We Catholics Have Become Stubborn

“The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath.” — Revelation 16:19

Recent survey shows that Catholic mass attendance continues to decline. Based on the survey conducted by SWS (as read from ANC), among the things that discourage the respondents from attending the Holy Mass are sloppy homilies, the relentless opposition of the church on the issue of the Reproductive Health Bill, and just because some have already gotten tired of being preached at. While I wasn’t part of the sample who responded to this survey, I seem to agree.

“There was once a man who went to a hotel and upon entering the room where he is booked, he saw a lady lying on the bed. Outraged, he hurriedly made his way back to the hotel’s front desk. “I think we have a problem here. There is a woman in my bed,” he confronted the reservation officer. “Sir, in this hotel we don’t have problems. All we have are opportunities,” the man behind the desk answered calmly.”

Believe it or not, that is a story I did not expect to hear during a mass especially one that is watched by hundreds of thousands on live TV on a Sunday morning. I don’t know what was on the priest’s mind that time but his story left me questioning his integrity—and to think that he isn’t a rookie priest made me a lot more uneasy.

Lousy homilies also don’t necessarily mean boring. Sometimes, information overload kills it. Take for example this other priest who celebrates mass on the same TV channel on some other days. His highly spirited way of delivering his homilies seems not to help relay the real message behind the scriptures. His fondness of integrating stories from the telenovelas, maybe in his effort to enliven the churchgoers, and talking about investing in mutual funds don’t seem to impress me because I do believe that these topics just don’t fit in what is supposed to be a solemn ceremony meant to feed the spirit, at least just a day every week.

So my question now is “where have all the good priests gone?” In this world where we Catholics have become stubborn and most of us starting to think that we are smarter than the doctrines that we once believe to be true—just by sheer faith, we really need those good priests around again to get us back on track or else the next SWS survey will be worse.

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Honestly, I have been tempted several times already to change channel whenever I see this particular priest walk towards the altar to celebrate mass on TV. But just this last Sunday, something from his homily struck me. It is about focus.

“We should not focus on our problems but rather on its solutions because whatever we focus on to is greatly magnified.”

This one perfectly makes sense, right? If he makes more of these and less about Ser Chief and Bo Sanchez, I will be paying more attention.

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Bible passage from Biblegateway.com

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Watching The Three Musketeers on HBO while drinking gin. Alpha and Theta.)

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He Created Restless Children Too

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real
father.” – Pope John XXIII

How many times have we been in the church to hear mass and expecting it to be one that so solemn, it relieves us of the past week’s stresses and readies us spiritually for the next? But how many times have we been distracted by kids who have decided to make the pews and the altar their playground and tried testing whether they can generate an echo in every corner of the church? Much worse, how many times have we been the parents of these restless Sunday kids?

To answer the last question, it has been happening to us a lot lately. Thanks to our ever active son, whether he is sick or not, Marcus.

Because like karma proving itself true, I now realize that my past encounters with unruly kids and how I have secretly cursed them and/or their parents while I try to fake a smile and maintain composure as I do my Sunday prayers have finally caught up on me. I seem to now slowly accept the fact that even my most fervent prayers may not work to pacify one restless son. I am now among the helpless parents who can’t do anything but pray for divine intervention – and one that is less likely to happen at all. I think God doesn’t touch uber active children but rather he makes parents ponder what was done and what still needs to be done to produce one well-mannered kid inside the church (or any other place).

So please if ever you get to be one lucky church person, because you are
either single or married but still childless and whose only problem is if your
message to the mighty heavens gets across, please understand that if you
are annoyed by kids running uncontrollably around you, bear in mind that someone among those bowed head somewhere is a helpless and embarrassed parent of that kid and ever wondering if indeed God created restless children, too.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Dear God, Thanks for Sundays.)

The Story of the Feather Pillow

I have been longing to tell this story that I heard from the previous parish priest in Manggahan, Cavite. And now is just the perfect time.

There once was woman who approached a priest and said, “Father, I need to confess about having spread gossips about my friend. What should I do?” The priest then said, “Go grab a feather pillow, climb up to the belfry, tear the pillow and spread all of its content and come back here.”

The woman surprised about the priest’s weird instruction, proceeded anxiously and went to grab a feather pillow and followed just as told by the priest. After a short while, panting heavily after running up and right back down, she happily told the priest, “Father, it’s all done, just like you have said, now what?” Smiling, the priest then said, “Go out of the church and gather every feather that came out of the pillow.”

The woman’s eyes widened in disbelief and blurted, “But father that is just impossible, some of the feathers have been blown by the wind so far from the belfry and so far away from the church’s ground. I just can’t collect every feather even if I wanted to.”

“Miss, that’s exactly the same thing you did when you spread the gossips about your friend. No matter how you try getting everything back, you just can’t do enough to recall what has been said”, the priest simply replied back. The woman shook and bowed her head in regret.

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I can very well relate to this story especially during the time when I was one of the board members of our village. As much as I’d like to unify the erring officers, it did not happen. So much have been said already, unfortunately not to the concerned person but to other people in the village. This made one issue that may have been resolved if discussed among the people involve but it became one that cannot be fixed anymore as each of those who have heard about it has re-told the story to others—but this time most likely with a twist and it’s either more or less of the original story thus complicating everything in the process.

Getting hopeless and fed up, I decided to quit. But it didn’t stop there as until now I am affected. I hate to think about it, but I am also a victim of loose tongues and idle minds. I don’t know now what I’ll do next, but we’ll soon see.

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This story also applies to the current hot topic in Philippine media—the Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili sex video scandal. It’s a pity, but the video has spread rapidly, thanks but no thanks to the producers of these pirated copies.

This is one hopeless case. Even if our law enforcement agencies, the OMB (Optical Media Board) and our beloved Congress get to round up every bit of copies and stop its further proliferation, some of it will likely remain inside hidden in private hard drives or even in the innocent looking minute flash drives. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

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Mood: 4/10 Honks!