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Sunday, December 11, 2016

An Anonymous Letter and a Promise of Prayers from Louisville

Pastoral administrator and "parish assembly" at
St. William of York in Louisville
I wrote a letter awhile back to a so-called Catholic parish in Louisville that is so far out in la-la land it would be hard to find it on a lunacy map. When I say I wrote the letter "awhile back" I admit it's so far back, I can't remember, and unfortunately I forgot to date it. But I got a copy of it in the mail yesterday with an anonymous note on the back that made me laugh. Since the letter is online I can't be sure it came from someone at the parish, but it was, in fact, postmarked from Louisville so it's likely. Nice to know somebody was paying attention.

I'll quote only a few paragraphs from the letter to give you an idea of the level of dissent that marks this "peacemaking community", St. William of York, whose "pastoral administrator" is a woman named Sharan Benton:
Dear Ms. Benton, 
I happened to visit your website and really enjoyed reading all the interesting items. I am, however, still trying to figure out exactly what denomination you are. I thought St. William was a Catholic Church, but I must have been mistaken.

The first clue was your statement on inclusive language. Catholics do not bless themselves in the name of the "Creator, Redeemer, and Holy Sanctifier." Do you use that same formula for baptisms? I know the Methodists do some very creative things. I remember hearing of baptising with rose petals - so aromatic. Do you do that?

Second clue: I see that you change the Eucharistic prayer to address God as "Gentle Father and Loving Mother" and that you use an inclusive language lectionary "approved by the Pastoral Council" that eliminates male pronouns among other things. Since Catholics use a common lectionary approved by the Church and, since according to Catholic doctrine, no one, not even a priest, has the authority to change the words of the Mass, you obviously aren't Catholic. Are you perhaps Episcopalians?
My anonymous correspondent printed out the entire letter from my website which made it easy to find since the url was at the bottom. I appreciated that. This was the anonymous message on the back. "It is so much easier to criticize than to praise. Then again, you must have your hands full being so perfect and without sin. I will pray for you." Gosh! Does my perfection really show? Why do I go to Confession so often?

I'm not sure to whom this anonymous coward prays since the parish clearly rejects much of what Jesus Himself taught and makes things up according to the "collective wisdom" of the "parish assembly." But hey, "Who am I to judge?" I have to admit that I was so skeptical of this being a real Catholic parish I went to the archdiocesan website to check whether it was listed. I hoped perhaps they belonged to one of those weird shoots like the Old Roman Catholic Church which left the fold in the 19th century because they reject papal authority. This parish would certainly fit better there since they clearly reject the authority of the Church on issues like the language of the Mass, etc. But no such luck; they are, indeed, listed on the archdiocese's website. Sad. What can the bishop be thinking?

At any rate, I thank my correspondent for reminding me of this Mad Hatter's parish so I can warn people visiting Louisville to stay as far away as possible. I found what looks like a wonderful parish in the area, St. Martin of Tours, where they offer Mass in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms every Sunday. That's is where I will go next time we pass through Louisville.

You can tell a lot from a parish website. When we travel, I always check out the local parishes on-line. If I see a place like St. Williams, I shudder and close the window. When I find a site like St. Martin's, I rejoice at a parish  where the "doors never close" because they have perpetual adoration, which has a vibrant pro-life committee, many Masses and hours of confession, etc. If you are in Louisville, St. Martin's is the place for the orthodox Catholic to go. If you inadvertently stumble upon St. William's, you no doubt will see the Mad Hatter officiating at the altar with an assortment of strange partners and Alice chasing the white rabbit down the aisle. Pray for the poor deluded flock and leave at once before the Queen of Hearts appears to chop up the liturgy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I looked up the website. The 'sacramental minister' I guess is that man I the tee shirt. BAD vibes with all of that nonsense. Saw this garbage in Saginaw once. The hefty woman who was the 'administrator' walking along side the 'sacramental minister' for Mass, etc. At least there, I think, they may have stopped having the butch lady give the 'homily' but I am not sure.