Home/Rod Dreher/Today At Mass

Today At Mass

Calamity Jane/Shutterstock

Catholic readers, I prayed for y’all at the Divine Liturgy today. When one part of the Body of Christ suffers, we all suffer. Last week, some of you asked me to start a thread on Sunday in which Catholics can talk about what they heard at mass today about the scandal, if anything. Well, here you go. What did you hear, and what did you think about it?

UPDATE: Here is a thread that appeared on Twitter today. It is electrifying:


Here is the rest of that thread:

Reynolds teaches at Emory, so this was in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. She added this later:


That brought to mind the first time the weight of the scandal got to me. It was early in 2002, just after Boston broke. I was on the futon sofa in our Brooklyn living room talking to my dad on the phone, telling him about what I was working on (scandal reporting). He stammered for a moment, trying to ask me a question, then blurted it out: “Is my grandson safe being raised as a Catholic?”

His grandson was three years old. After getting over the initial shock, my father had been very respectful of his son’s decision to convert to Catholicism. And now the old man worried that his little grandson might be molested by a priest. That was a punch in the gut, for sure.

UPDATE: A Western PA reader:

Pittsburgh. Two Masses, one on Assumption, the other yesterday. Two different parishes, as on Sundays I travel to the parish I’m a member of in the city; Wednesday I was in the suburbs.

Parish one, Wednesday: A reporter was interviewing people going in. They all said the exact same thing. “It was in the past. Our priests are good priests.” The church is almost entirely run for the retirees. The priest actually reached on the devil, the reality of sin, and abuse. It was very good. But the parishioners are the archetype of treating the parish as their sacrament factory, hence there is nothing for the younger generations. I’m glad they can shrug off the report and enjoy their participatory liturgy. It’s a shame their children are paying the consequences.

Parish Two: Pastor led several minutes of prayer before Mass. Good. Bad, the parochial vicar did the homily. He is not from the United States. The first 10 minutes were spent talking about his home country; at a moment when we are in the heart of earth-shattering news, we were hearing about his hometown festivals. Later he mentioned the abuse, going from “We must pray for the victims and yes we must also pray for the abusers.”

I started crying. Yes, we must pray for the abusers, but this was such cheap grace. No. We should be mad. We should be furious. Do we believe what the Church teaches about Christ or do we not? Because if we believe it, and we sit there comforted by PR statements and coffeehouse theology, then we are complicit in the loss of millions of souls. I was in agony the rest of the homily. I converted because I believe what Catholicism teaches to be true. But the social club aspect of the Church has never seemed more forceful than in the lukewarm, self-congratulatory, rejection of soul-searching posturing of our laity and leaders.

I considered becoming a Catholic when I was 19. I didn’t because no one I knew seemed to believe what the Church taught. I was desperate to believe, and while I own and live with the consequences of having failed to come in to the Church earlier, I wish to heaven that any of the many, many, many Catholics in my life had treated their faith as something more than their ancestral heritage, a pin on their lapel, a quirky few books on the shelf.

To hear such humiliating and cruel cheap grace, to read the slick and evasive statements of Bishop Zubik, to ignore the hollowing out of the parishes, the trauma evidenced in the lives all around us, to know that to be aware of these things and mention them is to be “hard-hearted, negative” and not as “forgiving, positive” as the Good Catholics all around me, just has me in torment. Is what we teach true? If it is true then we are guiltier than we can imagine. If it isn’t true, then my God.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

leave a comment

Latest Articles