt' into their hearts as deeply as I have the Byzantine rite in mine. This is totally fine and their choice. Personally, I would love a strong group of visitors who come to the mission every so often; at least they are acknowledging that we are Catholic, too.

My irritation is this- those Western-rite Catholics who become very involved in our mission, changing the group dynamic and then dropping us like hot potatoes. These people also come by to invite the remaining 'remnant' (hence my log-in name) to home rosaries and relic showings at the nearest mega Western church. Well then- our mission members will be exposed to what a 'real' church is like- lots of people, activities, committees- never mind if the priest doesn't know your name or answer your calls- it's a real church! And yes, these former mission members love our traditional tradition, but they really only have an hour for forget those Byzantines! Or it goes the other way...a real Mass has to be in Latin and with a perfect choir and women all in long skirts and veils. Sorry, we don't really offer that. Come as you are with respect and an attitude of striving for holiness. Nobody is perfect here. In fact the cantor has only one working vocal chord (that would be me- that's another story).

So goodbye- former parishioners of Irish extraction. I really do pray you will find what you are looking for. We will miss you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

7 Reasons to Wear (or consider wearing) Pants (sometimes)

Given the attention over pants/no pants recently in the Catholic blogosphere- I thought I would throw my 7 cents in...

7. I'm not going to take the 'advice' of Catholicity writers. I'm just stubborn that way.

6. Seriously- where does it end? Traditional Catholic women with long skirts would still be considered immodest by Amish, Orthodox Jewish and most Muslim standards.

5. I have a lovely, charitable friend who does not own 1 pair of pants because she wants to be just like Mary and, historically, women did not wear pants. I guess our challenge is to find that balance between history and today. Believe it or not, we women have benefited from the feminism of earlier years. We drive, vote and have the right to property. I suppose wearing pants while you are whipping up a nice dinner for hard-working daddy can show that balance.

4. I really don't like this argument: "Well, men are such visual creatures- we ladies must protect them by not distracting them with pants..." Once again- balance! If a man is going to sin by seeing a Christian woman with 6 + kids because she is wearing pants, he really needs to get into the confessional more often and work on his chastity altogether.

3. We women are called to be obedient to our husbands. My husband has never felt the need to ask me to change the way that I dress- so this is not an issue for me. But as always, the flip side to the coin is that our husbands must love us AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH. A tall order- a reason why to discuss modesty standards and such with your husband is- if he is asking/insisting that you dress 'modestly'- meaning floor length skirts and the like- why? Is he really loving you? Is it possible that he doesn't want you to be seen as attractive by other people? Is it possible that he also enjoys the attention of single women at work, perhaps even pornography- even while insisting that you be modest and have your 6th child in as many years?

2. How about going with the standards at St Peter's- no cleavage with sleeves of some kind and pants/skirts below the knee. Sounds both reasonable and doable- and these standards will still set us apart.

1. Gosh- I wish we Eastern Catholics were big enough to quibble over these small details of life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why be anonymous?

Although this blog is new and un-read by the teeming crowds of blog enthusiasts, I decided to begin by being anonymous.  Why? All of my posts so far have been pretty- what's the word- milk-toast. Now is the time to get real. And because I don't want to hurt anyone, I have chosen to remain incognito to protect the identities of parishioners, priests, etc.

Anyone who is the least bit curious could find out my name- there are very few Byzantine Catholic under 40 priests' wives in the U.S. Anonymity has appeal because the casual blog surfer (do people surf blogs?) may find some general truths here without being concerned about who I am specifically. In  any case- do we really know anyone on the internet? I have some favorite blogs; I know a  few of the writers personally. Reality and 'blogality' (yup- not a word) are two very different things.

So- my next post will be worthy of needing anonymity- let the fireworks ensue! (good thing no one is reading this....)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Where do you go to church?"

"Where do you go to church?" is a frequent question I am asked by Protestant Christians. What does it mean? Of course, they could (and probably are) opening up a conversation in order to invite me to their church. We Catholics should be so bold.  

But the question is wrong- WHERE do I GO to church? Church- even for us Catholics who revel in the material nature of God-man with our icons, statues and hopefully God-leaning architecture- is a PEOPLE. We don't GO to church- we ARE Church.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something for Everyone- except God

"Eyes on Your Own Work!"

Remember when teacher would say "eyes on your own work"? These words were never directed to me because I was a good student. God could say these words to me today. We can compare family size, obedience of said children, waistlines, fashion- the list is endless. Where does it get us? Discontentment is a sticky thing. How can I admire a friend's new paint job without allowing my mind to wander to my grubby walls?

Not easy- have your mind wander to the cross of Jesus Christ and be certain that you are focusing on Him.

Comparing oneself to others is not a godly way to live life- let's take the logs out of our eyes before we comment on the splinters in other people's eyes and

Eyes on your own work!

In the Middle

We Byzantine Catholics are in the middle- dismissed by Roman-rite Catholics and disrespected by Orthodox. The middle is a very difficult place to find oneself. Should we just align ourselves with the Orthodox; our Liturgies are basically the same. Or should we just give up our rite so that we can be accepted by the majority and remain under the authority of the Holy Father? It is my experience that many ex-Protestants who want a more theologically sound religion end up with the Orthodox; there isn't that 'problem' of submitting to the Pope. On the other hand, the Roman-rite is big and well- established. Why bother with the small Eastern rites of the Catholic Church? 

Why bother? The answer is in the name of the Church- Catholic, meaning universal. This doesn't simply mean that the Church embraces different colors and cultures. It embraces- or should- different rites. If I had a dollar for each time a 'good' Roman-rite Catholic ended a long conversation over the Byzantine rite with, "so, you are Orthodox"- I would have a lot of dollars!

So we Byzantines are in the middle- fully Catholic and fully Eastern.