A discussion of the “Corporate church” or 97 (post) ways to..

Today’s blog is an OP/ED piece. OP/ED means (to me) Opinion/Editorial. As the editor, I guess they are both. Rant warning, rant warning!  Sound the sirens, get the children and dogs underground and hit the  any key to avoid reading the following. This will be the inaugural post added to the Things That Bother Me So page.

You were warned. I was raised Catholic. I still to this day consider myself a Catholic. My DW and I have raised our three children as Catholics. We don’t go to mass as often any more as we did in the past. After you have read a few more paragraphs, you may understand why. We try to be role models of  the Catholic/christian ethic in the way we conduct our lives. Hopefully, setting a good example for our children in this troubled world. We have sent two of our children to Jesuit Universities and one to a university run by the IHM Sisters.  With all that prelude, you might guess that this rant will be against what I call the “Corporate Church”.

When we were younger, (story time) a family or a person could choose which church to attend. And you still have that freedom of choice. One of the reasons that we (my parents) and my family (DW and the boys) might have chosen a church would be based on the preacher, the pastor, the priest that says the mass. You might go to the 11 o’clock mass since Father X always works that mass. If you did not like the message or the way it was delivered, you could change churches or mass times for something that might appeal to you more.

Now days, it seems that the message at each mass is the same. The readings have been standardized for a long time. But, the homily or the message that would take those readings  and give them context in our times, was left to the priest to write and deliver. Now, the “corporate church” sends out the approved homily and there seems very little room for local pastors to express themselves.  So why go to mass x or church y when they all have the same message.  I could eat at the McDonald’s on Route 35, Route 18 or Route 33, they would all be the same.

 A perfect example of this phenomenon was experienced this weekend by DS3. On Saturday, he attended the 4 pm mass at the University of Scranton since his girlfriend was singing. The President of the University said the mass. DS3 then attended the 10:30 mass on Sunday, since his brother was playing his trumpet at mass. The usual priest (young guy) at Marywood was out-of-town, so we had a retired priest that fills in here and there as needed.  I asked DS3 after mass about the homily, if they were the same. Before I could finish the question he told me that they were identical.  Word for word. That is discouraging. The President of a major Jesuit University has been reduced to reading a script that someone in an office wrote.

Where is the putting the readings into context for the local population? Do you reach the college student with the same words that you use to reach the church with a predominantly retired community?  I don’t think so.

What is the answer?  Is the process broken? Should the local priest have more or total control of the homily? I really don’t know. I can say that for me the homily sent out by the “corporate church” does not reach me at all. As you may have read in previous posts that we like the young priest at Marywood because his homily does not seem to be reading word for word from corporate script.

Thanks for reading.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Christina
    Oct 04, 2011 @ 10:05:56

    Rant right back at you – That is horrible. How corporate/controlling can the Church be that they don’t even trust the local priest (who went to Catholic seminary to learn how to lead his flock, mind you) to interpret the readings and actually lead his flock?
    As I say, men in dresses making rules for others. The rant will now conclude.
    May it be so this day and all days and amen.


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