Retirement Thoughts, 4 July 2010

July 2, 2010 at 11:02 2 comments

I’ve been retired from the Army about a month, also from the diocese. I am an “independent priest” in the sense that I am living on my government pension, with no salary etc from the diocese. My status is Senior Priest Retired, and I have all the faculties of any priest in my diocese.  This is good, because there is so much I see going on in the Church that I plain don’t like. Christ emptied himself of all the power and prestige of being God, and the leadership of the Church has picked it up. It bothers me that Church leadership seems to be driving away the same people Jesus welcomed. There does not seem to me to be any charity when leaders excommunicate without any dialogue, deny sacraments to people who really need them simply because their marriages failed, issue decrees “In the Name of God”.

In my own diocese many parishes have been closed or combined. This has caused a lot of pain for everyone concerned, including, I am sure, our Bishop. I would like to help out however I can to ease the pain in some way. In many ways I am glad to be just a spectator because there is so much anger and pain, and emotions are running high. I am not inclined to criticize decisions when I don’t know all the factors involved.

Last weekend I celebrated three Masses in a neighboring parish. The people were wonderful and happy until they entered the church. Then there was no life, no smiling. I felt very uncomfortable. There did not seem to be any joy there at all. Perhaps the problem was me. All I can say is “wow”. I have a lot of learning to do, and a lot of  baggage and confort to lay aside.

What about the good people churches have been closed, whose marriages have failed, whose lifestyles don’t fit with what the establishment wants, who feel alone and left out? Can we become aware of the kingdom among them, or do we have to insist that the kingdom conform only to our standards?

Then there are the changes to the way Mass is celebrated in English. Even with so many people asking the vatican to go slow on it, their request was ignored. One wonders if there will ever be an end to this whole “Top down” mess. I am really glad not to be an active player in this. I am content to go to a parish and celebrate Mass however the pastor tells me to. There is enough pain all around, and I don’t want to add to it.

I wonder where all this is going in my life.


Entry filed under: Catholic, Priest, retirement.

Gospel Thoughts 20 June 2010 Gospel Thoughts 4 July 2010

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tony Marino  |  July 6, 2010 at 02:17

    That’s a dump! Sorry for all the negativity Father. I just returned from the USA after a short visit. I didn’t get the bad vibes in RI and NY. People seemed happy within and out of church, the economy notwithstanding. There are some pockets of distress, even in the family, but are being addressed with kindness, understanding albeit the pain. I willt ell you that I do go looking for the “older” versions of the mass whenever possible and possibly churches that don’t resemble pizzerias, but I manage anywhere. I just listen , as you so wisely urged us to do and try to hear what God is telling me. I know your services are welcome with thepaucity of priests and with your experience Father. Nice to be untethered however as you pointed out. I’ll be in touch. I need you ropinion and guidance if you will on an issue or two. God bless…….Tony

    • 2. phrogge  |  July 11, 2010 at 11:39

      Tony — thanks for the note. Anything I can do to help. Do you have Skype? In our diocese the bishop closed or combined 52 parishes. The process finished last week. I am glad to be a spectator. Priests’ morale might be different from other people’s morale because of the “job description”. I am glad to be a spectator and not a participant. I am re-engaging with people from my past life, especially kids I taught in high school, etc, who have been looking me up. They are older now so I have been doing a few funerals. I am amazed they even remember me.

      Retirement is good.




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