From the Pastor: Bits and Pieces
This week’s column is just a few bits and pieces of stuff. Nothing too important, just random thoughts and happenings. So if you are pressed for time, just skip the rest of this column. Really!
Last week I was traveling down Highway 301 in a section where it is a four-lane divided highway. There were three cars in front of me and the front car kept hitting the brakes for no apparent reason. We were traveling about 35 mph in a 45 zone at the time. When there was a break in the left lane traffic which kept whizzing past, I pulled over to pass the aggravating constant-braker. Unfortunately, the car I pulled behind was driven by someone who felt the need to brake every time the car to the right put on the brakes. So now in the right lane was the slow-driving brake-loving car followed by the two other cars which had previously been in front of me now blocked in by the “I brake for brake lights” car I was now stuck behind in the left lane. I wasn’t in a hurry to get to my destination but what an aggravation. Fortunately, I had the rosary playing and it is very hard to even mentally say bad words about bad drivers while praying along with John Paul II in Latin.
I read an article this week claiming that Archbishop Listecki of Milwaukee, WI, and chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a memo to the bishops of the USCCB with this quotation in it. “Recently, the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance was made aware of instances where it had been discovered that a woman living under a transgendered identity had been unknowingly admitted to the seminary or to a house of formation of an institute of consecrated life.” Sadly, I could not help but think, “Unknowingly? Give me a break!” long before I thought about how terrible a situation that is for all involved. Color me cynical, but I don’t believe that the bishop(s) who took in the transgendered (read: mentally and spiritually ill and physically mutilated women) seminarians were fooled for a minute. He never mentioned which bishop(s) got snookered so I am not making a judgment on any particular bishop(s) but simply by my own observations, I can assert that past unfaithful bishops seemed to prefer that femininized men and even openly homosexual men rather than masculine (read: normal) men study to become priests. (Of course, that makes me wonder if I was a token masculine seminarian or if I am more feminine than I imagine!) Perhaps current unfaithful bishop(s) thought they found a way around the Church teaching that only males can validly receive Holy Orders and wished to “ordain” a few fake males to set a precedence for ordination among women who wouldn’t then have to hide the fact that they are female. But whether my speculation is correct or not, the Archbishop also wrote that “Some members of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance observed that a bishop could consider requiring a D.N.A. test or, at a minimum, certification from a medical expert of the bishop’s own choosing, to assure that an applicant is male.” Yes, we may have to DNA test to see if the person we so closely scrutinized before allowing entrance into the seminary is really a male. Doesn’t that say something pretty damning about our (or at least somebody’s) entrance qualifications and procedures which we put men through before we accept them into the seminary?
This coming week is our Annual Diocesan Priest Convocation. I love going to those things. The talks are sometimes very good, often pretty average, and sometimes really bad but getting together with other priests and spending time being able to talk with them over meals and leisure time instead of just saying “hello” before or after meetings is worthwhile. I purposefully missed one when the topic was too terrible to sit through and another one when the “spiritual director” was personally known to me to be anything but capable of leading us in spiritual matters. But usually, I go and enjoy myself. Instead of canceling daily Masses as most parishes do, I have often been able to get great priests to come and give a Parish Mission so that I can leave my people in good hands. It is much easier to get a good mission preacher in October than in Lent! But covid did away with that once again this year, as bishops refused to allow the priests I had asked to come to travel to give missions due to an amazing amount of fear of covid. Let me be blunt: priests and bishops who are afraid of illness and/or death—especially now that the dangers (and lack thereof) of covid are well-established to not be a second Spanish Flu—are of the same ilk as those who would recruit transgendered seminarians. As it turns out, our topic for this year’s convocation is something like “Why are the people not returning to church after being told by Church leaders that the Catholic Faith is non-essential.” I couldn’t sit through four days of that topic even if a mission preacher was available.
There really isn’t any connection to any of the above stories. Unless, that is, the two bad drivers were actually two bishops driving alone with double face masks on, so afraid of death that they wouldn’t even approach the speed limit, hit the brakes constantly “just in case” there was danger, and were both on their way to recruit transgender seminarians to take to their respective convocations. Hmmm...
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka