No man is an island, but it feels like it

John Donne wrote, way back in 1624:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

He was writing in reference to the Church, for indeed we are one Body, and we should rightly be concerned with the welfare of all our brothers and sisters in Christ. How can we best manifest that love for our fellow Christians, in an age when we are all buffeted, not just by a culture that is toxic to faith, but even by those who would speak in authority in the Church and yet lead us astray?

This is weighing heavily on my mind because I have become increasingly concerned about the example that my new associate pastor is setting. His homily this morning sent me over the edge: I can overlook liberal language like a blatant refusal to refer to the Father using a masculine pronoun (“Godself” is silly). I’ve gotten so used to homilies that effectively say nothing that those don’t bother me. But, preaching heresy is another matter altogether. He said, and I quote, “the Church used to teach that outside the Church, there is no salvation, but after Vatican II, …”. That is just flat wrong. I know that, most of you who read this know that, but how many of the 800 folks out in the assembly knew that? If people of all religions are saved to the extent that they seek after God, as he insinuated, then what is the point of being Catholic? Why not go off and learn Zen, since meditation is an excellent way to be in union with God? Perhaps I am reading too much into his homily, but I don’t think so.

So, the question remains, should this be upsetting me? It certainly distracts me, taking my attention away from my Lord, who I will be receiving into my body later on in the Mass. Should I just focus my thoughts elsewhere for the duration of the homily? Perhaps I could reflect upon the awesome Sacrifice He made for us, looking upon our nearly life-sized, realistic crucifix and the lovely stained glass of Christ reigning in Heaven behind it. Or, perhaps I should simply turn my eyes back to the readings for the day. For my own good, should I just let it go? (I refuse to run away and find a Latin Mass, in case you thought about suggesting that ;))

What else can I do? The other side of me says that it is an injustice to the average parishioner (who doesn’t study theology for fun like yours truly) to have to listen to this tripe. The priest has a responsibility to teach truthfully. I almost feel like I must confront him. He seems a nice enough guy, just not particularly bright and thoroughly enmeshed in liberal ideology. Maybe if I’m nice about it, and ask for clarification, it might help a little.

Any thoughts?


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